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News 7/11/07

July 10, 2007 News 1 Comment

From Cernerguy: “Re: RemedyMD. RemedyMD acquires EZHealthcare Inc.” Good catch. I interviewed RemedyMD CEO Gary Kennedy just a few weeks ago and he didn’t drop any acquisition hints, although as I re-read what he had to say, I really like his “make some bets” philosophy on building a company. Back to our regularly scheduled programming: EZHealthcare Inc., a Salt Lake neighbor of RemedyMD, does revenue cycle and practice management automation for over 1900 medical practices.

Art Vandelay left a question for Cindy Dullea about her interview: “Are you saying AHLTA (CHCS II) is behind the commercial products? If so, why?” Cindy was gracious enough to volunteer an answer when she noticed the question: “ALTA is a good core HIS product and works well in the military health system. There are many commercial clinical products that I have personally worked with that have a high degree of sophistication. The most important element is how well a product feeds the EMR so we can track care across the continuum. This will be key to case managing our service men and women.”

From TheRunner: “Re: GE. GE will lose yet another Lastword client to Cerner or Eclipsys. Bronx Lebanon (Bronx, NY) will make a decision shortly.”

From Anon: “Re: Vandy. Interesting someone comments about Vandy. I’ve never  had much love for their arrogant ways from the informatic blokes. I think he just moved on, or retired from Vandy, but that [name expunged by Mr. HIStalk, fearing litigation] was a masterful SOB, with his nose so damn high I about involuntary puked every time I had to talk with him. I only wish those similar types might go back to being physicians full time and stay out of informatics, where they DON’T belong. On a non-pandering note, when will we realized healthcare has pandered to the physician, when it should have been to the patient? Now we’ll spend a lifetime fixing that.” Now this is my kind of e-mail: leading off with a scathing personal attack, then jumping right in with a profound comment on the physician-centric healthcare model. (Obviously, someone sees how we work here.) If the model is physician-centric in a negative way, some would say we’re undoing it gradually. It sure seems that way to me, given that I started in a day where you just about had to kiss the ring of every quack doctor in the house, many of them with absolutely horrid medical training obtained from a handful of specific countries that treated them as an exportable fungible good. I tangled with quite a few of them, trying to at least slow down their rate of incompetence. I lost every time (I worked for a for-profit hospital, so even bad medicine paid well as long as you practiced a lot of it.) I sat on the hospital’s Death Committee for awhile and that was quite a whitewash.

From Ex-Sunquester: “Re: Misys landlord lawsuit. Did you know that the owner of Any Travel Inc. is Sid Golblatt’s daughter? BTW, the buildings were in pretty bad shape when we moved in in 1994.” Several readers tipped me off. Any Travel is the company that owns the old Sunquest buildings in Tucson and is now suing Misys for $1 million for leaving them in bad shape. According to Arizona public records, Any Travel Inc.’s president is Jodi B. Gottlieb, one of Sunquest founder Sidney Goldblatt’s three children. Other corporate officers are the usual interlocking directors from Pittsburgh that Sid used for all his companies (he sold Sunquest to Misys in 2001 for $400 million in cash, a 63% premium to the share price.) So, in essence, she’s suing her father’s former company since they were the tenant for much of the time, although claiming the damage was done when Misys moved out.

From I Heart Misys: “Re: Misys landlord suit. First, it is likely no coindence that the suit is filed two days before MHSUG. Nothing like giving the Misys clients one more thing to worry about! Second, when Misys was Sunquest, they used Any Travel as its travel agency and landlord. Any Travel was of course owned by Jodi Goldblatt, Dr. Godlblatt’s daughter. In essence, it was a shell company. The buildings were leased to Sunquest by a Goldblatt. When Misys came along, they took over the lease. Who in their right minds signs a lease that really gives the landlord (Any Travel) no obligations whatsoever? Cracks me up for sure!”

From Rumour: “Re: Misys. It is true that Misys is getting reorganized. They are getting lean and more efficient. Payerpath is getting functionally realigned with the Physician Systems. The hospital division will be getting realigned in the second phase.”

From Maggie DuBois: “Re: Misys. We signed up for Payerpath and were surprised to find the training being outsourced. But, to be frank, the experience with the trainer was just great. She was from India. She was extremely polite, very Knowledgeable and highly professional.”

From The Great Leslie Gallant III: “Re: Eclipsys sales re-org. Here’s the e-mail from Jay Deady.” I won’t run it all, but here are a few high points (no guarantee that it’s authentic, but it appears so, and thanks for sending it over): Steve Schroeder and John Sage are promoted to Senior Regional VP with expanded Mid-America new business and New England client business. SVP Kristin Lenahan gets South existing business, Dustin Whisenhunt goes back to new business in the South, Bill Shuman adds midwest sales. Jay Colfer and Mike Smeraski split the country as sales SVPs. Mike Etue and Tom Dunn get the axe. Steve Carper goes full-time to international business and Greg Lusch gets Canada. And speaking of Eclipsys, they’re on World Business Review, some kind of infomercial hosted by 15-minutes-over Norman Schwarzkopf.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: convergence. With the release of the iPhone, the trend toward convergence only gets more news stories about improved connectivity. One thing healthcare can use is more connectivity options to enhance the chances for improved patient care. With many new software platforms being debuted, you would think that healthcare applications would also benefit from the increase in convergence solutions. Only time will tell if the increased convergence will benefit healthcare institutions.” Is anyone really following the iPhone as anything other than a wildly overhyped and overpriced consumer toy fad? I admit that I don’t get the whole Apple thing, so I need someone who does to explain it, especially when it comes to business computing. I’m a beige box kind of guy.

From Hezekia Sturdy: “Re: Sage. Interesting article about Andy Corbin, CEO of Sage Health.” The article rips the former executives of BISYS, which paid $25 million to make SEC charges of a $179 million income overstatement go away (plus another $66.5 million to settle a shareholder class action suit.) The CFO running the books at the time the financial fiction was being written: Sage Health’s Corbin. What the article finds amusing is that the former CEO of BISYS is now a part-time accounting professor and an anti-fraud consultant. Both men got to keep the money and neither were charged criminally, although SEC says it may not be finished with them yet.

From Henry Goodbody: “Re: HIMSS junket. According to this letter, a bunch of specially selected HIMSS members should take their spouses on a trip to India since HIMSS is an international organization. I can’t imagine who has time for this, let alone the $6,500 per person to travel. I shudder to think someone might try to get their employer to pay for it (or their time off).” According to the invitation letter’s co-signers Victoria Bradley and John Wade, HIMSS is inviting “only select members” and a spouse or guest, leaving March 30, 2008. I can’t get too worked up about it since everybody’s paying their own way. If I had the money and time off, I’m not sure I’d pick a trip to India with a bunch of HIMSS people. Do you really need to see the outsourcers eye to eye to understand them? How about we have a Webinar, with each attendee sitting in from his or her local Indian buffet restaurant? Since I like Indian food very much and $7.95 is more in my price range, I’d be up for it.

Discuss today’s news here.

Speaking of those go-go, pre-dot-bomb days: how about this quote from then-Misys chairman Kevin Lomax on the Sunquest acquisition in 2001: “The acquisition of Sunquest consolidates Misys’ position as a leading provider of healthcare information systems, extending Misys’ presence into the acute-care market making it well placed to exploit the expected growth in clinical systems.” Well, one part was right: there was growth in clinical systems. The rest wasn’t: Misys watched the action from the cheap seats. The Sunquest acquisition was announced the same day that Misys PLC shut down two dot-bomb businesses of its own: theformula.com and Screentrade. Hmm: suppose they knew they were losing their dot-com shirts and figured healthcare was the safer way to grow? The timing makes me wonder.

Sorry if you got double e-mail updates this morning. The hosting company had a little problem (with Exim, for you server software geeks). That reminds me: if you’re getting one update from Blog City and another from Mr. HIStalk, you can click the unsubscribe link to that first one (the Blog City one.) The one from Mr. HIStalk is the one I’m considering to be primary, so I wouldn’t un-sub that one. On the other hand, feel free to click both and read everything twice if you’re so inclined. And if that didn’t scare you off, sign up to your right to get an alert when I write something new. I might say something about you, after all, so you’d want to know first.

I’m very pleased to introduce to you HIStalk’s newest Platinum Sponsor, Pring|Pierce Executive Search of Hampstead, NH. Managing Partners Troy Frank and Mike Delisle wanted to support HIStalk and reach out to its readership, for which I greatly appreciate. These guys have over 300 successful HIT executive searches under their belts. They place sales and marketing VPs, product management executives, national sales team development, and other executive positions for early-stage, high-growth, and mature companies in our industry. They’ve developed a very cool ad over to your left. I’ve sat here and watched it run through several times just because it’s dramatic. I like to think of Troy and Mike up there in that lighthouse turned recruiting office, working tirelessly to reach out nationally to the industry’s best and brightest talent like a shining beacon … well, clearly the dramatic ad got me carried away. Anyway, thanks, guys, glad to have you on board.

It’s really hard to figure out what Forbes thinks of the stock of Allscripts in their July’s Most Dangerous Small-Caps story. Help me read between the lines: “A complete mess, in our opinion. MDRX holds the distinction of the stock on our most dangerous stocks list with the most negative price-to-economic-book value ratio at a mind boggling -151.6%. This bottom-quartile ranking in ROIC and negative free cash flow yield only make this stock more of a dog.” Well, if they were all that smart, they wouldn’t be giving away swell stock tips in magazines. Do your own homework.

Inga was tittering at this story: President Bush performs an aortic aneurysm repair (simulated) at Cleveland Clinic. Since all the witty comments I thought of were sure to offend one group or another, I’ll let you fill in the blanks: “The best thing about having President Bush perform your brain surgery is …” Feel free to e-mail me your best line and I’ll run a few of them here (but keep it respectful, please: politics aside, he is the President).

Guess outgoing NPfIT head Richard Granger won’t be asked to join the happy customers manning Cerner’s HIMSS booth: “Sometimes we put stuff in that I’m just ashamed of. Some of the stuff that Cerner has put in recently is appalling.” Maybe he needs a reprogramming trip to the Vision Center. Like him or not, he sticks up for the taxpayers when it comes to vendors, which to me offsets any perceived negatives. Good article in CIO. I bet he’d be a fun HIStalk interview, at least before he puts on some new employer’s muzzle.

Congrats to long-time HIStalk sponsor eScription, whose software earned the highest ratings in the back-end speech recognition category of KLAS’s 2007 Speech Recognition Report, winning in 39 of 40 categories, a 97% “would buy again” score, and 85% positive commentary (29 percentage points higher than its closest competitor.) And this, in KLAS’s comments about eScription’s win-loss record: “There was insufficient loss data to report percentages for eScription because most of the respondents who considered eScription selected them.”

You have to hand it to those no-nonsense Chinese: when their equivalent to the head of FDA was caught taking drug company bribes, he got slightly more than a few months in a miminum security golf resort. He was executed.

Eyes right: see the text ad? Yours can join it quite cost-effectively. I’m just mentioning that because it looked cooler with more ads running.

The VA buys Picis CareSuite for anesthesia for five big-name West Coast hospitals, where it will pair up with Picis’s ICU software already installed.

AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans) launches a professional certification program, apparently aiming it at employees of offshore business process outsourcing firms. Maybe the HIMSS cadre can drop by. In fact, maybe AHIP should send some of its own people: its former IT manager (an Indian national) pleads guilty to stealing $1 million from the organization by ordering computer products from a sham company he set up. Say, if it’s the BISYS model, he could teach an accounting class in their certification program.

Milton Hospital (MA) goes live on Meditech’s bedside barcoding verification.

Connie D’Argenio, formerly with Siemens, joins Visicu as sales VP.

iSoft’s shareholders vote nearly unanimously to have IBA Healthcare take the company over. All that remains is regulatory approval later this month.

SureScripts is fully supportive of Medicare’s decision to disallow computer-generated faxing as an e-prescribing substitute. The company, as you might surmise, sells e-prescribing stuff.

News, rumors, amusing anecdotes: e-mail me or use the anonymous Rumor Report to your right. Thank you sincerely for reading.

Inga’s Update

Health benefits provider WellPoint has entered into an agreement to acquire American Imaging Management (AIM), a radiology benefit management and technology company with health plan clients representing over 20 million consumers. WellPoint is paying $300 million in cash for AIM and hope to reduce imaging claims expenditure by 15-30%.

An interesting study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine looked at whether or not EHR use and quality of care performance. The study looked at data from 2003 to 2004 and determined that “as implemented, EHRs were not associated with better quality ambulatory care.” I guess that is a little disappointing. I wonder if results will get better when someone examines more current EHRs that presumably have more quality care tools? It might also be interesting to see if coding and reimbursement varied much between EHR and non-EHR users.

MedQuist update: last week they filed a 10K report for the year ending December 2005. This is their first SEC filing since a whistleblower accused them of improper billing practices and the SEC required mandatory accounting reviews. Meanwhile, Philips is considering selling their 70% stake in the company.

I have to admit I have done a bit of drooling over the new iPhone. Somehow I think my life would be more complete with one, but I can’t quite justify the expense yet. However, I have figured out a great solution for anyone wanting an iPhone but who has Sprint (rather than AT&T) and is worried about early termination fees. Sprint has discontinued service for about 1000 clients who have called customer service excessively (an average of 25 times a month.) Those folks are not being penalized with early termination fees. So, start making those excessive calls today!

A special thank you to the anonymous consultant who enjoyed reading the comments from Mark Anderson (and says he loves our site). He also suggested readers might be interested in learn more about what EMR products are being de-installed and why. Anyone care to comment?

A computer error is blamed for a $962,120 bill for a four-day hospital stay in Glendale, CA. Hope the patient wasn’t suffering heart problems when she first opened it.

Whisper to Inga.

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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. There are a number of good individual features of commercial EMRs but not a great package for everyone. Much like Mr. HISTalk says, working on the less-intrusive and value-added features provides significant benefits. In my vernacular, these are usually the “core” functions (to continue to use Cindy’s term). From the few exposures I’ve had the AHLTA, it is a very feature-full product at its core. It gets into trouble when it hits the traditionally challenged areas of templated documentation. Even the order entry and communication vehicle is pretty strong. It is a monster of an application that combines a number of commercial products with custom additions, a significant amount of component to component “stitch code”, and it attempts to work with parts of the CHCS core (same original code as Vista). It is a shame it has cost as much as it has, it has taken this long to roll-out, and so much effort and consternation have been wasted on non-core functions but it is a functional application – more for the non-acute environments. Like CHCS, it is a lifetime guaranteed maintenance contract for Northrup – another sow feeding at the tax dollar trough.

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