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Monday Morning Update 1/14/08

From Kim Chi: “Re: QuadraMed. They are losing people by attrition, layoffs, and cutting CPR development. Word has it Health and Hospitals in NYC decided to look for another solution.” Unconfirmed and assumed incorrect unless someone wants to go on record (anonymously is OK). I’m always cautious about specific rumors involving publicly traded companies, although this one comes from a good and historically reliable source.

From Abigail Papshmir: “Re: Is this El Camino story highway robbery or what? They screw it up with a flawed and now-defunct system, then offer to evaluate the mess for millions.” Link. Eclipsys, which sold El Camino Hospital an interfaced Sunrise to Meta Pharmacy solution since abandoned in favor of Sunrise Pharmacy, says they’ll evaluate the hospital’s medication ordering situation for $3.4 million, requiring 16,000 consulting hours to do so. The end result will be “recommendations and training.” The original implementation, along with some underlying process issues, nearly caused the state to shut the hospital down when its medication error rate tripled. The hospital had outsourced the entire IT department to Eclipsys, I believe, with only the CIO as a hospital employee. The hospital says it needs another $6.6 million for pharmacy system upgrades this year. That’s $10 million, plus the original $8 million that Sunrise cost, plus a previous $2 million in upgrades planned in 2006, plus the cost of outsourcing the pharmacy to Cardinal that was required to keep CMS from padlocking the doors. That’s one expensive medication management system for a 400-bed hospital, especially considering that it still seems dysfunctional judging from this latest decision.

From Wilma Nordberg: “Re: One Laptop Per Child initiative. Intel has pulled its financial support.” Link. Intel joins Microsoft in boycotting the project, which hopes to give the world’s poorest children inexpensive laptop PCs. An Intel salesperson tried to talk Peruvian officials out of buying the nonprofit’s cheaper PCs, which come with AMD chips and open source software, in favor of the company’s own proprietary product. Maybe Craig Barrett can get involved since he thinks he’s already got healthcare figured out.

From Inside Outsider: “Re: Dennis Quaid. All I can say is – NO WAY! He has every right to be outraged and he should be outraged. The simple fact that hospital errors kill people all the time is not a good enough reason to say that the damage done to his kids should not be considered a bad thing. Yes, death is worse than maiming or brain damage or temporary damage, but the day that we look at it as acceptable is the day that we should get into another business. Just my two cents.”

From The PACS Designer: “Re: WiserWiki. TPD has discovered a new free wiki called WiserWiki by Elsevier. Only board-certified physicians can post. TPD browsed cardiovascular disease,diabetes, and COPD and found significant detail. It would be a nice complement to a PHR that would give it precise health information from prominent physicians.” Link.

HISsies voting is open. Thanks for your nominations. Time to vote … now git. I was serious when I said that Inga led the nominations for industry figure of the year, so you can congratulate her even though I didn’t include her on the ballot.

Listening: Big Elf. Black Sabbath meets the Beatles.

eScription earns 2007 Best in KLAS for its #1 ranking in Transcription and Back-End Speech Recognition for the fourth consecutive year.

Jobs: IT Manager, Product Manager, Web Developer. We’re getting lots of hits at HealthcareITJobs.com, so sign up for weekly e-mail updates of new listings.

Speaking of job listings, HIStalk sponsor Intellect Resources has quite a few their site. They’re also listing on HealthcareITJobs.

Delano Regional Medical Center (CA) and Sentillion get mentioned for the hospital’s single sign-on implementation, which it says boosted business because doctors are now willing to use its Meditech, Dictaphone, Cerner, and GE systems instead of sending patients elsewhere because of complexity and the myriad of passwords formerly required.

A former St. Cloud Hospital (MN) programmer pleads guilty to putting a logic bomb in a training program he wrote for the hospital. The code activated after he quit in June 2006 and trashed his program. He probably thought he was pretty darned clever until the FBI’s cybercrime unit came knocking on his door, for which he’s now facing 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Doh!

Stratus Technologies is offering (warning: PDF) a free “Fault Tolerance for Dummies” book.

CraneWare announces software that links pharmacy purchasing to CDM pricing.

Missouri’s governor wants $15 million for a Web-based electronic health records system for MO HealthNet, which I think is a cute marketing name for Missouri’s welfare program.

Odd lawsuit: a Canadian drug addict wins a negligence lawsuit against her former drug dealer for getting her hooked on crystal meth and causing her hospitalization for an overdose. “”I sued him for negligence … for selling me (illegal) drugs and getting me hooked when I was vulnerable”. The dealer’s defense said the woman “voluntarily consumed illegal drugs, thus contributing to her own condition. She assumed the risks.”

Sutter Medical Center lays off 49 employees and cuts back on housekeeping services after its divisional profit drops to $111 million. It blamed that financial crisis on salaries and technology investments. Why didn’t they invest in technology that pays for itself instead of laying off janitors? You may recall that its Epic implementation will price out at $500 million or more. They even hired a “transformation vice president.” (Note to providers: any time anyone mentions the word “transformation”, do that little “make a cross with your fingers to repel vampires” thing and run for the hills. All that will be transformed is your money into someone else’s.)

An HHS/OIG report blasts the capability of physician-owned specialty hospitals to handle medical emergencies. The investigation came after two patients died following elective surgery complications when no physicians were in the building. Both hospitals called 911. Findings: less than one-third of specialty hospitals have a physician on site at all times, some had neither physicians or nurses present on some days, and two-thirds include calling 911 as part of their emergency procedures.

San Antonio Community Hospital (CA) gets local coverage for its use of scribes to follow physicians and do their paperwork. It’s the anti-CPOE solution, variants of which I’ve advocated here on occasion.

E-mail me. I’m a busy boy, but I read every e-mail even though I can’t always respond. Thank you for reading.


Inga’s Update

Special thanks to the (female) reader who sent me a note with her opinion on booth babes. “While I’m not a fan of putting a younger, thinner, cuter version of myself in my booth to draw traffic, I’m not proud.” It was such a spot-on comment! While the guys might love the eye candy, it serves as too much of a reminder for us “former” 22-year-old babes that perhaps we’re past our prime! (This is when all you mature guys can send me notes telling me how you much prefer your women to be worldly and a bit more mature).

Meanwhile I have been glued to the latest survey to see what attracts you to HIMSS booths. I’ve been happy to see “free stuff” and “cool technology” pull ahead of “attractive representatives,” proving that not all our readers are as shallow as Mr. H predicted.

As Mr. H noted earlier this week, we have some great new interviews on tap for HIStech Report, just in time to pique your interest about some of the more innovative companies exhibiting at HIMSS. Coming soon: chats with McKesson, Sage, and QuadraMed, to name a few.

E-mail Inga.