WebMD Health Corp. will eliminate 250 jobs, or about 14 percent of the company’s workforce, in an attempt to reduce operating expenses by about $45 million. The company has suffered declining ad and sponsorship revenues and its stock price has fallen 63 percent since the start of 2012.
From Former MCK’er: “Re: Dave Souerwine, president of McKesson Provider Technologies. Gone and ‘pursuing other opportunities,’ according to an e-mail sent to employees Monday.” Several readers forwarded the internal e-mail from McKesson Technology Solutions EVP/Group President Pat Blake, to whom Dave’s former management team now reports. I confirmed Dave’s departure with a McKesson spokesperson: “After an intense period of execution and putting McKesson Provider Technologies on a positive strategic course, Dave decided to leave to reassess where he wants to spend the remaining time of his career. Dave played a key role in our Better Health 2020 strategy working with other presidents across our Technology Solutions businesses, and those efforts will continue as we focus on helping our customers prepare for the complexities of health reform.”
From Unbarred: “Re: Epic’s lawsuit against a consulting firm. It’s an intellectual property lawsuit in which Epic claims tortuous interference, breach of contract, trade secret misappropriation, and other related transgressions. They say the defendants inappropriately logged into the customer area of Epic’s website to access an ambulatory training video. Epic wants all of its material returned and removed from any website on which it was loaded, along with punitive and actual damages.”
From The PACS Designer: “Re: IT convergence. With all of the mobile devices and desktop workstations accessing data of all types in daily activities, it becomes more important for IT management to control the platform running everything viewed by users. Microsoft realizes the need and is addressing the challenge by incorporating Windows 7 and 8 in their .NET Framework software. As more vendors migrate to Windows 7 and/or 8, the pressure will build to move towards Microsoft’s .NET Framework solution to enhance IT convergence.”
Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum sponsor Ormed of Austin, TX. The employee-owned company’s product line includes financial management (AP/GL, asset management); decision support (EIS, cost accounting, budgeting, dashboards); supply chain management; human capital (scheduling, HR, payroll, employee self-service); e-commerce transaction services; and accounts receivable. Ormed MIS decision support for healthcare includes Cyberquery information access, which delivers vital business intelligence information to authorized employees as graphs, reports, or spreadsheets. The fully integrated Ormed MIS software and Ormed X2 B2B portal help create efficiency, cost savings, and controls across the entire organization. The company has been working since 1989 to provide hospitals and other healthcare organizations with tools for timely and informed decision-making, cost-effective growth, and improved service and satisfaction levels, with over 5,700 software applications in use in the US and Canada (see the interactive user map, which lists its customers). Thanks to Ormed for supporting HIStalk.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Sutherland Global Services will pay $184 million for the business process outsourcing unit of the India-based Apollo Hospitals Enterprise, which provides IT support services to more than 150 US healthcare organizations.
A Nuance Communications investor day presentation predicts a paradigm shift that will favor the company’s speech recognition and natural language processing products, observing that nearly every mobile device includes capabilities covered by a Nuance offering. Key product lines include the Dragon family, OEM versions of its speech recognition products increasingly being incorporated directly in computer hardware, voice-enabled televisions, and cloud-based speech recognition. Nuance’s healthcare division reports strong growth, aided by the HITECH act and relationships with EMR vendors such as Cerner and Epic.
Rothman Healthcare, which developed the Rothman Index for analyzing data points to identify hospitalized patients whose condition is worsening, renames itself PeraHealth and hires Stephanie Alexander (MedAssets) as CEO.
Kansas City-based Health Outcomes Sciences will relocate to Overland Park and expand from 13 to 37 employees in the next five years. The company, which is seeking incentives from Kansas state government for the move, offers the ePRISM clinical predictive modeling tool for improving outcomes. CEO Jim Wilson was previously president of Craneware and has worked for Cerner and Oacis.
The parent company of LifeCare Holdings, which operates 27 long-term acute care hospitals in 10 states, declares Chapter 11 bankruptcy to allow the company to be acquired by a group of its lenders.
LSU announces plans to form public-private partnerships for the operation of three of its hospitals, hoping the $12 million it will receive in advance lease payments will help it avoid the previously announced layoffs of hundreds of employees. The state announced similar privatization agreements for two additional hospitals in Houma and Lafayette as it dismantles its charity hospital system.
Duke University Health System (NC) will implement TeraMedica’s Evercore Smartstore and Univision modules for medical image management.
The University of Kentucky contracts with CSI Healthcare IT for project management and support services for current and future software applications.
Providence Health Care (BC) selects MModal Fluency for Transcription as the speech platform for all Lower Mainland Health Authorities hospitals and facilities.
North Oaks Health System (LA) selects iSirona’s device connectivity solution to integrate with Epic.
Cumberland Center for Healthcare Innovation (TN), a 29-practice ACO, will use clinical data analytics technology from Clinigence.
Sanford Health (ND) chooses Click Portal from Huron Consulting Group to manage HHS-mandated conflict of interest disclosure rules.
Sentara Healthcare (V) chooses Accalarad’s medical imaging solutions for its imaging centers and hospitals in Hampton Roads.
Clearwater Compliance hires Ashley Bampfield (Bampfield Communications) as director of marketing.
Cone Health (NC) promotes Steve Horsley to VP/CIO, replacing the retiring John Jenkins.
Ross Martin, MD, MHA (Deloitte Consulting) is named VP of corporate relations and business development of AMIA.
Jay Colfer (Prognosis Health Information Systems) joins Surgical Information Systems as sales EVP.
Phil Pead (Allscripts) is named president and CEO of application development tools vendor Progress Software. He was serving as executive chairman and interim CEO.
I interviewed Joseph Kvedar, MD of the Partners Center for Connected Health about his involvement with Wellocracy on HIStalk Connect.
Peter Cyffka (O’Melveny & Myers, House of Blues) is named CFO of Epic Systems.
The National eHealth Collaborative elects six officers including Janet Corrigan (National Quality Forum), Tom Fritz (Inland Northwest Health Services), Paul Uhrig (Surescripts), Bill Spooner (Sharp HealthCare), Michael Barr, MD (American College of Physicians), and Leslie Kelly Hall (Healthwise).
Announcements and Implementations
MaineHealth and Maine Medical Center go live on their $150 million Epic system, with which the organization hopes to qualify for $50 million in EHR incentives.
HIMSS names Mount Sinai Medical Center (NY) as the winner of the enterprise Davies Award. HIStalk sponsor Culbert Healthcare assisted Mount Sinai with the application process, including developing quality improvements measures and a return on investment model.
Bassett Medical Center (NY) goes live on Epic.
Community Health Solutions of America deploys Cognizant’s ClaimSphere HEDIS for compliance measurement and reporting.
Meridian Health (NJ) upgrades to ICA’s CareAlign Exchange platform, which includes Direct messaging, CCD repository, a patient identity manager and registry, HISP capabilities, and global opt-out for patients.
Oroville Hospital (CA), the first hospital to self-deploy the VA’s VistA, releases a self-developed, open source e-prescribing module under the name eRx VistA, which meets Stage 2 MU requirements.
University of Utah Health Care offers online access to its database of 40,000 patient satisfaction surveys, including comments about its 1,200 physicians.
Emmi Solutions announces EmmiPrevent, a population health management application that initiates interactive calls to patients to encourage then to take preventative action.
Government and Politics
National Coordinator Farzad Mostashari becomes a Blue Button user on behalf of his parents, finding that the straight download of claims data is hard to interpret even for a physician like himself. However, he finds that the iBlueButton app, which recently won an ONC programming challenge, does a nice job of reformatting the information into a usable list of problems, diagnoses, encounters, and treatments. In a suspiciously dramatic story, he reports that he downloaded the data Thanksgiving day, his father developed an emergent medical condition on Black Friday, and he was able to immediately share his freshly downloaded data with a specialist.
Innovation and Research
It happens every year right after the mHealth Summit concludes: an mHealth expert and advocate expresses frustration that the few clinical studies involving mHealth technologies usually fail to show any conclusive benefit, with most of the positive accounts coming from purely anecdotal reports. Or as NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD said succinctly, "The plural of ‘anecdotes’ is not ‘data.’"
CardioMEMS, an Atlanta-based company that is developing wireless body monitors, wins the Intel Innovation Award.
An article in The Atlantic profiles a non-profit South Dakota "patient-less hospital" that provides long-distance critical care to rural hospitals in six states. Avera Health Network uses two-way video consulting to provide what it calls "hands in pockets doctoring," covering 60 percent of the ICU beds in South Dakota. They’re expanding to cover nursing homes and prison infirmaries. While the program reduces the cost of sending patients to major hospitals, it says its main benefit is to limit the decline of small, rural communities.
UCLA gastroenterologists test a program in which patients with inflammatory bowel disease are given free iPads to enter their information for remote monitoring by nurses. The software also provides education, a job coach function, mental health coaching, and even traffic reports for patient trips to the office. The UCLA Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases originally announced the program in September.
FDA is developing guidelines for how drug companies can promote their products using social media, but in the mean time, the manufacturers are finding new and unregulated ways to market their wares in potentially deceptive ways. Way back in 2010, the agency sent warning letter to Novartis for using a Facebook widget to market a leukemia drug by placing ads on the news feeds and profile pages of individual Facebook users.
Epic seeks to buy an additional 38 acres of land from a zoned subdivision southeast of its existing 811-acre property. The company presented conceptual plans to Verona, WI city officials that include proposals for a fourth and fifth campus. Some residents expressed concern that Epic’s never-ending construction projects are encroaching on nearby homes and creating noise and traffic throughout the area, but others expressed support for Epic’s plan to reserve part of the land for a park and said the company at least makes a better neighbor than closely spaced apartment buildings.
A KLAS report covering business intelligence finds that the most significant impact of BI solutions involves knowledge dissemination and end-user adoption.
India launches its first cloud-enabled eHealth Center for delivering primary care in remote regions. It provides remote medical consultations and sends SMS-based patient reminders.
Russian hackers hijack and encrypt the electronic patient files of a clinic in Australia, demanding $4,200 to restore the information. Experts say the clinic doesn’t have much choice but to pay up in this latest episode of so-called ransomware, but warn that paid-off hackers often hit the same victims again to demand more cash.
Greek hospitals are struggling in the country’s economic crisis, facing supply shortages and budgets cut by half. A neurologist says pay cuts have left him making $1,600 per month for a 100-hour workweek, while patients can’t get medication because the government can’t pay its pharmacy bills. Greek healthcare, critics say, is like the rest of the country’s economy in suffering from corruption and mismanagement.
Weird News Andy likes this “pacemaker for brains” story in which Johns Hopkins researchers implant a stimulation device in the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient in the hopes it will stop cognitive decline. Also from the infectious weirdness that is Andy: five Cedars-Sinai heart valve transplant patients contract staph infections when the gloves of their surgeon develop tiny tears, allowing bacteria from the wound on his hand to infect them. The hospital says the surgeon is no longer performing operations there.
- Besler Consulting President Brian Sherin addresses the company’s growth over its 25 years in business in a newsletter article.
- Emdeon reviews the top priorities of its channel partners.
- William Bithoney, MD of Truven Health Analytics and Jeffrey Softcheck of Silver Cross Hospital address the future of healthcare and improving care quality and outcomes at this week’s IHI conference in Orlando.
- StartUp Beat profiles PatientPay and its billing and collections technology.
- NextGen launches its 8 Series EHR content, which includes embedded MU criteria and an optimized seven-tabbed clinical workflow.
- The Orange County Register names Kareo a “Top Workplace in Orange County.”
- Prognosis will integrate its EHR platform with DrFirst’s e-prescribing solution.