You sometimes read health IT stories in 2009

When critics say I write too much about policy here, I often point out that when I just write about health IT the stories go unread. Not always.

When critics say I write too much about policy here, I often point out that when I just write about health IT the stories go unread.

Not always.

Today I want to highlight some of the popular stories here that on pure IT subjects.

Health IT and the nursing shortage --The 22nd most-read story on this blog for 2009 was a February piece about what the rise of health IT might do for nurses.

Nurses feel powerless and confused. They lack information, they lack power. Health IT can cure this, I wrote. Nurses are going to be doing most of the interfacing, meaning they will have ready access to data. And their knowledge of IT will give them more power within the hospital or clinic. It drew a +5 rating and 13 talkbacks.

Google Health opens pandora box of PHR sharing -- The 19th most-popular post here was this April story about enabling sharing of its Personal Health Records (PHRs).

It needs constant repeating. Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are controlled by your doctor or hospital. Their sharing is covered by the HIPAA law. A PHR is owned by you, even if it's hosted at a site like Google. You control who gets access to it.

Google let its users begin that sharing this past spring. I covered a post at The Health Care Blog approving of its approach. The story drew 14 talkbacks and a positive rating from readers.

What the Google Privacy Dashboard can mean for health --The 17th most-popular post here was also about Google, a November piece about the launch of its privacy dashboard.

I admit this was most speculation, but I suggested that if the NHIN-Connect system (now called the Health Internet) began supporting this kind of dashboard capability it might help create more sharing and give people more confidence that their records were secure.

Gagging patients from online criticism --Sometimes I get mad as in this March story about the efforts of Jeffrey Segal to push back against "doctor ratings" sites that treat MDs like plumbers. You saw it as the 11th most popular most of the year, offering it 30 talkbacks and a rating of +9.

Why should plumbers get less protection than doctors? Because they make less? I still don't get it. I can tell my next door neighbor if my doctor is rotten (she's not -- she's nice) but I can't do this online? Sorry, I don't get it. If people can dump on me, then they can dump on you. Get a thicker skin.

Ingenix scandal points to need for database auditors --This January story was the 7th most popular of the year, with over 6,500 page views, and even while it drew only two talkbacks it had a rating of +8, which was gratifying.

The subject was the settlement of a fraud case against a unit of UnitedHealth by New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo. Ingenix was charged with posting phony rates in its database, leading to lower reimbursements and massive costs for people with insurance. Later in the year Cuomo announced a new, independent site offering the same information.

How much of health IT will go into the clouds? --Cloud computing remains a controversial IT topic, and this story, speculating on how much of the market might wind up as Software as a Service (SaaS), became the fourth most-popular story here during the year, with over 10,000 page views.

The poll probably helped. I asked whether cloud-based health IT services need special regulation and 84% of you said yes.

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