Last October I was asked if I’d ever written a book. The answer was, and remains, that I have not. But then I’m not aware of any else having written a book on medical connectivity. After some thought, it seems that the market may be ready for such a literary epic. (I’m going to have to start wearing turtlenecks or ascots and smoking a pipe.)
The past few weeks I’ve been talking to people asking about publishers and such. I’ve got a few leads, but if you can suggest anyone to contact please let me know.
Here’s what I’ve been able to noodle out:
- First off, the definition: connectivity is workflow automation through the integration of medical devices and information systems
- The environment for connectivity can be divided into three areas: acute care (hospitals), ambulatory care (mostly physician offices), and home/ambulatory
- Applications can be divided between monitoring (both monitoring the patient and monitoring therapy delivery) and diagnostic studies
- One must also take into consideration the infrastructure to support connectivity, stuff like serial interfaces/device drivers, terminal servers, networking, server-to-server integration, client applications - what’s needed, and how to manage and support it
- Since connectivity is workflow automation, there should probably be a discussion on how to capture workflow and evaluate connectivity workflow provided by vendors
- Finally, standards and regulatory issues come to mind as a major topic
The areas like medical device interoperability (especially safety interlocks) and wireless sensors are two areas aren’t big now, but probably will be soon. Patient safety and risk analysis probably also deserve a separate focus besides what comes up in monitoring (surveillance and alarm notification) and infrastructure. Another topic that’s hanging out there is the process of requirements gathering, planning, vendor selection, technology assessment, installation and implementation.
Potential audiences include providers and vendors. Since vendors must deal with market requirements (i.e., what providers need and want) and their own product development issues, perhaps the book should focus on providers. Ideally such a focus would be of interest to both providers and vendors. A separate book could address vendor specific issues.
The scope of a book on connectivity is huge. I lack both the time and ego to do something like this myself. I figure to edit/co-edit and write a chapter or two myself. I can think of several terrific contributors (you’ll be getting a call at some point). Who would you suggest, and for what topic?
Somehow, I don’t see an endeavor like this making the New York Times best seller list - or being particularly profitable. I do believe there is a need for such a book to guide providers and help communicate best practices. Any thoughts on business models - traditional publisher, electronic (i.e., free) publishing, partnering with a magazine, selling them out of the trunk of my car, whatever - let me know.
Update: Thanks to librarylindy on Flickr for the use of her photo - I thought it really captured the gravitas and intellectual power of a book author.
The marketplace would surely benefit from a book such as this. I would encourage selling it, and when the time comes, may be able to help you with the publisher intro’s. Selling on the web, and soliciting to hospitals, universities IT programs, and vendors would be how i’d proceed, using the myriad of electronic options for selling, including this blog site, of course. Don’t forget the lecture circuit, too. Great place for promotions & autographs. As for chapters being written by other guru’s…I saw a pix of Dave Hoglund on your site today-he’d be good for some chapters…& if you need a primo editor who doesn’t charge much for much respected contemporaries…i offer my support & services!
Tim, know that you and I discussed this before HIMSS and after going to HIMSS it confirms what I believe. The healthcare community at large is in a transformation phase to become like more vertical markets. This means do things better in a competitive environment. As such, they are being hit daily with trying to understand all phases of the technology landscape without mostly any strategic plan. A book, I would say more like a “guide”, could help those to perhaps navigate a little better through all of this. This of course would go way beyond the traditional power point of marketing. What better way to have those who have “been there” and “done that”, versus “analysts”, freshly minted with their MBA.
I have some knowledge of this company. The big benefit to Jenkins is that the writers can be as involved as they want to be or less involved in areas that are not of interest and things that need to get done still get done. And they are done well.
As to actual completion of a resource such as this, I’d find it interesting as an introduction to offerings and what to look for (especially in regard to allowing medical connectivity to perpetuate beyond a single solution), but the offerings, technologies and regulatory requirements change far too frequently for a book to capture. That is what makes this blog, other healthcare IT/connectivity blogs, and Internet articles/research so eminently popular.
This is not to discourage you because certainly there is a need for healthcare professionals and IT support persons to develop a basic understanding of what can be done. Vendors too often explain their solution as the only way to go, so it is important for providers to see each vendor solution as a piece to the puzzle. Too often providers are scared to implement any solution for fear of making the wrong decision, so guidelines or an understanding of standards-based connectivity would go a long way toward easing that pain.
I nominate Brian McAlpine to help contribute to your book… You once dubbed him the “Godfather of Connectivity” after all!
Go for it! Your outline makes sense and could be expanded on substantially.
I think your market is much broader than just providers and vendors.
I think you have addressed a valuable topic here. Being on the vendor side I have personal experience with the lack of a comprehensive overview of what really matters. Most literature and publications on connectivity, I find, are written by and for technical data communication experts. A book that deals with connectivity from the provider and vendor perspective would be very useful.
I agree to Vince Kuraitis’ opinion that your audience may be much wider than you assume so far.
As David Hoglund mentions, the medical market is changing, and rational business thinking is slowly but steadily becoming normal practise. The ‘new’ managers of medical organizations could greatly benefit from literature that deals with the issue of workflow automation not from a technical perspective, but that appeals to the provider’s view. The new managers in general are neither trained as medical providers not as data communication engineers.
I would like to make two further suggestions: First, acute care starts in the pre-hospital setting; the connectivity between emergency medical providers and hospitals is one of the biggest challenges.Second, I think the goals that underly the medical organzations’ need to automate workflow deserve attention. Four goals that I at least know would be: improve quality of care (prevent errors), prevent litigation, feedback for training and evaluation and increased billing capture rates.
Good luck! Looking forward to learn about your progress.