Some of my work has been bouncing up against government and industry efforts to create standards for electronic health records (how the healthcare system - from providers to insurers - shares digital information with each other) and, to a lesser extent, personal health records (how we, the patients, the rhetorical center of health care, have access to all of our health information). In the meetings I have been invited to attend to represent a 'social media' perspective, I have been amused at the diligent, blinkered development of a system that was described to me by one long-standing participant as making life easier for the stakeholders, not the patients with no clue of what is happening around them
This note at Government Health IT pulls the curtain away for the health IT wizards - for those of you who are Oz fans.
As the Internet takes hold in healthcare then healthcare will increasingly come under the same pressures that other industries have. It's a phenomenon known as leapfrogging, where commercial innovations overtake other considerations such as standards setting, to the point where the standards tend to be pushed by the innovations, rather than vice versa.
The article notes the emergence of Revolution Health as a major player in only a few short months in this arena, and ponders the meaning of this quote from Google's VP:
The lack of easily accessible, comprehensive medical records
results in people being in more pain for longer than they should be.
Some people are almost certainly dying unnecessarily. Add to this the
fact that, in a vain attempt to catch up and to be “safe” in the
absence of shared electronic information, a barrage of unnecessary,
redundant and extremely expensive tests are run over and over. Some
estimates of the inefficiency in the system put the waste at $1
trillion, or more than $5,000 per family.
Seems pretty obvious to me.