Friday, December 29, 2006

Good Bye to 2006

Year 2006 entertained new developments in medical social blog networks. This has provided new and "out of the box" resources for communication and discourse amongst diverse and at times historically adversarial components of our "health system". Consumer driven advocacy and health savings accounts have been introduced with varying results. Whether any or all of this will lead to reduced costs is very open to question, but it will certainly provide new resources for providers, payors, and patients as consumers to plan future developments.

RHIOs are experiencing serious difficuties in funding, and EMR promulgation although highly touted is also lagging due to financial constraints upon providers. CMS reimbursement cutbacks have also affected EMR acquisition by practices.

As a coordinator for a RHIO 2006 has been a year of quiet observation and study.

Personal health records will be supported by payors and employers. Whether they will be universal and/or interoperable remains to be seen. To be truly effective PHRs should be exportable or importable to any EMR to be useful. Perhaps employers will be enticed to provide the hardware as an employee benefit. (actually quite inexpensive at about 20 dollars for a usb flash drive, which is ubiquitous. I don't see a need to develop a new smart card or readers when everyone carries around a key chain and the device can be encrypted with u3 technology.

Many projects which have been mandated for health care have been sidelined due to the war on "terror". Personally my "terror" is the aspects of accessing health care and maintaining health insurance.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2007.

Gary Levin MD
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