From Royal Jelly: “Re: Bobby Byrne interview. Edward Hospital was smart to plan around billing problems with Epic. Hospitals often underestimate the cash flow impact of a go-live.” Readers keep reminding me of the rumored near-meltdown of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (NC – above), which at least by urban legend managed to be live on Epic for three months without getting bills out. I don’t know how much of that is true, but there’s a lot of value in reminding hospitals that billing interruptions, no matter how justifiable, are crippling.
Results from my poll about VC-backed vendors were inconclusive, with a slight preference for them expressed by respondents working for both providers and vendors, but with vendor employees apparently appreciating them a bit more for their tendency toward innovation. New poll to your right: is HIMSS an important player in discussions about healthcare quality and costs?
Here’s how lazy reporting can be passed off as balanced and informed. An Alaska TV station’s headline says the state’s HIE “raises privacy concerns” and “has its share of controversy over privacy” makes it seem that a heated debated threatens to turn into civil unrest. The source of that broad-sounding, film-at-11 conclusion: the station prodded a guy from Alaska’s chapter of ACLU, who provided an uninformed and seemingly indifferent opinion that “if people’s medical records are going to be online, there needs to be really robust security.” News reports increasingly make up stories citing major concerns from unnamed or generalized sources, a sharp contrast from more responsible reporting days when such sloppy generalization about opinions and attitudes would have been rejected without specific facts to back them up.
From Cerner’s earnings call:
- It was announced upfront that Neal Patterson would be available during the Q&A, but if so, he was quiet since he didn’t say a single word on the transcript.
- Services revenue is growing faster than system revenue, which is a good thing as long as you’ve sold enough systems to drive continued services sales. It gives Cerner a way to grow despite competition and a mature market.
- Global revenue was up 17 percent, which is another way to find new growth even though most US healthcare IT companies don’t do very well internationally.
- The company brought 10 hospital sites live in 10 months for a newly sold client.
- Cerner says it has a lot of opportunity and has “only one primary competitor.”
- Population health was discussed a lot, particularly Cerner’s work with Advocate Health Care.
- The company says government cutbacks, such as sequestration, increases demand for Cerner systems because they can reduce costs. Quibblers like me would rather hear that “use of systems” rather than the systems themselves reduce costs, but I’m not selling software.
- When asked about the costs of moving employees to the new campus, CFO Marc Naughton said, “And many times, it’s the cost of the couple of cardboard boxes for them to put in their trunk to take over to the new building, not that we’re low-cost movers, but that is an approach that many of them take.”
- Naughton says that hospitals are cutting spending on buying the latest and greatest MRI machines whose benefit is mostly marketing rather than medical, but are willing to spend money on IT to reduce costs.
- I was amused that in talking up a sale it made to a prison system, the inmate population was referred to as “the incarcerated folks.” At least they weren’t referred to as “the mobility-restricted community.”
Tim Tarnowski, associate VP/CIO of University of Kentucky HealthCare, will become VP/CIO at Indiana University Health.
The Leapfrog Group rolls out a downloadable Excel worksheet called the “Hidden Surcharge Calculator” that tells employers how much a given hospital’s medical error expense inflates their bill. It’s getting the AHA and other groups riled up over its methodology, which is probably exactly what it’s supposed to do.
Researchers in China are testing an “oral sensory system” that uses a wired false tooth to identify and record activities such as speaking, eating, and coughing. It may have medical potential, such as tracking dietary habits or detecting smoking. A similar project is Tooth Tattoo, in which a sensor is tattooed into tooth enamel.
In England, Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust says its document imaging-based electronic medical record costs $1.5 million less per year than the paper-based system it replaced. It says an innovative indexing solution makes it faster than paper and avoids dumping large PDF files into a folder that need to be individually opened and read. It also allows clinicians to work remotely.
White hat hacker and medical device security expert Barnaby Jack died Thursday in San Francisco, a week before he was to deliver a presentation, “Implantable Medical Devices: Hacking Humans” at the Black Hat security conference. He claimed he could kill a person from 30 feet away by interfering with their implanted heart device. He was 36.
Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis.