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GE Healthcare/CDC partnership would link public health alerts to EMRs

GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of General Electric Co., announced in April its involvement in two separate partnerships aimed at connecting physicians. One, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Public Health Informatics, is meant to develop a project that will demonstrate the capability for physicians to receive public health alerts in a patient- and situation-specific way, at the point of care. Currently, physicians get public health alerts via fax or e-mails or on the CDC Web site. But if the project takes off as planned, physicians would receive alerts within their electronic medical records as they are applicable to cases. Charles Safran, MD, chief of clinical computing at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and a senior scientist for the CDC, said the success of the project will depend on the adoption rates of electronic medical records. "But there is value to the country today from changing the model from broadcast to targeted ...

Forums open up debate about health system reform

Washington -- President Obama's effort to engage Americans in discussions about national health system reform reached a new phase with the conclusion of five regional health forums and another smaller gathering near the White House. The invitation-only, two-hour forums were attended by a few hundred people each, including lawmakers, physicians, executives and others from a variety of backgrounds. White House staff moderated the forums, which were held between March 12 and April 6 in Dearborn, Mich.; Burlington, Vt.; Des Moines, Iowa; Greensboro, N.C.; and Los Angeles. State medical society representatives and others who attended the events said they were a useful way to let people speak their minds about problems with the U.S. health system and the potential for positive changes. They said the regional events began with a video statement from Obama followed by statements from the host governors and moderators, then time for audience members to speak and ask questions. "It was ...

What do patients really want from you?

After 23 years in family practice in Topeka, Kan., Douglas Iliff, MD, said that despite what he reads about consumerism being the wave of the future -- or the present -- patients usually want him to tell them what to do. Even the patients who ask the most questions -- typically those who have high-deductible plans paired with health savings accounts -- honestly want his recommendation, not just coaching or a list of options, he said. "Since the Internet revolution came along, yes, patients ask more questions, and ask more intelligent questions. But they'll come to me with those questions asking what I think." Research by consulting firm Deloitte supports Dr. Iliff's observation that most patients do like what it terms an "authoritarian" or "traditional" physician. But it also suggests that a growing number of patients is seeking more details from doctors, in terms of both costs and treatment. Paul H. Keckley, PhD, is executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solu ...