Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Where's the Gas When You Need It?

The Disease Management Care Blog confesses that it wasn’t easy learning the differences between an EMR (electronic medical record), an EHR (electronic health record) and a PHR (personal health record). While medicine is certainly riddled with its own complexities and acronyms, health information technology (HIT) seems to have taken it to a whole new level.

There may be one less acronym, however, to worry about. If (and that is a big if) this post from the Health Care Renewal Blog has any basis, there may allegedly be little reason to distinguish HIMSS (a membership organization) from CCHIT (involved in certification of electronic records). Is the DMCB’s buddy Scott Silverman an HIT voice crying in the wilderness? Time will tell but the DMCB will be harkening.

The disease management community, in contrast, seems to have had its act together from the very beginning. The DMCB was there in the early days when several disease management companies earnestly set out to define what set them apart. That’s when they came up with this. Realizing that a distinct brand was emerging, they sought a process that would accredit reputable full-service disease management companies – similar to the track record of hospitals and managed care organizations. They correctly reasoned that the more distant they were from owning the accreditation process, the more credible it would become. Not to mention that their lawyers pointed out that anything less could result in the improper appearance of collusion. It was good business sense and it was also the right thing to do.

It paid off. The highly regarded National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and URAC have both developed independent programs that are distinctly free of any allegations or even the appearance of conflicts of interest.


And a now for a non-sequitur: It’s bad enough having to see a dentist, but having him remind you of the striking difference between medicine and dentistry makes the drilling seem comparatively blissful. Grinning through his mask and goggle-glasses, he asked his physician-patient today what he thought of the newly inked ‘stimulus bill.’ By this time the DCMB was immobilized thanks to having to simultaneously guess where half of its face was while French-kissing a latex dome with a mouthful of gruesome metal objects. Not caring to translate my gurgling, he went on, ‘Looks like the government wants to tell you guys how to practice.’ After a pause, he added, ‘And they’re going to get away with it.’

Where’s the gas when you need it?

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