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News 8/15/07

August 14, 2007 News No Comments

From John Winger: “Re: Ingenix and Healthia. I don’t see the fit. Healthia’s focus is professional services, primarily Epic implementations although they do other work at United. Not too surprising to me that their CFO would be here – I’ve seen their COO on site and just assumed it was related to consulting business development.”

From Jessica Bradford: “Re: Initiate. Anybody making any bets about why Initiate is going public? Could it be that Oracle is shopping for a strong partner for their healthcare EMPI business? God knows Oracle has bought enough companies recently that acquiring one more wouldn’t be beyond their business strategy. Or could IBM be the suitor? Inquiring minds would sure like to know ….” Maybe the CIA, the company’s investor, wants to bank some cash before the next election.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: RFID. TPD has been following the trend of incorporating radio frequency identification tags (RFID) in healthcare processes. It appears to make sense since there is so much equipment in hospitals and sometimes it can’t be found when needed. The RFID industry is expecting increased business the rest of this year and next year, according to a recent Frost and Sullivan Report, as the solution is finding its way into an increased number of institutions other than the traditional distribution channels. Since healthcare needs to improve efficiencies due to tight budgets, RFID makes sense, where knowing the location of valuable equipment can guarantee having the right equipment at the right time and place in such places as the OR and ED department. By having things handled more efficiently, institutions can cut down on new purchases and help the budgeting process.”

From Peter Smythe: “Re: HIMSS. Since you mentioned the amount McKesson’s paid for lobbyists this year, it might be interesting to see what HIMSS is paying for lobbying and advocacy, instead of using member dues and fees to help its membership. It seems that HIMSS has become what it professes to be against. The organization caters to vendors and spends money on the lobbyists instead of catering to and educating its membership. The number of almost daily HIMSS emails to members is bordering on spam, with the vast majority selling something. It might be that it has grown too large to fulfill its primary mission or it might be the leadership is more interested in personal recognition. HIMSS could take your lead and offer an RSS feed and brief weekly email that offers value.” They don’t put their 990 forms online that I can find. I’ll see if we can’t scare up a copy.

The Portland, OR city-wide RHIO (Health Data Exchange Group) is comatose and not expected to survive. Nobody wants to pay the $3.4 million needed this year or the $150K annual cost that each hospital would have to chip in. CIO Dick Gibson of Legacy Health was honest in saying that, in addition to the costs, hospitals would lose up to $10 million in those avoided duplicate tests that they still get paid for. Those involved can’t even reach consensus on why it’s tanking, which isn’t a good sign.

Good news from Sumter Hospital. The insurance company has agreed to replacement of the destroyed building. There’s work yet to be done, but that’s encouraging. Fundraising is underway to cover the $10 million shortfall.

Updates from Medicity from their newsletter: the Delaware Health Information Network (a Medicity client) received its state funding, despite earlier reports suggesting otherwise. Medicity’s Clinical Clearinghouse is mentioned, an ASP solution that routes information from hospital clinical systems to physician EMRs. There’s also a new version of ProAccess, 4.0.

Thanks to the readers who tipped me off early on the Perot acquisition of JJWild. HIStalk ran it first, of course, both as a rumor and as fact (that second part because a reader somehow found the announcement buried on a public Perot site even before the press release hit the wire). $89 million? Sweet. That’s quite a testament both to JJWild and to Meditech. Where else could you build a business worth that with one vendor package as your focus? Perot picks it up for 1x revenue, although that’s probably a good for a consulting outfit. FCG’s market cap is $247 million, which is just less than 1x revenue, but they’re a publicly traded company.

The KLAS Mid-Year Report ranks eScription’s EditScript software #1 in Transcription and Back-End Speech Recognition with a score of 90.74. That’s four years in a row.

Last reminder for now: the Brev+IT weekly newsletter comes only to those who sign up to your right. Also: I have some interviews coming up, but would like to do more with those on the provider side (informatics, IT leadership, hospital visionaries, etc.) If you’re interested and interesting, let me know.

McKesson’s Relay Health announces its NotifyRX product. It sends critical drug company announcements to pharmacies, such as recalls and packaging changes.

Google Health has been previewed to a few clinicians, some of whom spilled the beans. What it contains: a health profile, suggested treatments, drug interaction lookup, exercise regimens, pages for sharing information, prescription and appointment reminders, and provider directories. It had better be more exciting than it sounds since just about every starry eyed kid with web skills has come up with these ideas already. It may be more like a consumer magazine than an IT application and those always put me to sleep.

Irish wireless applications vendor Valentia Technologies will open an office in Dubai’s Healthcare City in November.

Merge Healthcare will restate revenue and faces delisting yet again after delaying financial reports after a review of accounting rules for maintenance revenue.

A senior diplomat in Korea’s Chinese embassy dies after receiving a Rocephin IV injection that a Chinese clinic gave him for a stomach ache (for some reason).

A big shareholder in Quality Systems, Inc. complains to the SEC over board governance. I didn’t realize that the company’s market cap is $1 billion, pretty much all it from the NextGen product, I assume. Founder Sheldon Razin’s shares are worth $98 million.

Workers at a hospital in Scotland are taking heat over their YouTube video “MRSA”, which features staff dressed like the Village People and singing altered lyrics to “YMCA”. The hospital is the third highest source of healthcare-related infections in Scotland, so we were not amused over there. I couldn’t find the video.

News, your great ideas: e-mail me.

Inga’s Update

I have enjoyed reading the first couple of Brev+ITs. Even though I read every word of HIStalk, I must admit that some topics don’t interest me as much and/or I don’t understand it all (!) Thus even as HIStalk Queen (as Mr. H likes to call me), I find that the quick and dirty summary is very helpful.That being said, I found that I had a bit of difference in opinion from Mr. H last week when he applauded the recommendations for EMRs to include anti-fraud tools. Not that I disagree with the need to reduce fraud. However, shouldn’t HHS worry as much (or more) about such things as insurance underpayment as they are seeming to worry about fraud? Which is more prevalent – fraud or insurance underpayment? Am I being cynical to think that the big insurance company lobbies are behind the efforts to reduce fraud … yet another way to not pay out as much? If HHS is going to serve as Big Brother to watch for fraud from the providers, shouldn’t they also ensure EMRs assist providers to receiving all the reimbursement to which they are entitled?

Northrop Grunmman Corporation is awarded a $10.3 million contract with the Department of Defense to deploy, enhance, and maintain the Clinical and Health Data Repository initiative to help the Defense Department and VA share patient information.

Misys PLC founder and former Chairman Kevin Lomax is now Executive Chair of Enigmatec, a UK-based company that provides policy-driven automation solutions for resource management.

Private equity firm Galen Partners has raised $250 million for investing in healthcare information technology and outsourcing, medical devices, and specialty pharmaceutical companies. Hope they are HIStalk subscribers since our readers always let us know about the hottest companies and trends.

SugarCRM, a provider of commercial open source customer relationship management (CRM) software, announces finalists for their Best of SugarCRM awards. While this has next to nothing to do with HIT (a couple of finalists did include athenahealth and Purkinje), I liked the creative names of a couple of the other finalists: Geeks on the Way and Eject-Stop-Divide.

Speaking of athenahealth, I have been reading the various comments on the HIStalk Forum that Dr. Kato started. The discussion started when Dr. Kato asked for other readers’ impressions of athena’s PM and EMR solutions. There has been some great commentary, some of it more globally about PM/EMR’s rather than just athena. I am not all of with it all, but many good thoughts that anyone considering a PM/EMR vendor should consider. Some things that came to mind for me:

  • Is it more important to pick a quality PM first or have an EMR that works for your doctors and practice? Personally, I believe that you must have an EMR that your doctors embrace or they won’t use it. Unfortunately, that means that the administrative and office staff could potentially end up with a billing system that is lacking some functionality (though truly most PMs all offer the basics).
  • I definitely agree that it is best to make sure have your PM solidly in place before starting on EMR, though with a brand new startup practice, you often have to get both going simultaneously.
  • I am glad to see that Dr. Kato is considering the financial stability of the vendors. Implementing an EMR and PM is too costly and disruptive to make a mistake.

Talk to Inga.

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