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Monday Morning Update 3/3/08

March 1, 2008 News 8 Comments

From Gatorbait: "Re: McKesson. McKesson is nothing if not a sales machine. I’m in a system selection and I am impressed with the lengths McKesson will go to in order to win a deal. They are relentless and seem to have no bounds. HIMSS seems to be a fertile ground for them. A friend of mine just named them VOC over QuadraMed. The QuadraMed sales manager is baffled.  He was overheard saying, ‘I just don’t understand.’ QD got outsold."

From Al Beauterol: "Re: reception. You really had every single Wall Street HCIT analyst and banker there." If you’re one of them, I’d be interested in your thoughts about the conference, observations from the reception, etc.(I’ll keep you anonymous). I’m glad they came. Someone e-mailed me to observe how conversations at the reception had a lot more energy and creativity than the usual customer-type events. Not that we CIOs, IT people, and clinicians aren’t smart and resourceful, but it’s a different vibe outside of hospitals, and seeing the intermingling was cool. I hope we’ll do it again and maybe stream it to the web or something for the folks who can’t be there (say, that may be the excuse I needed for one of those streaming video camcorders).

From The PACS Designer: "Re: HIMSS. Wow, what a great job Mr. HIStalk and Inga did on informing all of us on the HIMSS activities. It made TPD feel like actually being there."

From Ken Griffey IV: "Re: your question. In my highly unscientific conversations with folks about HIStalk, pretty much everyone had heard of it but, only half of them knew what it was or read it." Darn. Glass-half-empty guys like me hate to hear that.

From Todd Cozzens: "We would like to congratulate two HISsie winners and Picis clients who have gone beyond simply automating with IT to transforming how care is given to benefit their organizations, patients and staff. Both have shown amazing documented results. They are: MD Anderson (Best provider HIT organization) and Judy Middleton of William Osler Health Centre (Most effective CIO in a healthcare provider organization). My only regret is that I had to miss the festivities in Orlando due to a prior event commitment that evening. By the way, I think HIStalk should get first dibs on the Cerner booth space for next year’s HIMSS in Chicago!" Thanks, Todd, for bringing that up since I meant to, but forgot. Among the athenahealth sweep and the unflattering awards, these two are the "real" ones for providers and we should recognize them for winning. I know some MDA people read, but I’m not sure about Judy. Anyway, congrats to both. It would have been cool if Cerner had just said, "We’re pulling out, so our HIMSS space is all yours," although I wouldn’t have had the money to do anything with it except maybe to invite the HISsies winners and Fake Ingas to hold court there.


From Will: "Re: Just an update on your December 19 posting on Tim Thompson leaving Adventist. Well he came back, and now he is leaving again, this time to a site in Texas." Another reader says it’s Methodist he’s going to, but not sure which one. We’ll watch for his bio to be expunged from AHS’s web page.

From Orlando Cepeda: "Re: ICW. I had planned to make the HIStalk reception, but was caught up in the hype at InterComponentWare (ICW). It seems to be well earned. They had Blackford Middleton and Newt Gingrich speaking, along with some other dignitaries from Europe, on their accomplishments globally. They have an open source, interoperability play that connects disparate systems that feed up to an actionable patient as well as professional view. Not only very cool stuff, but this German based company has been doing this for over a decade. They provide the EPR in Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, and other places. They are global and building a presence in the good ol’ USA. It is a little confusing in that this German firm uses the acronym ICW — there is another ICW in the USA that makes stands and carts for computer." I will check them out.

From BigTen: "Re: Cerner’s decision to drop out of HIMSS. One of your sponsors, SCI Solutions, also dropped out of the dog-and-pony show a few years ago. I bet they felt their money was better spent elsewhere. Were they there this year?" They were not present this year. Your observation was good, so I asked John Holton, SCI’s CEO, to provide some context. See below. Reading his thoughts reminded me of something I always forget to mention: several of HIStalk’s sponsors do no advertising of any sort other than HIStalk. That makes them special to me, so an extra big thanks to them.

From Peter Venkman: "Eric Schmidt’s address at HIMSS. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but to me, he had nothing much to say beyond a) Google is good at collecting/organizing information, and b) Google should help people collect and organize their health information. The video presentation (which included mostly physicians – what about all of the other people involved in health care?) and the ED physician he trotted out for a demo were uninspiring. If they are trying to help consumers get PHRs, I think their health advisory group should include less ‘experts’ and more patients/consumers/regular folks.and probably not just the young engineers and project managers at the booth who seem unlikely to have any chronic health problems.That said, I certainly hope Google is successful. It seems to me that the Cleveland Clinic should be any easy target, since they already have a PHR." John at Chilmark Research weighs in on Google Health.

From Oohhmm Patience: "Re: HIMSS. The customer dinners seem to get more lavish each year (I wonder what would happen if some of the vendors put as much effort into their products?) but I want to share a commendable event. Sentillion took half of what they would budget for a glitzy event and donated it to Orlando charity Give Kids the World, which brings kids with terminal illnesses and their families to Orlando for a week. Sentillion’s CEO gave a nice (and short) speech about leaving behind footprints wherever we go. I wanted to share the Web site for Give Kids the World." Link.

From HISReader: "Re: Kaiser. I think all hospitals are live on Epic and 10 on everything. The ambulatory rollout was finished this month. It’s easy to talk about big numbers, but HealthConnect is simply a term that all IT budget numbers roll up to. A $4 billion price tag for the last five years needs to be put in perspective because of its size. Truly an impressive accomplishment that deserves at least an honorable mention. Kaiser manages the care for more patients than the populations of entire countries. Would be nice to see a mention about the accomplishment, but maybe that doesn’t create the readership, sponsorship, or lavish parties that your sponsors now afford you and Inga." HealthConnect is a phenomenal accomplishment, no doubt due to that hard work you mention. Nobody questions the ability and effort of Kaiser’s IT people and clinicians – it’s the big brass and their policies (mostly non-IT) that usually raise the criticism. That’s why I wanted to hear what Justen Deal had to say — I was just about the only place talking about how hard the Kaiser IT people were working, how many were leaving, and whether HealthConnect could succeed without giving them more credit.


I’d like to write more about the people in the IT trenches, especially since people sometimes forget that I’m among their number. I’ve tried getting regular people to interview and contribute here, but with few results. Everything in HIT is just about a 50-50 split between vendors and providers, but vendor people tend to get more involved. Provider-siders are often less interested in the broad industry and more focused on their own vendors and projects, but my goal for 2008 is to get more of them reading. Tell me how.

I had to smile a little at the comment about the lavish parties I’m involved with. Here’s how the big evening played out for me. I came down at 6:15, waited in line for a beer, and drank it alone outside the reception room. I shook hands on the sly with three or four people who know me. I stood alone outside the room until around 7:15 and realized I hadn’t eaten for many hours, so I slipped in for food, then came back out to eat it alone. I stood in the back alone through the cartoon and presentation. I left when it was over, waving to Inga, trudging back to my car way out behind the convention center, and went back to my hotel and wrote HIStalk for five hours despite being dead tired. Total people spoken to: five or so. After five hours of sleep, it was back to the conference for a very long day. I’m not a party person and I was keeping an even lower-than-usual profile, so that was for readers, not for me. I almost decided to not even attend, but I wanted to quietly observe. Not exactly a rock star existence, is it? Inga’s quite the social butterfly, so she was in her element.

Jobs: Siemens Consultant, Clinical Analyst, Soarian Consultant. Sign up for a short weekly e-mail job summary from the wonderful Gwen, who some of you met at the reception. With all the layoffs going on, it never hurts to watch who’s hiring.

My editorial in this week’s Inside Healthcare Computing, which I wrote from a food court table at HIMSS: Community Physicians and Technology: Think Convenience Store Owner, Not Society-Minded Scientist.


Now open for business: Google Sites, the latest of the Google Apps (formerly JotSpot). Easy, cool way to create a department intranet or project page. It wasn’t free when it was JotSpot, but I don’t see anything about pricing now, so it must be now (thanks, Google!) I’m going to find some excuse to use it, being a geek and all.

Now that HIMSS is over, it’s time for the HIStalk Reader Survey. Fifteen questions, doesn’t take long, and helps me figure out what to change or to leave alone. Thanks.

Hankering to hear the HIMSS08 Theme Song, "Now Is Our Time," a few dozen more times? Here’s the video, apparently shot live at the opening session. I take no responsibility for the possibility that the tune could get stuck in your head like a malignancy.

Listening: The Sounds, Swedish dance punk, icy blond singer, ABBA meets Blondie.

Final HIMSS attendance: something over 28,400 attendees and 900 exhibitors, beating previous record San Diego 2006 by nearly 15%. I noticed something unusual about HIMSS09, other than it’s in the unusual Chicago and even more unusual April: the full conference will start Sunday and end Wednesday, moving up a day. I can’t decide if that’s a good thing.

Another record: Bowe Bell & Howell  set the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest continuous scan at the conference Monday with a 3,875 foot long fetal monitoring strip. A Guinness judge traveled from London to certify their place in history. Somewhere in my closet, a Bell & Howell slide projector is smiling. Great PR, right up their with Urinalgate.

I got a note from Heather at eClinicalWorks, who says the company is "working with" the analyst who mentioned implementation backlogs. She says the company’s Q1 growth was up 60% and implementations are not delayed, starting within 24 hours of contract signing. I mentioned how good Girish’s intervew was in 2006 and asked for another one, which I’ll be doing in a few days, so I’ll ask him then.

MedAvant appoints Peter Fleming as interim CEO and Lonnie Hardin as president and COO following the resignation of CEO John Lettko.

A Siemens Medical Solutions lawyer involved in the fake joint venture bidding scam at Stroger Hospital gets a year of house arrest, three years of probation, a $12,500 fine, and 200 hours of community service for lying to FBI agents about the $49 milllion deal. Another Siemens exec gets the same punishment plus a $10,000 fine for perjury. Siemens already pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and paid $2.5 million, plus they lost the contract because GE Healthcare sued the pants off them for their scumbaggery, one of many cases of bribery worldwide that Siemens hopes everyone forgets.

E-mail me.

John Holton, President and CEO of SCI Solutions, On Not Exhibiting at the HIMSS Annual Conference

I was able to attend your party and it was by far the best event at HIMSS in a long time. I would like to thank you and Inga for everything you have done for the industry. You are a real catalyst for progress and you give us all a little humor in the process.

I agonized over the decision not to exhibit at HIMSS for several years before withdrawing three years ago.  We were spending $250,000+ on our 20×20 booth when all direct costs of attending HIMSS were included (The $100 waste basket rentals and $5 bottles of water add up). We closely monitor our traffic at HIMSS and the ultimate outcome as to whether a sale occurs.

To be honest, in the last year of exhibiting, only three legitimate prospects could be traced back to HIMSS and I was convinced that we would have found them (or they us) even if we didn’t exhibit. So it came down to — was it worth $88,000/lead? I felt we could spend the money in better ways that would benefit us and the access management industry (sponsoring HIStalk, providing educational webinars on access management topics, better web site, and other such venues more directly related to access management). 

I think the decision to not exhibit was positive for our organization. It has freed up a lot of time that went into planning HIMSS and allowed us to focus on providing thought leadership to the access management industry, which I think ultimately is making hospitals more service-oriented towards physicians and patients and improving their financial strength. And while I’m not aware of efforts of competitors to portray our non-presence as a negative, I think in the long run it would be a foolish strategy, because by investing the money saved from HIMSS into the other efforts to improve access management, the people that count in the industry know we are a good solid company with exciting services.

HIMSS is a real challenge for all but the largest vendors.  It is just very hard to compete with the big guys at essentially their own time-tested game; grabbing the attention of prospects with flash and dazzle. I think HIMSS is aware of the issue for small companies, as I saw they had a reception for new vendors and several areas where new vendors could present, but I think it is still an exclusive show for a few large vendors.  

I am not sure I am in a position to give Cerner any advice, but I applaud their statement that HIMSS is a very expensive investment and that maybe there are better ways to help the industry than spending on booths and parties. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to question the value of your marketing efforts from time to time.

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Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. Glass-half-empty Guys: Interesting observation. This is what I know. You have an eight ounce glass and 4 ounces of fluid. The glass and fluid is what it is, a system to contain a fluid. Gee, that wasn’t so hard.

    HIStalk is neither the glass nor the fluid but a system that contains valuable social information about one of the world’s greatest endeavors – healthcare. I thought I would never be a blogger or even read such unrefined verbiage but HIStalk has proven my sentiment wrong. People who don’t read HIStalk but heard of it, people who read HIStalk and hate what is being said, or people who don’t care about what is being said about the struggle in healthcare to “get it right” are missing an incredible source of knowledge by reading between the blogs. I get it and use the information for a more informed decision about my endeavors to change the world of healthcare, one gateway interface at a time.

    Depressed for missing HIMSS this year and my blog reflects my emotion. Get it?

  2. Dropped by ICW booth as well. Not so sure that the endorsement of what appears to be a hired gun, Middleton, is all that convincing as to what they can offer the market. Also the eHealth announcement was not that special, particularly coming on the heals of a similar announcement by Microsoft regarding HealthVault. Company has been in the states now for several years and has very little to show for it, just two hospitals that are in process of implementing ICW – nothing live, so jury is out.

    That’s not to say they won;t do something in the future, but do believe it is premature to give them accolades for any presence in NA or announcements made. If they can replicate what they have done in central Europe here in the US, then we may be able to give them praise.

  3. Dear GATORBAIT- When you say McKesson will go above and beyond do you mean like fancy golf trips, lavish hotel suites, or perhaps even a new BMW . I’m curious at what point did you hear a QD Sales manager say ” I dont understand” . Clearly you made that up to fluff your blog, nice try!. QD didnt get outsold, I would be more under the impression that it had to do with the growing pains of the recent assest aquistion. The TRUTH of it all is I have a hospital adminstrator friend that just went through the same selection process and I was directly told there is no argument that Affinity and QCPR are in fact highly developed products with deeper functionality and more enriched ability for customization. than other HIS vendors out there. I’m curious Gatorbait what HIS system does your hospital run?

  4. wolfcub,

    not sure what your point is. QCPR is a more developed product than PARAGON, however they just lost a deal to McKesson. Clearly OUTSOLD. The sales leadership is weak at QuadraMed and it is showing. When was the last new business deal for QuadraMed? We currently run QuadraMed in our facility however, due to poor customer service and lack of confidence in QuadraMed, we are in a process to replace them. If you want go into this in this forum, I am sure the readership would enjoy the insight….you up for that? I don’t think you are.

  5. How sad is it that someone is bragging about a vendor’s (McKesson’s) ability to get hospitals to purchase inferior product through superior sales tactics?

    I guess the lesson is for vendors to invest more in sales and influence peddling instead of actual product integration.

    I’m not defending Quadramed…just shaking my head at the the idiocy of the comments.

  6. The point is this…HIMSS is a great sales tool. I was sharing a story about a vendor that closed a deal at HIMSS and my impression of their salesmanship compared to my vendor. They are a machine!

    Idiocy is continuing to do the same thing and expect different results. Sales are not made in excel spreadsheets, they are made in front of customers.

  7. It seems that Mckesson does go to quite lengths to win a deal. Are those things they do ethical? McKesson has won deals with a Paragon/Horizon mix that does not interface well but they keep winning so I would love to hear what they are doing to win. As for Quadramed it is too bad they let the product fall behind. Now the other vendors have caught up to them on the revenue side and Misys CPR is not far enough along to really compete against the Epics, Cerners and Eclipsys type systems. Mckesson I would name as well but lets face it, they are also piece mealing their stuff together but getting really close to a small hospital system.

  8. Gatorbait- I dont keep up with QuadraMed sales to regularly but what I do know is they purschased CPR for over $30M, and each year they are bringing in more revenue then the past year. Clearly they are doing something right. There is no vendor out there today that does everything, maybe you know that maybe you dont? If I were you I’d buy some QMD stock cause I have a good feeling its going to blossum quite nice.

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