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January 21, 2010 News 14 Comments

From All Hat No Cattle: “Re: Senator Grassley. He’s at it again, asking hospitals about their experiences with EHR vendors.” Huffington Post Investigative Fund reports that 31 hospitals and health systems were sent a letter this week that asks about software problems and vendor responsiveness to them. It’s vague, open-ended stuff that will be hard to interpret. He also asks about any vendor-provided incentives for product purchases, citing two unremarkable examples: discounts based on contract size and shared royalties for co-development. Recipients are asked to respond by February 16.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: new iPhone features. As the iPhone gets more widely used by all segments of our economy, new features could make the iPhone a universal access device for healthcare. InformationWeek is reporting on a comment made by GoldmanSachs that the next feature to be announced later this year is a new touch feature involving motion using hand movements on the iPhone case to create commands similar to using a touchpad on laptops.”

From Capo DiTutti: “Re: HIStalk reception at HIMSS. Tell Encore that the Georgia Dome may be a more appropriate venue for the hoards of like-minded, sardonic skeptics that are drawn to your straight-up commentary. LOL.” I used to be ashamed of my cynical side, but then I realized that while it’s those glass-half-full go-getters that get stuff done, they need a real-world foil to their obnoxious, exuberant optimism and I’m just the person to provide it. The reception, since I keep getting e-mails from folks wondering if they’ve missed the announcement, is Monday, March 1. The RSVP page will go up early next week.

From Rumeister: “Re: a Washington hospital. They get poor grades on a vendor’s audit.” He or she sent over the full client assessment document from the Eclipsys Assessment Team. I have to say that the Eclipsys people did a great job, avoiding the consulto-babble and laying it out nicely without resorting to PowerPoint slides. They got into the details: charge on dispense vs. charge on administration, nursing use of the Sunrise messaging function, security groups, flowsheet setup, handling removal of Q72H patches, and ED setup. The hospital has work to do, but I am impressed with the logical, calm manner in which the ECLP people laid it out.

connectathon

From Joe DiNardo: “Re: Connectathon. It was great seeing bright system engineers from very competitive companies sitting arm to arm for days working together as a team to solve health care’s ills.”  They are my kind of people, revved up by piles of conference-sized non-decaffeinated soda in the picture. I’ve said it before, but I’ve seen few problems techies couldn’t solve if the suits were locked out of the room. The nerds are naive enough to solve problems, while their bosses fret and posture about why improving healthcare might be bad for their personal or corporate bottom line.

From HISWatcher: “Re: Eclipsys. It let go of VP of marketing and sales readiness, with more changes on the way as sales once again plans to reorganize.” Unverified, so I left the name out.

From Billy Bathgate: “Re: HL7. Like Tide’s ‘New and Improved’, HL7 changes its name and nothing else. It was a lost chance to come up with something catchy, like InfoStandards International.” In a wild and crazy moment, Health Level Seven radically changes its name to Health Level Seven International. I had to look up where the original name came from – according to Wikipedia, it was the seventh application layer of the OSI reference model, which smug network types recite reverently at every social opportunity (generally few in number in their case). Both the old and new name are constantly misspelled, forgettable, and meaningless to non-geeks, so I agree they could have done better, like opening it up to an HIStalk reader contest.

From Pedro Fumar: “Re: KLAS. Adding the KLASroom, an online community for discussions and the latest blogs from KLAS researchers.” Sounds swell, although I can say from painful experience that getting and keeping readers is hard. Getting them to interact just because you put up a forum to do so is even harder. Everybody and his brother is starting up sites, some of them using the sincerest form of HIStalk flattery, so readers have lots of choices of varying usefulness.

From Lemmy: “Re: Harvard Vanguard. Not a rumor, the official announcement of the new CIO, the fifth in three years.” The internal e-mail says Harvard University CIO Dan Moriarty has taken the CIO job at Atrius Health and Harvard Vanguard.

From North of the 49th: “Re: air travel like healthcare video. The concept works but the video is too long … kind of like the wait time to see a specialist.”

betty  

Betty Otter-Nickerson, former COO of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, is named president of Sage Healthcare Division. That news just came out, so I don’t have a link yet. Nasty Parts said in mid-November that the company was interviewing for the spot.

Inga conducted her Operation Reach and Touch Our Sponsors, checking with some of those we don’t often hear from to see what’s new:

  • SCI Solutions has several Webinars available for folks interested in access management. Also, Marta Kosarchyn, former product development director at Intuit, just joined the company as director of engineering.
  • CAP STS has posted its 2010 education schedule, including its free SNOMET CT Basics Webinar.
  • BridgeHead Software will exhibit at the HIMSS Europe’s World of Health IT in Barcelona, which I believe is in March. They will also exhibit at the HIMSS conference with a partner, so we will get specifics later.
  • Intellect Resources is on Twitter, offers daily news, and has job openings online.
  • Greenway is offering a January 27 Webinar, EHR “Meaningful Use” ~ How to Optimize the EHR Opportunity in your Practice.
  • Vitalize Consulting Solutions, Inc. has been named a PMI Registered Education Provider, allow it to provide project management training.
  • Wellsoft just issued its winter newsletter (warning: PDF) that includes news of its Best in KLAS ranking, a new medication verification module, an upcoming e-prescribing module, and several new and add-on customers.

     

Here’s an unusual way to wreck your day. A Virginia doctor working in his office hears what sounds like an explosion in his exam room 10 feet away. He checks it out and finds that a meteorite has crashed through the ceiling.

getwellnetwork

GetWellNetwork announces availability of new version of its patient care system. New features: a nursing dashboard, medication teaching, integration of the pain management interface with bar code verification and paging systems, and a patient orientation function that comes up when the TV is first turned on.

Science has a nice piece on informatics careers in translational and clinical research. It’s a good overview without being fluffy. Bill Hersh of OHSU is quoted and linked.

PeaceHealth will lay off 38 transcriptionists, shifting their work to domestic transcription companies. Said the CFO: “When I opened the meeting, I just wanted to thank them. When I closed the meeting, I just wanted them to go away.” OK, I may have made up that second sentence. I’ve been watching old Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes, so I can’t resist riffing.

Interesting sleuthing: did the chair of the Kansas Republican Party (who is also a Cerner employee) donate $5,000 to the campaign of a Democrat at Cerner’s behest? That reminds me of my previous hospital employer, which strong-armed executives to make political donations (we had to write the checks out to the candidates, but give them to a hospital person to mail in a single envelope to make sure the candidate knew whose back to mutually scratch).

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, speaking to HIT executives in Nashville, seems positively radiant about the healthcare technology market. “I’m optimistic. The money is coming. The national debate has been engaged.” I guess it’s too late to stop the money, but the national debate isn’t exactly going as planned as the approval rating of the budget-busting President heads steadily south, especially disappointing if you don’t like Newt Gingrich since I bet he’s itching to take him on after seeing Ted Kennedy’s seat won by a Republican. Anyway, Ballmer was asked about why healthcare is technologically behind and gave every answer except the right one: technology benefits everybody except the person who has to pay for it. Also announced was $1.25 million in grants (not federal ones, shockingly) to Tennessee nonprofits, with Microsoft donating $1 million in software (theirs) and HCA chipping in $250K in cash (theirs).

CCHIT’s Mark Leavitt cranks up some commentary about NIST’s award of a $400K contract to Booz Allen Hamilton. I didn’t exactly understand his conclusion, but I think he’s saying that the nature of the contract involves certification policies and procedures, not actually getting involved with certification.

Healthcare Growth Partners has released its latest Transaction Report, which you can download here.

Listening: nothing lately since I’ve been too busy, but I am watching Arrested Development DVR’ed from IFC and liking it a lot.

today

Weird News Andy notes this article, in which a man’s iPhone was literally a lifesaver. He was buried in the rubble of a collapsed Haiti hotel, used the iPhone’s light to check out his injuries, and then punched up a medical app for instructions on how to stop his bleeding. He was pulled out 65 hours later.

Strange: a Massachusetts school nurse giving employees what was supposed to be H1N1 vaccine instead mistakenly injects them with insulin.

QuadraMed announces that its identity management and HIM solutions earned #1 and #2 rankings, respectively, in the 2009 Top 20 Best in KLAS.

Sunquest announces that its Integrated Clinical Environment physician portal will be available this year.

All I could think of when reading about ultra-clueless NBC executives bungling their way through their self-inflicted Jay-Conan tribulations: this is the same GE that sells critical medical equipment and software.

E-mail me.

HERtalka by Inga

From MarlboroMan Re: no smokin’ at Memorial Hospital. Just a reflection that you’re probably too young to recall. When I was working in respiratory therapy in the early 70s in Atlanta, the Seventh Day Adventists built a beautiful circular, state-of-the-art hospital. They started staffing, but had a rule that no one, neither patients nor staff, could smoke on premises and no coffee to tea would be served. If memory serves, they were unable to find enough staff (especially on the 3-11 and 11-7 shifts) to open the hospital. It was eventually sold. How times have changed (for the good).” No way I could have worked there, Starbucks fan that I am. MarlboroMan also reminded me that way back then (way before my time) Maxwell House ruled the coffee pots and most coffee was served from vending machines. Oh my.

Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center selects Allscripts EDIS for its emergency department.

Boston Business Journal names athenahealth one 10 Boston-area Businesses of the Decade, recognizing its solid growth and innovation.

CCHIT updates its 2011 certification requirements to reflect the latest changes in the interim final rules. For vendors who have already qualified for 2011 CCHIT certification, CCHIT will offer incremental testing at no charge.

FirstDataBank licenses its drug information and associated development software to Surgical Information Systems. The arrangement will allow SIS to integrate drug screening, dosing, and documentation into its perioperative software.

Siemens Health veteran Mark Lusser is appointed SVP of global sales and services for Carestream Health. Carestream also announces it received accreditation to be a wholesale distributor from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.

Hyland Software develops a new version of its OnBase document imaging and management system for hospitals running Meditech systems. These are the guys that always have the baseball theme booth at HIMSS, right? If so, they’ve always struck me as a fun bunch.

Since I’ve never plastic surgery (really!), I’m wondering if I’d be more inclined to get nipped and tucked if my first consult was via the Web. The docs with Surgeonhousecall.com are hoping that the anonymity of the Internet might encourage some patients to seek a virtual conversation with a plastic surgeon and discuss surgery options. Potential patients can chat via Web cam with three different surgeons who will recommend a course of action, complete with price.

Mr. H had me on special assignment today, so my post is a bit short. My virtual conversations will resume next week.

inga

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "14 comments" on this Article:

  1. Thank you for you detailed reporting.

    Read Grassley’s letter. It asks a little more than you indicate in your comments reflect. There is growing concern amidst Congress that neither outcomes nor costs will be bettered by HIT. The culprit is the CPOE systems which cause care delays, miscommunication, and patient neglect to name a few of the reasons for poor outcomes and unanticipated adverse consequences. Some of the hospitals on the list have a lot about which to be worried.

    The multimillion dollar question is, will the hospital C-suite folks answer truthfully and how will Grassley ever know?

  2. I have to say, let looking at the Senator’s letter is refreshing. I feel that it is timely and an attempt at oversight in a congress and presidency that likes to write checks we don’t have, and the tax-payer picks up the tab. We need oversight with these types of programs and it is obvious that the Obama administration is clueless about healthcare IT as a whole. I deal with physicians every day, and they feel that the HITECH money is part of a shell game, a distraction if you will, 44k is a joke in comparison to the reimbursement cuts that physicians are feeling from CMS. Physicians feel strong armed to get an EMR now and the systems do not talk to each other yet, plain and simple. I am pro-technology however Senator Grassley’s letter is appropriate and filled with succinct and very pertinent questions, the man has obviously done his homework.

  3. PeaceHealth. Yet another provider turns to domestic transcription versus in-house staff or outsourcing to overseas. As a marketing guru in this space, I’m seeing a trend. Outsource, but keep work in the red,white and blue. Is anyone else seeing this trend in transcription, IT software development?

  4. I realize it’s all the rage to hop on the Obama-bashing bandwagon right now, but let’s remember that our last president not only ran up the deficit more than any president in recorded history, but was also totally clueless about HIT (weren’t we all supposed to have EMRs and HIEs by now?). Obama did spend a lot on a stimulus bill that, according to most economists, helped stave off a much greater recession (and may not have been big enough), and the latest health bill was actually going to reduce the deficit, not raise it. The comments made today (by our esteemed host and EMR_Sales_Guy) only resonate with people that only watch Fox News (and, apparently, MA voters). I don’t like politics on the blog any more that anybody else, but since people can’t refrain from injecting it, I feel it’s my duty to correct the misinformation where possible. Your taste in television is excellent, though.

  5. DrM, I won’t say much beyond the fact that the Stimulus did not help the economy, the american economy correctd itself because of the NATURE of it. Since you felt the need to mention me, let me say this, you are so mislead. The stimulus , for the most part has not even been spent! Perhaps you need to switch to Fox news, get a dose of reality you will:)
    “Most Economists” typical liberal red herring, no definitive source named, just hearsay. Politics was interjected by the nature of this letter and the fact that we are a “two party system”. I did not post the Senators letter keep in mind. If you are a Doctor I am assuming your are a D.O. in single practice by the sounds of your opnions.

  6. Conan rocks. GE manages NBC just as well as their healthcare division. I’m sure PowerPoints were a-flyin and dozens of consultants were consulted. I laughed my butt off at the price tag of his joke last night. Maybe he could dump a bunch of IBM 7330 tape mainframes off the parking garage roof. No wait. GE still uses those!

  7. “Adkins, whose full time gig is with Cerner (a health care company), lives in Kansas. But the zip code of this Amanda Adkins matches neatly with Cerner, so it’s almost certainly her. The same name appears on several other contributions to Republican candidates on behalf of Cerner, though none of them as large as the $5,000 sack of cash handed to Dennis Moore.”

    I found this interesting, especially considering the role of Cerner’s former board member DeParle, a Democrat appointee, now serving as the Health Reform Czar.

    Shameless.

  8. About Grassley and “It’s vague, open-ended stuff that will be hard to interpret”:

    “It’s stuff that will be easy to deliberately misinterpret.”

    There, fixed that for ya.

    However considering Grassley’s track record with other healthcare industries, that might be a risky game to play.

  9. I have been away on a much needed vacation. The Senator’s letter asks questions that should have been asked for years by the Joint Commission, the FDA, the OHRP, each state’s DOH, and others.

    Circulating are reports of death and other adverse events facilitated by the alterations in medical care that these systems cause. It seems as if there is a preconceived notion that just because medical care is guided by computerization that it is safe.

    I wonder whether the vendors are going to get together with the hospitals so that their answers are consistent and I wonder if HIMSS and CCHIT are the next lucky recipients of notes from the Senator. Better clean up the hard drives.







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