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News 2/1/08

January 31, 2008 News 5 Comments

From Bignurse: “Re: EMR/EHR. Assuming that a completed implementation is characterized by some level of utilization, what would that level be? How would you experts define ‘implemented’? Should it be based on percentage of functionality used, attainment of predefined success metrics, etc.? And if so, what would you suggest?” Good question. Is “implemented” a word to use any time you’re live, or only if you’re getting usage and/or value you expected? Answers welcome, although if anyone from HHS is reading, please don’t engage one of those trough-lapping consulting firms to define it and then invoice me $500,000 like I was Uncle Sam or something.

From Phil R: “Re: RemedyMD. Not sure how much Kool-Aid that former staffer has been drinking, but the number of ex-Remedy employees sending resumes our way would suggest that they’re leaving en masse these days.”

From The PACS Designer: “Re: hospital labs. Hospital & Health Networks online magazine has an interesting article about hospital labs and how they can be outsourced to bring in much needed capital to alleviate the cash crunch hospitals are facing because of DRA cuts. Also another benefit would be to speed the transition to populating PHRs with lab results since most lab services have digital repositories of patient tests. Another revenue increasing option is for hospitals to offer their lab services to local physicians similar to what is being done by many hospitals in Michigan.” Link.

Confirmed: CEO Bob Cullen has left Thomson Healthcare “to pursue other opportunities,” according to a marketing contact Inga reached there. Mike Boswood is the new president and CEO, coming over from the company’s legal business side. A reader noticed the tip we ran from Curious George this week and asked to have it confirmed. We are responsive, yes?

Listening: Airbourne, Aussies that sound like AC/DC circa 1976 with some Spinal Tap cliches mixed in.

Interesting seminar: The Unsummit, three days on bedside barcoding with some really good-looking sessions (including a discussion with Julie Thao, the nurse whose admitted medication error led to her legal prosecution). April 30-May 2 in Austin, TX. I know some of the folks speaking and it should be good, plus I like barbeque and I’m sure there will be some.

January will set the record for most monthly visits to HIStalk, around 54,000 or so. Man, that’s a lot of readers, every one of whom I appreciate (along with the great sponsors who get what Inga and I are doing and want to support us). I don’t get all swell-headed about it since, from this chair, it’s more like a videogame than something real, just pecking on keyboards in a quiet room and never talking about it to anyone. Sometimes I’m tired after a long day at work, but this never gets old.

Jobs: MPI Project Manager, Account Executive Sales, VP Research Services, Online/Internet Marketing Manager.

Misys put its name on iMedica’s EMR, so it’s only natural that they won’t host it, either. If there’s innovation in there somewhere, it must be in marketing.

Southeastern Regional Medical Center (NC) signs up for the RadarFind RFID-based asset tracking system.

AMICAS signed more than 60 radiology and imaging contracts last year.

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt’s editorial on healthcare information technology runs in the Memphis newspaper. Nothing new, but aimed at the lay public: EMRs, P4P, and the FCC’s rural broadband telemedicine grant program.

UPMC South Side’s department of medicine chair is sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. UPMC says he won’t be coming back, naturally. And in Louisiana, a 72-year-old retired anesthesiolgist gets 16 1/2 years for trying to get what he thought was a 14-year-old girl online to send him dirty pictures. It’s just my perception, but after many years of working with doctors, there sure seem to be a disproportionate number of horndogs among them.

Speaking of doctors in trouble, a physician peer reviewer for NEJM is caught tipping off Avandia maker Glaxo that an article he was reviewing was about to blow the lid off the drug’s heart attack risk. He was a paid shill for Glaxo, racking up the usual doctor consulting and speaking fees to push their products on his peers. His excuse: “Why I sent it is a mystery. I don’t really understand it. I wasn’t feeling well. It was a bad judgment.” Is that a multiple choice excuse?

Four hospitals that previously employed nurse Charles Cullen, who admits to having killed at least 29 patients by injecting medication into random IV bags, argue that the victims’ families shouldn’t be allowed to sue them, even though they didn’t report his previous errors and investigation for tampering.

A University of Minnesota doctor is in trouble for losing a flash drive that contained his fertility patient data backup. It was supposed to be encrypted, but wasn’t.

University of Alberta researchers have developed a $1,000, shoebox-sized microchip system (i.e., “lab on a chip”) for performing lab and genetic tests.

Sumter Regional, the feel-good recipient of a lot of good press after its tornado damage and its grace under pressure afterward, has not-so-good news this time: 31 of its employees will be laid off Friday.

UnitedHealth Group’s PacifiCare insurance subsidiary faces fines of up to $1.33 billion for not paying claims, which caused some providers to stop accepting their patients. UnitedHealth, which bought the company for $9.2 billion two years ago, said they’re sorry. California’s insurance commissioner is obviously not in a forgiving mood: “After years of broken promises to California regulators, it became crystal clear that PacifiCare simply could not or would not fix the meltdown in its claims-paying process. We’re going to put an end to that. If PacifiCare can’t understand the ABCs of basic claims payment, maybe it will understand the dollars and cents of regulatory action.”

CAP puts the lab at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital (WA) on probation after an unannounced inspector found a patient who was transfused with another patient’s blood because a lab tech misread a computer screen listing single-spaced lines of tests. Some of the changes involved software.

Great idea: a hospital installs wall-mounted “Yacker Trackers” that look like stop lights, turning yellow and then red when noise levels get too high in patient care areas.

Physician EMR vendor MedcomSoft closes a $500,000 private placement. Its shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

E-mail me.

Inga’s Update

Re: Rogue and his PHR/EMR concerns. I have had the opportunity to hear privacy advocate Dr. Deborah Peel speak on this very topic. Dr. Peel can be a bit extreme at times, but her overall position is that patient medical records belong to the patient and not the doctor and not the facility. Her belief is the government is capable of creating a national health record bank with “Fort Knox” type security and the patient regulates who gets to see what information.

I guess it was destiny that for Hopes and Deams to come together. HopeHealth, a SC FQHC and member of the Community Integrated Management Solutions IPA will be implementing DREAM EHR and CARE Disease Management solution from Visionary Medical Systems.

Cerner announces 2007 bookings were up 14% over 2006 and revenue up 10%. Fourth quarter bookings were up 5% over 2006 and revenue up 4%.

Healthgrades says (warning: PDF) that if you go to one of the top 5% of hospitals, you are nearly 1/3rd less likely to die. Their study claims 171,424 lives could have been saved and 9,671 major complications avoided between 2004 and 2006 if the quality of care at all hospitals matched the level of those in the top five percent. Will people consider this before their next hospitalization?

Trizetto wins a $100 million contract with Blue Shield of California for a system-wide technology upgrade.

The LA County DHS contracts with Sunqest to expand and transfer its existing Sunquest LIS to a new facility and implement and integrate new enterprise applications.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. To Bignurse: HIMSS Analytics publishes an EMR Adoption Model with various progressive levels towards a complete EMR implementation. They are measuring hospitals’ progress towards the model. Aggregate scores for the nation can be seen on their website. Their data indicates that most hospitals are at a Level 2 of implementation on a scale of 0 to 7.

  2. The meaning of “implemented” can depend on perspective. To a techie it can mean fully installed and available for use – but that’s a one-sided view; end-users may only consider it implemeted when its actually used as part of the process. As an IT maintenance programmer years ago, I was given responsibility to care for a newly installed software product that took two years to develop for users. It had been technically installed, and IT management considered it “implemented”. The users, on the other hand, were angry that for two years they’d been mostly ignored and only superficially allowed participation in design, etc. Consequently, they never once used the system, so it was never implemented into their processes. I’d say it was installed, but definitely not implemented.

  3. Concening when something is ‘Implmented’. From a vendor standpoint and a troughlapping consultant standpoirn (I’ve worked as both) ‘Implemented’ is the point at which agreed to software functionality (could be one or more systems) is in use in at least one or more actual clinical areas.

  4. Having worked in both clinical, IT, and vemdor settings as a clinical IT systems consultant, a responsible vendor identifies end user requirements that include metrics to know when success is achieved. That being measurable and defined to clnician and technical requirements. I’d keep shopping if the vendor didn’t work on those points and I’d have a lot to say to my IT department if their idea of ‘implemented’ was turned on and turned over.

  5. Getting to “implemented” is the wrong goal. Implemented (to me) just means users are using it, successfully or not. After implementation, optimization needs to occur or you’re just not getting your money’s worth out of the system. Of course, for that to occur you need to invest even more time into a system and how many organizations are going to admit that the system they just spent millions on isn’t perfect?

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