Category: health

  • The Onus is on Scientists – Shame on the AAAS

    The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has just come out against California’s Proposition 37, which would mandate the labeling of genetically-modified foods. In my opinion, the AAAS has failed its duty as promoters of Good Science. The question is not whether genetically-modified foods are safe. I see the benefits, and I see […]

  • Jumpstarting Health IT innovation

    Until last month, I was lead architect on the SMART Project at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston (now I’m an advisor). One key issue that all Health IT folks grapple with is how to make the Health IT ecosystem more dynamic and innovative, because technology in that space moves so slowly. The SMART […]

  • The Health IT report is very good; some opinionated suggestions

    “Oy,” I thought, when I received a copy of “REPORT TO THE PRESIDENT REALIZING THE FULL POTENTIAL OF HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE HEALTHCARE FOR AMERICANS: THE PATH FORWARD” [PDF]. I worried this would be a lot of vague, easy-to-agree-with advice with little actionable material. I was wrong. Hats off to the team that wrote […]

  • Taxing Human Transactions – Part 1

    The worst part of my job is dealing with the mess of document formats and coding systems in healthcare. The acronym soup is insane: HL7, CCD, CCR, CDA, Green CDA (which I just heard about from John Halamka’s blog but… no link!), and that’s just the document formats. Then there are coding systems like LOINC, […]

  • The first good mainstream article on vaccines in a while

    I meant to mention this a while ago, but I keep forgetting. Amy Wallace at Wired wrote a fantastic piece on how irrational fears of vaccination are putting us all at risk. The feedback to Ms. Wallace has been enormous, and although tilted towards the positive, the negative feedback from the anti-vaccination crowd is insulting, […]

  • ITdotHealth – a new forum for Health IT discussion and a workshop next week

    Next week, I’ll be in Boston for 2 days for a workshop we’re putting together at Harvard Medical School on Health IT Platforms. We’ll be using this workshop to launch a new hub for discussion and debate around the design of a modular health IT infrastructure. Check out the new site ITdotHealth, the welcome message, […]

  • What about the less obvious errors?

    The New Scientist points out a case of genotyping error by one of the consumer genomics companies, where a software bug caused a genotype to appear non-human. The article attempts to be reassuring: Before other deCODEme customers get too irate about errors in data for which they have paid almost $1000, the bug affects only […]

  • Open Licensing in Health IT

    John Halamka, renowned CIO of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), is a blogger, and he just added a Creative Commons license after making the following remarks: I want my blog to be used for education, training, and research. I hope that its contents appear in derivative works such as other blogs, websites, and […]

  • Loosely Coupled Health IT

    My research group, Children’s Hospital Informatics Program, just released a statement of principles in designing the next generation of Health IT, and folks are picking it up. The key concept is substitutability, or what software/Internet architects have called loose coupling. The idea is to build modular rather than monolithic systems, and ensure that the modules […]

  • Empowering the Patient vs. Enabling an Artificial Monopoly

    Health Information Technology is moving along fairly quickly, with the stimulus money and the rise of Personally Controlled Health Records (Indivo/Dossia, Google Health, Microsoft HealthVault). I’m quite optimistic about the future of health data: there is a growing effort to free the data in order to empower patients. And then there are some really boneheaded […]

  • Swine Flu Source Code

    It blows my mind that, mere days after we discover this new virus, we have its source code.

  • Does CVS provide a CSV?

    Over the last two years, I’ve spent most of my time on… not elections believe it or not, but rather the personal control of health data over at Children’s Hospital, Boston, with a fantastic crew. And so now it turns out that health data is super cool, what with the Obama recovery plan and the […]