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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

HIMSS13 Tuesday March 5th

Dr. Eric Topol's morning Keynote was "off the hook." I hope they publish it to YouTube. An inspiring man. He is all over the cutting edge, and a serious critic of the status quo. I wrote about his new book last year while reporting on the last day of HIMSS12 (scroll down).

He had all the cool toys. Right down to ICU telemetry-capable.

Dr. Topol on YouTube recently

He posed the rhetorical question this morning "why go to the hospital, when you can do all of this from the comfort and convenience of your own home?"

Well, yeah, but how do we pay for the hospital to be there when we really need it?


Epic looks like they have the most real estate at HIMSS13.
Nice that IHC is here. HealthInsight has long had a lot of interaction with them.


Had a nice chat with Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Manager for the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum. Her organization is both the REC and HIE for Louisiana. She has a great story to tell. I asked if she might like to do a guest post to tell it in the way she'd like to have it told. Hope she takes me up on the offer. Delightful person.



Dr. Topol flashed a quick slide and made a passing remark about a recent article about Dr. Oz:
Is the most trusted doctor in America doing more harm than good?
Michael  Specter, The New Yorker, February 4th, 2013

Oprah Winfrey first referred to Mehmet Oz as “America’s doctor” in 2004, during one of his earliest appearances on her television show. The label stuck. Oz was a rare find: so eloquent and telegenic that people are often surprised to learn that he is a highly credentialled member of the medical establishment. Oz graduated from Harvard University in 1982. Four years later, he received joint medical and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He then moved to Columbia and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where, as a surgeon specializing in heart transplants, he has served as vice-chairman and professor in the department of surgery for more than twenty years. (He still performs operations there each Thursday.) Oz also directs Columbia’s Cardiovascular Institute and Integrative Medicine Program, which he established in 1994, and has published scores of articles on technical issues, such as how to preserve muscle tissue during mitral-valve replacements. He holds a patent on a solution that can preserve organs and one on an aortic valve that can be implanted without highly invasive open-heart surgery.

By 2009, after dozens of appearances on “Oprah,” Oz had become so popular that Winfrey offered him his own show, produced by her company, Harpo. “The Dr. Oz Show” has since won two Emmys and averages nearly four million daily viewers. Certainly, no American physician has greater influence over a larger number of people. Oz has been named one of Esquire’s 75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century, as “the most important and most accomplished celebrity doctor in history.” He ranks consistently in the top ten on the Forbes list of most influential celebrities, and has been included on a similar list of Harvard University alumni. In 2008, Oz received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor...

Oz’s popularity isn’t hard to understand: he speaks to Americans about problems that many find impossible to share, and he talks to them in ways that few other physicians would. Want to know how many orgasms you will require each year to prolong your life? Oz says two hundred—give or take. He also suggests how often we should move our bowels and what they ought to look like when we do (at least every other day, brown with a hint of gold, shaped like an S, he says, and “it should hit the water like a diver from Acapulco”). Oz likes to be in the news; he was on the air with students from the Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut, three days after the shootings there. And you never know who his guests will be. Not long ago, Michelle Obama appeared on the show to talk about her effort to end the epidemic of childhood obesity. A few weeks later, Oz welcomed back Theresa Caputo, a Long Island-based medium who helps people commune with dead family members. “The last time she was here,” Oz told the audience, “her readings blew me away.”

“The Dr. Oz Show” frequently focusses on essential health issues: the proper ways to eat, relax, exercise, and sleep, and how to maintain a healthy heart. Much of the advice Oz offers is sensible, and is rooted solidly in scientific literature. That is why the rest of what he does is so hard to understand. Oz is an experienced surgeon, yet almost daily he employs words that serious scientists shun, like “startling,” “breakthrough,” “radical,” “revolutionary,” and “miracle.” There are miracle drinks and miracle meal plans and miracles to stop aging and miracles to fight fat. Last year, Oz broadcast a show on whether it was possible to “repair” gay people (“From Gay to Straight? The Controversial Therapy”), despite the fact that Robert L. Spitzer, the doctor who is best known for a study of gay-reparation therapy, had recanted. (Spitzer last year apologized to “any gay person who wasted time and energy” on what he conceded were “unproven claims.”) Oz introduced a show on the safety of genetically modified foods by saying, “A new report claims they can damage your health and even cause cancer.” He also broadcast an episode on whether the apple juice consumed daily by millions of American children contains dangerous levels of arsenic. “Some of the best-known brands in America have arsenic in their apple juice,” he said at the outset, “and today we are naming names.” In each of those instances, and in many others, Oz has been criticized by scientists for relying on flimsy or incomplete data, distorting the results, and wielding his vast influence in ways that threaten the health of anyone who watches the show. Last year, almost as soon as that G.M.O. report was published, in France, it was thoroughly discredited by scores of researchers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Addressing such issues, however, is part of what Oz describes as “the undiscussed conversation—the one we need to have but don’t.” He describes modern medicine as a “civil war” waged between conventional physicians and those who are open to alternative cures for maladies ranging from anxiety to cancer; he considers it his mission to walk the line that divides them. But more often his show seems to erase that line completely, with results that may be less benign than Oz and his many viewers realize. “I want no more barriers between patient and medicine,” he explained to me not long ago, as we sat in one of the show’s production offices, just outside NBC’s Studio 6A, in Rockefeller Center. “I would take us all back a thousand years, when our ancestors lived in small villages and there was always a healer in that village—and his job wasn’t to give you heart surgery or medication but to help find a safe place for conversation.”
Oz went on, “Western medicine has a firm belief that studying human beings is like studying bacteria in petri dishes. Doctors do not want questions from their patients; it’s easier to tell them what to do than to listen to what they say. But people are on a serpentine path through life, and that is the way it is supposed to be. All I am trying to do is put a couple of road signs out there. I sit on that set every day, and that is what I am focussing on. The road signs.”...
This man (along with Dr. Andrew Weil) is fairly despised over at Read the entire New Yorker piece. Spend some time hanging at SBM. See what you think.
“My father is passionate about medicine, and he still goes to the hospital every day,” Oz told me the first time we met. “He thinks what I’m doing is very fringe and he’s worried about me. He keeps asking me when I will be done playing around with this stuff and settle back down to medicine.” On another occasion, Oz described his father’s reaction to his growing interest in alternative approaches to health care as “suicidal.”
Interesting. As is this:
“Mehmet is a kind of modern evangelist,” Eric Topol said when I called him at the Scripps Research Institute, where he is a professor of genomics and the director of the Translational Science Institute. Topol, one of the nation’s most prominent cardiologists, founded the medical school at the Cleveland Clinic and led its department of cardiovascular medicine. “He is keenly intelligent and charismatic,” Topol said. “Mehmet was always unique, but now he has morphed into a mega-brand. When he tells people the number of sexual encounters they need each year to improve their lives in a specific way, or how to lose weight in three days—this is simply lunacy. The problem is that he is eloquent and talented, and some of what he says clearly provides a service we need. But how are consumers to know what is real and what is magic? Because Mehmet offers both as if they were one.”
He continued, “It all seems to be in the service of putting on a show. And, when you add it up, that seems like something other than medicine. It’s more like medutainment.”...
I would just caution all true Health IT enthusiasts to not lose sight of the goal: quantifiably improving health by adding timely, comprehensive, accurate, and relevant data to the physicians' arsenals. "Big Data" full of crap, "analyzed" by people having no business doing so, may well make matters worse.

More to come...

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