From The PACS Designer: “Re: Yale’s Epic cost. $250 million!” TPD, who tells me he works for Yale in some capacity, sent over a copy of the Certificate of Need response for Yale New Haven Hospital’s Epic implementation. No wonder it took them awhile to find the money.
From Anon: “Re: VA and DoD. I’m not sure Epic is the frontrunner, but I think you are close. InterSystems is the likely winner with their TrakCare product. Take a poke around and see the massive size of their new implementation workforce and the sizable country-based contracts. It’s worth noting the rumor that InterSystems is allowed to sell Trakcare in only two ways to avoid waking the sleeping Wisconsin cash cow: outside the US and to the US government.” Interesting … InterSystems is strong at integration and of course has endless expertise in Cache’ and MUMPS, not to mention that as a big and very profitable company can probably make believable promises to the military. I notice they’ve also been steadily increasing their annual lobbying expense, over $200K in 2009 and much of that going to VA database issues. InterSystems acquired the Australia-based TrakHealth in 2007, rolling the Web-based enterprise system into their integration and HIE offerings. You may be on to something. Even if not, I like your thought process.
From Soliloquist: “Re: Epic and the DoD. I just can’t see a scenario for this working. This would be the ultimate culture clash, as you state. I also am having trouble envisioning how the government could take the heat for forking over billions for such a system. It wouldn’t fly when the media got wind of the deal and Epic would be unwilling to cut a deal. They don’t need the business.” See new poll to follow.
From Book ‘em Danno: “Re: HIMSS and Forbes HIT magazine insert. A full-page ad costs $37,000. The lowest price option is a 1/6 page ad for $7,000.” Verified – BED forwarded pricing information.
From Traveler: “Re: Siemens. I heard they are buying [surgery software vendor’s name omitted]. Have you heard anything?” I e-mailed John Glaser now that he’s in charge at Siemens, but I haven’t heard back so far. I’ll leave out the vendor’s name for now since it annoys me that unscrupulous competitors immediately start flashing the rumor to prospects to create FUD, but I’ll update when/if I hear.
From CTCIO: “Re: two Connecticut academics lose data. Our attorney general is on it!” A UConn laptop containing information on 10,000 undergraduate applicants is stolen from an IT department cabinet. Then came another stolen laptop at Yale School of Medicine, that one with information on 1,000 patients. Encryption was not mentioned in either case.
From Irene: “Re: LTC. I am the VP of IS for a small non-profit that serves adults the ages of 20-60 with severe physical disabilities. Although the organization falls under the Long Term Care regulations and is almost solely Medicaid reimbursed, the consumers are not typical of a LTC skilled nursing facility (frail elderly). Average length of stay is 10 years. We are entering work for EHR readiness and I am looking for any/all vendors that implement solutions outside of the Acute Hospital space, that have flexibility in their design and integration between clinical and financials, and ability to data warehouse long term health data. Any information would be appreciated.” If you have advice for Irene, please leave a comment.
From BackToOurRoots: “Re: EncounterPro EMR. Going open source. Wondering what this means for their current customers …” I don’t get the strategy even after reading their reasons the product went open source, only a couple of which seem to be relevant.
From WNA Wannabe: “Re: paperless at the VA.” What a strange story … a VFW claims representative makes “a unilateral decision to go paperless” and shreds all the files he has without making electronic copies. Or at least that’s the claim – the story gave me headache as everybody involved in handling the paperwork of veterans seems to blame everyone else for missing documents that are shuffled from one group to another. I didn’t realize that VFW helps veterans with that kind of paperwork, either. Paperless, done right, would be an apparent improvement.
From HITGeek: “Re: NHIN. See Twitter #newNHINnames.” Some pundits make up witty NIHN replacement names. My acronyms are always sophomoric semi-profanities, so I’ll keep quiet even though mine are funnier.
It seems that we can never reach consensus on the CIO education issue, still divided equally among “it doesn’t matter", a BS, or an MS. New poll to your right: would Epic be a good replacement for the DoD’s AHLTA?
A reader sent over the paper evaluating hospital EMR usage in California, which concluded that EMR usage was associated with higher costs and lower nurse productivity. The methodology was as I expected and have seen in other studies conducted by people outside of healthcare (the authors are business school professors): take some conveniently available but questionably useful databases, match them up, and try to find generalizable conclusions. It just didn’t work for me. The analysis started with the HIMSS Analytics database (which I wouldn’t trust too far since it’s a self-reported sampling), assumed that EMR implementation started a year after contract signing since that date wasn’t known, and then matched that information with cost and nurse staffing databases. It covered nine years and ignored all other relevant events that occurred during that time (mandatory nurse staffing laws, changing reimbursement, individual hospital quality improvement projects, shift of patient load from inpatient to outpatient, etc.) Some of the conclusions make the data relationships questionable: EMRs were associated with reduced nurse overtime, sophisticated EMR usage was associated with higher costs and longer stays (ignoring the fact that certain kinds of hospitals are more likely to be sophisticated EMR users), and high-level EMR usage increased complications but decreased mortality. EMRs are categorized only by usage level, not how well they were implemented, what level of integration they have, and which vendor’s product was involved. And of course, the biggest problem: “associated with” is a long way from “caused by.” I just can’t get excited about the article, but if you can, feel free to send in your analysis.
The same primary author, by the way, used similar survey data noodling to conclude that EDs with sophisticated EMRs have a lower length of stay for eventually admitted patients by nearly 25%, but admitted another finding that seems to invalidate the entire premise: basic EMRs didn’t really help. I’m not buying that, either. I’d be more convinced by a short-term, one-hospital case study that measured LOS before and after an EDIS implementation. I’d also be highly wary of assuming that inpatient admission times reflect ED efficiency (instead of inpatient efficiency in having available beds, for example).
Cerner adds nearly 400 employees so far this year, bringing their total to 5,185.
CEOs of the five largest health insurance companies made $200 million in 2009. Cigna’s outgoing CEO got $111 million in retirement benefits, while the not-retiring CEO of UnitedHealth Group received salary and options worth $108 million. Apparently those of us actually working in non-profit hospitals made the wrong career choice in choosing to deliver care rather than administer it, although wildly overpaid CEOs are hardly unique to healthcare.
Maybe the folks at Zacks Investment Research need to update their spell check dictionary.
Another stolen laptop containing patient information, this time from Cook County Health and Hospitals System. They vow to review encryption practices. Honestly, can’t someone come up with an encryption method that’s easy to implement and invisible to the end user? Organizations clearly understand the value of encryption but aren’t doing it, so that tells me it’s too much of a pain.