Lisa R Nelson
Medical Informatics and Health Information Technology Consulting

"I work in creative collaboration with smart, inspiring people on projects that contribute to the healing of the world.”

  -   Louise Hay

"Let us be about setting high standards for life, love, creativity, and wisdom. If our expectations in these areas are low, we are not likely to experience wellness. Setting high standards makes every day and every decade worth looking forward to"

  -   Greg Anderson


The American Healthcare System
MED INF 401/ Margaret Schulte, DBA, FACHE
Course objectives

This course provided an introduction to elements of the American Health care system including the provider components, the financing of health care, the basic structure of public policy making and public health systems, comparative analysis of the American system to the health care systems of other countries, and the legal and regulatory framework within which the American health care system functions.  In addition to the structural components of the system, the course reviewed some of the current issues within the American health care system including public health, preparedness, quality of health care, pay for performance, and consumerism.  
The goals for the course were to:

  • Acquire a working knowledge of the key facts about our health care system;
  • Understand the perspectives and roles of each of the entities within the American health care system and how they view their roles within the system; and 
  • Develop a framework for understanding major health care issues.
Text and selected readings

Health Care Delivery in the United States, 8th Edition, Editors, Anthony R. Kovner, PhD and James R. Knickman, PhD, Founding Editor Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS, Springer Publishing Company, New York, NY, 2005 United States, Linda T. Kohn, Janet M. Corrigan, and Molla S. Donaldson, Editors

Committee on Quality of Health Care in America, Institute of Medicine, “To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System”, 2000

Committee on Quality of Health Care in America, Institute of Medicine, “Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century”, 2001

Course artifacts

Paper: Electronic Health Records: Changing the way healthcare manages information

Presentation: Electronic Health Records: Navigator’s Guide For Technology Adoption

Presentation: What’s Ailing Healthcare?

Reflection statement

This course laid the foundation for the Medical Informatics program at Northwestern. We explored the context of the healthcare system in America looking at the situation from many perspectives. We reviewed historical, global, political, economic, industry, legislative and consumer related aspects of the healthcare system in the US today. We examined evidence highlighting and clarifying the problems evident within the system and considered the perspectives of the stakeholders involved. We considered prior overviews and assessments of the challenges facing healthcare today and combined that information with our own views and experiences to establish our own vision of what needs to change and how information technology may play a role in achieving those changes.

The course also established a culture for electronic learning and best practices for learning in a virtual classroom. It also set the stage for the type of teamwork that will be required to make change in this environment.

I gained an appreciation for the skills my clinical colleagues contributed to the problem solving process and came away from the course understanding that politicians, legislators, lawyers, clinicians, technologists, educators, business people and consumers all will need to play a role in the adoption of HIT, if we aim to achieve our goals for healthcare reform in the US.

The sample work products I posted for this course show that I have gained a broad knowledge of America’s healthcare system and the major health care challenges we face. I’ve used reliable information to to clearly establish the need for change. My assertion that there is a connection between the application of health information technology and improvement for these current problems is well supported. The presentation titled, “Electronic Health Records: A Navigator’s Guide To Technology Adoption”, presents a realistic perspectives bringing about change in the complex environment that makes up America’s healthcare system.

This project also includes my first example of primary research in the context of my MMI program. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to observe the operation of a health center and document its experience adopting EHR technology. The information gained from field observation was very valuable. It validated many of the concepts being discussed in the course. It also substantiated the knowledge gained from our research in a very tangible way. I felt that doing primary research qualitatively improved the value of the project, and my learning experience as a whole.