From Ex-Cerner Guy: “Re: Cerner. Not only does Cerner re-sell the data they collect, but it’s part of their Lighthouse agreement and the client gets to pay for the privilege of giving their data away. Look closely at the wording of the agreement — it’s in there. It’s good to read their contracts closely. It’s more fun to sit in on the negotiations and watch the squirming.”
From The PACS Designer: “Re: Govt 2.0 Summit. Tim O’Reilly, of Web 2.0 fame and founder of O’Reilly Media, had some interesting comments at the Gov 2.0 Summit about turning government into a platform to foster true innovation in the years to come.” Tim’s got some shopworn analogies about the iPhone and Twitter in case you haven’t had enough of those, making the point that third-party products should plug into the “government platform” to build citizen services, no different than the Interstate system and the Internet (oops, more analogies). All I could think of was the cool movie Startup.com that documented the quick ride up and equally quick ride down of Govworks.com, which was going to make the founders zillionaires by allowing people to pay parking tickets online. Where were you during the dot-com wars?
From Needs_Gas: “Re: Eclipsys. A recruiter says they have a new model and will be partnering with third-party firms to provide services.” Unverified.
From Luke O’Scyte: “Re: anonymization. There is no such thing as real anonymization any more due to the science of re-identification. You can uniquely identify 87% of Americans with only zip code, date of birth, and gender. Release of such information by companies like Cerner should not be allowed.” I’ve covered that topic before, but it’s worth another mention: all you need is a second database that state or federal governments sell cheap and you can re-identify most of the records in a “de-identified” set. Luke sent a link to a fun article describing a well-intentioned 1990s mandate from Massachusetts state government to release anonymized data covering state employee hospitalizations, which sounded great until a grad student mailed the medical history of the governor to his office. She had easily obtained his full record of his diagnoses and prescriptions by matching the anonymized employee data to a voter database she bought for $20. Only six people in Cambridge shared his birth date, only three were men, and only one (the governor) lived in his ZIP code. That grad student was Latanya Sweeney, now a noted Carnegie Mellon professor and privacy technology expert.
The Conficter worm shuts down takes down all hospital information systems in the Cayman Islands. What’s most interesting about the story, though, is that the article quotes new CIO Dale Sanders, who has been on the job less than a week and who, until recently, was CIO at Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation. I’m interested in how he ended up there since that sounds like a fun move. I’ve been to the Caymans several times and my impressions are (a) it’s beautiful with stunning green-blue water great snorkeling; (b) it’s also horrendously expensive and has a bad exchange rate on the US-to-Cayman dollar, and (c) it’s an international haven for tax-dodging corporations and shady banks (was that redundant?) whose physical presence is a post office box. Oh, and it has a turtle farm and rum cakes.
Opinions about working at Epic are mixed on Job Vent, which is always entertaining as well as hardly reliable. General observations of those posting: (a) they hire only easily controlled new grads of any major; (b) job evaluations and promotions are based only on hours worked; (c) if you quit to work for a customer after the mandatory one-year waiting period specified in the contracts of customers, you are an untouchable who isn’t allowed to interact with current employees; (d) the money, benefits, and the non-cubicle environment is nice for new grads. Some of the posters claim a 1984-type environment where employee conversations and Web activity are monitored, warning of the “thought police.” One pro-Epic cheerleader claims, “We hire scary-smart people, so if they can’t cut it at Epic, they will still be a rock star somewhere else” which maybe means in a different industry since 22-year-old philosophy grads with zero work experience of any kind aren’t exactly in high demand in HIT. As a capitalist, though, I like the model: pay a little more than you have do, bring people to a location where they have few career alternatives, demand more than you should expect, proclaim cheap meals and snacks a benefit instead of a way to get extra hours out of employees who might actually leave for lunch otherwise, keep enough quirk on hand to fool wide-eyed noobs into thinking that wintry Wisconsin farmland is a hip Silicon Valley Midwest, and keep a big file of backup resumes to feed the churn. It’s working for Epic and, greenhorns or not, they innovate more than their competitors.
Cerner will hire 12,000 new employees by 2020, Neal Patterson says to the government of KCMO to soothe the civic feathers he ruffled by choosing the Kansas side of the border for his soccer and HIT complex.
Thanks to Kronos for becoming an HIStalk Platinum Sponsor. The Chelmsford, MA company offers a wide range of workforce management systems that optimize the cost of delivering quality care, minimize risk due to noncompliance with requirements, and maximize productivity. Some of its applications include timekeeping, human resources management, payroll, workforce analytics, employee scheduling, and absence management. They have several research and case study papers on their site. My thanks to Kronos for supporting HIStalk and its readers.
Results from my poll about vendors notifying customers when their software has patient-endangering problem: 37% said their vendors were bad about that, 39% said mediocre, 25% said good. New poll to your right: how much impact will Dell have on the healthcare IT market now that it will offer EMR hardware, software, and services?
I like this idea: an online debate on whether to implement CPOE vs. barcoded medication administration first. It features two highly regarded pharmacists with informatics expertise.
I think I may have joked before that RHIOs might as well try for ARRA grants as regional extension centers since they often don’t have a business model otherwise. Apparently it’s no joke: the Harrisburg Health Information Exchange (PA) submits its grant request.
Another reason to ignore stock analysts who cover industries they clearly know nothing about: this article covering Dell’s announcement about reselling EMRs is full of eye-rolling inaccuracies: (a) the headline says Dell will “make” electronic records; (b) it calls EMRs “the device”; and (c) it opines that Dell’s big competitors will be Google and Microsoft, apparently confusing PHRs with EMRs.
An odd lineup on yesterday’s CBS News Sunday Morning: “Dennis Quaid discusses electronic medical records; the end of ‘Guiding Light’; poetry; upcoming fall films.” Dennis’s G.I. Joe did great until word got around, disappearing without a trace after three weeks. He’s up next in the sci-fi (or is it Syfy?) thriller Pandorum, which opens September 25. The trailer looks lame to me, but my taste varies considerably from the apparent mainstream.
Merge Health extends its agreement with Russian medical equipment vendor Rossyln Medical, which will integrate Merge’s PACS technologies into its custom solutions.