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 Health Information Technology and Community Wellness Broadband Applications

To: Senator Enzi - Wyoming

From: Frank Odasz
           Lone Eagle Consulting

Date: July 17, 2007

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me May 15th to discuss the importance of the three following Health Information Technology advocacy day requests;

 HIMSS www.himss.org Advocacy Day Requests

  1. Enact legislation that supports funding for Health IT that at a minimum supports the President’s Budget Request of $165 million, and also includes tax incentives and Medicare funding for clinicians to purchas4 Health IT solutions.
  2. Codify the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT in order to accelerate the appropriate development of health information exchange through integration and interoperability, standards adoption, and privacy and security in the healthcare community.
  3. Do not enact legislation that mandates fixed, universal patient-to-nurse ratios.

While you are at home…visit a healthcare facility in your home state to learn more about how Health Information Technology is transforming the lives of your constituents.

Note: A recent study by the Rand Corporation projects annuals savings of $160 Billion through Health Information Technology. Every year, medical errors cost 100,000 people their lives – in many cases Health Information Technology would have saved these lives.

Please be aware that Rural Community Wellness increasingly depends on whether rural citizens learn how to use broadband Internet access to support their social and economic needs:

Rural Broadband for Social and Economic Applications is Essential to Community Wellness and National Global Competitiveness

The social and economic health of our rural communities depends on whether they have the basic connectivity to participate in the global economy, but beyond the physical infrastructure, they need the human expertise and support systems to connect to the very best opportunities possible. (Details are provided in a letter to the Gov. of MT http://lone-eagles.com/support-montanans.htm )

The concept of wholistic medicine is not new, but the integration of smart social and economic applications of broadband for community wellness IS.  We're looking at creating a cultural shift toward healthy living, a sustainable environment, economically sustainable rural communities, and literally a sustainable society incorporating lifelong learning and I.T. entrepreneurship. 

Health Information Technology has an opportunity to link its mission to innovative ways of using broadband to build healthy communities by engaging citizens purposefully, as well as for building I.T. enabled local, regional, and national economies, and whole new lifestyles focused on sustainable broadband-enabled local community economies.

There are important areas related directly to Health Information Technology that require new forms of citizen participation: learning healthy living practices, keeping current on new information like which drugs are discovered to have new health risks, participating in peer support groups for specific illnesses, including addictions of all kinds, growing local community awareness for healthy living best practices, and keeping current on evolving new treatments, noting one third of medical judgments have been reported to be in error, costing 100,000 lives per year, etc. 

The most common use of the Internet is for finding health-related information... and peer-to-peer social networking (Web 2.0) is booming on many fronts...begging the issue of what's the best Health Information Technology can do to engage citizens purposefully for their own wellness, as well as their communities?  Rural America is suffering an economic decline and along with this, a slew of health-related programs (drug abuse, depression, suicide, etc.)

While many businesses are growing, particularly in our dozen largest communities, over 500 rural Montanan communities continue to suffer an economic decline. The Gov. recently announced a Council on the Economic Security for Montana Families. MT has the third highest suicide rate nationally (WY #1, AK #2) and we'll increase our prison population by 40% next year due to the meth epidemic.

It is my understanding MT is short on workers for projected big energy projects but that these jobs will only be a temporary boost to MT workers willing to relocate or endure long commutes. At issue is whether anybody sees rural Broadband as the key to creating sustainable clean industry jobs capable of sustaining our dying rural communities.  The big energy projects will put money into the MT state coffers and those of big business but will have little impact on our dwindling rural communities.  Who exactly is championing the sustainability these rural communities?

The hard reality is solutions exist, but they require changes in attitude and behavior....and changing human communications behaviors is a tricky business. (My background is psychology as well as I.T.)  What we teach the current first digital generation can prove to have a dramatic positive impact on issues like youth out-migration and whether rural citizens learn how to make a living wherever they wish, or not. (ecommerce/telework.) (FYI, I teach online graduate courses for educators for two universities.)

 I.T. can lower costs for rural home care with I.T. monitoring systems, online training of home health care aids, and fewer costly doctor visits through online interaction/monitoring. How we can best support our aging population with economies of scale related to smart broadband applications is a huge issue moving to the forefront.

I'm working to understand the current perceptions and realities with emphasis on opportunities related to appropriate training to realize the promise of rural broadband.

Anything you can offer would be most appreciated.

Health Information Technology is a homeland security issue.

From the Heartland,

Frank Odasz  frank@lone-eagles.com
Lone Eagle Consulting
PH: 406 683 6270

PS: Support Our Vets:

I read an article recently that 1000 Vets a year commit suicide each year. That's more than are killed in combat each year. Supporting people psychologically can be done online to a very significant degree. Online counseling is growing dramatically.

Quote  "Recruiting for the war tends to come primarily from small, rural America. So, what we don't have is enough mental health care for veterans in these rural communities when they come home. Last Thursday, the VA's Inspector General issued a report estimating that 1,000 vets under its care commit suicide ever year." Unquote (From IPS-Inter Press Service "Suicidal and Facing a Third Tour in Iraq")

I'd suggested we teach telework to our 60,000 disabled vets, too. FYI, GSA will soon announce a $2 billion ten-year telework program.