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May 6, 2008 News 5 Comments

From Devin Valencia: "Re: athenahealth. Not only did athena blow out numbers, they announced on the call they signed a national account with CVS/MinuteClinic." Q1: revenue up 36%, EPS $0.05 vs. -$0.55. 

From Katrina Leskanich: "Re: TEPR. TEPR sent out an e-mail recently offering 2-for-1 registration and a free registration to anyone who previously purchased a ticket. Is there any question that they are having trouble drawing crowds? Attendance has been down for several years running and they look to be on their last legs."

From Moondogg: "Re: HIStech Report. It seems to be paid advertising." You’re partially correct. Vendors pay us to develop and conduct an interview with an executive about a specific product. I put it over there to make that clear. Still, we ask whatever we want and we conduct them just like our normal interviews, so vendors aren’t supplying the content. I think the result is a good read.

From Destiny St. Claire: "Re: Sage. I hear former Misys VP Jim Skladany is joining Sage as new West Coast VP of Sales."

From Visitor 211: "Re: layout. I noticed the banner ads go far down the page, beyond the article." We’re doing a little bit of redesign to improve the layout, so stay tuned. It’s definitely a (good) problem to have that many sponsors.

From Bradley Beeswax: "Re: Fletcher Allen. They’ve picked their man to run their $57 million Epic implementation." Link. Chuck Podesta, from Caritas Christi, is named CIO of Fletcher Allen Health Care (VT). He doesn’t have an advanced degree, I noticed, since that’s the hot topic here (and the subject of a new poll to your right).

My opinion: CIOs should have advanced degrees, not because the coursework will be used every day, but because it’s so easy to earn accredited MBAs and other degrees nontraditionally and inexpensively that I’m suspicious why a highly paid senior executive can’t be bothered to do it. A bachelor’s degree is like a high school diploma was 20 years ago and MBA studies have real-world relevance. Education is a standard bio entry and thus it drives first impressions. Heck, half the IT worker bees have advanced degrees these days. Still, I know exactly who’ll say what: CIOs without advanced degrees will say that nobody remembers their courses anyway, that hard knocks is the best teacher, and that they’re a shining example of why a bachelor’s degree is OK. Those with the degree will tell you how useful it is, why there’s no excuse not to get one, and how few hospital people make VP without a Master’s. Both will provide examples of great people without degrees and bad ones who have them. And in every case, whatever credential that person holds is exactly the minimum they would recommend for the job.

In Australia, Victoria’s Department of Human Services gets a bailout of $100 million US for its HealthSmart project, which is two years behind schedule and way over budget. Much of the core technology is Cerner Millennium, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Jobs: HIT – Senior Internal Consultant (TN), Application Analyst II (VA), Soarian Clinicals Consultant.

Kaiser says its HealthConnect outpatient rollout is finished, with all 8.7 million enrollees having access, but inpatient is installed in only 13 of 36 hospitals. They admit to its $4 billion cost, which I believe was angrily denied when that number was first estimated by outsiders. Maintenance is $1 billion (!!). The hospitals and health plan announce a 64% net income drop in Q1 because of investment losses. Still, a $250 million quarterly profit for a "non-profit" in one quarter isn’t too shabby (imagine if they weren’t spending $1 billion on HealthConnect maintenance).

TriZetto’s CFO Bob Barbieri quits for "personal reasons" (probably because Apax had another "person" in mind to take his chair). I’ve never seen the "personal reasons" excuse laid on so strong as to put it in a press release headline, so naturally I’m skeptical. Maybe publicly traded company bean counters are too conservative for privately held companies.

McKesson’s Q4 numbers: revenue up 9%, EPS $1.05 vs. $0.85, beating expectations of $1.00. Technology revenue was up 19% to $806 million. Shares were up nearly 8% today. Nice.

A hospital information system company in India wins an IBM public sector award.

Say, wouldn’t it be a hoot if some anonymous blowhard was named one of the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare? You can nominate me here (by Friday). I’m sure the magazine people will squelch it, but what the heck. I’ll even helpfully show you what to fill in so the votes can be tabulated before being discarded scornfully – click the pic. I’m thinking I shouldn’t reserve the tux quite yet.

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CMS is piloting PHRs in South Carolina.

Mobile systems vendor InfoLogix acquires Delta Health Systems, a cost containment consultant with an executive information system.

Strange: a woman Twitters her labor status in real time from a hospital.

E-mail me.

Inga’s Update

Members of the Connecticut State Medical Society can now receive discounted pricing for athenahealth’s PM service. Interesting to me is that the discount does not extend to athenahealth’s EMR.

VHA, Inc. claims to have provided member health organizations more than $1.3 billion in savings in 2007, which is more than any of its competitors. Revenues and operating income were up 7.5% and 8.3% respectively.

The 46-doctor Greensboro Radiology group will implement InterSystems Ensemble for its enterprise-wide integration platform.

The latest products earning CCHIT Ambulatory 2007 certification include Allscripts Touchworks 11.1; Cerner Millennium PowerChart/PowerWorks EMR V. 2007; Eclipsys Sunrise Ambulatory v. 4.5C (pre-market conditional certification); Healthport EMR v.9.0; and ChartMaker V. 3.0.5. Looking over the list of certified vendors, a couple of major players I’m not seeing include GE’s Centricity and athenahealth.

Privately held Greenway Medical Technologies announces a 52% increase in sales bookings for their fiscal quarter ending March 31st compared to 2007.

Concord Hospital in NH will use Juniper Networks for its network infrastructure. The network will include the connection of 11 total sites, including various healthcare centers, clinics, and physician offices.

CMS announces the six vendors participating in its physician quality reporting initiative. Allscripts, Anceta, Cerner, DocSite, eClinicalWorks, and NextGen are providing data pulled from EHRs to measure quality data reporting capabilities.

Intermountain Healthcare signs a multi-year agreement with Novo Innovations to enhance information exchanges between Intermountain’s hospital systems and physician practices without EMRs. Novo’s software is already being used to connect several affiliated practices with existing EMRs.

Japanese hospitals and clinics are not adopting medical records as fast as the government would like, with only about 10% of each automated as of February 2007. Thirty-one percent of the 400+ bed hospitals had an EMR, far less than the government’s 60% goal for that group. The primary barrier: cost.

Mediware reports more dismal financial numbers. Profits are down 62% from the same quarter last year and sales were down 52%. About the only thing upbeat was the CEO’s comment that the company was “executing plans to build a strong foundation for future growth.”

An Australian doctor recommends that the government pay up to $47,000 for kidney donations to resolve organ shortages. The rationale is that in the long run, thousands of lives and billions of dollars in care would be saved. Guess it would pay for a pretty nice vacation if anyone over here is interested.

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I like the new health care van belonging to ASU’s College of Nursing & Healthcare Innovation. A $700,000 UnitedHealthcare grant paid for the WOW-mobile (stands for Wellness on Wheels) that will bring primary care services to underserved Arizona communities. The rest of the grant money, by the way, will be used for pediatric obesity and child-teen mental health programs.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. WOW = Whip ‘Em Out Wednesdays, an unofficial weekly observance created by the Opie and Anthony show which suggests female viewers should remove their tops for motorists who have the WOW sticker.

    I know you have mentioned being a Howard Stern fan (as am I), but growing up in the Boston area this was the first thing I thought of when I saw the WOW mobile.

  2. HealthConnect maintenance: Again, you jump on the number but forget the mammoth scale of an organization that is running about 60,000 concurrent users (over 100,000 trained users). And, maintenance includes datacenters, power, telecom, desktops, people, everything. Plus, all hospitals are live now on the basics. 13 maybe be paperless or completed, but they are all live and have been live for a few years on core systems. I’d keep an eye on what they accomplish over the next several years. I think we’re going to see them make some pretty impressive breakthroughs in managing care for their members. Rail away if you want, but I suspect we’ll see some pretty impressive innovations and improvements in care.

  3. Saying anything about advanced degrees for CIOs is the equivalent of making an executive hiring decision based on a fraction of a resume. In other words, it simply shouldn’t happen, and anyplace that would do that deserves whatever they get out of it. The CIO should have prior relevant experience, a track record suggesting they can do the job, and fit in with the culture and goals of where they’re getting hired. All of that (each of them, actually) is more important than the degree after their name. And in the end, some people will work out and some will not, and not because of their degree.

    Also, any MBA you can acquire “nontraditionally and inexpensively” is probably not very good. They have some good ones, but those are highly competitive, and even they have pretty stringent time commitments and a pretty high cost. If you have no business experience or acumen, an MBA may be what you need to catch up, but if you’ve gone to the school of hard knocks, you really have to balance the incremental value of that time and money against what the “book learning” would actually add to your skillset at that point. Proven experience is always better than a degree; a degree is a proxy for knowledge, but if you can prove the knowledge you don’t need the proxy.

    I have an advanced degree (MD), and one saying that we learned early on, and turned out to be pretty much consistently true, is that your degree matters for about 6 months after the date you acquired it. After that, what you actually do is what matters.

  4. Disagree with you on the advance degree. I have one but it really doesn’t provide much and I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I have met in my career with MBAs who had absolutely horrible business sense. There are some things you just can not teach and far too often I see folks look at someone’s educational pedigree and automatically think: Well, he/she has an MBA/advance degree so they must know what they are talking about. That is actually more the exception than the rule.

  5. Re: “MBA studies have real-world relevance”

    I worked at a top 25 B-school for nearly a decade. While not all programs are the same, the part-time “executive” programs are about the piece of paper. Students pay a lot for that piece of paper, in money, not effort.







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