From Al Mikes: "Re: Brailer. He has always focused on self-promotion. Kolodner is the opposite, but he will be out within six months since the new HHS secretary will want his own person there. It will not be a purely ceremonial role like it was under Brailer with all the money, accountability, and transparency that is now expected. It will take a real go-getter and risk-taker, an entrepreneurial type who can be a lightning rod for the changes needed, like an American version of Richard Granger from NHS."
From Dr. T: "Re: GE. I spoke with a college buddy that works there in Seattle. Many Centricity/IDXers are getting the axe. GE is giving them a month (or was it two?) Their ‘new’ product will probably have a sunset announcement before the two remaining US customers go live. Thank God I didn’t take that position three years ago!" Unverified.
From John Johnson: "Re: IBM. Not only do they not have an EMR, they don’t have services OR a sales force. Most of the Healthlink execs have bailed. They had over 50 people in their healthcare sales and delivery group (I was one of them) and ALL of the non-executive staff were laid off. Only five VPs are left in that group with no teams under them any more. This is big-company spin at its best. I am happy to be moving on, hopefully to a company that really is serious about spending that stimulus money wisely and has leaders that truly understand the healthcare business." Unverified.
Speaking of the invitation-only David Brailer Innovation 2009 conference, here’s the agenda. The registration fee is $1,600, hotel rooms are $345, and the speakers are a bunch of stock market types.
Neal Patterson has a blog, or at least a Cerner-approved online write-up that bears his name. Maybe Neal’s casual blog writing consists of long, carefully documented and footnoted position statements and corporate marketing graphics. See if this snip sounds like him: "Although no meta-analysis has yet attempted to quantify these savings, in aggregate they are very significant, and supported by much research and published studies." My predictions: (1) it will rarely be updated because committees can’t turn it around quickly; (2) it invites comments, but they will be carefully moderated and answered only with additional harmless boilerplate; and (c) it will contain nothing controversial or contrarian because the marketing people will redact anything interesting. Neal is vitriolic, passionate, and hard to follow, but quotable. His alleged blog, like most CEO blogs, is none of those things. The PR people e-mailed me to say he wants to start up a conversation with it, so post a challenging comment and let me know how quickly and thoroughly "Neal" answers.
Ed posted a comment that said I never say anything positive about GE, so maybe I’m biased. My bias is more generalized against multi-national conglomerates who buy up really good HIT companies (Triple G, BDM, and maybe even IDX in GE’s case) and run them right into the ground, the "first to worst" phenomenon that is the nearly exclusive province of GE. I’m also not a big fan of Siemens, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, and other healthcare IT dabblers. I’ve worked in healthcare all my life, so I like companies like Epic, Cerner, MEDITECH, and that majority of HIT companies willing to make or miss their fortunes by dancing with the one who brought them. Market penetration, performance, and user satisfaction seem to validate that bias.
Gregg Alexander, a tech-savvy practicing physician (he says "grunt in the trenches") whose gifted writings grace HIStalk Practice, is starting off a series called US Healthcare Overhaul? Sure … in 5 Easy Steps! Worth a read. A snip about HMOs: "Suppose there was one acceptable formulary structure, that quality measures could be promoted universally, that health maintenance care was paid better than (or, at least as well as) health repair, that our struggles with healthcare provision were about improving ‘best practices’ not ‘best reimbursements’."
February was the busiest month every for HIStalk readership (even though it’s a short month) with around 75,000 visits, so thanks for spending time with Inga and me.
UT Southwestern Medical Center CIO Kirk Kirksey writes a pro-EMR opinion piece for the Dallas paper, specifically mentioning Epic’s MyChart by name.
I thought athenahealth turned in good Q4 numbers Thursday, but the market apparently didn’t agree: the stock dropped around 25% Friday. The earnings call transcript is here.
This Deloitte social software evangelist isn’t a fan of CIOs, but he’s pretty funny in a cynical, HIStalk kind of way. Perceptive readers may note his slight bias from the posting’s title, "The CIO Should Be Janitor." Love the graphic. Here’s an caustic excerpt: "Their job was to connect people to data. Now their job is to ignore people, their business requirements, and generate metrics which ensure the survival of the CIO function. They drain money like a 2-year old goes through a juice box, but somehow they continue to be seen as an important function within the business world … You are only the “chief” because you have (inappropriately) been given fiscal responsibilities. Being the gatekeeper should not be what makes you important." Ouch!
I got an e-mail from Nigel Dallard, secretary of the UK’s Hospital Broadcasting Association, which I mentioned earlier saying that I wasn’t sure how hospital radio stations work. He was nice enough to explain. There are 240 volunteer-run radio stations that serve over 400 hospitals, hospices, and retirement homes in the UK (and more in Ireland and the Netherlands). Most are run as charities, although hospital volunteers operate a couple. They broadcast using low power on the AM and FM bands, licensed to cover one hospital. The content is mostly music that is targeted to the older patients who make up much of the hospital population (I’m thinking Hendrix and Pink Floyd since the Benny Goodman generation is nearly gone). The volunteers visit patients, take requests to be played in the evening, and get local sports club members to provide sports commentary. Patients can use the bedside entertainment system to participate live in the programs. Some stations actually do remote broadcasts live from the nursing stations. Since volunteers often are available only in the evening, stations often run unattended during the day, using computer automation to run pre-recorded programs. Nigel says evidence is building that music, particularly that which brings up personal memories, can relax patients, reduce perceived pain, and allow them to accept their situation. He mentioned three US stations run as part of the UK’s Radio Lollipop: Miami Children’s, Texas Children’s, and CHOC. I’m pretty fascinated by this (I’m a geek and it sounds cool) and I appreciate the explanation.
The US operation of BearingPoint, drowning in $2.23 billion of debt, files Chapter 11. What the hell was a services firm wasting all that money on — suits and Kinkos presentation folders? Uncle Sam was paying huge dollars to buy business advice from a company that couldn’t even run its own business BEFORE the recession – nice. My theory is that it’s CoreFLS karma coming around.
An incident reporting system at Queensland Health (Australia) is being reviewed after it was noticed that employees often bailed out in the middle of trying to log an incident because of the application’s general clunkiness. It also does not notify managers that incidents have been reported in their areas of responsibility, requiring instead that they log on and check.
I ran across this by accident and it’s pretty cool: Johns Hopkins offers a fully online MS in Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, or Bioscience Regulatory Affairs.
Mobile technology vendor Zi finally capitulates to the acquisition overtures of Nuance, agreeing to a deal worth $35 million after a months-long mating dance.
Red Hat says the poor economy is sending both large and small companies to its door looking for cost-savings opportunities.