Cerner announces Q4 results: revenue up 15 percent, EPS $0.67 vs. $0.55, beating estimates of $0.64. Shares rose five percent in after-hours trading Tuesday. The company’s market cap is $14.3 billion. From the earnings call:
- Q4 bookings were just over $1 billion, a record
- System sales were $252 million of the $710 million in revenue
- Thirty percent of the bookings came from non-Millennium clients
- The company says it had nearly double the number of new HIMSS EMRAM Stage 6/7 users as its closest competitor, presumably Epic
- It claims that Epic is pushing back on Meaningful Use Stages 2 and beyond because it will be challenged to meet them
- EVP Jeff Townsend said the industry needs to step up to the challenges of interoperability, including use of a patient identifier
- The company says it thinks even Epic clients that have paid a lot of money can be convinced to change systems if their reimbursement is threatened due to quality problems
- The company signed four deals worth $40 million or more, with the showcase being LA County
- Neal Patterson said the market is really a choice between two companies, presumably Cerner and Epic
- The company says 85 percent of its customer base has completed Stage 1 attestation
From Mike Tomlin: “Re: Rich Goldberg. He is leaving McKesson/MED3OOO to run marketing for GE reseller Virtual OfficeWare.” Unconfirmed, but the source is good and his departure would not be surprising given McKesson’s recent acquisition of MED3OOO.
From Bean Enumerator: “Re: Brigham and Women’s CIO position. Not filled yet.” A reader reported on January 30 that Joe Schmitt was taking the job, but that was not verified. The opening remains posted.
From MedWreck: “Re: Innovation Institute. Color me skeptical.” St. Joseph Health (CA) launches for-profit The Innovation Institute that will include includes an incubator, shared services, and an investment portfolio. The primary motivator seems to be to commercialize the intellectual property of large academic medical centers. The only hospital member named is St. Joseph Health, which provided almost all the institute’s executives, including former St. Joseph Health SVP/CIO Larry Stofko, who will run the Innovation Lab. Larry let me know about the Institute’s formation last summer, at which time I mentioned it and his new job there.
From Incredulator: “Re: HIMSS e-mail blast. A customer forwarded this e-mail they received from a company pitching their HIMSS booth. Check out the last line.” It’s easy to doctor a forwarded e-mail, so I’ll assume that’s the case since surely the company whose identifiers I’ve blurred wouldn’t be stupid enough to end an otherwise button-down e-mail blast with a puzzling grand finale. Although if they did, I’ll be interested to see if they own up to it as either a horrific faux pas or an overly bold attention-getter.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
We did a good interview with Vocera Chairman and CEO Bob Zollars on HIStalk Connect.
Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Cornerstone Advisors Group. The five-year-old Georgetown, CT-based professional services firm, in its own words, “provides high-value consulting, advisory, implementation, and staffing services to the healthcare delivery middle and lower market segments at a fair and reasonable price” around its core principles of partnership, integrity, commitment, and value (remember “value” because it’s coming up again). The company took the #1 spot in “Planning and Assessment” and #2 in “Vendor Selection” in the 2012 Best in KLAS awards, with its customers scoring it with a sweet 98.4 and 96.1, respectively, also giving Cornerstone stellar marks for value with a 9.0 in the all-important “Money’s Worth” score in both categories. Cornerstone’s leaders and associates are former Big Six consultants, CIOs, and physicians, and I notice that President and Founder Keith Ryan has a distinguished industry history on the front lines as VP/CIO of Stamford Health (CT) and Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare (IL) as well as having held executive positions with top consulting firms, not to mention that I notice he is an HIStalk Fan Club member, which carries a lot of weight (with me, anyway). I’ve seen the company’s revenue and FTE numbers by year and it’s a steep curve up, earning it a spot on the Inc. 5000 with 431 percent three-year growth. Some of its clients include HCA, William Backus, Chilton Memorial, and Finger Lakes. If you need help with advisory, implementation, or staffing services, consider giving Cornerstone Advisors Group a chance to earn your business. I appreciate their support.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Oak Investment Partners invests $40 million in xG Health Solutions, an independently operated venture that will market intellectual property and expertise developed by Geisinger Health System, including healthcare IT optimization, consulting services, population health data analytics, and care management. We announced the news on January 11 when phony-named reader Jerry Aldini forwarded a copy of the internal announcement.
CTG acquires etrinity, a provider of IT services to the healthcare market in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Michael Dell will regain control of the fading company he founded as Dell announces plans to be taken private in a $24 billion leveraged buyout that also includes taking a loan from Microsoft. The company plans to move its focus from low-margin and low-demand PCs to enterprise services, which worked for IBM years ago as it moved away from hardware. That same strategy hasn’t done much for HP, which is now discussing breaking the company up in hopes of finding shareholder value hidden somewhere in its diverse offerings. The Dell change could be good for its healthcare consulting folks, most of whom were brought on board with its 2009 Perot acquisition that included the former JJ Wild.
Startup eLuminate Health announces plans to open its headquarters in Leawood, KS and create 200 jobs over the next five years. The company offers a network for imaging and surgical providers to provide transparent pricing, clinical quality, and customer satisfaction ratings for consumers (sounds pretty much like an Angie’s List for elective surgery). CEO Tami Hutchison came from Cerner, which you probably guessed given the company’s location and line of business.
Speech technology vendor Vestec raises $1.5 million in capital from V. Raman Kumar, founder and former CEO of MModal. The company offers a speech recognition engine and a Natural Language Understanding system, with a text-to-speech engine planned. The products seem to be small-vocabulary systems for specific voice commands for use in devices such as TVs, GPSs, and PBX-type setups, although Kumar says he’ll help the company move into healthcare.
CHRISTUS Continuing Care (TX) selects HEALTHCAREfirst’s homecare, hospice, and CPO solutions.
MDH Radiology chooses Sectra’s Breast Imaging PACS, Merge Healthcare’s CADstream, and other tools to create a national telemammography solution.
MD Anderson (TX) chooses Oracle Health Sciences applications and Oracle technology for an organization-wide analytics initiative to develop personalized cancer treatments.
CMS awards Emdeon a contract to define the process for testing new HIPAA and ACA transaction standards.
Kentucky Medical Services Foundation and UK Healthcare sign a five-year agreement for Opportunity AnyWare, the business analytics platform from Streamline Health Solutions.
Kalispell Regional Medical Center (MT) selects EDCO Health Information Solutions for its day-forward scanning technology and services.
Middletown Community Health Center (NY) chooses EHR, PM, and EDR (dental) solutions from SuccessEHS for nine service locations and two mobile health units, announcing plans to go live within 90 days.
Parkview Health (IN) selects ProVation Medical from Wolters Kluwer Health for gastroenterology procedure documentation and coding.
Kasey Fahey joins Direct Recruiters as project coordinator in its healthcare IT practice.
Announcements and Implementations
Covisint launches Covisint Healthcare, an integrated solution for analytics across multiple systems and stakeholders that includes enhanced data capture and reporting, real-time admission and discharge notifications, and patient outreach and scheduling.
Reading Hospital (PA) goes live on its $150 million Epic implementation.
Four hospitals of Bassett Healthcare Network (NY) go live with Epic.
LHP Hospital Group (TX) implements McKesson Paragon at five hospitals.
Cox Medical Center Branson (MO) completes activation of T-System’s PerformNext Care Continuity solution to facilitate patient transitions and improve communication and access to clinical data.
ZirMed launches Clinical Link, a nationwide provider-to-provider information exchange platform.
Awarepoint Corporation launches Bed and Bay Sensor for precise tracking of mobile equipment and patient and caregiver interactions in locations with tight bed spacing such as the ED and PACU.
Government and Politics
The VA solicits bids for a pilot program to test how advanced clinical reasoning and prediction systems can use its VistA patient data to improve care, efficiency, and outcomes.
Brian Ahier reports that a new federal law will be published this Friday that will require drug, device, and medical supply managers to publicly disclose gifts given to physicians or teaching hospitals. The Physician Payment Sunshine Act, part of the Affordable Care Act, charges HHS with collecting information about consulting fees, gifts, honoraria, food, entertainment, and travel from companies that are covered by any federal health program.
The Washington Post looks at the burgeoning field of geomedicine, which uses geographic information system technology to correlate environmental conditions with health risks. One example is an inhaler device from Asthmapolis that is equipped with Bluetooth to track when and where patients use their inhalers.
A Germany-based company develops an intelligent armchair that contains health-monitoring technology that constantly measures the health of its occupant, also displaying the user’s historical health measurements via a tablet PC to the TV using Bluetooth. A virtual health assistant uses the information to develop and monitor a personalizes health plan, for which the chair transforms into a rowing machine. The company plans to add mental games to encourage participation and increase alertness.
Fast Company covers the just-concluded MIT Health and Wellness Hackathon, which focuses on commercially viable products. Some of the entrants: an app that encourages HIV/AIDS patients to take their meds, a sensor-based home monitor for congestive heart failure, an endometriosis surgery app for patients, home Parkinson’s monitoring tools built into gloves and a coffee cup, a blood pressure pill bottle reminder, and a diet tracker for epileptics.
I don’t see the point of “pass a test, earn some paper” certifications like the ones offered by HIMSS and some for-profit companies, but this one really puzzles me. HIMSS introduces CAHIMS, designed for “emerging professionals” with less than five years’ experience in healthcare IT. I would be doing all I could to try to hide my newbie status on my resume rather than proudly waving around a paid-for certificate that boasts of my relative inexperience.
Baltimore-based startup Parallax Enterprises, founded by a physician who is also a military pilot and an Air Force major, raises $1 million to develop a heads-up display of surgical checklists. I’m intrigued that Jeff Woolford, MD has booked 1,000 hours in the single-seat, low-level combat A-10 Thunderbolt II tank killer, which is ugly, slow, low-tech, cheap, and scary as heck for the pilot but the most reassuring sight imaginable for ground troops, at least those on the same side. I’ve seen live exhibition flights of just about every modern-era US warplane and the A-10 was the most memorable. Hats off to Dr. Woolford for his service as a Wart Hog driver over Afghanistan.
Former HealthStream executive Luther Cale offers 33 Ways to Reboot Your Life, free on Amazon through midnight Wednesday. Judging from the “Look Inside” feature, you won’t get much out of it if you don’t believe in non-traditional medical techniques like spiritual psychotherapy and healing tonics.
Unverified rumors claim that Cerner and McKesson will open up interoperability between their systems to try to compete with the Epic juggernaut, with a potential announcement planned for the HIMSS conference. I’m skeptical that two large, publicly traded competing companies would agree to such cooperation, so if you have details, please share.
Seattle-based Carena launches its CareSimple program, offering Webcam-based virtual visits with one of its 15 physicians and nurse practitioners for limited conditions for a cost of $85 or for $5 with a family membership of $35 per month.
Texas Medicaid tries to revise its “pay and chase” policies after a TV station’s investigation finds that taxpayers were charged for $705 million over three years for orthodontics. The state is holding the payments of 91 dentists suspected of fraud.
- MedAssets pledges support to employees who serve in the National Guard and Army Reserve.
- Chris Tackaberry, co-founder and CEO of Clinithink, shares details of how Clinithink came about and the challenges along the way in an interview.
- SimplifyMD reports that 100 percent of its customers choosing to file for MU attestation have completed the process.
- The Advisory Board Company hosts senior policy makers on Capitol Hill to discuss efforts to improve care under new Medicare value payment programs.
- Cerner will integrate Gateway EDI’s claims and remit systems with its PM solutions.