From Astonished: “Re: University Medical Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. They have selected McKesson over Epic as VOC.” Oh, my. They should print up a lot of signs now that say, “Remember, this one was cheaper.”
From Patty: “Re: your logo’s head. I spy your cartoon likeness at the MBA HealthGroup booth at ACE. Your head is smaller than I imagined it would be.” I checked it out during the opening reception and you are right — they apparently lifted my logo’s image, which cost me a pretty penny to have custom drawn. They need to do something clever to placate me, so I’ll go by their booth again Friday to see if they’re creative enough to have come up with something. Stop by and ask them. I take enough heat from literalists who don’t get the intended irony of the pipe-smoking doc.
From RumorReporter: “Re: Eclipsys and Allscripts. Word on the street is that once the merger is completed, all finance functions will be relocated to India. So who is coming out on top here?” Unverified. It’s probably not a big deal (if it’s true) as long as it’s the grunt stuff that makes up a lot of what finance does.
From You’ll Know Who: “Re: Sunny Sanyal. The former McKesson Provider Technologies president now the CEO of T-System.” Unverified.
From PrettyKitty: “Re: Epic Beaker LIS. After a four-year project rolling out Epic to 10 of their hospitals and replacing existing systems in an effort to standardize, Sisters of Mercy Health System is developing Epic’s Beaker lab application for their next two hospitals to be implemented in the second quarter of 2011. They had been retaining and integrating the previous lab systems — Cerner and Meditech — but have been told that Beaker is ready. They are in the selection process for a Blood Bank system since Epic will not offer that.”
From Dino: “Re: Kaiser. They say they have 99.96% availability. At least now we know that $5 billion doesn’t even get you five nines of uptime. They have come a long way from aiming for 99.7%, though! Remember that Oakland forced Pleasanton to come up with a ‘revised systems availability formula’ a few years ago — a formula that would have made Arthur Andersen blush. It basically only counts the power being off in the data center as downtime. Still, if you’ve got $5 billion and some change, you can get a nice, fully (and somewhat frequently) functioning EMR than can help improve and save lives. We just need to get the cost down and the reliability up, and then we’re good to go.”
From Iggy: “Re: Healthport. Rumor has it that they are about to unload much of the non-release of information portions of their business. Wonder if they are shedding non-profitable lines of business to make a go of going public again?” The release of information and PM/EMR company filed for a $100 million IPO a year ago, but postponed it in November because of market conditions.
A reader sent over an internal announcement from the CEO of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System (NJ). They’re cutting 200 positions and have parted ways with their executive director and CFO. The reader points out that they’re spending millions to replace Cerner with McKesson.
ONC adds an information site for EHR incentives.
A story by The Huffington Post Investigative Fund says that ONC and FDA are at odds over federal oversight of EMRs. The story led off describing upgrade-related Cerner problems at Trinity Health that included posting orders to incorrect patients and a four-hour downtime because of medication order problems.
I told you on 7/30 that Ingenix was rumored to be buying Executive Health Resources, which helps hospitals with reimbursement, quality, and efficiency. The acquisition was announced Wednesday.
Pennsylvania insurer Highmark will pay bonuses to physician practices that meet Meaningful Use EMR requirements.
I’ll have to keep it a bit brief tonight since I’m tired from lots of endless Mandalay Bay walking and schmoozing, Allscripts beer, extended treadmill time, and typing on my laptop keyboard, which I don’t like much. I’m uber behind on e-mail, but I will try to catch up over the weekend.
From Allscripts Client Experience 2010
I’m in Las Vegas, checking out ACE 2010 as an attendee. Full disclosure: Allscripts invited me and comped the registration and hotel, but I’m paying otherwise. I’m still anonymous to them and I told them I was going to report what I saw and heard objectively. I don’t usually go to user meetings, but I knew the timing would be perfect to hear what people think about Meaningful Use and PM/EMR systems.
Note: the questions I asked were opened ended, such as, “What products do you have and how do you like them?”, so I was not asking leading questions that were positive or negative. Still, I can’t say for sure that the comments I got were representative of the Allscripts customer base. And keep in mind that I have no hands-on experience with any Allscripts product, so I’m just a wide-eyed noob at this conference.
They say 3,500 people are attending, which I believe since at least 3,000 of them were in the Starbucks line at 7 a.m. due to logistical challenges that I don’t need to explain since we attendees heard the gracious Allscripts apologies all day, from Glen Tullman on down. But no kidding, that was the longest line of people I’ve ever seen, at least 2-3 hours’ worth snaking back hundreds of yards (you people are seriously hooked on caffeine), and the buffet lines weren’t much shorter. It didn’t bother me since they had fruit and drinks in the meeting area anyway, so I was just as happy with a protein bar and a Diet Pepsi.
Some observational bits:
- Half the attendees were first-timers, the registration person told me.
- The lunch buffet was the best I’ve ever had at a conference. In fact, the overall meeting logistics were outstanding, from the handouts to the music to the friendly Allscripts people always willing to guide folks to their meeting room or connect them with an Allscripts contact.
- On the other hand, I don’t want to see another orange shirt for a year or two.
- A couple of users told me their Patient Portal (which I was told is the former Medfusion, but I don’t know that for sure) attempted implementations were disappointingly unsuccessful. They liked the promise of the portal, but said it was not ready for prime time. That’s a problem since it’s basically required to meet MU requirements. It’s obviously a key part of the Allscripts strategy (and an expensive recent acquisition for Intuit), so getting those problems fixed is key. There were demoing some pretty cool online payment functions.
- Related to that, several users said their main gripe with Allscripts was releasing and pitching products that aren’t ready (not uncommon for vendors in general).
- One user said the QA of Allscripts is much better than before.
- I saw a couple of iPads in use.
- Glen is an excellent speaker. Most of those I heard were good, except one who inserted the dreaded conversational crutch “sort of” every 2-3 sentences. Nuance was in the Hub and I wanted to ask them to use their speech recognition capabilities to set off a siren each time she did that, which should provide operant conditioning to help her stop. This is a near-epidemic – when I edit my interview transcriptions, I have to exterminate dozens of “sort ofs” in probably half of them.
- The biggest news to me was the announcement of the Allscripts Referral Network, a service that lets users of Allscripts products communicate with each other. People seemed to be pretty happy about that announcement, including a practice manager and a consultant I talked to. Glen said they’ll open it up to users of other vendors’ EMR products by the end of the year.
- Odd products that had surprisingly fanatically supportive users that I talked to: Homecare and Tiger.
- I wanted to look at Payerpath, but I forgot to stop by. Maybe tomorrow.
- A couple of people said they felt the meeting felt more like a heavily orchestrated cheerleading session and sales opportunity than something geared for their benefit. Hopefully they’ll get more out of it in the remaining sessions. I saw some very meaty sessions on the agenda, especially in the more specific technical and product tracks, so I’m pretty sure there are nuggets to be mined through careful session choices.
- I went to the Professional roadmap meeting. A show of hands made it clear that even though MU awareness is nearly universal, very few attendees are really ready for Meaningful Use. Based on the graph shown of client release levels, a great percentage of Professsional’s 2,000 sites will need some serious upgrading. Most are on Version 8.3 and down.
- I saw one person wearing a badge that said “No Hybrid EMR”.
- I got no indication that MyWay is on the outs. They showed its MU deliverables and I spoke to several users who love that product, including some surprisingly large ones (one Enterprise EHR customer said semi-seriously that they were considering replacing it with MyWay). I think it’s a keeper for the company.
- I asked one somewhat unhappy Enterprise user what they would be using otherwise. They hated Epic and said the product to beat was Greenway. Another liked Sage Intergy, saying it was truly integrated between PM/EHR instead of the “two screens” method of visual integration.
- I talked to a handful of Enterprise users. That group seems to be the least happy with Allscripts, with gripes that include unresponsive support, lack of proactive contact from reps, the cost of buying the Stimulus Pack vs. Analytics (Allscripts was a bit evasive on pricing, turfing users off to their reps, but promised to make it right for customers who have purchased previous products), database bloat caused by the technical method of updating physician notes, and some obvious residual bad feelings from the premature TouchWorks Version 11 upgrades that caused significant practice disruptions. It’s always hard to keep the bigger customers happy, I guess, but Allscripts needs to do some work to delight that constituency again from what I heard.
- I got the sense that all of the Allscripts growth has strained communication capabilities (reps not calling back, no direct access to support people, etc.), which may explain some of the new customer tools that Glen introduced.
- One person bragged on how great their remotely performed upgrades are, with everything done overnight or over a weekend by Allscripts.
- Glen showed an “upgrade wizard” thingie called the Upgrade Enablement Center that was explained further in the Enterprise MU session. It was created for migrating Misys users to Professional, with parts of it used by the customer and parts by Allscripts, but they said there’s work remaining for it to be finished. They said they had cut migration downtime from 4-6 days to 4-6 hours with the tool. One user said they had experience with it and thought it was great.
- One Enterprise customer said they have no worries about meeting MU requirements since their doctors happily enter their own orders.
- Glen also announced a new Web service that allows customers to one-stop-shop a lot of Allscripts services and communicate with each other.
- Allscripts announced a new Web-based project management tool, where a client chooses their desired date for a the Stimulus Set upgrade and the application backs them into a schedule that Allscripts can work from.
- Eclipsys was barely mentioned, probably since it’s not a completed transaction yet.
As someone with no skin in the game but a lot of conference experience, ACE is fun and well run. The company has obviously grown hugely and has a pretty big vision, although with a few inevitable rough spots in execution that are probably inconsequential in the big picture. I’d like to hear from my fellow attendees who are real customers, though, so please leave a comment if you’re at ACE. You know how conferences are – you can ask a bunch of people and all will report different conclusions.