We recently interviewed Michael Dowling, President and Chief Executive Officer of North Shore-LIJ Health System.  Based in Great Neck, NY with facilities across the New York City region, North Shore-LIJ is the nation’s third largest non-profit secular healthcare system with 14 hospitals and 9,000 physicians. The health system is a winner of the National Quality Forum’s National Quality Healthcare Award. Dowling, a long-time advocate of healthcare information technology, was the 2011 HIMSS/Modern Healthcare CEO IT Leader of the Year.  Here are a few quick highlights from the interview.  To hear the entire podcast, please click on the link at the bottom of this post. What is the biggest challenge facing healthcare leaders today? “I think it’s the necessity to completely transform how we do business. The future is going to require a lot more accountability, both to the public and to the actual […]

Kenosha Medical Center, United Hospital System

As CMIO of United Hospital System in Wisconsin, I try to make it easy for our physicians to get the information they need to make the best clinical decision. Recently we deployed a Medical Logic Module (MLM) for all 40 of our employed physicians so they can do just that.  Using the MLM, they can view, with one click in their Sunrise Ambulatory EHR, everything they need to manage a patient with chronic disease – and they can do it in less time, with improved accuracy and better outcomes. Before I go on, though, a little history might be in order.  If you’re not familiar with MLMs, you should be.  An MLM is a bit of computer wizardry that’s designed to find all the information within an EHR database pertinent to a single question and alert doctors when the right […]

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced last week that it selected 27 accountable care organizations (ACOs) to participate in its Shared Savings Program, which rewards organizations for meeting quality benchmarks and reducing costs.  The announcement followed the earlier selection of 32 Pioneer Model ACOs and six Physician Group Practice Transition Demonstration organizations.  Altogether, CMS says more than 1.1 million patients receive care from providers participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives. Yet the nation’s biggest commercial ACO isn’t on the CMS list. AdvocateCare, an ACO with 350,000 covered lives and 3,900 participating physicians, is the largest of a growing number of private ACOs across the US.  Launched in late 2010, the ACO is a joint venture between Advocate Health Care, a $4.5 billion IDN based in Chicago, and BCBS of Illinois. Building on Advocate’s 8-year-old clinical integration program, the […]

Usability is the key to getting physicians to adopt voice recognition technology with an EHR.  That’s the conclusion of Mary Griskewicz of HIMSS, according to a story in today’s USA Today. The newspaper noted that the University of California-Irvine Medical Center, among others, is testing the technology for use with their inpatient (Sunrise) EHR, initially on desktop and later on iPad.  Meanwhile, many physician practices are already using voice recognition for dictation and to accomplish everyday tasks like prescribing medications. Stanley Crane, Allscripts Chief Innovation Officer, calls the confluence of iPad and voice recognition “a marriage made in heaven.” Voice recognition not only is an easy way to get information into the EHR but it lets doctors take more complete notes for themselves and for the next doctor who picks up the case. Crane, who was interviewed by USA Today for technical background […]

Today’s Forbes.com features the latest guest column by Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman: “Face Time MD: How Consumer Tech Can Deliver Care That’s Better, Faster, Cheaper.”  Glen looks into the future by describing existing innovations that are already making a difference.  Like live consults with your physician on the iPhone . . . using Xbox Kinect to monitor compliance with physical therapy . . . and devices that let heart patients, diabetic patients and their doctors monitor vitals in real-time, all linked to the Electronic Health Record.   “Now, with a bit of innovation, and an open approach to both how we care for patients and the systems we use, we can put them together and create the future—a better future not just for health care but for health, which is what we really want anyway,” Glen writes. Speaking of which, if you missed last week’s announcement you […]

Recruitment is at or near the top of every CIO’s list of headaches. The demand for trained informaticists far exceeds the supply.  Moreover, it’s expensive to recruit and relocate people from outside organizations, especially when there’s no guarantee they’ll work out.  The video above captures an innovative solution by UC Irvine Healthcare, a major academic medical center in the Los Angeles area that has been ranked among the nation’s top hospitals for 11 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report.  Rather than recruit for open positions, UCI’s IT leaders decided to look inward — to the nurses who are the biggest users of the most strategic and important applications in a health system.  “We decided that, rather than trying to recruit and bring people in and not meeting our staffing requirements, to go out to our nursing population at large within UCI and grab […]


Good News Makes Bad Headlines

Sarasota ECCentrance

Sometimes it seems as if the only news you read about computerizing healthcare is bad news.  Errors, alert fatigue, unintended consequences . . . it’s almost as if people enjoy hearing what’s not working  and can’t wait for the next installment.  Meanwhile, healthcare organizations that have invested in high-performance Electronic Health Records (EHR) and other advanced IT systems continue, often without fanfare, to make major advances in patient safety, quality of care, cost-effectiveness and efficiency.  One such organization is Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, an 806-bed regional medical center on Florida’s Gulf Coast.  Literature and industry experts such as the Institute of Medicine (IOM) have described the risks associated with patients who, as their condition worsens, remain unnoticed, and therefore un-rescued.  Patients who “crash” are among the most costly to care for.  Sepsis alone costs the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $17 billion a year, […]


Starting Over: An Innovator’s Dream

I’ve been in software for more than three decades, and I know from personal experience that you only get to truly start over about every 10 years. The rest of the time you have to start with the current product.  Think about the transition from DOS to Windows or from MacOS to OSX – those new UI breakthroughs and new ways of talking to the computer happen rarely. Great products (and great breakthroughs) happen when companies don’t just “convert” to a new platform, but instead they reconsider, “What is the user trying to do? How can we help them do it easier?” We’re in the midst of the next grand transition – to keyboard-free tablets like iPad. This transition gave us the chance to start over, and you can see the results in Allscripts Wand™, a new, intuitive iPad application […]


With healthcare moving inevitably from volume to value, the industry’s lowest-cost setting — homecare and hospice — will become more important than ever. To find out why, listen to this 2011 podcast from Dottie Doremo, CEO of Hospice of Michigan, the largest statewide, non-profit, end-of-life care provider in the nation. Doremo, the former Chief Nursing Officer of Henry Ford Health System and a true industry visionary, had this to say about the current healthcare transformation:   “In the ‘80s there was really a cataclysmic transformation from the fee-for-service system that existed since the beginning of Medicare. But the kind of multidimensional change that is occurring now with healthcare reform and the rapid influx of technology is exponentially greater. Fortunately, we have been preparing for this since about 2004 when we foresaw that we’d face greater need with fewer professional caregivers.”