2006-11-10 00:00:00

Minimizing impacts of change

We all know that an IT organization’s effectiveness is significantly impacted by change. Be it an installation of new hardware, replacement of networking devices, or deployment of software upgrades, change is good; however, everytime something changes there’s a chance for failure because something that worked before may suddenly stop working.

Change management strategy is so important that there should be people who are in charge of it in your organization (usually a configuration manager). But, some of us don’t manage change well. Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you’re managing change appropriately:

  • Do you know what’s changed in your environment today? During the past week? During the past month?
  • Do you monitor your environment for unauthorized changes? Do people get fired for making unauthorized changes?
  • Do you have a formal process for configuration management so that changes are duly authorized before they’re implemented?
  • Can you describe your change control process to your current employees? How about new employees? How do you tell people what they are allowed to change versus not?

If you don’t have effective change and configuration management policies and procedures in place, your job as a technology manager will be tough at best and very stressful at worst. I’ve been to customer sites where things work fine one day and then stop working the next because of unauthorized configuration changes. If that’s happened to you, do yourself a favor and put in some change management policies. You’ll sleep better at night.

Something as simple as a Change Control Board (CCB) that meets weekly to go over change requests along with installation of an issue tracking system is a great way to start.

Filed under: — @ 2006-11-10 00:00:00
2006-11-10 00:00:00

Minimizing impacts of change

We all know that an IT organization’s effectiveness is significantly impacted by change. Be it an installation of new hardware, replacement of networking devices, or deployment of software upgrades, change is good; however, everytime something changes there’s a chance for failure because something that worked before may suddenly stop working.

Change management strategy is so important that there should be people who are in charge of it in your organization (usually a configuration manager). But, some of us don’t manage change well. Here are some questions to ask yourself to see if you’re managing change appropriately:

  • Do you know what’s changed in your environment today? During the past week? During the past month?
  • Do you monitor your environment for unauthorized changes? Do people get fired for making unauthorized changes?
  • Do you have a formal process for configuration management so that changes are duly authorized before they’re implemented?
  • Can you describe your change control process to your current employees? How about new employees? How do you tell people what they are allowed to change versus not?

If you don’t have effective change and configuration management policies and procedures in place, your job as a technology manager will be tough at best and very stressful at worst. I’ve been to customer sites where things work fine one day and then stop working the next because of unauthorized configuration changes. If that’s happened to you, do yourself a favor and put in some change management policies. You’ll sleep better at night.

Something as simple as a Change Control Board (CCB) that meets weekly to go over change requests along with installation of an issue tracking system is a great way to start.

Filed under: — @ 2006-11-10 00:00:00
2006-11-09 00:00:00

HHS is looking for input on "Personalized Healthcare"

HHS released an interesting RFI recently. Here’s the summary:

Advances in medicine, biomedical science, and technology present opportunities for enabling health care practices to be increasingly patient-specific by taking into account individual differences in health states, disease processes, and outcomes from interventions. Often referred to as personalized health care, the desired impact of these types of health practices is improved effectiveness and safety of medical practices. These health benefits may be manifested through new approaches for predicting disease risk at an early time point, enabling preemption of disease processes prior to full manifestation of symptoms, analyzing the effectiveness of different interventions in specific populations based on their genetic makeup, and preventing the progression of disease and the related complications.

For the purpose of achieving a broader understanding of rapid changes occurring in the health care setting that may have an impact on the future of personalized health care, HHS requests input from the public and private sectors on plans for developing and using resources involving health information technology (IT) and genetic and molecular medicine, with specific reference to incorporating these capacities in evidence-based clinical practice, health outcomes evaluations, and research.

It will be interesting to see what responses they receive, but if you have any interest or expertise in the matter I’d suggest putting in your two cents. I’ve been on the review committee for some Federal RFIs before and I am surprised at how much the government staff learned from the responses; so, it’s a great way to teach the government something they may not know.

Filed under: — @ 2006-11-09 00:00:00
2006-11-09 00:00:00

Neotool adds a valuable voice to the HIT Blogosphere

Neotool is a company I like a lot — they have a great set of products and they know the HL7 space. I’ve met the folks at HIMSS a few times and they’ve always impressed me. Recently I was pleased to find out that they were starting a corporate blog but I was afraid it might be a glossy brochure-style blog. Now, after having read their blog entries for a little while I’m happy to say that they’re adding real value to the HIT Blogosphere — their postings are informative, practical, and provide some great advice without either promoting or advocating their own products. They’ve also been invited to join HITSphere.

Nice job, guys.

Filed under: — @ 2006-11-09 00:00:00
2006-11-09 00:00:00

Open source personal health records (PHRs) and EMRs

I routinely get asked about online health records that can be private labeled. Here are some of the options for open source health records management:

  • ClearHealth
  • MirrorMed
  • FreeMed
  • OpenEMR
  • VistA Office

If any of you out there would suggest others, let me know.

While independent EMRs and EHRs functions are useful, the most important feature of any product in this space is its support for interoperability. As such, make sure that whatever you choose has some support for standards:

  • HL7
  • ANSI X12’s transaction protocols used for electronic transfer of patient data.
  • CEN’s EN13606 and HISA (if you’re planning to use it in Europe)
  • DICOM (if you want to store diagnostic images)
  • ISO 18308
  • openEHR
  • ASTM International’s Continuity of Care Record
Filed under: — @ 2006-11-09 00:00:00
2006-11-09 00:00:00

HHS is looking for input on "Personalized Healthcare"

HHS released an interesting RFI recently. Here’s the summary:

Advances in medicine, biomedical science, and technology present opportunities for enabling health care practices to be increasingly patient-specific by taking into account individual differences in health states, disease processes, and outcomes from interventions. Often referred to as personalized health care, the desired impact of these types of health practices is improved effectiveness and safety of medical practices. These health benefits may be manifested through new approaches for predicting disease risk at an early time point, enabling preemption of disease processes prior to full manifestation of symptoms, analyzing the effectiveness of different interventions in specific populations based on their genetic makeup, and preventing the progression of disease and the related complications.

For the purpose of achieving a broader understanding of rapid changes occurring in the health care setting that may have an impact on the future of personalized health care, HHS requests input from the public and private sectors on plans for developing and using resources involving health information technology (IT) and genetic and molecular medicine, with specific reference to incorporating these capacities in evidence-based clinical practice, health outcomes evaluations, and research.

It will be interesting to see what responses they receive, but if you have any interest or expertise in the matter I’d suggest putting in your two cents. I’ve been on the review committee for some Federal RFIs before and I am surprised at how much the government staff learned from the responses; so, it’s a great way to teach the government something they may not know.

Filed under: — @ 2006-11-09 00:00:00
2006-11-09 00:00:00

Neotool adds a valuable voice to the HIT Blogosphere

Neotool is a company I like a lot — they have a great set of products and they know the HL7 space. I’ve met the folks at HIMSS a few times and they’ve always impressed me. Recently I was pleased to find out that they were starting a corporate blog but I was afraid it might be a glossy brochure-style blog. Now, after having read their blog entries for a little while I’m happy to say that they’re adding real value to the HIT Blogosphere — their postings are informative, practical, and provide some great advice without either promoting or advocating their own products. They’ve also been invited to join HITSphere.

Nice job, guys.

Filed under: — @ 2006-11-09 00:00:00
2006-11-09 00:00:00

Open source personal health records (PHRs) and EMRs

I routinely get asked about online health records that can be private labeled. Here are some of the options for open source health records management:

  • ClearHealth
  • MirrorMed
  • FreeMed
  • OpenEMR
  • VistA Office

If any of you out there would suggest others, let me know.

While independent EMRs and EHRs functions are useful, the most important feature of any product in this space is its support for interoperability. As such, make sure that whatever you choose has some support for standards:

  • HL7
  • ANSI X12’s transaction protocols used for electronic transfer of patient data.
  • CEN’s EN13606 and HISA (if you’re planning to use it in Europe)
  • DICOM (if you want to store diagnostic images)
  • ISO 18308
  • openEHR
  • ASTM International’s Continuity of Care Record
Filed under: — @ 2006-11-09 00:00:00
2006-11-07 00:00:00

Exercise Helps You See Clearly!

Exercising may help more than your biceps, triceps and other muscles; it may help your eyes as well. A 15-year cumulative study recently published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology showed physical activity had a positive effect on age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an eye condition associated with aging. AMD gradually deteriorates the ability to see objects clearly when performing common daily tasks such as reading and driving.

Between 1988 and 1990, 4,926 individuals were given a baseline eye examination. The patients were then retested every five years.They were also questioned about their daily physical activity with questions such as: On average, how many city blocks do you walk each day? The study included men and women between the ages of 43 and 86.

According to the study results, the incidence of AMD dropped up to 70 percent in individuals who led a more active lifestyle. Other factors, such as diet, were also taken into consideration. To learn more about how to keep active in your golden years, talk to your chiropractor.

Filed under: — @ 2006-11-07 00:00:00
2006-11-05 00:00:00

Who owns your data?

Many health plans, hospitals, and even physician offices are putting patient data on the web to help connect to consumers. Many of us are also using service providers (SaaS, ASP, etc) to manage our data. All of these things are great and many of us have thought about the security implications: don’t put things on laptops, keep data from traveling onto USB drives, etc. Lots of thought goes into security these (though probably not as much as is really required).

But, what about privacy implications? Who owns the data that we capture from our end users? Sure, HIPAA lays out some privacy guidelines but what about sharing rules and data ownership guidelines? Have you looked at your contracts recently to see what rights vendors/consultants who have access to your data have with respect to that data? When all the systems are in your own environment you have a bit more control but in the case of ASPs and SaaS providers you’ll want to be sure you have roles, rights, and responsibilities fully worked out so you don’t get caught with a privacy violation due to an error in omission. I think giving your partners and vendors shared data rights and reuse rights makes sense for many reasons but how do you articulate those rights?

The presumption of privacy and security by visitors to our sites is fundamentally tied to the confidence they hold in us. If our policies and procedures aren’t clearly identified internally we can never really tell our visitors what they should expect.

One of the biggest issues in data sharing is the agreement on data ownership and privacy guidelines. If you’ve done some work in this area and would like to share your thoughts, drop me an email, leave a comment here, or better yet give us the opportunity to learn from you by posting a guest article.

Filed under: — @ 2006-11-05 00:00:00
« Previous PageNext Page »