Former health system CEO Joe Swedish, now CEO of WellPoint, says he’ll focus the company on technologies such as telemedicine, kiosks, and smartphone-based instruments (he didn’t mention the company’s partnership with IBM to develop Watson-powered applications). Swedish is also driving use of WellPoint’s databases that are populated from processing 581 million medical claims each year. It’s good to work for an insurance company – Swedish’s shares are worth $15 million and he’s paid $7.5 million per year. I remember him way back when he was CEO of Winter Park Hospital (FL).
From LISPro: “Re: Epic. I’ve heard the company has submitted to the FDA for 510k certification of their new blood bank module.” Unverified.
From Not From Me: “Re: Intermountain. The short-term choice (three or so years) would have been Epic, but we went with Cerner because of Epic’s dated technology, Cerner’s openness, and the feeling that we would be more of a partner than a customer with Cerner. The partnership is more than words. We’re working closely with Cerner and their horde of sharp, dedicated people on the implementation. We have some pieces they don’t and those are being built into the Cerner system, while some of our own development efforts have been redirected since Cerner already has that functionality. The first rollout is scheduled for December and I think it will go well due to the way the teams are working together.” Unverified.
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Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Epic says that it has 7,400 employees, 600 more than it reported in February, probably boosted by the college graduation of its latest round of hires.
QPID Health will move its offices to Federal Street in Boston to accommodate expected growth.
Brad Holcomb, RN (St. John’s Health System, First Consulting Group, BHL Consulting Group) died on May 14 at 47. His wife Lucretia said it would be OK for me to mention the donations page a family friend has set up for their children.
Valence Health announces its Further 2014 conference, September 10-12 in Chicago. It’s open to anyone and the cost is amazingly low: $500 includes registration, meals, entertainment by Second City, and two nights’ accommodations at the Drake Hotel ($400 per night on the hotel’s site for those dates.) If you’re local to Chicago, you can go for $199 without hotel. Some of the agenda is specific to customers, but a lot of it isn’t, covering value-based care, clinically integrated networks, patient engagement, and predictive risk. I would attend myself if I didn’t have a conflict , and may yet in fact, since it looks worth juggling other stuff around.
A hospital in Spain is using the Oculus Rift virtual reality gaming headset in the OR for nervous surgical patients. The immersive device provides calming scenic movies with music that minimize the patient’s perception of the OR’s noises and bright lights. Facebook must have been impressed since it bought the company for $2 billion in March even though the headset won’t be available to consumers until next year. The founder of Oculus is a 21-year-old California college dropout.
An article profiles the use by Duke Medicine (NC) of a geographic information system tied to its homegrown clinical database query tool, allowing researchers to study medical issues by neighborhood, socioeconomic indicators, and even proximity to fast food restaurants, all in real time.
In England,the Health & Social Care Information Centre reports that Summary Care Records have been created for 41 million patients, with only 1.4 percent of them opting out of the program. The SCR program was intended to give off-hours providers fast access to a patient’s medications and allergies using information from practice-based EHRs. Around 5,500 practices have created SCRs for patients. SCR was until recently a floundering part of the now-defunct National Programme for IT. A British Medical Association IT committee chair called for its shutdown in early 2013, saying that while 23 million SCR records had been created, only 100 hospitals and after-hours providers were using them.
An article by former FDA Deputy Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD says existing policies don’t encourage researchers to develop high-priced cures for diseases that would reduce overall lifetime patient cost for chronic conditions. He suggests a system in which payers can finance their longer-term benefit through government-backed guarantees and accounting rule changes.
I found a cool heart rate app that works sort of like a pulse oximeter – you put your finger on the phone’s rear-facing camera, the app turns on its flash so it shines through your finger, and then it measures and displays your heartbeat as a real-time graph. It seems to be quite accurate, making it useful for people who exercise or who have atrial fibrillation. The developer claims 25 million users and offers others for cardio exercise, sleep cycle analysis, biofeedback stress reduction, and blood glucose logging.
Weird News Andy sniffed out this story: a woman who received experimental treatment for paralysis eight years ago in which cells from her nose were injected into her spine grows another nose from the injection site. WNA also suggested taking the stairs in hospitals after a study finds that elevator buttons have more germs than restrooms.