Upbeat environment needs skepticism

By Jack Beaudoin
12:00 AM

Although this is our third issue of Healthcare IT News, we view this month's newspaper as our true debut. Not only has our circulation list more than doubled, but we're also arriving in Orlando at our first HIMSS Annual Conference, where our staff will produce daily newspapers to give conference attendees the best possible coverage of events, activities and news.

It's an auspicious time. The economy is in recovery. There is widespread recognition - from the public as well as the policymakers - that our healthcare system is poised to take a quantum leap forward in patient safety, efficiencies and innovation, if the nation makes investments in IT.

Three of the most influential politicians in this country - President George Bush, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton - have all issued calls to create or significantly upgrade our healthcare IT infrastructure as part of an overall healthcare prescription.

In such an atmosphere, it would be easy to get tangled up in the excitement. Indeed, almost every story suggestion that crosses our desks seems bullish on the next sure thing, the fervently awaited tipping point, the latest and greatest technology that will put an end to medical errors.

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It's the newspaper's role, we think, to help readers sort the wheat and the chaff, the reality from the marketing hype, the news in D.C. and the 50 state capitols from the lobbyists' spin. In order to do this, we've embraced the journalistic values that are the bedrock of most daily newspapers in this country. Our staff has been assembled with an eye towards experience in daily newspapering so that critical values - such as objectivity, clear and concise writing, healthy skepticism, reliance on demonstrable facts and timeliness - are built into every story that appears between the covers of Healthcare IT News.

That doesn't mean we've ignored the importance of knowing the industry. Managing editor Fred Bazzoli, based in Chicago, has been covering the healthcare IT space for two decades for a number of excellent publications. Our San Francisco-based editor, Patty Enrado, has covered healthcare and biotech IT for many years, and is well positioned to cover the payer beat based on her past employment for one of the nation's big insurers.

News/online editor Bernie Monegain has impeccable credentials to her job, having edited both daily newspapers as well as a high-tech business newspaper. Recently, Monegain inaugurated our daily news coverage at our Web site (www.healthcareitnews.com) and e-newsletter, Healthcare IT NewsWeek. Every day, she scours hundreds of sources of news and whittles it down to the top five stories, tells you why they're important to note, and provides direct links to sources.

Other bylines should not be unfamiliar to readers. Our HIMSS conference coverage will be bolstered by writers Diane Dannefeldt, Bruce Bunschoten and John Andrews, all of whom have covered healthcare IT for years. (Note: If you're not in Orlando, follow the latest news on the Web, either at our site or at www.HIMSS.org).

Our editorial credo is straightforward: The most valuable commodity our readers possess is their time - if we waste it, they won't be our readers for long.

So we endeavor every day to provide trustworthy, need-to-know news, backed up by credible sources, in a package that readers can read quickly but depend on for a long time to come.

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