The No Matter Where: Health Care Documentary

The health care documentary, “No Matter Where”, tracks the transformation of how patients, doctors & care teams share information. The film tells the story of HIE via everyone from Hurricane Katrina survivors to health care digital leaders. The filmmaker, Kevin B. Johnson, M.D., M.S., is the chief informatics officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The No Matter Where documentary brings alive the concept of health information exchange and its importance to effective and safe health care.  To assume that doctors always have access to your medical information, no matter where it is needed, is wrong. Your medical information may be trapped behind a closed door--unable to be retrieved when you are in the emergency room, or the victim of a natural disaster, or even when you are traveling. However, thanks to ordinary citizens exhibiting extraordinary tenacity, we have begun to witness a transformation in the healthcare system, where patient information is available no matter where it is needed. This transformation has been slow, at times painful, occasionally dramatic, unfortunately, traumatic to some, and not universally supported. This 76-minute documentary follows the journey of pioneers who have shepherded us into this era and provides a glimpse into the lives of patients, healthcare providers and advocates and adversaries from the public and private sectors. Follow a team of crusaders—doctors, nurses, widows, parents, and spouses--working to fix this problem.

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Brief Synopsis

We are witnessing the end of an era–an era where doctors and nurses had to deliver care without knowing a patient’s medical history, other than what patients might recall, what family members might have noted, or what individual medical records might contain. Thanks to ordinary citizens exhibiting extraordinary tenacity, we have begun to witness a transformation in the healthcare system, where patient information is available no matter where it is needed.  This transformation has been slow, at times painful, occasionally dramatic, unfortunately traumatic to some, and not universally supported.  This documentary follows the journey of pioneers who have shepherded us into this era, and provides a glimpse into the lives of patients, healthcare providers and advocates and adversaries from the public and private sectors./p>

 

THE ISSUES

A Note from Executive Producer Dr. Kevin B. Johnson

At first glance, it might be an obvious conclusion that since many clinical practices use computers to record information and to look up past records, and since hospitals also use computers to look up information, these clinical practices must be exchanging data among themselves and among hospitals in the region. Unfortunately, while this has been a dream for many decades, it has yet to be fully realized in this country. This process, known as health information exchange, is an absolutely critical, though uncommonly available process up until very recently, and even then only in some locations. When I first told my family about the work being done to make this happen, and about the pace of that work, they were somewhat surprised. However, as we went through the reasons why this has not happened across the country, It became clear what a hard problem this has become.

And while health care information can be a lifesaver, some institutions appear to be more in favor of outdated ideas, or seemingly useful distractions - like the recent emphasis on germ control and the notion of budgeting for cleaning supplies & equipment especially if at the expense of information technology upgrades. We need clean environments, but using disinfectants and germ killing agents is not new. We all know this already and while every health care facility is assumed to have cleanliness protocols in place, they should not be used as an excuse to avoid technological upgrades that make health care information useful - and potentially lifesaving.

It is extremely challenging, although not the least bit because of technical issues. Rather it is because patients do not ask for it, not all clinicians believe they need it, no one is willing to pay for it, and because some of the basic standards to connect one system to another are adopted by one system but not the other. Like many of the major advances in this country and in the world, these standards are a critical part of the equation. There are people all over the country working to achieve this, and they are slowly making progress. Like the Union Pacific Railroad, the moonshot, the automated teller machine, and a number of large national projects, health information exchange is a complex project that will take years to complete. No Matter Where scratches the surface of these complex issues that have been dealt with in recent times by a number of private foundations, public/private partnerships, and public entities.

 

CREDITS

 

Dr. Kevin B. Johnson

FILMMAKER

Kevin B. Johnson, MD, MS is Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Pediatrics and Biomedical Informatics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He is a national expert in clinical information systems development and evaluation, and has published over 100 articles, abstracts, and book chapters in the field. He has received numerous grants and major awards for his research. Dr. Johnson is a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American College of Medical Informatics, and the American Pediatric Society, in recognition of his leadership and success in both pediatrics and biomedical informatics. Kevin is a long-time advocate in helping the nation’s healthcare system better utilize patient data for treatment, as well as for discovery and improving the system. He brings to this foray into the world of filmmaking his more than 30 years of experience in music, theatre and photography—all ways to communicate important issues, feelings, and opinions to a wide audience.

 

Barry Simmons

DIRECTOR

Barry Simmons is the Founder of StoneCastle Pictures, an award-winning producer of medically-focused documentaries, including “Your Genome and the Future of Medicine” (TV Special), “Where Discovery Brings Hope” (TV Special), “Sons of Lwala” (Documentary).  Mr. Simmons has a history of work in both movie production and news reporting, which will be critical to the story discovery process for this documentary. Today, in addition to making documentaries, Barry and his team travel the world on behalf of clients to discover and capture their own real-life stories. Trained at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Barry has received fellowships to the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and The International Reporting Project at Johns Hopkins University-SAIS.

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