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News 11/30/07

November 29, 2007 News 4 Comments

From Bill Bandolero: “Re: Second Life. Patients are using it, clinicians are exploring it, and educational institutions are setting up shop.” Bill sent a link to a site he maintains that has a lot of links to Second Life healthcare sites, but he asked to stay anonymous, so just Google “second life healthcare” and you’ll find stuff.

From PNeddy: “Re: Second Life. Maybe Mr. HIStalk should open a shop in this neighborhood.” Link. Government agencies, including NASA, NIH, NLM, and CDC, are using Second Life for meetings and eventually for widespread communication. “Not far from Meteora is Health Info Island, a medical library and virtual hospital initially funded with a $40,000 National Library of Medicine (NLM) grant to a group called Library Alliance in Illinois to provide consumer health information services in virtual worlds. There are three buildings on the island, said NLM technical information specialist Laura Bartlett, a consumer health library, a medical library and a health and wellness center. Over time, the project will provide training programs, outreach to virtual medical communities, consumer health resources and one-on-one support to Second Life residents.” I’m always up for cool stuff, but I’m light on available time. If anyone can explain what I could do there and what it would take to hook me up, let me know.

From Dan: “Re: Rumor Report. Why does the rumor report redirect to the old HIStalk instead of HIStalk 2? Just curious.” You’ve reminded me that I need to fix that sometime. I’d already created the button and the Web form and just didn’t have time to change it over for the new site. It works great, so I placed it low on my to-do list. You would be amazed at how nice it is to have a secure Rumor Report form that requires Captcha verification to keep the spambots out, plus allows attachments. Before, I was getting dozens to hundreds of spam messages a day. Now, it’s zero. Your rumors and news tips reach me unmolested.

From Maria Cortez: “Re: HIPAA. I’ve heard a lot of dumb things justified by HIPAA, but yesterday I heard one of the best. Our local medicaid HMO has started a ‘high risk diabetic outreach’ program, where they send patients forms to bring to their MDs to fill out. The forms have no pre-printed information and all look the same, so if you see three patients the same day from the same plan, you have no idea which form belongs to which patient (I handwrote their names and MRNs to remind myself). When I inquired as to why they don’t just pre-print patient information on the form (since it’s obviously printed on the envelope they send it in), their response was that if someone else in the household opened the envelope (addressed to the patient), and read the pre-printed form, it would be a privacy violation. I then asked them why anyone’s name is ever printed on a health insurance form/bill/EOB, but they didn’t have a good answer.” Wasn’t this the kind of overzealous interpretation that scared us about HIPAA in the first place? We like the “minimally compliant” approach.

From Charlene O’Donahue: “Re: PHRs. Here’s a new Wharton article.” Link. It’s a good overview for non-HIT people, but I’m surprised that it missed health record banks completely. I’d also question one conclusion that says PHRs could be a bridge between EMRs. I just don’t see that happening.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: ZOHO. TPD has been experimenting with an office software application that is Web-based. It’s called ZOHO and mimics Office. It also provides downloads for Windows, Internet Explorer, and Firefox to link to your system files for transferring online work. It would be good for mobile users when they want to do quick transfers to their home or work based records or files. You can also share records online with others using this application.” I’ve heard great things about Zoho DB and Reports (online forms and databases) and it also has a project management application. The more I play around with stuff like this, the more it feels like the old days when networks were catching on, but many people were still stuck on unattached PCs. I’m using Google Apps so I can access HIStalk documents at work (you didn’t hear me say that) and Inga and I are coordinating some of the HIStech Report stuff on Google’s shared calendar. Plus, I do all e-mail on Gmail and Yahoo Mail. Without all those apps, the PC seems kind of isolated, sitting there running boring stuff off its local drive.

I’m excited to announce HealthcareITJobs.com, something I’ve been working on in partnership with healthcare media publisher Gente Corporation. People have been telling me for years that I should start a first-class HIT career resource center and I’m confident this will be it. Here’s how it came about: first, I was planning to just buy some cheap Internet script and throw something up. Second, as I reconsidered whether that would really meet my standards, I thought about signing on with one of the online job services, but realized it would be cluttered with non-healthcare IT jobs and all kinds of junk that I couldn’t control. Then, I linked up with Gente and it just clicked. This isn’t Monster or Careerbuilder – our career center is dedicated to healthcare IT pros and employeers seeking exceptional candidates. No blind ads, no clutter, no lightweight software. We’re running a world-class job board application and have a team of real people operating it (one of whom you know – me!) The jobs are right there to see on the main page without any “register first” BS. I had my checklist of the ideal job board and we’ve hit every item.

Here are some things you can do with HealthcareITJobs.com. First, click on over and sign up for weekly job alerts. Click around, check out the first group of posted jobs, and register as a job seeker or employer. If you’re an employer, here’s a deal for you: we’re offering free job postings through January, so give us a try. We’re also offering banner advertising with a 10% discount for our loyal HIStalk sponsors. Remember what I said about real people? Here’s one: Gwen Darling. She’s the expert who will be happy to help you with your job postings or advertising needs. I’ve put a link to the site to your right and, as soon as I get a few minutes, I’ll be listing some of the hot jobs right here in HIStalk. I know some of you are unhappy with your situation or have been downsized, so we’re going to do our best to give you some fresh job options for 2008.

And, as I need to say often, thank you sincerely for supporting HIStalk and related projects. It’s not about fame or money (I’m anonymous and a working stiff, after all). I do this because I need something creative to do after a long day at work and I have few other interests or talents. It’s immensely gratifying that you read, interact, and educate through this vehicle. Thank you.

Crescendoplayer sent over some speculation that’s juicy, although certainly not verified. He tells me that a certain software vendor executive, who I’ll refer to as Juan Garcia, is a former military strike leader who ran anti-drug missions in South America with the CIA. Says that exec is being courted by GE Healthcare to be CEO, although he already passed on a CTO offer from them last year. Other companies supposedly interested in his leadership: Microsoft, McKesson, and IBA. I’m cutting back on the details since I don’t have first-hand knowledge, but it’s a fun story if nothing more.

Will Weider sent over to a link to a story about athenahealth’s Jonathan Bush and his participation on a PBS program that took non-athletes and trained them to run the Boston Marathon. JB’s Marathon Diary is a fun read, although a little sad because he was going through a divorce at the time. “Well, my friend Pierre, who knew about the project, said I should. I was in a very suggestible place. [laughs] If someone told me to join the Moonies, I think I’d probably be a member right now. I was in, you know, a difficult place personally. And there was something reassuring about joining a group to do something healthy for me. Forced health, forced purging of all kinds. I think that was the main motivation. Pierre also told me I needed to meet girls and that there would be all these girls in the marathon. [laughs]” Will is unhappy that Jonathan finished in 3:52. “I trained much longer for my marathon and ran much slower. I now officially despise him. I am pretty sure that I will never buy anything from athenahealth. Perhaps I will add a question to my RFIs about the marathon times of their executives that I can use as a filtering criteria.” I e-mailed Will back: “I like the idea of showing preference to vendors whose executives are less athletic. I’m also on record as preferring those that are less attractive, less wealthy, and less intelligent. I have enough insecurities without realizing that some vendor sales VP is better than me in every important category!” To which Will replied, “Exactly. It is not a new concept. Everyone understands ‘client golf.’ We are just extending it a little.”

A bad smell forces the evacuation of one of McKesson’s Georgia offices. Any witty punchlines are up to you.

Industry regular Steve Roberts signs on with HealthPort as COO. He’s done stints at SDS, GE Healthcare, Allscripts, and McKesson.

An analyst thinks Emageon’s share price drop could attract merger or buyout offers.

Sunquest announces a sale to TriCore Reference Laboratories.

Embarrassing: surgeons at Rhode Island Hospital operate on the wrong side of a woman’s brain when a surgeon “misremembered” the CAT scan, the third such occurrence at the hospital so far this year. The state fined the hospital $50,000.

Somerset Pediatric Group (NJ) picks Sage Intergy.

South Florida has an epidemic of upper-middle class families, including their kids, who are hooked on prescription drugs willingly doled out by shady doctors operating from roadside pain management clinics. One such doctor had his medical license revoked and is working in a gas station while we waits to be tried for prescription drug trafficking, which could put him away for up to 75 years. “We wanted our market share … we didn’t wanna lose a patient.”

Greg Larkin MD, formerly of Eli Lilly, is named CMO of the Indiana Health Information Exchange.

Strange hospital lawsuit: a Chinese hospital insists on getting the husband’s signature on a surgical consent form before doing a C-section on his wife. He refuses at the last minute and the woman dies. Her mother is suing the husband and the hospital. The hospital says they coudn’t do anything without approval, although a legal expert says hospitals have the right to save a patient but are sometimes sued for doing so without the paperwork.

E-mail me.

Inga’s Update

From Dr. John J. Ryan, Founder, President and CEO, The Int’l. Assoc. of Dental and Medical Disciplines: “Inga, I am writing to tell you that we have no sponsors at the current time. Our organization is trying to remain financially independent for as long as we can. Though things may change at some point, we are giving the growing bundle of perks to attract educators and health care practitioners to share our mission of combining dental and medical under one umbrella to better treat every patient as a whole person. It is important for us to combine all disciplines to communicate on behalf of the best possible care and the IT giveaways can facilitate that. The Web Site, Hosting, and Email service is for every member, the IBM Thinkpads, however, are a limited number, for now. With members joining our group we can better build our donated services health care base and better help us can to find dental or medical donated care for such a person in need.” Dr. Ryan also mentioned they are looking for administrative volunteers to help find care for the uninsured.

Athenahealth is purchasing a 130,000 square foot office facility on 53 acres in Belfast, ME. The center will serve as a second operational service site

Sage reports its total revenues were up 24% over the previous year, though the healthcare group saw  just 1% growth.

Overheard: Big Brother is watching over sales reps at a certain vendor. Supposedly sales folks at this company are upset over a new policy that requires them to keep up to schedules in Outlook. Seems like management could find better ways to help salespeople sell then by micro-managing their calendars. Not to mention that if someone is producing, what difference does it make if they take an afternoon off to golf? And if they aren’t selling, why keep them around?

Delaware Health Net selects Allscripts HealthMatics Office for its 20-doctor, six-location network of community health centers.

Norman Physician Hospital Organization purchases eClinicalWorks for its 31 affiliated practices and 100 physicians.

Carestream Health and IBM announce plans to integrate Carestream’s radiology solutions and IBM’s Lotus Sametime software to facilitate rapid communication, including instant messaging and VoIP operations.

Visage Imaging will integrate Nuance’s Commissure RadWhere into its PACS and image interpretation software.

The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY will implement Eclipsys’ Sunrise Clinical Manager at its 463-bed facility.

A Korean quarry worker dies after his cell phone battery explodes. Fortunately, the phone is only sold in Korea.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. There are already some applications where the Internet has gotten some real traction in healthcare and some things that are likely to stick out of the ‘Health 2..0″ trend; however, the chances of SecondLife having any kind of meaningful impact on healthcare are slim and none. Amusing yes, impactful no.

  2. I was talking to a CMIO of a large academic institution who insisted that passing de-identified patient context (a specific disease in this instance) for patients with rare illnesses should be considered a privacy violation under HIPAA. Is this true? So, for example, if I ask a collegue a question about a rare illness and they know there is only one patient with that illness in the county, have I violated HIPAA?

  3. Re: Int’l. Assoc. of Dental and Medical Disciplines
    Sounds like they are interested in including all Healthcare disciplines as long as they are an MD or DDS, and not a Pharmacist, RN, LPN, OT, ST, PT, RD, Chiropractor, or even DO… I could go on, but it sounds like the Int. Ass. of MD’s and DDS’s. and not of many other, some not mentioned here, disciplines who are concerned about patient well-being.







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