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October 25, 2007 News 7 Comments

From Eustice McGargle: “Re: PHRs. Here in SW Florida, a local physician developed a system for his own office. He then offered a PHR function to his patients. He has 400 of them paying $10 a month for access. It turns out that the demand is not so much from his patients but from their families up north, who use it to monitor mom and dad.” Now that’s an interesting angle: a parent’s healthcare report card for their kids to sign. There’s a definite marketing opportunity there. A smart doc could provide a value-added service by putting in a short note of status and concerns for the children to read once a month or so, giving them peace of mind.

From Tony Montana: “Re: PHRs. The adoption rate seems to be 4-6% overall. What we don’t know is the long-term utilization rate, which I bet will be horrible. People won’t use PHRs unless they have a compelling clinical need and benefit and most don’t.” That’s a challenge: if few people use them at all and even fewer use them religiously, integration with practice EMRs better be good enough so that docs don’t waste time checking, only to find nothing useful. People are vitally interested and motivated in healthcare only when they’ve been hit with life-changing health news. Lots of folks have a frenetic burst of fact-finding about glucometers, vitamins, and prescription meds right after they get them, but then lose interest once they realize their mortality is not imminently threatened.

From Stagger Lee: “Re: Susquehanna. Susquehanna Health VP/CMIO Angela Nicholas has announced her resignation. She has accepted a position with Siemens and will be working for Pamela R. Wirth, Susquehanna’s former VP/CIO who left for Siemens in 2005.” The hospital must be OK with it. Or, they should have written a better contract prohibiting hiring their employees.

From Abe Froman: “Re: Siemens. a gotta love Siemens. What’s next – will they try to get Disney to change their Soarin ride to Soarian?” Link. Siemens is running a contest in which hospitals of under 180 beds can win a free Magnetom Essenza MRI if their video of why they need one wins the most votes. It’s complete with hints on how to publicize the contest to the local newspaper and on YouTube. You can view the submissions on the site. Some are funny, with “we’re hicks” seeming to be the most common theme. The one from Clay County Medical Center (KS) called ‘Granny Gets and MRI’ is like an old-time silent movie and was pretty good. Leading is Murray County Memorial Hospital (MN) with ‘MCTV Cribs,’ which is nicely done. Last day to submit is November 30.

And speaking of Siemens videos: Marcus Johnson, one of our HIStalk friends at Sumter Regional Hospital (to which HIStalk readers donated $11,264 in March – thank you – after a tornado destroyed the hospital) is in the hunt for a free MRI. Pick Sumter Regional Hospital from the drop-down, watch their video, then vote for them like I did. The video is serious, showing the effects of the tornado and narrated by the CEO. You can vote once per day from a given PC.

From Crocodile Hunter: “Re: Kaiser. There are lots of organizational changes going on, the merging of KP HealthConnect into the IT organization being one of the biggies. The layoffs are mostly from the consolidation of organizations. But in reality, a hundred positions out of the thousands that work in IT is  much less than the normal attrition rate. So, you might suggest that the merger of HealthConnect into IT is actually the bigger story here, not the layoffs.” It’s interesting that both Kaiser and Allina implemented Epic outside of the IT department, which I think is a great idea. IT departments don’t have the vision, influence, and resources to run a big clinical systems project, so carving it out means the hospital has to fund and staff the project in an easily auditable way.

From Soul Survivor: “Re: Misys. Nice move by Misys to open source Connect. They should consider doing the same for Tiger, Vision, and Misys EMR. No one buys those products either. The mandate is out that PTO (paid time off) will be used or paid at 50 cents on the dollar. Old sales commissions being settled. Auction to follow?” Unverified.
HIMSS will offer a MS-HUG Tech Forum on Sunday of the HIMSS annual conference, with sharing of best practices by users.

Speaking of HIMSS, I had a good time at the conference last year, I must say. It was cool seeing a big old HIStalk logo on the athenahealth booth with CEO Jonathan Bush yakking with HIStalk readers and having a bartender giving them expensive beers. And, seeing the “I Am Mr. HIStalk” buttons in the booths of Medicity and Picis. Since I’m incognito, that’s about all there was from the HIStalk front. Inga and I talked about throwing some kind of bash at HIMSS, but it’s so hard (and expensive) to get any sort of space. We’re open for ideas. Inga loves that schmoozing stuff.

Cerner chief marketing officer Don Trigg is re-elected to the board of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

Sponsor note: thanks to SolCom for upgrading their banner ad to become an HIStalk Gold Sponsor. I appreciate their long history of support. They just signed a big deal with William Osler for HIM and workflow solutions, which I mentioned earlier.

Sponsor note II: welcome and thanks to NextGen, HIStalk’s newest Platinum Sponsor. One of very few companies with a 2007 CCHIT certification for ambulatory EMR, #5 on the list of Forbes best companies, and a juggernaut in the physician systems market. Parent Quality Systems Inc. has a market cap of $1 billion, $163 million in revenue, and stellar return on investment and return on equity for you stock watchers. Many thanks to NextGen for spending a few of their ad dollars wisely by sponsoring HIStalk and its readers.

Here’s the most recent Brev+IT, available last weekend to those subscribing for free (see signup to your right). I haven’t check the signup stats lately, so here goes: HIStalk 3,206; Brev+IT 985. I’m sure there are some spammers on there, but that’s still encouraging and I appreciate it. I remember when the HIStalk list got up to 31 readers – I was insufferably happy to have folks who cared enough to sign up.

Idea: the people most interested in researching their own medical conditions connect via a growing number of disease-specific support and advocacy groups. Maybe those groups will provide or sponsor their own PHR.

Misys will make its Connect software available as open source through a new division called Misys Open Source Solutions. The devil’s in the details, though, and none were provided. Also announced by Misys: Misys MyWay, a hosted EMR for small practices (the renamed iMedica, I assume). The press release says a family of MyWay offerings is coming, so maybe they’re buying someone (the imminent ‘big announcement’ rumor is still out there). if someone appropriately cynical and musical wants to compose alternative lyrics to Frank Sinatra’s My Way, I’m sure there’s material for it in the announcement.

HIMSS announces an survey of its pet-named EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa). Two priorities emerged: implementing regional/national EMRs and home care monitoring.

Retired CIO and now apparent consultant Peter Strombom is insulted that the state of Wisconsin is offering only $10 million in tax credits for EMR-adopting providers. That’s the bad thing about government welfare for businesses – they always want more. If it were my state tax dollars, I’m not sure I’d want profitable non-profit hospitals getting a handout of my money to buy business equipment.

The selection of six EMR companies for British Columbia doctors to choose from is contested, with the $108 million contract resulting in two resignations, an audit, and a suspicious check. Said one CEO whose company was not chosen: “This thing … makes me want to puke.”

An Indiana doc caught by the local newspaper putting medical records in a Dumpster says he’ll dispose of them properly (having been caught in the act). He was kind of an ass with the press, which is never a good idea: “This is a private houseekeeping matter and none of anyone’s business.” So, naturally the paper contacted some of his patients and goaded them into being outraged, printing their scolding comments along with HHS’s telephone number just in case anyone is interested in filing HIPAA complaints.

It’s a mystery: a nurse notices a vanload of men outside the hospital at 3 a.m. She sees a bunch of laptops and they say they’ve been hired to work on the hospital’s wireless network, then took off. The hospital says someone has been trying to hack its network.

Interesting: Stanford researchers figure out how to derive new data from old genetic experiments, coming up with some new discoveries from discarded data.

For all you Health 2.0 fanboys: a 31-year-old New York doctor practices only on the Web and via housecalls. His “eVisits” are conducted by video chat, IM, and e-mail, with his target patients being under 40 and located nearby. I’ve e-mailed to ask for an interview and he’s given a tentative OK (about five minutes after I e-mailed him, a good sign for an e-doc). It’s a brilliant, lifestyle-friendly practice idea, so I’m really interested in how it works for him and his patients. More to come, I hope.

If you signed up for the CCS Summit, Andy Eckert from Eclipsys has joined the CEO Power Session (with Jonathan Bush of athenahealth, Jeff McCaulley of Wolters Kluwer Health, and Glen Tullman of Allscripts). HIStalk is a sponsor, and given my lack of decorum, I decided to crash the party hard in my writeup instead of being button-down serious: “HIStalk is written by and for IT professionals and clinicians with 50,000 visits monthly. No fluff or press releases – just breaking news, deadly accurate industry rumors, expert opinion, and CEO interviews. We know the healthcare IT industry because we work in it. Your competitors hope you don’t read it!” Too brash?

E-mail me. I need your rumors and ideas.

Inga’s Update

MEDecision, Inc. announces their 3rd quarter financial results, and they weren’t too pretty. Net loss for Q3 was $2.92 million and total revenue was $9 million versus $12 million in 2006. For the fiscal year 2007, the company is forecasting an operating loss in the $4-6 million range.

Recently Mr. H told me I was very “ambulatory-centric.” I think he meant it in a derogatory way, as if people preferring the world outside of hospitals are somehow inferior to those dedicated to the inpatient setting. I wonder if that’s his unique personal quirk or if all hospital-types have the same bias.

So, if you are like Mr. H and bored by the ambulatory stuff, skip this next bit. iMedica announced the addition of 39 new practices for Q3, which is a 131% increase from same period in 2006. No mention how that translates to revenues and profits, however. It should be interesting to see how the Misys alliance affects the company in terms of sales and financial performance.

Just released: The MRI 2007 Survey OF EMR Trends and Usage. Some interesting findings include:

  • The major factors driving EMR adoption in the hospital segment include patient safety considerations, efficiency and convenience, and satisfaction of physicians and clinician employees
  • The major factors driving EMR adoption in the medical practice segment were improved patient documentation, efficiency/convenience, and remote access to patient information
  • Major barriers to implementing EMR systems were lack of adequate funding or resources, anticipated difficulties in changing to an EMR system, difficulty in creating a migration plan from paper, inability to find an EMR solution/components at an affordable cost

Hospitals need to improve compensation, staffing levels, and recognition in order to improve employee satisfaction, according to a new Press Ganey report. The report surveyed 193,000 nurses, technicians, administrative personnel and other non-clinical employees and found that registered nurses were the least happy of the bunch.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. I hadn’t gone through all the videos to realize that Sumter Regional was in the running. Thanks for pointing it out. I will be sure to – as they say in Chicago – vote early and vote often.

  2. What about the worker-bees that never go to HIMSS? I’m just sitting in my cube coding my tail off all day. I’d love a “Im’ Mr. HIStalk” button. Are you going to make me scrounge around on Ebay or will you start selling them from your blog?

  3. Re: PHRs. In the spring of 2000, I was privy to an Initial Public Offering for a privately funded patient-centric health repository model. The business model was simple and impressive for 2000; establish an Internet database for the repository of private health patient’s laboratory data at a monthly service fee of $2.00. The initial subscription to this service estimated start up was a minimum of 100,000 patient profiles per month with a novel inexpensive sign-on device, ASP facial recognition web camera. You do the math for this simple PHR. Remember the promise of the Application Service Provider? You may know ASP as the evolved form of Software as a Service (SaaS).

    Outcome for this PHR is obvious if you had any money in the stock market in the spring of 2000 – The Crash of dot-com business IPOs. Too bad for healthlab.net, down but not forgotten. I understand that a Phoenix might be raising from the IPO ashes.

  4. Eustice McGargle has it right. While there will be a market for healthy people to keep track of their health records, it will be small. The value proposition of a PHR becomes very real for a person with multiple disease states. If the PHR is “connected” (to “a” physician or to a RHIO/HIE), then the value proposition becomes compelling. As more and more of us are waking up and finding our parents in need of help navigating this mess we call healthcare, having a tool for a family member to manage a loved one’s health will become a necessity.

  5. Despite the barrage of press releases (including round two of Newt), Misys continues to implode. In addition to the departures of Pritts and D’Rozario, add Charles Lambert and Cathy McKillip.

    We now have no products, even worse support, and our best executives are being paid to not work. We can only hope that our illiustrious UK Board led by Cadbury and King see that entering the second year of Mike Lawrie’s leadership we’re headed for the same strong results he brought to Siebel.

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