From DemoChic: “Re: NextGen. Pat Cline, President of NextGen, has been promoted to president of Quality Systems. His replacement will be Scott Decker, formerly of Healthvision, but in place at NextGen since 2007.” Rumor reporter Boba Fett said in June 2008 that these changes would happen. The announcement is here (warning: PDF). I was impressed with Scott (but not so much Healthvision) when I interviewed him in 2007. Maybe he said the right thing in the interview in naming Pat Cline as the person he who admired in the industry (he was hired by NextGen as SVP nine months later). It’s a strong team there.
From Cousin Carl: “Re: reader contest. Let’s hear ideas to reduce healthcare costs and improve quality with a minimum benefit of $1 billion in 500 words or less. The simpler and easier to implement, the better.” Sounds like fun. Anyone want in?
From Junior Mints: “Re: Eclipsys. Eclipsys failed to disclose that the 50 million orders entered at Sarasota Memorial actually go back to the days of the TDS 4000 system, which was later upgraded to TDS 7000, which was replaced with Sunrise. The company has never been forthright on this.” I knew the history, but in their defense, they didn’t specifically say Sunrise and it is true that Sarasota’s 50 millionth order was entered in Sunrise even though the first 30 or 40 million went into TDS. It also didn’t specifically say Eclipsys systems since TDS sifted through a variety of corporate hands before winding up as Eclipsys and Eclipsys bought Sunrise from HealthVISION (the Canadian EMR vendor, not Scott Decker’s previous employer). I think it’s a fair announcement that pays de-identified tribute to TDS, arguably the best system before or since when it comes to innovation, pro-clinician design, and patient impact. If a company wants to compete with the decades-old clinical systems that dominate the market, they need to do it the TDS way — put the development teams on the ground in a forward-thinking hospital to work with clinicians and target a specific customer demographic instead of a one-size-fits-all approach (TDS was aimed at big community hospitals and some academic medical centers with big iron hardware and internal technical expertise).
I hope your Thanksgiving was happy. Now begins the official season of not getting much work done in hospitals, so here’s to a month of fewer meetings, fewer project startups, and days with fewer annoying co-workers around.
Thanks to Steve Meyer for pictures from the recent SMS reunion. That’s Harvey Wilson and Jim Macaleer in the first picture. The second has Steve, Harvey, Vince Ciotti, and Jim Carter. If you work in the healthcare IT industry, you might give pioneers like these some mental thanks for creating it several decades ago. Steve was telling me how long some of them have been retired, so they must have made some nice money back in the day (or maybe hung onto their SMED shares until Siemens came knocking). I also said I hoped they raised a glass to those who aren’t with us any more, to which he replied that they did, using a phrase that I’m sure I’ll co-opt as my own: “Any day I’m still on the green side of the grass is a good one.”
Give Mediware credit for ambition, albeit unfocused. It acquires Healthcare Automation Inc. (home care software) and Advantage Reimbursement (home infusion reimbursement) from their single owner group for up to $8 million in cash. The company cites the 20% annual growth in home care, but the markets they’re already in (blood banking, medication management, BI) should be growing pretty well, too.
The Johns Hopkins Hospital is recruiting a chief nursing information officer, co-reporting to the CIO and nursing VP.
I mentioned the radiology practice that had two doors and different levels of service for insurance vs. cash-paying patients. I didn’t mention my opinion: I think it’s great. Patients get precisely the same medical care using the same personnel and equipment. Those willing to pay extra for shorter waits, a nicer waiting room, and a more personal experience have that option, no different than those folks willing to pony up for first class airline tickets even though everybody still lands together. Why not let providers make their profit from cash-paying nicety-seekers and let those profits subsidize the medical care of those who can’t or won’t pay the difference?
Christian Scientists are pressuring Congress to include a provision in healthcare reform legislation that would require insurance companies to pay church members who pray for patients from home.
The local paper has fixed their headline’s spelling error (is a rouge employee one of those mall cosmetics people?), but the story stands: two pathologists say Wentworth-Douglass Hospital (NH) is ending their contract of 28 years because they that discovered a rogue hospital employee got into the IMPAC PowerPath anatomic pathology system and inappropriately changed the names of doctors on the reports. The employee was fired and the doctors say they were, too. I’m going to hazard a guess that other unmentioned issues are in play.
The folks at Mikogo saw my post about the questionable marketing company award given to LogMeIn and pitched their own product as a free alternative. It looks cool: screen sharing over the Web, remote keyboard/mouse control, file transfer, a whiteboard, and session recording and playback. It’s good for Web conferencing, online demos or meetings, or remote support. They even have a native Mac client and free voice conferencing. Best of all, it’s free for both commercial and non-commercial use for up to 10 session participants with unlimited use (there’s no catch other than they offer a paid version for running larger meetings). I love this stuff and have tried several apps, so if this one works as advertised, a bunch of HIT people might find it highly useful.
Welcome aboard to DIVURGENT Healthcare Advisors, a Platinum Sponsor of HIStalk. The company, which was started by healthcare veterans (I noticed that a pharmacist, PMP, revenue cycle expert, and physician are on the team) who strictly follow standard project management and project quality methodologies. Services offered include strategy, project management, vendor selection, clinician adoption, CDM, benefits realization, training, optimization, medication management, and interim leadership. You can also check out their white papers and blog. Job seekers might want to shoot them a resume since I see they are hiring. Thanks to the folks at DIVURGENT for their support of HIStalk.
Harris County Hospital District (TX) fires 16 employees for inappropriately accessing patient information and violating HIPPA (sic – see their internal form above), some of them doctors and nurses. Some of the employees got into the records of a first-year female resident who was shot in an attempted robbery in a Kroger’s parking lot. She’s expected to recover.
The controversial report on the Cerner FirstNet rollout in New South Wales by Professor Jon Patrick of the University of Sydney (Australia) is back online (warning: PDF) after would-be censors demanded it be removed. The new version takes a more academic tone and has more details, most of which are not flattering to Cerner’s product and, to a lesser extent, the people involved in choosing and implementing it. Some major points it contains: Cerner paid little attention to its Australian clients because the product is primarily driven by the US market, Cerner left a vital report writer application out of the contract that cost NSW an extra $1 million, and physicians hated nearly everything about FirstNet and its impact on their workflow. Who asked the university to pull the article down? Apparently the CIO of NSW Health, the FirstNet customer, at least as I read between the lines of this story. He claims he contacted the university, but didn’t ask to have it removed, but I’m having trouble believing that (I’d also be somewhere between surprised and shocked if somebody from Cerner wasn’t prodding him, but that’s wild speculation on my part).
Speaking of Jon’s article, a couple of readers said I shouldn’t have criticized the recent report by the Harvard people that found EMRs have had little cost or quality impact. I disagree. That article and Jon Patrick’s above are not rigorous clinical studies backed up by specifically required measurements and analyses, so readers need to look carefully at their data and methods. Both sets of authors are open source advocates and proprietary system critics, so when they rip commercial systems while lauding open source ones, you have to think about the subject they chose to write about, whether their data are optimal or simply conveniently available, and whether their conclusions are supported by their facts. In my opinion (and it’s only that), neither article is bias-free — no different than when readers complain that a vendor VP’s HIStalk guest article is “an advertisement” even when it’s fairly objective. And there’s reader bias, too – those who defended the Harvard article are themselves outspoken EMR critics. Both articles are useful and thought-provoking, but more open to challenge than if their authors had no known strong feelings one way or another.
Providers are the main reason that EMRs haven’t met expectations, readers said (although not overwhelmingly). New poll to your right: have information systems improved patient safety nationally?
Ms. Adventure was telling you back in February that Dubai’s economy was in a free-fall, affecting its ambitious healthcare construction projects (“In one short year things have changed so much, from a thriving and booming town to a town that may not have a tomorrow.”) She had e-mailed me that she probably wouldn’t write more, giving me the feeling that she felt she was in some kind of professional or personal danger. In any case, she was right: Dubai is $60 billion in debt and that news is dragging down world markets (which seems quaint considering the free-spending US government is something like $12 trillion in the red and digging the hole deeper every time the bailout-happy Congress meets).
Marin Healthcare District (CA), awaiting the June turnover of Marin General Hospital by Sutter Health, says it will have to spend $1.1 million to convert PACS images because Sutter wouldn’t give them up without first going through court-ordered arbitration. The newly created district also has to replace Sutter’s systems and will pay ACS $55 million to install McKesson Paragon and support it for seven years.
It’s RSNA time, which I always forget until someone sends me announcement. lifeIMAGE will demonstrate its diagnostic imaging sharing platform, in use by Continuum Health Partners (NY) and Montefiore.
An attorney whose accusations of patient abuse in a New York for-profit mental hospital led to $110,000 in fines is suing the hospital, claiming the hospital retaliated by intentionally revealing mental health information about a relative and threatened to do the same to any patients who joined a 2007 class action lawsuit against it.