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.
Outliers: Calling tech support
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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