From Jane Grierson: "Re: Whitwell Middle School’s paper clip site. This noteworthy school project has been in existence for a few years. However, the recent magnanimous contributions of MEDSEEK, a healthcare IT company with (as far as I know) little to no ties to public schools, etc., yet great Web products, deserves the biggest THANK YOU at this most appropriate time of year. If Peter Kuhn (last I heard, President) and Jay Drake (last I heard, CEO), representing all MEDSEEK staff, are still around — or whomever — the 11 million named and nameless souls will not be forgotten." Link to the school’s Children’s Holocaust Memorial site (the paper clip connection: they were invented by Norwegians and worn by them in national unity to protest Nazism in World War II, for which occupying Nazi forces would sometimes arrest them). The comment above comes from someone in the industry (phony name substituted by me) who isn’t from MEDSEEK.
From Matt Montini: "Re: insurance companies charging providers for appeals. This example is one of many that makes it clear that this nation does NOT need ‘healthcare reform.’ What it badly needs is ‘healthcare insurance / reimbursement / payment (or whatever synonym one wants to use) reform.’ By correcting the terminology, only then will we be able to change a hideous, broken system that is the root of all access problems, transparency issues, the un-insured, the under-insured, etc."
From Billy Kilmer: "Re: IT initiatives. I really liked the article about IT initiatives under $25,000. How about a request for the ONE coolest hospital gadget/process that is REALLY improving care from the patient’s point of view? And everybody’s best IT-implemented idea that made the patient experience better?" Great idea. Let’s hear from the hospital IT people (just e-mail me). I’ll keep the responses anonymous unless told otherwise since I know that worries people.
Did you have a good holiday? Hope so.
Listening: The Distillers, melodic and creative punk with a quite talented and pretty but foul-mouthed female lead singer. I’m also listening to AC/DC, but only indirectly since it is apparently an NCAA requirement that every college football game have gratuitous, testosterone-eliciting background music in a fixed ratio of 80% AC/DC to 20% Metallica.
Fujitsu Siemens launches its ESPRIMO MA tablet PC for healthcare, based on the Intel Mobile Clinical Assistant spec. In less rosy news, Siemens is selling its 50% stake in the company to Fujitsu for $567 million and it’s cutting 700 jobs in Germany due to poor market conditions.
Charge master software vendor Craneware is named Scottish software company of the year.
A bizarre use of technology: a rifle’s scope attached to a video monitor lets the spotter of a blind hunter direct his gun so he can kill animals for sport.
St. John’s Hospital (IL) will go live on MEDITECH Monday, an event written up in the local newspaper. It noted that early cost estimates were $20 to $30 million, which seems like a lot for a one-hospital MEDITECH implementation other than it’s 734 beds, which would surely be one of the biggest MEDITECH hospitals.
Another vendor "good news" item: MedVentive just finished a Thanksgiving drive for the local food bank. The company says it also tripled its sales force and launched two new products.
Inga says she was having a bad day when she mentioned the "good news" thing and enjoyed mentioning a couple of items, but please don’t send more. It was fun when CEOs were writing, but now the PR people have been mobilized just to get their companies mentioned.
Raymond James is doing a two-minute survey on healthcare IT spending for 2009. You can participate here.
Students at Taiwan’s Ming Chuan University develop a prize-winning hospital software package that includes a real-time doctor advice system, patient monitoring, and a staff locating system.
Cerner opens an office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Online health and wellness vendor Aperture Health announces that Kevin Moley has joined its board. He’s a former HHS deputy secretary and US ambassador as well as former CEO of Integrated Medical Systems. The company’s business model is to run targeted ads with health information and share the revenue with members.
George Washington University Hospital increases employee satisfaction with hospital communication by 33% by using solutions from Netpresenter: "broadcasting" to individual PCs via interactive PC screensavers, digital signage, and emergency alerting.
A Microsoft study finds that lay people screwing around on the Web trying to self-diagnose often mistake their common symptoms for rare diseases, a situation the authors call "cyberchondria."
The Nashville paper writes up the use of RFID-based patient tracking system systems in hospitals, not really saying anything new, but providing a glossy and short overview for lay people.
Mike Webb, 55, IT director at Central Peninsula General Hospital (AK), was killed on the job Wednesday by a distraught former employee. A PACS administrator who was fired Tuesday returned Wednesday morning with a semi-automatic rifle and opened fire on his co-supervisors, Webb and hospital radiology director Margaret Stroup, who was critically injured. Webb had been on the job less than a year, moving to Alaska from Southern Tennessee Medical Center. The suspect, Joseph Marchetti, formerly managed cardiac databases at Nebraska Medical Center. He was shot dead on the scene by Alaska state troopers when he fired on them. Condolences.
An interesting healthcare information technology advocate: IntraHealth International, a Chapel Hill, NC non-profit that works with software developers in Africa to deploy open source healthcare applications to African practitioners (among its other healthcare projects in developing countries). It apparently has a subsidiary site for IntraHealth Informatics and is looking for volunteer designers, developers, and documenters.
Four University of South Florida physicians want an investigation into the firing of a colleague by the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, claiming the hospital singled him out because of his 2003 complaints about computer system flaws that threatened patient safety. The doctor, a USF professor and founder of the hospital’s nephrology department, admits he was frustrated with network problems that kept doctors from getting critical patient information and protested by dumping his computer into a trash can in a public hallway. The VA fired him on November 7 for refusing to sign a memo from the new dialysis unit chief about unit changes.
Indian IT services company Tata Consultancy Services will commercialize its WebHealthCentre patient portal, originally developed as a social project to help deliver rural patient services such as health information, telemedicine, personal health records, and medical consultations.
A Harvard psychiatrist whose endorsement of antipsychotic drugs for children led to a 4,000% increase increase in the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder is found by Congressional investigators to have been profiting handsomely from drug companies selling products used to treat it. Joseph Biederman violated Harvard’s policy on reporting outside income by failing to acknowledge drug company payments of up to $1.4 million. He twisted J&J’s arm to fund his research center at Mass General, listing three goals in its annual report that included "move forward the commercial goals of J&J." One executive from the drug company urged prompt payment of a $3,000 honorarium to Biederman, warning his superiors that Biederman has "a very short fuse … not someone to jerk around." Parents who are suing drug companies over harm caused by the expensive drugs want to depose him. Also exposed: an NIH-funded radio psychiatrist who extolled the virtues of such drugs without disclosing his $1.3 million payments from drug companies for giving marketing lectures. And: the chair of Emory University’s psychiatry department, who earned $2.8 million from drug companies over seven years and failed to report nearly half of it to the university. Kudos to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) for outing the scumbags, of which there is apparently ample supply.