Politicians from Epic’s home state of Wisconsin urge the VA and DoD reconsider their plans to develop an open source replacement for VistA, asking for “appropriate consideration” for “commercial EHRs.” Epic admits it provided information to Wisconsin’s members of Congress as well as to those from other states, although a company spokesperson stresses that it does not hire lobbyists. Expert Tom Munnecke was quoted as saying, “The open-source VA VistA model was always under attack by those who wanted to lock the government in to their proprietary architecture. The VA showed repeatedly that an open model was superior.”
The Alembic Foundation announces its formation as a nonprofit that will build and manage open source technologies that empower citizens. Its first project is Aurion, which will extend the work of the CONNECT project as a private sector custodian. David Riley and Vanessa Manchester, Alembic’s president and COO, respectively, helped develop CONNECT for the Federal Health Architecture as independent contractors before starting Alembic. They also mention a keen interest in Personally Identifiable Information.
From Frank Poggio: “Re: Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s recommendation of a 1% physician pay increase. If a doc gets payments of $400k per year from Medicare, that means they will get a $4k increase in payment if volume and mix stay the same. But .. CMS has never accepted the MPAC recommendation without lowering it, so probably will be more like 0.5% (a $2,500 increase). Now if the doc does not do the EMR dance and misses MU, they will get hit with a 33% reduction in his/her Medicare adjustment, reducing the $2,500 by $800!! In other words, if I do not spend $40k+ on an ambulatory EMR (not including installation, training, etc.) it will cost me $800. Sounds like a no-brainer to me. Forget the $800 and do it when you are really prepared and ready to, not when the government says JUMP!”
From Nolan Smith: “Re: Duke CIO. Duke University Health System has picked a new CIO. Look for an announcement soon.”
From Lazlo Hollyfeld: “Re: NHIN Direct. I give the federal government credit. I never throught they would get this far. Gradually added vendors and now have almost every important ambulatory EMR vendor. I do wonder, though, why athenahealth is MIA, especially since Bush takes every chance he gets to bring up the ‘walled garden’ analogy of his EMR competitors?” ONC announces that 60 organizations (including the vendors on the list above) will support the Direct Project’s protocols, which will allow simple EHR-to-EHR messaging and secure e-mail (using the provider’s Direct Address) to replace paper and faxes.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
Several readers suggested holding off a couple of weeks before deciding whether to make the “new” format (this one) permanent, so here’s your last chance to vote.
I wrote some pretty good editorials for Inside Healthcare IT over several years because I wasn’t as busy with HIStalk then and I have a desperate need to be loved (it must have been that because I worked cheap). I’ve reacquired the rights to the large collection (something like 175 editorials) and will start running them occasionally on HIStalk. They’re fun to read because they cover what was big news at the time (much of which still is), not to mention that I wrote them on a tight deadline that made me usually go way over the top in both subject and style (the title of one of my early ones: Just Back From HIMSS? Finish Implementing Yesterday’s Fads First.) I ran a few of them here years ago, but most haven’t seen the light of day unless you were a subscriber to that newsletter.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Xerox-owned Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) will acquire CredenceHealth, a provider of clinical surveillance software, and will integrate its clinical surveillance tools into ACS’s Midas managed care solutions.
Cerner shares hit an all time-high this week, closing Tuesday at $107.80 and giving the company a market cap of $9 billion. Neal Patterson holds $459 million worth.
A Kaiser Health News article says that insurance companies are investing in less-regulated businesses to keep their profits high, potentially also giving them control over more of the healthcare system. Mentioned: UnitedHealth Group’s acquisitions (including Picis), Aetna’s purchase of Medicity, and Humana’s acquisition of clinic operator Concentra. Former ONC head David Brailer is quoted: “If you’re a health plan, you either become a care delivery system or an information services company. The traditional business is dead.”
Apple sues Amazon, saying the company improperly used its trademarked “App Store” name. Some EHR vendors have used that name as well, so this is probably a good reason to stop.
A class action lawsuit trial against Tenet Healthcare starts Monday, brought by people inside Memorial Medical Center, a New Orleans hospital it owned in which 45 people died following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The suit claims the hospital had inadequate backup electrical systems and wasn’t prepared to handle a disaster. Tenet is alleged to have initially turned down the hospital’s requests for supplies and evacuation helicopters. Doctors at the hospital have already admitted they intentionally killed suffering patients with drugs in the four days it took for help to arrive.
United Hospital (MN) chooses Isabel Healthcare’s diagnosis support system to integrate with its Epic EMR.
The Military Health System awards Evolvent seven new task orders, including a transition from ICD-9 to IDC-10 code sets and 5010 updates.
CodeRyte chair and president Richard B. Toren joins the Medsphere board of directors.
Prognosis Health Information Systems adds several execs to its management team, including Bryan Haardt as EVP of technology, Stephen Payne as CFO, Paul Sinclair as COO, and Jay Colfer as EVP of client solutions.
Integration provider 4medica appoints Gregory Church director of marketing.
John Schrenker, former CIO of Lakeside Health System (NY), will run the new online master’s degree program in health information administration of Roberts Wesleyan College.
Announcements and Implementations
MidMichigan Health goes live on Cerner after spending 398,000 person-hours preparing, not including the time of Cerner employees or that of contractor Deloitte Consulting. The total project cost for MidMichigan’s four hospitals: $50.1 million.
Banner Health (AZ) will spend $200 million to upgrade its Cerner systems in 23 hospitals, expecting to recoup $125-$150 million from federal EHR incentives.
Henry Ford Health System (MI) goes live on its $100 million CarePlus Next Generation EHR at its Ann Arbor location. Henry Ford’s IT team, including six executives and 150 programmers, spent six years developing the system, which is sold commercially by Reliance Software System (RelWare) as EXR.
Innovation and Research
athenahealth VP John Lewis says that his company is “definitely considering” retooling its product to work on Safari and Mozilla browsers and not just Internet Explorer, but notes it would require “a big chunk of additional cost in research and development.”
I mentioned Vince Ciotti’s HIS-tory presentation at HIMSS. He’s putting together a version for HIStalk, the first installment of which is above. Assuming SlideShare works, anyway, not a given since they seem determined to mess it up by grafting it onto Facebook and Twitter. My first choice was Microsoft’s Windows Live SkyDrive, but I couldn’t get it to work right.
The new $1 billion children’s hospital in Victoria, Australia will open in November using software applications it previously described as “old and outdated” and potentially dangerous to patients. The hospital had turned down the government’s HealthSMART system to go its own way and requested $24 million to buy an unnamed US system, but the new government forgot to budget for it.
Two New York men are arrested for selling oxycodone out of a Lickety Split ice cream truck. Kids would buy their frozen treats and grownup addicts would line up make their purchases, turning the truck into a $1 million a year business. They pair will be giving up their mobile freezer for a different kind of cooler.
- Cumberland Consulting group promotes Elizabeth Durst to executive consultant.
- Sage Healthcare finalizes a uniform community health center contract with the Texas Association of Community Health Centers.
- California Health Information Partnership and Services Organizations (CalHIPSO) identifies eight vendors to participate in a Stage 1 contract negotiation process: Allscripts, eClinicalWorks, GE (Practice and Advanced Systems), Greenway, NextGen, athenahealth, McKesson (Practice Partner), and e-MDs.
- Quest Diagnostics launches a 12-week, 10-city Care360 EHR Road Test tour to provide live demonstrations of the Care360 EHR software.
- Fujifilm Medical Systems and Nuance Communications partner to sell Nuance’s PowerScribe 360 dictation system to Fujifilm’s base of radiology customers.
- MD-IT posts a product video to YouTube.
- Consulting firm asquaredm offers a free guide called The Physician Compensation RVU Fallacy: Part 2.
- Health Assocation of New York State (HANYS) expands its relationship with RelayHealth as its preferred partner for revenue cycle management solutions for its member hospitals and health systems.