ross d. martin

A semi-regular diary of Dr. Martin's musings. Read. Discuss. Act.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The American College of Medical Informatimusicology is pleased to bring you an original work written and performed by ACMI's founding member, Dr. Ross D. Martin, MD, MHA, FACMI:

An Interoperetta in Three Acts

Who knew you could learn so much about the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act in under four minutes?

The Story Behind the Song

I had been thinking about writing a song for HITSP, CCHIT and AHIC for a couple of years, figuring it was time to tie a bow around the four other standards songs I've written - for NCPDP ("The Legend of Bob the DERF" - country & western tune about the standards-setting gunslingers of old), HL7 ("The Patient is Waiting" - a rock ballad), MedBiquitous ("The MedBiq Song" - a la Gilbert and Sullivan) and X12 ("The X12 Song" - R&B pop tune). All these songs are available on my MP3 page.
The inspiration for structure of the song, though, is actually about 20 years old. A classmate from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Dr. John Weigand, did a brilliant skit at our annual student talent show, sung by "The Weigand Trio," about his med school experience. It was three songs in one, just like this one; John used cassette recorders to "perform" the three parts at once. It was hysterical. So when it came time to write a song about three components of harmonizing standards, his idea seemed the perfect vehicle. I hadn't spoken to John since med school, so I looked him up on Google, emailed to make sure this was his original idea (it was) and make sure he was okay with me borrowing it (he was).
I wrote HITECH during a quick family vacation in Florida - mostly on the plane rides - back in March. Kym and Taylor are quite happy it's done so they don't have to listen to me running through the same 35-second song over and over again.This was probably one of the most complex songs I've ever written. Each verse had to layer on top of the other, syllable by syllable. Usually, I write lyrics in a little notebook, scratching out lines and words until it's just right. This one was just too difficult to write a verse at a time, so I had to literally do it on a spreadsheet so I could get it all to line up properly. I snapped a picture of it:

Writing the song turned out to be the easy part. The recording was done on a Zoom H2 (what a great little multi-track recorder!). Since HITECH at Deloitte is keeping me busy more than full time in "real life" work, I did most of the recording, videotaping and editing in the wee hours (just like I'm writing this blog post - after 1am). I did the audio editing using Audacity, the elegant and simple open source multi-track software tool, and the video editing with PowerDirector, the software that came with my JVC Everio, a good-enough camcorder. It was the editing that took forever - getting the timing just right, adding the scrolling captions, editing the audio so everything was balanced and the "sound effects" came out reasonably believable.

In the end, there were a dozen things I would want to do better - especially on the vocals front, but I just didn't want to spend any more time than I absolutely had to to get a decent result. So it is what it is and I hope you enjoy the video. Please let me know what you think - either by posting a comment here or on YouTube or by sending me an email. And if you need some real, serious work done around HITECH, my colleagues and I at Deloitte Consulting would be happy to help. Just send the Deloitte HITECH Response Team an email.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Announcement of New Position at BearingPoint

BearingPoint sent out a press release today announcing my new role as Director of Health Information Convergence within the Healthcare and Life Sciences Segment of the organization. I thought that title would be pretty decriptive of what I will be doing in this new phase of my career. But, perhaps more importantly, the title maximizes my opportunity for involvement while minimizing my accountability for anything approaching tangible results. If I'm successful (not that there's really any way to measure success), I might have a shot at becoming BearingPoint's Chief Paradigm Officer...

On a less silly note, I'm very excited about the new job and have already found opportunities to make myself useful. Below is a brief description of what I see my role becoming over time, which is followed by the press release.

What I’m Doing at Bearingpoint

I worked for Pfizer for six years beginning in 2001. My last four years there focused heavily on Health Information Technology (HIT) standards and policies and the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and Electronic Prescribing (eRx), Electronic Health Records (EHRs), Personal Health Records (PHRs), and the emerging Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN). About a year ago, my commercially focused informatics group merged with one from Research & Development, giving us a much-needed opportunity to build a more consistent approach to HIT across the organization. And it gave me the chance to look at ways that HIT policies and standards affect the R&D side of the organization.

The recent changes at Pfizer (continual announcements of reorganization, adapting to scale, and “transformation”) made it increasingly difficult to focus on external environmental activities that, while truly transformational, were really in support of the long-term redesign entire pharmaceutical industry, not just Pfizer’s. While Pfizer was very supportive of the work, in the context of the short-term focus of the organization, it was difficult to justify some of the larger initiatives that wouldn’t return any direct value to Pfizer for several years. I was being courted by several consulting firms that were familiar with my work and history and made the decision to pursue one of these opportunities with BearingPoint.

Like many of its competitors, BearingPoint, is involved in many different industry sectors. In healthcare, we have deep relationships with many Life Sciences companies (including Pfizer) and with hospital systems, Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs) and others as systems integrators and strategy consultants. We implement large-scale systems like Cerner, McKesson, Epic, etc. We also do a lot of work for HHS and serve as the Project Management Office for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC or ONCHIT). From this vantage point, BearingPoint has asked me to find ways to make use of all these points of involvement and create synergies between them.

Matching patients to clinical trials through Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs) is but one example of this kind of opportunity. My ideal scenario would be to build a coalition of entities – including various RHIOs, IDNs and a core group of Life Sciences companies – to collaborate on common methods for health information exchange related to clinical research. In this way, we can help defray some of the long-term costs related to enabling these capabilities while tying them to real-world implementations.

One more specific example is the work I’ve been doing over the last few years on HL7’s Guideline Expression Language, GELLO. I’ve been working with a number of collaborators to develop open source authoring tools for creating standardized clinical expressions GELLO that can be used for many purposes in clinical care – including matching patients to clinical trials. Materials on this work are available at There is a video in particular that goes over its use in prior authorization that may be of interest.

The Press Release

Jodi Cohen
Director, Global Communications

For immediate release

BearingPoint Names Dr. Ross D. Martin
Director of Health Information Convergence

McLean, Va., April 25, 2007 – BearingPoint, Inc. (NYSE: BE), one of the world’s largest management and technology consulting firms, today announced the appointment of Dr. Ross Martin, as director of Health Information Convergence in the Global Healthcare and Life Sciences practice (HLS). He brings more than 15 years of experience in healthcare as an obstetrician, urgent-care physician, health information technology (HIT) journalist, managed care and medical informatics consultant, and for the last six years, medical informatician at Pfizer.

Martin will be responsible for cultivating opportunities in BearingPoint’s HLS segment (hospital, physician, payer, government and life sciences) to accelerate information flow among healthcare stakeholders through HIT. Martin brings key skills to the firm’s strong position in the ePrescribing area of the life sciences industry, and he supplements the firm’s complement of physician consultants across all sectors of BearingPoint’s HLS segment.

Most recently, Martin was the director of Healthcare Informatics at Pfizer Inc. where he initiated and led many of Pfizer’s efforts to influence national standards and policies for electronic prescribing, electronic health records, personal health records, online medical education and the emerging Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN).

Martin serves on the Consumer Empowerment Workgroup of the American Health Information Community and on the boards of the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs and the HIT Standards Panel. He has conducted in-depth field research in eRx and advocated for and led a cross-industry volunteer team in the creation of a standards-mapping guidance document enabling the exchange of electronic prescriptions between inpatient and outpatient settings in the U.S.

“We are thrilled to announce the appointment of such an accomplished medical professional,” said Phil Garland, senior vice president and head of the Global Life Sciences practice. “Martin’s experience in health informatics, policy, business and clinical medicine combined with BearingPoint’s deep industry expertise will allow us to help build a more consistent approach toward HIT across pharmaceutical organizations.”

“I am excited to join BearingPoint’s Global Healthcare and Life Sciences practice and look forward to contributing even more to the transformation of both the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries through the convergence of clinical research and clinical care,” said Martin. “By working with BearingPoint colleagues embedded throughout healthcare and other industries, I hope to help leverage our unique position as a global company capable of both developing and implementing the array of strategies necessary to build synergies among life sciences companies, healthcare providers, payers and other stakeholders.”

Martin earned a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Wright State University, received his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati and earned a masters degree of health services administration from Xavier University. He also held a National Institute of Health fellowship in medical informatics at the Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology.

About BearingPoint, Inc.

BearingPoint, Inc. (NYSE: BE) is one of the world's largest providers of management and technology consulting services to Global 2000 companies and government organizations in 60 countries worldwide. Based in McLean, Va., the firm has over 17,000 employees and major practice areas focusing on the Public Services, Financial Services and Commercial Services markets. For nearly 100 years, BearingPoint professionals have built a reputation for knowing what it takes to help clients achieve their goals, and working closely with them to get the job done. For more information, visit the Company's website at


Some of the statements in this press release constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on our current expectations, estimates and projections. Words such as “will,” “expects,” “believes” and similar expressions are used to identify these forward-looking statements. These statements are only predictions and as such are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Forward-looking statements are based upon assumptions as to future events or our future financial performance that may not prove to be accurate. Actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed or forecast in these forward-looking statements. As a result, these statements speak only as of the date they were made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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