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News 8/10/07

August 9, 2007 News 4 Comments

From Joseph L. DiNardo: “Re: other sites. I notice that [name removed] has a story on private equity in healthcare IT. Other magazine stories and sites seem to just write about what you do, except later. They’re ripping you off.” Well, I could turn into Howard Stern and claim I invented the genre, but I won’t. Certainly I’ve noticed some remarkably coincident news and opinion pieces over the four years I’ve been writing HIStalk. I’ll attribute that to subsconscious influence, kind of like when one singer hears a song and writes another one very much like it. If I influence them, good for me.

From Doc Hilarity: “Re: you must be flying under the radar.” Link. Somebody wrote a program to chart out the healthcare “blogosphere” and HIStalk doesn’t look like a big deal on it. Reason: it counts links to and from. I don’t link to other sites and don’t expect anyone to link back to me. Here’s the stat that counts: HIStalk has more readers, page views, and sponsors than any site I know. If those slip, I’ll know I’ve left the Blogosphere and entered Suckitude USA.

From Shortwave Coates: “Re: Healthia Consulting. Healthia Consulting Sells to UHG? That was the word from some Ingenix employees (a division of United Health Group).The consulting company’s CFO, rarely seen at client sites, was visiting Ingenix this afternoon.” Since I’ve got Healthia contacts because they sponsor HIStalk, I sent it their way for a response. “As you may know, UHG and many of their companies / business segments, including UnitedHealthcare and Ingenix, are clients of ours, and our entire leadership team takes a strong interest in having close relationships with each of our customers to ensure the quality of our services meet and hopefully exceed expectations. Additionally, UnitedHealthcare manages our employee benefits, so our leadership team communicates with and/or meets with UHG staff regularly. Due to the strong reputation we’ve built in the industry, we do periodically get approached by companies across the industry about strategic partnerships the depth of interest in those relationships varies across the partnership spectrum. In the event we determine that a strategic partnership at any level with any organization is in our colleagues’ and clients’ best interests, we’ll let you know and work with you to publish complete and accurate information, so that the readers of HIStalk are informed.”

From Bill Hafner: “Re: Cerner. I saw the stock rocket upwards Wednesday. Looks like there was an Investor Day at the HQ on Tuesday. These financial guys came away thinking Cerner was doing pretty well. What do you think?” Bill attached a fancy report on the visit from stock guys Thomas Weisel Partners. Some quotes: “Tuesday, August 07, 2007, we met with Cerner management at its Kansas City headquarters. The highlight of our trip, by far, was the tour of CERN’s newest data center located on its corporate campus … Our trip to the Experience Theater was impressive. The company has always proclaimed that once it gets a potential customer to the Experience Theater, the probability of a customer win is high.” Sounds like the Tom boys were so wowed that they just about bought Millennium themselves instead of just CERN, like many CIOs so distracted by the carefully scripted Vision Center sizzle they forget to check the steak along with their checkbook. You’d think investment guys would be more cynically realistic, or at least not report back with such obviously fanboyism. What I think: less than that, certainly. Cerner is managed well and entrenched, but Epic is stealing a lot of their high-margin, big IDN business. They say they’ll make money in the UK, but I doubt it – no one has so far. They don’t play much in outpatient, still struggle with non-clinicals, and have taken only baby steps into non-provider markets to try to find another growth area to prop up the share price. Meditech has the entire low end of the market staked out already, so there’s nothing there for them. I expect clinical sales to dry up because those hospitals who can afford the ridiculous price tags have already shot their wad. If Cerner wants growth, they’ll have to buy it through acquisition. Just my opinion, of course. That fancy data center that the investors drooled over won’t sell much product, especially since most clients run their stuff locally anyway. It’s not that Cerner won’t make money; it’s just that the growth built into a lofty share price will be hard to sustain now that the numbers are a lot bigger.

From Cao Van: “Re: Piedmont. Any update on the OIG Audit?” I haven’t heard a thing.

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Stratus Technologies, a brand new HIStalk Gold Sponsor. What they do: five-nines system availability, redundancy, and system monitoring and alerting. System availability is critical once you’ve installed all those EMR and real-time clinical systems, so these are the folks who can help. They’ve been around for 27 years and have a big presence in other continuous availability industries (six of the world’s 10 biggest banks and 14 of the 20 biggest telecom providers, for example). Stratus, of Maynard, MA, was the first to offer a 100% availability guarantee for Windows Server in 2002. All you need to remember: continuous availability=Stratus. Thanks to Stratus for supporting HIStalk and respecting its readers by doing so. I appreciate it.

And speaking of Stratus, they’ve got a case study from Orthopedic Center of St. Louis: “Bonner finds Stratus’ ActiveService architecture particularly helpful because it amounts to having ‘another staff member on call 24×7 to monitor the server .. ftServer system is constantly in touch with Stratus’ service center, which monitors its performance. If the server has a problem, it alerts the service center, which either corrects the problem remotely or sends a ‘hot swappable’ component to fix it … the ftServer, which comprises redundant components running in lockstep, continued to run the practice and clinical management systems with no interruption at any time, including during the replacement. When Bonner finished, the server automatically resynchronized and returned itself to full redundant operation.”

Remember those Bulgarian nurses and doctor who were arrested by the Libyan government in 1999 and charged with intentionally infecting 400 children with HIV? They were stuck in jail until last month, constantly threatened with execution unless Bulgaria sent Libya a few billion dollars, but finally were released last month. The Libyan government now sheepishly admits that their confessions were extracted by torture. “Yes, they were tortured by electricity and they were threatened that their family members would be targeted. But a lot of what the Palestinian doctor has claimed are merely lies.” 

Cerner gets a mention for its surgical tracking system that keeps families informed of the patient’s status. They get a card with a confidential number and can look at the patient’s status on a plasma screen in the surgical waiting room (like “PRE-A” or “OR” or “PACU”).

The St. Louis paper runs an article on Purkinje’s physician office dispensing system. I’m vehemently against that concept from a patient safety standpoint, especially when pitched as a revenue booster for doctors, but Purkinje supposedly has built safety checks into its electronic systems. Like Allscripts, Purkinje got into the business by acquiring a company already in it, back when they were Wellinx. I know next to nothing about them, but they sound like of interesting.

A reader e-mailed me to ask, “What are the top three HIT-centric publications that are well read and well respected?” I honestly couldn’t think of any. I don’t read any of them and my feeling is that most industry people don’t either. What little real news they carry is two months old by the time the issue goes out, plus the non-expert reporters just re-word the press releases anyway in most cases, keeping it friendly to advertisers. Of course, I’m biased.

QuadraMed announces not so great Q2 numbers: revenue up 7%, EPS $0.02 vs. $0.06. The stock headed south, trading near its 52-week low and now down 24% in a month. Some folks on the conference call claimed that Keith Hagen was wishy-washy on the financials of the Misys CPR product that QuadraMed bought, leading to speculation that the deal could be in danger once the bean-counters shine a harsh light on those books. Doubtful, but they still have to figure out how to make money from it.

Pravene Nath is named CMIO for NYU Medical Center. Mentioned by Toni Rienzi when Inga interviewed her. And when looking for that link, I ran across this oldie but goodie phony news issue of HIStalk, which had me cackling even though I wrote it.

HIMSS joins some trade associations in trying to get the President to override the ITC’s ban on imported 3G cell phones containing Qualcomm chips, claiming a threat to public safety. Broadcom probably doesn’t agree: it was their patent that Qualcomm infringed upon, according to a previous unanimous ITC ruling. Doesn’t sound like something HIMSS needs to be involved with. Guess their CPOE and RHIO work has been successfully completed and cell phones are the new imperative.

Merge Healthcare shoots off whatever toes it had left, announcing a delay in filing their Q2 report on the day it was due. Stock board speculation was coalesced around three themes: (a) top management is bailing out; (b) the company will be bought; or (c) everybody in charge is a moron.

Cardinal Health announces Q4 numbers after the bell: revenue up 5%, EPS $2.33 vs. $0.76, although most of that came from the sale of one of its business units to private equity star Blackstone Group.

Interesting: this Mac-based practice management system uses MySQL for its database.

Odd: a surgeon in federal prison for 51 months for healthcare fraud is suing Apple, claiming he invented the iPhone’s keyboard.

Former Sutter CEO Van Johnson joins the board of Visicu. Different Van Johnson: it’s not the slightly dense blonde guy (Lt. Steve Maryk) from The Caine Mutiny, I now know (although he’s still alive and will be 91 in two weeks, so here’s an HIStalk shout-out, you big lug).

Allscripts announces Q2: revenue up 17%, EPS $0.10 vs $0.05. The stock dropped; analysts expected $0.14.

Emageon’s Q2: revenue down 14.8%, EPS -$0.01 vs. -$0.04.

Odd lawsuit: a Nigerian man who took his sick neighbor to the hospital in Saudi Arabia has been arrested there for immoral behavior by Islamic religious police. Men aren’t allowed to associate with unrelated women, even when saving them.

News, rumors, blogosphere positioning developments: e-mail me.

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. RE: “Cerner gets a mention for its surgical tracking system that keeps families informed of the patient’s status. They get a card with a confidential number…”

    Sorry Cerner, that’s been around for a long time. My brother got the exact same thing when I had surgery 6 years ago at UW Hospital, who was running McKesson or IDX at the time, unsure what was running in OR.

  2. Oooh…I like it. MrHISTalk talking the trash “HIStalk has more readers, page views, and sponsors than any site I know”. No question on the sponsors and the rest of the HC Blogosphere is jealous–definitely the best sponsored blog of its size in any industry that I know of–due to the laser like focus on the hospital IT business and ( as MrHISTalk points out) how appallingly badly that industry was served by its off-line press for years–and how interested the non big-fish HIT vendors represented here are in getting some visibility. (Yeah, Judy and Neal don’t need the publicity)

    However, if 862K visitors since June 2003 is to be believed (from the sitemeter on the right), a certain other blog that I know well–which has an open site meter anyone can check into–has had 625K since it put its sitemeter on its new site in February 2005. So is that really “more readers”. Maybe, but perhaps MrHISTalk should open his sitemeter logs….all in the interests of friendly competition.

    And I’m just being feisty here. Mr HISTalk knows I love his blog! (Although you do need a magnifying glass to comment in this new little box!)

  3. Re-Cerner stock value

    I continue to be amazed at how Cerner stock price defies gravity despite everything I have heard about them: de-intallations, arrogance, product failures. They must have SOME product that works SOMEWHERE to sustain a company of that size. I tell you the Cerner bashing has been going on so long, I can’t stand it anymore…arrgh.

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