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Monday Morning Update 3/1/10

February 27, 2010 News 8 Comments

From Skippy: “Re: Nuance. It will announce acquisition of Language & Computing either today or Monday.” Unverified, but interesting timing considering both the typically Monday-heavy announcements at the HIMSS conference and this announcement: the Justice Department drops its antitrust investigation into Nuance’s 2008 acquisition of Philips Speech Recognition Systems.

From Delta Dawn: “Re: KLAS. You’ve laid out the issues regarding the benefits and limitations of KLAS information before. With their new vendor rating coming out at HIMSS, it seems like a good time to dig a little deeper. IF KLAS is really an unbiased source and is providing an unbiased scorecard, then they should have no problem revealing how much each vendor pays them. To spare them the trouble, I’m attaching the table here. Also, any vendor who uses KLAS data should be required to publish how much they are currently paying KLAS.” According to the table, KLAS scales pricing to annual organizational revenue, ranging up to $175K per year. My only reaction to that is that I wished I had thought of the business model myself. Everybody gripes about KLAS for one thing or another, but everybody continues to participate, so they are simply meeting a demand and pricing their supply at what is apparently an acceptable point. I like the listed add-on service of meeting with vendor executives for a brain dump, which sounds more like the business model I would have created. My variation would be to have the engaging organization’s executive write me a frighteningly large check and then take me to a long lunch somewhere that serves beer and hopefully barbeque and after a couple of rounds of each and with no advance preparation whatsoever, I would spill everything I know, including some of the more scandalous stuff readers have sent me that I can’t run on HIStalk for reasons that mostly involve libel and possibly stock market manipulation. I’m pretty sure KLAS doesn’t do it that way, though.

siim

From Skeptic Shock: “Re: SIIM. Funny how they send out an e-mail about their one and only HIMSS presentation after the Readers Write article by Mike Cannavo. Looks like SIIM and HIMSS both read HIStalk. My hopes is that more IT folks will come forward and express their opinion that enterprise multi-modality, multi-disciplinary imaging is a major component of the EMR and can bring down a hospital’s efforts if not handled well.” Future collaboration is mentioned between the groups. I believe we need more PACSMan in the HIStalk future since IT people need more knowledge about imaging and related applications. Plus, as one reader pointed out, he’s just as cynical and abrasively outspoken as me in his PACS circles (in a heated moment, one executive screamed that he was the Antichrist, apparently, which is the coolest thing I’ve ever heard). That’s the guy you want telling you about imaging.

grassley1

Want to see Sen. Chuck Grassley’s letter to Kathleen Sebelius urging FDA oversight of healthcare IT? Sure you do. A snip: “… I have been surprised by the lack of discussion about patient safety concerns … they [clinicians] tried raising their concerns to hospital administrators and/or to the HIT vendors, but told me their concerns were often ignored or dismissed.” He cites a 1997 JAMIA article that observed the lack of FDA oversight and the 1996 counterproposal from a group of vendors who presumably were trying to avoid it. He asks HHS directly whether FDA oversight should be revisited, and if not, how does HHS plan to oversee the safety of HIT and ensure that vendors follow quality process. Also included is a letter to Steve Lieber of HIMSS, asking him to clarify the HIMSS position on FDA oversight, recommendations going back to the CHIM days of a “code of good business practices” for vendors, and the HIMSS position on vendors reporting safety issues and notifying users of potentially safety issues. The Senator wants an answer by March 10, with interesting timing in sending HIMSS the letter right before the annual bacchanal begins. A reader comment suggested that the Feds will have folks observing the conference to see exactly how taxpayer money will be spent, but that’s unverified.

Here is my modest proposal to improve HIT patient safety in hospitals: let clinicians appoint a committee of nurses, doctors, and pharmacists (and any other caregivers you like) to independently make decisions about user IT communication, vendor priorities, and training needs, all with no IT people in the room and no IT veto power. I’ve been in those conference rooms a zillion times on both sides of the table and, as much as the IT people have the organization’s best strategic interests in mind, they are the de facto partners of the vendor in getting the system implemented, running, and hopefully accepted. They do not have the knowledge or the objectivity to decide whether a particular problem is OK to work around or whether the users need to know about it even though it’s embarrassing (any more than having drug company reps participate in a formulary committee meeting). IT people will dominate those meetings if they attend, so the decisions need to be made without them present unless the clinicians need them, like a jury left alone to deliberate until they send out for information. Just my opinion as an IT person.

AMA will offer Ingenix CareTracker EHR through a new AHA solutions platform being beta tested in Michigan. The announcement will come sometime Monday.

salar

Salar (pronounced SAY-lar) is a new Platinum Sponsor of HIStalk, so thanks to those folks in Fell’s Point in Baltimore (a great area for eating and drinking when they aren’t getting blizzards) for supporting us. I interviewed company president Todd Johnson this week so that’s a good overview, but here’s the summary: Salar’s clinical documentation system TeamNotes works with core clinical systems, providing tools for documentation, physician charge capture, patient handoffs, quality reporting, and team collaboration. Customers include places like Johns Hopkins, UPMC, GWU, etc. I have to say I enjoyed reading their recent “Dear Physicians” blog entry that says it so well I can’t even excerpt it and do it justice (rare for me since I enjoy excerpting). I would seriously drop by Booth 2644 at HIMSS and check them out since they sound kind of dangerously disruptive in a good way. Thanks to Salar for the support.

CCHIT is rearranging some of its work groups, according to an internal communication a reader sent over. Oncology and Women’s Health are new specialty EHR certifications and CCHIT is looking for volunteers. Under way for later this year are long term and post acute care, dermatology, clinical research, and behavioral. Most of the main groups are on hold until meaningful use standards are finalized, which CCHIT says will happen by summer.

Cumberland Pediatric IPA (TN) chooses Informatics Corporation of America’s CareAlign data analysis and reporting tool.

poll022710

Obviously we have some HITECH skeptics in the ranks. New poll to your right: with all the sudden interest in patient safety oversight of healthcare IT, do you think the government will mandate some degree of FDA involvement?

The Encore folks have been working incredibly hard to finish up details for our reception Monday evening. I’m sure nobody’s naive enough to think that you just book a facility and show up, but the amount of detail that requires attention is surprising even to me. Of course, if it all goes perfectly, everybody will just enjoy themselves without noticing those details specifically. I’ll say this: I certainly never expected to have an HIStalk specialty drink designed and named, but I’m looking right at it. Inga and I got the guest list and, as we digested the Who’s Who list of attendees (no kidding – lots of star power), she e-mailed me her one-word reaction: “Surreal”. To which I replied back with a line from That Thing You Do: “How did we get here?” It’s an early St. Patrick’s Day theme, so feel free to wear green if you like, although I don’t think they bought my idea of green beer.

Speaking of events, a couple of readers are looking for fun events for Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, so I told them I would deputize them as HIStalk roving reporters if anyone knows of cool stuff. Inga and I got a lot of invitations, but I didn’t save mine.

Shares in athenahealth dropped over 15% Friday on the announcement that its Q4 report will be delayed pending completion of an audit and a review of service revenue accounting procedures. If the company decides to implement an accounting change based on the assumption of ongoing customer renewals, it will have to restate earnings. You may recall my recent mention of an independent organization that gave ATHN a 99 rating for accounting and governance (meaning very conservative), so this is one manifestation of that, but one with a negative shareholder interpretation: they are considering a change to even more conservative accounting practices, but that might mean lower paper profits. I would think that’s good news if I were buying the product or the stock, but both markets have minds of their own.

osu

Ohio State University Medical Center will bring its 617-doctor affiliated private practice into the university, with the stated primary incentive being the ability to implement a complete electronic medical record.

This is probably an important case to watch: the federal government files a fraudulent billing lawsuit against a Florida cancer clinic because its physicians billed for services delivered while they were out of the country. Regardless of what the clinic was up to, it brings up the question of exactly what constitutes supervision in an ever-connected age. Is value added by having the doctor physically standing there, and it insurance paying for that standing around or the oversight that can be equally well provided from anywhere?

I’m receiving powerful psychic emanations that Microsoft will make an interesting product announcement Monday morning. 

I’ve been overwhelmed lately, so I forgot to mention this like I promised. The Fierce people are having an executive breakfast Tuesday morning at 7:00 at the Sheraton Atlanta and are offering HIStalk readers a discounted rate of $50 if you enter the code TALK on the online registration form.

Former Cerner COO Glenn Tobin joins coding solutions vendor CodeRyte in a newly created COO position.

Sage announces its meaningful use guarantee.

Greenway donates several of its applications to Northern Kentucky University to be used in training students in the university’s health informatics programs.

A Florida health network reports the results of its year-long study of the Patient-Centered Medical Home model: hospital days dropped 4.6%, admissions were down 3%, costs swung around 20% to the positive compared to the market in general, and quality metrics improved.

I will be posting daily from HIMSS, of course, perhaps with some of Inga’s usual entertaining insights (like where to get margaritas in the exhibit hall). If you aren’t going, I will try to give you the on-site flavor. If you are, safe travels.

E-mail me.

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Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. Re: the HIStalk reception star-filled guest list “How did we get here?” question…You led us here, sir, for you are Spartacus. Way to go, Skitch.

  2. “and, as much as the IT people have the organization’s best strategic interests in mind, they are the de facto partners of the vendor in getting the system implemented, running, and hopefully accepted. They do not have the knowledge or the objectivity to decide whether a particular problem is OK to work around or whether the users need to know about it even though it’s embarrassing (any more than having drug company reps participate in a formulary committee meeting). IT people will dominate those meetings if they attend, so the decisions need to be made without them present unless the clinicians need them, like a jury left alone to deliberate until they send out for information. Just my opinion as an IT person.”

    Unfortunately I think that says the most about you “as an IT person”. I don’t think that can be generalized to others that work in IT-centric roles. I happen to disagree that there are “IT people” in an effective, caring organization. I do happen to believe that clinicians ought to be the deciding voices on such topics, but they need to be well informed by others in the organization AND the vendor in some cases.

  3. regarding “my modest proposal to improve HIT patient safety in hospitals: let clinicians appoint a committee of nurses, doctors, and pharmacists (and any other caregivers you like) to independently make decisions about user IT communication, vendor priorities, and training needs, all with no IT people in the room and no IT veto power.”
    Right on! I can’t tell you how many-no-EVERY decision made in my organization is made by those who are receiving vendor kickbacks or those who have no day to day interaction with “the system” who buy the new system simply because there is another core system from the same vendor so they get a price cut. Get your kickback prize, get it implemented no matter how poorly, and get out. No responsibility afterward from the decision makers. Some poor chump in the receiving department or IS minion takes all the crap thereafter.

  4. Your blog continues to yield helpful ideas, but this one is overly optimistic: “let clinicians appoint a committee of nurses, doctors, and pharmacists (and any other caregivers you like) to independently make decisions about user IT communication, vendor priorities, and training needs, all with no IT people in the room and no IT veto power. ” It iss encouraging that you have recognized the deception and manipulation and invasion of medical care by “those who are receiving vendor kickbacks or those who have no day to day interaction with “the system” who buy the new system simply because there is another core system from the same vendor so they get a price cut”, according to Dr. T. Grassley has done the vendors a favor. Hopefully, they amd Lieber, and friend, Sebelius, will answer truthfully and not go to jail.

  5. Ohio State Doctors have been sold a bill of goods.

    The report states:”Right now, the physicians’ group – called OSU Physicians – is not electronically connected to the university’s medical center.

    Other than that, patients shouldn’t notice a change, officials say.

    The arrangement will make Ohio State a powerhouse when negotiating contracts with health-insurance companies.”

    Patients should’t notice a change. officials say. They also say that no patient ever suffered an adverse event from an EMR. How do the officials know? They are neither the patient nor the physician.

    Many patients have noticed a difference, such as exploring the back of the doctor’s head or looking over the computer screen, if they survive certain hazzards and electronic failures with these systems.

  6. Thanks for posting the link to Sen. Grassley’s letter; between this and the FDA’s rumblings last week, it looks like federal regulation of HIT could become one of this year’s big stories. It will be interesting to see how these concerns are balanced against ARRA. And have fun at HIMSS, the rest of us are looking forward to hearing about it!

  7. I [Sen. Grassley] have been surprised by the lack of discussion about patient safety concerns … they [clinicians] tried raising their concerns to hospital administrators and/or to the HIT vendors, but told me their concerns were often ignored or dismissed.”

    Really? Whoda thunk it?

    Re: Mr Histalk’s modest proposal to improve HIT patient safety in hospitals … as much as the IT people have the organization’s best strategic interests in mind

    I think many have their own interests in mind, and those who think they have the organization’s interests in mind are deluded, not being medical types. Good intentions don’t count in medicine. Outcomes do.







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