From The PACS Designer: “Re: data visualization. The concept is booming outside of healthcare. One of the beneficiaries is Tableau Software. They have free trial software for anyone in the healthcare field to try if they want to get an idea of what can be accomplished with it.” I’ve played around with it a couple of times over the years courtesy of their free trial offer. Both times I thought it was pretty cool initially, but I quickly ran out of stuff to try and lost interest. I probably would have kept working with it had there been specific, short examples or pre-loaded demonstrations of why it’s better than Excel 2010’s pivot tables or Analysis ToolPak, which can do quite a bit and don’t cost $999 for the personal version. Tableau gets a lot of love out there, so I assume it works well once you figure out what you’re doing and starting throwing more complex data at it.
From EHRbitrator: “Re: EHRevent. The EHR event reporting system has been showing an ‘under construction’ message. What’s going on with it?” I asked Ed Fotsch MD, CEO of PDR Network, the company that donates the resources to run EHRevent (PDR hosts the service, but it’s managed by the non-profit iHealth Alliance). Ed says that since EHRevent was launched, the Institute of Medicine report called for a national approach to health IT safety, which would have required EHRevent to expand dramatically. PDR Network and the iHealth Alliance decided to suspend the service pending a decision by the federal government on IOM’s recommendation. I interviewed Ed about EHRevent and other topics in November 2010.
Nearly two-thirds of poll respondents say that Meditech’s market position has worsened in the past year. New poll to your right: Allscripts is emphasizing its “open systems” message. By your definition, would you characterize the systems it sells as open? Once you’ve voted, show your work by clicking the Comments link on the poll and explain what your definition of “open” actually is.
Inga and I read tons of press releases and often roll our eyes at how badly done they are (which usually means the alleged news won’t see the light of day on HIStalk or probably anywhere else). Instead of just making fun of the PR atrocities, we’ve put together a list of 25 tips for doing them right. We’ll be sending it out to our sponsors, who no doubt will rise to the top of the press release heap after heeding unconventional advice from hack pseudo-journalists like ourselves.
Listening: The Bamboos, big-band soul from Australia (“funk from the deep southern hemisphere”). That’s when I can tear myself away from the purely angelic First Aid Kit, which is harder after I found this video that I’ve watched in amazement about 20 times. I’m listening to it solo in the house as I write this Saturday morning, having taken Mrs. HIStalk to the local farmer’s market for some summer tomatoes, a vegan barbeque hand pie that I ate right there in the parking lot, and a blueberry-cardamom goat cheese cake for later. She’s off for the facial and massage that I arranged and I’ll meet her for lunch (barbeque may or may not be involved), followed by my usual exercise routine, more work, and one of the Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lagers that I tried a couple of weeks ago and bought today. Maybe it gets better than that in your world, but not in mine, except maybe when college football starts in a couple of weeks.
Quality Systems Inc. held its shareholder meeting Thursday, but says the results of the board member election won’t be available until this week. In other words, we don’t know yet whether dissident shareholder Ahmed Hussein was able to wrest control of the company via his proxy campaign (although rumor has it that he lost and demanded an independent recount, which is why it’s taking so long, but that’s unverified). Hussein’s previous attempts failed, but that was before QSII shares took a beating and he added former QSI President Pat Cline to his slate of director nominees. Shares have rebounded to $19 after touching off the $16 range three weeks ago, which would be fantastic news had they not been in the mid-40s when the ugly slide started in April.
Stan Nelson, founder and chairman of Scottsdale Institute and former CEO of some major Midwestern health systems, died earlier this month at 85. The guestbook is here.
Dick Schopp, a 50-year healthcare IT veteran, died August 16 at 75. He had worked for McAuto and HIS, Inc. and also founded Healthcare Computing Strategies. He was a principal with HIS Professionals, LLC. He is survived by his wife Pat, five children, 27 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Vince Ciotti let me know and says he’ll have a salute to Dick in his next HIS-tory.
The VA awards a $4.5 million, one-year contract with four optional years to Ray Group International to restructure the MUMPS code of one module of VistA as well as its application layer, making it more modular. That’s the same company that got a $4.9 million contract in June to develop the VA’s OSEHRA project to make VistA an open source, community supported application. I’m impressed with CEO Ronald Ray: a Marine and Green Beret battalion commander for 21 years, three tours in Vietnam as a platoon leader, recipient of the Medal of Honor, a White House Fellow, and assistant VA secretary. He did something in Ia Drang Valley in 1966 that I thought only happened in movies: as he was getting his legs shot up by machine gun fire, he flung his body onto a live grenade to protect his comrades.
An article by two Yale economists says women would be better off financially to become physician assistants instead of doctors. Reason: women in medicine work fewer hours than their male counterparts, so their correspondingly reduced earnings don’t readily cover the high cost of medical school. If you didn’t buy the “an increased supply of doctors creates its own demand and therefore increases healthcare costs” argument, you might suggest that healthcare reform dictate a faster and cheaper pathway to becoming a primary care physician. You know the financial dynamics in play, however: universities love healthcare professions programs because they can charge huge tuition (knowing that students can get loans easier with expectations of eventual high incomes) and every healthcare profession is fiercely protective of its own, doing all it can (like any other business) to raise the barrier to entry to keep cheap newcomers out. On the other hand, it’s sad to see how many students take up one of those valuable spots and then either never practice medicine or gravitate to one of the high-paying specialties that does little to improve population health.
Several companies named as best to work for by Consulting magazine offer healthcare IT services. I don’t know all of them, but those I know as primarily serving healthcare are Impact Advisors, Aspen Advisors, and Cumberland Consulting.
West Virginia University Hospitals-East goes live on Epic.
ED management company Emergency Physicians Medical Group will implement a digital dashboard from Emergency Medicine Business Intelligence for its 44 hospital customers to improve ED turnaround time. Scott Richards, one of the two principals of EMBI, used to be an IT director at UAB Health System.
Consumer health expense management software vendor Patientco gets $3.75 million in funding. It offers patient-friendly bills, multiple bill payment methods, and secure patient-to-provider messaging for asking questions about a bill. They register using a secure code printed on their statement.
Fidelity National Information Services sells its healthcare payments and claims business to a private equity firm for $335 million.
A University of Florida study finds that patients with three or more chronic conditions are only half as likely to receive treatment for depression if their doctor uses electronic medical records. The researchers speculate it’s because EMRs reduce the time doctors spend with patients or perhaps the EMR directs their attention to purely physical issues.
I’m always fascinated that this happens all the time in India when relatives suspect hospitals or doctors of substandard care of their loved one. Family members go on a rampage after the death of a hospitalized teenager, destroying hospital computers, breaking windows, and attacking police officers. Eighteen family members were detained and eight police officers were injured, two of them requiring hospitalization.
A former VA hospital employee who won a $1 million lottery prize in January of last year buys a scratch-off ticket, but gives it to a beggar in the convenience store. It turns out to be a winner worth $260K. She protests to the lottery commission, saying the man pressured her and she intended to give him money instead, but surveillance camera footage and interviews show she gave him the ticket voluntarily. Despite the million dollars she won, the woman claims she’s broke because of medical bills and her unpaid leave from the VA. She’s writing a book about her life.
Strange: a nurse performs her own fecal transplant to cure her chronic diarrhea, using her husband’s feces, a blender, and a turkey baster. She told the reporter that she kept the blender, so I’d suggest passing if she offers you a Margarita.
Vince’s HIS-tory this time is about INFOSTAT. If you’re watching on NBC, mute your TV now for a spoiler: “They were acquired by Keane in 1995.”
- Assisting Lee Memorial Hospital (FL) its its just-mentioned Epic go-live was HCI (Healthcare Clinical Informatics).
- Elumin Healthcare Solutions has expanded its LinkedIn page to keep its consulting customers and associates up to date on the company’s activities.
- Visage Imaging offers an online white paper (no registration required) called It’s Your Image: Top 15 Reasons to Consider an Enterprise Imaging Viewer.
E-mail Mr. H.