The Madison paper reports that Epic’s headcount has increased to 9,400, up 1,400 in the past year. Campus 4 and Campus 5 are under construction and will add 3,500 offices and the company is sharing the cost of expanding Nine Mound Road to four lanes to handle Epic employee traffic. The company also announces that it has 360 healthcare organization customers in 10 countries and booked $1.8 billion in 2014 revenue.
From Crank Caller: “Re: McKesson. I agree with your prediction that it will divest its health IT business. I’ve heard from two reliable sources within McKesson that Paragon is for sale, not that anyone would want to buy it.” Unverified, but the company seems to be constantly apologizing for its health IT business, it hasn’t produced great numbers, the Better Health 2020 initiative doesn’t seem to get much airplay after an initial big splash, and the company has shut down product lines like Horizon. With the retirement of Jim Pesce, anything could happen.
From Simmering Stock: “Re: 2015 share price performance. Some vendors are traded on non-US exchanges.” I intentionally limited my list to companies whose shares trade on US exchanges, but some that don’t are:
Pro Medicus (parent company of Visage Imaging), Australian Securities Exchange: up 191 percent
Craneware, London Stock Exchange: up 68 percent
Orion Health, New Zealand Stock Exchange: down 45 percent
From HIPAA Shake: “Re: your medical records request. Did you ever hear back from the Office for Civil Rights?” I filed a complaint in July with both OCR and the hospital that refused to provide me with an electronic copy of my medical records (the hospital claimed it is required to do so only for providers and patients can only get printed copies). I haven’t heard back from either organization. Good thing I haven’t been comatose for the six months with my doctor anxiously waiting to see what happened during my one-day stay in early 2014.
From EHR Product Manager: “Re: LA Times op-ed piece on physician working conditions. I left a faith-based academic medical center to work on the vendor side, which definitely has a better work environment. The AMC emphasized work-life balance but I couldn’t get them to let me work remotely even one day a week, which is a given in the vendor world. Is healthcare seeing a brain drain due to perceived lack of perks?” The Stanford medical student’s article says it’s easy to understand why the school’s graduates often forego residency to jump straight into industry in contrasting their environments: the working conditions for low-pay medical residents involve fluorescent lights, endless pages, and cell-like on call rooms, while business school students ride fancy buses to tech companies that provide free gourmet meals, gyms, massages, and on-site services such as bike repair and yoga classes. I would hope that those who choose to pursue professions such as medicine or the ministry don’t expect the eye-popping perks awarded to a tiny percentage of the young workforce who are chosen to work at Google or Facebook (or Epic, for that matter) — I’d rather see the folks who are torn between patient care and Silicon Valley just hire on with Google instead of naively wasting a medical school spot. Excluding poor working conditions for residents, hospital jobs are a mixed bag, especially for non-executives who aren’t eligible for bonuses, fancy offices, and expense accounts. Sometimes the time-off policy is pretty generous and layoffs are less frequent, but otherwise the rewards of hospital work mostly involve the satisfaction of helping people rather than helping yourself. It’s also not a given that people have a choice between the two worlds – hospitals hire lots of people who overestimate their own capabilities in failing to realize that nobody else would want them. My only conclusion is that medical schools should paint a realistic picture of what it’s like being a doctor before offering admission to a student who might have unreasonable expectations, but that’s not their business model — university tuition coffers are filled by students who are destined for a rude awakening when they realize that their expensive degree has little market value or has prepared them for a job nobody would really want.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
Cerner and Epic share the lead as the companies for which poll respondents lost the most respect for in 2015. New poll to your right or here: what are your HIMSS conference plans?
I hope everyone enjoyed their most-of-December industry slowdown. The industry rocket is about to blast off now that New Year’s is behind us and HIMSS is just eight weeks away. News was understandably slow last week, so today’s post won’t consume too much of your first-day-back output.
Last Week’s Most Interesting News
- ProPublica launches a searchable database of health data breaches and privacy complaints.
- A new law takes effect that allows CMS to fine insurance companies for publishing incorrect provider databases.
- AMA President Steven Stack, MD names EHRs as the top cause of physician frustration.
- A New York non-profit rolls out an app that alerts volunteer first responders of nearby medical emergency 911 calls.
January 13 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Top 5 Benefits of Data as a Service: How Peace Health Is Breathing New Life Into Their Analytics Strategy.” Sponsored by Premier. Presenter: Erez Gordin, director of information management systems, Peace Health. Finding, acquiring, and linking data consumes 50 to 80 percent of an analyst’s time. Peace Health reduced the time analysts were spending on data wrangling, freeing them up to create new actionable insights.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
South Carolina-based Singular Sleep offers $249 home-based sleep apnea studies and $69 online consultations for patients in 13 states.
The Chicago business paper profiles Prepared Health, which offers a care team communications platform. The company was started by folks formerly with Medicity.
Bruce Matter (AMC Health) joins Banyan Medical Systems as EVP of sales.
In England, problems with the implementation of CSC/iSoft Lorenzo at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust cause extended patient waitlists and short appointment time notices.
ProPublica covers Denmark’s 1992 elimination of medical malpractice lawsuits, replaced by a national compensation program in which patients file claims that are reviewed by independent experts who set compensation in return for gaining access to the details for ongoing improvement. The two most-used criteria there are: (a) was care of substantially lower quality than a specialist would have provided; or (b) did the patient experience a rare medical event, such as an unusual drug reaction. The average paid claim is $30,000, but citizens there file seven times the number of claims as in the US and four times more patients per capita receive awards. Doctors there are also legally required to tell patients when they’ve been harmed during medical care. The president of a US association of malpractice lawyers hates the idea, of course, fretting that “those with economically viable cases would take pennies on the dollar when their case is worth substantially more.” He left unstated the obvious two last words of the sentence that motivates him: “to me.”