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News 8/29/07

August 28, 2007 News No Comments

From The PACS Designer: “Re: middleware. TPD has commented on service-oriented architecture in the past and wanted to expand on it since it’s the ‘middleware’ software concept that employs SOA. Middleware is a term for software applications that allow various software programs to communicate with each other. Many HIStalk interviewees have discussed middleware. Since it is a fairly new concept, not much has been published about it, even though it’s growing rapidly according to Oracle, which recently stated that it is now a billion-dollar business for them. With the diverse environment within healthcare practices, it sounds like SOA middleware is the concept to bring healthcare new efficiencies for daily  activities that wasn’t available in the past. Oracle Magazine had an article about middleware in their July-August 2007 edition titled ‘Hands-free Management’.”

From XSQ: “Re: Windber. A few weeks ago, Mr. HIStalk posted a blurb about the Windber Medical Center breaking away from the Conemaugh Health System (CHS). Intresting note on CHS that it’s Sidney Goldblatt’s (of Sunquest) home turf and he’s on the board. I agree Nick Jacobs from WMC would be a great interview.” You’ll be pleased to know that CEO Nick Jacobs has agreed to do an HIStalk interview, which I sought at your suggestion. We just have to work around our full-time jobs to find a time.

From Stan Saber: “Re: GE. Are you hearing anything from the GE user group meeting in Boston? Any promises of what’s coming from IHC?” I haven’t heard anything, so I’d appreciate an update from someone who went.

From Neeve deMick: “Re: wireless. Wireless comes up in every market survey as a key obstacle to EMR adoption. Hospitals spend millions on EMR/IT, then get limited or no return because of poor networks. Many EMR benefits are tied to point-of-care and network performance and reliability. COWs sit in the hallways and trench nurses deal with poor solutions while their ‘most wired’ CIOs do national IT speeches. No wonder there is a huge disconnect between dollars spent and user adoption and satisfaction.”

From Jeese: “Re: iMedica. You have mentioned several times that iMedica was started by former Millbrook execs. This is not the case. The former Millbrook execs came to iMedica after Millbrook was sold to GE around 2002-2003. The company was already up and running with a product. Most of the current senior management at iMedica is made up of former Millbrook execs.”

From Bumblebeast: “Re: QuadraMed. The Keith Hagen interview makes interesting reading in light of two happenings since then: (a) Quantim has lost its VP of product management and three product managers, and (b) with the Misys CPR acquisition, you have to believe that Affinity will be relegated to the dust bin, especially since Affinity and Quantim couldn’t be integrated as easily as Quantim and other clinical systems.”

From Portia Control: “Re: IBA. I hear that a juicy scandal will be coming out related to IBA and a deal in Thailand.”

Sorry if you got multiple copies of the e-mail update message about Misys today. The good news is that I had found (and hopefully fixed) a hopelessly obscure server problem that may have explained why some folks haven’t been getting the updates. If you’re a Unix geek, it involves changing the batch submission to a cron job to avoid auto-killing and restarting the Apache HTTP services that run the bulk mail script after memory consumption redlines.

Motorola is suing wireless network vendor Aruba Networks for patent infringement.

I mentioned in Brev+IT what sounds like to me a big waste of taxpayer dollars paid to SAIC for building and maintaining the DoD’s AHLTA system. Someone who should know e-mailed me that the original bid spec specifically said that the public domain VistA could not be used because the DoD was jealous. DoD reneged later, allowing SAIC to use the free VistA for its $1 billion bid, tweaking it enough to ensure highly lucrative annual maintenance. If you’ve got first-hand info, let me know. I hate $900 hammer guys.

Wake Forest Baptist University Hospital (NC) will roll out (no pun intended) a ton of products from EnovateIT: infection control keyboards and mice, barcode scanners, wall mounted articulating arms, CPU holders, and med carts. I’ve been to that hospital (872 beds!) and it’s as highly regarded as Wake Forest University, which has the med school there.

Bruce Friedman was especially pithy in his open letter to Siemens and Intel about their decision to get into the blood banking software business in Malaysia. “Developing a blood bank computer system for even a single small hospital is a project that will reduce grown men to tears … Simple computer errors in blood banking software can easily kill patients. Blood bank software is the only healthcare software that the FDA has chosen to regulate. This regulatory environment plus the complexity of the software has caused many of the U.S. vendors, previously active in this area, to defer to a small number of domain experts.” Soarian blood banking, anyone? Better re-check those bids.Picis hires two new SVPs for professional services and R&D.

The fired CFO of Mee Memorial Hospital (CA) is accused of setting up an automatic electronic payment on the hospital’s account to pay off his personal credit card each month. He’s charged with stealing $96,000, which included donations to his church.

This article definitely sounds like an Intel informercial disguised as news. It’s supposedly about nurses and IT, but it has a lot of background on bit player Intel, including talk about their nursing research and the Motion computing device.

Design Clinicals will integrate FDB’s medical knowledge base into its MedsTracker medication reconciliation software.

A psych patient in physical restraints breaks loose from an orderly and gouges out his own eyes before the orderly can restrain him again. The patient’s guardian is suing for over $10 million. The hospital then billed him for the $2.2 million in care it delivered, which the plaintiff’s attorney calls “mean-spirited”. Only in hospitals is trying to collect what’s owed you considered to be a heinous insult, although granted the ridiculous prices charged to private pay patients almost put me on the patient’s side.

Congratulations to HIStalk reader Ed Marx, formerly CIO of Cleveland’s University Hospitals, just named today as SVP/CIO of Texas Health Resources. That’s where David Muntz was until a year ago when he left for Baylor. I like to think that Ed’s HIStalk-gained knowledge got him the new gig, but that’s a bit presumptious.

I’m here.

Inga’s Update

I loved the posting from Insider Outsider about loving his/her job. Made me wonder what readers believe are the best and worst jobs in this industry. My best job was probably a few years back when I got paid ridiculous sums of money to work trade shows and “demonstrate” software. I got to stay in great hotels, wear fabulous outfits, and always got offers for free dinners. There were some downsides, such as static cling and four-inch heels, but all in all, it was fun.

So, what makes a job “good?” I personally think company culture has a lot to do with it. As Insider Outsider said, more money could be made elsewhere, but it isn’t always about money. I think what really matters is working with people you like and respect, promoting a product or service that has value, and receiving a fair wage is worth more than being the best compensated programmer or salesperson or nurse in the industry.

The Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) has negotiated a “discount” for members for athenahealth’s PM and EMR services. That part is not so interesting in and of itself, but I sure liked this quote from PAHCOM”s founder Richard Blanchette, a retired Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy’s Medical Department. “I would equate the operational capability of athenahealth to one that is so well coordinated that the U.S. Navy would be dutifully impressed.” (In layman’s terms, I think he was saying things were “ship shape” over at Jonathan Bush’s place).

Acer is buying Gateway Computers for $710 million. Does that mean all those cows will be put out to pasture?

MedAssets, Inc. has filed a $230 million IPO. MedAssets is an Alpharetta, GA-based provider of software to improve operating margin and cashflow for hospitals and health systems.

After all the weeks of rumors about Misys and who they may or may not purchase or partner with, it was interesting to hear that iMedica was the selected company. I have heard their product has a lot of functionality and offers all the bells and whistles that the Misys EMR product lacks (SQL, .net, and a single PM/EMR database.) It also sounds like an ASP offering is in the works as well. The announced plan is to offer the solution at the low end, where Misys EMR has had a hard time competing (due to price and dated technology). The biggest question I have is why would Misys announce this agreement today, while also stating in their press release that the “initial products, including ASP service offerings, will be announced this November?” It would seem to me that Misys is going to have a hard time selling too many systems – at least at the low end – until buyers see what the new offerings are all about. If I were a Misys salesperson I think I would be frustrated and wondering if the light at the end of the tunnel will ever come.

First Consulting Group wins a contract with NYC-based RHIO NYCLIX to build their RHIO infrastructure. FCG’s FristGateways technology will be used for the secure data exchange between provider organizations and the largest hospitals in Manhattan and the other boroughs. FCG will host the data.

A Moscow woman set fire to her ex-husband’s privates as he sat naked watching TV and drinking vodka last week (there’s a picture). While I don’t think it was a very nice thing to do (he claims it was “monstrously painful”) I don’t buy his story that he doesn’t know “what I did to deserve this.” Come on ladies, he “knows,” doesn’t he?

Inga’s waiting.

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