Reuters reports that PE firms Thoma Bravo LLC, Thomas H. Lee Partners LP, and Francisco Partners have submitted revised takeover offers for Merge Healthcare and are awaiting a decision from the company.
From Nasty Parts: “Re: MedeAnalytics. Oracle backed out of a deal to buy the company, so they’re re-orging and putting a number of folks on the street.” Unverified.
From Spamalot: “Re: funny vendor spam. The ridiculous image and hilariously misspelled text caught my eye before I could hit the delete key.” Could it be that the company has decided to offend as many of the senses as possible, with your delayed “delete” validating their cunning premise of turning your head like a gruesome car wreck? Surely it was not a native English speaker who composed the pitch for business “coninuity” and referred to network security as a “new sexy term.” The company’s two addresses appear to be mail drops, and the Facebook link in the spam goes to a marketing person’s personal page that features family photos and cutesy kitty porn. I’ll hazard a guess that their incoming lines won’t be overwhelmed by clamoring prospects.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
In case you have missed any HIStalk Practice posts in the last week, here are some highlights. Most physicians who e-prescribe believe it reduces prescription fraud and facilitates decision-making. Vermont’s eight FQHCs go live on five different EMRs. OIG finds that physicians who protest the denial of Medicare claims win their cases 61 percent of the time. Spring Medical Systems will offer its EHR clients an analytics solution from Clinigence. The AMA argues that pre-payment MU audits would be too burdensome for physicians. None of this news can be found on HIStalk, so if you are interested in the ambulatory HIT world, make sure to sign up for the HIStalk Practice e-mail updates. Thanks for reading.
I’m not really interested in two front teeth for Christmas since I don’t have a spot for them, but I could use some holly jolly reader gifts that cost nothing: (a) take 10 seconds max to sign up for spam-free e-mail updates from HIStalk, HIStalk Practice, and HIStalk Connect; (b) sleuth us out on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and make the electronic connection; (c) support the companies that pay the bills by checking out their ads to your left, reviewing their offerings in the Resource Center, and sending out an effortless request for consulting information via the RFI Blaster; and (d) graduate from spectator to player by sending me news, rumors, and guest posts. I note that Dann’s HIStalk Fan Club on LinkedIn now has 2,881 members, all of whom get extra attention when requesting something because I’m reassured that they aren’t ashamed of reading HIStalk. A reminder: we’ve got the top headlines each weekday morning on HIStalk, courtesy of the newest crew member, Lt. Dan. You won’t get an e-mail blast to remind you since I figured that would be really annoying, so just head over to the main page and you’ll see what’s new before you head out for work (like I do).
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Toronto-based Constellation Software purchases 100 percent of the fully diluted shares of Salar from Transcend Services, a division of Nuance. Transcend purchased physician documentation and charge capture systems vendor Salar in July of 2011 for $11 million, followed by Nuance’s acquisition of Transcend for $300 million in March 2012. We ran an accurate reader rumor report of the then-unannounced sale on November 30.
EMR vendor Modernizing Medicine raises $12 million in Series B financing to expand into the orthopedic and ENT markets.
SAIC announces Q3 results: revenue up 3 percent, EPS $0.33 vs. –$0.28, missing on expectations of $0.35. The company said it signed over $100 million in contracts from its recent acquisitions, maxIT Healthcare and Vitalize Consulting Solutions. SAIC also announced that it will cut 700 jobs in advance of possible fiscal cliff federal spending cuts that would decrease defense spending. Shares that were at $20 in early 2010 closed Thursday at $11.26, valuing the company at just under $4 billion.
Presbyterian Healthcare Services (NM) signs a multi-year agreement with IT service provider T-Systems to manage the health system’s data center operations.
Martin’s Point Health Care (ME/NH) selects athenahealth to provide EHR, billing, PM, and care coordination services for its 90 providers.
Catholic Health Initiatives will partner with Encore Health Resources to create a suite of electronic healthcare intelligence solutions focused on quality, performance, and risk analytics.
Indiana University Health selects Healthcare Quality Catalyst’s data warehouse platform for reporting and analytics.
Mercy Medical Center (IA) will implement iSirona’s device connectivity software to automate the flow of patient data from more than 150 devices into Epic.
Abington Health System (PA) selects the Surgical Information Systems perioperative IT solution for its two hospitals.
WellSpan Health (PA) subscribes to the CapSite Database to improve its purchasing processes.
Maury Regional Health System (TN) selects Medseek’s patient portal solution.
Ophthalmic Consultants (MA) adopts the Professional Charge Capture solution from MedAptus.
Interoperability software provider Compressus names Joe Lavelle (Results First Consulting) as COO.
Clinithink hires Fiona Lodge, PhD (Microsoft) as director of technical operations and Nathan Skorick (Altos Solutions) as business development executive.
Huntzinger Management Group VP William Reed (above) joins the company’s board of directors, along with Richard Sorensen (US Health Holdings.)
Emdeon adds former Allscripts Chairman Philip Pead and former Harris Corp. CEO Howard Lance to its board.
Hospitalist Fred Chan, MD is named to the newly created position of CMIO for GBMC HealthCare System (MD).
Jardogs names Ken Mikesh (MyHealthDIRECT, above) as SVP of strategy and business development and Brenda Stewart (Merge Healthcare) as SVP of marketing.
Homer Warner, a cardiologist and medical informatics pioneer, died November 30. He started developing clinical software at University of Utah and Intermountain Healthcare in the mid-1950s and wrote Intermountain’s ground-breaking and still-used HELP system in the 1970s, one of the first electronic medical records and clinical decision support systems. He was chair of University of Utah’s Department of Medical Informatics, the first such program offered by a medical school. Intermountain opened the Homer Warner Center for Informatics Research at Intermountain Medical Center in 2011. He remained active, vital, and humorous until his death at age 90, as evidenced by this video interview conducted a few weeks ago.
Announcements and Implementations
Vitera closes its hardware support business unit through a partnership with DecisionOne, which will hire Vitera’s field technicians. Vitera notes that it has added more than 270 employees this year and anticipates filling another 200 positions.
The University of Texas at Austin launches the country’s first HIE laboratory, which is funded by ICA, Orion Health, eClinicalWorks, and e-MDs.
DrFirst announces Akario, a free secure clinical messaging system.
GE Healthcare launches its Centricity Business 5.1 RCM solution.
Allscripts releases Sunrise Financial Manager, a revenue cycle solution designed for accountable and value-based care payment models.
The HIEs of West Virginia and Alabama, both customers of Truven Health Analytics, earn federal recognition for reaching milestones for full query-based and directed information exchange.
MModal opens a medical transcription center in Mysore (India), where the company plans to create 100 jobs over the next two years.
Cisco Systems is providing video calls with Santa to patients at 31 children’s hospitals (including Children’s of Alabama in a photo from Tuesday, above) via its Santa Connection Program, which runs through December 21 .
Government and Politics
The IRS releases a final rule subjecting the sale of medical devices to a 2.3 percent tax beginning in 2013, which is expected raise $29 billion in tax revenue through 2022.
Innovation and Research
Independence Blue Cross, Penn Medicine, and DreamIt Ventures create Philadelphia-based DreamIt Health, yet another digital healthcare accelerator. It offers $50,000, a four-month boot camp, office space, mentoring, and a demo day. It gets 8 percent of the equity in return.
Athenahealth will buy the 29-acre, 11-building, 760,000 square foot Arsenal on the Charles complex in Watertown, MA from Harvard University for $169 million. The company was already leasing 330,000 of space in the complex for its headquarters.
A CapSite survey finds that one-third of US hospitals have adopted a vendor-neutral archive, while another 19 percent plan to do so.
Kaiser Permanente will open a new IT center in the Denver, Colorado area and will hire 500 IT employees by 2015.
A survey finds that 94 percent of healthcare organizations suffered at least one data breach in the last year. Other findings: (a) 69 percent don’t secure PHI-containing medical devices such as insulin pumps, and (b) almost all of them use cloud-based solutions and allow employees to use their own medical devices even though half of the organizations question the security of those technologies.
The CDC reports that 40 percent of office-based physicians now use an EHR with a basic level of functions, up from 34 percent a year ago.
At a dermatologist appointment this week, I noticed signs on the window urging patience, as the one-doc practice had just changed EMR systems. I asked the doctor and got an earful in return. He had already attested for Meaningful Use Stage 1, but was convinced by a salesperson to trash his EMR and move to GE Centricity. He said it’s the worst business decision he has ever made, not because Centricity is bad, but because he spent a lot of money, he’s being hit constantly with additional upgrade and maintenance fees, and to top it all off, he now realizes that he has no chance of collecting Stage 2 money because the bar is set too high for his practice. Not to mention that as a specialist, the EMR is not providing much patient value. He says he’s hoping to hold on for the 2-3 years it will take to get his practice back on its feet again, as the EMR is now his single largest expense. I can only describe his behavior as ashamed, followed by relieved as he realized from our discussion that he’s not the only one struggling to pay for something that he probably should never have bought in the first place. Needless to say, he’s not exactly thrilled with the HITECH program. It’s an eye-opener to realize that these little practices are cash-strapped businesses run by folks who may be excellent clinicians, but who are also marginal, accidental businesspeople just trying to keep the doors open and their employees paid. Derms are usually well paid and minimally stressed thanks to acne and Botox, so I can only imagine what it’s like for a primary care practice.
In Canada, Vancouver Coastal Health fires a long-time clerical employee for looking up the electronic records of five local media personalities out of curiosity.
Hello, Doc, Internet porn is free: a female employee of a doctor’s practice notices a red light glowing behind supplies in the restroom. She finds a video camera pointed at the toilet. The doctor finds his career potentially in that same toilet, as police executing a search warrant find the camera-controlling software on his computer. Maybe he should claim that the restroom doubles as a telemedicine station.
A privacy “weakest link” example. MC and Mel, a couple of morning zoo-type deejays from Australia sporting the worst fake British accents in history, call up the London hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge for morning sickness, doing hilariously unskilled and giggling impersonations of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and barking Corgi dogs. They get through to a nurse who provides a full update on the former Kate Middleton’s condition, learning that Kate “hasn’t had any retching with me.” The hospital is evaluating its privacy practices. UPDATE: in a not-so-funny ending to the story, the nurse who took the prank call has apparently committed suicide.
- Billian sponsored the December 4 Health IT Leadership Summit at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, which attracted 600 attendees. Above are Ellen McDermott (University of West Georgia), Jennifer Dennard (Billian Inc.), David Hartnett (Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce), and Cynthia Porter (Porter Research).
- AT&T adds a remote interactive patient monitoring solution from Ericsson to its ForHealth remote patient monitoring platform.
- Mercy Regional Hospital (KS) implements a paperless employee time off request process using Access Evolution.
- Healthcare Clinical Informatics offers ten tips for realizing the value of EHR.
- Shareable Ink will exhibit at next month’s ASA Conference on Practice Management in Las Vegas.
- Beacon Partners and its employees donate over $9,500 in support of the Red Cross’s Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
- ChartWise Medical Systems will integrate TruCode’s grouper, pricer, and editing Web Services into its ChartWise:CDI software.
- Imprivata publishes a white paper highlighting best practices for realizing care team collaboration and productivity benefits using HIPAA-compliant texting.
- CPU Medical Management Systems, a MED3OOO company, partners with RISARC Consulting to provide CPU customers an option for secure electronic document exchange.
EPtalk by Dr. Jayne
ONC holds its annual meeting on Wednesday, December 12 in Washington, DC and also accessible by webcast. It will include sessions on HIE and interoperability, patient engagement, and of course Meaningful Use.
A study in the December issue of Pediatrics lists five key features needed for pediatric EHRs: well visit tracking, support of growth chart analysis, immunization tracking, immunization forecasting, and weight-based drug dosing. Although the article notes that “it’s nearly impossible to find an EHR that meets those standards,” I guess I’m lucky because my system supports all of these. One of my friends is looking to replace her system and I’m attending a demo with her over the holidays. We’ll have to see how that vendor stacks up.
Over on HIStalk practice, Inga mentioned a survey on e-prescribing. Although I’m optimistic about its potential, I’m skeptical about the ability of pharmacies to keep up. Case in point: e-prescribing of controlled substances. Although the DEA finally approved this and several vendors piloted it in a handful of states, there is still a lack of awareness. I happened to stop by the pharmacy at a local supermarket chain and ask if they’re ready to receive such scripts (because I’m more than ready to start transmitting them) and received a stern lecture from the pharmacist about how he’s been told it’s illegal to do so.
Weird news story of the week: A New Orleans ambulance crew finds their vehicle immobilized with a parking boot, applied while they were on the scene with a patient.
I previously mentioned Scanadu, the startup that hopes to make a Star Trek-style medical scanner a reality. The company unveiled its SCOUT product, which is headed to the FDA for approval as a home diagnostic device. If it really delivers what it says – five vital sign results in 10 seconds with 99 percent accuracy – I think they’re missing a major market. For physician practices where rooming patients quickly is essential, this would be a killer app.
One of my favorite Tweeps is @MeetingBoy. Since I shared my holiday party recipes, I’ll share his piece on Eight Reasons Why I’m Skipping the Office Christmas Party. I’ve never been to a real-life office Christmas party – we don’t have those in non-profit land. The closest we have is the holiday potluck. I’d love to live vicariously through HIStalk readers and of course promise to keep you anonymous. Bonus points for anyone who has received a corporate logo holiday gift worse than what I received one year: jumper cables.
Flu season has arrived early. If you haven’t received the vaccine, there’s still time. Whether you’re vaccinated or not, please keep covering those coughs, stay home when you’re sick, and keep washing those hands. And in case you wondered, paper towels spread fewer germs than drying your hands with a blower.