From Cerner Rules: “Re: Intermountain. Finally the Epic backlash has begun.” I wouldn’t make that assessment without a review of the Cerner-Intermountain agreement since I don’t know the price or the concessions Cerner gave to earn the business. We heard similar partnership hype in 2005 when Intermountain struck a 10-year, $100 million collaboration deal with GE Healthcare to develop new technologies around Centricity that would “set the standard for the industry to follow.” The net result is that nothing ever happened, Centricity slid even deeper into irrelevance, and Intermountain bailed out early over dissatisfaction with the result and courted its next bedmate. Intermountain is a development shop with a long IT history and an unhealthy allegiance to its antiquated HELP system, which I would bet makes them a pain as the development partner of a bureaucratic and publicly traded vendor like either GE or Cerner. I don’t recall many examples like this where the vendor ended up with commercial software with wide appeal, not to mention that it’s the federal government that’s driving the development agenda anyway with prescriptive rules for Medicare payments, Meaningful Use, and ICD-10, most of which provides no benefit to patients at all. It’s a good deal for Cerner from a PR perspective and they may fare better than GE Healthcare, but I wouldn’t hold my breath in anticipation of a flood of amazing new Millennium functionality since Intermountain is hardly Cerner’s only smart customer (that’s another risk – alienating the lesser-anointed longstanding customers). Probably the best bet is analytics since Intermountain is strong there and Epic got a late start. I’m talking to Neal Patterson this week, so I’ll let you know what he says. Intermountain Health Care changed its name to make the “Healthcare” part one word and eliminated the previously acceptable “IHC” designation later in 2005, so the GE Healthcare announcement spelled it right even though it looks wrong. Now if we could just convince the “HealthCare” holdouts to spell it right …
From BigMoneyInPatient Portals: “Re: patient portals. A report says the market will jump from $280 million to $900 million in the next five years. I guess HCIT corporate development people have found their next acquisition target.” I don’t pay the slightest attention to those come-on press releases from market research firms that claim to know how big a particular market will be, information they will gladly share with you for several thousand dollars. I don’t see many follow-up press releases extolling the accuracy of their previous predictions, the reason for which you can probably infer. I think the patient portal hype is overblown given that every vendor offers one, meaning patients are supposed to log on to several depending on what system their providers use. Kaiser can do great things with MyChart because most of the encounters are within their system and the patient can get everything in one place, but I don’t think the concept will work in most areas. Imagine if your bank had separate portals for deposits, checks, loans, and investments, all with their own look and feel and log-in credentials. Not only would nobody use them, the banks would irritate their customers for even suggesting that they should. Portals are a proprietary distraction to interoperability, not a solution for it.
From Raj: “Re: UMass Hospital System. Missed the deadline to go live with CPOE and missed out on millions of dollars from the taxpayers. They have unionized nurses who stood up and demanded HIT accountability like in Ohio and California.” Unverified. I will say that I’ve worked rather uncomfortably with unionized nurses and that’s an experience I’d rather not repeat (or experience as a patient). The visual memories of watching nurses trashing hospital equipment and blocking ambulance access during an ugly labor dispute soured me for good on their concern for patients.
From IsItTrue: “Re: David Muntz. Rumor is he will return to Baylor to lead the newly merged Baylor Scott & White IT organization.” I wouldn’t be surprised. Quite a few of the departed ONC folks have gone back to their previous jobs after finishing their abbreviated government service. Baylor Health Care and Scott & White Healthcare agreed to merge in late June to create Baylor Scott & White (I’m really annoyed at the omitted commas), which will have 40 hospitals, $6 billion in annual revenue, and 34,000 employees.
From Patient Advocate: “Re: EHRs. My ophthalmologist appoint ran 90 minutes late. The doctor said it was because they were converting to a computer system, but nobody told that to the waiting patients. She started whining that it had been a month, they were still delayed, and she was working until 6 every night. I told her the practice should adjust the patient load to reflect the number they can actually see. She said, ‘We have to see patients’ and didn’t seem to agree as she stashed her iPad mini into her lab coat. I finally left two hours later, and as I fought rush hour traffic, I thought, you chose this profession. I did not choose to need an eye specialist. Don’t tell me how rough your life is with a computer system implementation for which someone set the wrong expectations. I left without making a follow-up appointment since I couldn’t find the energy.”
Most poll respondents expect population health and analytics opportunities to kick in within four years. New poll to your right: which customers benefit from combining Vitera and Greenway under a single private equity owner?
Upcoming HIStalk Webinar: “Strengthen Financial Performance: Start with Lab Outreach” on Wednesday, October 16 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Presented by Liaison.
Friday’s quarterly report from BlackBerry will probably form its epitaph as it announces a $1 billion quarterly loss, almost all of it due to unsold Z10 touch phones on which the company had bet the farm. It’s hard to believe people still actually work there, but the former RIM (renamed in January to distance the stench of failure) will hack another 4,500 jobs and move its focus to corporate customers. The one-hit-wonder company has evaporated $75 billion in market value in the past five years.
A Toronto surgeon develops an “OR Black Box” that records every aspect of surgical procedures by video and audio, although he points out that it probably couldn’t have happened in the lawsuit-happy USA.
Bridgeport Hospital goes live on Epic, completing Yale School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Health System’s $300 million project on time and under budget as CEO Bill Jennings throws the ceremonial switch.
Administrators at at one of England’s highest-mortality hospitals open up staff access to Twitter and Facebook, with the intention of promoting “openness and transparency” but causing critics to warn that “the last thing this hospital and its patient needs is staff getting distracted by Facebook and Twitter whilst at work.”
Government subcontractor programmers are being pushed to fix the health insurance exchange software that is scheduled to go live October 1 whether it’s ready or not. Known problems include delays in the Spanish version, specific exchanges that can’t calculate federal subsidies, and erroneous displays. Oregon is so worried that it won’t let anyone try to enroll in insurance plans without the help of a trained agent. The system integrator is India-based Infosys. The saving grace is polls that show two-thirds of Americans have never heard of the insurance exchanges anyway.
Truven Health Analytics names Mason Russell (inVentiv Health) as VP of strategic consulting.
Private equity firm KKR will acquire Panasonic’s healthcare unit for $1.67 billion
Weird News Andy provides a “Man Bites Dog” story. A 33-year-old medical student falls onto a Boston subway track in a drunken stupor after celebrating passing his board exams. Onlookers jumped down to pull him to safety.
- PeriGen will demonstrate the PeriCALM fetal surveillance system at the MedAassets Technology & Innovations Forum in Orlando this week.
Vince’s HIS-tory this week is about the people who founded and ran the early healthcare IT vendor firms. If you’ve been around for awhile and are good at matching names to faces, Vince is looking for help in identifying some of the industry pioneers pictured.