Minnesota’s attorney general sues revenue cycle vendor Accretive Health for losing a laptop last summer that contained patient information from two hospitals that had contracted with the company. The unencrypted laptop was stolen from an Accretive employee’s rental car. The lawsuit demands that the company inform patients in the state what information it keeps and how it uses it, saying the company “showcases its activities to Wall Street investors but hides them from Minnesota patients.”
From MountainMan: “Re: Pre-HIMSS insanity. Here is a picture of the first of many to come ridiculous invitations, overnight letters, and expensive marketing crap that will be headed my way. ‘Tis the season to determine the vendors with more money in marketing than in development!”
From WorkingGirl: “Re: Manager Systems. Love this graphic– makes me think of managers with weird heads in charge of the place. One (red) is totally defeated, head hung. The yellow head is going along to get along (the ‘whatever’ approach,) and the blue head is ‘blue sky thinking’ or ‘head in the cloud.’ I have worked for them all and more!” The logo is for Manager Consultoria em Informatica LTDA EPP, a Brazilian company recently acquired by 7 Medical Systems. The blue one actually looks like a dunce cap, which might be apropos for some managers.
From Otoscope: “Re: Epic. I hear that Epic is competing for a deal in NYC. I wonder if the puff piece in the Times about how cool their campus is and Judy Faulkner giving them a rare interview isn’t an Epic marketing push to win over some decision-makers struggling to find a reason to pay Epic’s exorbitant asking price? Maybe there’s a pattern of newspaper exposure where Epic had other high-profile deals on the table.” The article also claims that Epic steals the best programmers who would otherwise be working for Google or Facebook, which seems a bit of a stretch given Epic’s reputation for hiring new grads with no experience. I doubt many world-class programmers are torn between working with cutting edge technology for Facebook in the Silicon Valley vs. moving to chilly Wisconsin to write MUMPS just because Epic’s campus is cool (not that there’s anything wrong with that, especially if they’re doing it for the satisfaction of helping patients.) The article was a bit fawning, but it was a business feature, not a hard-hitting expose’.
From George: “Re: your question about the systems used by the Thomson Reuters Top 15 hospitals. Check this out.” It’s almost all Cerner and Meditech, with only one Epic customer in the bunch. Only a third of the Top 15 are at EMRAM Stage 6 or 7, and of those, Cerner has three customers and Meditech has two. I like to think these facts prove my oft-stated points: (a) it’s not the IT you have, but how you use it; (b) IT can make good hospitals a little bit better, but it’s not going to transform low-performing hospitals into stars; and (c) your mileage will assuredly vary, so just as buying a toupee and a flashy Corvette won’t make you as popular with young ladies as your 20-something nephew, don’t put all of your organizational eggs in the IT basket in hopes of a miracle. And to cap it off with my most annoyingly repeated tagline, plenty of incompetent carpenters own great hammers.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
Some goodies you might have missed this week on HIStalk Practice: Greenway Medical sets the target price of shares for its upcoming IPO at $11 to $13 per share. Physicians who have an ownership interest in their practice are more likely to think their EHR implementation is difficult. Telemedicine enhances dermatology care. Upcoming Meaningful Use deadlines for eligible providers. Smaller practices may have more difficulty with the 5010 transition than their larger counterparts. Dr. Gregg explains why he isn’t satisfied with the market’s EHR options. Thanks for reading.
We’re sponsoring something new for HIMSS conference attendees: the First Annual HIStalk Booth Crawl. We’ll be sharing more details as the conference gets closer, but here’s the big one: we will be giving away over 40 iPads generously donated by sponsors. We’ve canned the silly stamp cards, eliminated the reviled “must be present at the very end of the conference to win” restriction, and improved the chances of winning by offering dozens of cool iPads instead of one motorcycle or set of steak knives. Contestants just need to visit some booths or Web sites to be in the running for one. It will be fun, especially for the winners. It’s fun for our sponsors as well, considering that some companies have charged vendors up to $20,000 to participate in similar events and we’re charging nothing just because we like seeing readers get iPads.
Another super HIStalk-sponsored event: a shoe drive benefiting Soul4Souls, a charity dedicated to the distribution of new or gently worn shoes to people in need across the world. A couple of HIStalk sponsors will have drop off boxes in the HIMSS exhibit hall and we’ll also accept shoes at our HIStalkapalooza event (sorry, you still need an invitation.) The terrifically creative folks at Friedman Marketing Group presented the idea a few months ago and of course I fell in love with it. The curmudgeon Mr. H doubts that people will be willing to lug an extra pair of old sneakers all the way to Las Vegas to donate; however, I seek to prove him wrong. I know there are enough shoe-loving HIStalk fans that appreciate the joy of a newish pair of shoes and who would find some room in their suitcase in order to assure the world is a more joyful place. I might even wager Mr. H on this since I so sure he’s wrong.
Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Fulcrum Methods. The Oakland, CA company provides tools and expertise that help providers manage projects, programs, and change initiatives: work plans, guidebooks, and electronic document and worksheet templates. For hospitals or EPs interested in Meaningful Use, the company offers a structured approach and SaaS-based tools for evaluating EHR capabilities, tracking met and unmet requirements, and assessing resource needs for compliance (notable users include Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and Maine Health, to name a couple.) It’s EP Tracker allows easy MU oversight of affiliated EPs, making sure they are ready to attest, tracking their attestation, and managing the result flow of funds. An interesting service is Pre-Attestation Compliance Services, providing a defensible, documented review that proves to potential CMS auditors that the attestation was legitimate. Other tools and services cover Program Management Office methodologies, change management, long-range planning, and vendor selection and system implementation methodologies. Good IT departments often need nothing more than proven tools, processes, and structure to boost their own proficiency and that’s what Fulcrum Methods offers. Thanks to the folks there for supporting HIStalk.
If you agree that mobile health in its various forms is important, you might want to drop by HIStalk Mobile and sign up for the e-mail updates there. Travis is really good at understanding that market and he’s not shy about saying which products he likes and which ones he doesn’t (and as a doctor and a mobile health startup guy, he’s plenty qualified to offer his opinion.) Read his latest post and I bet you’ll find at least a handful of items that are interesting and useful.
On the Jobs Board: NextGen Go-Live Support, SCM Go-Live Support, and Cerner and Epic Resources. On Healthcare IT Jobs: Implementation Consultant, Epic Willow Consultant, IT Interface Analyst, Epic Certified ASAP Builders, and Senior Applications Programmer/Analyst.
Want to support what we do and make Inga happy? Here are some ideas: (a) stick your e-mail address in the Subscribe to Updates box to your right so you get the news before everybody else, at least everybody other than the 7,800 readers who preceded you in signing up; (b) support our delusions of popularity by connecting with us on LinkedIn and Facebook; (c) while you’re on LinkedIn, sign up for the HIStalk Fan Club that Dann started long ago that now has 2,089 members – when people ask me for something, that’s the first place I look to see if they really are fans; (d) send me news, rumors, pictures, music recommendations, or anything else that might tickle my fancy; (e) peruse with ill-concealed wonderment the roster of fine companies who support HIStalk, perhaps clicking an ad or two, checking them out on the Resource Center, or using the Consulting RFI Blaster if you need consulting help; and (f) look squarely into the mirror and give a world-weary nod to the person who makes it easier for someone who’s already worked a long hospital day to come home to another five hours’ worth of HIStalk work – that would be you, thanks.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Private equity firm LLR Partners acquires Paragon Technology Group, a provider of strategy technology solutions to the public sector, including HIT. LLR appointed former Xerox and GTSI executive Scott Friedlander as president and CEO.
The healthcare merger and acquisition market generated 980 deals worth $227.4 billion last year, of which 435 involved the technology segment.
Release of information vendor HealthPort has retained Credit Suisse to find a buyer for the company, reports suggest.
UnitedHealth Group reports Q4 numbers: revenue up 7.9%, EPS $1.17 vs. $0.94, beating consensus expectations by $0.13. Its Optum unit was credited for contributing to the insurer’s $1.26 billion in quarterly profit.
Arnot Ogden Medical Center (NY) expands its relationship with Surgical Information Systems (SIS) by selecting its anesthesia module.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital (OH) renews and expands its five-year licensing agreement with Streamline Health Solutions, adding additional document management and workflow solutions.
HealthGrades announces that its founder and CEO Kerry R. Hicks will assume the chairmanship of the company’s board of directors. The current chairman, Roger C. Holstein, will assume the CEO role.
The Federation of American Hospitals promotes Samantha Burch from director of healthcare policy and research to VP of quality and health information technology.
CollaborateMD, a provider of PM and billing software, hires former Lockheed Martin executive Stephen Hightower as chief strategy and technology officer.
Mobile app provider Happtique names Ben Chodor CEO. He was formerly with InterCall.
Peter Longo has joined Predixion Software as global sales leader. He was previously VP of sales with Allscripts.
Netsmart Technologies hires Dennis Morrison PhD as chief clinical officer. He was previously with Centerstone Research Institute.
Announcements and Implementations
Sharon Regional Health System (PA) unveils its new $3 million, 5,000 square foot IT department that will connect to the health system’s 18 facilities.
QuadMed, which operates 22 on-site primary care clinics in 12 states for large employers, adds telemedicine to its slate of services.
Westchester Medical Center (NY) selects QuadraMed’s identity management solutions.
TELUS Health Solutions launches MyHealthReference.com, a health reference portal for Canada.
Government and Politics
The GAO reports that the National Quality Forum (NQF) failed to complete five of its eight projects promoting EHR on time. The GAO blames both NQF and HHS for “overly ambitious deadlines, given the scope and complexity of the work.”
Titus Regional Medical Center (TX) fires a nurse looking at medical records she was not authorized to view. The nurse claimed she only looked at the 108 charts because she was “curious.”
The teen who made headlines last year for impersonating a doctor in a Central Florida hospital is arrested again, this time for pretending to be a police officer. The 18-year-old was driving with a sheriff’s badge, a pistol loaded with hollow-point rounds, a Taser, handcuffs, a police radio, police lights, and a dash-mounted laptop. He got caught after advising a motorist stopped at a traffic light to fasten his seatbelt, unaware that the driver was coincidentally an undercover detective.
- Picis releases a case study profiling Winter Haven Hospital’s (FL) use of Picis ED PulseCheck to drive patient satisfaction.
- World Wide Technology Inc. ranks #50 on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list for 2012.
- Bloomberg Business profiles Digital Prospectors Corp.
- CynergisTek CEO Mac McMillan will lead several IT security discussions and workshops during next month’s HIMSS conference.
- DIVURGENT Managing Partner Colin Konschak discusses the future of healthcare and the viability of ACOs in a company blog post.
- SIS successfully demonstrates its perioperative interoperability at the IHE North American Connectathon.
- Quest Diagnostics announces a grant program to provide eligible providers with an 85% discount off the retail price of its Care 360 EHR, including fees for licensing, hosting, support, training, and implementation.
- Craig Hospital (CO) deploys Access Intelligent Forms Suite as part of its patient safety initiative.
- A Beacon Partners survey finds that most hospitals understand the value of HIEs and plan to participate in them, but the hospitals don’t have an adequate budget to participate and are concerned about HIE costs and governance issues.
EPtalk by Dr. Jayne
I’m excited to report that the pre-HIMSS advertising schmooze-fest has started. I was getting a little worried since I hadn’t seen anything yet – not even a post card. The first e-mail came from Hyland Software, which will again be at HIMSS with their OnBase Sports Bar & Grille, offering three daily happy hours. As for other exhibitors, they’re still pretty quiet. One thing is for sure though – I’m hoping that the always-delightful IngaTini will return.
American Medical News advises small practices to guard against security breaches amid concerns that basic security is taking a back seat to the focus on Meaningful Use. I’ve experienced data breaches personally: the Veteran’s Administration; my bank; and now Zappos has notified me of “illegal and unauthorized access” to my account. I’m sure they were after credit card information, but I hope they find humor in the sheer variety of shoes in my account history.
Speaking of credit card information, a recent article spotlights physician offices that require patients to provide credit card information, calling the practice “jarring.” One reader comment states:
When I sit and wait past my appointment time, I always send the doctor a bill by registered mail. I charge $100 an hour for wait time. If I have to wait a half hour, I send him a bill for $50. I have done this three times in California. Each time, they refused to pay the bill. It cost me, but I take them to small claims court. In California, no attorney can represent you — the doctor has to defend himself. They always pay the $50 or $100. They won’t take a day away from the practice to go to court. I had to find another doctor, of course. There are more doctors than attorneys. But I cured them of sucking eggs.
I hope this guy doesn’t show up in my practice. I also hope he never has an emergency medical problem or crisis that causes his physician to run late for the next patient.
E-mail of the day from the AMA: last fall, physicians had the opportunity to seek hardship exemptions and avoid penalties for failing to successfully participate in Medicare’s e-prescribing program. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is reviewing each hardship exemption request on an individual basis and has not yet completed its analysis. Therefore, it is possible that some physicians will be subjected to a 1 percent Medicare payment penalty inappropriately until the backlog of exemption requests is reviewed. Ultimately, CMS will reprocess the claims. No mention of how long it will take or how much CMS is spending on the review.
USA Today reports that 1% of Americans are responsible for 22% of healthcare costs in 2009. Nearly half of health care spending can be attributed to just 5% of patients. The data is from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, but most primary care physicians could tell you that just from gut feelings.
I was initially sad at hearing that a researcher at UConn who has published several articles on the health benefits of red wine apparently falsified his data. It’s unclear whether the data manipulations affected study outcomes. Reviewers have been combing through his research since an anonymous complaint in 2008. The list of deceptions found in the research are almost unbelievable – I’ve judged elementary science fairs with more integrity. My spirits were bolstered, however, by a recent article in the Journal of Women’s Health sharing a recent study finding that red wine has activity similar to a group of medications called aromatase inhibitors which are used to fight breast cancer. White wine drinkers take note – this is strictly an attribute of the reds.