Monthly Archives: September 2011

What if the question is “What SHOULD I do” rather than “What COULD I do?”

Since it’s signing in February of 2009, the HITECH Act has made providers and hospitals deal with the question of “What Could I Do” with respect to demonstrating Meaningful Use (MU). That is, what systems do we have in place, what systems do we need to acquire/upgrade in preparation, etc. to demonstrate MU? The clock started ticking when Stage 1 objectives were published in the Federal Register, and the clock has been ticking ever since.

But what if you are a provider or hospital living in the rarefied air of asking the question of “What Should I Do?” That is, if you have the infrastructure, systems AND adoption in place and have already collected the necessary 90-days worth of data to successfully attest – SHOULD you go ahead and do so by November 30th (the deadline to attest in Federal Fiscal Year 2011)?

Today’s post by Joseph Conn of Modern Healthcare entitled EHR Early Birds May or May Not Get the Worm essentially points out this question facing certain hospitals as we near the end of FFY 2011. Conn references The Advisory Board Company’s Protima Advani who recommended delaying Stage 1 attestation until FFY 2012.  Advani and Conn nicely described the potential disadvantages of early adoption created by the ONC’s Stage 2 Final Rule timeline – currently anticipated in the summer of 2012 – so I won’t repeat them here.

I agree with Advani, who holds to her original recommendation to sit and wait. Although the HIT Policy Committee has recommended that ONC delay Stage 2 for early attesters (those submitting in FFY 2011), ONC has yet to officially accept this recommendation and change the timeline.

Bottom line, if you are still planning, selecting or implementing HIT, then by all means don’t slow down as you likely still have lots to do. If, however, you have collected the 90-days of MU data and are just waiting to submit, you might as well wait until ONC officially delays Stage 2 or until Nov 30th to make your decision, whichever comes first.

Marketing the Benefits of The Cloud

By now you’d be hard-pressed to work in high-tech and not have read an article or two (or ten) on Cloud Computing.  But how much of The Cloud is just hype and how much are businesses moving to it?  I found this really interesting infographic on the benefits of Cloud Computing for small business (SMB).

Benefits of Cloud Computing
Via: NovelASPect

One of the most interesting things to me is that security of The Cloud is listed as both a benefit and a reason SMBs have not yet moved to The Cloud.  This is certainly true in healthcare where hospitals and physicians must be concerned with HIPAA compliance and protecting PHI.

One of the best analogies I’ve heard on this came courtesy of my wife (who knows much more on this topic than do I).  People feel that driving a car is safer than flying primarily because they are in control of the car – this despite the fact that statistics show otherwise – flying is in fact safer.  Similarly, if they are not directly responsible for their IT infrastructure, they perceive decreased security.  But Cloud vendors are focused on data protection and security – often more so than companies hosting and supporting their own applications and databases.

So how should vendors market Cloud Computing given the above benefits and concerns?  Vendors often fall into a comfortable pattern of touting the cost-saving benefits of The Cloud alone.  This would not only ignore the many other benefits, it would also presume cost is a customer/prospect’s primary need when if fact they may be more focused on agility, performance or some other benefit.  I like the pragmatic approach that Ken Ostreich espouses – one that is focused on matching customer needs with a vendor’s solutions.

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