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News 2/8/08

February 7, 2008 News 4 Comments

From Art Vandelay: “Re: Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart has now announced it will expand its partnerships with local non-profit care providers for some retail clinics. This is a potential boon for those who can win the business in the Wal-Mart, which provides a direct entry point for directing referrals to their diagnostic centers. As Wal-Mart launches the pilot to its Dossia Personal Health Record (PHR) based on Indivo, it will be interesting to see if this becomes an option for tracking of personal health information generated or reviewed at the retail clinic. I fully expect Microsoft to make a run at Wal-Mart with HealthVault if Dossia falters for technical reasons.”

From Kelli Bywater: “Re: Medseek. I was one of the 22% laid off in December. I hear it’s not going well there. The company supposedly is sub-leasing half its new space in Birmingham and in Solvang, CA. Some of us who were laid off are getting calls at home from AMEX regarding overdue balances on the company’s credit card. It is really too bad, as all four portals are good, just bad executive management and a VP of finance who can’t seem to get the numbers straight.” I figured it was only fair to give Medseek President Peter Kuhn a chance to respond since there are always two sides to a story, so I e-mailed him. He’s an avid HIStalk reader, he says, and says the company is investing in existing and new technologies, product management, client support, and the usual business needs. He’s still expecting double-digit revenue growth and hiring to support it, with cash flow and profits supporting all funding requirements. He says, “We believe in controlling our own destiny by operating the business with sound fundamentals and good solutions, and our December decisions were made to do just that. For what it’s worth we ended 2007 with an employee headcount commensurate with our 2007 revenues. We believe this is good business practice and the right way to operate a business to best support our clients and employees.” He didn’t exactly answer your specific questions, but presidents are big-picture people, after all. So, there are your two sides, for which I appreciate the contributions of both. 

From Bee Bop: “Re: Parkland. Is Parkland really dumping Perot for another outsourcing firm after the Epic failure last year?” Beats me, but I know some folks from there read here, so perhap an update will ensue.

From Bobby Orr: “Re: Cerner layoffs. Your 401K match was mandated to be in Cerner stock. You were not given options on that front, so you were forced to tie up your 401K with your company (at least it didn’t collapse like Enron). Pretty lame that Neal missed an earnings call.”

From Man in BlackBerry: “Re: Halamka. Nice guy. You talk about marketing and spin – Hillary or McCain should hire him. The guy that built his entire reputation off a major, debilitating crash that left Beth Israel and Harvard’s whole IT infrastructure down for two weeks. His mea culpa turned into a major InfoWorld cover story and he was the hero. Did he go to the Judy Faulkner school of reverse marketing?” I will say that his contributions otherwise have been exemplary (he was fairly new on the job when BIDMC went down hard). He’s accessible to the press, to be sure, but he also spends time and energy working with HITSP and other groups. I used to rip him for the downtime, his Verichip, etc. but his boss lauds his work highly and publicly (not all that common for a CIO) and I’ve seen him be quite gracious in talking to everyone interested in bending his ear about IHE or standards. I’m elevating him to the “seems like a good guy” camp, which is about as high as the cynical Mr. HIStalk’s rating system goes except for those who’ve made sainthood.

From Billy Bob Bob Carter: “Re: QuadraMed. I find it very funny that someone believes that it is all the employees’ fault when a company such as Misys or QuadraMed does not make money. Management is in control of the product, not analysts, programmers, QA, or tech pubs. QuadraMed RIFfed its people to make money by outsourcing its departments to India. No, people, CPR has gone down that route before and failed. The knowledge and skill set is with the people within the company itself, not people that work for $98 a month and cannot understand the industry, product or English. QuadraMed has taken any chance of being successful by kicking their employees and walking away. May the customers revolt and kick back.” Here’s the press release on the layoffs, or if you prefer, “In an effort to provide high quality, feature rich products to our clients in the least amount of time QuadraMed has re-allocated financial and personnel resources to expand our product development capacity.” QuadraMed axed 68 employees from QA, tech pub, and development, sending their work offshore to Tata. The stock is down a little.

The initial response to HIStalk’s reception at HIMSS on Monday, 2/25 is strong. I peeked at the signup list and I’m impressed: informatics people, clinicians, CIOs, VPs, media people, investment folks, and 10 CEOs (!) have RSVP’ed in just the first few days. I’m immensely flattered and I’m honored that you’ve chosen to spend a little time with the HIStalk crowd and the sure to be dolled up Inga (incognito, but lookin’ fine, I predict). If you’re reading this, you are invited – please RSVP here so we can haul in enough liquor and fancy food to keep you happy. Thanks to Healthia Consulting for sponsoring it. One day, I’ll sit back and marvel at the fact that a fine company in which I know no one volunteered to underwrite a lavish shindig for an anonymous, abrasive blogger and his readers, which is just about the coolest thing I’ve ever heard of. If you’ve never been to the Peabody Orlando, it’s really nice and is an easy stroll from the convention center (right on the property, pretty much).

A few more HIMSS housekeeping items. The HISsies awards will be announced at the reception, so bring your pies. I’ll have a couple of giveaway items at the reception that won’t be available elsewhere unless there are leftovers, but the others are listed on this page that I just made. It includes HIStalk’s sponsors and those vendors I’ve featured (or will be featuring shortly) in HIStech Report. Helping host the event along with the good folks from Healthia is Gwen Darling, also representing HealthcareITJobs.com. Gwen had a good door prize idea: we’ll give a lucky winner a full-scale interview in HIStalk (including your picture) plus a free big ad on HealthcareITJobs for your employer for any month in 2008. I’ts not a Hummer like those big-money guys hand out, but it’s still pretty cool.

Scott Shreeve is cautiously optimistic about the involvement of Misys in open source initiatives. I’m openly caustic about it, but it’s definitely his area of expertise and not mine. And speaking of fun bloggers, Marty Jensen of Healthcare IT Transition Group claims that Medicare’s National Provider Identifier runs afoul of HIPAA. I don’t always understand the nuances of billing, but I always enjoy reading his stuff.

Picis sent over a schedule of customer presentations at HIMSS. That’s interesting because Osler CIO Judy Middleton is on it, in the running as you know for the HISsies Best Provider CIO. Also on their agenda Lynn Vogel from MD Anderson, who I’ve swapped e-mails with a few times.

A survey by investment guys Leerink Swann suggests that big clinical vendors like Cerner, Eclipsys, and McKesson will benefit from the desire of hospitals to form a care-based revenue cycle management strategy, choosing integrated clinical and financial systems. I don’t understand how that helps Eclipsys, but I am surprised that QuadraMed wasn’t mentioned since they figured that out early and were the first to use the term “care-based revenue cycle,” at least as far as I know.

Scott Anderson of NextGen reseller KIG Healthcare Solutions sent over a press release describing a demonstration project his company is doing with two Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN) hospitals, partially funded by HHS. Planned: PACS, EMR, and NextGen’s Community Health Solution. ICAHN paid for the portal, while the hospitals will buy EMR licenses and training for their docs. He seemed nice enough, so I figured I’d give him a little plug.

IBM and Cerner will collaborate on putting BMJ Group’s order sets into Millennium. And speaking of Cerner, ComputerWeekly suggests that NHS is whitewashing problems with Millennium in England. From the Audit Commission, “Significant problems with the implementation of the Cerner system have resulted in poor data quality and a lack of robust information …” From NHS Cancer Services, “Current opinion regarding Cerner is that it will not support cancer data collection and reporting requirements for at least 5 years, possibly nearer 10 years.” From an NHS region, “Deployment problems at those sites that have implemented the [Cerner] system has created concern amongst those organisations in the deployment pipeline.” To be fair, big implementations are never pothole-free, so you never know if this is just the usual bellyaching about change or a hint of real problems.

Investment guy Jim Cramer isn’t a fan of CERN: “I am proud that I never went back, because it just keeps going down. I do not like the medical records business anymore.” The stock is actually up a little today, but still not far above its 52-week low.

VMware runs a press release about some of its big hospital customers that use its virtual desktop solutions.

Allscripts will distribute medical software from TeamPraxis, a Honolulu vendor that will take in up to $18 million from the deal.

E-mail me.

Inga’s Update

Design Clinicals announces Mary VanHoomissen as their new VP of Implementation. I actually had a chance to chat with Mary for an upcoming HIStechReport interview. I was impressed by her credentials (MBA, BSN, and RN) but she earned my respect for her obvious passionate commitment to the patient and safety in particular. Design Clinicals will its their own booth at HIMSS for the first time, by the way, so stop by and say hello to Mary.

Speaking of the HIMSS soiree, I am feeling the need to shop for that perfect outfit. Even if no one knows I’m Inga, a girl still needs to feel alluring (you ladies know what I’m talking about). So here’s my subtle hint that Mr. H might need to slip an extra Ben Franklin into my paycheck (the less material, the more expensive the outfit).

Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group in Virginia purchases NextGen PM and EMR for their 66 physicians across 23 locations.

Next time I am in LA, I’m just not going to get sick. In August, the county closed MLK-Harbor Hospital after it lost federal funding over lapses in care. Now Harbor-UCLA Medical Center faces a citation for an overcrowding crisis that is putting patients in jeopardy. And, the feds may also pull funding from Olive View-UCLA Medical Center because of deficiencies in care. Is there anyone in charge of fixing things?

Cerner opens an office in Dublin to serve its growing Irish presence.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in NJ will implement Eclipsys Sunrise Clinical Manager at its 584-bed facility. Also, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has joined with the W.W. Kellogg foundation to donate almost $1MM for EMR and billing for school-based health centers in Greater New Orleans.

Healthport is now certified to connect to the SureScripts Pharmacy Health Information Exchange.

I found this press release a bit odd. Practice Fusion announces it has signed up over 100 practitioners across 70 practices since the end of October. All good. But then the CEO Ryan Howard supplies this comment: “Physicians are realizing they no longer have to be gouged by existing enterprise vendors, such as Misys.” Why pick on just Misys, and not Allscripts, NextGen, GE, etc.? I could understand if it were said in some off-the-cuff remark, but in a formal press release? Makes you wonder if he has some sort of axe to grind.

Numerous companies are announcing various 2007 performance results. Here are a few highlights:

  • PatientKeeper announces a dramatic increase in its client base, including agreements with five major health systems. Additionally, they added six new applications and now serve 14,000 physicians.
  • For the three-month period ending December 31st, the Sage Group says its performance was in line with expectations. The exception was their North American healthcare market, though they expect improved revenue growth in the medium term. Also, they’re still searching for a permanent North American CEO.
  • Sentillion announces strong year-end results, including ten new customers in Q4. Other milestones: their ranking as the #1 SSO vendor by KLAS and the launch of a new channel reseller program.
  • Greenway Medical Technologies announces a 52% year-on-year growth in quarterly bookings for its Q2 period ending December 31st. They also earned a #1 KLAS ranking for the 6-25 physician ambulatory EMR segment.
  • NextGen’s parent company QSI posts numbers for their third quarter ending December 31st. The NextGen segment earned $44M in revenue, up 29% over the same period last year. Operating income was almost $18M, up 33% year-on-year.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. I hope it is just a bad coincidence that today’s report about QuadraMed outsourcing to India and Los Angeles County hospitals reporting all those problems are not related, as all 3 or those facilities run Affinity.

  2. RE: MEDSEEK or MedSleaze if you please. The entire anthology of events is incredible when the smaller acquired company postures over the larger company AccessPt and executes cor d’ etat taking out the CEO of the merging company. Another great demonstration of “transparency.”

    No one has heard about the former CEO of MedSeek, Mike Drake. We are all hoping that he will bounce back and show up on the radar somewhere. I guess the demise of Mr. Drake is rather academic: fired by the Board or gracefully resigned. But I can guess that he did not see it coming unless this was one of the conditions for the merger/acquisition between the brilliant technology of AccessPt and the intellectual property of MedSeek. Another marriage made in hell.

  3. I absolutely hate to be in the position of defending Cerner. But I don’t think they are entirely to blame for the problems that are occurring. I understand that they are unable to work directly with the client – everything goes through the middleman – Fujitsu. It’s difficult to development something that is responsive to users when you can’t talk to the users to find out what the real requirement is. ‘Cause it’s never what they think it is initially.

  4. Art,
    Today’s WSJ reports that Wal-Mart will demand that retail clinics in their stores carry th Wl-mart brand and even more importantly, use eClinicWorks EMR. Thus, eClinicWorks will be the standard EMR across all Wal-mart clinics.

    Remains to be seen how Dossia will fit in to all of this as right now, Wal-mart’s involvement in Dossia is to provide a PHR to their employees and not the customers who visit thir retail clinics.

    Watch carefully to see if eClinicWorks starts working with Dossia – that will say volumes.

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