From Madison Reader: "Re: Epic. Big day for Epic news." First story: an interesting article on Verona’s "green sprawl," contrasting Epic’s eco-friendly campus to the urban sprawl it created by its commuting employees. The company’s track record of being a good community citizen is also mentioned. In a less-flattering news, Epic flexes its rarely used liberal political muscle in threatening to cease doing business with local companies that support a state business lobby. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, of which Epic is not a member, spent $1.8 million on campaign ads supporting a conservative judicial candidate and attacking the character of his incumbent liberal opponent. Epic’s statement says the election "was a travesty of ethics and many analyses pointed to WMC as a responsible party." And in a related event, Epic’s contractor (wouldn’t that be a great gig?) drops out of WMC and its president quits WMC’s board, claiming his company’s "corporate structuring and analysis" led him to that decision (riiiight).
A reader asked for my opinion on the Epic-WMC tiff, so here you go (you may be sorry you asked). Judge elections shouldn’t be knock-down, drag-out political slugfests. The thought that a pro-business organization should donate millions to an election campaign just because the candidate is supposedly business-friendly is repulsive, especially when that candidate seeks a non-partisan seat. Epic is a private company (and claims to be politically neutral — that also gets a riiiight), so it can do business with whatever companies it wants and for whatever reasons it chooses. On the other hand, it could have just done so quietly without making a public proclamation whose apparent goal is to coerce WMC members to quit or lose Epic’s favor. I was with them 100% until that last part; now I’m at about 75%. Bottom line: it’s a local issue that should not matter one iota unless you live or work in Wisconsin, and in that case, you’ll no doubt have a stronger and more well-informed opinion than the rest of us anyway.
The co-founder of 145-location retail clinic operator Take Care has some interesting comments on technology: "[Our] electronic medical record was not designed in a vacuum by our IT organization; it was designed with the aid of our nurse practitioners. We’ve created electronic check-in systems that are very similar to an e-ticket. If there are two people in front of you, the check-in screen will automatically give you the opportunity to go five minutes down the road to another Walgreens … We have an EMR (electronic medical record) system that’s capable of sending a record to any provider once the laws allow for that to take place … We created an industry based on integrating all the information and data and making it available to the traveler. We’ve brought that same thing to healthcare. A patient’s record is available in any Take Care center in the country. The next practitioner they see, whether it’s someone employed by Take Care or not, has access as well."
Cerner spent $180,000 for government lobbying in Q1, mostly aimed at DoD and the VA. Hmm … was it an eerie coincidence that VA decided to dump its own VistA LIS in favor of Millennium right about then?
NIH/NLM money is used to create the Appalachian Health Information Exchange in Ohio, which starts with 20 members and Ed Romito, CIO of Genesis Healthcare in Zanesville, as chair.
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Confluence Medical Systems, the consulting company started by former Misys-ers Tom Skelton and Rich Goldberg, will advise MedcomSoft on its marketing strategy. That’s the Canadian PM/EMR vendor that recently replaced its management to prepare for an attack on the US market.
Legislators on Friday voted down a measure that would have staved off a July 1 Medicare pay cut of 10.6% for physicians.
Identity management systems vendor Initiate Systems just pulled its IPO, but it also just got $26 million in sixth round funding, bringing its total funding to $62 million. One participant was data integration vendor Informatica, which bought identity matching systems vendor Identity Systems last month. Seems like they’ve got a lot of interest in Initiate, doesn’t it?
A research article coming out next week will provide interesting insight into workarounds with bedside barcoding systems, I’m told. In addition to pointing out human factors issues, it also documents intentional system bypassing that was observed: putting patient ID barcodes on clipboards or door jambs, commingling meds from multiple patients, and scanning doses after labels were removed. My conclusion: hospital leaders assumed that they bought a barcoding system and ordered nurses to use it, so medication errors should just go away. I know folks in a couple of hospitals who freely admit that their systems provide a false sense of security to the executives, but those in the trenches know of their inconsistent use. That’s no excuse for not using them, of course, but there’s work to be done beyond declaring a go-live victory, which we seem to do a lot in IT in our urgency to move on to the next scheduled crisis.
The husband of a Cerner employee who is accused of murdering her for a $250,000 life insurance payout by poisoning her with antifreeze did laptop searches for "antifreeze human death" weeks before she died, prosecutors say. His lawyer says the laptop wasn’t password protected, so anybody could have done that or maybe his client accidentally clicked a link somewhere. For a record third time this issue: riiiight.
The reverse split worked: QuadraMed gets Nasdaq’s listing permission, moving from Amex. The new ticker symbol QDHC kicks in July 9.
I’ve noticed that hospitals are getting free and easy with the "Chief" titles. In IT, there’s Chief Technology Officer, Chief Security Officer, and Chief Applications Officer (none of which are really "chiefs" in most cases since they report to the CIO). I’ve also seen Chief Pharmacy Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, and now Chief Technology Officer of the hospital lab. My thought: if you don’t report to the CEO, you’re not a chief, no matter what inflated title you were enticed with. If you’re a "real" Chief, it’s gotta peeve you a little to see Junior Chiefs flashing your title around.
Siemens, hammered by corruption and fresh off profit warnings, is rumored to be axing 17,000 jobs.
DEA is willing to allow e-prescribing of controlled substances if doctors use two-factor authentication and allow an annual audit. It’s accepting public comments on its chatty proposal (warning: PDF) released Friday.
I don’t watch TV much, but I was flipping channels the other night and ran across the debut episode of Hopkins, which caught my attention because I’d just interviewed Stephanie Reel (although I confess I alternated between it and Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, which I’d never seen and found mildly amusing). It’s a pretty good real-life medical show, a little heavy on the human interest of the photogenic subjects, and not quite up to the dramatic standards of the old Lifeline (you may remember the cowboy surgeon "Red" Duke from that one, who’s now 80, shockingly). Thursdays at 10 Eastern, apparently, on ABC, and you can watch the first episode online.