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News 06/08/07

June 7, 2007 News 5 Comments

From Rowdy Yates: “Re: Kaiser. Kaiser IT is reorging again. Announcements and new org chart went out yesterday with no names attached. Some current VPs have to be out since, by my count, there are fewer slots than VPs. New CIO said there will be jobs lost and jobs added so the new head count won’t be finalized right away.”

From Fish n’ Chips: “Re: COBOL. Per Computerworld, my COBOL skills are dead? I beg to differ. At the ripe old age of 54, I get weekly job (consulting) offers. Mostly for LastWord/Carecast gigs.” That’s what you wanted to hear, though … it will drive all the young ‘uns and foreigners into something sexier, thereby raising your price. Mr. HIStalk loves him some personally enriching supply and demand.

From Father Pablo Ramirez: “Re: PC Connection. PC Connection seems to be legitimizing healthcare being placed in its own business unit by its HealthConnection Summit, following CDW Healthcare’s creation of its own channel. I saw John Wade, former CIO of St. Luke’s, there and he was spot-on fantastic and knows his stuff, both as a CIO and an IT practitioner.” Maybe he should be interviewed here? I’m always on the lookout for interesting folks to talk to with you HIStalkers listening in. Nominees?

The proud unveiling: HIStalk2 is now up and running. Professionally designed (E. Webscapes), illustrated (Samantha Wise), and powered (WordPress.) It has cool features, like the ability to print an article, nice comments display, and RSS feeds (I’ve enabled full text.) It will have the same articles, sponsor ads, and text ads as the ‘regular’ HIStalk, so choose whichever you like better for reading. How’s that for choice?

HIStalk2 logo

So why two HIStalk versions? Two reasons: redundancy and design. Blog City is a great host, but the last scheduled downtime was hard. If HIStalk.com won’t come up, just go to HIStalk2.com instead. Plus, it looks very cool, and WordPress is so Web 2.0 that I bet even Scott Shreeve is jealous.

Last HIStalk2 item: most people get to HIStalk by clicking on the e-mail link when I write something new. You won’t get a second e-mail from HIStalk2, so the only way to get to the new site is to type it in directly: www.histalk2.com. Remember that if the original HIStalk goes down.

Here’s another HIStalk sponsor benefit: you’ll get to speak to the lovely Inga! She has graciously agreed to assist by contacting current and prospective sponsors to see how we can help. If the HIStalk value proposition wasn’t already already killer enough, well, there you go.

Speaking of sponsors, a tip of the glass to Hayes Management Consulting on their being named to the Top 100 HIT providers in the country for 2007 by Healthcare Informatics. Other sponsors named: Healthia Consulting, Picis, and InterSystems. Ignore those other 96 companies since they don’t have the strategic insight to join our merry band. This is one of few awards I actually pay attention to, by the way, because it isn’t phony or biased.

Walgreens’ licenses kiosk and EMR software from Ethidium Health Systems for use in its Take Care Health Systems retail clinics.

New poll to your right: would you invest your money in David Brailer‘s equity fund? He’s not saying how much he’s making off the deal. Lots, I’m sure.

EpicTide announces GA of its FairWarning Policy Engine, a security appliance that monitors audit logs out of the box for Cerner, Centricity, Misys, McKesson, and other common healthcare applications.

McKesson flexes its legendary core competency: it brands the Horizon name on somebody else’s cow. I predicted it a month ago: “McKesson licenses the Anesthesia Information Management System from DocuSys. Shockingly, nothing was mentioned about calling it Horizon, although I have no doubt that’s already underway.” Maybe they should buy another of their key technology providers: HL7. As much as we purists beef, they’re still making pots more money than the folks who build stuff, in most cases.

Hoboken University Medical Center (NY) outsources IT to NIT Health.

Cleveland Clinic will manage Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in the United Arab Emirates. Cleveland Clinic’s surgery chair is named CEO and will take four colleagues along to fill key management positions, among them CIO.

Military computing problem: the MC4 battlefield computing system runs on Win2K, which isn’t allowed on some military networks because of security concerns. That’s according to an internal briefing, which also says that healthcare providers are poorly trained on MC4 and the patient tracking application.

HIT may become the first of few national issues to gain non-partisan consensus.

Ex-con Paris Hilton: “… I have my family, my friends, and my fans to support me …” Fans of what, exactly?

CSC finally comes out and says it may bid for iSoft. Happy to reciprocate in the now-consensual relationship, iSoft stops suing them. The company’s character has been established; now they’re just negotiating price.

Bizarre lawsuit: a man buys a Boost Plus drink at a local drugstore (it’s a milkshake-type nutrition drink.) He says he woke up the next morning with “an erection that would not subside.” He’s suing the company that makes it. They’re probably secretly thrilled at the sure-fire millions that news of the suit will bring.

A VA hospital’s education coordinator uses e-mail to send a class roster that includes employee names and the last four digits of their SSN. The whole idea of a SSN being super-secret and a target for no-gooders is recent. Time for an extra layer of security, I expect, once having knowledge of a number and nothing else can open the vault.

Funding for the Delaware Health Information Network is axed from the dwindling state budget.

VISICU names Elaine Comeau as its chief nursing executive.

News, rumors, amusing cynicism: e-mail me, or use the confidential Rumor Report form to your right. Have a great weekend.


Inga’s Update

Special thanks to Zach Mortensen,who proved to be a guru regarding the whys and hows a company like QSI/NextGen would pay out a dividend rather than invest that same money in R&D. He had several good theories that made sense, including:

  • A little-understood fact of the software business is that the incremental cost of adding each new feature increases exponentially as a function of software size, while the incremental benefit of each new feature increases at a much slower rate. Software systems eventually reach a point where the incremental cost of a new feature is greater than its incremental benefit, and it therefore makes no sense to “re-invest” in features. If QSI has come to the realization that continued software development might not make economic sense, they are smarter than the average software vendor.
  • Two insiders control 19% and 17% of the shares, respectively. Each stands to bank north of $1MM in dividends without the need to sell shares.

I am intrigued by the newly announced coalition called Health IT Now!. Their mission is to promote the rapid deployment of heath information technology and will be pushing for federal legislation by the end of 2007. The founding members include a couple of former Congressmen and a cross section of influential medical, professional, and other organizations. It will be interesting to see if this group is able to pull together and have some effect, especially in this year of presidential pre-election posturing.

The US Attorney’s Office has settled with the Harris County Medical District for over $15 million, in connection with a lawsuit alleging improper Medicare/Medicaid billing. The original suit was filed in 2003 by an employee who accused his employer of submitting claims to Medicare and Medicaid without first billing the primary commercial insurance carrier.

Duke Clinical Research Institute concludes that extra pay does not improve hospital performance. The study is interesting, but to take the non-patient, perhaps cynical view of things, P4P is important to HIT not just because of outcomes, but, because it affects reimbursements. Let’s assume a physician is already providing quality care. HIT can give the provider the necessary tools (EMR, etc.) to document that care and thus be paid (extra?) for the care. Healthcare IT is thus a necessity just to assure proper payment if P4P is going to be the benchmark for payment.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. Wow! Love the new site! I assume that is a representation of Mr. Histalk himself. Somehow I never figured you for a pipe smoking kind of guy. Now I am picturing a tweed jacket with leather elbows. Perhaps Walt Cleaver.

  2. As much as I love seeing old technology suffering, I didn’t like the ComputerWorld article didn’t actually seem to be doing any, well, RESEARCH. In other words, the article was more along the lines of a “my favorite ten movies” list rather than data analysis.

    But yeah, I think I speak for a lot of “younguns” when I say that there’s no way I’m touching COBOL (or yeah, MUMPS either) if I have any say in the matter.

    And while I’m here, I’ll mention that while it’s nice to have redundant services, there are a lot of benefits to keeping everything on a single URL. Like MEDITECH.com and MEDITECH2.com, it’s great to have a backup in case the main site goes down. UNLIKE MEDITECH2.com, your Google PageRank matters (MEDITECH doesn’t have advertising, or even spider-able content on their website).

    So the short way to say all this is that there’s a reason no one else on this planet (besides MEDITECH, which has its own gravity) has two public-facing URLs.

    Anyway, I like the new design.

  3. I was reading my Healthcare Informatics dead tree issue yesterday going “what crap, why can’t they get this right” so I started writing an article about it. I was so appalled by the nice things that MrHISTalk said about the list that I thought I’d have a small shot at him too! see it at http://tinyurl.com/29xypd







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