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Monday Morning Update 1/2/12

December 31, 2011 News 2 Comments

Happy New Year!

Given the lame (and guardedly vague) healthcare IT predictions for 2012 that I’ve seen, written by reporters and other non-combatants, I’ll pass on giving my own. Some of the pearls of predictive wisdom: (a) companies may consolidate; (b) consumers will be engaged; (c) ACOs will be formed and will need analytics; and (d) social networks will be used to encourage good health.

My Time Capsule editorial from this same week of 2006: Can EMRs Sweeten their ROI by Moonlighting as Research Databases? A random sample: “Repurposing that existing information by making it available to those willing third-party customers, even when motivated purely by mission-supporting cash, is at least more beneficial to society than running a McDonald’s or building medical office buildings.”

Thanks to the following sponsors (new and renewing) that supported HIStalk, HIStalk Practice, and HIStalk Mobile in December. Click a logo for more information.

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12-30-2011 9-57-58 PM

The HIT bubble is here to stay, most readers believe, which must mean it’s not really a bubble in their minds. New poll to your right: when a hospital says having its clinical systems offline for several hours resulted in no patient harm, do you believe them?

We’ll give the HISsies nominations just a few more days before moving on to the actual voting, so this is last call to get your candidates on the ballot. Some obvious choices haven’t been nominated, I should say.

Here’s Vince’s HIS-tory on outsourcing.

Geisinger Health System (PA) says it will not hire smokers starting in February, when job applicants will be required to take a nicotine test.

12-31-2011 8-00-19 AM

Reading Hospital (PA) retools its executive team to put clinicians in key roles. The new CEO and COO are nurses, while the new CMIO, chief medical officer, and VP of academic affairs are physicians. The CEO, COO, and CFO all came from the consulting company the hospital had engaged to review best practices. The hospital says it’s also implementing a management process that includes physicians in every decision. Also mentioned is the hospital’s $180 million decision to implement Epic, which the hospital’s board chair says “will explode the quality of care and increase patient satisfaction.”

Cleveland, OH health systems Cleveland Clinic and MetroHealth are sharing electronic patient records and Kaiser Permanente will join them shortly. They’re using Epic’s Care Everywhere rather than an HIE, meaning they can access the records of patients who have opted in from 300 hospitals and 4,000 clinics.

12-31-2011 9-20-39 AM

Stanford researchers develop an application that allows technicians to control MRI machines from HP’s TouchPad tablet, which was discontinued within two months of its launch and sold off for $99. The researchers liked it because HP helped them remove its metal parts, a requirement for operating near an MRI magnet.

A British physician advisory group proposes that NHS allow patients to review their own electronic medical records by 2015, including the ability to review physician notes and request prescription refills and appointments online. Expected roadblocks are patient confidentiality concerns, physicians who don’t want patients to see their documentation, and NHS’s potential inability to provide such a service.

A California hospital investigates one of its contracted employees who allegedly posted a photo of a patient’s medical record, including the patient’s name, on Facebook with the comment, “Funny, but this patient came in to cure her VD and get birth control.” Several people scolded the employee on Facebook for violating the patient’s privacy, to which he replied, “People, it’s just Facebook … Not reality. Hello? Again … It’s just a name out of millions and millions of names. If some people can’t appreciate my humor than tough. And if you don’t like it too bad because it’s my wall and I’ll post what I want to. Cheers!”

A man who rear-ended a parked fire truck and then sued the firefighter who saved his life gets nothing in the settlement of his lawsuit. The fire truck was parked in the opposite lane as firefighters were responding to an accident. The driver had a long record of traffic offenses, had been ordered by a court not to drive, was not carrying insurance, and was taking three judgment-altering drugs. He lost control while speeding on the rain-slicked road, crashed into the fire truck, and had to be flown out by medical helicopter. He wanted $300K to settle his suit that claimed the fire truck was parked in his lane, which the crash scene photo appears to show is not the case. The city paid $47,000, of which the man’s children will get $20,000 and lawyers $27,000, claiming it was cheaper to pay the money than the cost of a trial. Since the accident, the driver has been convicted of two additional crimes, one of them a felony that will likely send him to prison.

12-31-2011 9-16-08 AM

I’ll have full details on HIStalkapalooza mid-week, so watch for that if you’re interested. Readers always like to guess a company given a tiny section of their logo, so above is your challenge.


Also coming mid-week is information about an application development contest that we’re helping promote. Here’s the story.

One of our sponsors asked us if we had additional promotional opportunities available, i.e. they wanted to buy a featured post or access to the e-mail list. They were running a fun-sounding contest with some pretty cool prizes, right down the alley of HIStalk readers who have written medically related software (vendors or providers alike.) We said no, we don’t do that – all we offer is sponsorships, all sponsors get the same benefits, and we will never make the e-mail list available to anyone. We always turn down requests to provide more exposure for cash.

Inga and I were noodling around on how we might help in a non-commercial way that would benefit someone other than ourselves, so instead of just saying no, we told them, “Make a big donation to charity and we will help get the word out to our readers as long as we can do it our way.” They agreed. We suggested the charity and the dollar amount, to which the company also (surprisingly) agreed.

12-31-2011 9-41-10 AM

Receiving the company’s ample donation was Homes for our Troops, a top-rated charity (98.5% on Charity Navigator) that builds specially designed houses for severely injured and disabled veterans who receive them at no charge, with the assistance of donated labor and supplies. Our designated recipient is Marine Staff Sergeant Jack Pierce of Temple, TX, paralyzed from the chest down in his third deployment in Afghanistan when his vehicle drove over a 200-pound bomb, killing two other occupants and severely injuring six. The apartment in which he, his wife, and their young son live is not wheelchair accessible.

I’ll be sending the contest information out around Wednesday.

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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. I like the contest and the charity. That is your best idea ever.

    I also like the poll about the truthfulness, if any, of hospitals’ corner suites describing the rosey outcomes of EHR crashes.

    I have lived through many of them. Each crash has caused at least one adverse event or slow death to patients I know and hear about from the delays in care and medication administration in conjunction with the distractions by the hospital staff caused by the infrastructure failure.

    Hospitals are not required to report infrastructure HIT crashes and conveniently allow several hours before they even call it “unplanned downtime” or “unplanned offline”.

    From the trenches, the reports are of mayhem and chaos when the docs can not enter orders, are disrupted in the OR by the recovery room for orders, know what meds were given, or even find their patients, to mention a few.

    Patients are severly endangered and the hospitals know it; and they do not want the lawyers to know, also.

  2. Lawyers win again. Narcotic addict with a wretched driving record and no license crashes into an emergency vehicle. His reckless driving, per witnesses, was the cause. His kids are paid 20G; his lawyer 27G and the lawyers for the city some other amount.

    You gotta love the tort system. As long as you have absolutely no ethical compass, you can make money. And as long as we have tort cases like this in the news, we in medicine will continue to use the tort system as an excuse to practice overly defensive and expensive medicine. Liability is so ingrained into the thinking of every clinician that it’s impossible to figure out the real cost, studies to the contrary.







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