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June 2, 2009 News 8 Comments

From Blogger: “Re: Microsoft. Microsoft Health Solutions group blurs traditional relationship to media by building up inside relationship with bloggers. Should bloggers (not worried about HIStalk) disclose who pays them to attend conferences? What if companies like Microsoft give you early access to information and insider info — do you owe your allegiance to them?” I would say the blogger should disclose that fact, but you have no way of knowing anyway. Reader beware: if a blogger seems to have an unwaveringly positive opinion of a company or product, even in the face of negative news developments, then they may well have sold their soul intentionally or otherwise. I can only say that if I went to a conference or other trip at a company’s expense (which I’ve never done), I would say so when I wrote about it (and just to make sure, I’d probably rip them roundly just to err on the side of fairness, which means nobody will be inviting me anyway). I can’t speak for Microsoft except to say that they’ve never offered me anything.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: 2D/3D workstations for MDCT. There have been a lot of marketing claims by vendors that their MDCT workstations outperform their competitors. Well, now there’s been a 2D and 3D face-off conducted at the International Symposium on Multidetector-Row CT by Diagnostic Imaging Magazine. The result is they’re all quite similar in performance, thus no one can really claim to be the best.”  

Several folks have added events to the HIStalk calendar, so thanks for that. You can post your event here for free.

Microsoft buys Rosetta Biosoftware, a Seattle-based genomic software vendor owned by Merck. It will add gene analysis and clinical trials capabilities to Amalga Life Sciences.

Hospitalists Now, a hospitalist provider, gets a $3.5 million investment to help bring its administrative and patient care software to market. Its Web site says only “under construction” and “medical software solutions.”

A Connecticut doctor takes the concierge medicine route, taking on 250 patients for an annual retainer of $1,800 as a “country doctor with all the modern technology.” She says her practice prevents hospitalizations. “I have kept four or five patients out of the hospital in just this past year. I don’t let my patients go to the emergency room alone. I meet them there, and because I know them very well, I don’t have to practice defensive medicine. I can arrange for visiting nurse services or delivery of a hospital bed where necessary and have the patient home the same day. And when they do have to be admitted, I am in frequent communication with their specialists, and we care for them together.”

aim

Ingenix acquires AIM Healthcare Services, a Nashville-based medical claims company.

One of the funniest things I’ve read lately: Joel Diamond’s take on abbreviations on HIStalk Practice.

An investigative report by The Arizona Republic says the lack of electronic medical records in Maricopa County’s jail system has cost taxpayers millions in lawsuit-related costs and contributed to its loss of accreditation. Strangely enough, if you read about the terribly backward paper and crude database systems they use, it sounds pretty much like the average hospital. They’ve passed on previous recommendations: “The software, the implementation, did not deliver the result that was promised. That was a business judgment. What’s the point of spending $5 million and buying nothing but trouble?” But, one late-breaking factor has led them to immediately change their tune and start EMR shopping: they will apply for $2 million in federal stimulus money to buy the system they declined to purchase with their own funds.

A Medicaid HMO privatization program started in five Florida counties in October 2006 isn’t drawing rave reviews: patients say they can’t get appointments, 25% of doctors in the two biggest counties have dropped out because of red tape, state officials can’t get even basic data about the program’s treatments and prescriptions, and the largest HMO company involved (which admitted stealing $35 million from another state program) opted out because profits were too low.

CFO Magazine runs a rebuttal by Al Borges, MD to its pro-EMR article.

Who knew it would be lobbyists who got stimulated? Big lobbying companies are creating new groups whose entire raison d’etre is to figure out how to lap at Farmer Obama’s trough. “Sinclair said he is awaiting clarity on the bidding process for electronic medical records systems, especially in terms of how the money would flow and to which agencies. Starting in 2010, the state will make grants available to hospitals, physicians and clinics for purchasing health information technology systems, according to its Web site, which tracks stimulus projects. With health information technology projects, Stanton also sees a change in the playing field. He said the challenge is in dealing with members of the executive branch, instead of ‘going down to Congress and begging a legislator to put an earmark,’ as both have different levels of complexity and difficulty.”

Speaking of lobbyists, GE Healthcare, anxious to ensure that healthcare reform doesn’t hurt its imaging revenue further, hires on a slew of former government officials as lobbyists, including the former chief of staff of Sen. Max Baucus, chair of the Senate Finance Committee. 

salaries

AHA mounts its own emergency lobbying campaign, hoping to derail the Senate Finance Committee’s deliberation of a reform issue that would require hospitals to provide charity care if they want to remain non-taxpaying. Meanwhile, the provider group that offered to reduce the growth of healthcare costs by 1.5% over ten years came up with this: prevent more infections, keep patients safer, use more technology, and simplify forms. One of the presenters was the CEO of a “non-profit” hospital who was paid $6.2 million in 2007, according to federal records, but absurd executive salaries weren’t on the list.

emr 

This hard-sell EMR Web site is courtesy of “America’s #1 EMR Medical Systems Expert,” who does not provide credentials to validate that claim (and who apparently caters only to one-patient medical practices, given the last line of the pitch).

Tasmania is looking for vendors of radiology and PACS systems, just in case any vendors are looking for prospects.

Software developer RxVantage gets $500K in VC money. Its systems let drug reps practically become a member of a doctor’s office staff, letting them book appointments, send samples, and “be able to to see office preferences for meal types and hours for sample drops.” The company claims it is “focused on developing smart technology to help improve patient care.” If you can overlook the flawed healthcare system it supports, it actually sounds pretty cool.

Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ) announces its IT graduate certificate for healthcare professionals.

Odd lawsuit: a man with a 30-year record of violent crime who took hostages at a campaign office of Sen. Hillary Clinton sues Frisbie Memorial Hospital (NY) and its psychiatric services provider, claiming they cause his actions by failing to treat a previous suicide attempt in which he ate antifreeze-laced soup.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

Picis announces new agreements with 18 hospital clients to use its integrated clinical and financial ED solution. Twelve of the hospitals have already gone live this year and six more are scheduled to go live within the next month.

Allscripts hires Eileen McPartland to serve as its COO, taking over for interim COO Lee Shapiro. Shapiro will continue in his role as President. McPartland has served as executive VP of global sales for Misys PLC and previously worked at Oracle. Allscripts also announces SYNNEX will distribute the MyWay product through its SYNNEX Healthcare Solutions Division.

The non-profit Vermont Information Technology Leaders names David Cocharan, MD as its president and CEO. Cochran is the former VP of strategic development at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care.

aic

Sunquest president and CEO Richard Atkin accepts the role of president of the board of American Interfaith Camps (AIC). The North Carolina-based AIC provides an environment for children of different backgrounds to “eat, pray and grow together as friends both in body and spirit.” The camp looks like it is in a beautiful setting (lots of woods and water.) Good stuff.

The Premier healthcare alliance acquires Phase 2 Consulting (PC2), a division of RehabCare Group. PC2 provides consulting services to hospitals and health services and will complement Premier Consulting Solutions.

Amerinet and Perot Systems ink a deal that makes Perot’s revenue cycle solutions available to Amerinet’s acute and alternate care site members.

Former Vanguard Health System VP Orlando L. Alvarez, Jr. is named senior VP of physician strategy and business development for the Sisters of Charity Health System (OH).

All Children’s Hospital (FL) selects Mediware’s BloodSafe remote release blood system.

HealthGrades names the 340 winners of its Outstanding Patient Experience Award, which recognizes the top-ranking 15% of hospitals in terms of patient experience. The ratings are based on patient satisfaction results from the HCAHPS survey and included questions rated to clinician communication, staff responsiveness, cleanliness, and noise levels. In glancing at the list, I was somewhat surprised to see the absence of some institutions traditionally recognized for providing top medical care, including Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, MD Anderson, ULCA, and Johns Hopkins. Personally, if faced with a life-threatening illness, I’d choose the best care over noise levels and nice nurses.

The Canadian Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre contracts for Eclipsys’ Sunrise Patient Flow solution.

Merge Healthcare reaches a definitive agreement to purchase Etrials for about $18.3 million in cash and stock. Last month Etrials rejected a $14.5 million bid from Bio-Imaging Technologies.

Healthcare Informatics releases its HCI 100 list, which ranks the top HIT companies by revenue. Not surprisingly, McKesson is number one (again), followed by Cerner and CSC. In the $3.5 billion consulting company category, CSC was the highest ranked, followed by Perot. HIStalk sponsors CareTech Solutions and Vitalize Consulting Solutions made the top 10. In the $22 billion HIS vendor category, the top three were McKesson, Cerner, and Siemens. In the $2 billion a year physician practice management category, Allscripts took the spot by a wide margin. I also noticed that on the overall list, both athenahealth and eClinicalWorks were ranked much higher than last year (now 31 and 39, respectively.) Here’s some interesting math (or mindless, depending on your point of view): the total industry represents about $27.5 billion a year in revenues and the 16 HIStalk sponsors on the list account for 21% of those revenues.

Dan Lemerand reports that the HIStalk Fan Club on LinkedIn now has 712 members. Also, I have 200 connections on LinkedIn (always happy to have more) and 360 followers on Twitter. I can only imagine how Susan Boyle feels.

CIO magazine lists its 2009 CIO award winners, which includes companies shown to create “new business value by innovating with technology.” The list includes plenty of corporate giants, including IBM, Dell, and FedEx. Also recognized: tiny Midland Memorial Hospital (TX), with reported revenues of $155 million, and 261-bed Chester County Hospital (PA), with revenues of $190 million.

The Northern Californian IPA Hill Physicians Medical Group discloses it had a net loss of $4.4 million last year, due to unrealized investment losses of $7.4 million. Hill’s 2008 HMO revenue was $420 million; operating operating was $3 million.

 smart room

Cerner launches a Smart Room to be on display at the company’s Dubai office. Cerner says this is the first-of-its kind high-tech hospital room created in the Middle East.

Here is one of Mr. H’s favorite kind of stories. A Michigan woman is suing Starbucks, claiming that an employee improperly secured a lid of her coffee, causing it to spill on her lap, inner thighs, and legs. The incident occurred three years ago when Irene Bruno purchased the coffee through a drive-through window. Bruno now seeks a minimum of $75,000 in damages, alleging she has suffered “extreme humiliation and embarrassment” due to the coffee spill scars still visible on her body.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. Re: the hard sell website of http://www.emrelectronicmedicalrecords.com – this is seemingly part of a huge network of scammy “EMR” websites that don’t “sell” anything – they basically lead generating websites. They claim to be consultants, but try and squeeze vendors for 40% of the sale and sell them the lead, plus collect from the client side (does this sound familiar?). This particular website is associated with Doug Wallace – the regional sales director from http://www.medepresence.com. Also associated with myemrchoice.com (seriously, this is not a real company), with links to doctorsgadgets.com and healthtechnologyreview.com (http://www.myemrchoice.com/emr-links) – somehow part of this elusive spiderweb of lead generating emr websites from companies that do no real service for vendors or practices. Yuck. Sorry for the prospects that fall for that garbage.

  2. Way to go Al, on calling out the load of **** that the CFO article was shoveling! From one doc to another, we need more doctors to speak up and not put up with “solutions” to problems created by people who don’t really understand our problems at all.

    Case in point (from the author’s comments to Al’s rebuttal):

    “In most cases, Dr. Borges is referring to projections, estimates, and tangential issues beyond the scope of the article.”

    And what the heck does this mean?

    “The story did refer to doctors who have had EMRs for many years; they aren’t unhappy, but the systems they use are more like electronic order-entry than EMR”

  3. Re Outstanding patient experience awards – Just to point out – all 4 Mayo Clinic hospitals (Saint Marys and Rochester Methodist in Rochester, MN, Mayo Jacksonville in FL and Mayo Phoenix in AZ) are on the list of award recipients. But I agree – I’ll take quality over a nice nurse any day.

  4. A message from Doug Wallace, Executive VP of myEMRChoice.com

    MyEMRChoice.com has no affiliation with the website
    EMRelectronicmedicalrecords.com.

    MyEMRChoice.com does not gain a single penny or percentage of any EMR systems placed by any EMR vendor.

    MyEMRChoice.com continues to assist medical groups from 1-400 providers.

    Our service enjoys testimonials from many physicians who have benefited from the free service provided by MyEMRChoice.com.

    MyEMRChoice.com is proud that it’s efforts allow for contributions to many charities, while assisting physicians is saving valuble time to see more patient and provide excellent healthcare services.







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