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News 12/21/07

December 20, 2007 News 4 Comments

From Ralph Hinckley: “Re: outage. Any truth that Penrose St. Francis in Denver/Colorado Springs had a four-day Meditech outage? The story I hear is the Colorado Springs location had just gone live and the entire system went down for four days.” I hadn’t heard that, but perhaps someone will elucidate.

From Quilmes Boy: “Re: Medseek. Medseek reduced its workforce by approximately 20% on 12/19/07. From a company with about 140 employees, this is a significant cut which went wide and deep. The reason cited? Cash flow issues – plenty of AR but no cash coming in yet. Note that Mike Drake, CEO, resigned on the same day.” I saw no announcement, although another reader reported the same thing and Drake’s bio is gone from the exec page. If it’s true, giving employees the boot less than a week before Christmas definitely embodies suckitude (and implies desperation to get them off the books by year-end). Condolences to those alleged to have been affected (careful wording, you’ll note, since it’s just a rumor so far).

From HIT Insider: “Re: Eclipsys. Looks like the new Eclipsys management continues to move the company in the right direction with the sale of the CPM Resource Center. Smart move to keep the company’s focus on software and the integration of content and leave publishing headaches to someone else.” CPMRC was Bonnie Wesorick’s clinical content group out of Michigan, now dealt off to Elsevier for $25 million in cash. Eclipsys paid $5 million in 2004 plus up to $12.5 million more based on performance. ECLP will have to pay Elsevier for the content it distributes with Sunrise, but assuming that licensing cost isn’t too high, it sounds like the right move to sell it off and take the cash.

From Holiday Season: “Re: McKesson. Unless I missed it in one of your reports, I heard McKesson (IT business unit) let hundreds of people go. Does anyone know what is happening? Sales down? Revenue down? Competitors pinching in on the cherished customer base? Overburdened org structure finally catching up with them?” I reported a rumor from Keyser Size in November that up to 250 people had been let go, but I’ve seen no announcement.

From Dr. KillDare: “Re: Epic. There is some unverified noise rolling around that Epic is actually laying off some staff, apparently in Web development. Interesting, since the last noise heard about FTE levels there was about adding ‘200 employees a week’ and ‘the new campus is full’. I don’t believe in spreading wild rumors, but the source was reasonably solid. Any way to solidify or shoot this in the head?” The only one I know is if someone tells me, “Hey, I was one of them” and I haven’t heard that. What’s up with all the layoff rumors?

InBusiness runs a story on Epic called Epic’s workplace culture: IB Investigates the mystique. Epic doesn’t hire you without a 3.5 GPA or better, no matter how long you’ve been out of school, and the company believes in “hiring slow and firing fast.” Judy is “enigmatic” and the company is intensely private, stiffing the reporter’s request for assistance like it does nearly all of them (even Epic’s PR person doesn’t give quotes). Former employees complained about the flat management structure (huh?) and overly intrusive management style (free juice, but no free soda because the company has decided it isn’t good for you, and one guy claims the Internet is shut down during certain times of day). Hours are long and everybody’s supposed to follow Judy’s lack of work/life balance (a former employee says she resents sleep because she could be working). A former employee said employees would be snickering if the article concluded that working conditions are great, but another replied, “It’s because, for a lot of employees, this is their first job out of college. Why don’t you get a sucky job and find out what that’s like? Then there won’t be as much snickering … Epic is still kicking the competitors’ butts. They hire the right people and they know what they’re doing.”

Funny timing: Motley Fool adds Visicu to its list of cheap growth stocks on Wednesday, the day after Philips announced that it would acquire the company. They would have looked really smart if the piece had run closer to when it was written, presumably before the announcement.

TeraMedica announces a reseller deal with Dell.

Jobs: CIO (NC), Nursing Informatics Specialist (CA), Radiology Informatics (VA), Senior Network Engineer (CA), EMR/PM Sales Specialist (AZ). List your jobs free.

Save the date — January 16 — If you have strong feelings about the formal definition of five common HIT terms (EHR, EMR, PHR, HIE, and RHIO). NAHIT and BearingPoint will convene a three-hour forum in DC to gather public comments in what sounds like a wild melee of grammarian one-upmanship. Perhaps it’s a bad sign that NAHIT’s press release gave the last term as “Regional Health Information Network,” so maybe it’s forming a subcommittee to talk up RHINs (the love child of RHIOs and CHINs?) Or, maybe they’re slyly illustrating the point that definitions vary, justifying paying BearingPoint taxpayer dollars to settle the apparently contentious terminology issue, which ONCHIT says is the problem that’s causing all five initiatives to flounder (“Our hospital would be tickled to pay to join your unfunded and paralyzed data sharing project that mostly involves our hated competitors, if you’ll first be so kind as to Fedex over a definition of RHIO — or is it RHIN?”)

British government agencies take heat for security breaches, threatening the Department of Health with prosecution for future breaches like the one that exposed the personal information of those applying for medical residencies on a public website. The most heated information exposed seems to be sexual orientation and religious beliefs, begging the question: why were those applying asked about those topics in the first place?

A London hospital that offers a 40-minute 4D ultrasound for expectant mothers makes another option available: a high definition video download to a cell phone or iPod.

A NEJM study says that hospitalists don’t get patients out of the hospital any faster or cheaper than family doctors.

E-mail me.

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. Epic laying off staff? Thats a joke, right? I can only assume the person is not serious, as Epic is currently working as hard as it can to hire as many good developers as possible. In fact, what’s most silly about this rumor is that Web Development is specifically called out. Have you already forgotten Epic’s big UGM announcement? It was that they are moving their entire application to a web based format. To presume that Epic would be laying off web developers at a time they need them the most is just illogical.

  2. Dr. KillDare: “Re: Epic. There is some unverified noise rolling around that Epic is actually laying off some staff…

    Not true. Hiring like crazy. Suspect your source may not have turned out to be a good match for Epic. I’ve met many Epic programmers and they are an intimidating bunch of geeks without alot of patience for mediocre or slower staff.

  3. Re: save the date. Thanks for highlighting the absurdity of the effort to “define” those terms. If there’s any confusion at ONC, it’s self inflicted. ONC coined the term RHIO, so surely it ought to already know what they meant by it. Why are they paying others to tell them how to define their own term???

    Past efforts to define terms haven’t been helpful. The HL7 EHR “Coming to terms” document, which waxed poetic about interoperability definitions for 30pp, never comes out and says “technical interoperability is “, “semantic interoperability is “, etc.

    OK, flame-retardant suit is on.

  4. No, you don;t need a flame retardant suit Winston.

    This whole definition fiasco is quite deserving of a Proxmire Golden Fleece Award. Really, do we need to spend a half million dollars for some consulting firm to define five terms? That’s $100K per definition, looks like a sweetheart dealt to me, which keeps me up late at night wondering how I can get on this gravy train.

    Any suggestions?







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