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Forough Ghahramani Featured Speaker at New Jersey Technology Council's E-Health Summit

Tuesday, June 23, 2009  
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Forough Ghahramani, WIPP National Founding Partner and Executive Advisory Board Member, and Founder of Life Sciences Computing, LLC was a featured speaker at the New Jersey Technology Council’s E-Health Summit at the New Jersey Hospital Association. 

Forough Ghahramani is currently the President of Life Sciences Computing in Princeton, New Jersey and is recognized in the field of Health and Bioinformatics. She is also Dean of Business Technology, Health Information Technology and Electroneurodiagnostic Technology for DeVry University in New Jersey.

The topic of the E-Health Summit was “Future-Shock-What’s Next”. Ghahramani led a panel of experts representing industry, hospital associations, and government on the topic of regulatory standards, and compliance issues in healthcare with specific emphasis on the issues in Health Information Technology and the role of various stakeholders:  patient, provider, Health Administrators, government (Federal and State), government agencies, IT, Health Information Systems, insurance companies, financial auditing firms, and consulting organizations.

Discussion included information about the role of Federal and State government in implementation of Health Information Technology and in providing standards and regulation mandates. The current administration’s potential implementation of investments was discussed. The role of various stakeholders were defined with the regulatory requirements and issues associated with each of these roles, including role of Information Technology. Another topic of discussion included the state of Health Records and Medical Records in the existing paper world and a comparison of security of old vs. new clinical record keeping.

According to Forough Ghahramani,“80% of small practices, which provide more than half the medical care in the country, do not have computerized clinical record keeping.  They keep patient records in file drawers; doctors scribble prescriptions on pads of paper and communicate with other healthcare providers by picking up the phone and calling. The Obama administration’s economic stimulus package allocates almost $20 billion to help move this system into the 21st century, including direct subsidies to physicians for purchasing health-records systems…as soon as the nation figures out what the system should be.  A fear is that millions of American doctors will adopt a hodgepodge of standalone systems that don’t regularly communicate with each other.

At a minimum, a national electronic health-records system should do the following:
• Permit immediate electronic information exchange between doctors, saving time on taking patients’ history and money on tests or X-rays that they may have already been performed.
• Replace handwritten prescriptions with an electronic network linking doctors and pharmacies.  This would reduce mistakes, save time on phone  calls back and forth and enable automated warnings of drug interactions and drug sensitivities.
• Facilitate data-mining for information about new (or existing) treatments.
• Finally establish standards of care for disease against which actual treatments can be measured- or, to put it plainly keep an eye on the doctor. Treatments are constantly evolving, and some doctors adapt more easily than others. The best electronic records systems are embedded in an application that helps doctors decide: Do we do an MRI for this patient? Is a drug A better or Drug B?
In addition, it is extremely important to maintain technology neutrality as standards are developed in Electronic Medical Records and Electronic Health Records. Privacy and security are major factors to be considered, as the number of, and types, of stakeholders  that are provided access to EHR and EMR records increase, the interaction with each role must be defined and levels of access control must be defined to secure the information and insure privacy.”

According to Ghahramani, “This was a great opportunity to share information about the Health Care principles representative of what is important to the small business community as outlined in Women Impacting Public Policy’s Economic Blueprint.”

Please contact Forough Ghahramani at 609-497-1773 or for more information.

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