2007-02-11 00:00:00

HIMSS Blogger Meetup Date, Time, and Location Established

After a number of e-mails and suggestions we’ve got general consensus on date, time, and venue for the meetup:

Date: Sunday, February 25, 2007
Time: 08:00 PM (right after the HIMSS Reception)
Location: Mulate???s (Cajun restaurant and bar located right across from the convention center) — thanks to Tim Gee for the arrangements

  • Here’s who’s signed up so far
  • Click here to register
Filed under: — @ 2007-02-11 00:00:00
2007-02-11 00:00:00

HIMSS Blogger Meetup Date, Time, and Location Established

After a number of e-mails and suggestions we’ve got general consensus on date, time, and venue for the meetup:

Date: Sunday, February 25, 2007
Time: 08:00 PM (right after the HIMSS Reception)
Location: Mulate???s (Cajun restaurant and bar located right across from the convention center) — thanks to Tim Gee for the arrangements

  • Here’s who’s signed up so far
  • Click here to register
Filed under: — @ 2007-02-11 00:00:00
2007-02-08 00:00:00

Health Wonk Review #25

Health Wonk Review #25 is up at David Harlow’s Health Care Law Blog. It’s a fun review of some of this week’s best healthcare blogging.

Filed under: — @ 2007-02-08 00:00:00
2007-02-08 00:00:00

Health Wonk Review #25

Health Wonk Review #25 is up at David Harlow’s Health Care Law Blog. It’s a fun review of some of this week’s best healthcare blogging.

Filed under: — @ 2007-02-08 00:00:00
2007-02-07 00:00:00

Daylight Savings Time change this year may cause healthcare transaction hiccups

This article was initially posted at HISTalk. However, the issue is important and I’ve received good feedback on the readiness of medical devices from Tim Gee of Medical Connectivity and I wanted to share his thoughts here as well.

As we all probably know by now, this year Daylight Savings Time (DST) starts on March 11 instead of in April. Daylight-saving time has usually started on first Sunday of April and reverted to standard time on the last Sunday in October. However, due to the US Energy Policy Act of 2005, the daylight-saving schedule will be extended by a month, with the period beginning on the second Sunday in March and ending on the first Sunday in November. At first glance this is not a big deal, clocks will just move ahead by an hour three weeks earlier; however, given that most modern healthcare environments are networked and networked systems need to synchronize using price time servers we may be in for some headaches.

Some people compare this to ???Y2K??? upgrades but let???s not kid ourselves, it???s nowhere as big or as time-consuming as Y2K. That???s just FUD that consultants want to promote to get more work.

However, here are just some symptoms we will see if we???re not up to speed with the DST changes:

  • Missed meetings and appointments
  • Hospital orders not being picked up in time
  • Operating room scheduling issues
  • Billing and contract deadline issues
  • Record compliance and management problems due to time-correlation mismatch
  • Transportation of biologics blood bags, tissue, etc
  • Expiration of biologics and supplies
  • Transportation of supplies and short-lived medications
  • Security-related issues where log files need to be correlated
  • ???Smart??? medical devices which work on time-based controls (pumps, vital signs, etc)
  • I???m sure there are dozens of other symptoms that the esteemed audience of this blog will be able add (put them in comments so we can all keep an eye out for them).

Tim Gee added this specifically about medical devices:

Many medical devices create data that includes the date and time ??? diagnostic imaging modalities, 12-lead ECG carts, continuous patient monitors, just to name a few. About any device that prints a strip chart, creates an image or report will include the date and time that the data was generated. Data from devices must have the proper date and time so that patient data can be represented accurately. Data tagged with the wrong date and time could result in critical data being missed or misinterpreted, resulting in an adverse patient event.

What do you do today?

  • Make sure everybody knows the change and is looking out for issues.
  • Immediately read Windows: Preparing for daylight saving time changes in 2007. Act on it ASAP ??? especially keep in mind that unsupported systems won???t have patches from Microsoft.
  • If you have unsupported systems, check out Global DST update tool for all versions of Windows from NT4 through Server 2003 and Vista (not from Microsoft and costs $500). You can also use Unofficial DST patch for Windows 2000 (free).
  • If you are running Java, check out their article on how to upgrade.
  • If you???re running UNIX systems, run the following command to see what the following command returns: zdump -v /etc/localtime | grep 2007. If it doesn???t return the proper dates you???ll need to patch your system (contact your vendor ??? the Linux, AIX, Sun, etc patches are all ready).
  • Contact the vendors of all your medical devices and see if their devices are compliant or what patching needs to be done. Most may not be ready.
  • Contact the vendors of all your patient-related software (OR scheduling, patient scheduling, lab management, etc) to see if they???re ready.  Most should be ready ??? especially if they get their times andDST rules from the operating system.
  • Contact the vendors of your billing systems and financial systems to get their patches. Most of the big names already have patches ready.
  • Tim Gee also added:

    The more sophisticated systems already sync to a time server on the hospital???s network. The challenge for hospitals will be to identify the devices that are not automatically time synched, and ensure that they are updated (and configured) to support the daylight savings changes or manually reset when daylight savings occurs. Biomedical engineering may already have a list of effected or vulnerable devices, and in any event they are the best source for identifying and tracking vulnerable systems will be your biomeds.

    If you???ve already called device vendors, software vendors, consultants, etc please share your thoughts as comments here (or send me an email and I will summarize it into another blog posting).

    Filed under: — @ 2007-02-07 00:00:00
    2007-02-07 00:00:00

    Daylight Savings Time change this year may cause healthcare transaction hiccups

    This article was initially posted at HISTalk. However, the issue is important and I’ve received good feedback on the readiness of medical devices from Tim Gee of Medical Connectivity and I wanted to share his thoughts here as well.

    As we all probably know by now, this year Daylight Savings Time (DST) starts on March 11 instead of in April. Daylight-saving time has usually started on first Sunday of April and reverted to standard time on the last Sunday in October. However, due to the US Energy Policy Act of 2005, the daylight-saving schedule will be extended by a month, with the period beginning on the second Sunday in March and ending on the first Sunday in November. At first glance this is not a big deal, clocks will just move ahead by an hour three weeks earlier; however, given that most modern healthcare environments are networked and networked systems need to synchronize using price time servers we may be in for some headaches.

    Some people compare this to ???Y2K??? upgrades but let???s not kid ourselves, it???s nowhere as big or as time-consuming as Y2K. That???s just FUD that consultants want to promote to get more work.

    However, here are just some symptoms we will see if we???re not up to speed with the DST changes:

    • Missed meetings and appointments
    • Hospital orders not being picked up in time
    • Operating room scheduling issues
    • Billing and contract deadline issues
    • Record compliance and management problems due to time-correlation mismatch
    • Transportation of biologics blood bags, tissue, etc
    • Expiration of biologics and supplies
    • Transportation of supplies and short-lived medications
    • Security-related issues where log files need to be correlated
    • ???Smart??? medical devices which work on time-based controls (pumps, vital signs, etc)
    • I???m sure there are dozens of other symptoms that the esteemed audience of this blog will be able add (put them in comments so we can all keep an eye out for them).

    Tim Gee added this specifically about medical devices:

    Many medical devices create data that includes the date and time ??? diagnostic imaging modalities, 12-lead ECG carts, continuous patient monitors, just to name a few. About any device that prints a strip chart, creates an image or report will include the date and time that the data was generated. Data from devices must have the proper date and time so that patient data can be represented accurately. Data tagged with the wrong date and time could result in critical data being missed or misinterpreted, resulting in an adverse patient event.

    What do you do today?

  • Make sure everybody knows the change and is looking out for issues.
  • Immediately read Windows: Preparing for daylight saving time changes in 2007. Act on it ASAP ??? especially keep in mind that unsupported systems won???t have patches from Microsoft.
  • If you have unsupported systems, check out Global DST update tool for all versions of Windows from NT4 through Server 2003 and Vista (not from Microsoft and costs $500). You can also use Unofficial DST patch for Windows 2000 (free).
  • If you are running Java, check out their article on how to upgrade.
  • If you???re running UNIX systems, run the following command to see what the following command returns: zdump -v /etc/localtime | grep 2007. If it doesn???t return the proper dates you???ll need to patch your system (contact your vendor ??? the Linux, AIX, Sun, etc patches are all ready).
  • Contact the vendors of all your medical devices and see if their devices are compliant or what patching needs to be done. Most may not be ready.
  • Contact the vendors of all your patient-related software (OR scheduling, patient scheduling, lab management, etc) to see if they???re ready.  Most should be ready ??? especially if they get their times andDST rules from the operating system.
  • Contact the vendors of your billing systems and financial systems to get their patches. Most of the big names already have patches ready.
  • Tim Gee also added:

    The more sophisticated systems already sync to a time server on the hospital???s network. The challenge for hospitals will be to identify the devices that are not automatically time synched, and ensure that they are updated (and configured) to support the daylight savings changes or manually reset when daylight savings occurs. Biomedical engineering may already have a list of effected or vulnerable devices, and in any event they are the best source for identifying and tracking vulnerable systems will be your biomeds.

    If you???ve already called device vendors, software vendors, consultants, etc please share your thoughts as comments here (or send me an email and I will summarize it into another blog posting).

    Filed under: — @ 2007-02-07 00:00:00
    2007-02-05 00:00:00

    2nd Annual HIMSS Blogger Meetup taking shape

    We’ve got about 20 people signed up for the New Orleans meetup (click here to register or here to see who’s signed up so far). Looks like based on all the current feedback, Sunday night before the conference starts looks like the best time. Neil and Tim are helping to come with a venue and I’ll be tracking down last year’s attendees to see if they’re interested in dropping by. Here are some other HIMSS Blogger ideas we’ve come up with:

    • Create a professional button or label that can be attached to our badges or shirts that say “Blogger”. It would be great to identify ourselves as bloggers when we visit with vendors or meet with people so that they can share story ideas with us.
    • Setup a “Blogger Pitch” session for vendors who’d like to pitch us their products. The idea would be to get a room or something at the conference and setup a time (1 or 2 hours) where any vendors that want to reach out to us can do so in one place. We could blog live from the session, do podcasts, etc.
    • Have a quick session where only bloggers would meet with each other to suggest how to improve traffic, pitch each other story ideas, etc. I’ve gotten so much from my fellow bloggers that I’d like to give back and would hope some of us old time bloggers can help some of the newcomers.

    If you’ve got any other ideas or think the ones listed above are useful, please share by commenting here. If you’re a blogger, please blog about the meetup and link here as soon as you can (if you don’t mind) — we really need to get everyone signed up so that we can be sure we choose the right venue (one that’s big enough to host and feed us). Last year’s event got really great interest and the venue got a bit small (which is a good problem to have, of course).

    Filed under: — @ 2007-02-05 00:00:00
    2007-02-05 00:00:00

    2nd Annual HIMSS Blogger Meetup taking shape

    We’ve got about 20 people signed up for the New Orleans meetup (click here to register or here to see who’s signed up so far). Looks like based on all the current feedback, Sunday night before the conference starts looks like the best time. Neil and Tim are helping to come with a venue and I’ll be tracking down last year’s attendees to see if they’re interested in dropping by. Here are some other HIMSS Blogger ideas we’ve come up with:

    • Create a professional button or label that can be attached to our badges or shirts that say “Blogger”. It would be great to identify ourselves as bloggers when we visit with vendors or meet with people so that they can share story ideas with us.
    • Setup a “Blogger Pitch” session for vendors who’d like to pitch us their products. The idea would be to get a room or something at the conference and setup a time (1 or 2 hours) where any vendors that want to reach out to us can do so in one place. We could blog live from the session, do podcasts, etc.
    • Have a quick session where only bloggers would meet with each other to suggest how to improve traffic, pitch each other story ideas, etc. I’ve gotten so much from my fellow bloggers that I’d like to give back and would hope some of us old time bloggers can help some of the newcomers.

    If you’ve got any other ideas or think the ones listed above are useful, please share by commenting here. If you’re a blogger, please blog about the meetup and link here as soon as you can (if you don’t mind) — we really need to get everyone signed up so that we can be sure we choose the right venue (one that’s big enough to host and feed us). Last year’s event got really great interest and the venue got a bit small (which is a good problem to have, of course).

    Filed under: — @ 2007-02-05 00:00:00
    2007-02-04 00:00:00

    My thoughts on AHIMA’s new Healthcare Privacy, Security certification

    Jennifer Lubell at Modern Healthcare Online recently posted her nice article on AHIMA’s new privacy and security certification. She writes:

    In April, the American Health Information Management Association will offer a new certification aimed at credentialing the healthcare privacy and security industry.

    AHIMA essentially combined its Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Certified in Healthcare Security certifications, said a spokeswoman for the organization. The certification aims to reflect advanced competency in designing, implementing and administering comprehensive privacy and security protection programs in all types of healthcare environments and settings.

    Since I work on security and privacy issues (like SSO, data privacy, etc) routinely she asked me about my thoughts on the new program and whether it might actually help reduce fraud and abuse so here’s how I feel about the new certification (some of this is quoted in the article).

    First, there is certainly value in the certification in that it establishes a base level of knowledge that sets the “minimum bar” for proficiency. It won’t mean that the person with the certification is truly competent but it’s certainly better than not having the certification at all. I say truly competent versus knowledgeable because I believe true competence comes through real experience, something with certification can’t really test or prove.

    I think people will sign up for it because consultants and potential employees who need it to get a job will see the value. If a person has significant experience and a good pipeline of work already they probably won’t sign up. However, if a person can’t get a job without the certification (because it’s a minimum requirement for a job), they will go for it.

    I do not believe it will actually reduce fraud and abuse, though. Fraud and abuse are usually criminal activities and having more professionals who understand it won’t reduce it in the same way that having more police officers doesn’t always mean less crime. Along with better “policing” (presumably by better trained personnel) the better way to catch fraud is to put in electronic surveillance (like we do in banking and finance). While I don’t think the certification will actually reduce fraud and abuse I do believe that if a company wants to limit their fraud and abuse and wants to know whether someone is qualified to help, the certification may be helpful to weed out unqualified personnel.

    Filed under: — @ 2007-02-04 00:00:00
    2007-02-04 00:00:00

    My thoughts on AHIMA’s new Healthcare Privacy, Security certification

    Jennifer Lubell at Modern Healthcare Online recently posted her nice article on AHIMA’s new privacy and security certification. She writes:

    In April, the American Health Information Management Association will offer a new certification aimed at credentialing the healthcare privacy and security industry.

    AHIMA essentially combined its Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Certified in Healthcare Security certifications, said a spokeswoman for the organization. The certification aims to reflect advanced competency in designing, implementing and administering comprehensive privacy and security protection programs in all types of healthcare environments and settings.

    Since I work on security and privacy issues (like SSO, data privacy, etc) routinely she asked me about my thoughts on the new program and whether it might actually help reduce fraud and abuse so here’s how I feel about the new certification (some of this is quoted in the article).

    First, there is certainly value in the certification in that it establishes a base level of knowledge that sets the “minimum bar” for proficiency. It won’t mean that the person with the certification is truly competent but it’s certainly better than not having the certification at all. I say truly competent versus knowledgeable because I believe true competence comes through real experience, something with certification can’t really test or prove.

    I think people will sign up for it because consultants and potential employees who need it to get a job will see the value. If a person has significant experience and a good pipeline of work already they probably won’t sign up. However, if a personcan’t get a job without the certification (because it’s a minimum requirement for a job), they will go for it.

    I do not believe it will actually reduce fraud and abuse, though. Fraud and abuse are usually criminal activities and having more professionals who understand it won’t reduce it in the same way that having more police officers doesn’t always mean less crime. Along with better “policing” (presumably by better trained personnel) the better way to catch fraud is to put in electronic surveillance (like we do in banking and finance). While I don’t think the certification will actually reduce fraud and abuse I do believe that if a company wants to limit their fraud and abuse and wants to know whether someone is qualified to help, the certification may be helpful to weed out unqualified personnel.

    Filed under: — @ 2007-02-04 00:00:00
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