UPMC’s Cerner systems go down for 14 hours at most campuses last Thursday and Friday, forcing them to go back to paper. The PR person blamed “a database bug,” which makes the above Oracle press release from this past summer a particularly fun read. Cerner and UPMC have an atypical vendor-customer relationship since they’ve invested big money together in innovation projects and UPMC runs a Cerner implementation business overseas.
From King Salmon: “Re: search. Is here a way to search HIStalk by keyword?” You can use the search box that’s in the right column. It’s not visible on mobile devices, though, in which case you can do a Google search by keyword, then click the gears icon at the upper right of the results screen (that’s where Google has moved the advanced search options, which used to come up on the main search screen.) Then, qualify your search down to the specific HIStalk site as shown above.
From Booth Boy: “Re: MEDITECH and Cerner. As I predicted, see the attached Las Vegas floor plan. Since they lost their HIMSS points by sitting out a few years, they are way back in the corner by the freight doors. If it’s cold on setup day, they’re going to freeze their butts off because the doors never close.” Just about every year I run the link to the rules of how HIMSS awards its much-coveted Exhibitor Priority Points, which rewards vendors who spend a lot with HIMSS by allowing them to buy bigger and better located booth space. Points can also be earned by buying sponsorships, booking hotel space through their housing company, signing up for corporate membership and paying your dues early, and buying services from HIMSS Analytics. Because they didn’t exhibit, MEDITECH is way down the list in the #727 spot (behind mostly companies you’ve never heard of and even some universities) and Cerner is at #429 (two notches below University of Alabama at Birmingham.) Needless to say, prime exhibit real estate isn’t happening for them this year, so you’ll need to seek them out.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
Inga’s taking a short break, so it’s just me (Mr. H) this time around.
The board of 125-bed Powell Valley Healthcare (WY) approves the purchase of NextGen EHR to replace its “dysfunctional” and old Healthland system, saying the hospital is getting a bargain because the company offered to drop $400K from the $2.65 million cost if the hospital signed by December 31. The hospital plans to collect $1.5 million in Meaningful Use incentives, which it says it could not have done with Healthland because, according to the IT manager, “The system we have now is not good. It’s terrible. It crashes. I can’t imagine being a nurse or a physician and working with it every day.” The money-losing hospital says buying a new clinical system probably means that other projects, such as needed renovations in surgery and the ED, may not get done, but a board member says the new system is even more important. “This is a have-to. We have to do this. I remember going into the lab a few years ago, and the lab girls were crying, and it was over Healthland (the current system). It needs to be replaced,”
Saint Francis Care (CT) names Linda Shanley as VP/CIO. She was previously with Stony Brook University Hospital.
Announcements and Implementations
Pikeville Medical Center (KY) goes live on Wellsoft’s EDIS, which is integrated with its McKesson applications.
Innovation and Research
An Ohio ED doctor develops NARx Check, which calculates a drug abuse “credit score” using Ohio’s prescription monitoring program data and alerts ED staff of patients likely to be abusing drugs. The application has generated positive comments from the state pharmacy board and local hospital association.
West Wireless Health Institute says that less than 1% of hospitals have deployed fully functional tablets, mostly because clinical systems vendors haven’t developed iPad-native apps, but also because wireless connectivity is spotty, iPads don’t fit into the pockets of standard-issue lab coats, and typing on an iPad is a pain when PCs are always close by anyway.
The western regional chapters of HIMSS are putting on the one-day Women in Healthcare Information Technology Conference in San Francisco on Friday, January 20.
An insurance company sues the former COO of Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center (NM), trying to recoup the $3 million it reimbursed the hospital for fraud losses. The COO allegedly funneled hospital IT payments through corporations that were run by a woman with whom he was having a relationship. He supposedly even paid a part-time student to impersonate an engineer with the phony company when the hospital got suspicious. The hospital fired the COO for cause in early 2008 and says it’s still waiting for authorities to charge him with a crime.
Jacob Goldman, the former chief scientist of Xerox who created the famous Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in 1970, died last week at 90. Xerox was happy making money from copy machines and didn’t commercialize PARC’s research, but those discoveries, such as the graphical user interface and ethernet, created the personal computer industry when further developed by Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, Adobe, Sun, and other fledgling Silicon Valley companies.
A new KLAS report says that while only 10-15% of hospitals use real-time location systems, 95% of those that do say they increased operational efficiency.
Several readers sent over a link to this article, in which another conservative publication takes some unfocused political shots at Epic’s Judy Faulkner using healthcare IT as its weapon of choice (actually, they aren’t new shots, just the same old ones recycled yet again for a new audience.) Her oft-recited transgressions:
- She donates to Democratic political candidates.
- She represents vendors on the Health IT Policy Committee.
- She’s anti-competition and anti-innovation, at least according to the unbiased opinion of Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman, an Epic competitor, quoted from an interview we did with him on HIStalk Practice (being a conservative publication, they had to be grasping to quote a long-time supporter and friend of President Obama who had a lot more influence than Judy Faulkner in getting billions in HITECH money included in the stimulus package.)
- She could have benefitted from politician meddling in which a group urged the VA to buy instead of build systems, mentioning as their argument successful clients that happen to be all Epic users. That’s true, but perhaps a fact worthy of inclusion is that the VA ignored the unsolicited advice and is sticking with its original plan to develop an open source replacement for VistA, so the net benefit to Epic was zero.
- Epic clients (Geisinger and Cleveland Clinic) were named by President Obama as being good technology users.
- Epic clients, like those of all vendors, have had some unrelated IT incidents that were listed.
The article concludes, predictably and with no facts whatsoever to back it up, that Epic is preventing patients from getting good care because of “partisan politics” (meaning beliefs that differ from the ones held by the authors.) You would think instead of just Googling up some old articles they could have turned up an actual expert in a hospital somewhere instead of just quoting a competitor’s CEO and a reporter. I’m a conservative more or less (fiscally, anyway) but this is just lazy political editorializing pretending to be reporting, indiscriminately throwing out loads of unrelated mud in the hopes it will stick to someone of a different political persuasion.
Surely someone could build a better case against Epic, although it’s probably hard to write around the inconvenient facts (its customers are among the best hospitals, they are voluntarily buying Epic given the other available options, and Epic tops every industry statistic by a mile, such as big-hospital sales, KLAS rankings, and hospital customers that have been awarded HIMSS EMRAM Stage 7.) Or maybe they can’t. The anonymous anti-Epic comments I get are almost always long on emotion and opinions and short on facts and first-hand knowledge (and they often come from the same handful of posters using different names, which makes me suspect that they are unhappy former Epic employees, spurned job-seekers, or employees of struggling competitors.) I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a negative comment about Epic from someone who actually uses it in a provider role, and I don’t recall hearing remorse from any of those users about losing the systems that Epic replaced. I get tired of writing positive things about Epic and keep hoping someone who’s actually in the game and not on the sidelines will provide an intelligent and convincing counterpoint to why they aren’t as great as the Kool-Aid drinkers say. I’m still waiting.
- Weed Army Community Hospital (CA) chooses T-System for paper-based ED documentation.
- Salar suggests three New Year’s resolution in a blog posting.
- Nuance releases a case study on Emerson Hospital’s (MA) use of Nuance Transcription Services powered by eScription.
- Digital Prospectors Corp., which offers embedded systems engineering and healthcare information systems consulting services, is featured in Bloomberg Businessweek.
- Jeff Wasserman, VP of Culbert Healthcare Solutions, discusses physician employment opportunities, job culture, and interview skills in an American Medical News article.