EDIS vendor Forerun will acquire substantially all the assets of competitor Emergisoft, including customer contracts, product rights, software, and services. Emergisoft President Jordan Davis will be the new VP of sales and CTO Godson Menezes takes over as director of operations. Forerun was formed in 2006 to commercialize ED software developed at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. John Halamka is on the company’s advisory board.
From The Tom: “Re: Carrier IQ. PC World has an article about Android devices that should raise concerns for folks using them in healthcare. I would think this has HIPAA implications.” A security researcher finds that performance monitoring software vendor Carrier IQ, which says its product is running on 150 million phones, is apparently installing virus-like software on Android, BlackBerry, and Nokia smart phones that logs every keystroke, screen touch, and Web search. The company got nasty with a quick denial and a cease-and-desist letter to the researcher, but after he put out a video showing what he had found, Carrier IQ suddenly gritted out an apology. Maybe their software can log how many times cell phone users call the dozens of law firms that are no doubt filing class action suits as we speak.
From Giselle: “Re: Medical Justice. Have you heard about the questionable agreements they sell to private practice physicians? The Center for Democracy and Technology has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission arguing that the company itself was engaged in ‘deceptive and unfair business practices.’” Medical Justice is mostly known for applying a heavy legal hand to anyone (especially patients) who posts less-than-stellar comments about physicians on public sites, especially those of physician rating services (some of those sites claim Medical Justice also plants fake glowing reviews of its own.) Medical Justice also files counterclaims against expert witnesses with their state licensing boards and encourage physicians to make their patients sign contracts (a “Mutual Agreement to Maintain Privacy”) promising they won’t say anything negative about them. Every one of these services is of question legality (or at least questionable enforceability), but I can’t say that I don’t agree at least a little with what they do given absurd malpractice lawsuits.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
Here’s what we have been up to at HIStalk Practice over the last week: Dr. Gregg preps for his audience with HIT’s Queen and King, aka Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and National Coordinator Farzad Mostashari. MU attestation figures from Greenway, athenahealth, and meridianEMR. AMA intros My Medications, a consumer app to track meds and allergies. CDC reports on ambulatory EMR adoption rates. Coming soon: the best “best practice” article you may ever read on how to handle a security breach, courtesy of Micky Tripathi of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative. If you aren’t yet a HIStalk Practice subscriber, this is the time to do it because Micky has some great stuff coming our way.
Thanks to Cindy for her nice post covering the various flavors of post-acute care (and thanks to the classy readers who posted their appreciation in comments on her article – she’s new at this, so she can probably use the encouragement.) Cindy will be following up shortly in a post about the IT systems used in those organizations. She and others have offered to keep HIStalk readers informed about developments in the post-acute areas, which I guarantee will soon be hitting the radar of CIOs as their hospitals start getting penalized for readmissions that might have been preventable by better care coordination and use of technology. It’s one of those things that the tea leaves (and experts) are telling me we should be talking about now rather than later.
On the Jobs Board: Java developer, IS Director – Hospital, Solutions Marketing Manager, Expert Communications Consultant. On Healthcare IT Jobs: SQL/EHR Programmer, Epic Certified ASAP Builders, Technical Services Manager.
I keep forgetting to mention these: the Resource Center lets you search for vendors or navigate through a rather slick index of product and service categories, with a nice description and contact information for each one you find. Brand new is the RFI Blaster (a working name), where you can enter just a few details about the consulting help you need, attach a document if you want, and then shoot the result off immediately to one, some, or all of HIStalk’s sponsors that provide consulting services, putting yourself in the catbird’s seat to sit back and wait for responses. We’re always trying to do cool stuff for sponsors, and cooler still is that both of these ideas came from provider readers who like giving business to those who support us.
Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Aventura. The Denver-based company’s technology provides doctors and nurses with near-instant access to the information they need at the place they need it, allowing them to spend more time with patients instead of pounding their keyboards in frustration and griping to the CIO about poor response time and convoluted logons. We found each other through my Innovation Showcase when my panel of reviewers voted them in (there’s a ton of information at that link, including videos, interviews, etc. that were part of their application.) CEO Howard Diamond has been really supportive in sending nice notes every now and then after our initial interview, also letting me know that he has hired three HIStalk readers recently. I was surprised and pleased to have the company support HIStalk as a sponsor, which I appreciate. Thanks to Howard Diamond and the Aventura folks (including those HIStalk readers who have just joined them) for supporting my work.
We all have success metrics in our personal lives: the number of people who call us on our birthdays, how often our kids come home, and how many former flames turned just-friends still seem to harbor a bit of smoldering passion in remembrance of what once was. Out here in Internet-land, it’s a cold and inhospitable environment, so all Inga, Dr. Jayne, and I have as our feel-good accomplishment measures are numbers: (a) e-mail signups; (b) reader comments and rumor reports (c) shallow expressions of like via Face and LinkedIn; and (d) clicks on the ads of sponsors who beam us into your living rooms. On the other hand, like a Pavlovian experiment, you can boost our mood using nothing more than your keyboard and mouse to increment those numbers by which we pitifully measure our self worth. And for that, we thank you.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Tele-ICU program provider Advanced ICU Care closes on a new round of equity funding led by Trident Capital.
Hospital systems vendor eCareSoft will acquire Expert Sistemas Computacionales, a Mexico-based software developer. It’s an odd transaction given that eCareSoft is the US affiliate of the company it plans to acquire. Its SaaS-based, certified inpatient system was launched in January. The company signed Central Texas Hospital (TX) as a customer in April, claiming small hospitals can go live in as little as 120 days.
HealthBridge (OH) selects Clinical Architecture’s Symedical Server for its HIE infrastructure.
The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum chooses Arcadia Solutions to help define its statewide quality improvement and measurement objectives and the HIT tools required to implement them.
The VA and DoD award Harris Corporation two multi-year contracts worth $17.1 million to help their doctors operate an eye injury and vision registry.
Florida Memorial Hospital and Medical Center of Manchester (TN) select RazorInsights’ ONE-EHR.
Oakwood Healthcare System (MI) will expand its use of Streamline Health Solutions’ document management program through a direct licensing agreement and the purchase of additional Streamline Health solutions.
Myca Health, developers of Hello Health, promotes Steven Ferguson from VP of product management to patient management officer.
Health Revenue Assurance Associates appoints former Medical Learning manager Peggy Harper as its director of ambulatory services.
Cognosante adds Davis Foster (Evolvent, Vangent) as chief business development officer and SVP.
Healthcare robot maker Aethon names Peter Seiff as SVP of business development and product strategy. He was previously with McKesson Pharmacy Systems.
Nephrologist Thomas Stokes MD, medical informatics director at East Alabama Medical Center (AL), is recognized by the state hospital association for his involvement with the organization’s EMR implementation. The hospital says he donated money for employee education and also programmed a problem list that helped it qualify for $4 million in MU money.
Announcements and Implementations
The Kansas Health Information Network and ICA announce that KHIN has signed up its 1,000th provider to its statewide HIE that uses ICA’s CareAlign CareExchange and CareConnect technology.
Gateway Regional Medical Center (IL) goes live on Concerro’s ShiftSelect solution.
Nason Hospital (PA) implements the Access Intelligent Forms Suite to generate forms, wristbands, and medication barcodes for patients in its Siemens MS4 system.
McKesson will introduce RightStock, a usage tracking system for its AcuDose-Rx medication cabinets that helps prevent drug stock-outs, at the ASHP Midyear in New Orleans.
Nazareth Hospital (PA), part of Mercy Health System and Catholic Healthcare East, went live Thursday on CPOE with Meditech Client Server version 5.65. The reader-provided announcement from its internal Web site is above..
The New York Times takes another look at Newt Gingrich’s Center for Health Transformation, which he insists isn’t a lobbying firm even though it works similarly (the difference, he says, is that he takes money only from clients whose positions align with his own). The newspaper found an unsecured backup of the members-only section of CHT’s site and turned up minutes of a conference call in which Gingrich had arranged joint meetings between his members and top-ranking federal officials on the topic of electronic medical records. Clients paid up to $200K annually for memberships, with CHT taking in $55 million over 10 years. One of the companies he pitched was HealthTrio, which he said could deliver a UK-type EHR for every US citizen for 10 cents per person per month (the company just named Gingrich to its advisory board this past June – above.) A Congressional staff member said off the record that Newt talked a lot about members of his center without disclosing that they were paying him: “It was a year before I even realized that the Center for Health Transformation was even a for-profit company because it didn’t sound like one.”
Former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi starts his eight-year stint in federal prison after being convicted in June of taking kickbacks for steering state contracts to Cognos (IBM). He claims to be innocent and outraged.
CRN, a publication whose target audience is VARs and resellers, profiles Dell and its EMR VAR program. Dell has shifted its EMR sales approach away from direct to the customer after discovering that implementing a system from vendors like Allscripts or NextGen requires more integration than Dell initially realized. Of course, anyone who has been in HIT for some time could probably have advised Dell that implementing an EMR is not like installing Quicken. Dell is now partnering with local VARs that can provide onsite support and with application providers that offer solutions certified to run on Dell technology.
If you think you have mother-in-law issues, consider what it might be like to have Lisa Dawn Mack as your family matriarch. The former Valley View Hospital employee is arrested for stealing $178,000 from the hospital and another $47,000 from her daughter-in-law. She allegedly stole a portion of the money in a relatively mundane fashion by filing unauthorized mileage reimbursements. However, she also hired her daughter-in-law at the hospital, overpaid her for her consulting work, then had the daughter-in-law reimburse the overpayments directly to Mack for the purpose of repaying the hospital. She also had the daughter-in-law give her a portion of her check to pay the IRS, but just kept the money for herself.
Cindy our post-acute care expert turned up this interesting article: an Irish hospital sends out male nurses in bicycles to the homes of senior citizens who are seeking to be admitted. The nurse approves the admission or is empowered to deliver the needed care directly in the patient’s home if they determine admission is not necessary. The patient avoids the stress of a hospital stay and society avoids the cost of it.
Cerner wants to buy all 65,536 IP addresses held by defunct Borders Books for $12 each.
Weird News Andy is showing a fondness for a 50-year-old cartoon in labeling this story, “Flying squirrel in the ER, no big deal. Now if they had a moose …” This particular version of Rocket J. Squirrel was found in an ED trauma room of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (NJ), where it repeatedly flew into a glass wall trying to escape. The fire department gently escorted it off property and released it in a nearby wooded area, possibly eliciting fan mail from some flounder.
Here’s a Medical Justice-type news item, although that organization isn’t named as being involved: an 83-year-old man fresh out of ICU after having a stroke is greeted by his neurologist, who breaks the ice by saying he “had to spend time to find out if you were transferred or died.” The family is appalled and the patient’s son posts negative comments about the doctor’s bedside manner on several websites, quoting one of the neurologist’s colleagues who called the doctor “a real tool.” The doctor files a defamation suit against the man, but the judge dismisses the case, saying “a real tool” is too vague to be considered defamatory.
- Mountainside Hospital (NJ) achieves Meaningful Use using its clinical system from Healthcare Management Systems.
- Passport Health offers a white paper discussing the increased importance of patient payments in the healthcare revenue cycle.
- Rita Russell, senior director of program management for RelayHealth, will present at NCPDP’s Education Summit in February.
- Melinda Noonan DNP, RN, NEA-BC, director of nursing operations for Rush University Medical Center, is quoted about how her organization uses data from TeleTracking Technologies to predict staffing needs, patient volumes, and other trends.
- Forbes names Shareable Ink to its list of America’s Most Promising Companies.
- The Greater Houston HIE appoints Encore Health Resources founder Ivo Nelson to its board.
- Sentry Data Systems offers a white paper on HRSA’s 340B drug billing audits that start in February.
- NetApp awards World Wide Technology Inc. two Partner Excellent Awards.
- CynergisTek and Diebold will host a December 13 webinar entitled Managing and Monitoring Healthcare Data.
- MEDSEEK announces that 1,000 hospitals are using its eHealth solution.
EPtalk by Dr. Jayne
Social media is increasingly used to gauge public health, according to American Medical News. It cites a study that appeared in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine that looked at Facebook posts to identify college students who may have drinking problems. I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the perils of friending co-workers and (gasp) your boss. And to my employees who are my Facebook friends, feel free to filter your drinking exploits from my news feed (unless there is a good martini recipe involved.)
In CMS news, the deadline for all Medicare providers to re-enroll has been pushed back to 2015. That’s an additional two years to try to ensure smooth processing without significant backlogs or other unintended consequences. Additional changes to the enrollment system including electronic signatures, document upload, “seamless” password resets, and other features are slated to be online by the end of 2012.
With physicians facing a 27% cut in Medicare reimbursement effective January 1, many are reconsidering their participation options. Although we’ve seen these threatened pay cuts several times over the last decade, this is the first time I recall seeing the AMA advertise a Medicare Participation Kit to guide physicians as they consider becoming non-participating providers. It includes sample letters to patients for providers choosing to opt out or limit their Medicare panels as well as informational downloads.
I mentioned recently a study that showed that physicians who own nuclear and stress testing equipment are more likely to order those tests. Presented this week at RSNA was a study looking at MRI imaging. Physicians who owned MRI machines had more than twice the number of normal results as physicians who had no ownership ties.
A study from the Department of Veterans Affairs looked at Internet-delivered provider education as a way to reduce cardiovascular risk in patients who have had heart attacks. Providers received educational modules, practice guidelines, literature summaries, and e-mail reminders for more than two years. Looking at seven clinical indicators, there was minimal difference in outcomes.
In non-technology news, Pfizer’s blockbuster drug Lipitor went generic Tuesday night. I wonder if patients were lined up outside the pharmacies at midnight like readers waiting for a Harry Potter installment?
For those of you who are probably like me and work in front of the TV, this article about infertility and laptop use was of interest. It seems that use of Wi-Fi connected laptops has been shown to decrease sperm quality. For the curious, the sperm were randomized and exposed to laptops after reaching the lab. Investigators conclude that actual human studies are needed.
A friend sent me this news item for Inga. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Stiletto Dash is set for this weekend at the Palazzo. Competitors must wear at least a 3” heel for the 50-yard dash, which ends (fittingly) at a champagne bar. Heels cannot be taped, tied, or adhered to the foot. I think Inga and I may have to do our own Stiletto Dash at HIMSS – I’ve already started looking for the perfect shoes for HIStalkapalooza.
WANTED: S&M Show Seeks Mosh Pit
By Dr. Gregg
Certainly you heard the word of the deadline pushback to ease the pressure on folks trying to decide whether or not to hit the Stage 1 starting blocks. Madam Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that little gem Wednesday at a meeting held in the Unified Technologies Center of Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. Along with this, she and Dr. Mostashari announced the new findings of a doubling of EHR adoption in just the past two years.
However, this was yesterday’s news, and I’m fairly sure you’ve already read enough diversity of opinion via tweets or blasts or blogs on it. So instead of yet another “what does this really mean” rehashing, I’d like to share a few thoughts I thunk while sitting in the crowd at the aforementioned Sebelius & Mostashari Show in Cleveland.
First off, Kathleen Sebelius moved up this year from 57th to 13th on the Forbes list of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” You can see why: she has a countenance that shows the ferocity acquired from uncounted political battles and the seemingly stern “hide” that comes from learning to slough off the daily barrage of slings and arrows that inevitably fly in that eternal battleground.
Yet, as I hear from folks who know her well, she is also approachable in public and attentive to the opinions and presence of those around her. Plus, according to Wikipedia, she’s a huge jazz fan and has an untarnished record going of attending thirty (30!) consecutive New Orleans Jazz Fests. Now, I don’t care how stern you may appear on a panel or in a board meeting: anybody who has ever been to NOLA’s Jazz Fest knows a little something about how to have fun and what some really, really good music is all about.
So, following the main act by Sebelius and Friends (i.e., the panel discussion,) up steps “The Mostashari.” I wanted to say that he was the opening act for Sebelius given her position, power, and the fact that she was the headliner. However, since his act followed hers — and especially because of the supreme “choreography” of his act — I’m not sure this is true. To say he stole the show would be absolutely true.
Even before the “show” had begun, Farzad was working it. He came into this roomful of some 100+ folks and glad-handed all around before the show started, grinning that infectious grin of his almost non-stop. He was engaging, but at all times obviously a man on a mission.
During the opening panel’s time on stage, Farzad would be very attentive-appearing, but with an almost unobtrusive manner and with an almost a rhythmic beat, he’d be checking e-mails or texts. (Both he and the Secretary would text or check e-mails off and on continually throughout the performance, of course. Even Ms. Sebelius was pretty discrete about it, I must admit.)
But, when the panel was done and break time was over, it was time for the real show to begin: “Farzad: The Champion Physician Champion.”
Originally, the “intimate discussion period” was supposed to be with Farzad and about 12 of us. But, some 50 or so folks were still hanging around after the break, apparently thinking they might be a part of this session. We had already started out into a hallway to head toward a smaller room for the chat when it became clear that there was some confusion as to just who was invited. With barely a skipped beat, Farzad says, “That’s great! Let’s just make it an intimate meeting with 50.” So, about face, back to big room we went.
Now, as many of you may have read here, I used to do sound engineering in the “big time” rock-n-roll world. I gotta tell ya’, I’ve never seen an act by any band or performer – especially by ANY geek, even the inimitable Steve Jobs – that had more true “rock star” quality than did Dr. Mostashari.
He steps down off the stage onto the floor to be at the same level as the crowd. He bounces from one side of the room to the opposite. He is charged with energy. He starts off the show with the requisite rock star proclamation: “Ohio, you’re my new favorite state!” (Hello, Cleveland!) He bounds back and forth. He actively engages the crowd. He applauds audience contributions at every opportunity. He sits on the dais, takes off his suit jacket, and rolls up his shirt sleeves, ready to get to work. He challenges the crowd. He unflinchingly accepts challenges from the crowd. He throws in a last “Ohio, I love ya!” before the show ends. He sticks around a good amount of time afterwards to talk to the masses.
Dr. Mostashari, you are, sir, without question, a rock star. You are the head cheerleader for all HIT physician champions and you are superb in the role. Thanks for the great show.
The only thing missing was the Mostashari Mosh Pit.