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News 12/19/08

December 18, 2008 News 11 Comments

From Larry Fine: "Re: Philips is sunsetting the CareVue Classic product (formerly from Agilent, and before that, HP). We are looking for clinical systems engineers with CareVue, bedside devices, RDBMS, and HL-7 experience to help support our extensive CareVue Classic deployment (150 ICU beds) until our Epic inpatient go-live in about a year. I have placed ads on DICE and the HL-7 organization’s web site and even sent a message to the HP Alumni mailing list, but no bites so far (or no credible ones, anyway). I would be interested in hearing any other ideas from HIStalk readers about how to reach potential contractors or recruits that could provide this support and then transition to Epic device integration support." I didn’t use Larry’s real name because my policy is not to unless someone asks specifically, but he’s CTO of a big hospital. You can comment on the article with your suggestions. My suggestion is self-serving: run a highly cost-effective listing on HealthcareITJobs.com, which takes seconds. The CareVue sunsetting is leaving quite a few hospitals in a lurch, pushing some too quickly into clin doc systems that can’t match its ease of use.

From The Alchemist: "Re: new site. Well, healthcare advocates, why wait until 2010 for the World Health Organization to embarrass the United States Health System with a world ranking lower than our present 36th? Someone apparently has been concerned about the state of health for the United States to implement a new web site for quality health measures worthy of our national western lifestyles." Link.

From Chad Greer: "Re: TeleVox. oneHITwonder has unfortunately received incorrect information about TeleVox and the support of our popular HouseCalls reminder system. TeleVox will absolutely continue to support all customers utilizing HouseCalls, regardless of the version. Paying a subscription is not a requirement as of 1/1/09. For customers that want to utilize the advanced features and capabilities of the ASP version, they can elect to pay a subscription fee for the service upgrade. TeleVox prides itself on being High Tech with a Human Touch, over 16,000 customers respectfully deserve accurate information that only TeleVox delivers. We apologize to any customer who has been mislead by this information. Thanks in advance for helping clear the confusion about misleading information that can travel fast in this day and time." Chad is the VP of sales and marketing for TeleVox.

Document Generation Corp. files suit against Allscripts, Cerner, Sage, McKesson, Misys, Meditech, Epic, and Eclipsys for infringing on its patient for "computer-assisted document generation." A little homework suggests that patent troll Acacia Research has filed suits using the company’s patent before. Acacia makes a living filing ridiculous nuisance lawsuits against companies that claim infringement, but they rarely go to court because the company conveniently offers a "license" that costs a little less than mounting a legal defense against its eye-rolling claims. Acacia said it was the company’s only licensee in a 2007 suit against 19 EMR vendors, according to one source.

Jobs: SIS Project Manager, Product Design Engineer/Analyst, Manager of IT Technical Support, Eclipsys Clinical Consultants.

Sunquest will acquire the Outreach Advantage outreach lab package from Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories, a Providence Health and Services subsidiary in Spokane, WA.

Accentia, an India-based healthcare solutions provider, gets a $22 million contract to provide services to "a chain of hospitals in the US" that include transcription, coding, and billing. It will hire 5,000 employees. The chain was not named, but one might suspect HCA from timing and deal size. Obviously whatever hospital group it is doesn’t want its offshoring known.

New go-lives for Picis: Kennedy Memorial Hospitals (NJ), Edward Hospital (IL), California Pacific Medical Center (CA), Inova – Mt. Vernon (VA), Central Washington (WA), and Valley Baptist (TX).

A board member of troubled Canadian L&D software vendor LMS Medical System quits along with the president and CEO, that last one interesting because she’s threatening to sue the company. Another former employee is threatening legal action for improper termination. Two of what must be very few survivors start wearing all the hats between them: the interim CEO is the CFO and a board member; the interim COO and CTO keeps his old job as product development VP. Shares are at 2 1/2 cents in case you need some last-minute stocking stuffers or something cheaper than gift wrap.

Tobias Samo, formerly of The Methodist Hospital (TX), joins Eclipsys as CMO.

RIM turns in nice quarterly numbers on BlackBerry sales (and I’m not just saying that because I’m packin’ a Bold).

Standard & Poor’s threatens to cut GE’s credit rating over its GE Capital exposure.

Listening: Shinedown, radio-friendly hard rockers out of Jacksonville. You don’t have to be a drug-ingesting, illiterate loser to like it, but you’ll probably do the pigeon-necking thing because it’s melodic (try The Sound of Madness). The guitarist is quitting after tonight’s show in Flint, MI, although he’s not blaming Flint.

Something to consider as the government becomes the financier and partner of big chunks of what’s left of American industry: in Scotland, the government decides to impose a dress code on healthcare workers for infection control and cost saving reasons. White coats for doctors are out, as are ties. No pens in pockets, no long-sleeved shirts, all hair must be tied back.

Emanuel Medical Center (GA) suspends all employee benefit accruals for 2009 — vacation, holiday, and sick time — hoping to avoid layoffs.

BIDMC rolls out proximity security from Third Brigade. The company says its Deep Security system protected users from the IE zero-day vulnerability even before Microsoft sent out a patch.

Penang Adventist Hospital in Malaysia will use SAS for financial planning and budgeting.

kimball 

Kimball Health Services (NE) chooses HMS. It’s impressive that the 20-bed critical access hospital is aiming for CPOE and bedside barcoding.

I’m pretty sure Dennis Quaid doesn’t really need the $750K settlement that Cedars-Sinai will pay for overdosing his twins with heparin, especially since they’re fine and apparently incurred no medical expense. Their suit against Baxter over what they said was confusing drug packaging has been dismissed, which I’m not sure I knew. And, it’s important to note that the settled suit was only on behalf of the twins; Quaid and his wife could still sue the hospital. It’s a shame it happened, of course, but untold numbers of people suffer far worse outcomes every day from medical mistakes. You can find and discipline everyone involved, but then you’ll have a big empty hospital since everybody working there is human. I wish I knew the answer or had confidence that anyone else does, but neither is the case. Suing the hospital got him a HIMSS opening keynote gig, of course (why?) Alan Greenspan will be there too, so maybe he can explain why he let the economy go to hell under his watch.

One thing that caught my eye in the HIMSS panhandling memo to the not-yet-President: a call for a higher profile HIT official (Senior Health IT Head? … interesting acronym). You can bet they’ve got someone in mind, a safe, vendor-friendly choice who’s on board with its CCHIT/HITSP agenda. But, their attempts to influence legislation in the past have been a bust, so hopefully cooler heads will prevail than to just shovel $25 billion at doctors to get them to use systems they may not want. I have to say that, as a provider-sider, I’m kind of embarrassed that HIMSS lined up for Uncle Sam’s dwindling trough like all the loser industries that failed due to their own stupidity, but now think it’s a good taxpayer investment to override the free market’s valuation of their services. It’s called free market Darwinism – let it work even if it hurts.

losgatos 

El Camino Hospital (CA) will buy the assets of Community Hospital of Los Gatos from HCP. Eric Pifer, MD, who joined El Camino as CMO/CMIO last year, will be president of the hospital when ECH gets it running.

Court documents suggest that Siemens Healthcare may have paid $15 million in bribes to five Chinese hospitals from 2003-2007 to get $295 million worth of business (great ROI, but illegal). One hospital’s radiology director supposedly got $65,000 to ensure the hospital bought a $1.5 million MRI from Siemens.

A group of dentists holds a teleconference to formulate recommendations for the new administration, which include cross-training medical and dentistry students on each other’s field, sharing computerized records, and addressing liability concerns related to sharing data. They think doctors and dentists need to talk more. What I didn’t know: Pitt has a dental informatics program, the only one in the country.

AED-SATELLIFE, a Watertown, MA nonprofit, provides solar powered PDAs to healthcare workers in Uganda for accessing medical information. It also runs HealthNet, a global communication network linking healthcare workers through its satellite (thus the SATELLIFE name). I see they’re looking for developers and users to join their open source data collection, analysis, and reporting platform. I couldn’t find their financials to decide if they’re a good charity.

bakery

Odd: a "medical marijuana club" in California (where else?) plans to add a new kitchen for its pastry chefs, who make pot brownies and other drug-laced goodies sold from deli-style cases (that’s really it above).

Bizarre lawsuit: Florida Hospital Ormond Memorial sues the descendants of the long-dead man who in 1962 donated the property the hospital sits on, trying to weasel around the donor’s stipulation that the land be used only for a hospital. The hospital wants to sell the land to whoever wants it for $16 million and move to a new location. The hospital didn’t bother to contact the descendants, so the lawsuit came out of nowhere and they’ve had to hire lawyers. Says the donor’s widow: "I don’t know anything about it. Nobody called me or anything." Stupid or cold? I can’t decide.

Another: California’s Supreme Court rules that Good Samaritans trying to help accident victims can be sued for damages if they injure the person. The case involves a 27-year-old woman, whose friend pulled her out of her wrecked car thinking she saw smoke and worrying it might explode, but allegedly causing paralyzing injuries. The victim’s lawsuit against her (former) friend can continue.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

The Joint Commission issues a Sentinel Event Alert discussing the possible safety risks related to medical devices and HIT implementations.

Boston Medical Center eliminates 250 jobs and cuts various clinical services in an attempt to address $114 million in funding cuts.

St. Joseph Health System selects Allscripts to provide Enterprise EHR and PM to 100 affiliated physicians.

BCBSA extends its relationship with AT&T Business Solutions, awarding its two multi-million dollar national contracts to serve as its primary networking services provider.

The Commonwealth Fund launches a new Web site that tracks performance data for hospitals. Unlike other rating sites, WhyNotTheBest.org is not providing rankings. In other words, KLAS-like information on hospitals, but without the rankings. I wonder if there is a need for something similar in the HIT world? Sometimes I wonder if the whole ranking process affects accuracy because I know it can cause vendor hysteria. For example, certain companies clearly push their happiest clients to the ratings site to assure a high rank. The vendors focus on that earning that #1 spot, and I bet some execs have bonuses tied to it. If you are a company without the time and money resources to monitor your KLAS ratings, does that make you a lesser company? Is the company with the #1 rating really that much better than #2? A #1 ranking certainly gives a company a great excuse to issue a press release. Too bad it’s considered lame to send a press release saying, “We were only .001 points behind #1, so we’re pretty great, too.” Perhaps if everyone weren’t so focused that top spot, we’d feel more comfortable that data is truly meaningful.

In a survey that seems to be financed by pharmaceutical companies, Manhattan Research finds that 40 million US adults have elected not to have a prescription filled because of the cost. Women and patients with neurological and mental health conditions were the ones most likely to skips their meds. Sildenafil citrate was not on the list of the most-missed medications.

A Miami physician receives a 30-year prison sentence and is ordered to pay $8.3 million for her part in an $11 million Medicare fraud scheme. Her medical assistance gets 14 years.

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Dear Santa: You know I love my iPhone, even though I seem to drop it all the time and lose it in the bottom of my purse. I’m thinking this pretty pink case (or perhaps one of these) may be the answer. I’ve been good. Love, Inga.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "11 comments" on this Article:

  1. I have two or three clients who were also told in a letter by Televox that they would have to start paying for the ASP model or lose all their support. The first one we heard from had just dropped $14K on a new software/server package from Televox (on our recommendation) in early 2008 and is livid that they are now going to be forced to start paying all over again. Or so they understood.

    I will be sending them to Chad Greer as a result of this note to help straighten things out.

    If interested, I can probably get a copy of the letter that led them to think this and perhaps Chad Smith can address it?

  2. To TeleVox, sorry if the info was not accurate. I was passing along information posted on a very prominent, respected and not anonymous listserve. The commenter indicated that he was a HouseCalls client, called his rep and was told this information. Must also add that he was very happy with your product.

  3. OK, I asked for more details about Televox and I think the response from Chad Greer above could misleading. From notes at our company (some of this may be directly from them):

    —————————–

    Televox has two versions of their software, ASP and Legacy.

    ASP software is newer and is hosted and maintained by Televox.

    The Legacy software is older and, if a client has this, they probably have the software loaded on a PC in their office.

    As you know, Microsoft recently released a new OS called Vista. The Legacy software does not run on Vista. Because of this, and because of the popularity of the ASP software, Televox has decided not to upgrade the Legacy software to run on Vista.

    This means that customers with the Legacy software should not upgrade the OS on the PC they are using to Vista.

    Customers with the Legacy software can continue to use the Legacy software and will be able to attain support for this software throughout 2009, so, customers have more than a year to plan their upgrade. At the end of 2009 they hope to have all of their customers upgraded to the ASP software.

    The ASP software does cost a little more, but discounts are available and the estimate I got from Televox was that they hoped nobody would have to pay more than a few hundred dollars a year beyond what they are paying now when they upgrade.

    ————————

    So, they blame VISTA for the problem (which is somewhat believable, but quite convenient).

    They may be supporting Legacy clients on 1/1/9, as Chad says, but it sounds like 1/1/10 or sooner is a different story.

    Note that the ASP solution “costs a little more.” I thought ASP was supposed to be CHEAPER? Those new services must be substantial. Too bad it doesn’t look like customers have a choice. “A few hundred dollars” times 16000 customers…I like that business model.

  4. Larry Fine: I’m a contractor that is holding onto what I have. Previously if I had the skills, I may have been interested because of the Epic potential, but now I’m just happy for stability. I don’t think people are as daring or cavalier about jumping job to job as they once were – the offer would have to be out of this world(for me at least).

  5. To: Buck Dharma

    How can ASP be less expensive than internal hosting of licensed software? With ASP the cost of the back end hardware is borne by the ASP host. Typically, the ASP host also provides backup services and possibly complete disaster recovery. All these costs would be in addition to any license fees.

    ASP may be less costly in a comparison with internal hosting when all the costs on the client side are factored in but the fees/costs from the ASP/legacy vendor will surely be higher for ASP versus legacy.

  6. “ASP is less expensive” is the mantra of essentially every vendor I’ve ever spoken to…who sells an ASP solution. I used to be on the “ASP/Medical Vendor” mailing list (some originally prominent folks from emrupdate.com were there) and we heard it all the time. Are you suggesting this isn’t the primary ASP selling point stated by salespeople to docs every day?

    “Backup services” and “disaster recovery” should be measured in pennies a day or even a few bucks. Hardly a difference.

    Meanwhile, I’d love Chad Greer to go on record stating how long practices who purchased the entire system as recently as the middle of 2008 can expect support on their Legacy products. That’s some Human Touch!

  7. Larry Fine : The interface engine you decide on will dictate the skill sets you are looking for. If you go down the path of Ensemble (as quiet a few EPIC clients do) you should look for somebody with M experience, may I suggest somebody like Henry Elliot as a good recruiter on that front. And that may be worth looking at, as having an M or Cache developer on the team is increasingly a good plan for making small customizations to EPIC.







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