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News 6/20/08

June 19, 2008 News No Comments

From Cousin Carl: "Re: EHR study. NYT’s piece on barriers to adoption of EHRS by small groups -points to most EHRs being designed for hospitals or large groups. Does highlight athenahealth’s EHR being used." Link. Inga mentions it below. Interesting David Brailer comment about EHRs that appeal more to hospitals selecting doctor systems than the doctors themselves: "What we see is a deficit in innovation, and that is something innovators and the capital markets can address."

From Enrico Pallazo: "Re: your Inside Healthcare Computing editorial. About time someone opened up this dialogue. Go for it! This needs to be a national conversation." It was called If Uncle Sam Doesn’t Like Healthcare Administrative Costs, Why Did He Create Them? A sample sentence: "Uncle Sam, as the biggest payor, is the also most demanding, bureaucratic, and arrogant." I don’t know the topic well enough to do anything more than raise the issue, so the movement will need to recruit.

From Larry Leisure: "Re: Misys. Rumor has it that the Misys sales force has been reduced." We ran some comments assuring us that would happen, so if it did, it’s not much of a shocker. One rumor was that nobody was making quota, so with the merger impending, that’s going to happen.

From The PACS Designer: "Re: Firefox 3. TPD downloaded the Firefox 3 release and found it to be much faster when accessing web sites versus the old version. Also liked the enhanced graphics and new highlighting features for recent sites visited. As always, there will be some security problems with this new version and the first problem appeared on release day, but will be fixed quickly according to the Mozilla representatives. Firefox is available in over 45 languages, thanks to the contributions from Mozilla community members around the world."

From Rodney A. Rippy: "[Physician EMR vendor] had an invite-only meeting in NYC last week looking for someone to buy or be bought in a ‘merge to keep us alive’ attempt. After their home healthcare buyout firm screwed the pooch, they’ve realized that the only asset their have is their software (not very good, really) and their clients (worth something). ~$30m in debt, need $5-10m to stay open, hoping for an angel. The real problem is that they fired a lot of the people who knew what they were doing in order to make room for the New Order, who didn’t. Familiar story?" Inga’s trying hard to confirm, but seems to be getting the runaround. This is a pretty big vendor with quite a few awards. Maybe David Brailer should buy them.

Next, on a very special Listening: I created a Pandora radio station with the stuff I like. You can stream this bad boy and hear all kinds of good stuff for free, 99% of which you will never have heard of. I’ll keep tweaking it, so it will improve over time. We can listen together while reading HIStalk and sipping that Starbucks latte that Inga mentioned. Playing now: Dressy Bessy.

Jobs: Principal Pharmacy Systems Analyst (VA), Soarian Consultants – $5,000 Sign On (MA), SQL Developer (TX).

Insurance company Health Care Service (sounds like the kind of crazy, out-of-the-box name a bunch of  insurance company types would dream up after one too many wine spritzers) will buy case management and data exchange vendor MEDecision for $121 million. Quadruple the share price? Are they nuts? CEO David St. Clair hits another home run, having sold GMIS to McKesson HBOC in 2001, although master money man and industry long-timer Carl Witonsky was the company’s board chair and CEO during its IPO (he’s currently chairman of Sentillion’s board and they’re doing great too, so I’d put my money there if I had enough of it to get Carl’s attention).

cern1   cern2

How did I miss this? Cerner and a division of Steelcase are burning up a fortune in gas on a multi-city tour of the Smart Semi, an 18-wheeler mobile showroom. It was in Manhattan Thursday, then headed back to the Midwest (hitting three Wisconsin cities, but steering a wide berth around Madison). It’s booked through the end of the year, including some conferences.

Final tally: Firefox 3.0 easily breaks the world record for one-day downloads with 8.3 million, two of which were me (one for home, one for work). You can get it here, although if you’re like me and don’t warm up to the so-called "awesome" address bar, you can go back the old one with this plug-in. It’s even faster than Opera, making Internet Explorer feel like sprinting with hip waders on.

Fujitsu has two weeks to pay back $132 million to NHS for walking out on its contract. Doh!

And speaking of the UK, a leaked document obtained by The Guardian suggests that the Lorenzo situation there is worse than acknowledged, with IBA shifting resources from the more important second phase to try to keep the first one going.

Concord Hospital (NH) fixes application delays after consolidation with WAN optimization.

All hospitals like to point out their new construction is being "like a hotel." Surely nobody’s buying that beyond first glance. Hotels don’t lock you up in airtight rooms with no view, have unannounced and sometimes surly people shuttling in and out of your room to probe your private areas, serve food from the same outsourced companies that specialize in portion control for prisons, and don’t charge you $2,000 a night for the crappiest mattress and TV channel selection possible. No matter how nice the architecture, hospitals are about as unlike a hotel as they could possibly be, other than strangers sleep there. Nobody in their right mind wants to be in one or, God forbid, die in one. With all the discussion about changing physician practice models, it would be great to rethink how hospitals work from the ground up. They’re more like a factory than a restful, respectful place to recover.

Some local paper gives Newt Gingrich some softball healthcare questions, sounding worshipful toward his Center for Health Transformation but not picking up on the fact that it’s a for-profit business run by an ex-politician (but I’m still a fan, sort of). He says healthcare will exceed the rosy $77 billion in annual savings that the federal government just said was a pipe dream.

If you’ve e-mailed me lately, I’m really behind. Sorry about that. I just can’t find enough hours in the day to keep all the plates spinning. I’m trying and I read and appreciate every e-mail, so don’t be offended.

E-mail me.

Inga’s Update

Seven new healthcare organizations have selected Sentillion’s provisioning solution in the last six months.

Company-sponsored health clinics for employees are on the rise, according to a Dallas newspaper. Employers with as few as 2,500 employees are offering this perk for staff and proponents, claiming they lower costs for everyone.

The Wisconsin Health Information Organization (WHIO) is collaborating with Ingenix to create a statewide repository of health claims data.

LinkedIn has raised $53 million in financing and is now valued at over $1 billion. I’m confident that valuation would be significantly less without the 123-member HIStalk fan club. For those keeping track, I now have 106 connections compared to Mr. H’s 139.

Southwest Washington Medical Center enters into a three-year agreement with Novo Innovations to facilitate health information exchange between the hospital and at least 14 practices.

The University of Wisconsin Health System is partnering with OnBase to integrate disparate patient information into the EMR. (Isn’t OnBase the one with the fun baseball theme booth at HIMSS? And offering beer at 11:00 in the morning?)

WellSpan Health System (PA) claims a 28% reduction in annual A/R and a 98% cash collection rate since it implemented Eclipsys’ Sunrise Access Manager and Patient Financial applications at two acute care facilities. The press release calls it WellSpan Health Systems, that last word apparently being both incorrectly pluralized and superfluous.

Former Misys and GE Healthcare exec Kathy Blum is named CEO for Applied Computational Technologies, a software company providing dose calculation technology for radiation therapy treatment.

athenahealth announces the resignation of Christopher E. Nolin as SVP, general counsel, and secretary in order to spend more time with his family. Current deputy general counsel Daniel H. Orenstein will be the company’s new general counsel and secretary.

McKesson reaffirms its earnings forecast for fiscal 2009, predicting between $3.75 and $3.90 EPS.

RelayHealth announces expansion of its healthcare connectivity offerings to include patient education programs and care management support services, and solutions for integrating medication record data and expediting claims processing.

ProHealth Care, Inc. contracts with Orchestrate Healthcare to provide application integration consulting services. Speaking of Orchestrate, one of its clients needs a NeoTool expert, so we said we’d give it a mention.

Martin Memorial Health Systems (FL) selects Allscripts EHR and PM product for its 80-physician group. Martin already uses Allscripts’ Care Management solution in its hospitals.

Massachusetts General Physicians Organization signs a multi-year licensing agreement with Virtual Radiologic for teleradiology services. The organization is the largest multi-specialty group practice in New England and partners with Mass General.

Incidentally, Virtual Radiologic’s CEO and founder Sean Casey wins the Entrepreneur of the Year award in the technology category for the Upper Midwest region.

Survey results from a New England Journal of Medicine EMR survey confirm that physicians continue to resist EMRs. Highlights: only 4% of physicians have full EMRs, 42% report they are in the process of setting up an EHR system or plan to do so in the next two years, and less than 9% of 1-3 physicians groups have any sort of EMR. Those using EMRs report positive effects, but financial barriers (still) are preventing most from adopting the technology. Another major barrier, according to 54% of the 2,758 respondents, was finding an EHR system that meets their needs.

The installation of Epic in Cerner’s backyard seems to be going well. The University of Kansas Hospital reports it is now live on EMR in the ED, the latest phase in their $50 million, three-year installation.

I thought the Ms. CIO piece in this week’s Reader’s Write was quite fun. We are encouraging more folks to provide interesting commentary. It could be your 15 minutes of fame!

E-mail Inga.

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