From Fact Checker: “Re: New York Times editorial. Implies that an EHR might have prevented a 2007 death at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, but a Meditech announcement says it went live on Q1 2006.” I don’t know which Meditech applications went live in 2006, but it probably wasn’t all of them. The hospital CEO’s comment specifically referenced clinician documentation of vital signs.
From The PACS Designer: “Re: chemo preparation. No one wants to hear they have cancer, but if you have to deal with it, there’s a website called Guide2 Chemo to help anyone get prepared for their treatment plan, along with an iPhone application.” The advertising company that offers it, Health Monitor Network, has a variety of sites and tools to “create a dominant presence in targeted physician waiting and exam rooms” that results in “NRx and TRx [new and total prescriptions] script lifts.” It sells its mailing list of condition sufferers to marketing companies. The company publishes a weird magazine called New York Giants Health Monitor with a claimed readership of 3 million “male condition sufferers 40+” that not only ties Giant players and coaches to health articles, but also offers companies promotional opportunities for hair growth, erectile dysfunction, and “always adding more.” If you want to control healthcare expenses, you might logically look at anything so profitable (i.e., costly to the system) that companies spend big money to promote it directly to patients. In fact, you might conclude that a lot of this mess started when laws were changed to allow companies to market to directly to patients and to run TV commercials, drumming up demand for products that patients themselves aren’t actually paying for.
Put your money in athenahealth if you’re buying a healthcare IT stock, say 40% of poll respondents. New poll to your right, checking up on interoperability: was the information from your most recent doctor visit immediately available at your hospital of choice? Mine was.
Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor PeriGen. As the Princeton, NJ company’s name suggests, it offers fetal surveillance systems that support real-time decision-making in caring for mothers and babies. They include PeriCALM Tracings (bedside fetal surveillance with complication recognition and evidence-based data analysis for physicians and nurses); PeriCALM Plus (ONC-ACTB certified physician and nurse documentation, labor progress analysis, and decision support); PeriBirth (ONC-ATCB certified specialty EMR for obstetrics with protocols and best practices, real-time patient integration, and enterprise EMR integration); and PeriCALM Shoulder Screen (a Web-based prenatal tool for identifying shoulder dystocia). PeriGen systems are installed at over 150 hospitals. You may know former Allscripts sales SVP Matt Sappern, who was named CEO of the company in January 2012, or former Misys VP Mike Pritts, who is president and CTO. Thanks to PeriGen for supporting HIStalk.
Here’s a new YouTube video I found that covers PeriGen’s PeriCALM Plus.
Thanks to the following sponsors, new and renewing, that supported HIStalk, HIStalk Practice, and HIStalk Mobile in July (click a logo for more information):
Stanford Hospital announces that a laptop containing the information of 2,500 patients was stolen from a doctor’s locked office in mid-July. The article says the laptop was password protected but doesn’t specifically say it was encrypted, although the university’s IT security site says patient information cannot be stored on a computer without explicit permission, and if it is, the disk should be encrypted.
Weird News Andy finds this interesting. A 17-year-old high school student hears cries for help from a child swimming in the ocean. He pulls the child out, bystanders call for help, and both are taken to the hospital by ambulance. Weeks later, the student receives a bill for $2,600, including $1,907 for the 15-minute ambulance ride. His family, who has nine children and no insurance, is trying to arrange payments. After the story ran on TV, two anonymous volunteers offered to pay the full amount.
I mentioned the $70 Leap Motion input device awhile back. Some healthcare folks are discussing how it might be used in the clinical setting. Register for the company’s discussion board and then go to this forum to participate. The device, which won’t ship until December, is supposedly 200 times more accurate than Microsoft’s Kinect and can track the movements of all ten fingers individually. There’s a software developer kit that might be fun.
Wayne Memorial Hospital (PA) launches its Direct program using Secure Exchange Solutions.
A self-described “doctor uber-nerd” whose practice has been using an EMR for 16 years says Meaningful Use incentives have shifted focus away from the patient and instead caused a preoccupation with gathering compliance data. He says his vendor, who was “stuck in a pre-Internet, office-network design” shifted all their resources to Meaningful Use. He concludes:
This is sadly ironic. We were once using our computers in a meaningful way for the benefit of our patients, but now we are being pressured to abandon the patients in order to qualify for “meaningful use.” This should come as no shock to anyone who has watched American health care over the past 20 years. We have beaten doctors over the head with “clinical pathways,” and “evidence-based medicine,” all with a good intent: to make sure doctors gave good care. The problem was, however, that these criteria become more important than the patients they were meant to serve. The same is true with our payment system: designed with the initial intent of enabling patients to have access to care, but becoming a behemoth in the exam room, standing between the doctor and the patient.”
In Canada, an Alberta Health Services EVP/CFO resigns his $425K position after his expense reimbursements from his previous position are made public by a CBC Freedom of Information request. In three years with Capitol Health Authority (which was later absorbed into AHS) Allaudin Merali turned in $346,000 of expenses, which included costs for fixing his Mercedes, installing a car phone, buying gasoline and car washes, and purchasing a golf membership. He previously worked for scandal-ridden eHealth Ontario, where he billed an average of $76,000 per month, even turning in expenses for chocolate bars and tea. In investigating the expense claims, it was discovered that he had been paid $2.6 million in severance from his previous job, even though he ended up going to work for its successor organization. He’s eligible for almost $500K in severance this time around. His former boss at Capitol Health, who also found her way to Alberta Health Services as a board member, also resigned on the news. She had signed off on his expenses at Capitol Health, not to mention that when her CEO job there was eliminated, she received $4.1 million in retirement benefits.
A reader forwarded a client alert from law firm Post & Schell that warns companies, especially hospitals, to check their use of terminal and security software from Attachmate. They say Attachmate is aggressively auditing and suing its customers, especially those in healthcare. The law firm warns that organizations might not even be aware that Attachmate software is installed, and since the products are licensed per PC, Attachmate could argue that running it on a Citrix server means that every PC needs a license. Attachmate bought Novell in 2011, so they advise checking those licenses as well.
The VA says the open source Web viewer it’s calling Janus will give clinicians a combined view of patient information from the DoD’s AHLTA and the VA’s VistA EMR systems, the first step in their integration project and also the first use of code from the VA’s OSEHR repository.
WellPoint takes a financial position (apparently $12 million worth) in SoloHealth, which offers a consumer health screening kiosk for vision, blood pressure, weight, and body mass index. According to the company’s site, the kiosk, which was just approved by the FDA, also allows consumers to find a doctor and schedule an appointment. An earlier investor in SoloHealth was Coinstar, the company behind Redbox.
Massachusetts announces that it will create a statewide HIE, with the $16.9 million cost paid for by the federal government in the form of ARRA and Medicaid money from CMS. Orion Health was chosen as its technology provider.
A Xerox survey finds that only 26% of Americans want their medical records stored in digital form, and 60% of them don’t think EMRs will improve care. On the other hand, the survey was conducted online and Xerox sells electronic document systems and the services of the former ACS Healthcare consulting firm (which it acquired for $6.4 billion in 2009) rather than EMRs, so the conclusion could be disputed.
SAP acknowledges that its ERP software has usability issues after companies such as Varian Medical Systems start to look for replacement products for non-core applications, citing changing user expectations brought on by the iPad and iPhone. SAP plans to offer software that allows IT departments and individual users to personalize its screens.
An $8.1 million federal lawsuit against Kernan Hospital (MD) that claimed the hospital intentionally coded patients with a rare malnutrition disease to increase reimbursement is dismissed. A federal court said the government did not provide evidence that the hospital actually submitted the claims for payment. The hospital’s claims for kwashiorkor as a secondary diagnosis increased from three in 2005 to 358 in 2008. One of the patients was also documented as being overweight and was counseled to go on a diet. The University of Maryland Medical System, which owns the hospital, said the coding is confusing.
A GAO report covering only Florida, New York, and Texas finds that 7,000 Medicaid providers who were paid $6.6 billion in 2009 owned $791 million in back taxes. It recommended (and the IRS agreed) that more rigorous review is needed. One provider owed over $6 million in unpaid federal taxes.
Chicago-based startup Procured Health, which helps hospitals evaluate medical devices for potential cost savings, raises $1.1 million in seed funding from several investment groups and athenahealth’s Jonathan Bush. The company is testing its product and plans to launch in 2013.
Vince’s HIT time travels this week involve Pentamation (spoiler alert: they were acquired by Keane indirectly via an acquisition in 1992) and a sales executive who ended up as a Hollywood and Broadway producer. Vince got help this time from Gary Pollock and Doug Abel and he would he happy to receive your assistance as he continues to dig into the (sometimes) storied histories of the (sometimes) fondly remembered healthcare IT companies of yesteryear.