Tuesday, April 11, 2006

No bloggie long time

So yesterday I went to the 5th annual Western Michigan University IT Forum. One of the keynote speakers was Debbie Stabenow, socialist Senator from Michigan. I've referred to her before
but figured I'd make a quick comment about her again. The forum main theme was 'IT Transforming Health Care' and since I now work at a health care facility, it seemed like a good fit. Stabenow was brought in to discuss the current 'crisis' confronting health care (seems that every time we turn around there's a crisis...there's so many, I'm not sure which one to put first). That crisis is apparently the inability of one practice/hospital to talk to another using electronic medical records, since there is no 'standards' in place that would allow such an interchange. The funny thing is that there are standards in place. Have been for years. It's just that our hospitals are not cooperative. None of them WANT to talk to each other. I live and work in a city that is served by two hospitals. They continuously have to 'one-up' one another. One comes out with free Internet for patients and families, the other has to offer free wireless Internet AND the ability to 'check out' a laptop to access that wireless Internet with. One builds a new hospital, the other adds a huge Neurology Center.
Hell, these hospitals are a mile or two apart, and we can't get them to talk. Not because there aren't standards, but because they hate each other. There's some serious competition between the two to see who's got the biggest wang.
But yet, completely ignoring the reality of the situation, Senator Stabenow, along with her compatriots in the Senate are not proposing a forced cooperation (although I wouldn't put it past her). They're proposing yet another law and federal program that would help subsidize hospitals who want to purchase electronic medical records systems and provide money to those hospitals that need to buy the gear to implement such a program.
Now I'm all for the hospitals going to EMR, since it basically means there's more data out there to be secured, and I'm joe security. However, for the feds to pay for it? Oh hell no.
The funniest thing about it is that much of the current 'crisis' was created by the federal government dicking with health care in the first place. Take HIPAA out of the equation and there wouldn't be nearly the obstacles in place that would allow the folks who WANT to share the data to do so.

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