The EHR|HIE Interoperability Workgroup — Potentially Earth-Shattering

Yesterday’s announcement of  “Standard Health Data Connectivity Specifications” by the EHR|HIE Interoperability Workgroup (EHR|HIE WG) is potentially earth-shattering.

My mom would not know what I mean by “Standard Health Data Connectivity Specifications,” so I’ll try to write this in plain English.

Who Are These Guys? The EHR|HIE Interoperability Workgroup

The workgroup consists of HIEs (Health Information Exchanges) representing seven of the largest states, eight EHR vendors, and three HIE software/services vendors.

Creating the “Blood Pressure Chart” App: An Independent Developer’s Story

by Mateusz Mucha. Mateusz is a freelance web application developer from Krakow, Poland.  31 y.o., married, enjoys rock climbing, sailing, skiing and having 6 meals a day. Contact him at muszek@gmail.com

This is a short story about Blood Pressure Chart – a web-based tool used to manage, analyze and share blood pressure records. The old saying, “necessity is a mother of invention”, is almost applicable here. Almost, because coming up with an idea to store whatever records in a web app is hardly inventive. Certainly not in 2010. Strangely, a moderate set of requirements could not be satisfied by any preexisting solution.

For at least the past decade, I’ve been hearing about my country’s health care going digital. Millions (billions?) of taxpayers’ dollars later, I was given a paper notepad to record my blood pressure.

Having seen a doctor using a typewriter recently, I wasn’t really surprised, but simply had to find a better way. Few hours of googling and checking out a few desktop apps and one web app made me realize that nobody has taken it seriously so far. “I could make something much better in a week”, I thought to myself… but ideas for new functionality kept on coming and around a month later the site was ready.

When you create pretty much anything, it’s good to start by asking yourself a few questions before you touch any tools. Who is going to use it? What do they want to use it for? What are strengths and weaknesses of competing solutions? What non-standard functionality can we offer to enhance user experience?

First and foremost, I’m competing with a simple paper notebook.