Hacking Healthcare
A Guide to Standards, Workflows, and Meaningful Use
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: October 2011
Pages: 248

Ready to take your IT skills to the healthcare industry? This concise book provides a candid assessment of the US healthcare system as it ramps up its use of electronic health records (EHRs) and other forms of IT to comply with the government’s Meaningful Use requirements. It’s a tremendous opportunity for tens of thousands of IT professionals, but it’s also a huge challenge: the program requires a complete makeover of archaic records systems, workflows, and other practices now in place.

This book points out how hospitals and doctors’ offices differ from other organizations that use IT, and explains what’s necessary to bridge the gap between clinicians and IT staff.

  • Get an overview of EHRs and the differences among medical settings
  • Learn the variety of ways institutions deal with patients and medical staff, and how workflows vary
  • Discover healthcare’s dependence on paper records, and the problems involved in migrating them to digital documents
  • Understand how providers charge for care, and how they get paid
  • Explore how patients can use EHRs to participate in their own care
  • Examine healthcare’s most pressing problem—avoidable errors—and how EHRs can both help and exacerbate it
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O'Reilly MediaHacking Healthcare
 
4.2

(based on 5 reviews)

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100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Well-written (5)
  • Concise (4)
  • Easy to understand (4)
  • Helpful examples (4)
  • Accurate (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Intermediate (5)
    • Novice (4)
    • Student (3)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Developer (4)

    Reviewed by 5 customers

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    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Amazing and Concise

    By MD Geek

    from Florida

    About Me Hospital Informatics Md

    Verified Reviewer

    Pros

    • Accurate
    • Concise
    • Easy to understand
    • Helpful examples
    • Well-written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Expert
      • Intermediate
      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about O'Reilly Media Hacking Healthcare:

      I'm only halfway through this book, but just decided I have to buy one for each of my staff, stat. This is the first HIT book I've read any of that struck me as so incredibly direct, down-to-earth, and comprehensive. Kudos.

      (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

       
      3.0

      Helpful, but with annoying errors

      By Dandelion

      from San Francisco, CA

      About Me Designer, Developer, Maker, Sys Admin

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Well-written

      Cons

      • Too many errors

      Best Uses

      • Expert
      • Intermediate
      • Novice
      • Student

      Comments about O'Reilly Media Hacking Healthcare:

      I'm using this book as a jumping-off point for understanding HL7.

      The PROS are that it's obviously written by a cutting-edge industry expert, with humour and insight, and deep consideration for the legal and ethical issues. It's detailed enough for a reference book, and I hope, given the pace with which the industry evolves, there will be 2nd and 3rd editions issued quite rapidly. At the same time, there is a light conversational style, not quite in the nature of a manifesto, but which makes it very clear that health IT is an uphill struggle, an insight gained by the authors through bitter experience. It's also one of those rare books which is aware that it is trying to bridge two disciplines which historically haven't had much rewarding contact (healthcare and IT).

      Which leads me to the CONS. This book was obviously published in a hurry. It lacks basic proofreading, something which annoys me enormously from lesser publishing houses, but which I certainly do not expect from O'Reilly. It also leads to confidence issues; if basic errors such as "... institutions could getting [sic] about $50,000 per doctor ..." abound, what other errors are there that are less visible but are perhaps more pernicious? And this is on page 8. I found at least one minor punctuation mistake before that, too (a misplaced comma).

      To be fair, I've not read it from cover to cover; I think I will, because I find the discursive style engaging, and the ethical and legal issues are rarely so prominent as they are in health IT. But I do hope that before the second edition goes out, a different proofreader to the original one gets to cast an eye over it.

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      A Good Introduction to a Tough Problem

      By Infamous RCR

      from Sacramento, California

      About Me Designer, Developer, Educator, Maker

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Intermediate
        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about O'Reilly Media Hacking Healthcare:

        I am in the target audience as well as having worked on getting VistA to the point of passing "Meaningful Use". The book lays out the issues pretty well, but it is not finished. The next round of "Meaningful Use" hurtles are coming. There are additional functionality to be invoked by the certifying organizations. If you are just getting started in "Meaningful Use" this is the book to start with.

        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        great intro to health care IT

        By bronzemustache

        from Boston, MA

        About Me Developer, Software architect

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Broad
        • Concise
        • Easy to understand
        • Helpful examples
        • Well-written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Intermediate
          • Novice

          Comments about O'Reilly Media Hacking Healthcare:

          I am in the target audience for this book, a programmer with a background in consumer electronics who now works for a company that sells medical billing, an EHR, and other health care IT. Trotter and Uhlman provide a lot of context and filled in a lot of gaps in my understanding of the practice and business of medicine, and in the specific IT issues in the medical domain. I appreciated the range of levels of abstraction, from systemic problems in U.S. health care to the nitty gritty of message data formats, all informed by authors' extensive experience. I also noted the advice along the lines of "if you are trying to do X, you will have issues of the form A and B". As an experienced programmer I regard advice of that form from other programmers knowledgeable in the problem domain as gold. Finally the book is well written and an easy read. The book is not meant to be a comprehensive reference, which I mention not as a drawback but in case someone is expecting that. I plan to recommend it to all of the programmers and development managers who come to my company from college or another industry.

          (6 of 8 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Good book on Health IT

          By Rob

          from Brisbane, Australia

          About Me Developer

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Concise
          • Easy to understand
          • Helpful examples
          • Well-written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Intermediate

            Comments about O'Reilly Media Hacking Healthcare:

            Getting to Meaningful Use and Beyond Is a book about the meaningful use standards for electronic health records in the united states. I grabbed a preview copy of this book having implemented a simple database for a patient record reporting for a small therapy group many moons ago. I was expecting a dry boring book, but was pleasantly surprised to find it engaging and well written.

            Health IT systems provide great promise for improving the efficiency and quality of health services, with the cautious guard that IT implementations for large organizations carry huge risk of failure. Queensland Health have been an example of what can go wrong, particularly with their spectacular payroll system failures after a recent upgrade.

            Getting to Meaningful Use and Beyond presents many of the opportunities with health IT, informing of some of the great successes, while informing of the risks and challenges.

            A quote in the book says "When you've seen one medical practice, you've seen one medical practice." which forms a basis for one of the key challenges in Health IT systems. The book continues the point out some of the differences, and considerations to include. It highlights the requirements and value for helping to follow the processes for health it systems, but also the need for flexibility and customization. It cries out for techniques like those used by FlexaData http://flexadata.com/ for modeling and working with data.

            I was reviewing an early access version of the book, which was well worth reading on it's own right, even with some typos and a couple of chapters missing. It will be interesting to see how the book evolves with a changing landscape. In particular I look forward to seeing the authors comments on the pending demise of Google Health (google health was referenced in the book, but the comments predate knowledge of it's pending close in 2012).

            I'd definitely recommend the book to anyone considering HealthIT, or an IT professional interested in health. There is also some great pointers and ideas useful for computer literate people who are dealing with health issues.

            [This book was reviewed as a part of the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program]

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