From Ralph Curmudgeon: “Re: Kaiser’s flash drive PHR. Kaiser’s offer of the flash drive has the same inherent problems as shoving a stack of papers and an x-ray folder in the patient’s hands. Unless the drive is encrypted and the patients have the computer skills to use it, it’s effectively worthless. Besides, I’ll wager >50% of them end up getting lost – just like the paper records. The average Joe and Jane out there – particularly the elder ones – aren’t ready to haul around electronic records in the pocket or purse – heck, they can hardly understand their treatment bill. Now injecting them with a re-programmable chip in their upper back – like Rover – that’ll work.”
From The PACS Designer: “Re: Seesmic/TweetDeck. As Twitter gains more popularity, there are enhanced free applications that will manage all your Twitter favorites and also allow you to manage photos and videos to give you a ‘video Twitter’. One of them is Seesmic, created by a French company, which competes with another application called TweetDeck. TweetDeck has had some memory leak problems that are now supposedly fixed according to Adobe, so Seesmic appears to be the better choice to track Mr. H’s, the Candid CIO’s, and Labsoftnews’s Twitter posts along with others.” Link. At the risk of sounding tragically un-hip, I have to admit that I’m already sick of Twitter even though I do basically nothing with it. At least blogs required minimal effort to actually write and post the usual vapid, dull comments. Twitter makes it easy for Twits to expel a never-ending, 140-character flatus stream of “what I’m doing right now” self-indulgent babbling (as long as the activity allows keeping at least one hand on the keyboard) that puzzlingly finds an audience of people willing to read it. People complain that they have no free time, yet they apparently use what they do have screwing around with World Wide Waste of Time applications that provide the illusion of usefulness.
From Leon Poncey: “Re: cyber-attack. Thought this might be interesting to HIStalk readers.” Link. An interesting recap of an incident in California where unidentified individuals crawled into several manholes (they’re never locked, of course) and cut eight fiber cables, causing a loss of 911 service, cell signal, landline telephone, broadband, alarms, ATMs, credit card terminals, utility monitoring applications, and the hospital’s internal network (which apparently had some unexpected dependencies). Repercussions were fascinating: the hospital went to paper, stores accepted only cash, and employees were sent home. The only technology that worked was one of the oldest and least sexy: ham radio (I can say that because, being a nerd, I will admit that I was once a ham radio operator, at least until I noticed that it was like Twitter: the technology was ample to interconnect people from all over the world, but the people using it invalidated the entire premise because they had nothing interesting to say).
From Alter Ego: “Re: Halamka’s blog. I think he’s getting a bit egocentric, kind of full of himself. Does anyone really need to know about the details of his work spaces?” I already assumed he was full of himself, although I don’t know him. I actually kind of enjoyed the post that has pics of his digs at Harvard, BIDMC, and his home office, which is just a chair and a MacBook Air (I certainly enjoyed that post more than those Zen ones where he gets all moist talking about some bizarre flute he has dedicated his life to playing, his tea ceremonies, or climbing rocks). And, I have to defend us bloggers since there’s always some reader who launches ballistically when a couple of sentences didn’t hit his or her interests precisely. I get an e-mail something like this: “Oh my GOD I don’t read HIStalk to get (humor, music recommendations, guest articles, etc.) and I want the time back that it took me to read (the three sentences out of hundreds). Stick to the facts and leave that to the professionals (comedians, music critics, professional writers, etc.)” Apparently just skipping over those few words is too much of a challenge compared to writing out a complaint, so I have no idea how those folks can read a newspaper (“Oh my GOD I don’t follow stocks so please stop running that crap and stick with the sports and leave the investment talk to stockbrokers”). If Halamka wants to write about tooting his flute, then that’s his right, and anyone who can’t stand that should probably just read the personality-free trade rags.
From Deborah Kohn: “Re: HIPAA. I completely agree with your reply. Just a history reminder of this complex law. Prior to 1996, the public was demanding two things: 1) greater portability of health insurance between jobs, and 2) confidentiality protection of personal information and privacy protection of the individual – with a focus on health information. Consequently, the 1996 Kennedy Kassebaum Bill (K-2) or Public Law 104-191 or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (and, given the 2009 ARRA HITECH Act, this 1996 law could be viewed as version 1.0 or 1.a), was introduced with the following legislative goals: Title I – Portability, which contains only one major component — ensuring that individuals between jobs are able to carry their health coverage forward or obtain similar coverage. Title II – Administrative Simplification, which contains four major components, which are the most publicized: 1) Unique Identifiers (for Employers, Health Plans, Health Providers, and Individuals); 2) Electronic Data Interchange and Coding Standards (the Transaction Set and the Code Set); 3) the Confidentiality and Privacy Standards for analog and digital records / documents (the Minimal Disclosure of Individually-Identifiable Health Information, the Control Over Sharing this Information with Outside Entities, and the Ability of Patients to View Their Information and Receive a Record of Access to Their Information); and 4) the Security Standards for digital records / documents (the Administrative, Physical and Technical Safeguards).”
The last plea of this particular telethon: if you haven’t completed my reader survey, would you? I’m already making my to-do list from the responses so far, but it’s not too late to register yours.
Not willing to take the chance that the government will define “meaningful use” of EHRs in a way it doesn’t like, HIMSS goes ahead and preemptively makes up its own definition and sends it off to CMS and ONCHIT for what they hope is rubber stamping. Its recommendations:
- Name CCHIT to be the EHR certifying body (no surprise there).
- Adopt interoperability per the specs of HITSP and IHE.
- Implement increasingly stringent metrics. For hospital systems, HIMSS wants metrics to be ratcheted down no less often than every two years to allow “health IT companies to make necessary modifications to their products, including the rewrite of legacy enterprise EMRs as necessary.” (Question 1: what enterprise EMRs are not legacy? Question 2: does anyone really expect products to be rewritten?)
- Evaluate best-of-breed and open source technologies fairly in their demonstration of meaningful use (note that HIMSS throws in a half-hearted but still eyebrow-raising acknowledgment that free software that competes with the products of its vendor members, saying “use of open source options can be cost-effective for some hospitals.”)
- For the first two-year phase (FY11), measures include use of lab, pharmacy, and radiology systems, along with a CDR (interfaced to “the patient accounting system” for some reason). Discrete clinical observations (allergies, problem list, vitals, I&O, flowsheets, meds) are recorded electronically, but electronic physician documentation is not required. Auto-capture of NQF quality measures is required. Hospitals exchange electronic information, but it can be in the form of scanned documents.
- For the second phase (FY13), 51% of orders must be entered by CPOE, e-prescribing to outside pharmacies must be in place, and systems follow whatever data output standards HITSP and IHE devise.
- For the third phase (FY15), CPOE goes to 85%, bedside eMAR/barcode verification is in place, evidence-based order sets and reminders are in use, and information exchange is underway with public health organizations and subunits of a statewide or national exchange. There’s a line about analyzing “pharmacokinetic outcomes resulting from patient medication interaction” that makes no sense to me.
- Most of the practice-based EMR recommendations are similar: clinical data display with CPOE capability and doctors entering their own orders, e-prescribing, and quality measures, followed by clinical decision support and interoperability.
My opinion: a pretty nice job. The standards are straightforward and measurable, although the practice EMR document doesn’t get specific about physician usage percentages like the hospital one does. It looks to me like they basically took the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model and made Stage 3 (minus the diagnostic imaging requirement) the first phase and Stage 5 the second (along with part of Stage 7 – capturing data in CCD format). Fairly ambitious, but it may go back to Obama’s early question about “what would it cost to get all hospitals to Stage 4”.
Microsoft creates a version of its Amalga data analysis tool for life sciences. They claim it connects information in ways that allow researchers to make new discoveries.
Cerner just announced Q1 numbers: revenue up 2%, adjusted EPS $0.52 vs. $0.47, beating estimates of $0.51 by the usual Cerner penny (but light on revenue, so shares are pricing down). Nobody I know is buying Cerner systems, but they are managing their business with great skill, working the recurring revenue stream and managing expenses to keep Wall Street happy.
UK’s NHS threatens to give BT and CSC the boot if they can’t get their Cerner and iSoft systems, respectively, up and running in at least one large hospital by November.
Joel Selanikio of Georgetown University (and of his own company, DataDyne) wins a $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability for developing the open source EpiSurveyor mobile healthcare survey software.
Continua Health Alliance wins the American Telemedicine Association’s award for innovation. The ubiquitous John Halamka’s quoted congratulations on behalf of HITSP are included for some reason.
Palomar Pomerado Health is offering, without a prescription, the personal genetic testing kits of Google-backed 23andMe.
Southeastern Regional Medical Center (NC) promotes Eric Harper to CIO.
Sutter Health is reluctantly turning Marin General Hospital (CA) back over to the county next summer, so that means it will need new information systems. ACS gets a $55 million contract to install McKesson Paragon and support it through 2017. Former El Camino Hospital CEO Lee Domanico is running the transition team that will take over. The hospital originally said it couldn’t afford to pay him more than $264K, but he will make up to $779K a year under his two-year contract signed in January, a large pile of money for running a 235-bed hospital.
The University of Nebraska and the technology transfer organization of its medical center are suing Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics for patent infringement, claiming that Dade Behring knowingly sold laboratory testing systems that used technology the university had patented and licensed exclusively to Abbott Laboratories. Siemens AG bought Dade Behring in 2007.
Kathleen Sebelius is confirmed to become HHS secretary, but none of HHS’s 18 other key positions have been filled. I want Obama to succeed, but so far he’s just a cooler version of Jimmy Carter – lots of lofty goals, but incompetent when it comes to execution (how many times has he apologized for one gaffe or another in just his first 100 days or so?) Anyway, she’s in, but without a team.
A new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine found that computerized medication reconciliation reduced medication errors by 28%.
Total margins for Pennsylvania’s hospitals have dropped 12% in the past two years to –6.3% due to portfolio losses and more uninsured patients.
HERtalk by Inga
From Old Coot: “Re: John Wennberg. ‘Too much acute care today/wasted money spent at end of life – need to redirect those resources to community health initiatives.’ In other words, let the old folks die off peacefully – and quickly – and spend more money handing out condoms to kids who won’t use them. Wennberg, who is no spring chicken, better watch out. His kids will be slipping that potassium chloride mickey into his Metamucil one evening. I wonder how Wennberg’s parents are doing these days . . ."
From Hair on Fire: "Re: insecurity. Glad you got back at Mr. HIStalk for his snarky comments about your insecurity (or was it his?) with your comment about the Code Blue band :> We chicks need to stick up for ourselves – and one another!” Thanks for the chick support. However, Mr. H created his comments after mine, so I didn’t really have a chance to get back to him, although I did chastise him for letting the world know I was insecure (am I insecure about that?) The secret is now out. Will the adoring fans be disillusioned?
From John d’Glasier: "Re: Twitter. Doonesbury says it all: Tweets for twits. Twitter is adolescent narcissism.You can’t possibly said anything worth reading in 140 characters unless you believe American Idol, Survivor, and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? represents the zenith of American entertainment – preparing you well for pop culture acceptance of anything without meaning, gravity, or importance." Here’s the strip. I was totally with you, John, right until the subtle slam on American Idol, which happens to represent the most entertaining three hours of my week (after reading Mr. H’s posts, of course.)
From Lucy Padovan: "Re: shoes. At the height of the dot-com era, some well-meaning but alcohol-befuddled colleagues thought I should be nicknamed e-babe, odd since I’ve never bought or sold anything on eBay in my life. Nonetheless, a friend sent this link to me and I wanted to pass it on. This is just shoe lover to shoe lover." What is there not to love about sexy crocodile pumps that retail for $2,650 that you can steal for a mere $630?
Clara Maass Medical Center (NH) successfully implements Axolotl’s Elysium Exchange, enabling ER, inpatient, and outpatient records to be shared electronically across the health system.
I have enjoyed reading the various posts about fancy hospital building, bloated budgets, etc. Here is my two cents. I visited a friend once who was at MD Anderson. If one day (God forbid) I wind up with cancer, MD Anderson is where I want to go. It felt comforting, current, and everyone was efficient, friendly, and supportive. The pretty building made a difference. Another time during my traveling days, I had the unlucky chance to spend the night at a hospital in a major city. At the time I didn’t know this, but it this hospital is considered one of the best in the country for the type of emergency I was experiencing. While the staff was great, the hospital itself was old and tired-looking and my room was dreary. I actually knew enough about healthcare to understand that such things don’t affect the quality of care, but, the lack of aesthetics didn’t aid my overall comfort level. So I am of the mindset that if someone wants to donate millions on pretty buildings, I’d like to say "thank you" on behalf of all of us average patients who rather be sick in an attractive facility.
United Hospital System (WI) selects Eclipsys Sunrise Enterprise clinical solutions for its multiple hospitals and clinics.
Medfusion names Bill Loconzolo chief technology officer. Medfusion provides online communication tools for healthcare practices.
A Nobel Prize winner finds the top five mood-lifting activities for women are: sex, socializing, relaxing, praying or meditating, and eating. (No mention here if the Nobel Prize person is a man who believes in the power of suggestion, but it’s not a bad guess.) Exercising and watching television followed closely. Near the bottom of the list were cooking, “(day-to-day) taking care of my children,” and housework. If you are in need of advice on how to be happy, Dr. Lobe has some tips for you. And if you are a woman, let me know how well these these five activities are working to increase the joy in your life.
Hard to miss finding information on swine flu, especially with all the tweets, podcasts, and up to the minute postings by the CDC/HHS, WHO, and every news agency out there. Personally I prefer the Google map that displays confirmed outbreaks by location (helpful for planning my next vacation.)
MED3000 gets a mention in a Wall Street Journal article that looks at various tactics by employers and insurers to motivate people to make healthier choices. Money, by the way, seems to be a good incentive.
Picis announces that the VA has selected Picis Critical Care Manager for its Veterans Integrated Service Network 12, aka the Great Lakes Health Care System.
Let’s hope that the US health crisis never gets this bad. A Japanese woman with headaches during labor is turned down by 18 hospitals that refused to accept her due to overcrowding or overly busy doctors. She had a brain hemorrhage and went into a coma, but a hospital that finally accepted her delivered the baby by Caesarean before she died eight days later. The Japanese ER crisis is blamed on a number of factors, including the aging of the population, economics pressures, and professional and legal issues. ER doctors are overworked, poorly compensated, and risk criminal prosecution (not civil) over malpractice issues. The government estimates that currently Japan has half the number of ER doctors required to serve the population (about 2,500 to serve 127 million people.)