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How To Choose a Texas Electronic Health Record

Monday, August 10th, 2009

When: Oct 13, 2007  from 09:00 am to 11:00 am

Subject: Free talk on considerations for choosing Electronic Health Record (EHR) software for practices in Houston, Texas.  EHR practical issues, licensing, pricing and more will be discussed.

Audience: Decision makers, opinion leaders, CIO’s, CTO’s and anyone who cares about quality of care, error and cost reduction for health care in Texas.

Map: Location is 7000 Fannin, Room 1414, parking on the first floor of the building only. a rough map can be found here.

Presenter: Ignacio Valdes, MD, MS Dr. Valdes is a Board Certified Psychiatrist with a twenty year history of working in the healthcare IT arena.  Prior to medical school he worked for IBM and Compaq as a software and quality control engineer as well as his own software company. He is the chair of the American Medical Informatics Open Source Working Group. He is the founder of Linux Medical News, and is a internationally recognized expert on free and open source medical software and interoperability standards. He is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Texas Health Science Center Houston’s School of Health Information Sciences. He completed medical school at Southwestern in Dallas (1998), residency training at the University of Texas at Houston Department of Psychiatry (2001). He has a Computer Science degree from Texas A&M (1985) and Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Houston (1991).

Saving Lives through Electronic Medical Record Unification with HCHIC

Monday, August 10th, 2009

“Our Father’s life was shortened by many years because a laboratory test result that showed a reversible  kidney failure was lost in the paper shuffle.”

– The Dunn Family

Healthcare needs Electronic Medical Records (EMR) in order to avoid errors like the above. But healthcare has major EMR problems. Economically, EMR’s are frequently treated as a private good like furniture or cars when they are probably a public good like a lighthouse. This has led to market failure.

There are hundreds of proprietary EMR software companies and vendors in the United States, yet there is a low rate of adoption in the industry. Practically no two health care sites or agencies run the same EMR software or they run no EMR software at all. This greatly diminishes the value of EMR’s in medicine.  The not-for-profit Harris County Health Information Cooperative (HCHIC) exists to coordinate and unify EMR software across organizations in Harris County and Texas.

Unification on this scale in a large US city would be unprecedented and remarkably beneficial in terms of quality of care and the cost of delivering that care. It also provides the beginning of eventual unification of all EMR systems in Texas which would exponentially increase the value of these systems to patients and practitioners.

HCHIC is holding its inaugural fundraiser: the ‘St. Arnold’s Brewery Bash for Medical Error Reduction/County-wide EMR’ September 20th, 6:30pm  at St. Arnold’s Brewery, 2522 Fairway Park Drive, Houston, Tx 77092 The cost is free but donations are appreciated. More information at

Author: Ignacio H. Valdes, MD, MS was a software engineer for such companies as IBM and Compaq before going to medical school and becoming a board certified Psychiatrist. He is an internationally recognized expert in Electronic Medical Record software. Dr. Valdes is founder of the Harris County Health Information Cooperative (HCHIC), a non-profit organization devoted to unifying the health information infrastructure in Harris County.

Inaugural Fundraiser Exceeds Goal, Raises Over $3000

Friday, September 21st, 2007

HCHIC’s Inaugural Fundraiser raised over $3000 for a unified Electronic Medical Record system for the Houston, Texas area. “We’re excited that we surpassed our goal for this fund raiser and can now begin our next phase of development.” said Founder Ignacio Valdes, MD, MS.
HCHIC’s Inaugural Address by Ignacio Valdes, MD, MS

“It is with the greatest appreciation that I welcome all of you to the Harris County Health Information Cooperative (HCHIC) inaugural fundraiser.

HCHIC has been created with the greatest of ideals in mind: the ideal that a community of dedicated people can solve the largest and most difficult of social and technical problems that of Electronic Health Record systems for a city. We live in an age of immensely powerful therapies, medications and medical diagnostic equipment. Yet we continue to use some of the most primitive and uncoordinated of instruments for the most important, most powerful and most valuable medical good we have: medical data.  Yet truly solving this problem can result in many benefits to society: life or death, reduction of cost, improvement in health and a legacy of freedom that generations can build on.

For all those flailing at the leaves of a problem, there are only a few that are getting at the root of the problem. With your presence, your donations and your self-sacrifice, all those present tonight have embarked on getting at the root of the problem. In order to do that, we begin with the end in mind: which is to leave the healthcare of this city profoundly better organized, better run and more effective than what was given to us.  The end is to leave it with a scalable, effective, powerful system that ensures the health of patients, ensures privacy, ensures security, ensures education and ensures freedom so that future generations can build upon this foundation novel and remarkable structures that ensure health, privacy,  security,  education and freedom in ways that we can only dream about and which are now utterly impossible.

Once again, we live in an age of immensely powerful therapies, medications and medical diagnostic equipment. Yet we continue to use some of the most primitive and uncoordinated of instruments for the most important, most powerful and most valuable medical good we have: medical data.  All of the politics, all of the power, all of the governments and all of the moneyed corporations have so far not solved this problem.  You who are attending tonight, HCHIC, its members, and its leaders have the audacity to think that we can and we will.  I salute you.”

Modern Healthcare: Texas doc brews up funding for Houston RHIO

Monday, September 17th, 2007

Modern Healthcare has an article on HCHIC’s Inaugural St. Arnold’s Brewery fundraiser: “He gave this chat on why (proprietary) electronic medical software is not going to work and probably never will,” Valdes recalled. “It’s a public good and not a private good. People are going at this like it is a piece of furniture when it is really like a lighthouse. What he said was, according to economic theory and practice, you need to treat it like a public good, and free and open source shifts it toward a public good.”