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News 5/28/10

May 27, 2010 News 10 Comments

From Uncle Arnold: “Re: Cal eConnect. The state-sponsored HIE is interviewing CEO candidates this week. They are on a tight timeline and want to make an announcement within two weeks. The usual suspects are finalists: Roberts at HIMSS, Portale at Palomar, etc.” Unverified.

pnm

From Ms. Jones: “Re: Presbyterian Albuquerque. VMware installation caused two major network outages within 48 hours. The clinical system (McKesson) is still trying to recover: interfaces and prod down, pharmacy handhelds all needed hard booting, runaway processes triggered, unable to pull PACS studies, etc. Affected all eight facilities across the state.” Unverified. I also note that I still can’t spell Albuquerque in fewer than three attempts.

From Alan: “Re: hospital and TV reporter. A reporter is repeatedly touched by a hospital communications director. Hilarity ensues.” Bizarre. A TV talking head tries nicely to interview a Laguna Honda Hospital (CA) official about a reported misuse of patient gift funds. She’s on her way to a meeting, so she politely declines. The hospital’s creepy communications director gets in the reporter’s face and starts touching and patting him repeatedly, introducing himself about a hundred times (“Hello, my name is Mark Slavin”) as the TV guy warns him he’ll call the police if the guy doesn’t get his hands off him. Be glad they didn’t actually fight since I think it might have been embarrassing to humans everywhere.

A reader asked me to share the VA committee’s recommendations on the future of VistA. Nothing on it says its private, so I’ve posted it here. Your analysis is welcome. I notice that the working group included employees of companies that stand to benefit from an expensive rewrite (Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, IBM, HP, Deloitte, Northrop Grumman, etc.) so I might take their recommendations with a grain of salt. I also noticed one tiny recommendation that the VA shouldn’t build any software it can buy, provided the application meets standards.

fbchart

A reader sent over the graphic above now that we’re all on Facebook. He thought it was funny. I agree, but Inga and I still love it when you friend us or click our “Like” button because we are insecure.

Weird News Andy notes that in the UK, lots of people can’t get the surgery they want, but at least one patient is getting surgery against their wishes. A judge’s ruling grants doctors permission to forcibly sedate a woman with uterine cancer and bring her to the hospital for a hysterectomy, claiming she is of unsound mind and the surgery is “plainly in her interests to have.” They’d better hope it goes well.

acummings

Allana Cummings, former SVP/CIO of Children’s Omaha, is named CIO at Northeast Georgia Health System. I think we probably mentioned that before, but now we’ve got a pic.

Listening: Fastball, one of my favorite guitar-and-harmonies indie pop bands.

A UCSD trend study says healthcare IT is the “hottest career option” for new grads.

Three Midwest hospitals that run McKesson’s Paragon sign up for its Practice Partner PM/EHR.

Allscripts will integrate IntelliDose chemo dosing into its products.

AHRQ releases a report on practice-based EMR usability, although only eight vendors were interviewed and big players like Epic, eClinicalWorks, Sage, Allscripts, etc. were not among them. Nice work, just a bit limited in scope to draw meaningful conclusions. Key points:

  • All vendors interview claimed a “deep commitment” to making their products usable.
  • Despite that, few (none?) of them said they do formal usability testing, follow user-centered design principles, or get real usability experts involved in their design.
  • Vendor processes to address reported usability-related patient safety issues are inconsistent.
  • Most vendors do not publicly share known usability-related incidents or enhancement requests.
  • No vendor admitted to contractually prohibiting users from disclosing product-related patient safety incidents.
  • “Many” vendors expressed interest in having an independent body develop EMR usability standards (great idea, since they also said that competitive pressure keeps them from collaborating on usability standards).

McKesson raises its quarterly share dividend from $0.12 to $0.18.

NPR reports on an interesting use of clinical decision support: analyzing the potential value of each individual outpatient radiology order based on patient condition and requiring the doctor to personally sign off on questionable ones. The iffy orders dropped from 5.4% of the total to 1.9%.

Drug company Wyeth, worried about being caught pitching drugs to doctors for unapproved indications, apparently modified its Salesworks software to prevent its sales reps from documenting their conversations with doctors, preventing future legal discovery. The company is also alleged to have dressed up salespeople in white coats, sending them on doctor rounds and into the OR during transplant surgeries.

aapl

The market cap of Microsoft at today’s market close: $227.9 billion. Of Apple: $230.5 billion. The five-year stock price chart is above (Apple is the green high-flyer, Microsoft is the blue dead money). The torch has been passed.

Speaking of Apple, the Chinese company that makes parts of the iPad, iPhone, and other consumer electronic devices urges workers not to kill themselves after 11 employees leap off buildings so far this year, with nine of them dying. The latest death was an employee who had been grilled over a missing iPhone prototype. Employees are now required to agree to let the company send them to a mental hospital if their behavior is “abnormal.” Safety nets have been installed around employee dormitories. Note to self: don’t take a job with a company that provides a dormitory or otherwise makes it obvious that you won’t have any free time.

HIStalk sponsor jobs: Clinical Informatics Professional, Sales Executive, Proposal Developer. Sponsors post their jobs free. On Healthcare IT Jobs: HIE Analyst, Instructional Design Manager, EMR Project Manager.

harlemhospital

Harlem Hospital (NY) admits that it allowed 4,000 echocardiograms to be read by techs instead of doctors. Cardiologists are reviewing them and have found several patients with undiagnosed cardiac problems.

Here’s a nasty anti-business surprise buried in the healthcare reform bill, slipped in by Democratic politicians to help pay for it: every business must report on 1099 forms payments to any company that total more than $600 in one year. Right now, that’s required only for payments to non-incorporated entities. So if you buy Dell computers, Sam’s Club paper towels, or Fedex shipments, you’ll have to get a W9 form from them (for their particular in-state business identity) and send them a 1099 every year. That’s an estimated 12x increase in paperwork. Who is John Galt?

memorialday

I’ll probably do the usual Monday Morning Update this weekend even though it’s a holiday and few of you will read it Monday (but I might slip in some really good stuff to reward the loyalists). Have a wonderful holiday, flying that flag if you’re so inclined.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

ONC announces that another $30.3 million in awards is available to fund two additional Beacon Communities. Letters of intent are due June 9 and we’ll find out the lucky winners in mid-August.

The tiny Guadalupe County Hospital in Santa Rosa, NM plans to add Medsphere Systems’ OpenVista EHR. Phoenix Health Systems will provide implementation and support expertise for the 10-bed hospital.

RCM service provider Zotec Partners aligns with Medical Business Services (MBS) to offer RCM tools to MBS’s hospital-based physician clients.

Zix Corporation launches ZixGateway Inbound, a new tool to help provider organizations identify unsecured PHI in incoming email.

EMRs cut the average treatment time for sexually transmitted infections from 11.5 days to 3.5 days, according to a UK study. The percentage of patients getting treatment within two weeks of diagnosis jumped from 38% to 94%. Doctors attribute the difference to faster patient notification of positive test results. Add that stat to your sales tool bag.

surescripts

Surescripts bestows Gold certification status to eight physician software vendors.

HCA appoints Dr. Thomas L. Garthwaite to COO of the Clinical Services Group, charged with improving quality of care, patient safety, and clinical performance. He’s a former EVP and CMO for Catholic Health East and spent eight years with the VA, including a stint as Under Secretary for Health where he helped with the VA’s  transition to EHR.

squawkbox

Humana and BCBS-RI top the 2010 PayerView Rankings, an annual report that examines how well health insurers are paying physicians. Insurance companies as a whole seem to be paying an average of seven days faster than last year and are denying 12-18% fewer claims.Full list here. Or if you prefer, watch athenahealth’s Jonathan Bush and Humana’s Bruce Perkins discussing the rankings with CNBC.

Some generally positive Cerner news out of the UK, at least from one NHS Trust administrator. Kate Grimes, the chief executive of Kingston Hospital NHS Trust says its implementation of Millennium has gone remarkably well after a big-bang go-live. She acknowledges the platform will help improve quality of care, but also notes that Millennium needs further work to be more intuitive and forgiving of mistakes.

evelyn castle

A couple of weeks ago, Mr. H shared the story about Brigid O’Gorman, a college junior who is working to implement EMR in rural Uganda. Here’s the story of Evelyn Castle, a college junior from UC Santa Cruz and clearly another extraordinary young lady. She received a $10,000 scholarship to support her efforts to improve health care in Nigeria. She leads eHealth Nigeria, an organization focused on improving maternal and child health through the implementation of reliable health information systems. Last year, she helped create the country’s first EMR system. This year, she’s going back to Nigeria to set up seven hospitals and five primary care clinics with eHealth Nigeria’s “Instant EMR” program. I wouldn’t say I was ignoring the world and its needs while I was in college, but I think I was more focused on creating sexy togas for frat parties then I was impacting the quality of life for millions. I’m humbled and inspired.

inga

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. Mr. HIStalk, I disagree with your statement when you said:

    “Here’s a nasty anti-business surprise buried in the healthcare reform bill, slipped in by Democratic politicians to help pay for it”

    This provision was not “slipped in by Democratic politicians”. It was present in the legislation since October of 2009, and it was available for everybody to see on the Internet for over five months before it was enacted.

    This issue is unnecessarily being politicized. The intent of the provision makes sense. Its purpose is to add integrity to the reporting of business expenses.

    Also, the regulations have not yet been written. It is way too soon to suggest that it will cause an avalanche of new forms to be filed. The Bloomberg article is inaccurate when it says that it applies to all vendors.

  2. “I’ll probably do the usual Monday Morning Update this weekend even though it’s a holiday and few of you will read it Monday (but I might slip in some really good stuff to reward the loyalists)”

    You do have a few loyalists North of the border, eh !!

  3. Thanks Mr H for contiuing to point out the debacle of VistA. It has been a sore spot with me for a long time (actually, it is very sore every April 15th) as we keep putting out more and more tax money to support a system that was old the day it went “live”. Ther are at leat a dozen better, cheaper, easier to use and update systems on the commecial market that could easily surpass this product. How do we get the VA, etc. to at least investigate that idea?

  4. ” I notice that the working group included employees of companies that stand to benefit from an expensive rewrite (Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, IBM, HP, Deloitte, Northrop Grumman, etc.) so I might take their recommendations with a grain of salt.”

    Can you imagine the price tag on this? CMS just signed a $34 Mill contract to build a system to track payment of MU bonuses..they could have bought Quick Books for $99, but that was too simple!

    So figure a new Vista is at least a cool billion if any of the companies you mention get anywhere near it.

  5. “Drug company Wyeth, worried about being caught pitching drugs to doctors for unapproved indications, apparently modified its Salesworks software to prevent its sales reps from documenting their conversations with doctors, preventing future legal discovery. The company is also alleged to have dressed up salespeople in white coats, sending them on doctor rounds and into the OR during transplant surgeries. ”

    Nothing new here. Sales reps were in the OR all the time when I was training…

    This unholy alliance with the drug companies needs to stop somehow…. Funny how that got missed in the reform bill.

  6. Re: the TV reporter vs. PR guy. I didn’t think it was creepy at all! Reporters can certainly be a challenge, especially when they want to talk about something you don’t. To be honest, I think the PR guys approach, although a bit weird and atypical, had the result he wanted. He got into the reporters head and threw him off his game so to speak. I’m quite sure the PR guy’s antics were calculated. Hilarious!

  7. Congrats to Evelyn on her wonderful accomplishment.

    Also overseas, in the UK, Cerner’s big bang “has gone remarkably well…BUT…” she feels Millennium still needs further work to be more intuitive and forgiving of mistakes. Kingston also ran into problems with data migration, resulting in patients showing up for clinic appointments the hospital had no record of. “Our patient experience was not what I’d want it to be,” she admits – despite the “heroic efforts” of staff to see everybody.”

    It can not be both ways. What exactly is the truth? Will the doctors be allowed to speak without risking neck?

  8. At the Harlem Hospital: “Harlem Hospital (NY) admits that it allowed 4,000 EKGs to be read by techs instead of doctors.”

    Mr. HIStalk: Serious error: These were echocardiograms, not EKGs. There is a difference, for you focussed HIT geeks.

    They were stored on a computer (SIC) and forgotten as reported here:http://manhattan.ny1.com/content/top_stories/119355/heart-tests-went-unread-for-years-at-harlem-hospital

    Were they billed, actually?

    [From Mr. HIStalk] Thanks for catching my slip. I’m well aware of the difference, but my passion for brevity led me astray with the wrong abbreviation! I shall correct.

  9. From Ms. Jones: “Re: Presbyterian Albuquerque. VMware installation caused two major network outages within 48 hours.”

    Are you able to expand…what was the cause of the outages? We are getting ready to implement VMware in the clinical areas!







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