'Health Affairs' highlights EMRs in low-income countries

I usually save my commentary about health IT in developing countries for FierceMobileHealthcare since mobile technologies seem to play a bigger role than full-fledged EMRs in certain parts of the world. Plus, the EMR focus in America now is squarely on meaningful use, something that really has no bearing beyond the borders of the United States. Today, I'm going to make an exception.

I direct your attention this week to the just-released February edition of Health Affairs, which focuses on e-health in the developing world. The papers related to this theme are about projects that grew out of the Rockefeller Foundation's Making the eHealth Connection conferences in Bellagio, Italy, in July and August 2008. Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Susan Dentzer, who summarized this month's issue, attended the last of four weeks of conferences at Bellagio. I was at the third week, so I know of what I write. I know many of the authors and I am familiar with many of their projects.

If you have access to Health Affairs, either online or in print, I suggest you read "Building A Health Informatics Workforce In Developing Countries" and "Connecting Information To Improve Health." There are some good lessons that can be applied globally, including right here in America.

I'd also like to make you aware of an unbelievable medical relief effort underway this week in Haiti, led by Dr. Enoch Choi, an urgent care physician at Palo Alto (Calif.) Medical Foundation and alumnus of EMR vendor MedicaLogic, now part of GE Healthcare. Choi, a fairly young, tech-savvy doctor with a humanitarian streak, is blogging about his trip at HCPLive. I've learned in an email that his team is charting patient encounters with Caretools iChart EMR software on iPhones. He and another volunteer, Dr. Jan Gurley, will hold a live web chat Friday at 8 p.m. EST if you want to learn more.

And for those of you going to HIMSS in Atlanta the week after next, make sure you stop by Mix It!, FierceHealthIT's free networking party on Tuesday night, March 2, at the World of Coca-Cola. Click here to RSVP. I'll see you there. - Neil