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News 8/24/07

August 23, 2007 News No Comments

From Enid Keese: “Re: Initiate. Check out a link between Initiate and Provident Health Plan – Oregon & Northwest. That may be who acquired Initiate.” Hmm. Anyone?

From The PACS Designer: “Re: latency. TPD has dealt with network latencies in the past. Latencies are caused by too much traffic on a network and/or poor planning for daily usage. Some are quick to blame a vendor for not informing them of the network bandwidth required for an new application, but the real issue is the institution has not planned network expansion needs adequately in this new bandwidth-hogging era. Typically, network bandwidth usage peeks in the middle of the day between 9 A.M. and 4 P.M. for most institutions. One alternative is to install a second fiber optic link that isolates imaging file transmissions (which are large) from daily e-mail and system network usages. Whatever is decided, it should be adequate to satisfy network bandwidth needs for at least the next five years to insure adequate planning has been attempted.” Thanks as always, TPD. I like relevant learning squeezed into small bites. Maybe he should do his own “word of the day” type calendar for HIT noobs.

From Stella Hansen: “Re: employers. I think I worked at the same company as ‘Private Joker’. I agree with everything he said. He did forget to mention that this company starts employees at $22,800 per year for getting treated badly. You wanted to hear some good things about employers. Well, I’ve worked at two major software companies and a few consulting companies. After 18 years in the medical software industry, I finally found a company that I absolutely love! It’s called Lucida Healthcare IT. I’m not trying to advertise them in any way (I have no stake in it). I work there as a Senior Consultant and want people to know how great the people are who I work with. First of all, even though I work for the CIO, I feel like I work with him and not for him. Same goes with the Chairman, President and CEO. I love working with the people who get me the jobs as well. They all have a great sense of humor and we have fun working together. They just started this division in Sept. 2006. So far they’ve gotten me some great jobs. I was psyched to find out that I’d be working with different systems (Siemens, Partners, etc.) and not just Meditech and Picis. It gives me a different perspective of how other systems operate. Best of all … they pay well!” I’ll disclaim, since someone will criticize me otherwise: I don’t know Stella, she doesn’t know that Lucida is an HIStalk sponsor, and she’s not a shill (she used her real e-mail address). I’m also pretty sure she didn’t work at Private Joker’s company (for reasons I can’t divulge), but it sounds like she’s equally glad to be out.

From Nick Rails: “Re: RHIOs. Thought you would find this article interesting. I know you have commented on the demise of several high profile RHIOs across the country. I agree that. for the most part. these community health organizations were set up to fail (no defined business model to support itself once goverment funding ran out), but it is good to see different models actually work.” Link. The article says the Cerner project at Winona Health (MN) is a success. I hadn’t heard much about it lately. I know I was impressed when it was first announced.

I haven’t made music recommendations for awhile because a few readers complained (they must be really busy to begrudge me a couple of sentences out of a bunch). Listening to now: new Operator. Strong, hard-rocking album – could be the next Chili Peppers. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

I’ve been fussing about non-informative press releases, so here’s a good one for a change: privately held physician EMR vendor Greenway Medical Technologies announces a 41% revenue increase over FY06, 600 practices as customers, and its community EHR initiative. It has a good quote from the CEO, some comments about its growth, and product certification information. Good information, no flab, well done.

Here’s a reader’s idea I’ll run by you. Would you be interested in an ongoing HIStalk salary survey that would cover IT management, vendors, consultants, informatics, etc.? I can do it if folks would participate and find value (I’m not looking for busy work). Thoughts?

Misys announces another 22 layoffs in Raleigh (already reported here, but now official). They say (again) that no more are planned. Headcount is still higher than a year ago.

Odd UK news: hospital employees can’t leave work without changing back into street clothes. People complained after seeing them in bars. Personally, I like seeing uniformed lasses on liver rounds, but that’s just me.

Mercury Computer Systems announces a medical imaging subsidiary.

IBA Health said it would concede iSoft to CompuGroup. It lied. IBA raises its bid and says it will beat CompuGroup, which would make IBA the largest healthcare software company outside the US (Australia).

Industry longtimer George Giorgianni leaves DocuSys for Unibased Systems Architecture.

Congress is prepared to throw a lot of money at the VA and hope it uses it to improve veteran care: $109 billion in 2008 spending, of which $65 billion is discretionary. $1.9 billion of that would be for EMR and integration with DoD’s AHLTA. “In its measure, the House Appropriations Committee scolded VA for developing EMRs with programming language that is not compatible with Defense health systems. The committee report calls for blocking any expenditures on EMRs that won’t work with Defense systems. It also urges VA ‘to involve leading software companies’ so that veterans’ ‘will be interoperable with existing systems used by the private sector, and the report advocates ‘a portable EMR so that veterans may have a personal electronic record of their care.'” Those politicians need to get out more. Where in the world did they get the idea that vendor systems are interoperable or that programming languages are the culprit? They should be talking to an integrator. We’ve already amply established that software vendors have every incentive to keep their stuff proprietary and non-interoperable.

Siemens continues its undisputed world dominance when it comes to being investigated for bid-rigging. Add Indonesia to the list of countries going after the company. Several vendors bidding for a hospital project there were suddenly dropped, leaving Siemens free to overcharge as the lone bidder, the charges claim. Their KLAS PACS scores may offer an explanation: they’re dead last among 11 vendors and so far beneath #10 that they might as well not even be in the race. You’re gonna have a tough time moving that iron without cheating.

The Feds bust a South Florida infusion therapy billing company and charge it with $105 million in false Medicare claims. Medicare says anti-fraud software stopped $1.8 billion in false claims in two years. Scammers bribed homeless, HIV-positive people to let them bill Medicare for drugs. As a result, South Florida AIDS infusions cost $16,000 per patient compared to $2,000 in New York.

Mike Leavitt has already overcome a common blogger malady: not posting regularly. He’s toiling away at it, which is more than you can for many healthcare IT blogs, which just hang there un-updated in cyberspace with no goodbye or maybe an overly optimistic “be back soon” post.

I always read your e-mails.

Inga’s Update

The Wall Street had an interesting article about the trend for doctors to recommend bariatric surgery as a “cure” for diabetes. The surgery alleviates diabetes in almost 77% of the time. With 20 million Americans affected by diabetes, there is potential for a huge population to look towards surgery. Last year 177,600 people went under the knife. Just think how the face of healthcare would change if we had even a 25% decline in the diabetic population.

eClinicalworks makes Inc Magazine’s 26th annual 500 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the US. ECW was 34th and also the fourth fastest-growing company in the software industry. I just looked at the list quickly but also saw Hospital Partners of America at #3.

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