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Monday Morning Update 7/16/07

July 14, 2007 News 4 Comments

From Tommy Pischedda: “Re: Epic’s non-compete. Didn’t Carl Dvorak give an interview awhile back in Inside Healthcare Computing saying that those didn’t exist? They’re actually pretty nasty about it. Even if an employee is moving because of a spousal employment change, the clause is still enforced. There are some customers who don’t have that in their contracts. Epic has still gone after ex-employees trying to get jobs there.” He told the newsletter the agreement is basic, of limited timeframe, and involves only a few direct competitors (more specifics are in their October 16, 2006 issue).

From Mick Shrimpton: “Re: Epic. I heard that there is a lawyer in Madison that specifically works with ex-Epic employees and HR issues.” I’d enjoy speaking to that person if anyone has contact info. I also heard from a former Epic employee who broke the chains in going to work for a customer and offers help to those who need it, so I’ll forward your contact info to him if you like.

From John “Stumpy” Pepys: “Re: Illinois nurse staffing bill. I haven’t heard any word about Illinois Senate Bill 0867, Nurse Staffing by Patient Acuity. Any thoughts in the industry about this?” I’m not a fan of the article itself since it clearly favors the nurse’s union that supported the bill and refers to nurses as “her” (like male nurses don’t already have enough ‘splainin to do). Its sponsors were Democrats, of course. It requires hospitals to use a patient acuity tool, an idea that’s come and gone at least ten times since the early 1980s. I’m not a fan of prescriptive lawmaking where the government gets involved with how businesses operate, but the sad thing is that hospitals were so lax on staffing that it came to this.

From Grapevine: “Re: Initiate Systems. Mark Battaglia, SVP of worldwide business development, is no longer with the company. Initiate is pursuing IPO and one has to wonder why a top executive would exit the company at this time.” Looks like he was nuked off their Web page sometime after May 14.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: best hospitals. TPD closely follows the annual release of America’s Best Hospitals by US News and World Report, which happened today.” The honor roll: Hopkins, Mayo, UCLA, Cleveland Clinic, MGH, NY Presbyterian, Duke, UCSF, Barnes-Jewish, and Brigham and Women’s, University of Washington, HUP, UPMC, University of Michigan, Stanford, Yale-New Havel, Cedars-Sinai, and University of Chicago. Hey, how come the Vandy informatics rock stars didn’t propel VUMC onto the A-list? Kidding. Just popped into my head because we were talking about it earlier.

From Ronnie Pudding: “Re: Andy Corbin. My theory as to why he left Sage was that he’s being indicted. After all, the Forbes article was an embarrassment to the Justice Department. Anyway, he wasn’t much of a leader and surrounded himself with people who don’t know the industry and who don’t listen to their subordinates who do. He also pushed the selling of Emdeon to Sage, so maybe Sage is feeling ripped off at this point.”

From Angela: “Re: Verisign. I read yesterday where the CFO of Verisign resigned. This and the recent departure of their CEO and the failed investment in Healthvision would lead one to believe that they have changed their minds regarding the health care space.” The CFO bailed after yet another options-dating scandal that will cost the company $160 million and force it to re-state earnings. The CEO high-tailed it in May. You have to expect them to retrench back to core business, which healthcare isn’t. How that will affect Healthvision is anyone’s guess.

From Viv Savage: “Re: Misys. Mike Etue is the new Senior VP of Sales for Misys.” Well, if so, then I’ll pat myself on the back for near-psychic ability for taking that wild guess strictly on the basis of timing. If it’s true, that would pretty much dismiss the implied claim by Eclipsys that they fired him, unless he was darned fast at lining up a new gig.

I’d like to introduce you to The White Stone Group, Inc. of Knoxville, TN, an HIStalk Platinum Sponsor. They’ve been around since 1991, with over 400 hospital customers and three major products: TRACE (revenue cycle communication tracking, like precertification, to improve denials management); OptiVox (handoff reporting for shift changes and transfers, of obvious Joint Commission importance); and VoiCentral (automation of incoming telephone calls with information templates for pre-registration, scheduling, etc.) They offer lots of case studies and articles on their site. It’s pretty cool that they’ve found some unusual yet much-needed healthcare IT areas of focus. I always Google companies before I take them on as sponsors and I ran across this interesting article about White Stone’s struggle with providing employee health insurance. Back in 2004, the wife of one of the company’s 70 employees gave birth to quintuplets, racking up a $2 million hospital bill that increased the company’s premiums by $90,000 per year. “For a company with $8 million in revenue, that extra $90,000 was going to hurt. ‘Willem said he was sorry,’ says [CEO Guille] Cruze, who tried to reassure his employee. ‘I told him that it was okay, that we would live and die as a team.'” Welcome and thanks to The White Stone Group for supporting HIStalk.

A regular reader chimes in with some Mac comments that make me want to give it a run. “As a non-zealot who’s used both a Mac and a PC since 1992 (as well as a UNIX machine), I recommend an iMac. OS X is elegant, works very well, learning curve not high if you do Windows, and an iMac is an elegant piece of hardware, besides, that is quite a change from the usual ugly metal box. Kind of like a Camaro Z28/SS being the opposite of your neighbor’s minivan. And now that Macs use Intel inside, you can have your cake and eat it too.” They look cool, but I was most intrigued by the Mac mini. I don’t know anything at all about Apple (I lost interest 100 or so years ago with the Lisa flop) and their commercials seem to aim to a different demographic than mine, but maybe I’m missing out.

Cerner COO Paul Black will retire on August 31, the company announced Friday. Sorry for the redundancy for you regular readers: I said this would happen on February 28 (courtesy of Private Ryan), May 7 (PezMan), and again on June 27 (Hatchet Guy). Given their production cycles, the trade journals will have this scoop by Labor Day or so (if they run it at all, since it isn’t advertiser-friendly), so that means you read it here six months early. The COO position, which Paul assumed in February 2005, won’t be filled. Isn’t 48 a bit young for retirement?

Eclipsys announces KLAS results indicating that it has the highest nurse satisfaction rating of fully rated vendors and the highest positive commentary percentage. That last stat is beginning to annoy me: how valid is a comparison of percentages of positive commentary when all comments are voluntary, unattributed, and of wildly dissimilar relevance and importance? And, in the interest of fairness, I note that the “fully rated vendors” part was tacked on by Eclipsys because Epic annihilated them in the nurse satisfaction score, but with too few respondents to meet KLAS’s validity standard. They were also fifth in the eight-horse race for adoption scores. Still, I’d place it above most of what’s out there, with the very bright spot being Knowledge-Based Charting. Had they rolled out a pharmacy package earlier to gear up for medication dispensing and bedside barcoding, they’d be sitting pretty right now.

Sentillion announces nine new Q2 customers. I like their tagline (assuming it’s true): “The company that created healthcare single sign-on.”

The president of a corporation that ran nine San Francisco-area nursing homes gets 30 months in jail for failing to pay $10 million in payroll taxes. He also owned Skilled Logic Systems, a software company (without a web site, so I’m guessing tax dodge.) His genius attorney tried to keep him out of jail by citing Scooter Libby’s get out of jail free card. It didn’t work. “Easterday ran his business on the government’s tax dollars, buying a six-bedroom home now valued at $2 million, sending his children to private colleges, funding his mother’s monthly pension and buying a sailboat and jet skis, Assistant U.S Attorney Jay Weill wrote in a sentencing memorandum. ‘He used the withheld payroll taxes like an ATM machine for working capital for his business activities,’ Weill wrote.” I made up some amusing lyrics, sung to the tune of Yesterday, but that kind of humor is beneath me.

Modern Healthcare had a pretty good editorial going called Scrap the National IT Plan, at least until toward the end when it advocated smart cards for data sharing. Other than that one ill-conceived paragraph, I liked it.

University of Rochester claims that labor savings from reduced chart pulls gave them a 16-month payback on TouchWorks.

Bye. E-mail me.

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. RE: Verisign and Healthvision – I don’t know why Angela is calling the Verisign investment in Healthvision “failed” — that relationship is NOT over by any means. Verisign maintains a seat on the HV board. I’m surprised Mr. HISTalk would run that statement without fact checking with the folks at HV.

  2. A regurgitation of Sentillion’s unsubstantiated sales numbers and dubious “we were first” tagline but no facts on Sentillion’s 30% employee blood letting or the toppling of their president or analysis of the goal of their glossy media makeover? Hmmm…

  3. Re: Ill Nursing bill. Mr HISTalk, stow the partisan commentary would you? Our fabulously expensive, error prone, uncoordinated health care system is brought to you by the free market which the R’s defend to the death. There is plenty of un-healthy policy to go around.

    Staffing laws are dumb on the face of it though. You can’t legislate the creation of nurses to fill the positions. We don’t have enough, period. How about getting the “we’ve got way too much money” geniuses behind LeapFrog to fund new nursing schools or scholarships rather than create yet another way of measuring a broken system.

    All that said…keep it up Mr HISTalk!

  4. Epic’s non-compete is not primarliy an issue as far as working for competitors (Cerner, Allscripts, etc.), but rather is an issue when trying to work for existing Epic clients. Generally, employees cannot work for any existing Epic clients for 1 year after they terminate employment at Epic.
    Of course, if you are in particularly good favor with Epic at the time that you leave employment, Epic has quietly allowed certain employees to secure employment at select clients. They are inconsistent in the application of their non-competes.

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