Strategic Informatics

A blog about the strategic application of technology


2014 Consumer Electronics Show

While I can’t attend CES 2014 myself this year the blogosphere is awash with updates of the new and innovative consumer electronics on display in Vegas this year.  I’m fortunate to have colleagues there who are live sharing some amazing pictures and video’s from the floor so I thought I would share…


I anticipated a huge uptick in the number of health conscious iDevices….  but CES appears to be overflowing with new “wearable” devices that track every aspect of your daily life.  Hope their security is good so no-one knows when you go out of town or out for a long run and decide to steal your 105 inch curved OLED 5k display?  (see below)



Just when you thought you had 4k televisions understood manufacturers start promoting a wider aspect ratios like 21:9 and add another 1k pixels to the screen and create 5k Televisions…  Television is such a dated term…  Why don’t we call them retina-searing monstrosities…  I can totally justify one of these in a network operations center… and by corporate network operations center I mean my living room…but really!?!

Head over to Engadget for the play-by-play or GeekBeat.TV 


Presentation on Accountable Care Organizations at the San Antonio HIMSS Chapter September Lunch & Learn


I was given the opportunity to speak at our local HIMSS Chapter September Lunch & Learn session held at Dave & Busters.   The presentation was on “The Role of Accountable Care Organizations in the Evolution of Healthcare”.  In working with our chapters Program Director we thought a broad topic that encompassed many aspects of healthcare delivery would be a great way to kick-off our foundation series and serve to lay an educational foundation for our chapter members.

 We plan on offering this presentation and that of our other speakers on our website ( soon so stay tuned.  If you weren’t able to attend you can grab a copy of my presentation by clicking here.  I discussed a variety of topics specific to ACO’s including recent healthcare reform models, ACO formation,  care model and medical management capabilities and their impact on Healthcare IT (HIT).

It is clear to me our membership is interested in the impact of healthcare reform given the questions and interest after my presentation.  This is exactly the kind of dialog we wanted to create as our next several foundation series will focus on tertiary topics such as Health Information Exchanges, Medical Informatics.  Additional topics will include the EMR deployments & utilization in other countries, and military healthcare which San Antonio has a strong presence.

As always we love your feedback and I would encourage you to send us a message through the San Antonio HIMSS Chapter website (  Don’t forget to register for a future event to secure your place.





Case for Better Healthcare

IBM Case for Better Healthcare


Are Online Health Sites Turning Us Into Hypochondriacs?

Can online tools from the likes of WebMD and help you find what ails you?  I’m overstressed, overweight, losing my hearing and not sleeping enough. Even worse, I have a low IQ and my “real” age (taking into account my bad habits and so on) is 10 years older than my actual age.  ComputerWorld shows how many consumer focused websites offer online health assessment tools don’t really offer the same level of diagnosis that can be obtained by an actual office visit.  I can recall when we deployed as a consumer portal for health information we were very much a content focused company that offered online tools to help manage specific aspects of a disease but we did not attempt to diagnose health related problems.  In the online world where instant gratification and information is available at the click of a mouse I think consumer focused health care portals today should tread lightly when offering such online ailment tools as most today are not inclusive of the patient history and can’t zero in on the more critical aspects of a patients complaint.   At Northwestern my informatics professor called this the hand on the door diagnosis or the “oh, by the way” portion of the clinical assesement.  What the patient “feels” may be a problem and what the physician “knows” is a problem are two totally different things.  Will this prevent patients from using these tools?  No, but consumers should be made aware of the caveots for using such tools online and at the very least should stick to reputable sites for their health information.

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Semiconductor Tech Diagnoses Eye Disease Over the Internet

An imaging analysis technique developed to find defects in semiconductors is being used to diagnose the eye problems associated with diabetes over the internet. Pictures of a diabetic patients’ retina, the inner surface of the eye, are uploaded to a server that compares them to a database of thousands of other images of healthy and diseased eyes.

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Doctors will make Web calls in Hawaii

Patients use the service by logging on to participating health plans’ Web sites. Doctors hold 10-minute appointments, which can be extended for a fee, and can file prescriptions and view patients’ medical histories through the system. American Well is working with HealthVault, Microsoft’s electronic medical-records service, and ActiveHealth Management, a subsidiary of Aetna, which scans patients’ medical history for gaps in their previous care and alerts doctors during their American Well appointment. The Hawaiian health plan’s 700,000 members pay $10 to use the service. The insurer also offers the service to uninsured patients for $45. Health plans pay American Well a license fee per member and a transaction fee of about $2 each time a patient sees a doctor.

>> CNET News


Health Monitoring Solutions for Patients

Dr. Touch will soothe your HMO pains

Intel Health PHS5000 is not the first implementation of an in-house health monitor but if I were to judge by the looks of the User Interface I would say this device may have some promise for monitoring one’s health at home so long as you stay home most of the time. Currently being trialed in Asia this device will monitor and check for problems related to chronic diseases, diabetes, blood pressure, etc… Assuming that smiley faces are good and you know what the resulting charts mean in terms of your physicians plan for you I think this might prove useful in visualizing a patients health.

While I agree that devices like this are useful they do not address the primary issue of not being with the patient all of the time. I think devices such as the iPhone will prove far more useful in terms of being an enabler to patients to monitor their health. Its interface is more in tune with providing easy input and quickly being able to enter data, send progress updates to a personal health record, and of course contacting your physician office by phone if necessary.

iPhone Keyboard Typing Email

A mobile iPhone solution can easily offer patients:

  • Reminders and Alerts to take medication or perform blood-checks
  • Secure connections with PCP’s can enable physicians access to real-time data
  • Mobility will not confine you to your home but rather be in your pocket ready to go
  • Software updates via the App Store will also provide easy updates as necessary


Teens to take embarrassing ailments to Second Life doctors

Spanish health authorities launched a virtual portal through Second Life designed to help young people too embarrassed to speak to a doctor about sexually transmitted disease or a drug problem. “This idea started as a way to connect real health professionals and adolescents and to give internet users a reliable space to get health advice.”  If you can’t get the patients to come to you then you go to where the patients are, and with the wild popularity of online communities such as Second Life this is another way for physicians to reach out to the community, especially for embarrassing conditions.  I’ve seen similar research work done with an academic medical center client of mine where patients would answer a series of direct clinical questions delivered by an animated bird at a free-standing kiosk with much more candor than patients who were being evaluated as part of a nurses or physicians initial assessment.  read more

Another Second Life location I found online was HealthInfo Island offering a similar social location within Second Life to communicate and share information.


Emergency Room Stroke Exam with a Webcam

Telemedicine is starting to make inroads into more rural hospitals.  If a stroke specialist can see and hear their patient, zoom in on their pupils and facial muscles, and ask them questions, they are far more likely to offer the right advice. In fact, experts who examined patients with the web cam made the right decision 98 percent of the time, compared to 82 percent when they simply talked to the emergency room doctor.

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