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Monday Morning Update 8/6/07

August 4, 2007 News 1 Comment

From Morrie Kessler: “Re: Perot Systems. On the acquisition hunt? Any ideas of who it could be?” The company announces that Q2 revenue was up 11%, but EPS dropped to $0.18 vs. $0.21. As part of the announcement, Perot says it will acquire a company with $80-90 million in revenue in the next few weeks (OK, I need to know who … whisper it to me). They also mentioned a plan to acquire two or three companies each year in their focus areas, with an interest in expanding outside the US (i.e. “we need cheap offshore labor like FCG and those other guys”).

From Paul Cicero: “Re: Kaiser. Even the Kaiser-bashing Sac Bee pointed out that the surgeon accused of killing the mentally retarded, dying patient for the purpose of harvesting his organs, who actually didn’t die when they took him off life support and gave him a stunning amount of drugs in order to ease his assumed passage, wasn’t working as a Kaiser physician when he was performing his service. I know you are not a Kaiser basher, so I thought I’d point that out.” Thanks. I didn’t catch that in the story. That may keep Kaiser off the inevitable lawsuit list, although having him on staff and providing him with what I assume is the bulk of his livelihood can’t be good PR nonetheless.

From Buffy Patterson-Davis: “Re: Intel’s Craig Barrett. You are soooo right! He has been insufferable at the AHIC meetings that I have attended. Just ridiculous. He seems to think that attaching a few devices to a home health care network will solve the whole problem. I’m always impressed at how polite the clinicians are in the crowd when he is speaking – they never boo. I’ve heard a lot of corporate execs talking about health care lately and the bottom line has been a deep fury at having to spend money on the benefits. I mean, they are livid. They try to hide it, but it just bursts out. I sat next to the heir of a prominent company at a meeting and the resentment was plain. They just don’t want to pay. Period. They don’t want to pay taxes, either.”

From Billy Batts: “Re: UPMC. Interesting discussion about UPMC’s environment. A couple of comments: 1) cost savings and cost avoidance are very different. If you project sizable costs and then avoid them, that’s not the same as cost savings, which are usually measured from your existing cost base. Much of UPMC’s public statements about costs appear to be based more on avoidance than savings. And of course, there is somewhat of an incentive to project future costs as high as possible so that the avoidance of those costs looks really good. 2) Going from 40 servers at $500K down to six servers at $6.5K defies common sense. If UPMC’s engineers are really going to ‘roll out an application to additional sites’ and claim to be able to do it with a half dozen desktop machines, there is a major disconnect somewhere. So I wouldn’t necessarily bet on UPMC in this case. 3) Holland should be more cautious in his claims. We have been heavily virtualized with both servers and storage for several years, as is the case with other healthcare sites. It’s tiresome to keep hearing how far behind we are. Healthcare is arguably the most complex industry in our economy and our IT environments reflect this. Claiming that we should have the same technology environment as much simpler industries demonstrates a lack of appreciation for the challenges we face in our business, and is not a reflection of ‘how good we are’.”

And speaking of UPMC, Inga tried, at Art Vandelay’s suggestion, to connect with UPMC to talk about virtualization. She got a curt “no” in response to her request for an interview. We’ve got a few UPMC readers, so the first words I thought of (an old, crude saying) involve people you’d sleep with, but not bring home to meet the family. I guess we don’t have the cachet of those inexperienced kid journalists who’ve never worked a day in either healthcare or IT. Maybe I should ban UPMC’s IP address from reading here.

I’ll be writing and sending the first Brev+IT shortly. Consider this a beta test, just in case I mess up the formatting or e-mailing. I see 141 subscribers so far. I may post the first issue online to encourage (or discourage, depending on how it goes) new signups. UPDATE: First issue is here. Subscribe to your right if interested.

Sponsor website cruise: (1) I see that Healthia has some interesting consultant positions open for clinicals, surgery, pharmacy, radiology, and HIM, to name a few. If your consultant employer has chewed you up and spit you out, give them a look – they’ve got a great reputation for being employee-friendly. (2) EnovateIT has redesigned their site, I notice, and you can more easily find specific products from a front-page product selector. (3) You probably noticed EHRConsultant’s rotating ads to your left, which now describe the company’s main offerings: the EHRscope product guide, their Naturally Speaking product line with 12 medical vocabularies, and the flagship EHR Consultant service for matching physicians with EHRs. (4) Our friends at Pring|Pierce Executive Search are ready to apply their industy experience to place executive-level talent (sales, marketing, strategy) reliably, effectively, and professionally. (5) Providers who need assistance with strategic planning, operational assessments, patient safety, and contract negotiation (and who doesn’t) and at the right price (even better) should give a look at MedMatica Consulting Associates. They’ll put experienced, regional resources on the ground quickly and cost-effectively to energize your projects and maybe keep you from getting fired when your teams are in over their heads. (6) Last but not least, our colleagues at The White Stone Group can help with documenting and managing communications, such as in denials management and caregiver hand-off (Joint Commission, anyone?) Who couldn’t use a patient-indexed communications capture system that involves minimal IT headaches and slam-dunk ROI? Please help HIStalk by clicking sponsor ads to your left and checking out what they offer. They keep HIStalk coming free and I appreciate them.

I ran across a press release from Lucida Healthcare Group that describes cool technology they came up with for recruiting traveling nurses. They have trucks carrying mobile billboards that invite sending a cell phone text message for more information. Then, data from the GPS systems in the trucks is merged with the incoming call records to measure the effectiveness of each truck’s route, allowing re-routing for optimal ad response. That’s almost as good a testimonial for their savvy as their HIStalk sponsorship (shameless plug by me).

Alamance Regional (NC) chooses SIS surgery through their Eclipsys partnership.

Any Travel, Inc. may be suing Misys for supposedly trashing its El Dorado office buildings in Tucson, but apparently the damage wasn’t bad enough to discourage buyers. The property has been sold for $5.8 million to a company that will gut the buildings in turning them into a multi-tenant complex.

A physician systems consultant criticizes the industry in a letter to the editor of a Vermont newspaper: “What I saw, all too frequently, was a prime example of people in the computer technology field taking advantage of others that have little knowledge of the technology involved. I saw one office pay nearly $7,000 each for computers that were worth $300 and then buy software that was more than 10 years out of date … An electronic medical records system is just software in which a vast amount of information is saved and interlinked. Most modern commercial, off-the-shelf database management software can be programmed so easily that even complex networked or Internet-based software can be custom developed to create centralized software applications that service a large number of geographically dispersed offices.”

Scottsdale Healthcare (AZ) is piloting what its vendors say is the first patient room service meal system that checks dietary restrictions and allergies.

FCG reports lackluster Q2 numbers: flat revenue, EPS $0.12 vs $0.20. They tried hard in the announcement to confuse readers into comparing the current EPS with those from last quarter instead of Q2 ’06, or at least it appears to me. Shares jumped nearly 9% on the encouraging news that profits tanked, but not as bad as everybody expected.

A California judge orders jurors in a medical malpractice case not to see Michael Moore’s Sicko, which featured a similar case. Good advice they probably didn’t need: the movie has done only $22 million of business, although Moore’s deal is 50% of the gross, so his stomach is jiggling all the way to the bank. If it ends up doing as well as his previous movie, he’ll pocket over $100 million (plus a huge cut of DVD sales) for doing whatever it is he does. You have to love a socialist blowhard with a populist message who’s worth more than the captains of industry he hates (and who actually create jobs). Plus, his foundation (with minimal donations to actual causes) has owned shares in Halliburton, defense contracting giants, and even those carmakers he ripped in Roger and Me. He also claimed in a previous movie that he would “hire only black people,” but not even one has crept into the credits so far. And, he proclaims disdain for copyright laws, except when he’s demanding that people not download his own movies. “When Moore flew to London to visit people at the BBC or promote a film, he took the Concorde and stayed at the Ritz. But he also allegedly booked a room at a cheap hotel down the street where he could meet with journalists and pose as a ‘man of humble circumstances.” What a gasbag.

CPSI promotes Darrell West from controller to CFO.

I didn’t realize you cared so much for Clarion Health Center (PA) It was darned nice of you to send $100,000 of your Federal tax dollars to them to help pay for their EMR software.

Wisconsin hospitals are going crane-crazy erecting new Taj Mahospitals. Bet they’ll keep those diagnostic machines cranking to cover the $1 billion tab. In fact, a local business guy claims it’s driving up healthcare costs (duh) and that Milwaukee alone has more MRI machines than in all of Canada. Children’s Wisconsin wins the prize at a $2 million per bed project (children’s hospitals are always out of control financially because “it’s for the kids”, meaning “don’t dare question our budgets or we’ll drag out awww-inducing snapshots of tykes while you’re PowerPointing financial statements”). Here’s my theory: non-profit guys don’t get juicy stock options, so they spend the money building monuments to their own wonderfulness, convincing themselves it’s really for the patients or the community. The execs at places I’ve worked couldn’t wait to put on their honorary hard hats and run around the job site looking important. Hint: hire more nurses (or build a cheap, functional nursing school and graduate a lot more of them) if you want to do the community a favor. And, if you want to get really crazy, cut prices for the uninsured.

CareTech Solutions announces its BoardNet product, a secure communications portal for hospital board members.

Meditech’s latest quarterly SEC filings: revenue up 11.3%, EPS $0.67 vs. $0.59.

Talk to me.


Scot Silverstein’s Mr. Ed Lyrics

Well, I’m embarrassed. I’ve never watched Mr. Ed (it seemed too stupid even among stupid TV shows), so I didn’t recognize the theme lyrics that Scot wrote were the originals. Still, that inspired him to compose his own, in honor of Craig Barrett and his EMR-powered horses.A horse is a horse
Of course, of course
And no one can talk to a horse of course
That is of course unless the horse
Has an equine EHR.

Go right to the source and ask the horse
He’ll give you the medical history that you’ll endorse
He’s always on a steady course
The horse has EHR!

People yakity-yak a streak
And waste your time of day,
But a horse will never speak
Unless he has something medical to say!

A horse is a horse
Of course, of course
And this one will complain about EHR privacy ’till his voice is hoarse
You never heard of a talking horse?
Well listen to this:
“I am a horse with EHR!”



Inga’s Update

Premier Healthcare Alliance names Randy Thomas vice president of Integrated Product Management and Marketing. She comes from IBM and, before, that TSI and Eclipsys.iMedica announces their customer based has increased 76% in the first six months of 2007 as 77 new clients have purchased their EMR/PM integrated solution. iMedica, based in Dallas, was started by several old Millbrook employees after GE acquired Millbrook. I have heard the iMedica product has functionality similar to GE Centricity (the old Millbrook product) but with lots of technological bells and whistles such as .NET.

Thanks to Bill Lynch of Axolotl, who took the time to write a note reminding me that despite Santa Barbara’s RHIO failure, there have been other efforts that are making good progress. “HIEs/RHIOs have been up and running, successfully, for quite a while. HealthBridge, Taconic/THINC, Quality Health Network and many others have shown what can be done if you build your HIE with committed partners, candid communications, clinician-first workflows, and proven technology.”

A couple in Arkansas just had their 17th child. Wow. Why, why, why? Guess it is not as odd as the lady in Mexico City who kept her dead husband in her bedside and had her adult son remove the worms every so often. Our little HIT world seems so ho-hum and mundane when you compare it to such “real world” happenings.

Inga’s listening.

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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Billy – maybe I missed something but no one is saying that healthcare is not complex and that there aren’t some organizations that have forged ahead with virtualization. Rather – I think Mr. Holland and myself were merely stating that vendors give a ridiculous song-and-dance to avoid having to think about moving their non-regulated products forward. No one said we are “not good”. I think you are reading too much into the brief comments.







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