From Ringo: "Re: NHS. With all the problems NHS is having with contractors and ongoing problems with the software, I am surprised they aren’t trying to switch to Kaiser’s vendor. Did Epic turn down the NHS?" I haven’t heard, but I’d bet so.
From Inside Outsider: "Re: AAPS article. Must have been the title ‘The Free Liberal’ that fooled you. AAPS is no liberal organization. In fact, they are think that Rush Limbaugh is too liberal. Dr. Jane Orient is about as right wing as they come. She fronts about three or four conservative PACs that really do nothing more than push her agenda to keep government out of medicine. Her organization is run out of a one-room doctor’s office in Tucson that has not been updated since the 50s. The office consists of her, her mother, and her nephew. They sit all day and listen to Rush and other talk radio and mail out letters to doctors warning them of liberals. During the Clinton administration (remember the good ol’ days?), their sole purpose was to sue Hillary Clinton for every single thing she ever did." I can’t verify one way or another, but here’s an interesting analysis of AAPS that you may or may not believe.
From Brad Delp: "Re: AAPS article. Holt’s distaste for the free market notwithstanding, I think Jane Orient’s article raised some points we rarely consider any longer. Medicine did, in fact, exist in this country prior to massive government intervention. She does seem a bit scared of technology (I try to discourage the use of words ending in ‘phobic’). Those interested in another physician’s point of view on government and healthcare would enjoy Dr. Ron Paul’s ‘The Revolution: A Manifesto.’ For those unfamiliar with Congressman Ron Paul, he is a libertarian-leaning Republican presidential candidate. He is also a physician." I agree. RP is the only candidate to whom I’ve donated money, so I was sorry to see him drop out (this was after I took an online politics quiz and stumbled downstairs to announce, "Honey, I think we’re libertarians.") I liked the AAPS article too, if for no other reason than it nudges people to distinguish between "insurance" and "healthcare."
From PFS Guy: "Re: layoffs. I can confirm the ‘rumor’ of Picis layoffs. I received an e-mail today from a Picis employee who confirmed that he, and others, were laid off today." Condolences to those affected by layoffs anywhere. The poll on your right shows that 25% of the employers of HIStalk readers have laid people off within the past two months. It’s not scientific, but I don’t doubt it a bit.
From Steve Thunder: "Re: HRBs. Bill Yasnoff leaves a few important details out of his post on HRBs. First, he neglects to point out that he’s applied for a patent on the idea of health record banks. Second, while Bill says that several states are working towards this model, he also neglects to point out that he’s involved in all of these initiatives and that the states did so on the advice of his consulting firm. The reality is the HRB model has a lot of problems — there are huge bootstrap issues — providers won’t invest in the interfaces needed with HRBs until there are lots of patients who have them and patients won’t pay to play until providers are set up to provide info. Indeed, it appears that Bill has backed off his initial HRB plan: that patients would play a monthly fee and providers would be paid for each ‘deposit’ to the HRB. To present, Bill has relied on grant funding — it’s quite unclear that the model is sustainable (particularly with the new dependence on advertising, reminders and researchers paying for data)."
From Bumpy Jonas: "Re. HRBs. Non-profits don’t have to hire a for-profit company to run it. There is no reason the non-profit can’t do it themselves or hire a non-for-profit to operate it. Alternative models to advertising could also be other sources, such as employer funded or state grants. An alternative to paying the docs for data could be pushing the emerging trend of malpractice insurers providing discounts to docs that use an EMR to reduce their risk profile – that same logic is even more relevant for care history provided by a HRB to address the our chronic ‘discontinuity’ of care across setting and info silos. We can’t get it right within an info silo, so across silos is a huge opportunity to address high risk, ball-dropping areas."
From oneHITwonder: "Re: PHR. ‘Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center is offering adult patients a free copy of their medical record on a small USB flash drive that can tap into their health history on any computer. A pilot program started July 15 and about 25 people a day are requesting the 1-gigabyte USBs, says Thomas Barbar, MD, an orthopedic surgeon who came up with the idea.’ Interesting approach to a PHR. (published in today’s California Healthfax) Question #1: Will a provider be willing to access a flash drive that may have a virus (you just never know)? Question #2: If there is a full medical record on the flash drive, and the patient is only being seen for say an ingrown toenail, if the provider looks at the record to see medications, is he liable for reviewing the entire record?"
From Steve Aylward, General Manager, Microsoft Health & Life Sciences: "Re: HSG. Please allow me to clarify the previous comments attributed to others from Microsoft regarding support for the Microsoft Health Solutions Group (HSG) products. Support for our Health Solutions Group products is provided by dedicated support teams within the existing Microsoft support services organization. These employees have expert knowledge of the healthcare domain as well as extensive knowledge of the Microsoft technology platform and the Amalga products. The emerging Health Solutions Group products (i.e., Amalga) as well as those from the Health & Life Science Industry team will continue to utilize and leverage the infrastructure of our existing worldwide support organization."
From Shaker Man: "Re: UCLA. Does anybody know how the new earthquake-safe hospital did recently compared to the other hospitals in the LA area after the recent quake? The new hospital was designed to withstand a much larger quake, so what was the outcome?" Good question that I’ll throw out to you Left Coasters. For what it cost, you’d hope you could do a circumcision during the Richter-ing, which I vaguely remember from some movie or SNL fake car commercial.
From At the Office in August While Others Frolic: "Re: press releases. How ’bout a HIStalk contest to write the worst healthcare IT press release? One could model such a contest on the Bad Hemingway contest, requiring for example that press releases mention HISTalk and Inga in some way, and that the press releases be hilarious. You could also select some real releases as examples to get the HIS ‘hood started." I like it! How many rules could you break? I may crank one up myself if I get time.
QuadraMed gets a $15.8 million QCPR deal expansion with Daughters of Charity that includes care grid, orders, access management, decision support, nurse doc, chart management, scheduling, document management, CPOE, and other apps. CEO Keith Hagen uses the occasion to observe that QuadraMed has already sold more QCPR business than they paid Misys for the entire product ($33 million) last year. The Misys response: "Doh!!!"
In the UK, NHS finally replaces Richard Granger with the two big-bucks positions previously announced. Former Cadbury Schweppes CIO Christine Connolly is named CIO and former pension service CIO Martin Bellamy is now head of Connecting for Health. I like Christine because her former employer makes Stride chewing gum, which sponsored that superficially goofy but surprisingly moving video that Inga found featuring Dancing Matt traveling the world.
Fred Trotter is raving about ClearHealth’s GUI version of VistA, soon to be in Beta (screen shot above). They’ve just posted an online demo. "If you had asked me yesterday I would have said that it might be a good idea for Medsphere to buy ClearHealth. If you ask me today, I would say that it might be a good idea for ClearHealth to buy Medsphere."
Johns Hopkins develops a software prototype for remotely diagnosing traumatic brain injuries on the battlefield.
Medicity’s latest customer newsletter confirms the earlier HIStalk rumor: one of its five new customers is Dubai Healthcare City, where the company will install an EHR system and a patient referral application. I didn’t realize that Harvard Medical School will open a branch on the Dubai campus in 2011. The company also announced an 18-hospital results distribution contract with Adventist Health. Here’s Medicity’s new recruitment magazine (warning: PDF) that talks up the benefits of working there (the golf simulator and pool table isn’t exactly the kind of perks we hospital types enjoy, being more accustomed to a 20% discount on 50% overpriced portion-controlled mystery meat and the occasional chance to peruse celebrity medical records … kidding). Whoever did that magazine is a genius since I was ready to pack up and move to Salt Lake myself and I’m usually indifferent to anything that involves change or effort.
The Advisor Board Company’s Q1 numbers: revenue up 12%, EPS $0.36 vs. $0.38.
A computer magazine mentioned this freeware replacement for Windows Explorer, which is a zillion times better (multiple open windows, for example). It’s just a single 387K executable. Isn’t the idea of a no-DLL application both quaint and appealing, kind of like if Microsoft would finally admit that the Windows registry was a horrible idea? Hard drives are huge and cheap, so those old ideas are trouble-causing leftovers from the dark days of DoubleSpace.
Marty Jensen is peeved that Medicare got CMS permission to break its own rules on NPI. "Let’s put that into English for the benefit of the nontechnical reader — say a provider who is dizzied by the inability to get Medicare to pay any claims for the last three months: The same numbers that Medicare said you can’t use anymore as of May 23 — the ones that caused your 837 claims to bounce if they appeared anywhere in the claim — those are the same numbers that Medicare says are okay for it to send in its own 837s to its secondary payers."
The FBI raids three LA hospitals to investigate alleged Medicare fraud, in which hospitals allegedly paid shady recruiters to cruise skid row looking for insured homeless people to bill. The MD CEO of City of Angels Medical Center was indicted last week for fraud. Named in a new suit are several hospital CEOs, CFOs, and physicians. That might be a rallying call to pay caregivers for promoting health instead of cranking out the billable procedures. (photo above: San Francisco Sentinel).
Listening: Tift Merritt, probably more Inga’s taste than mine since Tift’s more mainstream than my usual fare, but I was in the mood.
Here’s the official word from RelayHealth on its just-announced agreement with Microsoft. "The initial RelayHealth-HealthVault integrated platform will bring to the market a new solution which makes RelayHealth an essential part of the HealthVault solution by positioning it as the physician-patient connectivity service. Microsoft HealthVault recognized RelayHealth’s proven ability to provide the means for hospitals, physicians and other affiliated providers to connect with patients and insurers, and collaborate with each other, in a safe and secure mode. The RelayHealth service makes it easy for physicians to electronically prescribe, review clinical data and share appropriate information with their patients or other clinicians efficiently. Hospitals and physician providers using RelayHealth, will be able to market HealthVault ‘enablement’, meaning their patients’ HealthVault PHR can automatically be populated if they so choose." Sounds to me like Microsoft is endorsing RelayHealth as its partner for getting hospitals and health plans to sign patients up for HealthVault, rather than the usual "our EMR now works with HealthVault" announcement from vendors.
Be one of the cool kids: sign up for HIStalk updates in that Subscribe to Updates thingie at the top right. You can sign up for the Brev+IT newsletter there too, although I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth my effort to write since a lot fewer people signed up for it that get the HIStalk e-mail blast (about 1,200 vs. nearly 3,000, but stats show many of those aren’t opened). I’m open to suggestions on that, although I do like the smarmy and snarky personality I channel when I write it.
Cardinal Health, struggling a bit of late, is considering selling off its medical equipment business, which is a lot more profitable than what would be left (ho-hum drug distribution).
Harris County Hospital District announces that an employee lost a flash drive containing PHI on 1,200 patients, reportedly those with HIV. The county judge, who admits that punishment would deter future voluntary reporting (which is how this loss became known – the guy who lost it said so), still says he should be fired. As always, optimism was expressed that the thief is stupid and the drive was probably destroyed (thieves don’t usually do data-grade destruction, but you never know). Hey, how about a $10 reward for the drive’s return?
HERtalk by Inga
From Dancing Queen: "Re: Shoes and dancing. While your blog content is informative as usual, I have to step back for a moment to comment on two things. 1) Love the Dancing with Matt link. It was fun and did make me feel good. Loved the music. 2) ‘Where In the Hell is Matt’- Should be replaced with ‘Where in the Hell did you get $100 shoes for $23?’ Maybe you could have a ‘Dancing with Inga and Mr. HIStalk’ at HIMSS next year in Chicago?” Hmmm, not a bad idea. Mr. H was mulling over an Inga kissing booth, but twirling around the McCormick Center could be fun, too.
From Sesame Street: “Re: athenahealth’s offshoring. Companies like Dell have slowed down their offshoring to India and started ‘nearshoring’ to Canada. Why? Because they knew how dissatisfied their customers were with their sub-par tech support. But there is a major difference between someone telling you how to run anti-virus scans in safe-mode and someone in India looking at your diagnoses and procedures. athenahealth and other offshoring billing companies are paying Indians $4/hour now, but as the Indian economy grows, their wages go up, so they go to the next developing nation."
From Indy Man: “Inga, what’s the latest in the device connectivity market? (Company) continues to feed off of their EMR provider partners but they do not appear to have the best overall product. (Another company) has device connectivity, vitals integration, HCIT monitoring, COW/WOW. monitoring and location, the ability to integrate disparate systems, as well as remote monitoring and troubleshooting.” I am unaware of this space, but flattered that a reader thinks I might be so well versed, even if I didn’t include the company names just in case there was a hidden agenda. If you are an authority on this subject, then perhaps you could advise Indy Man.
The board of Virtual Radiologic authorizes the repurchase of up to $8 million of the company’s outstanding common stock after last week’s earnings announcement (22% y/y increase in revenue) and share price drop.
ASP-based Clinix Medical Services acquires MedicWare EMR. Clinix provides PM services and provides billing services.
EMR software provider Noteworthy Medical Systems announces it has completed the acquisition of PM software vendor MARS Medical Systems, originally announced right before HIMSS.
Philips completes the previously announced sale of its 69.5% MedQuist stake to CBaySystems Holdings. Philips received $287 million for the transaction. Not so good for a billion-dollar purchase made just three years ago.
St. Vincent Health System (PA) is upgrading signs on for McKesson’s Horizon Clinicals Care Team release.
A survey finds that 80% of Americans believe the health system needs either fundamental change or complete rebuilding. There is also strong support (86%) for doctors’ use of computerized medical records. Most of the 1004 participants also support electronic access to test results (89%), electronic information exchange between doctors (89%), and electronic prescribing for improving patient care (71%).
The University of Puerto Rico hospital selects Healthcare Management Systems.
The ickiest news of the day comes from the BBC, which reports that numerous NHS Trusts have suffered invasions of rats, fleas, bedbugs, flies, and cockroaches. The story makes mention of maggots in a patient’s slippers, fleas in a neonatal unit, rats in the maternity ward, mouse droppings in a clinic, and wasps in operating rooms.