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Monday Morning Update 10/15/07

October 14, 2007 News 6 Comments

From CraigD: “Re: Sunquest. As of 10/11/07, Misys Healthcare is now known as Sunquest again. However, they still have the same management that is driving them into the ground. The previous management was a lot better.” The “new Sunquest” is unveiled, as Sunquest Information Systems re-forms as a privately held corporation by Vista Equity Partners, the new private equity owners of the former Misys Healthcare lineup of lab, radiology, and pharmacy systems. The new/old name is a great move that I’ve advocated here previously, writing off the sorry Misys chapter of the company’s history as an unfortunate decision by all involved. Richard Atkin has been named president and CEO, a move I don’t get since he ran the division under Misys. I would have expected (and advocated) new management all around, starting at the top, but I understand the need to keep the customers from getting anxious at the prospect of wholesale change right out of the gate.

From Lauren Graham: “Re: CHIME conference in San Antonio last week. It was my first time attending. I have been impressed at my colleagues’ commitment to their careers and their willingness to share best practices. I had the opportunity to meet Judy Faulkner of Epic and found her unexpectedly down to earth and approachable. I was surprised that there were no vendor exhibits, but having the vendors around at the social functions and meetings was perhaps better because it felt more personable and less like a sales job. There was a lot of chatter about aging baby boomers, with a speaker recommending that we hold on to our older workers because there aren’t as many younger workers to take their places (the youngsters tend to go from job to job and like to be self-employed). A lot of hospitals and health care systems are talking about relaxed Stark laws, but many just don’t know where to start. A number of us are unsure if we should adopt a standard solution or promote multiple alternatives and if we should provide the hosting. Also, no one has a perfect solution for handling physicians who already have EMRs.”

From Steve Forbes: “Re: NextGen. NextGen/Quality Systems all the way up to #5 on Forbes Best Small Businesses list. Look out, Under Armour!” Link. Very nice. I see Advisory Board came in at #46.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: PHRs. Since a PHR is your diary of your health conditions and other important health information such as insurance coverage, allergies, inoculations, and other histories of treatment, it is vital that the record be protected from unauthorized viewers. PHR access will be in the total control of the creator of that record, just like an online bank account is controlled by the depositors. When you want a healthcare provider to know your history, you will enter a ‘Linking ID’ provided by the treatment professional into your PHR for a given time period so you can obtain quality healthcare services. Also, if you have a healthcare advocate, you would want them to have an ID to access your health record. Since you completely control the input of information, you are liable for any discrepancies should something adverse happen to you from not informing the care provider beforehand.”

From hatchet_guy: “Re: the vendor conference you mentioned. Call UPMC and ask about the 2007 code release, where the word is that lawyers are involved. Call Clarian – if ‘Lights On’ was so great or Release 2007 so strong, why did they turn the product off? Call Boston Kid’s ask why they stopped their project. The reason for the ‘strong commitment’ to the 2007 code release is they F’ed it up so bad that they a) are afraid to release anything else, and b) have so many fixes to apply to the code level that it is now a student body right to even get things fixed. It was the right decision, but not for the reasons they are spinning.” All unverified, I add cautiously. I’ve had no reports from any of the hospitals mentioned (despite asking). Since some hospitals are doing OK (or at least say they are), it can’t be all bad. Inga will happily chat with any customer willing to provide a first-person report.

From MSFT Doubter: “Re: Healthvault. Interesting note in the Business Week article about HealthVault and Azyxxi. ‘Peter Neupert, head of head of Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group, figures he can build a business that generates ‘a billion-plus’ in revenue from HealthVault as well as another business that sells software to hospitals.’ Wouldn’t $1 billion make them almost as big as Cerner?” Link. Other than that quote, the article is pretty much a waste (who says ‘file server’ when talking about the Internet, or believes that hospitals are likely to send data to HealthVault?) Cerner is at about $1.5 billion in revenue, so that would make HealthVault a little smaller business if Neupert’s guess is good. I notice all the talk is about ad revenue, which is pretty much what I’ve said here: HealthVault is a Microsoft attempt to get into the sexy ad game like Google and nothing more. This is not a Gates Foundation project to benefit humanity, other than that subset of it holding MSFT shares.

From Steve Stifler: “Re: Google-WebMD. I spoke to a high level source at each firm who would be ‘people familiar with the situation’ if they were being quoted on the record, which they are not. I am told with 100% certainty by both parties, independent of each other, that there is no deal and will be none any time soon. It seems that WBMD and GOOG entered into a search partnership many months ago, at which time GOOG did some DD on WBMD and were unimpressed. Unlike MSFT, WBMD has no new, innovative, or interesting technology that can help GOOG. In fact, it’s just a big portal of content from other people and a brand created in the dot com era. My GOOG contact told me that they felt like they could re-create WBMD’s entire offering in a week and that they already get more traffic via health searches than WBMD. GOOG wants someone with innovative technology and they are likely to go the MSFT route – buy it and add to it. There is no ‘killer app’ at WBMD. Also, my GOOG contact noted that. because of the HLTH ownership issue and all the recent WBMD acqusitions, its a financial mess. Its not going to happen, folks.” HLTH stock rocketed up on huge volume Wednesday, but then backed off. Lots of people are ricocheting the rumor back and forth, which started with a bored stock reporter’s fantasy with nothing new since. Still, the rumor has legs and it Google hates to lose to Microsoft. If there’s any truth to it at all, it will be consummated or not based on WebMD’s asking price per set of eyeballs since Google thinks in terms of Web traffic and stickiness for that kind of site.

From p_anon: “Re: RSS feed for comments. Hook a brother up!” Try this for reading comments posted to HIStalk2.

From Pony Boy: “Re: Healthvision. I’m sure you’ve already heard, but Scott Decker left Healthvision on Friday.”

Epic’s Lucy project steals HealthVault’s thunder in a Wisconsin newspaper story. “Epic also is working on a project called Lucy. For patients with more than one main health care provider, such as someone who is seeing a specialist, Lucy will link up the different health care charts, Rana said. A patient who changes doctors and moves to a non-Epic system will be able to keep his or her electronic medical records and pass them along … Epic’s Lucy will also offer a voluntary health diary that’s open to anyone, even non-Epic users. But the big difference is that it will link back to a health care provider who’s using an Epic system, Rana said. Microsoft’s HealthVault doesn’t do that, at least for now, he said.” Epic is already ahead of everyone else with MyChart, a patient PHR window into information stored on Epic’s systems (which, given Epic’s customer base of the largest IDNs and medical centers, already gives it a huge advantage). Given Epic’s hospital and ambulatory system focus, along with the company’s clinical capabilities, it’s likely that its PHR-related products will be far better than those from Microsoft and Google. For everybody but Epic, the metric is ad sales volume, not patient outcomes.

Sage fires its North American execs. CEO Ron Verni and CFO Jim Eckstaedt are shown the door because the British accounting software company hasn’t sufficiently cracked the US market (sound familiar?) Investors responded by enthusiastically dumping shares.

Is another RHIO/HIE type vendor putting itself on the block? I’m hearing faint rumblings. I don’t know the company, but the supposed acquirer (whose name I do know) is big in physician systems and the deal could supposedly be done within a couple of weeks. If that secret is tearing you up inside, you can always talk to me.

Palisades Medical Centre (NJ) suspends at least 27 employees, including seven nurses, who couldn’t resist peeking at George Clooney’s chart while he was being treated for motorcycle injuries. Clooney was classy, saying he would hope that privacy could be upheld without suspending hospital employees. The 30-day suspension is without pay.

Baird Capital Partners has acquired ED coding and billing vendor MedData and replaced CEO Richard Pugh with a company man.

Cerner’s ProVision imaging workstation gets FDA marketing approval.

Jewish Hospital of Louisville turns its IT department over to Perot in a 10-year deal. A handful of employees will stay with the hospital for strategic planning, another handful who didn’t want to work for Perot were laid off, and the remaining 110 are guaranteed a year before Perot either lays off or transfers an unnamed number of them that have already been deemed excessive.

Bizarre: MyFreeImplants.com has a single focus: “Win a Free Boob Job”, or, in the apparent vernacular used by those providing testimonials, achieving “Hooterville”. The social networking concept is employed (Cleavage 2.0?): women post photos and make themselves available for private contact with “benefactors” who donate to their worthy cause. It’s all noble, you understand: “Please, let us help you to become all that you are capable of. Change your life for the better, one step at a time.” That such a site exists speaks volumes about everything that is both right and wrong in America.

New CCHIT commissioners: Linda Hogan (Pittsburgh Mercy), Rick Ratliff (SureScripts), David Ross (Public Health Informatics Institute).

Aetna CIO Meg McCarthy, once a less lucratively compensated provider-sider (you have to be a middleman to make money in this business), gets profiled.

GE Healthcare’s profits drop slightly in Q3. CEO Jeff Immelt blames the government for exercising fiscal responsibility by capping Medicare imaging payments. Despite that wound-licking, the company manages to scrounge a few pennies together from its $692 million quarterly profit to buy Dynamic Imaging, a vendor of Web-based RIS/PACS.

Health First (FL) will implement the access management suite from SCI Solutions.

E-mail me.

Inga’s Update

First things first. I am pretty sure I would have tried to sneak a peek at George’s records, too. There has to be some sort of HIPAA exemption if the patient is one of the most gorgeous men on earth.

An Allscripts employee sent me a note saying their stock went up, even though the overall market declined. Clearly it was a result of Glen ringing the NASDAQ bell.

And speaking of them, Allscripts announces that 100 physicians in Southern California will begin using their products. The buyer is Lakeside Systems, Inc., one of California’s largest healthcare associations.

HIStalk sponsor Picis announces Abington Memorial Hospital has implemented Picis ED PulseCheck.

Medical transcription provider SPi announces a new Best Shore program that allows clients to choose where their work will be done – the US, offshore, or both. I didn’t see any pricing information on their Web site, but you just know there has to be premium for selecting the US.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. HealthVault was released early to get the jump on Google and steal some of the thunder. But in stealing that thunder, Microsoft may have also been struck by lightening as this platform is not ready for the consumer.

    And as for the revenue model, certainly MS is looking at those advertising $$$ but there will be more in the future from those partners that join the HV network. There are many ways to generate revenue from HV that does not necessarily come directly from the consumer. It is still very early in the release cycle. Give it a year or two than one can begin to pass judgment.

  2. I agree with what Stifler mostly says about the potential Google-WebMD merger. However, I find it highly unlikely that Google would be able to duplicate WebMD’s cite in a week. More importantly, it would take Google some time to build WebMD brand recognition with consumers.

    Google is relevant right now in health IT because of health-related search. Google cares about eyeballs and ad revenues. Same for Yahoo. Talk a nice game but until they make a large acquisition of a firm with a “killer app” (most overused term in Health IT due to its complexity and hiccups) or devote a lot more development people to health IT, they will pretty much be on the periphery.

  3. Does anyone have any insights on the value of the upcoming “Communications Collaborative for Health IT” in Beverly Hills on November 5-6? Please send a note with your comments. Also, have you heard about the mobile phone PHR capability from a company called Diversinet that sits on top of healthvault, WebMD, HAZ, and other PHR platforms?

  4. As the vp of marketing at MEDSEEK I’ve read with interest the various posts regarding HealthVault and its potential impact on information sharing and improved personal health decisions. MEDSEEK is one of the few health IT vendors to participate in the launch of the platform, and we can firmly submit that Microsoft has indeed built a platform for its ecosystem to build upon.

    MEDSEEK is working with its hospital partners to determine how best to leverage this platform in improving the experience their patients’ have with the organization. It’s certainly not perfect, but it’s a start and Microsoft has publicly stated they have the patience and financial resources to see this through. Time will tell, but we’re optimistic.

    MedStar Health, with our help, is one of the first health systems to leverage this platform and is offering select cardiology patients the ability to view, store, and share their discharge summaries as they continue their care in the community. Working with Microsoft’s published API, we’ve created a patient-centric application that enables patients to take better control of their information – storing it in their personal HealthVault account while also sharing it with care coordinators, physicians, and visiting nurses through the MedStar patient portal.

    Through this model, patients are at the center and, those who are interested and able, can be more active participants in their wellness, not passive observers. Based on this experience, we are working with other hospitals to leverage this platform within their own communities and their continued interest is validating. Hospital executives are realizing the patient’s experience is influenced well before and after their inpatient encounter, and are taking steps and learning lessons of other industries to create a differentiated service offering and positive experience with every touch. There is still much to be done, but at least we’re starting.

    As an early entrant to the hospital portal market, we’ve seen a massive migration from ‘brochure-ware’ sites to integrated portals that aggregate consumer and patient information while enabling visitors to interact with the organization in a meaningful way. Hospitals are no longer viewing their web properties as simple promotional vehicles, but as a channel to deploy their patient acquisition and retention strategies, engage and communicate with physicians, improve clinical and business processes, and enable employees to collaborate. Essentially, they are investing in the medium like other industries have in the past.

    Certainly MEDSEEK has much to gain from this trend and our continued evangelism is paying off, but ultimately hospitals and their patients have the most to gain.

    Hospitals are beginning to recognize the transformative nature their Web experience can have on their community, patient, and physician partners. Early leaders like MedStar Health, Henry Ford, Iowa Health, Edward Health, Delnor Community, Alegent Health, Mount Carmel, and many others are showing the way.

  5. Lauren Graham: …..A number of us are unsure if we should adopt a standard solution or promote multiple alternatives and if we should provide the hosting. Also, no one has a perfect solution for handling physicians who already have EMRs.”

    Axolotl has a solution that allows results to be delivered from any Hospital EMR to any and all EMRs. For physician practices that do not currently use EMRs results are delivered a very low cost EMR Lite. This EdgeServer and EMR Lite combination is fitting into existing environments as well as fueling new connectivity initiatives by Hospital Systems … Contact Sam @ Axolotl for more information

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