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What Hath God Wrought?

March 09, 2020

I borrow the subject line this week from the first ever telegraph message by Samuel F.B. Morse in 1843. Now, as then, the line is a metaphor for the ages as we focus this week’s newsletter on Coronavirus/Covid-19 and the role of technology in coping with the fallout.

In what must have been the most difficult decision in its 58-year history, HIMSS canceled its conference scheduled for this week in the face of an avalanche of cancellations by attendees and exhibitors. A planned POTUS appearance scarcely registered in the backdrop of concerns about potential risks in a state that had already declared a public health emergency.

Public health officials across the globe are using technology to map the spread of the virus and communicate with the public on risks and safety measures. Workers in the lowest income categories, especially those on hourly wages, are especially vulnerable to income loss. Technology firms are stepping up to offer their online collaboration platforms free to educational institutions and others to cope with the disruption.

The biggest impact for the healthcare sector may be in the increased adoption of telehealth platforms. Doctors are advising consumers to seek medical advice through tele-consults in an effort to minimize contact with patients. As part of an $8 billion emergency spending bill, the government will allow Medicare providers to extend telemedicine services to seniors regardless of where they live.

As we went to press, the ONC released its final ruling on interoperability. My latest piece in CIO discusses the issues in the ongoing battle over the issue leading up to this historical moment.

We lost an iconic leader in the business world last week. I look back on my years in Jack Welch’s GE in the nineties.

Digital transformation in healthcare: our picks for the week

HHS Finalizes Historic Rules to Provide Patients More Control of Their Health Data

“The days of patients being kept in the dark are over,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

Coronavirus Sparks Business-Tech Deployments

While the tech world has been long used to virtual collaboration tools, many traditional industries are now learning to embrace these tools.

These 5 Tech Companies Are Providing Free Remote Working Tools During the Coronavirus Outbreak 

The tech world is stepping up with free software to help employees work remotely as we get through the crisis.

Hospitals Use Telemedicine to Minimize Contact With Virus Patients

Healthcare workers are among our most vulnerable populations.

Coronavirus: Microsoft Encourages Employees to Telecommute

Tech workers in many firms have been asked to work from home, and all international travel is banned in some companies.

As we work to protect public health, we also need to protect the income of hourly workers who support our campus

Low-income workers depending on getting to a place of work may be hardest hit.

The right medicine for the world economy

Coping with the pandemic involves all of government, not just the health system.

Telehealth Coverage Included in Coronavirus Spending Bill

The bill will allow Medicare providers to extend telemedicine services to seniors regardless of where they live, at an estimated cost of $500 million.

As Epidemic Fears Mount, CMS Asked to Loosen Reins on Telehealth

Telehealth adoption has been constrained by lack of parity in reimbursements with in-person visits. That could change and take telehealth mainstream.

Gene sleuths are tracking the coronavirus outbreak as it happens

The virus is mutating as it spreads. By tracking mutations, scientists are creating a family tree in nearly real time, which they say can help pinpoint how the infection is hopping between countries.

Everything You Need to Know About Coronavirus Vaccines

As the virus spreads rapidly, the pressure is on for drug makers to bring a vaccine into the market.

Coronavirus Reveals Limits of AI Health Tools

There is no “training data” for black swan events such as the coronavirus. Chatbot algorithms may have limited or no value in symptom checking for Covid-19.

Fear, loathing and profits – the battle over data access and data privacy in healthcare

The proponents of data access declare it to be a fundamental right for consumers. Those who stand to profit – or lose – from open access to patient data have different points of view.

Straight from the gut – my brief years in Jack Welch’s GE

What it felt like to work at GE in the late nineties when Jack was at the height of his fame and powers.

The latest from Damo Consulting

Podcast – Episode #37: With Angela Yochem, EVP, Chief Digital and Technology Officer for Novant Health 

“Digital isn’t just about new care models but enhancing traditional care models through digital means.”

The WITCH Monthly Monitor (February)

Our monthly update on major global IT consulting and services firms in healthcare. It provides latest financial and market performance updates on WITCH companies along with other global IT consulting firms.

Why interoperability is cool (again)

The ability to gain access to the data through reusable APIs significantly improves developer productivity, enabling CIOs to achieve more with the same resources.

White paper: What health systems must do to accelerate digital transformation

Our latest white paper explores how health systems can accelerate digital transformation.

The WITCH Report: 2019 Mid-Year Review

A review of the financial and market performance of global technology consulting firms in healthcare.


Coronavirus conversations

March 23, 2020 Starting this week, I am doing a series of podcast interviews with healthcare IT leaders who are now in the spotlight as

Extreme social distancing

March 16, 2020 For the coming weeks, this newsletter will focus on curating articles from credible sources that provide useful information on the coronavirus crisis.

No handshakes, please. Namaste.

March 02, 2020 As I write this, HIMSS2020 is set to proceed as scheduled, with additional precautions to prevent any possible risk of infection with