From The PACS Designer: “Re: Microsoft’s CDSA. The Clinical Documentation Solution Accelerator (CDSA) for Microsoft Office helps you create clinical document workflow by using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2010. CDSA is good for linking EMRs to other systems and also populating PHRs and CCRs.”
From Alan: “Re: Vermont Information Technology Leaders. It announces four more preferred partners.” They are athenahealth for revenue cycle, Concordant for consulting, MBA HealthGroup for implementation, and the University of Vermont’s Technical Services Partnership for services.
From LeBron Kydis: “Re: stats. I was charting the number of HIStalk visitors from day to day (I know, it’s a little neurotic) and realized the number of subscribers could be more interesting to watch as it climbs. Any chance you might include that number with the number of visitors?” Wow, that is compulsive. Bad news on the subscriber list, though: unlike the visitor count, there’s no widget to display it automatically. This will get you started: the confirmed count as of this minute is 5,565.
From FLgal: “Re: Epic. Tampa General (affiliated with USF) is implementing Epic. Shands (affiliated with UF) is also implementing Epic. Supposedly those two are collaborating with University of Alabama (not sure of the hospital name) to create a southeastern arc of Epic hospitals. Combine that with all the hospitals in Atlanta that are implementing (or thinking of doing so) Epic, and you’re got quite a nice chunk of the US covered by Epic.”
From A Family Affair: “Re: UPMC. A highly wired hospital with a highly connected leadership family.” UPMC paid $10 million last year to companies with ties to its directors and executive management. Relatives of the CEO, who himself made $5.16 million in 2009, received more than $3 million in payments, including his $265K daughter who was a contractor and is now executive director of UPMC’s technology development center. The CEO’s former son-in-law made $260K (until his wife divorced him and thus went his job) and his brother raked in $2.48 million for advertising. They didn’t ‘fess up until hearings convened by my hero, Senator Chuck Grassley.
Fletcher Allen Health Care lays off 23 transcriptionists who were rendered obsolete by technology such as EMRs and speech recognition. I feel bad for them, but that’s a nice plug for the cost saving potential of Nuance’s eScription, which I believe FAHC uses.
It was just over a year ago when Compuware inexplicably hired disgraced former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to sell healthcare software, giving him a cushy six-figure job barely a week out of prison (what the hell were they thinking?) Well, today they got to fire him: he’s going back to the slammer for violating the terms of his probation. He tried the sorrowful apology route yet again, but the judge wasn’t buying it this time: he’s going away for at least 18 months and possibly up to five years. You can read up on his checkered background, but get comfy first because it will take awhile. Please hold for a job offer on Line 2, Mr. Blagojevich.
Michael from Bitwork offered an explanation of the article I mentioned that said a Hawaii clinic was saving 55 hours a month through some unspecified change. They were manually assembling quality measure information using standard reports offered by their EMR, he says. The change was to implement Bitwork’s solution, which collects the information in the background and presents it as a scorecard.
Stung by the defection of HIMSS and other conferences because of absurd costs, the governor of Illinois is considering signing a bill that would limit union shenanigans at McCormick Place. Naturally being Illinois there’s all kinds of dirty politics, union wheeling and dealing, and favoritism involved, not to mention that attendees will get stuck with newly increased bus and taxi fees to generate funds for marketing the convention center.
Weird News Andy labels this story as, “I’ve heard of dropping a transmission in a car before, but not a baby.” A Minnesota woman who is feeling labor pains drives off for the hospital, stopping to pick up the baby’s father, who can’t drive because he has epilepsy. Her water breaks while driving, she yells for him to take the wheel, and she shucks off her pants and delivers an eight-pound baby boy right in the driver’s seat. She summarizes, “I was just sitting on the seat and he just slid out.”
Some Epic youth filmed a video of the famous on-campus treehouse. I’m beginning to think I need one of those for philosophical reflection or something like that since I’ve always wanted one.
Inga and I have jumped on the Facebook bandwagon because so many of HIStalk’s readers are active there. I’ve made a site change that puts a little blue Facebook icon at the top right of every post. Click it and you can easily and quickly publish the article link with your comment to your Facebook feed.
Connecticut Attorney General and US Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal apologizes for not being “clear and precise” in claiming Marines service in Vietnam that he really spent stateside. That’s newsworthy here only because he’s the brother of national coordinator David Blumenthal, which I happened to see in one of the newspaper articles after thinking they sure look alike. You would think serving honorably in the Marines in any location would be enough without having to embellish, which hopefully he’s realizing.
Speaking of David Blumenthal, he was the commencement speaker at the University of Florida College of Medicine’s graduation this past Saturday. He told them most of what they had learned would be obsolete shortly, a sad but true fact and another reason to use technology to support pushing current best practices to the bedside.
Tri-City Medical Center (CA) looks into alleged privacy disclosures involving employees and Facebook, denying a rumor that 26 employees have been disciplined. One conclusion is that hospitals need a social networking policy. Policies don’t usually work, of course, but at least you have grounds to fire violators.
Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra, speaking at the American Telemedicine Association conference, calls for great healthcare technology ideas and recites some examples: Voxiva’s Text4Baby (I interviewed head guy Paul Meyer in November), a Case Western Reserve telehealth project, American Well (which I just mentioned), and Project Echo (I interviewed Director Sanjeev Arora in October).
Speaking of innovation, I’ve had some conversations about scouting out more of those in HIStalk (I’m non-disclosed to say who those conversations were with, but you would probably be impressed) It could be as simple as doing interviews like those above, or it could be evaluating products with potential to benefit the healthcare system as a whole (not necessarily for their business potential, which others are doing already). If you have ideas of how to do this or want to help in some way, let me know. I was thinking of offering companies or developers the chance to pitch their wares and have them evaluated by a panel of expert HIStalk readers, but I always have high-falutin’ ideas that I don’t have time to execute properly because I’m working two full-time jobs already. In any case, if you know of cool, innovative technology that’s delivering results but not getting much attention (preferably as a user and not a company pitch person), let me know.
Monday is Memorial Day, set aside to honor men and women who have lost their lives in military service involving conflicts both popular and not. Flags are cheap, easy to find, and fun to hang (and I’m reminding you way ahead of time). And unfortunately, they stand out nicely in most neighborhoods since everybody’s too wrapped up in picnics and car races to think about dead service members and their families on the one day per year set aside to pay those respects. So if you’d like to be a rebellious contrarian like me, hoist Old Glory on Monday. End of good-natured soapboxing.
The VA’s VistA Modernization Report
A reader sent over a copy of “VistA Modernization Report”, the work product of a committee that was convened to advise the VA about modernizing VistA. Its recommendations:
- Stabilize VistA by freezing the code to some degree, releasing only enhancements needed for patient safety or mandates.
- Contract with a research group to develop tech specs for a new open source VistA replacement.
- Contract creation of a prototype.
- Contract development of a foundation to manage the new, open source VistA.
- Get more widespread VistA deployment outside of the VA by creating an easier delivery model.
- Replace VistA’s functionality screen by screen.
- “Harvest everything of value” from VistA.
- Use commercial software where needed to complement VistA’s core functionality.
My reaction: big government contractors are wetting themselves at the prospect of getting a chunk of what is sure to be a massive cost. Remember VistA’s history: it was mostly developed by skunkworks programmers defying management orders and working directly with end users. It was not developed under an open source model and wasn’t cheap to build – it just happens to be free because taxpayers paid for it, which makes it available under the Freedom of Information act.
Software rewrites have ruined even nimble organizations who didn’t have to deal with bureaucrats and fat cat contractors. And let us not forget the $450 million taxpayer-raping by BearingPoint’s CoreFLS ERP system, overseen by an apparently napping VA IT management and mercy-killed during its beta testing when it nearly shut down Bay Pines Hospital in Florida.
All of this sounds like the usual feel-good consultantese, soothing and logical in a perfect world, dangerous when you’re dealing with the federal government and its cadre of trough-lappers. And who cares if VistA adoption is minimal outside of the VA? That wasn’t the point of writing it.
Software rewrites are usually a really, really bad idea, advocated by techies and mid-level managers who see the fun of working on something new instead of the gaping black strategic hole beneath them. The VA was lucky that VistA turned out as well as it did, but it’s a one-trick pony not likely to be repeated.
Open source or not, wanna bet this will be a billion-dollar project if it gets approved? Heck, HP got $784 million back in 2004 just to support VistA going for ten years, so imagine a stimulus-happy administration getting to announce this grand vision in front of veterans and former civil servants turned contractor lobbyists. Most vendors (including the ones that would provide commercial systems to the VA where needed) are selling systems that are just as clunky and outdated as VistA. Most of the time, they work just fine, especially if the whole package was built by the same company instead of being acquired from failing vendors anxious to sell out.
Maybe the VA should just do what everybody else seems to be doing if they really think VistA is on its last legs — buy Epic and install it using the Kaiser model. I wouldn’t want VistA replaced for the wrong reasons, but if it’s really necessary, then I’d rather see them writing Judy a huge check for a known quantity instead of a series of never-ending ones to the usual government contractors who have stars (and stripes) in their eyes.
That’s my uninformed opinion. What’s yours?
HERtalk by Inga
Baptist Health System (AL) selects Compuware’s EHR Service Delivery Solution to monitor performance and availability of its EHR.
All Children’s Hospital (FL) expands its relationship with Mediware, adding BloodSafe Tx for patient and blood verification.
The 107-bed Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District (CA) will replace its QuadraMed Affinity Clinicals with QuadraMedCPR.
Walmart cuts the price of the iPhone to $97, AT&T raises its early termination fee from $175 to $325, and rumors swirl that Verizon will soon offer service for the iPhone. Must be almost time for Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. June 7th is the date we’ll likely hear more about Apple’s 4G version (with video-chat, perhaps?) plus maybe news of a Verizon deal.
Maybe one of our marketing genius readers could explain why a company would even bother to create and distribute a press release like this? Mr. H puts it on the short list for stupidest press release ever written. The company is obviously trying to raise money for programmers and designers. If they are successful, I suggest they put a few dollars aside for marketing.
If you are an HIT purist, mosey on to the next news item. A woman is denied entrance to Yankee Stadium because she is carrying an iPad. Seems the Yankees have a “no laptop” policy and a security guard placed the iPad in that category. Not be deterred, the woman put the iPad under her jacket and went in another gate. I gotta say I like this lady because she likes her technology, likes her baseball, and is willing to be a bit sneaky to get her way. Anyone who has ever scored a baseball game has to love the the idea of using an iPad to run the cool-looking iScore app.
A former University of Washington Medical Center patient complains to the local press when a hospital representative called his unlisted number to solicit donations. Turns out that HIPAA specifically allows medical centers to use patient information for fundraising activities. UWMC offers an opt-out alternative, but it requires patients write a letter to the hospital’s privacy office. I’m all for fundraising, but shame on any hospital using such tactics. At least make it easier to opt out on the front end.
Forty private equity firms form the non-profit Healthcare Private Equity Association to support the healthcare PE community. The association’s members represent about 500 healthcare portfolio companies and combined revenues of $200 billion.
Speaking of private equity investments, Phreesia announces the close of $16 million in Series D funding, led by Ascension Health Ventures. Phreesia’s technology platform automates patient check-in in physician offices and urgent care centers.
Coming soon to HIStalk Practice: a new question in our HIT Vendor Executive series (sign up for e-mail updates so you don’t miss it!) This month’s question is, “If you could give David Blumenthal one piece of advice, what would it be?”
A few quick updates:
- MEDecision names Eric Demers as SVP of life sciences.
- Three new hospitals select McKesson’s Practice Partner EHR and PM for their employed and affiliated physicians.
- Wolters Kluwer Health promotes Susan Driscoll from EVP to president and CEO of the company’s Health’s Professional & Education Business Unit. She takes over for Gordon Macomber.
- Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center (CA) implements the Access e-Forms Repository, providing direct access to users from its Siemens Soarian portal.
- The Johns Hopkins Hospital goes live with iMDsoft’s MetaVision AIMS in 39 operating rooms.
- St. Elizabeth Regional Health (IN) contracts with TeleHealth Services for interactive patient education systems.
- Healthcare Management Systems names F. Bradley Meyers its director of integration and Interoperability and Neal Reizer as chief architect.
- MEDSEEK awards Spectrum Health (MI) its 2010 eHealth Excellence Award for its use of eHealth technology.
- Halfpenny Technologies’ ITF-GoDoc solution now includes a new critical value alerting feature that allows hospitals or labs to send results to physicians’ smartphones.
- Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise International names the College of American Pathologists as the primary sponsoring organization of the IHE Laboratory Domain.