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December 4, 2007 News 7 Comments

From Jill Purity: “Re: Epic. Lots of prestigious organizations have bought Epic, run wildly over budget, and don’t get all sites live. Have they got a full inpatient site live or not? It seems that with Epic, the hospitals get blamed and not the vendor, where for everybody else, the reverse is true. Why does Epic always emerge squeaky clean?” I’m just riffing here since I don’t know for sure, but Epic’s contracts put most of the burden on the client (wisely, if you ask me). If things go sour, Epic can say they did all they promised. Epic is the only vendor doing so well that they can put that in a contract and get the customer to sign. Their competitors are so desperate that they’ll guarantee all kinds of outcomes outside their control, like physician use of CPOE, cost savings, and improvement in turnaround time. Also, why would a customer who’s already spent the money broadcast their dissatisfaction to the world? They’re big and well-known enough such that a little extra push won’t help them get anything out of Epic anyway, arrogant enough to not want to look stupid, and rich enough to just swallow the cost no matter what. Also, keep in mind that Epic is head and shoulders above all its competitors in KLAS, where its users could blast them anonymously if they chose, so let’s not discount that maybe Epic has a better product and methodology even though its customers, big names aside, are at least as clueless as hospitals with less cachet (or Cache’, for you merry punsters).

From Seth Davis: “Re: Eclipsys. The primary investment firm behind Eclipsys, General Atlantic, dumped a lot of their stock this week, maybe all of it. They still have a board seat, at least for now. Probably not a near-term Eclipsys crisis, just a feeling that now was a good time to get out.”

From Dan Panama: “Re: Misys. Vern said at the business update yesterday that an overwhelming number employees in the employee survey said they are not having fun any more. Vern’s response: ‘You have to earn the right to have fun.’ He also said that the banking division had a tough first half because of housing woes.”

Dennis Quaid and his wife file suit against Baxter Healthcare, manufactures of the heparin vials with which their newborn twins were overdosed at Cedars-Sinai in a drug mixup. Oddly, they aren’t suing the hospital for making the mistake, maybe because the babies are fine. Even though Baxter sent providers a warning letter that the hospital supposedly ignored, the Quaids say that wasn’t enough and they should have recalled the vials. Says they aren’t looking for money, but that’s standard ambulance-chaser boilerplate. Baxter’s response: “Company spokeswoman Deborah Spak says the issue is not product-related, but instead concerns improper use of a product. She says no amount of differentiation in packaging will replace the value of hospital staff carefully reviewing and reading a drug name and dose before dispensing and administering it.” I’m with Baxter on this one. If anyone should have learned from the Indianapolis deaths, it was Cedars. And there’s no need for the Quaids to “save other children from this fate” since the packaging was changed earlier this year. Cedars made the call to keep using the old stuff and their employees gave the wrong product.

Lots of HIT jobs (75 or so) have been posted at HealthcareITJobs.com in its first few days, everything from ambulatory system analysts to sales execs to CIOs. The five most recent are listed to your right and the first Hot Jobs e-mail has gone out (sign up here).

Ambulatory systems from Epic and e-Medsys earn CCHIT 2007 certification.

Sage Software joins the e-Prescribing Controlled Substances Coalition, which is trying to get federal laws changed that prohibit e-prescribing of controlled drugs. The ban is kind of silly given the immense problem with forged handwritten prescriptions and the retrievability of those prescriptions for DEA audits. The government wants providers to eat the cost of automating, but won’t make the same requirement of its own departments, apparently.

Fred Trotter has started a blog about healthcare IT in Houston. He’d appreciate getting any local stories and a chance to meet folks there in a monthly meeting he’s planning to set up. I’m sure there are lots of HIT’ers there, at least judging from the massive healthcare canyon that is Fannin Street, so say hi to Fred.

Lucida Healthcare IT brings on Cheryl Alpert as director of marketing. She’s been marketing VP for several companies, including Yahoo and DataBroadcasting. Also joining the company is Mike Lucey, director of business development, who has held positions at Forrester Research, Meditech, and McKesson.

Privacy advocate Deborah Peel advises residents of Lufkin, Texas to avoid the local hospital, which just implemented McKesson’s clinical systems, until they research how the hospital and/or McKesson will handle their data. “People from Lufkin should really think twice before going into the hospital until they know whether their health data will be disclosed without consent and until they know whether the technology vendor contract allows data mining and sale of their sensitive health records.” She claims by name that GE, Siemens, and Cerner reserve that right in their contracts. “This is a way that vendors and hospitals use to help pay for expensive technology infrastructure — they turn around and sell sensitive patient records. The records are sold to employers and insurers, that then use the data to discriminate against people in jobs and insurance coverage.” Assuming those vendors aren’t selling records, I’d protest vigorously for being characterized publicly as such. Sometimes her comments are kind of over the top, reminding me that she’s a psychiatrist.

In what must be the highest software version level in history, Siemens announces INVISION 27.

Omnicell announces SinglePointe, which isn’t defined until the fourth paragraph of the press release. If the conjoined word name wasn’t enough, the oh-so-Brit E at the end raises the annoyance bar, like those cutesy, woodsy-sounding names for cookie-cutter subdivisions in which all flora and fauna are ironically destroyed to erect boring beige boxes, like “Heron Pointe” or “Rivermonte.”

Guess who’s going paperless with their medical records retrieval and management? Some Chicago ambulance chasers.

The Raleigh office of Sunquest Information Systems leases new office space, presumably to vacate the Misys building. Seems odd to have a Raleigh office when the company is in Tucson and odder still to have the CEO working from there.

A Massachusetts entrepreneur is offering a $10 million prize for anyone who can come up with software that can map the genetic codes of 100 people in 10 days for $10,000 or less per genome. “There’s a lot of talk about personalized medicine … But to get there, we’re going to have to be able to do rapid and cost-effective genome sequencing. And for that, we’re going to need a new technology. People are going to remember who did this.”

HHS secretary Mike Leavitt says doctors should have to adopt EMRs to avoid a 10% reimbursement drop scheduled for January 1.

E-mail me.

Inga’s Update

From Randy: “Re: cell phone death. It has now been discovered that this report was inaccurate and a fellow worker ran over the man that died. The cell phone had nothing to do with the death.” Link. Guess we all feel safer taking calls. Another reader pointed out my poor choice of words when noting that “fortunately” the phone was only sold in Korea. I actually wouldn’t want the Koreans or anyone else to risk death by cell phone.

Automated pharmacy system provider ForHealth raises $9 million in new capital funding. The company announces its new IntelliFlow IV Room Workflow Manager solution for managing and tracking I.V. dosing.

A new must-have tool for every road warrior: a service you can launch on your mobile phone browser to help you find the nearest bathroom by city and street address. Brilliant.

eClinicalWorks makes a sale to Redwood Community Health Coalition, California’s largest network of non-profit community health centers.

Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs will purchase the Cerner RxStation for medication automation.

Wyndgate Technologies, a division of Global Med Technologies, licenses its SateTractTX transfusion management system to Sheridan Memorial Hospital in Wyoming.

Annals of Internal Medicine publishes the results of a survey on physician professionalism. One particularly troubling finding: although 96% of respondents agreed that physicians should report impaired or incompetent colleagues to relevant authorities, 45% of respondents who encountered such colleagues had not done so.

The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati signs a multi-year contract with Care Tech Solutions for IT infrastructure outsourcing, help desk, and web services.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. Lots of prestigious sites have bought Epic and come up pretty much on time and on budget – and earned several industry awards for being the most comprehensive autuotmated sites of their kind.

    Maybe those who struggle don’t blame Epic becuase they recognize the real issues in their organizations and are just trying to work through their own issues and do the best they can. Epic doesn’t have a reputation of taking advantage of customers. They have a reputation for doing what they say and for bending over backwards to help the customer on issues that aren’t even their own.

  2. Jill can check out some of the recent Davies Award winners, 2004 and 2007 in particular – that should answer her questions about Epic…

  3. As far as fully deployed Epic IP sites, two immediately come to mind, and I’m sure that there are more:
    Evanston Northwestern and Allina.
    Why is Jill so bitter?

  4. I agree with Jill NotSoPure. Was at a site that implemented on the inpatient side and it’s running quite well and is a new Davies Award winner!
    So often the organization does not want to take responsibility for the change management that goes along with implementing the tools. W/O appropriate leadership – operational and clinical – implementations will go sour.
    It’s much more about change management than it is about the software solution.
    Epic is not the low cost solution, but they do a darned good job taking care of their customers! With a good product to boot.

  5. Re: Deborah Peel comments. I’m guessing her accusations are a complete misrepresentation of the facts. I would be shocked if any transferring of data to outside groups for increasing revenue, clinical research, or data mining was done in a way that was not HIPAA compliant. De-identifying data is a relatively easy process so if there is any truth to her comments, people should be concerned with that level of negligence. BUT, I seriously doubt this is the case. As long as no protected health information is involved, she’s just making noise for the sake of hearing herself speak.

  6. I concur with your evaluation of the heparin overdose. When will we get away from color coding and other easy/lazy labeling — read the label prior to admin — don’t rely on short-cuts.

    Color coding of additives/injectables should be eliminated, forcing the end user to read the label and verify what they are using.

    That said — quality control on the readability of the label is extremely importatnt.

  7. HIPAA violations are so overrated. There are still some organizations/vendors that not comply with the HIPAA regulations for transaction standards and the DHHS isn’t actually beating down their doors to fine them. In fact, I don’t think an organization or vendor has ever been formally fined for violating the HIPAA regulations for transaction standards..

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