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News 2/22/08

February 21, 2008 News 6 Comments

From CHOP Person: "Re: CTO. The positioned was already filled with someone who was brought on board several months ago and spent her time lying low while a reorganization of the training/learning organization occurred. End result: Talent and Learning Services headed by CTO. Means IS (EPic) training moved to HR, among other things."

From Chiquita Bonanno: "Re: MaxIT. Heard it was sold. Any truth to the rumor?" I haven’t heard anything.

From Darius Price: "Re: Lakeland Regional Medical Center in Florida. Heard they’re about to sign with Epic."

From H.I.S. Stalker: "Re: eClinicalWorks. Has anyone noticed that eClinicalWorks just got selected by Wal-Mart for their clinics?" Yes … everybody who read HIStalk last Thursday. I must write too much stuff because people are e-mailing me hot stories all the time that I’ve already mentioned. That’s OK — it makes me feel like a futurist.

From Silent Bob: "Re: Neil Pappalardo. Little known fact: he played lacrosse at MIT (defense). He also refused to cram for exams as he felt that last minute study gave an inaccurate reflection of his understanding of the subject." See? He’s the Bill Gates of our industry and needs to go on record (in more ways than one: I did a quick calculation of the value of his Meditech stock and it’s $502 million). He sits in a cube like the other ‘Techies and when I interviewed Howard Messing, he was writing a spell checker. 

From bmoregirl: "Re: Orion Health. Rumor is that Philips will acquire Orion Health in its quest to be the solutions provider birth to grave. Good move on their part if they do!" Unconfirmed, but feel free to chime in if you’ve got the goods.

From Steelers58: "Re: QuadraMed layoffs and offshoring. Funny how folks like Newman look at real-world events as catastrophic. QuadraMed will now be able to compete a little closer to the big guys by getting product to market quicker." Someone sent me an intercepted e-mail document, apparently QuadraMed’s talking points about the layoffs. Summary: outsourcing makes sense because higher demand means delivery has to be faster and cheaper, the offshoring decision has nothing to do with QCPR, and unnamed loudmouth bloggers (say, are my ears burning?) are wrong in stating that QCPR expertise is running low when QuadraMed still has over 40 product people, that Christine Stanfield was one of 12 analysts on the team, and over 30 engineers (15 old-timers) are working on QCPR. Actually I didn’t say that, a reader did, just to nitpick.

Short-term pain aside, there’s nothing wrong with offshoring, although a company has to quickly change its core competency from coding and QA to design and project management of code-to-spec techies who don’t know healthcare and, in some cases, English. Sometimes it works, sometimes not, and the obvious problem is that when it doesn’t, it’s hard to put a team back together stateside without losing years of momentum. I don’t have a strong opinion either way, especially since I bet no major HIT company (Epic, maybe?) hasn’t moved jobs offshore. You get more for your money, but not always better.

Open source business intelligence software vendor Pentaho of Orlando raises $12 million in Series C funding. You have to appreciate the one-paragraph bio of the founder that concludes, "… you can usually find him near an empty Captain Morgan bottle or wandering around in the woods with his GPS receiver." Or both. Pretty hot company, apparently.

Microsoft says it has opened its HealthVault platform to developers: open wrapper libraries, eventual release of the .NET SDK, and publishing of HealthVault’s XML interface protocol specs to allow developers to private label the service (as I understand it, anyway).

Google announces a pilot program with Cleveland Clinic that will allow invited patients to share their Epic MyChart personal health records with Google PHR. The announce suggests that information from other providers will be importable and viewable under the patient’s control. Google also starts a Healthcare Industry Knowledge Center that helps advertisers target healthcare consumers. Coincidence?

So, the two potentially big PHR players fire salvos, each entirely characteristic: Microsoft flashes geek-arousing but proprietary (.NET) techie toys and white papers while Google jumps right to go-live and monetization while hiding the gadgetry under the covers. I’d call it Google 3, Microsoft 1 early in the game. In fact, I’m taking away MSFT’s one point because you can’t sign up for HealthVault without having a Windows Live ID, another example of proprietary .NET crap that has raised more than a few privacy concerns (just the ticket for launching a PHR). 

Another score update: Peter Pronovost and patients 1; well-intentioned fools from HHS Office of Human Protections 0. HHS must have slapped some sense into OHRP because it has decided that since infection checklists are already being used, it’s no longer research (duh). "We do not want to stand in the way of quality improvement activities that pose minimal risks to subjects," its acting director says, backpedaling from its previous interest in doing exactly that until the uproar of reason became deafening. My interview here. Strangely, Peter says he got no feedback whatsoever from the HIStalk interview (people usually get overwhelmed afterward). I thought quality and IT were hand in hand, but maybe I misjudged.

I forgot to mention a vendor dishing up HIStalk swag at HIMSS: Active Data Services will be handing out "I’m Not Inga" buttons from Booth # 3787. Their plan is to have every person at the conference put one on except the ever-honest Inga, who will thus reveal her true identify. I’m glad I’m not the one dragging 26,000 buttons to the hall if so. I’ve never seen any mention of HIStalk at HIMSS other than those ill-fated buttons of two years ago, so it will seem strange to see all the HIStalk and Inga stuff. You have to remember that I’ve only ever even uttered the word HIStalk to maybe 4-5 people in my life outside of the interviews and I’ve have never seen it anywhere except on my computer screen. I’m not real sure what my reaction is going to be, to be honest. Creeped out, I’m guessing. Imagine Inga: she has no idea how anonymously famous she’ll be since this is all new to her.

And for you home-bound non-HIMSS attendees, the HISsies winners will be announced in a very different way, so check back here Monday night. I’ll be writing here every day, of course, with the kind of high-brow analysis that you can’t get elsewhere: who’s booth sucked, which booth babes were hot, how good or bad the opening session was, and whether anyone particularly impressed or annoyed me. That’s if the server can handle the load of readers, that is, since the big boy went to his knees in the crush of HIMSS traffic last year, requiring me to beef it up.

Money guy Julian Allen is named to QuadraMed’s board.

Medsphere brings OpenVista live at Century City Doctors Hospital (CA).

Premise Corporation’s bed management systems earn the endorsement of AHA.

Pick up a wristband and brochure on "A World Free of Medication Errors" at HIMSS and First DataBank will donate $5.00 to two non-profit medication error groups. I hadn’t heard of either group, but I see that Peter Pronovost is affiliated with the Josie King Foundation, started with some of the lawsuit proceeds after an 18-month-old died at Johns Hopkins from a medication error. FDB is in booth 3747, according to the HIMSS exhibitor list.

Charleston Area Medical Center (WV) says it won’t lay off employees or cut back on pay raises despite a $25 million verdict against it, won in a lawsuit by a local surgeon who said the hospital smeared his reputation and revoked his privileges over malpractice insurance. Or lack of it, actually, since he put up $1 million of his own money as a self-insurance fund instead of buying commercial insurance, which CAMC didn’t like. Guess he won’t need to work at all now.

Visicu and its EICU stock ticker are history. The company’s $427 million acquisition by Philips is a done deal.

Emageon’s Q4: revenue down 14.7%, EPS -$0.02 vs. $0.10.

E-mail me. I’m probably too busy to respond, I’m sorry to say, since I’m working absurd hours. But, I always read.


Sponsor Updates and Housekeeping

New interviews on HIStech Report: John Holton of SCI Solutions on access management, Perry Russoniello of McKesson on workforce management, and Jim Klein of QuadraMed on the company’s product line, including QCPR.

Jobs: Cerner Consultant, Microsoft SQL Report Writer, Application Developer.

eScription announces that three of the top four outsourced transcription companies in the KLAS year-end report are members of the eScription MTSO Alliance. eScription, of course, is #1 in its own KLAS category of Transcription and Back-End Speech Recognition.

Sonitor announces a single patient use wristband tag for its ultrasound locating system.


Inga’s Update

A UK hospital has abandoned use of its Cerner Millennium software in its ED, claiming it posed a clinical risk because it couldn’t do simple things like print labels for blood samples quickly.

Now here is something creative and fun to check out at HIMSS. BÖWE BELL + HOWELL will attempt to scan a half-mile long paper document equivalent in length to 2,880 standard, 8.5 x 11-inch sheets laid end to end. If they succeed, they will establish the Guinness World Record for scanning the longest document. So if you want to hang out for a couple hours watching a really long scan process, stop by Booth 4476 Monday afternoon.

Misys announces some recent sales, including an upgrade and EMR sale to 19-provider Lumberton Children’s Clinic, Misys Homecare 4.0 to Angel Home Health and Hospice, Tiger and EMR to nine-provider McAllen Surgeons, and Tiger and EMR to five doctor Central Wyoming Neurosurgery. 

Coincidentally, I just got the following note from Poo Flinging Monkeys: “Not so much a rumor … not sure if they intend to tell the clients, but Misys is moving Level 1 support, which includes simple client requests and scriptable support solutions, to India. No layoffs yet, but moving it all offshore can’t be far behind. Most feel that ole Vern is simply cleaning it up to be sold and will jump ship.”

From Nobody Important: “In regards to Merge Healthcare – refer back to HISTalk on 11/27/06. Some predictions were made." Good call – here is Mr. H’s old posting that Nobody Important is referring to: “I got a few e-mails concerning Ken Rardin, now CEO of Merge Healthcare. His past-company track record: offshoring, job cuts, merciless bottom line boosting, selling off assets in parcels. The first two have proven accurate at Merge. We’ll see on the second two.”

The title of this study makes it clear where the authors’ opinion on PRHs and privacy risks: Personal Health Records: Why Many PRHs Threaten Privacy. Published by The World Privacy Forum, they note a number of possible privacy concerns, including the probability that PHR records could be subpoenaed more easily than a traditional HIPAA-protected record and the risk that identified health information is released to commercial data brokers.

McKesson announces a new strategic relationship with Proventys, a provider of personalized medicine knowledge services. McKesson plans to incorporate Proventys’ predictive modeling features into their clinical decision support solutions.

Deloitte Center for Health Solutions publishes a study that finds American consumers want more from their health care system than they’re getting, including greater online connection to health care providers and medical records, customized insurance coverage, and wider access to emerging innovations, such as retail clinics. Sixty percent said they wanted online access to medical records, test results, and appointment scheduling; 25% would pay more for that service. I also was interested to see that 75% of the consumers want expanded use of in-home monitoring devices and online tools to reduce visits and allow individuals to be more active in their care.

A recent Siemens Healthcare IT Exchange newsletter includes current statistics for Soarian Implementations. They claim to have over 80 Soarian customers live with over 160 active implementations underway. They also provide a breakdown of the number of clients using various modules.

The Los Angeles city attorney files suit against Health Net Inc., charging “a wide range of unlawful, unfair and fraudulent acts and practices,” including secret schemes to drop patients needing expensive treatment.

Lots of loose ends to take care of before heading to Orlando, including making sure I have a big enough suitcase to bring home all those vendor trinkets! Well, and all the extra shoes. I have a feeling this won’t be a carry-on type trip for me. I’m looking forward to prowling around all the booths and striking up conversations with strangers. And if you have RSVP’d for the HIStalk party and are considering bagging it for a better offer, trust me when I say you won’t want to miss it! I will be the one laughing and drinking and thanking my lucky stars for having such a great job!

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. > Windows Live ID, another example of proprietary .NET crap

    If you’re going to take a shot at Microsoft, at least get your facts straight. Windows Live ID has nothing to do with .NET.

  2. It’s okay (as Mr. HISTalk did) to confuse the .NET platform of today with Microsoft’s .NET marketing campaign of yesteryear.

    If you recall, Microsoft at one point was calling everything ‘.NET’ – their “Windows .NET Server 2003”, their ‘.NET Web Services’ AKA HailStorm, and, finally the .NET platform.

    Now Microsoft’s doing a similar thing with its Live campaign – Live Search, Live Mail, Live Maps, Live Everything. As Mr. HISTalk noticed, they’ve renamed and somewhat reworked their Passport service into a “Live” account.

    Thankfully this time around Microsoft is showing some restraint and not tagging everything as “Live”. Otherwise, we’d be talking about Microsoft Live HealthVault. Believe it.

    So when he was complaining about “proprietary .NET crap”, try this translation instead: “proprietary Microsoft marketing buzzword of the day crap”

    And while I’m here, I will point out that the Mono project does provide a solid open source virtual machine, C#/VB compilers, and (basic/raw) IDE, as well as a large majority of the .NET libraries implemented. So while .NET isn’t as open as Java’s JVM, it’s closer to “open” than you may think.

  3. re: Pronovost and OHRP- good news that they reversed the decision. The 2 lead perspective articles in the New England Journal of Medicine this week, one by the NIH’s chair of bioethics, are critical of the OHRP as well.

  4. Just a quick correction to the post by CHOP Person re: CTO. It’s correct that the IS training group now reports under a consolidated Learning Services Department that report to the Chief TALENT Officer. However, the Chief TECHNOLOGY Officer position is still open in IS, pending the hire of a new CIO. Our c-level acronyms are cuasing some confusion!







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