From Mandrake: “Re: HITECH. I heard from someone that [vendor name omitted] is writing into their hospital contracts that if the hospital gets stimulus money, the vendor receives 10% of it. I thought these dollars were for hospitals, doctors, and patients, not IT vendors. I hope this is wrong, because it definitely isn’t right.” I e-mailed the vendor in question, which has not replied so far.
From Bobby Orr: “Re: HIMSS. Not only for vendors. Here’s an interview with a community hospital CIO who’s also a HIMSS board member.” Mass High Tech interviews Scott MacLean, CIO at Newton Wellesley Hospital (MA). It’s part of the Partners system, but he says neither his administration nor his docs view IT as anything more than a support function.
From QPFC: “Re: Epic. On Glassdoor.com, ex-employees have some very interesting things to say about Epic. Judy only gets a 58% rating.” Those things are fun to read, but most of the posters have a company axe to grind (and 140 comments out of an always-churning several thousand employees isn’t a large sample). A common thread is that the new grads Judy hires resent the work hours, the not particularly talented middle management, the obsolete technologies used there, and the fact that they leave Epic unqualified to work anywhere else. It might be worrisome that turnover is mentioned often, not a good thing when experienced Epic resources are hard to find and they keep selling more big sites, but all Epic really need is an endless supply of fresh, naive liberal arts grads and three months to train them. Candidates with those minimal credentials aren’t hard to find in this economy.
From IT Director/Informatics Professor: “Re: HIStalk. I really enjoy your blog (it’s the only one I read) and believe you provide a wonderful service to the industry, provide thoughtful guidance on an array of issues, and do so with humor, integrity, and grace. Great job!” Thanks. I need a little encouragement now and then and I appreciate yours.
From Unicorn Rider: “Re: Norton. Partnering with Humana to build one of the four ACO partner sites. They are also a ‘future’ Epic site, which must mean they’re getting ready to start their build.”
Sign-up for the HIStalkapalooza “I want to come” list continues. A few folks reported an error when they clicked the Submit button, so here’s my suggestion: go ahead and sign up again, even if you already did. We’ll de-dupe the list later. I’d rather spend the time cleaning up the list later than have someone miss out because of a technical problem (maybe we overloaded the site or something since lots of sign-ups went through just fine). Response has been, shall we say, brisk. Sign-ups will end shortly (maybe by Friday), so do it now. I always get e-mails right up until HIMSS from readers who claim they scrutinized HIStalk carefully, yet somehow missed the multi-paragraph announcement (with pictures and video, no less) that the sign-up was open. And just to be clear, you will not get an e-mail invitation directly just because you came last year – you still need to sign up.
Huguley Memorial Medical Center (TX) goes live on the Shareable Ink Anesthesia Record, the first of 34 hospitals served by NorthStar Anesthesia to implement the digital pen and paper solution. The company’s technology also powers the T-System DigitalShare ED solution, for which I found the new video above.
The Iatric Systems folks did a really good video parody of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” called “HITECH Train.” They asked my permission a few weeks back to use HIStalk in the video and lyrics, so you’ll find it there. “I’ve read the objectives, I’ve read all the rules, all eight hundred pages, of Meaningful Use, I’ve read HIStalk, listened to Blumenthal, will we get incentives, or nothing at all?” The HIStalk part is at 3:03 (the timer counts down instead of up). It may be a 30-year-old song, but I’m still air guitaring to it right now, and parody or not, Iatric’s version rocks.
Yet another study finds that evidence is lacking that EHRs improve outpatient care quality. The definition of “quality” is as slippery as always, in this case tied to simple indicator measures like documenting smoking cessation counseling and routine blood pressure monitoring. The EHR cheerleaders are crying foul since the data set was from 2005-2007, but it’s hard to believe that systems have really gotten hugely better since then (the better argument would be that the indicators themselves weren’t as well accepted that far back). Still, if EHRs can’t move the needle on simple, well-accepted quality measures, they aren’t likely to do much else, either. They’ll get credit down the road, though, since pay for performance will improve those measures coincident with increased EMR adoption (since government incentives simultaneously encourage both). My interpretation is that this study, among the majority of others that try to tie EHR adoption to outcomes, failed to find a correlation, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one, just that one wasn’t found using the measures identified. That would be slightly bad news for those with skin in the EHR game, but it’s pretty terrible news considering the billions of taxpayer dollars being spent without rock-solid evidence that patient care will improve in return. But hey, it’s stimulus money, and nobody’s holding anybody very accountable for how it’s being spent.
The Australian profiles New Zealand-based healthcare IT vendor Orion Health, which us running 22 major projects in 12 countries, including a big one in Singapore. The article has a tiny mention at the end that Orion partner Allscripts is vendor of choice for an 80-hospital state EHR project, announced in November. That’s a huge Sunrise deal.
Some updates / corrections to the unnamed reader’s list of new Epic sites sold in 2010. Johns Hopkins is evaluating, but has not committed. More reader-reported recent sales: Kadlec Medical, Resurrection Health – Chicago, Providence Oregon, Providence Washington, Owensboro, and Yale New Haven.
A few more Epic tidbits. The ones I can share, anyway (others I was sent are proprietary and I know Epic would not be happy to have them divulged):
- Epic managers are not allowed to know what their own employees are paid. Epic frowns heavily on sharing salary information.
- Epic does not negotiate price with prospects, but may consider looking at terms in some circumstances. You pay what they say, and even the method of setting the price (volume, whatever the market will bear, etc.) is secret.
- A new sale is celebrated by playing wedding music over the PA and customers are encouraged to send in a video skit or to be played at the monthly staff meetings.
- Epic will not budge on its principles even if a sale is threatened.
- Sales demos are exactly what you’d be buying – they do not demo future releases or vaporware. Demo people are key people with deep clinical experience and product knowledge, but the salesperson disappears as soon as the contract is signed and you get turned over to a project director.
- Epic employee churn is picking up, but technical support continues to be the best of any vendor (this comes from a large site).
EMR vendor gloStream offers practices a full refund on software and services if physicians aren’t back up to their usual full patient load within 15 days of the implementation completion. Sounds good, although I’d want to take a careful look at the wording of the agreement since I’m sure the company has to protect itself against lack of customer initiative.
eCareSoft, a Texas-based company affiliated with Mexico’s largest EHR distributor, launches its certified, SaaS-based inpatient EHR for small to medium hospitals. Details are skimpy (like exactly which modules are being offered), so it’s hard to say if it’s worth a look.
I can’t decide what to make of the response by HIMSS to the PCAST report. This part seems unusually frank for an organization mostly known for exuberant vendor cheerleading: “Most health IT systems are proprietary, do not adapt well to workflow changes, and have difficulty supporting interoperable exchange.” There’s a lot of technical discussion of meta-tagging data. HIMSS also expresses concern that PCAST pitches the idea that we don’t need a universal patient identified given all the pieces of information that can collectively identify a patient positively, but HIMSS says it’s not that easy (citing the fact that the only big EHR implementations in the country all have identifiers – VA, Kaiser, etc.) HIMSS also warns that tagging individual data elements isn’t the right answer, that you need the context contained in the original document. I wasn’t interested enough to scour the response in detail, but I found myself agreeing with the HIMSS position most of the time.
David Brailer will speak at a Brookings Institution discussion on personalized medicine and HIT in Washington, DC this Friday.
Quantros will implement its patient safety and compliance solutions at Oasis Hospital in the UAE.
The Burlington, VT paper profiles PKC Corp. the local 25-researcher company formed in 1991 by Dr. Lawrence Weed. His “Problem-Knowledge Couplers” match patient information to a medical database to generate diagnosis and treatment suggestions. IDX co-founder Rich Tarrant sits on its board.
Philips turns in weak Q4 numbers, mostly due to weak TV sales. Healthcare did OK, with earnings beating estimates slightly and up 15.5% from a year ago.
I ran across LifeBot, which offers telehealth and EMS applications, including its DREAMS ambulance telemedicine system developed with the US military, Texas A&M, and UTHealth (the program is led by world famous trauma surgeon Dr. Red Duke).
In Victoria, Australia, the overdue and over-budget HealthSMART project, which offers Cerner Millennium as its cornerstone clinical system, is rumored to be facing cancellation.
HERtalk by Inga
From Evan Steele: “Re: Meaningful Use IQ Quiz. I thought you would find these stats on the quiz interesting. Before Mr. H mentioned the quiz on HIStalk January 21st, 692 people had taken it and the average score was 56.9%. After the mention, we had a surge of 164 quiz takers and the average score was 57.3%. Most of my blog readers are from the ambulatory side and I’d imagine that HIStalk readers are more from the hospital / CIO side. The conclusion is that the meaningful use knowledge of the ambulatory and acute folks is about the same.” Quiz here, if you haven’t seen it. If you care to annoy Mr. H, ask him to share my my MU IQ score.
From Svelte Dude”: “Re: Phreesia. Will name a longtime Allscripts/Misys director as VP of sales to run its patient check-in business.”
Clairvia says numerous academic medical centers have recently selected its Physician Scheduler, including Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of California Health System, and University of Utah Health Care.
UMass Memorial Health Care deploys Merge’s iConnect Access imaging distribution solution, giving affiliated physicians the ability to view medical images from their EHR.
DiagnosisOne partners with ACS to deliver clinical decision support and lab data management solutions to ACS’ pharmacy benefits management and HIE solutions.
TeleHealth Services names Joel Harris VP of corporate development, tasked with identifying and evaluating potential M&A targets and managing product strategy. He’s a former senior director for Pfizer and spent eight years as TeleHealth’s VP of operations.
CCHIT grants ONC-ATCB 2011/2012 to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (MA) under CCHIT’s new EHR Alternative Certification for Hospitals (EACH) program. The EACH program provides testing and certification for hospitals with self-developed software.
St. Joseph Medical Center (MD) selects ProVation MD software for gastroenterology procedure documentation and coding.
MedVentive president Nancy J. Ham joins the board of directors of NxStage Medical, a manufacturer of dialysis products.
Saint Francis Medical Center (NE) implements Interbit Data’s NetDelivery Integration Module, giving it the ability to transfer Meditech lab results to physicians’ EMRs.
The University of Louisville Physicians (KY) will roll out EHR to over 500 healthcare professionals as of February 1. Allscripts, I believe.
By February, all ER physicians at DePaul Health Center (MO) will be using scribes for electronic medical documentation. Administrators hope to improve staff productivity as well as patient satisfaction. Apparently patients were “annoyed” that doctors were sharing their attention with a computer.
Doctors Hospital of Sarasota (FL) chooses EXTENSION’s Cisco and smart phone-integrated healthcare team communications solution.
The US Information Systems Engineering Command awards Harris Corporation a one-year, $10.6 million contract to upgrade the communications and IT networks at 23 US Army Medical Treatment facilities.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reports that last year, the government’s healthcare fraud prevention and enforcement efforts led to the recovery of more than $4 billion. In addition, the government filed criminal charges in 488 cases involving 931 defendants, 726 of which were convicted.
Sebelius also announces that an unspecified amount of new grants will be available to help states implement health insurance exchanges.
United Memorial Medical Center (NY) will replace its legacy document management system with Perceptive Software’s ImageNow ECM solution.
Sponsor Updates by DigitalBeanCounter
- OCHIN, an REC and non-profit provider of HIT systems and services to community based clinics, announces plans to resell Allscripts EHR and PM to Oregon physicians.
- Orion Health names Christopher Ward SVP of global marketing. He’s the former chief marketing officer for GE’s Healthcare IT business.
- Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center (SC) goes live on Holon’s Central Order Entry Pharmacy medication order management solution, which will integrate with the hospital’s existing Siemen’s Med Administration Check system.
- South Florida Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (SFREC) selects Greenway’s PrimeSUITE EHR.
- GetWellNetwork announces its 4th annual user conference, GetConnected2011, which will be held at the Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center in National Harbor, MD.
- Dr. Cynthia Taylor, an affiliate with Norman Regional Health System, credits eClinicalWorks after being recognized as the first in the nation to receive a reimbursement check from CMS for demonstrating meaningful use.
- Divurgent is co-hosting a cocktail networking event with VAHIMSS during HIMSS in Orlando.
- NextGen partners with Allina Hospitals & Clinics to improve care coordination for physician practices in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
- Speaking of NextGen, here’s a cool YouTube video highlighting knowledge-base management (KBM) and meaningful use (MU).
- Nuesoft unveils its new logo.
- Nuance introduces Swype and also Dragon Medical 11.
- Imprivata reports 38% growth in its total bookings compared to the same quarter last year, citing demand for its single sign-on and access management solutions.
- PatientKeeper 7.0 earns ONC-ATCB certification as an EHR Module for CPOE, privacy, and security criteria.
- Sunquest is demonstrating its ICE solution (Integrated Clinical Environment) and the new CoPath Plus anatomic pathology specimen labeling and tracking solution at the Arab Health Exhibition & Congress in Dubai this week. The company also announces that its LIS has earned ONC-ATCB certification as an EHR Module.
- AirStrip has a demo of its cardiology app running on an iPad.
EPtalk by Dr. Jayne
The January/February issue of Family Practice Management arrived to a multitude of inboxes last week. It’s time for their annual “Survey of User Satisfaction with EHR Systems” feature. I encourage my physician readers who are members of the American Academy of Family Physicians to complete the survey. Those of you who work with real, live family physicians, please encourage your physicians to do this. It runs through March 31 and can be completed online, or alternatively, they will accept it by fax.
Historically the EHR I use in practice hasn’t done very well on this survey, but the number of respondents for the vendor has been low. Hopefully more people will participate this year. I do think it’s a good system and I’m tired of certain cranky physicians citing the results with their miniscule “n” number as the holy grail of EHR satisfaction data. Besides, they’re giving away an iPad and some other goodies, so it’s worth the five minutes it takes for family docs to register their opinions.
The same issue also has a timely (and physician-friendly) article, “Should Your Practice Participate in a Quality-Reporting Program?” This is a nice summary of how practices are handling four available quality reporting programs (including PQRI, now known as PQRS – what is up with that anyway? Did we not have enough acronyms? Or were they tired of people calling it PICK-ree?)
It looks at the costs of these programs, including staffing, data mining, etc. It should be required reading for anyone in healthcare that thinks Meaningful Use and other programs are just giving away free money. The data is surprising — several of the programs had potential costs that outweighed the financial incentives. Costs per full-time provider ranged from $133 to $11,100 during implementation. (Yes, that’s eleven thousand.)
Thanks to my FP buddies who always make sure I see these articles. I’m always interested in these types of articles in other specialty journals, so feel free to send them my way.
Dear Dr. Jayne,
What is most interesting to me is your IT education… or are you one of those quick learners who likes IT and learned on the job?
The IT Cowboy
Dear IT Cowboy (and I do love cowboys),
Like many other CMIOs, I fall into the quick learner category. Many of us who have been in this role for a while fell into it gradually rather than having a formal education. My medical school had a top-notch informatics expert who was a major influence. Plus, he had a really fun fourth-year elective that didn’t involve actual patient care, which was good for those of us who needed a break from the pleasures of the local psychiatric hospital and being tormented by burned-out residents.
My knowledge of non-clinical IT systems stems from an apparent affinity for “IT guys.” This is how badly medical training warps you — your life is so chaotic that you think someone who does critical systems support has a normal lifestyle. I’m probably the only physician you know who has ever been to the NOC on a date or been out with someone who was wearing more pagers than she was. (Thank goodness for the BlackBerry – so much more chic than the whole Batman Utility Belt pager ensemble.)
Like Anakin Skywalker, I was slowly drawn to the Dark Side. I decided I needed additional education if I was going to live up to the “I” in the title, and after thinking about how much medical knowledge I received in school vs. “the trenches”, I decided to take the hands-on route. I’ve bought many a beer while slowly extracting mounds of knowledge from IT staffers late into the night. I’ve bribed analysts to help me understand what’s going on in the code. I read scads of articles and IT publications and frankly, some of the words that come out of my mouth these days scare me. I’m talking things of the four-letter variety: DHCP, ODBC, ISDN, VLAN, CCOW, LEAP, and many more.
I’ve also learned a lot from vendors, especially working with development teams on creating clinical content. It’s given me a peek under the hood to better understand the limitations of the software so that I can better help my physicians prepare for impacts on patient care as well as to give useful real-world feedback to the vendor. Understanding the underbelly of EHRs gives me more credibility with vendor teams – I’m not just another doc crying wolf, I’m someone they can partner with to fix the issue. (Running my own mini-development shop for certain applications is also helpful — I understand the constraints of release cycles, testing, packaging, distribution, etc.)
There you have it, my IT education in a nutshell. I do hope we’ll be seeing you at HIMSS. Maybe I should ask Inga if she’d be offended if I had a “Dr. Jayne Loves My Boots” award. Wranglers optional, but preferred.
Have a question about medical informatics, electronic medical records, or which specialists are the nastiest? E-mail Dr. Jayne.