Call­ing tech sup­port

Modern Healthcare - - Outliers -

This item def­i­nitely is from the You Can’t Make This Stuff Up file. Dur­ing an Oct. 25 morn­ing ses­sion of the Med­i­cal Group Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion’s an­nual con­fer­ence in New Or­leans, the be­gin­ning of the pre­sen­ta­tion by David Blu­men­thal, HHS’ na­tional co­or­di­na­tor for health in­for­ma­tion technology, was marred by, um, technology dif­fi­cul­ties.

When he asked the au­di­ence “Can you all hear me?”, those in the back of the au­di­ence replied with a thun­der­ing “No.” “That’s not a good start,” Blu­men­thal re­sponded while mov­ing his lava­liere mi­cro­phone higher up his neck­tie. As a tech­ni­cian tried to make some ad­just­ments, Blu­men­thal quipped that it might be best if ev­ery­one just came back in a half-hour.

Blu­men­thal then gamely car­ried on, ro­tat­ing be­tween a hand­held mi­cro­phone and the lava­liere mi­cro­phone, which ro­tated be­tween si­lence and feed­back. Fi­nally, he re­moved the lav mic (as the techies call it) from his tie and held it up to his mouth. “I think I’m go­ing to hold this un­til some­body takes it out of my hand,” he said. “Let’s all take a deep breath now …”

Blu­men­thal then car­ried on with no more tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties—at least no more in his pre­sen­ta­tion. Out­liers is mak­ing no pre­dic­tions on what, if any, dif­fi­cul­ties may oc­cur dur­ing Stage 2 of Blu­men­thal’s elec­tronic health-record im­ple­men­ta­tion pro­gram.

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