Allscripts attempts at doing Viral Video

I don’t normally respond to the many requests from PR companies that come to me looking for coverage on this blog.

In my experience, they still have a lot to learn when engaging with bloggers in general – I agree with most of Damiens bullet points on pimping stuff.

So this Youtube short from AllScripts breaks the mold just a little bit. As someone who has professionally created this type of material – my comments relate to the medium rather than the message.

  • an intriguing opening, a flaccid middle part and a strong ending.
  • at just over 5 minutes it’s too long; between 2-3 minutes would have been much better, particularly with the strong messages at either end.
  • with reference to the middle bits that flagged, the imagery was just overused; yes, i did like that that zooming in on the screencast, but half the time spent would have been enough. likewise with the medical records library shots.
  • I didn’t see any "patients" – and maybe that’s the difference between the Irish Health System and the US Model; all of those empty clinic seats freaked me out a bit!

Overall though – nice try.

Healthcare ICT Supplement in Sunday Business Post

Last year, I wrote a short post suggesting the Irish Healthcare system needed some positive stories surrounding the use of ICT. So it was with interest that I read through most of the articles in the Sunday Business Post  Healthcare ICT supplement last night.

It was good to see issues such as PPARS being discussed and dealt with head-on. The continuing impact of this project still reverbarates, and explains in part the 10 pages or so given to the Control and Sanction of HSE ICT Expenditure in the Comptroller and Auditor General Report for 2006.

Some good case studies were given on continuing work in the Mater and St James, and stalwart local  Irish companies  such as DMF Systems, Health One and dabl also had feature pieces.

On a personal note, it was also good to see that GP Messaging (which I project managed for a good number of years when it was a key project in HeBE) was singled out for praise by the HSE Director of ICT.

Critical condition for Irish healthcare?

This was the title of a recent piece from talking about current technology and IT usage in the Irish Healthcare system. It notes that during the recent General Election in this country, there were occasional thinly veiled references to "value for money" from public sector projects.

Whatever you can say about the opposition parties during the campaign, I wouldn’t agree that their references to these projects, and specifically PPARS, were thinly veiled – quite the opposite actually in that they were gunning for it for a long time before and during the campaign.

As the writer correctly highlights though – elections are all about simple messages; in this case more beds, more frontline staff…and feck the technology.

The mantra for IT in healthcare has not changed, and it is very simple – it "is a drive to remove or reduce paper from the workings of healthcare."

Unfortunately, this would have been the mantra from the business community 10+ years ago. They have since moved on to improving/redesigning processes and creating new business opportunities.

Health has a lot of catching up to do.

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Cult of the Amateur and Medicine…oops.

I can almost hear the howls of protest as the Irish Blogging community, if they did by chance hear the interview this morning with Andrew Keen, author of Cult of the Amateur; maybe not as loud as the howls from the Irish Medical community however. A medical student texting in to the programme claimed that over half of their class used Wikipedia as medical reference.

I’m really surprised that Ryan Turbridy would find this interesting – after all, he is a noted blogging and technology fan …8)


Irish Minister diagnosed with a tumour on live TV by surgeon watching programme

A very interesting case. Irish Junior Minister Conor Lenihan was remotely diagnosed as he appeared on the Irish current affairs programme Prime Time in late December, while discussing the legacy of Charles Haughey.

According to the interview he gave yesterday to Morning Ireland, a Consultant Surgeon (who wished to remain anonymous) rang the show asked to speak to the Minister, advising him to seek advice.

Sure enough, a tumour was removed in early January. In the audio interview, he mentions how though non-malignant, the early intervention ensured that nerves along the jaw-line were not damaged – potentially this could have led to a palsy on the left side of his face.

The actual progamme that spurred the diagnosis is here (about 4mins 50 seconds in)

This type of story makes me feel good.

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Medicom merge with Systems Solutions

From the Medicom press release

The newly-formed company aims to provide support both to and between
the primary care, secondary care and pharmacy sectors in a fully
integrated manner in the months and years ahead.The merging of these
two entities will allow for increased synergies between pharmacies and
primary care professionals which will bring time and cost benefits in
addition to benefits for patients.

IMT have interview with Howard Beggs here, the piece below is extracted from this and throws light on the 2004 takeover of the Quantum – developers of GP Clinical.

“Back in 2004,” he said, “the then owners of
GP Clinical decided the business was no longer profitable and went
about selling their business. We were one of a number of companies to
be offered the business for sale. The GPs using the GP Clinical
software were right to express frustration with the fact that the
company they had invested time and money in had been sold off, but we
were surprised to receive the brunt of that frustration. It was
perceived that the acquisition was a predatory move when, in fact, it
was quite the opposite. We simply took over the management and support
of the customer base in the hope and anticipation that the majority
would ultimately migrate to our mainstream products.”

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Patients and their search for online health answers

Steve Rubel highlighted an interesting health related item a couple of weeks back.

Pew Internet and American Life project released a study on how people search for health information online – one of the main points being raised was the fact that most people do not check the veracity/context of the results.

According to Rubel,

Clearly, people are turning to search for health information, ignoring
the source and then going online to find peers for further reassurance.
This represents a huge fundamental shift in healthcare. No longer do
the health professionals hold all the cards. The patient is empowered
with information that may very often be inaccurate, and they are basing
at least some of their decisions on it.

Irish Radio Station TodayFM had a brief interview with an Irish General Practitioner on the subject on friday evening last (Ronan Boland of He pointed out that that patients getting information online is nothing new, but of course was in no way a replacement for a consultation and diagnosis with a medical professional.

My first experience of this was in 1995, when hospital doctors were beginning to relate stories of  patients self-diagnosing and in some cases, pointing  medics to online resources. There has been much anecdotal evidence since, especially with rarer conditions, that patients are often very well-informed; the web has enabled research beyond the medical libraries and textbooks.

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Rate My GP

It seems like no profession can now escape the review of the population at large. got some profile last week, including radio interviews on saturday morning from the very media-shy Gerald Kean.

One can assume then that a similar rating system for the medical community cannot be far behind. A quick check for the domain shows that it has been taken by an IT consultancy – School & Office Support, based in Letterfrack.

More interestingly, the domain was snapped up by Cork-based GP, Dr Diarmuid Mulcahy (back in December ’05). According to a piece in the Irish Medical News, Mulcahy comments that such a site would be

"for both the benefit of the
profession as well as the patient, and would be fair and balanced. I
was very taken with the ratemyteachers site and felt the comments on it
were balanced. I don’t think doctors have anything to be scared of by
having a medical equivalent.."

Personally, I’m not so sure if we can equate the legal and medical professions in this context. My own perception would be that you build a relationship with your GP, and this relationship can last a lifetime. Legal advice on the other hand, for the vast majority of people – is pretty infrequent – and based on very little personal interaction.

However, I might suggest that this may be more similar to the way interaction between senior medical staff and patients occurs in a hospital environment?

This could get interesting…..

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Cisco Health Robot shown off to Tony Blair

One normally sees BBC’s political correspondent Nick Robinson against a backdrop of the black door at 10 Downing Street. Last week, when I saw a quick glimpse of him doing a report from Silicon Valley, I was wondering why? It seems that Tony Blair has been rubbing shoulders with Cisco, Apple and Google; but especially with Cisco;

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