Health IT Links and Notes: 2012-12-31

Here are my favorite links from the Health IT and general IT sector today. Follow me on Twitter to get most of these links real-time, albeit with less commentary.

OCHIN awarded federal grant to help community health centers with HIT
OCHIN has scored a 3-year $775,000 annual grant to provide services to client clinics dealing with PCMH, MU, EHR implementations and so forth. Good for them. But I wonder whether the client clinics might be better off struggling with some or all of these issues directly. After all, they’ll have to change their cultures to really develop a viable PCMH program, and you can’t buy culture. Furthermore, if you think Health IT changes are going to stop after PCMH and MU, you’re dreaming. Plan to hire IT capacity in-house if you can, because you have got to have internal change and technical capacity.

Vampire data and 3 other cyber security threats for 2013
I’m always a little suspicious of a security services vendor trumpeting all the threats that will destroy your business if you don’t hire someone like them. But in truth the threats are real — it’s just a question of how much risk you’re really facing in your situation. Still, the threats and issues to consider here include:

  • Watch out for risks posed by data you aren’t aware of or can’t easily monitor or control (what they’re calling “vampire data”), including cloud-hosted stuff or old data stores you’ve forgotten about
  • If you don’t already have lawyers and others on retainer to help you in a breach situation, you really should because you don’t want to be scrambling to hire them after a breach
  • You really need to be logging stuff and reviewing the logs, folks (easier said than done)
  • Hackers are as much about disrupting your business as stealing your data these days
  • Just start publishing your breaches, even if it doesn’t involve ePHI

Analysis: Microsoft Is Squandering Its Hyper-V Opportunity
Critics love the Hyper-V included with Windows Server 2012. But it’s not taking off because of several strategic mistakes Microsoft has made and continues making. Meanwhile, VMware remains king of virtualization for most businesses.

How to Say ‘Yes’ to BYOD
Saying “no way in hell” to smartphones, tablets and other employee-owned gear in the enterprise strikes me as a bigger risk than saying “yes, but with controls” and this audio panel discusses how you can say yes and feel good about it. About 15 minutes long.

How MiGym plans to quantify the health club workout
Finally. Pretty soon you’ll be able to take your smartphone to the gym and capture workout data from the machines already there, then sling that data into an online PHR (like Microsoft’s almost-forgotten HealthVault). My own thinking is that there’s a future for CHCs in the health club space. I mean what are we doing, disease management or health promotion? Keep an eye on gyms, health data devices (the “quantified self” movement), PHRs, and developments in payer preferences for preventive care with results.

ICYMI: Google’s 2012 year-in-review videos

As a Google Apps administrator and user (I converted our health center to Google Apps early in 2012 and have converted other nonprofits in the past) and an enthusiastic user of many Google services, I appreciate them putting together this pair of year-end videos as just a little memento of what we’re leaving behind in 2012.

The first video is serious, covering major news and cultural events of the last year. Notably absent from the video is any reference to the Newtown massacre, because the video was compiled too early.

The second is hilarious, gathering major YouTube stars to do humorous covers of the two big ear worm musical numbers of 2012: “Gangnam Style” and “Call Me Maybe” with copious references to major videos from the year.

See ya later, 2012.

Tip: Get your CHC data/voice circuits prioritized for repair in a disaster

I got a fantastic tip from Jason Pomaski at the NACHC conference in Las Vegas back in November. He’s the AVP for Technology at Community Healthcare Network in New York, and he and his team survived the onslaught of Superstorm Sandy not long ago.

One of the things that helped them recover rapidly was registering their voice and data circuits with their telco providers as being high-priority circuits for public health. This is a program run by the Department of Homeland Security, as described here:

Telecommunications Service Priority (TSP)

I haven’t done this myself yet, and being from Alaska, this program may not be available to me because my local telcos may not participate. But you can bet I’m going to dig into this in 2013. We have earthquakes, volcanic fallout, high winds, and ice storms in Anchorage and getting our data circuits restored first in a disaster would allow us to get our public health services running again faster.

This can cover both wired and wireless services. Read up and see if you can get your health center registered. And if you have any experience with the program, hit me up with a comment.

Health Care and Healthcare: One gets you well, the other gets paid

It’s good to know I’m not the only one confused over the use of “healthcare” and “health care” when referring to elements in this industry. Lots of articles out there, including these, that shed light on the controversy:

The general consensus seems to be that “healthcare” is suggestive of the entire system, or the industry, and not specific acts of medical service. When the space is added between the words, it’s more personal, more medical, more health-focused.

If we agree on that, then most of the time I’ll be using “healthcare” in my writing, since I’m usually thinking and working at a systemic level — I’m not a provider. So for me…

  • I’m a “health care” consumer when I see a doctor.
  • I’m at the mercy of “healthcare” when I deal with my insurance company.
  • I’m a “healthcare” practitioner by way of technology, and hopefully my colleagues can provide better “health care” when I’ve done my job well.

Or put simply: health care gets you well, but healthcare gets paid.

Bonus Points: HIPAA
Seeing HIPAA written incorrectly is a particular pet peeve of mine, so I loved this quote from Bob Coffield at the Health Care Law Blog:

As for HIPAA — I always use whether someone spells it correctly to judge how knowledgeable they are about the subject.

Get ready for 2013. It’s time for some changes.


When I left public media I kept up this blog for a while, but naturally it’s fallen out of favor when competing for my time and attention. I’ve since moved back into the IT world, worked almost exclusively with nonprofits, and now I’m working in healthcare IT within a nonprofit. For me, this has been a great move — I like technology, I like working with nonprofits, and healthcare is a fast-moving industry. Put it all together and it keeps me busy.

But I’ve missed blogging. Even my Twitter habit has fallen by the wayside in the last couple years, especially as I worked on a massive project throughout 2012: opening a new healthcare facility with an built-from-scratch IT infrastructure.

The new facility work is wrapping up now, and while there’s always plenty to do at the office, I figure I’ve got some insights I’d like to share, and I’d like to engage in some conversations with folks out there that do the same kind of work I do every day.

So I’m coming back to blogging. It just won’t be about public media.

I thought about leaving behind and getting a new domain. Hell, I actually bought a few domain names and even set a couple up. I created new Twitter accounts, even a unique Google+ account and a Google Apps domain. But I kept coming back to my first domain, where I’ve put in so much work over the years, and I just can’t give it up. So I’m not.

Gravity Medium will remain my blogging home online, but since my focus is shifting, so will the blog. New topics will include healthcare and small business IT, nonprofit and technology management, consumerization of tech, data security, privacy, and so on — all the things I’m busy with professionally and want to share. And naturally, I’m hoping some of the folks out there doing the same work I’m doing will be interested in sharing their comments and ideas, too.

So here we go. The new year is upon us. And I’m taking this blog supernova.