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News 8/31/07

August 30, 2007 News 8 Comments

From Captain Grammar: “Re: spelling. I find it disturbing that an industry as small as ours can’t agree on how to spell our name. Is it ‘healthcare’ or ‘health care’?” I use the former, but as a staunchly traditionalist grammarian, I really should insist on separate words. Opinions?

Practice Fusion, the “free if you’ll look at Google ads” EMR, announces that it will put Healthline’s medical search toolbar on its application. It’s probably a good match – Healthline is a “free if you’ll look at Google ads” medical search engine. I’m really not getting the business model. Will doctors really click on ads for stuff related to the condition of the patients they’re treating? Would you want to see a doctor that has to Google your condition?

Speaking of which, my idea of giving away a free EMR by jamming drug company ads in the faces of doctors is too late. Amplus HealthNet has what it calls an EHR (not likely) that offers on-screen drug company logos. “Every time a physician clicks on brand content, payment to that pharmaceutical brand occurs. For a brand manager, physician-initiated contact indicates a strong possibility that s/he is preparing to prescribe a product. ROI thus becomes needs-driven, highly- focused and target-specific. Better yet, this occurs at a much lower fraction of cost than traditional journal ads.” Damned annoying Flash and stock music site, I’ll say. I’m guessing its “EHR” solution is a lightweight. And I still refuse to call products EHRs unless the vendor can prove that it’s not just an EMR renamed to seem cooler (none have so far).

And speaking of free EMRs, RemedyMD is making its EZ Office suite free. I interviewed CEO Gary Kennedy in April, getting some good business lessons in running a healthcare IT company in the process.

A RICO lawsuit against McKesson for its alleged involvement in inflating published benchmark drug costs via First DataBank is certified as class action.

The local paper runs a story on Canada’s new Brampton Civic Hospital and its technology, including a picture of William Osler CIO Judy Middleton.

A ValueAct Capital partner ups his stake in Misys PLC to nearly 14%.

Modern Healthcare names its 100 most powerful people in healthcare. Sure, it’s just way to get the attention of readers too distracted to read anything substantial and instead lure them with pictures and cute graphics (I’m thinking about doing an HIStalk “100 Biggest Idiots in Healthcare IT”). Privacy fanatic Deborah Peel is #4, Newt Gingrich is #25, McKesson CEO John Hammergren is #38, Kaiser’s George Halvorson is #60, Suzanne Delbanco is myteriously #69 (parting gift?), CCHIT’s Mark Leavitt is #79, and HIMSS’ Steve Lieber is #100. I’ll move my hopes to next year.

I’ve never heard of oncology practice systems vendor Rabbit Healthcare Systems (TX), but if they’re being honest about increasing last year’s $165K revenue to $750K this year, somebody must have. Rabbit’s revenues are multiplying! (sorry).

August will set another record for HIStalk visits and the millionth one will drop by in October or so. Thank you for reading and thanks to the sponsors who make it possible. If you’re a Brev+IT newsletter reader and like it, drop me a line with a comment or two that I can use for pitching it to those who don’t read (what?) Several folks are surprised that it isn’t just an HIStalk rehash – it’s got more background and opinion that I’ve got space for here. The five biggest stories in the most recent issue involve Epic, Siemens, iSoft, Cisco, and at #1 … well, you should really sign up.

The Johnstown paper writes an article about now-independent hospital Windber Medical Center (still working on that interview with CEO Nick). An early challenge: a $3.5 million computer system replacement for what Conemaugh was providing. One of these days I need to get back up that way, if for no other reason to eat at my old favorite Oakhurst Tea Room just down the road.

CompuGroup has pulled out, so iSoft goes to IBA. For now. I mentioned a fact no one else has observed: private equity firm General Atlantic has a stake in both CompuGroup and iSoft.

Speaking of private equity companies, the 20 highest-paid private equity fund managers in the US average $658 million in compensation (and that was in 2006). I’m guessing some exceeded $1 billion a year in compensation, making outrageous CEO salaries seem paltry by comparison. I suppose they’re worth it if they provide big returns to investors, but that means investors lost that huge skim. They’re like Milliken’s junk bond kings – livin’ large now, but subject to investor fear of unregulated markets.

An Indian outsourcing firm buys medical billing company MedAssist Holding (KY) for $330 million. They like that BPO business overseas.

Bart Ponze, director of computer services for LSU Health Sciences Center, has died of cancer. Condolences.

Epic

If you’re an Epic Systems customer, here’s what those high prices provide: a $100 million learning center seating 5,300. Some say it looks like a horseshoe, but to me, it’s either a question mark or dollar sign (both appropriate). Note the Godcam-view company logo on the roof. Maybe Judy should have made the “most powerful” list. (Thanks to Romeo for the link. Photo from builder J.P. Cullen & Sons, Inc.)

I’m here.

Inga’s Update

I was thrilled to get an e-mail yesterday from Ralph Nader!! I knew that HIStalk had wide readership, but never imagined that folks I have actually seen on TV would be reading. Anyway, his email was not that nice (he called my postings “average”) but he did have an interesting comment about the Misys/iMedica partnership:

“My dear … If you had bothered to research anything about iMedica and its offerings, you would have the answers to yours (and others) questions about “Why iMedica”. The Mysis sales guys (and gals) should be dancing in the streets!”

(See what I mean about it not being that nice, especially since I did say some good things about iMedica? Now that I think about it, I wonder if this guy really is Ralph Nader. I mean, he had a grammatical error and even spelled Misys wrong. What does “dear” Ralph know – he has lost the presidential election, like five times hasn’t he?)

A consultant who was not claiming some phony name also sent me a note about iMedica/Misys. He indicated that iMedica had been losing money and needed to raise capital, thus, from a cash infusion standpoint, the arrangement is beneficial to iMedica. However, beyond that, he did not see much advantage of the partnership for either vendor since they sell similar products. “I think it makes them both look desperate, especially Misys. You have to give credit to Nissenbaum (iMedica’s CEO) for making one of his competitors resell his software for agreeing to refer his clients to only a segment of what Misys offer, such as their EDI services. How would you react to a Misys sales rep that has been touting their wares, now coming at you with one of their competitor’s applications? What about all the small practices who just purchased Misys? Why would they go through a reseller when they can go direct to iMedica? I also suspect that the Misys field reps will be disenchanted with having something else to promote. I suspect they will devote a sales force that will only focus on the small practices, similar to how GE uses their VARs.”

Yet another e-mail this week came from Obiwan Kenobe (by the way, keep all that sweet e-mail coming … I get so excited to hear from you all!) Obiwan thought I was “absolutely correct” in my comments about what really matters when it comes to enjoying your job. “You took the words right out of my mouth. Having been a sales person in this business a long time, you are absolutely correct in your statement. I have worked at a number of well-known and not so well-known companies. I am having an incredible time and success and much, if not all of it, directly relates to the things you mentioned that really matters.” Obiwan also mentioned he worked for HIStalk sponsor SCI (and I really don’t think he was trying to give them an extra plug, or even suck up to his bosses – I think he just really likes his job.) “I have never worked for such a fine company as SCI. I have a simple philosophy – it starts at the top! I believe many organizations and the people who work there reflect the attitude of their CEO and senior level management. It all starts with John Holton, our CEO, and filters down.”

I played “Heart Full of Black” (by Burning Brides) on Guitar Hero for the first time today (Xbox360, for those of you not into such toys.) Gosh I was good. I am thinking if this gig with Mr. H doesn’t work out, I may look into some of those Guitar Hero contests and start a new career.

Microsoft’s Azyxxi announces a new contract with Novant Health, a North Carolina-based healthcare system that includes eight hospitals, two nursing homes, and an 800-physician medical group.

Inga’s waiting.

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Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. RE: MISYS iMedica. Having worked at MISYS 4+ years as a middle manager, I remember speaking with Marc Winchester, former VP of Sales regarding price of Tiger and EMR. He said there is a huge overhead at MISYS with multiple products to support, hardware support, etc. how will MISYS generate enough profit as a reseller to supportthat overhead? I also agree with you, why buy from a reseller, when you can buy directly from the authors of the software.

  2. Regarding the Epic learning center, 5300 is just how many fit in the auditorium. The rest of the building is about 50 training rooms that each hold around 40 people. Customers will get to see it for themselves quite soon, as it is the site of this year’s UGM. And no, the Epic logo is not really written on the roof in giant letters, that was just for the picture.

  3. Actually, the Epic logo really is written on the roof in giant letters. You can walk up to the roof and look at it if you want.

  4. I have seen the Misys job announcement for a “Sales Trainer” at the Raleigh location. Do you think this a revolving door position?

    Would the Misys culture support someone who was a strong trainer but had never been in Healthcare?

    Any thoughts on culture in general at Misys? I have read opinions ranging from “they are finally getting their act together” to “avoid that place like the plague”. Do they REALLY practice what their website says…”We work hard to promote a balance of life for our employees”?

    Thanks!







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