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Monday Morning Update 4/14/08

April 12, 2008 News 7 Comments

From Fall Guy’s Bride: "Re: UCLA. I have worked at several hospitals and I can tell you that many employees are improperly viewing files on a regular basis. That goes for everyone from the aides to the nurses and even the physicians. One of my employers was much better at limiting access to necessary viewers than the other. I think this is a common occurrence among hospital personnel and I do not believe for a moment that this woman was a ‘rogue’ employee or that she did not share the information. At the least, she would have gossiped to her friends and co-workers. The laws guarding privacy need to be tightened! I would never go to the hospital I worked at because I knew my nosy co-workers would snoop." I agree. Don’t ever go to the same hospital you work in. You’re records will be widely viewed, even though mostly likely with the best of intentions and concern.

From Malvern: "Re: Eclipsys. On April 11, Eclipsys filed an 8K with the SEC in which it announced the termination of the poison pill by May 8, 2008.  Although the company said in the announcement that there is no anticipated transaction (read: acquisition of Eclipsys), it is hard to fathom why the board decided to do this without at least some thought towards an acquisition." A lot of companies are letting those agreements expire. A shareholder rights provision only protects the company from an uninvited takeover attempt, as I understand it, so it’s not relevant to voluntary acquisition. Sounds like good governance – in the absence of a poison pill provision, shareholders get to vote. On the other hand, removing the provision may signal interest in hearing from suitors.

From Just a squirrel: "Re: UPHS. Mike Restuccia named CIO of UPHS? Mike also owns a consulting firm. Guess which consulting firm UPHS uses. Hmm."

From Fish n’ Chips: "Re: Sutter. Sutter nurses are getting ready for their fourth strike. Meanwhile, the cost of the Epic migration is approaching $1B! What does Judy do with all that money?" I’ve always wondered. She doesn’t seem like a conspicuous consumer. Once you’ve got more than a few million, I suspect it doesn’t matter (but I’m not speaking from experience, of course).

From Californiasunshine: "Re: Keane. IMED is DEAD. They haven’t sold it for years. Now they are looking for everyone to move to Patcom. Lots of stuff going on with India, though."

From Dutch Treat: "Re: Philips. I noticed quite some coverage of  Philips on HIStalk related to a lot of acquisitions. Hot off the press – the latest ‘value” scoop." Link. Philips buys Chinese patient monitoring company Shenzhen Goldway Industrial, saying it likes that company’s products not just because they’re big in China, but because they’re suitable to other "value-conscious, high-growth markets around the world."

Eclipsys clarifies that its $90 million of auction-rate securities weren’t traded for $45 million of cash to by EPSi, but rather as collateral for it, just in case any finance weenies were holding passionate water cooler discourse about it.

A long-time Misys sales VP quit this week as we predicted. More to follow.

Want to be an athenista? athenahealth’s growth has opened up quite a few jobs, including some clinical ones.

Signups are to your right for the HIStalk update (so you get blasts when I run something new) and the weekly Brev+IT newsletter. Also, weekly job updates from HealthcareITJobs.com. The Google search to your right will dig through the five-year history of HIStalk, which is quite an archive of just about everything important that’s happened in the HIT world since mid-2003.

A British private equity firm will buy TriZetto Group for $1.4 billion and take it private. Apax Partners also owns India’s Apollo Hospitals, which runs a chain of medical tourism hospitals and related facilities. Apax has backed out of deals before, though, and shareholders still must approve.

Auditors of Memorial Health System of Colorado Springs say its software has serious security deficiencies that allow unauthorized employee access. The systems weren’t named, although they’re a big Cerner shop if I’m remembering right.

A newspaper article on physician EMRs neatly encapsulates the conundrum of getting docs to use them: "But doctors don’t get paid more by health insurers when their office staffs are more efficient. And they actually get less money when they take better care of patients. If a doctor cures a patient’s ailment in one office visit instead of two, he receives half as much money. Health insurers pocket the savings."  

GE Healthcare’s disappointing quarterly performance drags down the company’s earnings and sends the stock (and the stock market) into a tailspin. Healthcare’s revenue was flat and earnings were down 17%. GE missed expectations by 7 cents, of which healthcare’s poor performance accounted for 1 cent. Competitors shouldn’t gloat just yet: the company blamed hospital reimbursement and credit issues, which I’ve been saying will hurt most vendors. I expect Cerner to have bad news when it reports on April 22, although not as bad as GEs since its exposure to diagostic imaging reimbursement changes is minimal.

Fletcher Allen Health Care (VT) gets state approval to spend $57.2 million on a clinical system. The article didn’t mention the system, but I’ve said before that it was Epic (that’s obvious from the price, I think.)

E-mail me.

Inga’s Update

With all of McKesson’s recent acquisitions, perhaps they’re having cash-flow problems. Sheriff’s deputies padlock an Ohio mental health services company over a $13,500 debt owed to McKesson. If McKesson resorts to such tactics over $13K, I can’t imagine what they do when a hospital system owes them millions.

George Washington University will use Mediware’s blood management software product.

University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center goes live on Eclipsys Sunrise Ambulatory Care.

Cardinal Health is handing out $1 million in grants to 45 health systems and community health clinics for the implementation of programs with creative and replicable methods of improving patient care. They claim 700 organizations applied for the grants.

The MA eHealth Collaborative announces an extension of its EHR program, providing participants an additional six months of support. The organization says that MA BCBS used the initial $50 million in funds so efficiently that there is enough money to continue certain aspects of the pilot, including participation in an HIE. They claim that 417 of the 435 participating docs are live on EHRs, but also note that the technologies are difficult and time-consuming to get up and running.

Our friends over at the HIT Transition Group are running a survey over the next week entitled, “The NPI Contingency Status Survey.” Michael Christopher says, “We’re doing it for free, and making the data available free, too. It’s a big project, designed to rapidly tell us (and the industry – especially including CMS) what problems there are in the NPI implementation right before CMS’ current contingency period ends.” If you are a healthcare provider, payer, clearinghouse or otherwise involved in claims processing, take a moment to support the creative guys that did our HISsie Awards announcement.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. MR Histalk – you should know better than to feed the misinformation mill about the total project cost going to Judy. Get serious. The money that goes to Epic is a small fraction of what the total project costs for a Sutter or Fletcher Allen are. I’ve worked with the people at Epic for years and they are the real deal. They actually care, they work later than any of their customers and if you need them, they’ll be there. If you need help you just call Judy or Carl and you’ll get help. No matter the problem. Hospitals and Medical Groups have choice and they choose Epic for a reason. Why throw stones at these guys?

  2. Price Shopper is right. These cost overruns are not from software, they are from under-estimated infrastructure and staffing. Epic only gets more money to the extent that they end up providing more staff than budgeted, which can be expensive – especially with all that overtime. But, that often goes to the consultants (and internal staff).

    Not that Epic is completely blameless they don’t seem to be doing a good job of helping their new customers estimate the level of effort and infrastructure costs. This is not the first time I have heard this. Either they are not paying attention to their own installs; they are overly-optimistic that the next one will go better; or they choose not to share that information because it is tough to close a sale if the prospect knows the true cost.

  3. I think Epic has a pretty good track record of sticking to what they said the budget would be unless there is something really out of the ordinary going on. I know they provide non bill help routinely. They have a volunteer program and although they don’t make a big deal about it, and probably few outside leadership cirlces at the customer actually know it – many of those bright Epic people on site aren’t charging anything for their time. Especially the staff at go live.

    I suspect other vendors might do similar things sometimes but only in exchange for guaranteed good references. Epic does it across the board. Plus there are sites out there that will tell you when Epic did mess up a budget on their own, they ate the difference.

  4. Interesting snippet on Fletcher Allen. They were a long holdout of Phamis/IDX/GE- Lastword/Carecast/Centricity Enterprise. GE loses another one?

  5. In my nearly 20 years of HIT experience, my interviews with Athena HC were the worst ever. I don’t know what their “purpose” is, but it was frustrating, fruitless and a waste of my time. I was told I’d meet HR and then hiring manager, but I think once they got a peak at me (ie – age of 40), decided I most inevitably could not handle “change” (and I dress quite trendy for my age lol) and I saw HR…after a commute to get there, arranging my schedule and child care. That interview was even “changed” beforehand. Then the followup interview date/time was “changed” the day before, and then “canceled” at the last minute, via email (luckily I checked it before hauling my butt into Watertown at rush hour). Either they are completely unprofessional or using bad/underhanded tactics to weed older/experienced/more expensive workers. Some will say it’s sour grapes b/c I didn’t even land a hiring manager interview, but in all my years experience I’ve never been through such a disrespectful process – at least other companies have the guts to call you or tell you why you didn’t get the job/interview. Good luck to those trying… I suspect it’s cult-like.

  6. The only time that Epic blew an estimate, they did a great job of telling us how it happened and helped us to take the news to Sr. Mgmt. Most of the times cost over-runs can be laid at the feet of the institution. The biggest problem I saw was how to get a decision made and then stick to it. Issues were strategically decided only to have someone who wasnt at the meeting or with a bigger stick reset evryones expectations.

  7. “Athenista no go” Says don’t apply to Anthena Healthcare if you are over 40. Has anyone else had that experience with them?







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