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January 13, 2009 News 10 Comments

From Fish n’ Chips: "Re: Sutter. oneHITwonder hit the nail on the head. Epic is not going well with Sutter. More delays. 2+ years behind schedule. And money … well, can Sutter print money like the Fed does? They are going to need it."

From SQLImplosion: "Re: Sunquest. As the days go by, more and more Sunquest personnel are being escorted out the door. Not just your every day Joes, but the heart of the former Sunquest team. Tuesday, January 6 saw many employees let go, followed by the former service executive team on Friday the 9th. Now today, Tuesday the 13th, 49 more senior members of staff are gone for about a 20% headcount reduction. The number of years of experience of this staff, well over 600." I’ve contacted the company about the several reports I’ve received in the past few days. They promise a statement here Wednesday. I’m realistic: companies both good and bad are making tough decisions for reasons beyond their control. The first obligation of a business is to survive since it’s not doing the remaining employees any favors to let the entire ship go down together. We’ll hear Sunquest’s side soon, but unlike in giddy times when layoffs were just a convenient way to trim deadwood, I don’t think employers are happy about job cuts this go round. Condolences to those affected in any case.
bigswitch 
From The PACS Designer: "Re: Cloud 20. Nicholas Carr of the RoughType Blog has a new book out called ‘The Big Switch’. He lists his 20 early cloud computing adopters as the Cloud 20: Adobe, Akamai, Amazon.com, Cisco Systems, Citrix Systems (including XenSource), EMC (including VMware and Mozy), Facebook, Gh.o.st, Google, IBM, Intuit, Metaweb Technologies, Microsoft, Mint, Salesforce.com, Sun Microsystems, 37signals, 3tera, Workday, Zoho." Link.

akron

From Atlas Shrugged: "Re: Akron General. Cutting senior administrators." Link. Out: COO, SVO of marketing, president of the physicians’ group, and the VP of managed care. Layoffs are possible, the hospital says.

From Walnutz: "Re: NJ. Meridian Health buys Bayshore Community Health System and Southern Ocean County Hospital. Also, Bayshore cutting hours in lieu of layoffs. All hearsay from my vantage point, but plausible." Meridian and South Ocean announced exploration of a merger late last week and Meridian had already announced that it was talking merger with Bayshore. Given the desperate hospital situation in NJ, I would be surprised if it doesn’t happen.

From John: "Re: Web 2.0. Web 2.0 and social networking are already playing a role in healthcare. People are helping each other out, providing information and support. It’s happening right now, go and see for oneself. For example, a few quick searches in Facebook finds the group ‘Support the fight against cancer with just a click’ has 1,400,000 members, Autism Awareness has 60,000 members, and ‘Find a Cure For Juvenile Diabetes’ has 27,000 members. Now if by ‘healthcare’ one means ‘the sustainable business model one can come up with to monetize healthcare communities of interests,’ that poses a different question. However, the answer might stem from the large number of folks currently participating in the former notion of ‘healthcare.’" Brilliant and well said. Maybe healthcare as a business has made all of us too cynical about any manifestations of it that don’t come with a big-name CEO or a liquidity event.

Update: I forgot to mention that Medicity and Novo Innovations have formally announced their merger. I’ve thought Novo was one of the coolest companies out there when I interviewed mad scientist Robert Connely in 2006 (one of the most fun ones I’ve done – I need to get him to sit still for a second round). What makes the merger interesting is that Medicity has made great leaps with its technologies and understanding of the RHIO/HIE market and Novo brings its "intelligent agent" technology that provides a more direct connection to physician office EMRs. As my poll and the new report I mention a few paragraphs down indicate, people are beginning to realize that unconnected EMRs are first generation and a some companies (Medicity and RelayHealth come to mind, but there are others) are approaching the EMR benefit model from the other side.

I’m really excited about some upcoming goodies in HIStalk and HIStalkPractice. I always get discouraged through the holidays because the energy (and readership) drops, but it’s going great guns again. We’ve got some super, hand-picked guest authors coming on both sites (and isn’t it cool to see what John Glaser is thinking?) I’m pretty sure Inga and I have never worked harder to get information out there. The bad news is that I’m behind again, so be patient if you’ve e-mailed me. I’m cranky if I don’t sleep and something had to slide a little.

Shares in practice financial management company MedAssets rise 8% after the company reaffirms its 2008 outlook and raises 2009 earnings guidance.

Cerner’s second managed on-site medical clinic opens at Cisco. The article says it was a money-saver at Cerner, which is not surprising if the employee reports I received are accurate (high prices, low coverage). I’d like to think employee satisfaction with the service is important, but in a buyer’s market, it probably isn’t.

Housekeeping: drop your information in the Subscribe to Updates box to your right to get an e-mail blast when I write something new (and do the same on HIStalkPractice if you’re interested since they are separate lists). Right below that is an oh-so-convenient Email This to a Friend button that lets you easily tell people about HIStalk. There’s a search box over there too, which will obediently dig through 5.5 years of HIStalk to find whatever you’re interested in. And, a hideous green Rumor Report button by which you can send confidential stuff my way, even including scandalous attachments.

Listening: The Trash Can Sinatras, lush jangle pop that’s how REM would sound if they were raised in Scotland instead of Georgia.

booz

A report from Booz Allen Hamilton and the Federation of American Hospitals concludes that healthcare IT emphasis needs to be on improving electronic communication among patients and providers rather than getting EMRs installed, with a shift needed way from EMRs as the "big bang" or "magic bullet". Some of its key points:

  • Focus on e-prescribing, electronic results, and medical imaging.
  • Tie payment to desired outcomes.
  • Implement a national health information exchange. The UK already has 90% EMR penetration and a single national broadband network, but they’re still pursuing interoperability as its own separate project.
  • Give patients access to their records and a way to communicate with their physicians about them.
  • Create a voluntary personal identifier.
  • Provide more funding to ONC to go beyond demonstration projects.
  • EMRs adoption is poor, but could be improved by generating a "pull" for available electronic data.

I’ve said that here before, of course: PC vendors didn’t have to beg for adoption once the Internet came along. Create valuable content and people will find a way to obtain and use the devices required to access it. This is the second thoughtful report in a handful of days, of course, that questions whether just buying a lot of EMRs will improve healthcare. My theory, for what it’s worth: there will be limited success (defined as improved outcomes) in bringing technology to healthcare IT until everybody realizes that doctors won’t work as typists for free (my previous analogy that everyone wants to consume information, but few want to create it). Drop the guilt-inducing term "EMR/EHR" immediately and focus on deconstructing it into the individual functions that provide value to a given practice. Current technologies can support the market’s demand for functions that are modular, Internet-based, paid for as a service, and in full communication with the outside world, so vendors who don’t want to fight to overpower a generally resistant market will find success in going around that obstacle instead of trying to climb it.

But maybe you already knew that about connectivity is important: the leading vote-getter in the "Spend Obama’s Money" poll to your right is creating a national infrastructure for sharing data (43%), double the percentage who think subsidizing today’s EMRs is the best way to goose HIT.

Interesting: David Bowen, CIO for the Federal Aviation Adminstration and safety whistleblower, came from BCBS of California, Catholic Healthcare West, and Baptist Birmingham.

Caswell Family Medical Center (NC) gets a $99,000 grant to install an EMR.

Hospital layoffs: Westchester Medical Center (NY), 400; Memorial Hospital (PA), 32; Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center (ID), 66; Brockton Hospital (MA), 6; Mercy Health Partners (MI), 31; St. John’s Hospital (MO), 19; St. Joseph’s Hospital (WV), 20.

Estonia’s patient portal is delayed. I might be the only one who cares, probably because I’ve been there.

i-Rox, an Israel-based software development company whose employees are all ultra-Orthodox women (thus the name, a play on Internet and Orthodox), is developing a clinical information system for Palestinian Authority hospitals.

matsu

An Alaska hospital stops providing birth notices to the local newspaper, even if the parents sign a consent form, fearing abductions.

ED departments and after-hours clinics in Wales will have online access to patient information if the vendor’s final business case is approved.

Health Level 7 releases (warning: PDF) a child health functional profile for EMRs.

Jobs: Cerner Practice Director, McKesson HPP V13, Cloverleaf Integration Consultant.

David Brailer’s Health Evolution Partners announces a partnership called 21CM (21st Century Medicine) that "will identify innovations which change how medicine is practiced." Sounds like he’s found well-known hospital CEOs who are going to give him free investment ideas. Whether they get anything in return isn’t stated.

Intelligent transcription software vendor MD-IT closes $11 million in Series B private equity funding.

CMS tells WellPoint that it won’t allow the insurer to enroll new Medicare drug plan customers because it hasn’t fixed its ongoing computer problems. 

tgh

Toronto General Hospital performs a study to find the cause of pseudomonas infection in its ICU that killed 12 people. The answer, published in a journal this month: the sinks. The result: one patient who claims his complications were caused by contracting pseudomonas is suing the hospital for $40 million.

E-mail me.


HERtalk by Inga

From Famous Publisher: “Re: HIStalk. Flattered to hear from the famous Inga! Your site kicks butt. I’ve seldom seen IT folks swarm that way.” Famous Publisher sent me this note after I signed up to follow her on Twitter. Thanks for the nice words. By the way, thanks to all 35 of you following me on Twitter. Since I am the one who encouraged Mr. H to start twittering, it hardly seems fair that he already has 53 followers. Oh well.

cnn

Speaking of Twitter, I am following our possible next Surgeon General, who posted the above message Tuesday afternoon. Just think what a fit nation we’d be if Dr. Gupta was at the helm! Kind of inspires me to do some sit-ups tonight.

President-elect Obama taps William Corr as HHS deputy secretary. Corr is a longtime anti-smoking advocate and is currently the executive director at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

The healthcare sector gains 30,000 jobs in December, while the nation as a whole loses more than 2 million. About 14,000 of the jobs are in ambulatory care, 12,000 in hospitals, and the rest in long-term and home health care.

Michelle Obama officially resigns as VP for Community and External Affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

I was on the HIMSS site today and noticed there are only 81 days left until the annual conference. There are over 200 educational sessions, which is pretty overwhelming to consider. I would expect Mark Leavitt’s CCHIT Town Hall session to be a big draw. Personally, I might pop into the session called “Change EMR Vendors Midstream? What Were You Thinking?” Harry Lukens of LVHHN is the presenter and he is pretty entertaining. Of course, I’ll probably try to get a peek at Dennis Quaid. I wonder if he’d like an invite to the HIStalk event?

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Opus Healthcare announces that its OpusMobility system now runs on the Google G1 phone.

ICA appoints John Tempesco VP of Client Services. Tempesco has been with ICA since February 2008 and previously worked at HealthPort and Companion Technologies.

Former Intel executive Greg Symon joins Red Hat as VP and GM of North American sales. We noticed that former Red Hat VP Dave Nesvisky (who Mr. H interviewed last May) is now EVP at Voxiva.

Memorial Hospital (NJ) signs a six-year agreement with PHNS to provide all the hospital’s IT services.

UHIN (Utah) selects Axolotl’s Elysium Exchange to power its HIE.

Oleen Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting acquires New York IT consulting firm Partners in Health Systems.

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The Stratus Avance product wins a InfoWorld Product of the Year award in the category of Best High-Availability Solution for SMBs.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. Interesting that Medicity – based in Salt Lake City – did not win the UHIN (Utah) business but rather it went to Axolotl. Would be interested to hear why they selected Axolotl over other vendors including Medicity for their HIE. Thanks.

  2. oneHITwonder didn’t hit the nail on the head at all. He got it wrong. Sutter may be behind, but they are looking at a failed Eclipsys install being replaced by Epic. Epic isn’t activated yet on Inpatient. Ambulatory – yes, for a long time, but not inpatient yet. Fish N Chips has had an Epic bashing perspective for quite some time on this blog. Time to move on…

  3. Here’s the official Sunquest response about the rumored layoffs:

    Sunquest has a specific and focused strategy for growth based on a long term commitment to providing superior customer service, investing to expand the portfolio of diagnostic solutions, accelerating the innovation cycle, raising performance and improving organizational effectiveness. Over the past few months we have completed two acquisitions, added a number of significant new products to our portfolio, increased the focus on pro-active field based support services and our total headcount is substantially above prior year. We make it a company policy not to comment on specific personnel related issues.

  4. Is it any wonder that UHIN did not choose Medicity the vendor in their back yard? Once one actually sees what works then the only logical choice is the vendor known for it’s lizard

  5. Hi, I must say that oneHITwonder jumped to a whole of inaccurate conclusions.
    In fact Sutter has not implemented ANY EHR in the hospital setting to date. Mills Peninsula Health services in Burlingame is the first acute care facility to go live. that is scheduled for April 2009 and is not behind at all. The project is charging forward with no current conversations heard of any delay.
    Epic has been GREAT to work with.

    Check your facts oneHITwonder before you bash.

  6. Need to clarify above comment…meant to say that Sutter had not implemented Epic at ANY acute care facility…not that it didn’t have previous installs
    sorry if confused

  7. Reviewed your comments on Medicity/Novo merger. I have to say that after 9 months and 3 failed implementations at a current client I have reservations on putting too many accolades out for them. No live dates have been hit and once live the exerience is that miinimal functionality provided creating huges issues with the medical communities.

  8. Wow, it is very interesting how people read something into what you write…please re-read my post. I was sharing an experience that I had at a Sutter hospital as a family member of a patient. I said that I thought the “e-charting” reference that a nurse made to me was an Epic reference. I did not bash Epic. I did not bash Sutter. I did not bash Eclipsys. So…”ehr Implemener” I did not “jump to inaccurate conclusions”.

    I think that this industry is lacking in having a benchmark/example of the perfect, successful implemetnation and maybe there will never be one. ALL implementations, especially the scope of Kaiser and Sutter are frought with incredible complication (not bad, just complicated). Physicians are independent spirits and are difficult to herd. Different facilities have different cultures. Change is hard for many people, technology change is especailly intimidating. Oh, and I also think that every implementation is different. You can have an “implementation recipe”, but unless you are willing to be creative along the way and adjust to what is happening life will become very dreary.

    I imagine that Epic IS great to work with, otherwise they would not have the luxury to choose their clients, like they currently do.

    So, next time you comment on a post, please make sure YOU dont jump to inaccurate conclusions.







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