Health Informatics News Round-Up

Health 2.0 Group Chicago is meeting today (Thurs 15th)

From Computerworld: Costs of moving to e-health records slows adoption – Getting doctors to embrace technology can be tough…

While parts of the private sector have begun to adopt electronic medical record (EMR) software, many physician practices and regional health IT partnerships still are struggling with absorbing the costs of the software.

That was the message from some of the speakers this week at the inaugural National Health IT Day. The event was sponsored by more than 40 public and private-sector organizations to increase awareness of IT’s potential to improve health care and control some its spiraling costs.

Medicity and Novo Innovations Merge (Press Release):

Medicity and Novo Innovations today announced their merger, combining two market leaders in health information exchange into a single, industry-leading company that connects more than 1,800 healthcare organizations and 85,000 physicians across the nation. The company has established thousands of data interfaces to more than 150 unique healthcare IT applications from every major hospital systems vendor and more than 25 unique electronic medical record (EMR) systems. It serves three statewide health information exchanges (HIEs), including Delaware Health Information Network, Mississippi Coastal Health Information Exchange and California RHIO, and has exhibited demonstrable success with the National Health Information Network (NHIN).

Terms of the merger were not released. The company will be known as Medicity and will maintain its headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, with offices throughout the U.S. including Novo’s Alpharetta, Ga.-based facility, which will serve as the focal point of East Coast operations.

“There is a convergence of market forces that made the timing of this merger ideal. We realized that we had the opportunity to come together to build a new type of ‘operating system’ for interconnected healthcare,” said Kipp Lassetter, M.D., C.E.O. of Medicity. “By combining our technologies and expertise, we have expanded our ability to fully integrate the silos of healthcare data that exist in every community and immediately establish thousands of nodes on an exchange platform that we believe will become a de facto standard for healthcare.”

“Together, we will be able to offer a unique approach that allows healthcare organizations to individually meet their information outreach needs by providing streamlined access to healthcare data information, secure distribution of that data to EMRs and full participation in community information sharing initiatives. Our technologies and services collectively lay the foundation for a revolutionary approach to address the interoperability challenges of the healthcare industry of tomorrow,” said Robert Connely, C.E.O. of Novo Innovations.

Added Lassetter, “Historically, vendors in our segment of the market have been perceived as small niche players. Now, with this merger, we have become the major player, fully capable of delivering on a wide variety of requirements demanded by the marketplace. Combined, our two companies have the size, product depth and financial strength to deliver the full benefits of connected healthcare. We look forward to playing a critical role in connecting America to its healthcare data.”

Tues 17th Feb: Meet the Clinic: Personal Health Records event at Addenbrooke’s Cambridge:

The latest in Cambridge Network’s series of ‘Meet the Clinic’ events, focussing on patient health records (PHRs) and the opportunities that electronic PHRs might offer, takes place on Tuesday 17 February at The Clinical School, Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Healthcare Special Interest Group – ‘Meet the Clinic: Personal Health Records’

Personal health records (PHRs) help a patient, their relatives, and their clinicians to better manage the patient’s illnesses. Paper PHRs are common in some countries, like Italy, where the patient is responsible for keeping and carrying medical records from one clinician to another. But England’s mass digital medical infrastructure offers many interesting and powerful possibilities with electronic PHRs.

Cambridge Network’s next Healthcare Special Interest Group will meet at Addenbrooke’s Hospital on Tuesday 17 February to discuss this topic. It will feature three eminent speakers:

* Dr Mohammad Al-Ubaydli (pictured) will talk about the research evidence and best practices of PHRs

* Dr Amir Hannan will describe how PHRs fit into his daily practice as an NHS GP

* Melissa Hillier from the Genetic Interest Group will explain patients’ needs for PHRs.

Dr Al-Ubaydli will chair the subsequent panel discussion and Q&A. The aim is for attendees to leave with concrete steps on why and how they should implement PHRs in clinical practice.

The meeting will start at 16:00 with registration, and will close at around 19:00 after a networking reception. Attendance at this event is free to all staff/researchers at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the University of Cambridge, and to Cambridge Network members. Please click here to register to attend.

Cambridge Network is grateful to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for their assistance with the arrangements for this event, and to Microsoft UK for sponsorship.

About the speakers

Dr. Mohammad Al-Ubaydli ( is a PHR researcher at UCL’s Centre for Health Informatics and Multiprofessional Education ( He trained as a doctor at the University of Cambridge and as a programmer at Anglia Ruskin University. He spent six years as a researcher in the USA and wrote six books about the use of IT in health care. His most recent, Streamlining Hospital-Patient Communication: Developing High Impact Patient Portals, discussed the use of PHRs by hospitals in the USA. He is the founder and CEO of Patients Know Best (, a Cambridge-based PHR company.

Dr Amir Hannan is a full time General Practitioner at Haughton Thornley Medical Centres in Hyde and a founding member of the Records Access Collaborative having enabled all his patients to be able to have full access to GP held records via the internet if they wish for over three years. Over 600 patients of his are now accessing their GP records this way. He has helped to develop a practice website,, which supports patients, clinicians and managers in a world where information and services can be made available for patients and their families.

He is the Information Management &Technology lead for NHS Tameside and Glossop (formerly known as Tameside & Glossop PCT), having recently stepped down as Clinical Governance lead and as a Professional Executive Committee (PEC) member. He is also a member of the local Care Record Development Board supporting patients, clinicians and managers to understand how personal health information can be shared across a health and social care setting and to promote best practice by combining local expertise with national and international experience and knowledge. He has recently become the Primary Care IT lead for NHS North-West (formerly known as North-West Strategic Health Authority) and is a member of the Map of Medicine strategy group, NHS North-West.

He is also the Greater Manchester NHS Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service clinical lead on behalf of Greater Manchester PCTs. Dr Hannan has written and lectured extensively on health informatics matters and his experience to date. He is also a member of the HealthSpace Reference Panel ( as well as the National Clinical Reference Panel for the Summary Care Record within NHS Connecting for Health ( He is a member of the Clinical Leaders Network (; a member of the Primary Healthcare Specialist Group (, a branch of the British Computer Society; and a member of the editorial board of the “Journal of Communication in Healthcare”. He feels most patients should become eMPOWERed in order to support Real-Time Digital Medicine!

Melissa Hillier advises the NHS on PHRs as the Senior Communications Manager at the Genetic Interest Group ( This is the UK alliance of charities and support groups for all people affected by genetic disorders. GIG’s mission is to promote the development of the scientific understanding of genetics and the part that genetic factors play in health and disease, and to see the speedy transfer of this new knowledge into improved services and support for the treatment of currently intractable conditions.

Ms. Hillier’s work includes helping to raise awareness of genetic conditions amongst health professionals, the media and the public in general, as well as keeping members abreast of developments taking place that will have an impact on them. She also works on various projects in a variety of capacities ranging from membership of Steering Committees to input into key debates through conferences and workshops as well as the management of a variety of GIG’s Projects, including the Facilitating Networks Project, Insurance Templates Project and Patient Engagement in Scotland Project.

John Halamka provides an Update from Washington

Many people have asked me to comment about the latest Washington plans for healthcare IT.

The best and brightest on the Obama transition team, the House Committee on Science and Technology, and the Senate HELP Committee have been talking to academic, industry and government healthcare IT experts.

I believe the message from experts is consistent. The dollars allocated need to fund education, training, and implementation of interoperable CCHIT certified EHRs. What do I mean by interoperable? For 2009 it means result reporting, e-prescribing, and clinical summary exchange. For 2010 it means quality measures, population health, and personal health record exchange. For 2011 it means clinical research/trials support. Here is a document describing the the current CCHIT certification requirements written by Mark Leavitt and containing my thoughts on the interoperability that is available now.

From e-Health Insider The NHS Summary Care Records initiative is due to start rolling out in 17 primary care trusts:

Seventeen primary care trusts are due to begin implementing the Summary Care Record before 1 April as part of a ‘fast follower’ group that will lead the national roll-out of the SCR.

Five PCTs – Stoke-on-Trent, Lincolnshire, Medway, Brighton and Hove, Ashton, Leigh and Wigan – have been named as confirmed fast followers, and the first of these is expected to start sending patients information on 23 January.

Lincolnshire PCT aims to start its patient information mailing on 30 January, with start dates in February and March for the other three PCTs.

A further 12 PCTs have been identified as potential fast followers. These include three London PCTs – Barnet, Camden and Southwark – plus South Tyneside, Surrey, Middlesborough, The Isle of Wight, Hampshire and Bristol.

Ars Technica on EMRs Link:

On the same day that we reported that an IT industry group was calling for stimulus money to go toward modernizing the electronic healthcare infrastructure, President-elect Obama delivered. In a speech in Washington, he called for providing electronic patient records throughout the country within the next five years. It’s a lofty goal, and one with the potential to have significant real-world benefits; unfortunately, the following day, a report from the National Academies of Science suggested it’s one we may not be ready to pursue, as a continuation of current practices runs the risk of harming our progress toward a modernized health care system.

Obama to invest $50 Billion in Electronic Health Records

Obama is set to invest significantly in the adoption of standards-based electronic health records over the next 5 years:

Lower Health Care Costs by Investing in Electronic Information Technology Systems: A key feature of Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s health care plan is the use of health information technology to lower the cost of health care. Most medical records are still stored on paper, which makes them difficult to use to coordinate care, measure quality, or reduce medical errors. Processing paper claims also costs twice as much as processing electronic claims. Barack Obama and Joe Biden will invest $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records.


So the question now is: which standards?

Health Informatics Videos

I’m collecting as many videos and presentations as I can find and uploading them to my new Ning website:

Take a look and if there’s a cool video you know about, feel free to add it on. If you are already a Ning user, log in and click ‘Add a Video’.

EHR 2.0

I recently recieved an email from Vitaly Latush about his EHR 2.0 concept:

 Recently I came up with a new EHR concept; I have published a white paper that outlines an alternative approach to implementing a nation-wide, easily accessible electronic health record solution based on the “publish – discover” paradigm successfully used on the global scale to manage immense volumes of non-integrated information available through the Internet. The concept is called EHR 2.0 (alternatively EMR 2.0). It helps to answer the following important questions:

  • How can we reduce significantly the complexity and cost of medical data integration?
  • How can we provide an easily accessible and updatable EHR master copy while minimizing limitations imposed on health care service providers regarding patient information management systems they use and the way they store patient data?
  • How can we reduce health care service providers’ transition costs?

Here is the link to my blog post related to the topic:

and direct link to the white paper: 2.0 %28EMR 2.0%29 – new Electronic Health Record concept.pdf

WorldVistA EHRTM VOE/ 1.0 Available

January 31, 2008 – WorldVistA announces the release and availability of WorldVistA EHR VOE/ 1.0, the only open source EHR that meets Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) ambulatory electronic health record (EHR) criteria for 2006. WorldVistA EHR VOE/ 1.0 is based on and compatible with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) world renowned EHR, VistA®.

The foundation for WorldVistA EHR was developed as part of the VistA-Office EHR (VOE) project, a collaborative effort funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The overall goal of the project was to encourage the broader adoption and effective use of EHRs among physicians by making an affordable, robust, proven EHR solution alternative available.

After completion of the VOE project, WorldVistA made additional enhancements and successfully submitted WorldVistA EHR for certification by CCHIT. As a CCHIT Certified product, WorldVistA EHR VOE/ 1.0 has been tested and passed inspection of 100 percent of a set of criteria for functionality (ability to create and manage electronic records for all patients, as well as automating workflow in a physician’s office), interoperability (a first step in the ability to receive and send electronic data to other entities such as laboratories), and security (ability to keep patients’ information safe).

WorldVistA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is furthering the cause of affordable healthcare information technology worldwide by advocating, championing, and employing the open source paradigm to expand the use and collaborative improvement of the VistA electronic health record. WorldVistA seeks to facilitate and enable global adoption of VistA solutions thorough technology transfer, education and training services. WorldVistA manages and supports the open, collaborative, peer reviewed development and enhancement of VistA and WorldVistA EHR. WorldVistA EHR is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

# # #

For more information about WorldVistA EHR, or to schedule an interview:

Primary Contact: Joseph Dal Molin, VP Business Development
Tel.: (416) 232-1206
Contact: Maury Pepper, Chair
Tel.: (314) 540-7815


Details on WorldVistA EHR and download URL:

WorldVistA EHR VOE/ 1.0 and CCHIT certification:

GNU General Public License: