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News 1/16/08

January 15, 2008 News 3 Comments

From Stanley Twanger: “Re: career move. If anyone has advice on moving from academic medicine to the corporate world, I’d be happy to hear it.”

From Neal’s Dog: “Re: Cerner. Cerner is letting VPs and directors go in an effort to trim the executive level roles and put more associates on the front line.” It’s hard to be against that action unless you’re one of those axed. Unlike some companies, Cerner at least waited until after the holidays (they surely planned this well before). The stock’s down 8% on a day when the market dropped 2.5%. Earnings are out in a couple of weeks. The Kansas City Star reports 97 jobs cut, with a total of 152 positions eliminated. In my experience, you can’t fault a company for a one-time layoff, as long as they handle it professionally, with dignity and sensitivity toward those let go, and after exhausting other options. In other words, it needs to be as distasteful to management as it is to employees, to the point that no one wants to do it again. Condolences to those affected, for whom it’s a cold, frightening winter’s night.

Julie Wilson, Cerner’s Chief People Officer, sent this to me through a high-ranking Cerner friend of HIStalk: As HIStalk readers will see from my comments in the attached coverage, ‘Cerner continues to anticipate growth at our locations worldwide’ and is ‘actively recruiting and hiring at this time.’ We currently have dozens of roles posted on cerner.com. We have 45 new hires in orientation classes this week alone. Ultimately, these new associates will share the same goal as our more than 7,500 current associates: value creation for our clients. And as we deliver, it will have positive implications for ongoing growth and future job creation here at Cerner.

From Danny Noonan: “Re: HHC. I can verify that they’re looking for a QuadraMed CPR replacement. They’ve hired a guy to evaluate vendors. There’s a big disconnect between management and users. They’ve built some cool stuff that’s better than the mess that they paid Misys to develop. The customizability is a plus and the back end is stable. Instead of paying $10 million to bring in some programmers, they’ll spend $500 million (at least) to buy a new product. Almost every CMIO and CIO in the corporation wants to stay the course, but the central office seems to be set on the new vendor route. They’ll lose the local control that has led to many impressive applications.”

From GE Insider: “Re: interview. Wow! Not sure how I missed this interview initially, but what a crock! I used to work on the IHC project. When it ‘goes live’ in a few months (and I hear it’s not even code-complete with a go-live date of March 08), it will be attached to the IHC back end (the HELP system). So, for all of their investment, all IHC will have to show for it is a new UI. Just now are they starting to plan for the new infrastructure and in the future, you’ll completely have to throw away your IDX solution and drink the new Kool-Aid. Already IHC is getting tired as they have instructed employees to discontinue some of their content work until they can reevaluate. Eventually GE will get tired of all of this, and when they’re not getting new sales, and they’ll bow out, leaving IHC holding the bag.” Just to be clear, this isn’t verified (but it’s interesting).

New text ad to your right: Medziva, which has an SaaS-based clinical lab collaboration platform, is seeking companies interested in making a cash or equity offer.

I see a company or two is encouraging employees to stuff the HISsies ballot box. That’s OK – that happens ever year. Since I can’t stop it, I have fun with it. There could be some surprising results (who’ll be wearing The Pie in a few weeks?) Statistically valid or not, it’s fun. I’m still considering making the official announcements at the HIMSS get-together, putting them online nearly simultaneously. Please vote just once because I have to pay by the response if it goes over 1,000.

Listening: L7, foul-mouthed, all-female punk metal, now disbanded. The second video down shreds it. My new favorite drummer.

David Starr joins Queen’s Health System (HI) as CIO, coming from BearingPoint.

The Fort Myers, FL paper has a good article on Lee Memorial’s implementation of Epic for its physician group.

Dennis Quaid goes public with his complaints about Cedars-Sinai, saying family members didn’t hear anything until a gossip website broke the story on their heparin overdose, which he believes a hospital employee leaked. The hospital’s now going after presumed HIPAA violators.

Jobs: Director of Outpatient Clinical Systems, Manager of Clinical Support Systems, Director of Sales, HL7 Integration Expert.

This seems like a really bad idea: a Pennsylvania start-up records the examining room conversations between physicians and consenting patients, transcribes and de-identifies them, then sells the recordings and transcripts over the Web to drug companies. The docs get paid and the patients are told the recordings support “medical research.”

For the other side of the coin, see No Free Lunch: Just Say No to Drug Reps, a non-profit started by a New York doctor. ” … the doctor-patient relationship … is a fiduciary relationship … Patients rightly expect their physician to act in their (the patient’s) best interest. Patients do not enter the examining room caveat emptor. Patients should be confident that the drug being is prescribed is the best, the most cost-effective, not the best promoted.”

The Houston Fire Department is implementing software that will direct ambulances to the least busy hospitals.

E-mail me. It makes my day, even though I’m just buried and may not e-mail you back anything other than gibberish. It’s interview season, so look for new ones soon.


Inga’s Update

I think Mr. H has found an even better give-away option than rejected vendor trinkets for the Healthia-sponsored HIStalk party. In light of Hollywood writer’s strike and canceled Golden Globes bash, he worked his connections to get all those extra swag bags donated for our faithful readers. I personally can’t wait to get my eyelash-strengthening serum, pearl necklace and Croton watch.

Special note to Pokenoke who suggested I might not (!) be female. Be assured, this cougar is all woman!

CSC is told to pay the NHS £5m in penalties for late delivery of patient administration software.

Quest Diagnostics HIT subsidiary MedPlus wins a contract to implement a clinical portal and information exchange for the Brooklyn Health Information Exchange.

I think I may be in love. Peter sent me this lovely note: “Booth babes are like when they give away free key chains. Initially they are attractive, but you find out later that they aren’t really useful and they get in the way. Spoken like a true fan of the mature woman …”

CSC’s acquisition of First Consulting is now complete. All $365 million of the purchase was in cash.

Beth Israel Deaconess selects Concordant to assist them with building and managing their EHR infrastructure for up to 300 practices.

Aetna donates $500K to UC Davis Children’s Hospital to expand its PICU and telemedicine functions.

Dublin Methodist Hospital opened its doors last week with an all-digital setup with McKesson’s Horizon Clinicals throughout.

Emerging healthcare market trend: cellulite treatment. Since 85% of women have cellulite, it’s no wonder that medical device companies are scrambling to enter into this estimated $3 billion (!) “cosmeceutical” market. (I personally blame it on booth babes! OK, I admit I’m obsessed with them, but not in the same way you guys are!)

Fallon Community Health Plan in Massachusetts selects Trizetto’s QNXT enterprise admin system and application hosting services.

SureScripts announces that Allscripts eRX NOW and TouchWorks have achieved GoldRX advanced product certification for 2007, meaning they really work. More specifically they have “gone beyond SureScripts baseline product certification to establish a proven track record in pharmacy interoperability.”

Health Affairs announces the results of new study of ED wait times and documents increases of more than 4% a year from 1997 to 2004. It’s really bad news if you had an acute MI because your waits increased over 11%. Blacks, Hispanics, women, and patients seen in urban EDs waited longer than other patients did.

Docusys signs a letter of intent to buy surgical planning software vendor Prompte. Docusys has had an exclusive marketing agreement with Prompte for the last two years.

A reader sent me a note saying he’d heard that athenahealth might have performance issues with a high number of users. I checked with the folks there, who gave this response. “We have the same stacking architecture as eBay and Amazon and have thousands of providers billing, ordering labs, and prescribing on the system daily with approx 35k daily users on athenaNet. There is only one instance of the application and we put out new versions 6-8 times a year automatically. The athena network is supported by hundreds of people that are athena’s virtual back office. Our infrastructure can currently exceed 4x its current volume and will increase when we open our new operations center in Maine.”

E-mail Inga.



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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. Regarding Cerner Layoffs:

    Some consolation that there are open positions and new employees in orientation while others are shown the door.

    Isn’t it a shortcoming of Cerner management that so many current employees don’t have the skills to fill these open positions? Not that there was much time to apply…

    Sounds like a lot of S-P-I-N to me. Can’t they just be honest and say that because their revenue hasn’t grown as anticipated that they need to cut costs?







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