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DOCtalk with Dr. Gregg 2/29/16

February 29, 2016 News No Comments

HIT Rocks… But What Do I Know?

Do you ever catch yourself wondering about things that you once thought to be immutable truths? Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s wisdom (uh huh … right), or maybe it’s just early dementia, but the older I get the more I wonder if what I “know” is really as “known” as I think.

This seems especially true in both healthcare and HIT. Once upon a time in healthcare, eggs used to be the demon seed, coffee and wine were foul, and dietary cholesterol was a huge hazard – now all these “truths” have been disrupted and/or supplanted. In HIT, there are some pretty similar corollaries.

For instance:

“App me, baby!” – Once a great battle cry, but, as a majority of hospitals have discovered, institutionally-driven or derived apps aren’t driving much of anybody.


Patient Engagement is key – Patient engagement is a truly lovely sentiment. You’d think everyone would want this. And, for certain populations it really works. But, dagnabbit, if there just still aren’t a ton of folks out there who just don’t really want to be engaged in their own healthcare; they just want someone to fix the durn thing, whatever it is.

Interoperability will connect us all – Anybody remember when everybody was talking “interoperability?” Whatever became of that? (I know, I know …  some folks are reportedly still pushing this forward. Just seems like a dusky, faded pipe dream at times.)

Big Data will solve it all – Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems the “big data” thrust has sort of fizzled. Is it because our little brains haven’t figured out what to do with all this information overload? Or are we just preemies who have only recently emerged from our sheltered womb of small data? Perhaps we just need to await more “neuromuscular development,” so to speak, as we learn how to navigate in this brave new world outside the old, comfortable accommodation of our dear, old mother, Mrs. Pen-and-Paper.


Disruptive Innovation will change healthcare – Since Meaningful Use came (and will soon be gone), it seems that the only folks talking about disruption are at Athenahealth. But, sometimes it seems that their “More Disruption, Please!” cry is more plaintive than battle.

Best Practices are your best choice for treatment – The concept of best practices is fully valid … that is, until you get down deep into the trenches when individual, genomic, geographic, cultural, ethnic, and numerous other assorted unique variations make any sort of generalized “best practice” more of a “wouldn’t be nice if this worked here” sort of thing. True of healthcare and HIT.

Gamification will drive real patient engagement – Boy, oh, boy, seems that everybody was singing the praises of gamification at one point, including for health IT. But, the construction and deployment of such tools, in any sort of engaging and “gamingfully fun” way is not for the faint of heart … nor for most non-entertainment types such as academically- or technically-oriented folks.


Mobile Health is a game-changer – Can’t say I was ever really sure what this one meant. Isn’t all health mobile, unless of course you’re bedridden?

Wearables are the future – Maybe they are the future, but see above. Maybe this is more representative of “mobile health.” At least most of the uses for wearables in healthcare thus far involve people who are mobile in some shape or fashion. The wearables market has been reportedly been slowing down, so I wonder if this is also a still-to-be-determined space.

I still think all this HIT stuff rocks, and will rock even more as we figure out what really works from the hype and fluffernutter… but what do I know?

From the trenches…

“People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” – Isaac Asimov


“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” – Socrates

dr gregg

Dr. Gregg Alexander, a grunt in the trenches pediatrician at Madison Pediatrics, is chief medical officer for Health Nuts Media, an HIT and marketing consultant, sits on the board of directors of the Ohio Health Information Partnership, and is the semi-proud author of “Monsters Don’t Fart!


JenniferMr. H, Lorre, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan

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