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News 11/20/09

November 19, 2009 News 13 Comments

From Sam Shem: “Re: mammograms. An independent body, after review and analysis of eight clinical trials, comes out with EVIDENCE that mammogram screening in under-40-year-olds has little or no value. What happens? The radiologists are up in arms and the Obama administration, in the person of DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, tells patients to just keep doing what you did last year. And they want to cut costs by a billion dollars over the next decade to pay for national health insurance? If anyone really believes this country will ever control the costs of health care, they are living in a dream land!” Interesting, too, that nobody’s paying much attention to the study that showed that electronic medical records haven’t improved outcomes or cost so far, even as the government is spending lots of money on those, too. At least EHRs have potential. In an economy where jobs are dying out, politicians don’t have the guts to make serious change since the people unhappy with healthcare don’t have the clout of those who like it just fine. I cited statistics here years ago saying that healthcare was making a staggering economy look robust because of rising costs, profits, and high employment, all unsustainable in a global economy.


From Fred: “Re: Lattice. Lattice has been threatening to sue KLAS for the past few months. I guess Lattice didn’t like their ratings.” Unverified. I hadn’t really heard of the Wheaton, IL company, which sells point-of-care systems to hospitals. Far more interesting to me is its company history. I’d heard the name in seemingly wildly different contexts, but it’s the same company: they wrote the first C compiler for the IBM PC in 1982, sold the company to SAS in 1987, developed programming systems for the System/36 and AS/400 in the 80s and 90s, then went private again in 1993 and started selling application software. I haven’t seen their scores.

From Interoperator: “Re: SNOMED-CT and ICD-9-CM crosswalk. Here’s a guided tour.”

From J. Lo: “Re: Epic. Do they have or will they soon have patient registry functionality? If so, will it meet NCQA standards for Patient-Centered Medical Home designation? Some say it’s coming in February, others say never.” If you know, please post a comment.

From Nasty Parts: “Re: another Sage resignation. Maureen Peszko, SVP of strategy and business development, resigned last week.” Unverified since I didn’t have time to ask Sage.

Charlie McCall is finally found guilty. I’m flabbergasted that his ultra-expensive legal team couldn’t get him off since that’s usually how it works (although they may wangle a light sentence). To paraphrase the otherwise ineloquent Gerald Ford, our long industry nightmare is over. And now that he’s as officially guilty as everybody unofficially knew he was, I hope he will be as uncomfortable in prison as McKesson’s shareholders were watching the stock drop due to his actions (with the help of inept McKesson management who paid premium dollars for what was obviously a house of cards).

A hospital in India is piloting software that will send retinal images to the iPhones of specialists, allowing quick diagnosis and treatment of retinopathy in newborns. The software was developed by i2iTeleSolutions, a Singapore-based telemedicine software vendor. As the company says, the iPhone is now an EyePhone.


Ministry Health Care (WI) starts its implementation of Marshfield Clinic’s CattailsMD EHR, a $40 million project.

Ben Rooks didn’t sound too keen on Healthport’s business model, saying it was trying “to convince portfolio managers and buy-side analysts that even though over 85% of revenues are related to release-of-information services, it really is a revenue cycle management company and should be valued as such.” Those efforts apparently failed, as Healthport withdraws its IPO citing poor market conditions, but almost admitting that having never made a profit might have diminished some of the market’s enthusiasm. The always-vigilant Ben, however, floated the possibility that maybe a bidder emerged to buy the company outright, which he called the “dual path” in filing the IPO as “stalking horse.” I love that Gordon Gekko talk. Blue Horseshoe loves HIStalk.

The MyMedicalRecords people announce their partnership with a Chinese technology company to build PHR and document imaging applications for that country. That might make more sense there than here since I’ve read that in China, it’s the responsibility of patients to bring their paper medical records with them when seeking medical services. I don’t know if that’s necessarily worse than our way of having each provider keep their little chunk of a given patient’s medical record, never to be combined.


The UK division of UnitedHealth acquires ScriptSwitch, a prescribing decision support vendor.

Greenway Medical Technologies starts up a series of Webinars covering HIT Regional Extension Centers.

Odd lawsuit: a hospital surgery tech is suing her former employer after she was fired for complaining about unsanitary OR conditions that included bugs, holes in the walls, rusty surgical instruments, mold, and biological fluids splatter in the rooms. She took pictures. What will become fodder for lame morning zoo radio shows is her claim that a scrub nurse “actually defecated inside her clothes during a surgery and continued to work with fecal matter pouring down her legs and onto the floor.” She didn’t get pictures of that, I guess.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga


University Hospitals Geneva Medical Center and University Hospitals Geauga Medical Center (OH) go live on ISirona DeviceConX. The technology delivers patient medical device data to Eclipsys Sunrise EMR.

API Healthcare announces that Version 9.0 of its Navigator payroll and HR system is now in GA. Enhancements include a new user interface designed to facilitate integration with other API Healthcare applications.

HHS awards CSC an IDIQ contract, which has a three-year base period and four, one-year options. CSC will have the opportunity to compete with one other vendor for specific IT tasks defined in the IDIQ.

ACL Laboratories selects Accenx Exchange to provide EMR integration between ACL Labs and its customers. Accenx is a wholly owned subsidiary of Initiate Systems.

The OMB says about 5% of federal spending was paid improperly in 2009, including $54.2 billion for Medicare and Medicaid programs. Those programs actually had improper payment rates of 15.4% and 9.6%. I believe OMB Director Peter Orszag wants Americans to feel encouraged because better detection methods have uncovered more improper payments than in previous years. Orszag cites the example of an invalid doctor signature, which was much more likely to trigger an improper payment in 2009 than 2008. I wonder how much sooner I could retire if Mr. H improperly overpaid me 15% every month.

health net

Yet another health insurer loses financial, health and personal information on patients. Health Net says an unencrypted portable drive went missing and contain data on 1.5 million patients. The company took more than six months to report the breach, leading Connecticut state attorney to chastise it for “incomprehensible foot-dragging.”

Informatics Corporation of America captures "Best of Show" honors across both Provider and Insurance categories at Everything Channel’s 2009 Healthcare IT Summit.

Florida’s online medical records system for the state’s 2.6 million Medicaid recipients is now live. The site, developed with Availity, allows patients and their doctors to access 18 months of Medicaid claims data.

Trinitas Regional Medical Center (NJ) settles with the federal government, agreeing to pay $3 million in a Medicare fraud lawsuit. The hospital admits no wrongdoing. Meanwhile the whistleblower who originally alleged Trinitas illegally inflated charges gets a nice paycheck from taxpayers.

Image Movement of Montana,  a grassroots organization that includes 30 Montana healthcare facilities, plans to implement DR Systems’ eMix, a cloud-based technology for the secure sharing of radiology images and reports.


E-mail Inga.

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13 Responses to “News 11/20/09”

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  1. 13
    Thats Right Says:

    In regards to cutting back on mammograms… so many women under the age of (the study I read said 50) are diagnosed early due to early exams… cutting back will only lead to later detection and MORE healthcare costs. When will our country’s medical “Gods”, insurance companies and government figure out that its about Prevention…??

  2. 12
    Art_Vandelay Says:

    Did you hear?

    The VA has a big IT Department too, they use MUMPS, and they have a huge and decentralized IT organization! Everyone, get the pitchforks and torches!

    While we thrash Marshfield and the VA, we should also prepare to go to war against these vendors and all their customers too:

    * Intersystems (MUMPS)
    * Epic (MUMPS)
    * SunQuest (MUMPS)
    * Siemens Medical (COBOL, RPG)
    * McKesson (COBOL, MUMPS)
    * GE Medical (COBOL, SCOBOL, MUMPS)
    * Eclipsys (MUMPS in SDK)

    I feel another Czar-appointment from our President coming.

  3. 11
    Art_Vandelay Says:

    Re: Marshfield using COBOL – what is wrong with using COBOL? If it works, you are not looking to throw-away money rewriting what you already have, you can support it now, you can continue to train programmers to support it into the future, and compilers exist for the hardware platforms that are required to support your processing volume – WHO CARES?

    “According to analyst estimates, 60-80 percent of the world’s enterprises still rely on COBOL to run their business. There are over 200 billion lines of COBOL currently in operation globally across every industry, and the language supports over 30 billion transactions per day – many of which impact our lives every day.” Source: Microfocus Study (sure they have a vested interest but it has been validated with other independent studies as well… take a minute and Google it).

    COBOL is not a dead language. It is alive and well. In fact, it is one of the few languages that was “healthy” enough to AGE WELL.

    Here is a thought-provoking calculation (the time when the world could be COBOL free):


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