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September 27, 2007 News 2 Comments

From Bobby Orr: “Re: Siemens. There were some positive postings about the old MedSeries 4 a week or so ago. If they are now developing MS4 again, along with Soarian and Novius, and supporting their huge Invision base, doesn’t that make them a little bit unfocused? Where is the R&D really going for the future? Is anyone else confused by what they are doing?”

From Brad Majors: “Re: tamper-proof prescriptions. How’s this for punishing EMR users? New York mandated ‘official’ prescriptions two years ago, giving hospitals using EMRs two options: use double-tray, secure printers, or put ‘official’ state stickers on the printed prescriptions. Hospitals mostly went with the sticker option to avoid replacing printers. CMS regulations go into effect October 1 and those stickers won’t be available until the end of October or in November. How could they not have considered hospitals with EMRs?” The Senate stepped in at the last minute to delay implementation for six months. Stickers on paper prescriptions? Only in healthcare. We might as well drip wax to seal parchment scrolls.

From Janet Weiss: “Re: KLAS report on nursing adoption. The lead clinical system vendors had pathetic scores, with the highest score 23.3 out of a possible 40. EMRs pretty much suck for nurses. All that rush to market and to re-create the paper chart while meeting Wall Street numbers. Well, this is what we get.” Someone sent me a copy of GE Healthcare’s internal response to the KLAS report, in which the company seems collectively embarrassed for the whole industry: “None of the vendors evaluated performed above the level of a ‘D’ grade. The overall results of the vendor scores speak to the fact that as an industry we are not sufficiently focused on how IT supports the nurses’ work in delivering patient care. No vendor should be pleased with the results.” Kudos to KLAS for doing the study and GE for coming clean, even thought it only bought the problems along with IDX. Now would any of GE’s nursing system competitors care to take the same level of public responsibility by admitting that they’ve done a lousy job in meeting the needs of healthcare’s largest and arguably most important constituency? On the other hand, it might not have mattered: in most places I’ve worked, nurses were frequently asked for input on software and project plans, but were invariably overrruled by a CIO who could not accept the fact that collective user wisdom might exceed their own. I honestly can’t recall even once when nursing’s choice ended up being purchased, always for some CIO-friendly reason like hardware platform or resume-building cachet.

Oldie but goodie: Neal Patterson on David Brailer, circa November 2005: “He wants to create new entities without true business models … That’s not sustainable … His model [is that of] Beltway bandits – a group of people who live off government grants. He’s aligned himself with the grant babies.” Could he have been any more correct, or any ballsier saying something as outrageous as that in the RHIO hand-holding frenzy two years ago?

More good Cliff and Neal quotes in IBD, although one isn’t true: Neal claims the last time the word ’employee’ was used at Cerner was when he met with pharmaceutical bigwig Ewing Kauffman, who called them ‘associates’. Only if that meeting came after the infamous “tick tock” e-mail, in which Neal used it repeatedly and sarcastically (and capitalized for extra effect).

Heard: Ted Borris, assistant general counsel of Misys Healthcare, has left the company.

Listening: new H.I.M and Entwine. Both from Finland, coincidentally.

DTE Consulting (stands for Down to Earth), started in 2005 by former Lourdes Hospital (KY) CIO Gary Wood, will work with Optio on forms projects.

The voting public, not surprisingly, isn’t really all that interested in healthcare IT. Mitt Romney’s domestic policy director was honest: “I think it’s fair to say that’s not the sexiest issue in the world.” Do what vendors do: bring on the booth babes!

Johns Hopkins will install TeraMedica‘s Evercore clinical content manager.

This doesn’t sound right: looking at your own medical records is a HIPAA violation? This hospital is putting the fear of God into employees, using Meditech’s HIPAA auditing capabilities to scare them into confessing for looking at their own records online. Sounds like a compliance officer on a power trip.

An Indianapolis in-store retail clinic chain backed by Cardinal Health is kaput. Corner Care locked the doors and left creditors unpaid.

New York’s state health department offers $106 million in grants for RHIO-type projects. I’ll defer to Neal on that one.

The University of North Carolina’s Institute of Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy implements a genotyping analysis system from InforSense. Cool: it analyzes information from DNA analyses, EMRs, and other databases to individualize drug therapy. How it works otherwise: the drug company SWAGs a dose that seems to work when given to a bunch of patients, then hopes no one dies when lots more people start swallowing it after free-lunch docs start cranking out the scripts. Now you know why progressive health systems are working to integrate genomic information into their clinical data repositories (and why the next step will be to use it for clinical decision support). See if this doesn’t sound like a clinical system.

My editorial this week over at the newsletter: “Lay Your Hands on the TV to Be Healed: The Emergence of the Superstar Remote Physician.” I may not be the most insightful editorialist, but I bet I’m the only one working a Suzanne Somers reference into a healthcare IT paper.

Lucida Healthcare IT rolls out a new Web site, which includes an Express Application for consultants looking for opportunities and a Resource Request Form for hospitals that need resources.

PSS World Medical, which picked up 4.6% of athenahealth pre-IPO, sees its investment go from $22.5 million in July to $52.2 million two months later. The market cap of athenahealth: about $1 billion, a little less than Allscripts and Eclipsys. Sweet.

E-mail. I’ll read it, but the rest depends on what you have to say.

Inga’s Update

This article didn’t surprise me too much. Few women hold high academic positions at the top science and engineering research universities. And, women have more advancement barriers than men in the corporate world. The chancellor of UC Berkeley notes that this puts the US at a competitive disadvantage worldwide. Discrimination, lack of female role models, and lack of corporate champions were some of the reasons cited. Just this week I happened to be looking at the web sites of a couple of the major computer vendors – one had no women executives (14 men) and the other had just two women out of the 16 execs. I doubt it is because women aren’t interested in the jobs.

Mr. H listening to Megan McCauley? I have shoes that look older than her. Try some Paolo Nutini. He may not be much older than Megan, but he sure looks adorable. Something for the ladies to enjoy while working to take over corporate America.

Bassett Healthcare in Cooperstown, NY selects McKesson for additional products for its four hospitals and 23 community health centers. Bassett is already using Horizon Patient Folder and Medical Imaging solutions. The latest contract is for CPOE and clinical decision support, bar-code medication administration and a Web-based business intelligence tool.

GE Financial Services and the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) release a study suggesting that hospitals will make themselves more competitive if they make strategic investments in technology. Furthermore, hospitals shouldn’t wait around for policy changes or public or private funding for projects such as EHR. Don’t you just know that GE Financial was dying to add something in the press release saying how much they would love you to borrow money from them to finance all those technology projects?

Surescripts announces a Prescriber Vendor Advisory Council made up of 10 EMR/eRx vendor executives. Their mission is to advise SureScripts on programs designed to increase the adoption and use of e-prescribing.

Health Management Associates (HMA) has contracted with NextGen for the purchase of software licenses for EMR and enterprise practice management. This is a second phase purchase of the NextGen products for HMA, which owns and operate 59 hospitals and medical centers. Earlier this month we mentioned that a class action lawsuit had been filed against HMA, charging it with insider trading.

MedComSoft announces year-end financials through June 30th. Revenues went up 59% over the previous year, expenses grew 27%, and their net loss increased by 18% ($4.5 million.)

From the Archives of Internal Medicine: a new study by the RAND questions the value of preventative health exams. It doesn’t say stop going to the doctor – it just suggests we can’t assume the value outweighs the costs for every patient.

Here are IBM’s predictions for the top healthcare industry trends over the next five to 10 years:

  • Secure sharing of patient data with interoperability
  • Fully-informed diagnosis (shared between all care-givers while preserving patient privacy)
  • Speeding drugs to market
  • Stemming the spread of pandemics

And of course IBM has announced all sorts of radical innovations that will address the changing landscape.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. My contacts in the MS4 customer base say that MS4 is being enhanced and sucessfully sold to new customers. I believe they have added 15 new customers in the last year. With Soarian appealing to larger facilities (yes, I do know they have smaller hospitals too), and a public persception that its development could only be recorded in stop-action photography, MS4 may be positioned as possible Meditech relief for their diminishing customer base of small to mid-size providers.

    On a side note, I have been attending the MS4 User Conferences for 8 years now, and I am thoroughly impressed with not only with MS4’s ease of use, but in the cohesiveness of their user community. This group is really more like a Meditech group in their devotion to the product.

  2. Everywhere I have ever worked has had a policy prohibiting employees accessing their own medical records. It is also very common to audit for this. Compliance is convinced that all medical records requests must go through the records access policy. Of course the exception is patient portals.

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