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News 7/9/08

July 8, 2008 News 9 Comments

From Ben Kenobi: "Re: Eclipsys. Eclipsys announced today that their emergency department module is really taking off. Seems like damage control to me as I talk with a lot of sites that are losing their hair and their patience with it. From a clinician’s perspective, I’ve been told it’s unusable. Kudos for CPOE, but the ED is much, much more than that. Is the press release intended to direct attention away from the internal strife reported earlier (Frank Stearns)?" ECLP announced several go-lives, although shrouding them with some fuzzy numbers that sound great without being specific, like doubling the number of live sites and a 70% increase in patients served by the end of 2008. All of that’s truthful, so I don’t see any negatives there. They named Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Springhill Medical Center as newly live, so I’m sure someone from there could provide a first-person report (it makes sense to talk to those who made it work instead of those who didn’t). Besides, they announce earnings on July 30 and always start paving the road with some positive press right before (and, if history is any indication, they’re sitting on a couple of announcements that will go out along with the numbers). Seems to me that the company’s announcements have gotten a lot more substantive since the current management team came on board.

From Gigi: "Re: Siemens. Siemens reduces 12,600 jobs worldwide, including 1,550 in healthcare, mostly in the U.S. Imaging & IT and Workflow & Solutions Division." Link. An additional 4,150 restructured jobs hits the 17,000 total that was rumored and reported here last week. That’s what stinks about working for a company that a conglomerate buys – if they struggle in one area, they cut all over the place. Times are a little lean, so I don’t imagine this will be the last time a vendor cuts back.

From Murray Slaughter: "Re: TEPR+. They’re a private business, so they can do whatever they want. You did know that the Medical Records Institute is a for-profit company, right?" I did not, actually, and they certainly don’t seem to shout that fact loudly since I can find no mention of it on their site. They have a noble-sounding mission and Executive Director (doesn’t that sound non-profit?) Peter Waegemann is always involved in non-profit activities, so I never dreamed that MRI was just a private business. Admit it: who is surprised by that? HIMSS not only runs a far better conference, they’re a non-profit member organization, of course.

From The PACS Designer: "Re: future CIO role. TPD admires the accomplishments of C. Martin Harris, MD, MBA, CIO of The Cleveland Clinic Foundation who had an interesting mini-interview in the July issue of Health Management Technology magazine. He was asked about how the role of CIO will change and said, ‘I think we’re in a transition period from a physical integrated delivery system to a virtual integrated delivery system that’s capable of serving and meeting the needs of patients and physicians on a regional, national or international basis. The CIO has to develop a skill set that’s consumer/customer oriented versus being operations oriented. These are the new responsibilities that are going to be required of a successful CIO over the next five years.’ On the IT skills of a CIO, he commented, ‘although their IT skills will be very important, understanding the concepts and principals of operations in the current model of healthcare delivery inside the hospital and physician’s office is equally important, as well as learning what it means to a doctor to care for patients when they’re not physically present.’" Link.

From Jim Turnbull: "Re: $1,000 reward. Well, what can I say. You clearly know a lot more about HIS stuff than I do … but not very much about the world of petty thieves and their friends. Yes, Mr. Talk, with all due respect … $1,000 is more than enough for these people to turn in their ‘buddies’. I can’t say enough about the guidance we received from the local sheriff, the fraud folks at USPS, and the FBI. In addition, several of my good CIO friends in the industry were incredibly supportive in terms of sharing the lessons learned from their own experiences in similar situations." Jim’s the CIO at University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics, although I still think of him at Children’s Denver. Glad to hear it, but I still would have put a little more cash on the line just in case $1,000 wasn’t tempting enough to risk arrest. I still think the university should pay and drop charges since they promised "no questions asked" for the return of the tapes and no harm was done (other than the courier got fired and had his car window broken). The idiots could have just trashed the tape, in which case someone smarter might have found it, or they could have chucked it in a river, requiring the university to fret and apologize for years since its disposition would have been unknown.

From Spence Holmes: "Re: your most recent Inside Healthcare Computing editorial called Conduct a Survey, Game the Results: If the Results are Important, Somebody’s Cheating. The KLAS survey is anything but unbiased and statistical relevance is difficult to find. A vendor with a few survey responses has the scores weighted equally as one with many. That’s why it seems that obscure vendors win the Best in KLAS all the time. The other major shortcoming I found was the fact that significant figures were not utilized. When a survey response rating is based on a single whole number, the average results cannot be reported with two-decimal precision, yet, KLAS reports to two-decimal precision. It does, of course, help one sell reports to vendors if their competitor receives a score that is 0.25 higher than theirs. Since many hospital personnel rely on these reports to make multi-million dollar, once-in-a-career decisions, it is in their best interest to have the reports accurately reflect the differences between vendors for the same product."

Thanks to Michael Nissenbaum from iMedica for a fun interview. Also, thanks to the HIStalk readers who e-mailed me about a Google warning concerning an exploit it had detected on iMedica’s site (it’s pretty cool that Google can do that!) I e-mailed Michael first thing this morning to let him know and he appreciates the heads-up. The problem is resolved and Google will eventually update itself about the issue it found on July 4. Michael sent over the network engineer’s explanation and it’s interesting, but over my head (bottom line: make sure your anti-virus checks browser pages). Anyway, the site is fine and was never penetrated, so click away.

Lots of folks e-mailed to mention that Sage Healthcare had layoffs today, as several rumor reporters had (accurately) predicted last week. Our Sage contact promised to let us know if anything changed and did, sending over the announcement at 8:30 this morning with this note: "I’m sharing this with you before I share with the industry media, and I do hope you’ll honor the embargo [4:30 p.m. Eastern] so that individual employees can have the courtesy of hearing from their managers first." That’s fair and we appreciate it – it’s hard enough to lose a job without hearing impersonally without a chance to react privately. Bottom line: 235 folks were laid off and some restructuring done to improve the company’s competitive position. As I always say, it sucks for everyone involved (I’ve been on both ends of that situation) and nobody enjoys it. Condolences to those affected. if you want to use the Jobs Offered/Positions Wanted section of HIStalk Discussion to look for a new job or to recruit those impacted today, please feel free.

I don’t see that the Sage announcement is online yet, so here’s a snip: "To address these issues, the company in April implemented a new Account Management model, allying customers with a single Sage Software resource to service most of their needs. Today’s realignment continues the focus on addressing client priorities and service. As part of the restructuring, many cross-functional, internal electronic data interchange (EDI) positions – including support and clearinghouse development – will consolidate under a single business leader to spur innovation, increase speed to market and coordinate faster response in support. To ensure that meeting client needs remains the company’s top priority, all efforts have been made to minimize the impact of resource realignment on customer-facing groups. As part of the restructuring, the company has reduced its workforce by approximately 235 employees. Services and support are being offered to those employees affected by the restructuring."

Speaking of layoffs, Cardinal Health cuts 600 jobs.

Novo Innovations brings on Mark Hanna, formerly of Patient Care Technologies and Meditech, as VP of sales.

Some folks wanted to read the writeup I mentioned about Trinity Health’s SurgiNet implementation. Alex Scarlat, MD will send a PDF if you e-mail him

RTLS vendor CenTrak gets a patent for a dual IR/RF location technology that’s claimed to be more accurate than RF/WiFi systems.

Tokyo-based Mitsui pays $61 million for a 47% share of MED3000, which offers a variety of healthcare services and technologies. I believe I’ve predicted foreign investment in US HIT companies now that the dollar’s worth so little, so there you go.

I quoted a credible story from some wacky publication last week about Medicare fraud, and now the wacky publication is retracting most of it. The bottom line is that the author, while well-credentialed, didn’t have factual information to back some of his statements. From the wording of the retraction and the yanking of the original story, I’m guessing the consulting firm the author named howled since they settled without admitting guilt. I still think it was probably accurate, other than the parts about that company specifically.

Unrelated and Nerd Alert: if you need a PC benchmarking and diagnostic tool that’s free, I tried PC Wizard and it’s very cool.

Dr. Molly weighs in on e-MDs and hanging out in Austin for training. She likes both.

Industry long-timer Alan Portela is named COO of CliniComp, where he formerly worked.

Providence Health (OR) is cutting back on Internet radio streaming to conserve bandwidth after offsite transcriptionists couldn’t get in remotely. Usage dropped from 90% of capacity to 60%, although that means no one can listen to HIStalk Radio (the horrors!)

Cerner moves Rich Berner to VP/GM of its Middle East operation.

QuadraMed announces GA of QCPR on Cache’. CTO Jim Klein talked about that when I interviewed him in February.

Jobs: Epic Resolute Consultants, Sales Executive – Workflow Solutions, Implementation Consultant, Principal Pharmacy Systems Analyst.

A Milwaukee business blog sides with Judy: "Instead of deriding Epic and dismissing Faulkner as a meddling ‘computer lady,’ WMC and its members might do well to ask her for advice on creating jobs and attracting talent in a tough economic climate without the benefit of out-of-state tax shelters or hand-picked judges." The Madison newspaper doesn’t.

Misys MyWay (nee iMedica) earns CCHIT 2007 certification. It’s creepy to read Vern’s quote, in which it sounds like he really believes that Misys created it and didn’t just pay the company that did: "Both Misys and the Commission are committed to improving patient safety and enhancing operational efficiency through the use of EHRs. With CCHIT certification for Misys MyWay, we have taken another step to remove barriers to healthcare technology adoption." iMedica PRM was already certified under CCHIT Ambulatory EHR 2006.

The Athens, OH paper covers the new Appalachian Health Information Exchange, eliciting this concerning comment from one participant: "It’s a very expensive proposition. Most monies put toward it so far are grants. Multiple millions of dollars have already been spent." Red flag.

E-mail me.

Inga’s Update

Hi from Vacationville! As expected, my days are filled with lots of sightseeing. I saw a great 4th of July fireworks display and have seen a few great American landmarks. I’ve also eaten a lot of food – some of it really great! Hoping the extensive walking will help me maintain my girlish figure.

Anyway, if you missed Mr. H’s interview of iMedica’s Michael Nissenbaum, I would say it is a must-read for anyone in the ambulatory EMR space. I hear that the iMedica’s sales force in particular enjoyed the interview.

I have concluded (yet again) that between the iMedica interview and the recent Sage re-alignment announcements that I am so very happy to not be in that market. There are so many uncertainties in the EMR world today (so few doctors adopting, so many questions still about who will foot the bill, who will offer be able to offer the interconnectivity required, who will last long term, etc.) that I think it may be one of the hardest sales in HIT today.

I did a bit of checking into JJ Wild’s possible layoffs. So far, some “in the know” folks don’t know anything and the “official” folks won’t/haven’t yet replied. Anyone?

Now that my vacation is almost over, that means Mr. H is about to leave. If you are a brilliant author (named John or otherwise) then I am counting on you! Send in your posts to ensure Mr. H doesn’t come back to a reader-less blog!

I heard from a reader who suggested the “AC Awards are for sale.” We’ve repeated such comments before and I’m not certain of the truth, but here is my two cents. I know that the AC Group provides consulting to companies that want Mark Anderson to look under the hood. The more the AC Group knows of a particular product, the more likely the company will earn a five-star rating. A five-star rating, by the way, has more to do with how valid the AC Group thinks the findings are and less to do with the quality of the product itself. Anderson has denied the “for sale” accusations numerous times, and in personally talking to him, I believe him. From the vendor perspective, I hear his survey is outrageously cumbersome, but yet another hoop companies must jump through if they want to play the EMR game.

See ya guys next week!

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "9 comments" on this Article:

  1. Dear Mr. HISTalk,

    Once again, you are jumping to conclusions about the tape theft situation at the University of Utah. First of all…the University of Utah has not pressed charges. The sheriff’s office has, for a wide range of crimes that just happened to include the theft of the tapes. The $1,000 was paid to the individual that provided information leading to the recovery of the tapes., no questions asked. The facts speak for themselves despite your personal opinion. The $1,000 was more than adequate in dealing with low-life’s such as this. To provide a bigger reward, such as you suggest (what experience do you have in terms of dealing with criminals that makes you qualified to give such an opinion?) would have been irresponsible. This is a good lesson that I would recommend others follow should they have to deal with a similar situation.

    Respectfully,
    Jim Turnbull

  2. Regarding Spence Holmes’ comments regarding his perceived inequity among vendors in the KLAS surveys (“The KLAS survey is anything but unbiased and statistical relevance is difficult to find. A vendor with a few survey responses has the scores weighted equally as one with many. “), he fails to understand that the number of surveys is a double-edged sword. Those with many surveys can afford to have some bad ones in the mix without creating a significant effect on the averages. Those with fewer don’t have such a luxury, as one bad survey can really skew the average. Bottom line is the vendor has to work hard to keep the client satisfied. The numbers don’t show who has the best system, they illustrate who pays the most attention to customer service and keeps their word. A disgruntled client is not likely to “lie” with their evaluation to passify a vendor pleading for a good rating. The vendors don’t get to see how the clients “voted” as it is private and withheld. What happens “behind the curtain in the voting booth” is between the client and KLAS. Those consistently at the top of their categories must be doing something right.
    If you don’t like your numbers, quit whining and work on your client relationships!
    Respectfully,
    Lgro

  3. Wow, Jim Turnbull is really keyed up. I’m not sure he’s telling the truth when he says “Respectfully.” You made one comment about the dollar amount (I agree, I wouldn’t have thought $1,000 was enough either) and he slammed you. He should have just said “you’d be surprised by what petty criminals would accept” and “there is a balance between offering enough to get something back and rewarding behavior.” I learned something from his feedback, but his tone was rough. He rips into you unnecessarily. He says ” what experience do you have in terms of dealing with criminals that makes you qualified to give such an opinion?” Does he realize this is a blog with random thoughts, etc.? Your readers don’t expect industry-leading expertise in every subject; we do expect and enjoy opinions. I think he took your initial comments way too personally. Lighten up Jim. It’s ablog.

    By the way, I don’t know what gas costs in Utah, but here in the East $1,000 would barely cover the cost of getting me to the police station to return the tape.

  4. Regarding the new VP/GM for Cerner in the Middle East – I was looing at the Cerner website and where is Doug Krebs?

  5. I think the idea behind the 1000 dollars is that it covers the cost of the laptop while devaluing the information on the laptop and any programs that would be loaded. They don’t know what they don’t know.

    On the other hand, this is a blog and Jim needs to lighten up a bit. It’s one thing to set the record straight and quite another to go about it as he has. How responsible the reward is certainly depends on the amount. A one million dollar reward is irresponsible and would make all UU employee laptops targets. 2,500? 3,000? All within reason and not irresponsible.

    Send out a memo and take some famotidine. HISTalk is the best damn blog in the land (TBDBITL) out there, but it is a blog.

  6. Turnbull vs HIStalk,

    Although Jim came through sounding a bit harsh in the response above, I thought Mr. H went a bit outside his paygrade in his initial comments regarding the appropriateness of pressing charges. It did spark some thought as to whether it was immoral to lie to criminals to bring them to justice…but as Jim points out, there was more than just the theft of a laptop involved (there is almost always more to the story than gets reported). I think both Jim and Tim are honorable men and we can put this controversy to rest.







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