Cerner CEO Neal Patterson makes the cover of Forbes in a piece called Obamacare Billionaires. It’s generally positive given the awkward situation that it’s a right-wing magazine covering a fellow rich guy making big bucks from left-wing healthcare policies. There were some fun background facts I hadn’t heard:
- Neal was moved up to first grade in his boondocks school because otherwise there would have been only one male student in the class
- The three founders came up with the idea of starting Cerner while studying at a picnic table for the CPA exam as Arthur Anderson employees
- The word “cerner” is Spanish, meaning “sift”
- The magazine says Neal is worth $1 billion, although SEC filings show him directly holding less than half that amount in the form of CERN shares
- The infamous “tick, tock” e-mail is of course mentioned (you just know that, as with Jim Morrison’s grave, former Cerner associates will be spray-painting it on his tombstone for decades after Neal has checked out)
- The reporter saw the fancy Vision Center demos of Millennium, then observed firsthand the “klutzy” (I assume they meant “clunky” since “klutzy” usually describes people, not objects) real-life version running at Truman Medical Center, although the hospital still said mostly good things about it
Here’s a snip from the article:
Cerner’s new offerings, on display at its gleaming headquarters with a heavy dose of skilled salesmanship, have the whiff of the future. The company is giving hospitals, for free, software to help predict which patients will get deadly, hard-to-treat blood infections. A new type of patient record is quickly and automatically searchable, even if the data go back decades. A fictional case study shows how a heart attack patient could be cared for in this new system, starting with wireless monitors that he’s wearing when his heart rate speeds up; through a visit with a nurse who talks to specialists using an iPad and FaceTime; to improved versions of the bar-code-reading devices at Truman.
Like in real life, Epic and Judy Faulkner are everywhere Neal turns, even within the current edition of Forbes. She gets a piece called Judy Faulkner: Health Care’s Low-Key Billionaire. There’s not too much new there for those of us who already know the Epic story – as usual, Judy declined to be interviewed – but it’s a fun read. One interesting factoid: when Forbes estimated her net worth at $1.7 billion, she denied to them that she has reached the billionaire club, with her spokesperson saying that Judy owns less than 40% of Epic’s shares (although as could be the case with Neal’s money, there are many ways to make that statement honestly while still being misleading, such as not counting shares held in family trusts or other ownership that’s indirect but controlling). The hardest fact to believe: Judy is 68 years old, which is about 15-20 years more than she seems to be. There’s an intriguing mention about Kaiser Permanente’s insistence that it be given equity in Epic as a condition of signing the contract for its $4 billion HealthConnect project, to which Judy provided a two-letter reply: “NO.”
A sample of the article:
Beneath the rock star antics on view strictly for customers, Faulkner is not eager to telegraph her newfound wealth and power. She turned down our request for an interview. “She doesn’t want the spotlight on her,” explains her spokesperson. Interviews with people who know Faulkner paint a picture of a forceful, yet modest woman. Leonard Mattioli, an Epic board member, recalls chiding Faulkner for driving an old Volvo. “I told her next time you buy a car, take a man with you,” says Mattioli, the founder of American, a midwestern retailer of appliances and electronics. A few years later, Mattioli introduced his fiancée to Faulkner. She proceeded to pepper her with questions Epic typically asks prospective employees: “How many square yards of astroturf are there in the U.S.? Which person, dead or alive, would you most like to have lunch with?” Turning to a bewildered Mattioli, she said “next time you take a wife, take a woman with you [for advice].”
Both articles are interesting primarily because the average Forbes reader has probably never heard of Patterson or Faulkner, much less been aware that healthcare IT has created a couple of billionaires (well, the articles didn’t really make a convincing case that either is a billionaire, but I think we can agree they’re doing pretty well considering they sell almost entirely to non-profit organizations). I wonder if some big wheels in stagnant industry sectors won’t suddenly develop a healthy curiosity (no pun intended) about what healthcare IT is all about now that they’ve seen dollar signs?
From TheRock: “Medicaid MU programs. Have any states begun issuing 2012 payments for eligible hospitals?” I’m not sure. CMS issued a statement this week announcing that Louisiana’s Medicaid EHR incentive program was the first to issue payments for “Eligible Professionals.” Meanwhile, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says they are the first state in the nation to issue (any) payments for the second phase of the Medicaid EHR incentive program. Readers?
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
HIStalk Practice highlights from the last week: Emdeon CEO George Lazenby will lead Nashville’s IT Recruitment Task Force. MGMA opens registration for its 2012 conference in San Antonio. Why physicians ignore alerts in their EMRs. Hayes Management Consulting’s Rob Drewniak offers tips for successful change management in healthcare. Sign up for e-mail updates while checking out the news; it ensures you stay in the know and makes me feel loved. Thanks for reading.
More tales from my recent medical office visits. I wasn’t too surprised that the specialist’s office used paper charts, but I was shocked when they asked me to sign an insurance form so they could mail the claim to the carrier. Maybe I am out of touch with reality, but I thought 99.9% of practices file electronically. I might note that the claim was only for the professional fee and I assume the facility (part of a large, for-profit hospital chain) has more sophisticated technology in place. Now that I think about it, I see a great opportunity for the healthcare system to offer some technology subsidies to their providers.
Here’s one of those uncomfortable IT office moments. You get a new manager (or a new employee to manage), someone you’ve ignored in many previous close encounters in the elevator, restroom, or hall because they’re just some faceless person you don’t really know and don’t care to know. Once the org chart umbilical cord has been attached, however, it becomes obligatory to be their BFF with each chance encounter in making small talk and calling them with gusto by the name that you just learned.
On the Jobs Board: Implementation Project Manager, Director of Marketing, HL7 Business Analyst. On Healthcare IT Jobs: PACS Application Coordinator II, Cerner Orders iView Consultant, Soarian Financials.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Mediware closes its $2.2 million acquisition of Cyto Management System, an oncology management system, from Holland-based Cobbler ICT Services BV.
ProMedica (OH) selects athenahealth’s athenaCollector and Anodyne Business Intelligence Services for its 400-physician network.
The National Institutes of Health awards a sole source contract to Carestream Health for its Vue RIS.
Porter Adventist Hospital (CO) signs an agreement with OTTR Chronic Care Solutions to deploy its Transplant Care Platform.
CareCloud hires Brad Blakey (NextGen) as VP of sales.
Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics (TX) names Jeffrey Pearson (Bon Secours Health System) VP and CIO.
Holon appoints Dyanne Tiller (Bottomline Technologies) its quality assurance and release manager.
Announcements and Implementations
Community Health Network (IN) says it will have its $120 million Epic system in place by November.
NovoPath announces that its anatomic pathology system, which is certified as an EHR Module, can now download pathology patient reports to iOS and Android devices.
Cerner will collaborate with Advocate Health Care to develop a solution that integrates Advocate’s administrative and electronic health information to create predictive models for health outcomes.
CareFusion and Cerner announce the release of a bidirectional solution connecting the CareFusion Alaris infusion pump system with Cerner Millennium EHR. The offering is already in place at Oklahoma Heart Hospital.
Intelligent InSites releases its InSites Connect RTLS mobility solution as an iPhone app.
Hospitals recognized on Thomson Reuters’ 100 Top US Hospitals in 2009 or 2010 had more advanced levels of EHR adoption, according to HIMSS Analytics.
The CEO of Yuma Regional Medical Center (AZ), which goes live on Epic on May 1, says the organization has been experiencing staff changes — including layoffs — as a result of improved procedures and technology. The implementation has affected 33 core employees and 45 adult acute care positions.
And in still more Epic press, its undefeated newcomer StarCraft II team faces IBM in the After Hours Gaming League grand finals this Saturday. Good luck, guys (am I safe in assuming that the electronic warriors are all male, and also likely to have no conflicts with a Saturday night game?)
Emory Healthcare (GA) announces that 10 old computer disks containing information of 315,000 patients are missing, either misplaced or stolen from the unlocked cabinet in which they were stored (it’s in a locked office, though.) Unlike most breaches, Emory didn’t do anything eye-rollingly wrong, and in fact their response seems thoughtful and thorough.
The University of Ottawa Heart Institute posts an RFP for a mobile clinical communications system, specifically nurse hand-held devices that contain a physician directory.
A Louisiana doctor is sentenced to six years in prison for possession of child pornography. He was the medical director of Intra-Op Monitoring Services, whose doctors monitor neuro surgeries in remote hospitals. The company previously admitted that it billed for services that weren’t performed, sometimes not even bothering to make a connection to the remote site or having technicians using the doctor’s logon to make it look as though the monitoring occurred.
Weird News Andy, noting this cash-strapped hospital in Canada that asks patients to do their own laundry on cash-only machines, ponders the likelihood of a coin-operated MRI.
- Account exec Brady Taylor of electronic forms and workflow automation vendor Access drops by Tucson Medical Center to present an iPad to Rita Cartwright, senior business systems analyst. She was an HIStalk Booth Crawl winner at the HIMSS conference in Las Vegas.
- PatientKeeper and Geonetric partner to offer integration of Geonetric’s Patient Portal and PatientKeeper’s Physician Portal.
- The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy presents First Databank VP Tom Bizzaro with its The Grassroots Advocacy Award.
- Beacon Partners offers a new white paper, Accelerating the Development and Adoption of Affiliate EHR Programs
- Versus hosts an April 24 Webinar featuring Memorial Miramar’s integration of RTLS with Epic.
- Lifepoint Informatics announces its participation at next week’s CLMA ThinkLab ’12 conference in Atlanta.
- Norton Healthcare (KY) contracts with CSI Healthcare IT for 85 go-live resources for their Epic activation.
- The University of Waterloo will award NextJ Systems founder William Tatham an honorary doctorate during its spring convocation ceremonies.
- MedAssets announces the general availability of its Collections Management solution.
- maxIT Healthcare profiles Stanly Regional Medical Center (NC), which successfully deployed EHR and RCM with assistance from maxIT.
- Minnesota Eye Consultants selects the NextGen Ambulatory EHR for its 22 providers.
EPtalk by Dr. Jayne
Thomson Reuters releases its annual “100 Top Hospitals” report, which purports to recognize the best US hospitals. Measures include organizational performance, operational efficiency, and financial stability.
The HIMSS13 call for proposals is open now through May 30. I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking about skipping HIMSS next year and just showing up for HIStalkapalooza. My health system refused to pay for my trip this year, feeling that it’s just not valuable for the cost. I’m sure budgets won’t rebound this year. Who else out there thinks it’s getting a bit pricey?
An article in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association looks at the use of health information exchanges in the emergency department environment. Researchers (including Dr. Jayne’s secret crush #3, Dr. Mark Frisse of Vanderbilt) found that HIE access was associated with cost savings and reduction of admissions.
American Medical News ran this piece on EHR alert fatigue. I know several of the people quoted in the article and found it interesting that it really only references inpatient systems. Personally, I’ve found ambulatory systems to be much more annoying with alert fatigue that hospital-based CPOE systems, although more likely to allow individual providers to adjust the level of alerts they receive. I still struggle with physicians who want to turn alerts off completely, which is a bit frightening.
This doesn’t really have anything to do with health information technology, but I found it fascinating. I’ve long been a fan of Lechuguilla Cave, located in New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Researchers studying bacteria which have never come into contact with humans have identified strains which are resistant to antimicrobial agents. All were resistant to at least one antibiotic and some were resistant to at least 14. Another good reason to continue to fight antibiotic resistance, because obviously bugs are built to survive.
I had the opportunity to hang out this week with some true in the trenches “IT guys” and was reminded what a fun bunch they can be. Most of them have accepted me into the tribe and no longer hold the fact that I’m a physician against me. Words that describe these guys and gals: brilliant, dedicated, straight shooters, funny, detail-oriented, and occasionally downright hilarious. One of them owes me, though, for almost making me spit red wine all over the place, so he’d better be on the lookout. I’m going to find a way to pay him back, mark my words. Thank you for standing guard over my systems 24/7 and for alerting me when administrators and other bean-counting individuals cause trouble. I’ve got your back. And I promise if one of you ever accidentally activates the Halon system again and shuts down the entire health system’s network, I’ll still be your friend.