From Neal’s Deal: “Re: Cerner deal. The academic medical center referred to in the Q4 earnings call is USC University Hospital. It is somehow fitting that UCLA picked Epic and USC picked Cerner.” Unverified. It was amusing that Cerner bragged to investment analysts that it beat Epic in one deal. It’s a good win for Cerner, but then again Epic has had many good wins over Cerner lately. Competition is good for everybody.
From Held Hostage: “Re: Meditech. I have heard from multiple sources that they’re telling customers they must buy all modules to meet Meaningful Use under their certification as a Complete EHR. If you use third-party CPOE, for instance, you would have to replace it with Meditech’s because you don’t have the Complete EHR. Any comments or evidence supporting or refuting this theory would be helpful.” I posed your question to a Meditech spokesperson, who provided this official response: “The specific wording of this specific Comment below is not accurate.” Also, this is not likely a question limited to Meditech – the whole “Complete EHR” thing is getting people confused about what it means and whether it makes sense.
From Frank Poggio: “Re: certification. The certification/MU system is extremely biased towards full EHR vendors. Best-of-breed vendors and suite vendors can be left out. If your certified ‘full EHR’ (read: single vendor) generates the MU quality data, you are OK. But if you use other systems, such as a best-of-breed lab, pharmacy, registration, etc, then if that component is going to dump data to your data warehouse and it is used for MU reporting, that best-of-breed system must be certified. If it is not, and you pass the data to your EHR (which is certified), you are OK. Anyone that has been in the business as a best-of-breed vendor knows those big EMR guys just love to cooperate with the little folks! The moral: if you’re a best-of-breed provider, you’d better get certified as an EHR Module.”
From Voidal: “Re: El Camino Hospital CEO. Dispenses with the lame ‘spending time with family’ excuse and flat out says he’s leaving because the board said so. He had quite a run: the Eclipsys pharmacy system fiasco, Microsoft snow job, Taj Mahal building project, and fierce local competition.” Ken Graham’s three-sentence announcement says his contract will end without cause at the request of the board.
From Doolittle: “Re: [vendor name omitted]. Obliterating their US sales operations. Their executive leader has been ‘reassigned,’ 20% of the management has elected to leave or been asked to, and a full 50% of the Client Executives (fully responsible for hospital/IDN relationships) are no longer there. Many of the 20-plus year veterans are gone as well. Bigger changes are expected in April. Loss of revenue, non-existent new business sales, the huge [product name omitted] failure … the house of cards is finally tumbling down. As a former employee, I took a new position within the past year when the writing was on the wall …it’s now on billboards in neon!” Unverified. I invited the company to comment; they have not responded so far. I’ll leave their name off for now just in case their response is forthcoming, but surely you can guess who it is. They could be gearing up to unload the operation by cutting costs short-term, but that’s just speculation. Otherwise, whacking the sales operation is eating the seed corn.
From The PACS Designer: “Re: cloud predictions. InformationWeek’s Charles Babcock has cloud predictions for 2011 and what the major players are doing to get a piece of the cloud business. Pioneers Amazon and Google are now facing challenges from the telecoms, mainly AT&T and Verizon, for a share of the cloud offerings to institutions who want to expand communications beyond their data centers.”
Listening: new from Motorhead, punk metal with a croaking 65-year-old singer who’s even less musically gifted than AC/DC’s Brian Johnson. It still kicks, though. Newly added to the gym iPod: jangle from REM and Gin Blossoms.
Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone. Guys, if you haven’t yet invested in picked-over and overpriced flowers, a sappy card with prose penned by a hack novelist wannabe, and maybe a dinner reservation knowing that even great restaurants will throw quality to the wind in favor of high-margin V-Day turnover, then this is your early warning system to man up. Sure, it’s a Hallmark holiday, but if you could spend that same couple of hundred dollars and get an EMR with an equally impressive ROI, you’d own several. Monday is the lightest HIStalk night where I work only 4-5 hours after coming home from the hospital, so I am prepared with a piece of jewelry, some of Mrs. HIStalk’s favorite dark chocolate covered cherries (the cheap Walgreens kind she likes), and a little heart-wearing stuffed bear (also from Walgreens) that plays I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) by the Temptations when you poke his stomach. Yes, I am quite the catch.
One possible hitch in Monday’s VD plans: a vendor asked me to interview their CEO and that of another vendor as an exclusive prior to a Tuesday morning announcement, which I obviously have to do after I get home from work since the hospital doesn’t pay me to interview CEOs. If you aren’t signed up for e-mail updates, now’s a good time.
There’s no clear conclusion about the PCAST report, it seems. New poll to your right: I asked you last week to suggest a replacement for David Blumenthal at ONC, so this week’s poll lets you choose from the most-nominated individuals. Click Comments on the poll to bolster your argument. Chances are small that your vote will influence the outcome, but still higher than the zero percent chance inherent with not voting at all. Thanks to those who nominated me. I’ll respectfully decline since I’m anti-HITECH, I don’t trust politicians or the federal government, and Washington traffic is horrendous.
Thanks to everyone who filled out my annual reader survey. Thanks to everyone else for considering clicking the link and doing it now.
It’s always busy around here right before HIMSS, which means I don’t get much sleep for a couple of months. It calms down right after. Until then, please indulge me as I introduce some new sponsors. I don’t solicit sponsors and I don’t want to inundate you with announcements about new ones, but their unsolicited yet appreciated participation is a reflection of you as a reader, a desirable audience they want to reach.
New Platinum Sponsor Besler Consulting is a consulting firm focusing on healthcare finance and operations. It offers services related to observation management; Medicare / Medicaid appeals and regulatory analysis; cost report preparation; IME/GME analysis; revenue cycle; managed care contract review; physician billing and practice analysis; coding, documentation, and compliance; accreditation and certification readiness; and strategic and operational planning. More specifically on the software side, the company will be rolling out two new solutions this year: BVerified Screening and Verification (automated screening of employees, caregivers, contractors, and vendors against federal and state databases of fraud and abuse convictions) and BVerified Revenue Integrity Auditor (reporting of uncovered revenue opportunities). Thanks to Besler Consulting for supporting HIStalk.
Intelligent Medical Objects of Northbrook, IL is supporting HIStalk as a Platinum Sponsor. The company’s tagline is “Providing common ground for health vocabularies,” which it does by offering terminology mapping to EMR vendors for their applications (ICD, SNOMED, HCPCS, RxNorm) and vocabulary products for helping healthcare organizations support interoperability. The IMO iHealth Search is a search portal for EHR systems, a sophisticated knowledge search engine that translates clinician terminology to generate superior search results. IMO offers a free, voice-powered iPhone app that allows physicians to find problem and diagnosis codes by speaking clinician-friendly terms into their phones. A customer quote about their similarly clinician-friendly EMR-based lookups: “When we added the IMO diagnosis look-up feature to our templates, the positive response was overwhelming. Many physicians said it was the best thing we ever did for them!” They have some cool demos on their site, but probably some even cooler ones at HIMSS in Booth 3517. I appreciate the support of HIStalk and its readers by Intelligent Medical Objects.
Stimulus Search (love the name) is a brand new HIStalk Gold Sponsor. If you’re a healthcare software and services company in the hospital, payer, or physician practice markets and are looking for top sales and support people, get in touch with recruiting guru Dan Moriarty down in the New Orleans area. His firm can help vendors find niche talent, such as HIE, EHR, revenue cycle, RFID, PACS, CPOE, and HIM. There’s a long list of testimonials on the site. Dan will even lend his expertise to candidates interested in furthering their career objectives. Take Dan’s six-question survey about recruiting methods that do and don’t work and he will share the results. Thanks to Stimulus Search for its support of HIStalk.
Joining our august assemblage as a Platinum Sponsor is HT Systems of Tampa, FL, which you may know better as the PatientSecure folks. A couple of months ago, I gave a brief mention of a hospital (I think it was Carolinas HealthCare, but I’m not sure) implementing its palm vein recognition system and I stuck in a small photo. That generated quite a bit of interest among readers, and apparently the company’s interest in HIStalk. PatientSecure identifies people by scanning their palms, with their unique vein patterns being 100 times more accurate than a fingerprint (and free of the “you’re not taking MY fingerprints” stigma that I can say from personal experience is vexing to IT people trying to roll out finger-based biometrics). Registration people don’t need to manually look up patients or hope they’re who they say and not some nice but uninsured neighbor borrowing their insurance card – the patient puts their hand on the scanner and their files are instantly brought up in the registration application. The result is positive patient identification, no more duplicated medical records to be merged later, faster customer service, and integration with existing systems (and across systems – a patient set up at the hospital can be scanned in a physician’s office). Thanks to HT Systems / PatientSecure for supporting HIStalk.
CPSI announces that three of its hospital customers have received HITECH checks. CEO Boyd Douglas says, “There are still hospitals on the fence about doing this, wondering whether they’ll really get the money. This serves as proof that the money is flowing.”
ONC lame duck David Blumenthal is still defending EMRs and bashing critical studies, but he’s maybe getting a little crankier or less PC about it on his way out the door, which I rather like, actually. He reminds an audience that recession-hammered Americans involuntarily chipped in $27 billion to buy technology that providers “could have adopted by themselves but they didn’t. We are handing over tens of thousands of dollars to doctors and millions of dollars to hospitals to do something that you may hear them say is a burden and an obligation and a mandate … If you look at this from the standpoint of the average voter and the taxpayer, this is a big, big subsidy to a profession that on average earns considerably more than the average American.” All good reasons not to have done it, but unless the Republicans get an unlikely long lasso, that horse left the barn long ago with DB whipping its hindquarters.
TELUS signs agreements with three Canadian EMR vendors to use TELUS Health Space, powered by Microsoft HealthVault, in consumer health pilots that will target six million Canadians. The Canadian telecommunications company also reports Q4 numbers: revenue up 4.4% to $2.55 billion, EPS $0.70 vs. $0.49.
I’m still getting HIMSS spam at work, but here’s another gripe: I keep getting friendly-sounding “invitations” to events that aren’t free. Is it really an “invitation” to have breakfast with some magazine if I have to pay? Why would I want to do that?
Confirmed: the IngaTinis will indeed be flowing at the SIS booth (#5963) at HIMSS, Monday from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. (“a fun pre-game for the HIStalk reception,” Inga was reminded by a fun SIS’er). I was talking to SIS CEO Ed Daihl today and he joked that he’s sorry they didn’t copyright the name last year, so at least I can give them credit for the idea.
Authors of a new book on ACOs: Bruce Flareau MD (CMIO, BayCare, FL), Joanne Bohn (founder, Clinical Horizons, Inc.), and Colin Konschak (managing partner, DIVURGENT). Speaking of DIVURGENT, they announce their Activate! activation management services.
Inga has spend a huge amount of time putting together a couple of pre-HIMSS pieces. She asked our sponsors what they will be doing at HIMSS (the page is here, or a downloadable PDF here). As a bonus, several of them have set aside extra-special giveaways that are only for HIStalk readers (she includes the secret code words). And on HIStalk Practice, she got some fascinating answers in latest installment of her executive question series, where dozens of vendor executives predict the hot topics at the HIMSS conference. That one’s definitely a fun read. Nobody can do this as well as Inga – the quantity and quality of the responses is amazing.
The Columbus paper covers the use of scribes by a company that contracts out ED physician staffing. It also quotes a dermatologist who says his EMR use was interfering with his patient relationships before he hired a scribe. “I’m able to go in and have good eye contact, be empathetic and not have to type. It’s difficult to type and look at moles at the same time.” An interesting and easy study would be to take the same doctors and patients, with and without the doctor interacting with the EMR in the exam room, and measure the patients’ perceptions about the encounter and the doctor. I still say it’s more about technique and physical placement of the computer than anything else.
IT outsourcer PHNS changes its name to Anthelio. There’s a long and unconvincing explanation about the origins and inspiration behind the lawsuit-unlikely name and the whole “new commitment, new focus” blah blah. Apparently the entire business and vision was being held back by having a pronounceable and simple name like PHNS, forcing a deep dive into the dictionary to turn things around.
An eight-physician primary care practice in Cincinnati says it’s considering joining a hospital system specifically because it needs an EMR that it estimates will cost $250K. “I’m a business owner who needs an electronic medical record. If it were not for EMR, I would not consider it.” That’s an unintended consequence of HITECH – killing off independent practices and letting high-profit hospitals integrate vertically, which doesn’t exactly foster price-lowering competition or provide benefit to the patient-widget (not to mention that it spreads rampant hospital inefficiency and bureaucracy).
Grady Hospital (GA), trying to offset a $25 million reduction in indigent care payments from the state, will cut contractors brought in to implement its $40 million Epic EMR. That might be a portent of healthcare reform: a tanking hospital somehow scrapes up $40 million to buy an EMR, but now can’t even afford the people needed to get it running.
Ness County Hospital (KS) chooses the ChartAccess EHR from Prognosis Health Information Systems.
Sutter and UC Davis will share their electronic health records.
Microsoft will announce new HealthVault features at HIMSS: a Getting Started wizard, the ability for users to authenticate their account by telephone, a single landing page, integrated Blue Button support to allow users to download their health information from various government sources and then upload it into HealthVault, and the ability for developers to set event notification for changes to an individual’s information.
I got a couple of invitations to some interesting conferences this week, include one to speak to a big group of venture capitalists, private equity people, and corporate types. Folks are so nice to offer and I really appreciate it, although the challenges of finagling time off at work means I always decline. As for speaking, anything interesting or insightful that pops into my head is right here on HIStalk, so I’d just be recycling anyway.
HHS is supposed to be unveiling a new site soon that will put into motion CTO Todd Park’s plan to open up HHS’s extensive healthcare databases to third-party developers to create value-added applications. Todd’s example is usually the government’s trove of real-time weather data, used by a plethora of companies to create new uses for it and make the information more publicly useful. Todd’s in the above video and talks about HealthData.gov at the 1:30 mark, saying it was supposed to launch in December, which apparently didn’t happen.
New York’s Health and Hospitals Corp. admits that the health records of 1.7 million of its patients were stolen in December when unknown thieves took backup tapes from an unlocked van belonging to its medical records vendor, GRM Information Management Services.