Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and other state officials celebrate the launching of the Massachusetts state HIE as the first medical record is transmitted from Massachusetts General Hospital to Baystate Medical Center. The Massachusetts HIway was funded by a $17 million federal grant. John Halamka writes about the significance, professional and personal, on his blog (his photo of the “Golden Spike” is above).
From FirstHand: “Re: MModal changes. SVP of strategic business development Taras Silecky has left the company. Not sure if it is a one-off personnel change or a sign of restructuring following several acquisitions.” Unverified. MModal declined to comment, citing policies prohibiting disclosure of personnel information. His LinkedIn page says he’s still there, but those are notoriously unreliable.
From Allagash: “Re: Aprima. Aprima gave indication that they would have a direct migration from MyWay to Aprima. Not the case. Aprima says that the client needs to contact Allscripts and beg for the database, which won’t come easy since they’re trying to sell us Pro. I get the impression there’s a large fee as well.” Aprima President and CEO Michael Nissenbaum responded as follows: “Aprima offers a free software license and upgrade for MyWay customers with the purchase of an annual support and maintenance agreement. MyWay customers have a multitude of environments in which they reside, including hosted with Allscripts, hosted with independent hosting entities, as well as practices having their own servers. Aprima’s statements regarding our offer are based on the practice having access to their database and an ability to move it to a server / hosting location of their choosing. In most scenarios hosting is a service offering, and as long as the practice is in compliance with the hosting contract, they should have access to their database. Most companies do not hold the practice’s data hostage.” Specific details of Aprima’s migration offer are here.
From Scrooge: “Re: CIO cost pressures. Reports say that CIOs in all industries are having a hard time justifying the long-term operating costs for advanced systems. Hospitals are under pressure to cut staff and other costs due to Medicare cuts. Maybe a topic for a survey?” I would be interested in hearing from hospital IT executives on this issue in a bit more detail than a poll allows. Send me your thoughts and I’ll run them, anonymously if you so indicate.
From Cool School: “Re: Pulse. I received an e-mail indicating that Basil Hourani (director, president, and CEO) and Alif Hourani (executive chairman and CTO) are ‘retiring,’ leaving former CFO Jeff Burton as CEO. Lots of blah about amazing journey, innovation, vision, etc. Recall that they were bought out by Cegedim two years ago. Significance?” Unverified, but reported by several readers. The PM/EMR vendor’s web page has no news. I’ll defer to readers to comment.
From Shock & Awe: “Re: Will Showalter, VP/CIO @ Sisters of Mercy Health System in St. Louis. Left last week. Can you find out why? Everyone loved and adored him!” As mentioned below, Mercy (as the former Sisters of Mercy now calls itself) has replaced him with no explanation. I’ll update if he checks in.
From Magenta: “Re: Cerner Health Conference. The tagline was ‘because it’s personal,’ which I thought was a little ridiculous on all the signs and displays. I didn’t realize how much until I saw this sign.”
From Buffalo Tom: “Re: Health 2.0 and Stanford MedX conferences. Free recorded streams are available from a company called Learn it Live that’s trying to disrupt the learning market. The interview with Lumeris CEO Mike Long was especially inspiring – he said mercenary companies look for where to make the most money, while missionary companies want to solve big problems and hope to make money. Sign up for free, choose the ‘three CEOs’ session, and go to the 31.25 mark.” He’s fun to watch. He gives his e-mail address and invites people creating cool things to contact him because he doesn’t think the big companies are moving fast enough.
From PC Doc: “Re: pharmacy chains encroaching on the practice of medicine. Walgreens has walk-in clinics whose mission is to sell what’s on their shelves, give vaccine injections, and now deliver meds to hospital bedsides to ‘curb readmissions!!’ I smell a coordination nightmare as patients get mammograms at the local retail pharmacies and pharmacists manage diabetes, not to mention that Walgreens is smelling profit while physicians are again asleep at the wheel.” It is interesting that just as we see EMRs taking a firm hold and interoperability taking a shaky one, now you’ve got disconnected non-EPs out there whose corporate parents may lack the interest or ability to share the medical information they’re creating. I don’t know how they’ll play in the ACO world, though – maybe they’ll just pick up the cash-paying business. Those with long memories may recall that the difference between EMRs and EHRs was that the latter were supposed to collect information from every potential point of healthcare service, but here we are years later still thrilled when docs working for the same health system can exchange information with the hospital and each other. That’s a problem with the proprietary EHR-centric model in which neither providers nor vendors have much reason to push their data out in a way that everybody can use it, and the further away you get from the traditional office practice, the less likely those providers are going to be on the grid. In other countries, patients are expected to keep their own medical records and bring them in – sounds primitive, but with all the technology investments we’re not too far beyond that here with our printout and faxes. Not to mention that at least in those countries, the patients are in control of their own information.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
Going to MGMA next week in San Antonio? Here is our annual list of Must See Vendors. Inga will be there to pick up trinkets, make stealth observations, and post daily updates.
Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor Direct Consulting Associates and its sister organization Direct Recruiters Inc., both of Solon, OH. DCA offers IT consulting and staffing solutions (staff augmentation, temp to perm, and permanent placement), providing individuals or entire teams to help with Epic, Allscripts, Cerner, Meditech, McKesson, and other healthcare IT systems for short- or long-term contracts. DRI is an executive search firm with a healthcare IT practice that places top professionals (CXO, VP sales, sales rep, product manager, applications engineer, IT director, CMIO, etc.) The company’s site has a nice testimonial from Medicity that calls Director of Healthcare IT Mike Silverstein a “trusted resource” who doesn’t push candidates, but rather listens to understand the talent needs first and makes sure to present only the most qualified candidates. Thanks to DCA and DRI for supporting HIStalk.
Also supporting HIStalk is new Platinum Sponsor PatientPay of Durham, NC. PatientPay is an innovative, patented, Web-based service that addresses the physician practice challenge of managing patient balances. Practices can be up and running within 30 minutes of signing up online, with no IT help required to instantly integrate PatientPay into the practice management system. Patients review their balances and pay online by credit card, while the cost of managing paper is reduced by half. No upfront or monthly costs are involved, just a small, flat per-transaction fee that means they get paid only when the practice gets paid. The company’s goal is to be the most attractive patient payment solution for their ambulatory PM/RCM vendor partners. They’ve been around since 2008, and you may recall hearing a couple of months ago that David Bond (A4, Medic, Allscripts) has joined the company as EVP of sales and marketing. They’ll be at MGMA, so drop by and tell them you saw them mentioned on HIStalk. Thanks to PatientPay for supporting my work.
Speaking of my (endless) work, I’ve reluctantly reached the conclusion that I need more help to make HIStalk, HIStalk Practice, and HIStalk Mobile the best they can be while not getting fired from my hospital job. I’m interested in hiring someone, but I’m picky about capabilities: a stellar and fast writer, lots of energy, an enviable sense of humor, skill with social media, and knowledge about healthcare IT. Sometime with a full-time job probably won’t work since I need more hours. I’m looking for a self-starter who probably doesn’t need to be prompted about what to do next, but here’s a hint since it worked for Inga and Dr. Jayne: tell me why I should hire you while demonstrating the qualities I mentioned.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
The UK-based Wellcome Trust secures an equity stake in AirStrip Technologies.
Healthrageous, a developer of Web and mobile health apps for consumers, raises $6.5 million in Series B financing.
Nuance discloses that it paid $230 million in cash for QuadraMed’s Quantim HIM division and another $265 million for JA Thomas and Associates, raising its 10-year acquisition total to 34 companies at a cost of $3.6 billion (Nuance’s market cap today is $7.2 billion). Maybe its best deal was paying $400 million for eScription in 2008 to get a strong healthcare foothold. Historians (hello, Vince?) may recall Nuance’s origins as a vendor of scanners under the ScanSoft and Visioneer names — the PaperPort was all the rage in the mid-1990s.
UnitedHealth Group’s Q3 numbers: revenue up 8%, EPS $1.50 vs. $1.17, beating expectations of $1.34. Growth of its Optum division contributed to the $1.56 billion of quarterly profit, although the company warned of uncertainty about competition and the November election. Analysts say the company always sets conservative expectations, with one saying, “There’s nothing there that reform is going to hurt.”
Regional Medical Center at Memphis (TN) replaces its Cisco wireless network with Aruba.
Sigmund Software will embed OrdersAnywhere from Ignis Systems into its behavioral health EHR to manage lab orders and results.
Emergency Medicine Specialists of Orange County (CA) selects McKesson Revenue Management Solutions to provide billing and RCM for its 40-physician practice.
The Military Health System’s TRICARE Management Activity segment awards Four Points Technology a multi-year contract to facilitate an expanded rollout of RelayHealth’s Medical Home Support Package.
Richard Poulton (AAR Corp) joins Allscripts as CFO. An SEC filing discloses that Poulton will earn an annual salary of $450,000, a $450,000 annual bonus target, a one-time cash payment of $750,000, and stock grants worth up to $2 million. He’s also guaranteed double his salary and target bonus plus full equity vesting if terminated due to a change of control, which could be relevant if the company goes private as has been rumored.
Clinithink names Phil Davies (NHS Connecting for Health) CIO.
Mercy (MO) names Gilbert Hoffman (Maritz) VP and CIO, replacing Will Showalter.
Kathy Ebbert (Achieve CCA) joins Clearwater Compliance as EVP and COO.
Delta Health Technologies names Ben Clay (Prognosis Health Information Systems) VP of product development.
Announcements and Implementations
InterSystems Corporation and eHealth Technologies will offer offer single-click access to diagnostic quality images via the InterSystems HealthShare platform.
EXTENSION added 22 customers of its critical alerting and HIPAA-compliant texting solutions during the third quarter.
VersaSuite announces that its certified ambulatory EHR is the first to earn CCHIT’s certification for Clinical Research, with the capability to automatically determine if a patient is eligible for an open clinical trial.
UMass Memorial Health Care is working with with Informatica and MedCPU on a readmissions reduction project.
AHRQ awards the Oregon Health & Science University a $1 million grant to create smarter and better organized EHR systems.
NYeC and Partnership for New York City Fund select eight early- and growth-stage companies for its inaugural class of the NY Digital Health Accelerator. The winning companies, which were selected from 250 applicants, were each awarded up to $300,000, plus mentoring opportunities from senior-level hospital executives. The Accelerator program is expected to create 1,500 jobs over five years and attract $150 to $200 million in VC investment post-program.
North American Partners in Anesthesia partners with SIS to offer a combined AIMS and managed anesthesia services solution.
Electronic patient payment processor BillingTree announces a new partner program for solution providers interested in integrating a payment portal into their products.
Nuance Communications announces that its voice recognition technology is now integrated into Epic’s Haiku for iPhone and Canto for iPad applications.
Industry long-timers Bill Spooner, Bert Reese, and Colin Konschak are the editors of a newly published book called Accountable Care: Bridging the Health Information Technology Divide. It’s on Amazon for $89.99.
DrFirst launches Patient Advisor, a medication adherence solution designed to work with DrFirst’s Rcopia e-prescribing platform or any EMR or HIT solution.
DSS releases its Patient Search Tool Extension and Launcher to the Open Source EHR Agent via the Apache 2.0 Open Source license, enabling VistA EHR users to search for free text data within a chart.
Government and Politics
ONC names iBlueButton from Humetrix the winner of its Blue Button Mash Up Challenge to make personal health information for usable and meaningful for consumers. ONC also awards Apollo’s Pinaxis top honors in the EHR Accessibility Module Challenge for creating an Internet portal to allow patients to interact with any provider’s existing EHR system over the Web.
Akron General Medical Center (OH) fires several employees for unauthorized access of computerized patient records following the fatal shooting of an ICU patient.
Epic will install six 262-foot wind turbines on its Verona campus that, along with its geothermal and solar systems, will allow it to generate 85 percent of its energy needs by 2014.
I haven’t watched Saturday Night Live for years, but this week’s skewering of the iPhone 5 and self-obsessed Americans in general was savagely funny. It’s slightly mHealth related, at least if you watch through to around the 5:00 mark for the punch line.
The Methodist Hospitals (IN) settles its 2011 lawsuit against FTI Cambio, HealthNET, and Meditech. The hospital hired Cambio to review its entire operation, part of which involved bringing in HealthNET to review its Epic implementation that had already cost $26 million. The lawsuit says HealthNet recommending dumping Epic and buying Meditech for $16 million because of lower maintenance costs. The hospital says the consultants lied in saying it would cost $25 million to finish the Epic project when in fact it would have been only $11 million. It also claims that Meditech never worked and caused a host of problems to the point that the implementation was abandoned in 2009.
The Italian hacker who turned to the Web for help with his brain cancer diagnosis has received 200,000 responses in a month from his Open Source Cure plea. The Italian government is interested in his project as an example of opening up medical records since he struggled to obtain his records and images in an easily read electronic format. He has decided to have surgery, but is talking to 40 doctors about which procedure to have, and will also follow a crowd-sourced diet in the hospital.
- A study by Truven Health Analytics finds that hospital employees are less healthy and more likely to be hospitalized compared to the general workface, with their healthcare costs also running nine percent above average.
- Versus customer Northwest Michigan Surgery Center discusses its use of RTLS to maximize patient flow during an AHA Solutions Webinar.
- Liaison Healthcare launches its Healthcare Information as a Service solution suite.
- GetWellNetwork and Treatment Diaries partner to provide additional resources for patients during and after their hospital stay.
- ZirMed showcases its RCM solution at this month’s MedTrade, MGMA, NAHC and APTA conferences.
- Ninety percent of anesthesia providers believe that perioperative solutions increase success rates, according to a Surgical Information Systems-commissioned study.
- HIStalk sponsors earning a spot on Modern Healthcare’s Healthcare’s Hottest 2012 based on revenue growth include: ESD (1,455%), Allscripts (533%), Cumberland Consulting Group (328%), Merge Healthcare (213%), Beacon Partners (172%), and The Advisory Board Company (92%).
- MEDSEEK moves to new office space in Fitchburg, WI after almost doubling its Wisconsin operations over the last year.
- Two teams of Craneware employees spend a week Peru volunteering with medical staff at the Villa la Paz Center for Destitute and Sick Children.
- Aspen Advisors principal Guy Scalzi discusses HIT governance at this week’s CHIME Fall CIO Forum.
- Digital Prospectors Corp wins a subcontractor role as part of a $15 billion Alliant Small Business Governmentwide Acquisition Contract.
- MModal partners with the BigHand Group for next month’s BigHand Healthcare user conference on digital dictation, speech recognition, and clinical correspondence system .
- A SuccessEHS survey of MGMA registrants finds that the majority are losing revenue due to four problems: clean claims, same-day collections, preventable denials, and underpayments.
- Klinikum Weis-Grieskirchen Hospital (AU) reports saving 10-20 seconds per login session with Imprivata’s OneSign single sign-on solution.
- NextGen adds Logi Info from LogiXML as its embedded actionable analytics tools within the NextGen Dashboard product.