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News 3/12/08

March 11, 2008 News 3 Comments

From Buffy V. Slayer: "Re: consultant survey. The items don’t really reflect what’s good and bad about being a consultant other than the hours. Performance expectations are really the killer with each manager trying to meet sales goal and people jockeying for credit on the same account. Those with the sharpest elbows get the credit and those who don’t make the goals are pushed out. The responsiveness of IT support and publications is remarkable and none of the firms I’ve worked for skimped on accommodations or per diem, which is important when you’re exhausted and need a quiet room and something decent to eat. What I liked best is the change to work with really, really smart people, but we had little or no time for education. Very Darwinian." The consultant survey has 73 responses, so jump on if you’d like to see the individual responses with company names (but not those of respondents, of course – add your e-mail address at the end and I’ll remove that and send it out blinded). Least liked aspect so far? New hire training. Sends consultants on engagements unprepared? 34%. Average salary, billable hours, and whether the consultant would recommend working for his or her employer? Fill out the survey and you’ll find out. Obviously the reader who asked me to do this (and who provided the questions) has struck a nerve. Some of the companies sound kind of suck-o to work for, but that’s life.

From Tupac Addae: "Re: MagicJack. Now that I’m working from home with only a cell phone, I dreamed to be able to plug in my old desk phone somewhere other than a money-wasting landline. I’m SO PLEASED to have been clued into MagicJack by Mr. HIStalk’s mention. It arrived a couple of days after purchase, the phone number goes with me wherever I go, it comes with voice mail and even 911 service, and it works with my desk and cordless phones. They’re working on richer features now, like the ability to change your phone number at will. Very, very cool and I appreciate your cluing me in. It’s hard to imagine how landline companies can compete with $20 a year."

From Andy: "Re: GPS. Considering that non-DoD GPS systems are accurate to one meter, I wonder what is actually going on in this article from China?" Link. It says a US surgeon will show visiting Chinese orthopods how he uses GPS to "precisely measure legs and make sure they are even." Either something got lost in translation or it’s our leg that’s being pulled. Why would you use an orbiting satellite to measure a leg instead of a tape measure?

From The PACS Designer: "Re: virtual appliance. What a nice article posted by Shahid Shah. In essence, a virtual appliance can be an ‘enterprise cloud’ that provides numerous services to clients while simplifying the IT maintenance issues. TPD has been posting about clouds as a way of improving service offerings at a lower total cost once implemented. While there may be some backlash from users, it can quickly disappear once the user gets accustomed to this new concept. The virtual appliance can be a win-win for provider and users with a well defined roll-out plan that is gradual in nature and allows users to adjust to a different operating platform."

I had played around and put a Mr. HIStalk entry on LinkedIn just for grins awhile back, which I promptly forgot about until a couple of readers recently found my profile and connected. I’m not sure how much value an anonymous contact with a guy using a profile picture of The Unknown Comic will have for your business or social prospects, but I’ll approve any invitations that come my way if you’re interested. Maybe I’ll need a job one of these days.

Speaking of surveys, please fill out my HIStalk reader survey. Thanks.

I’ll not be posting new entries to the old Blog City site going forward, so if you’re reading on the new one for the first time, make sure to put your e-mail address in the "Subscribe to Updates" box at your upper right so you’ll know when I write something new (and the Brev+IT one just below that if you’d like the weekly e-mail newsletter, which several folks on the survey have said they like).

Jobs: Sales Executive – Workflow Solutions, Systems Analyst – Clinical Applications, Senior PR Copywriter. Gwen will e-mail you openings each week if you sign up. This week’s had Gwen with a Photoshopped leprechaun hat and a caption of "Gwen Darling, Irish Lass."

This is fun: Spencer Hamons, CIO of SLV Regional Medical Center (CO), is doing a Weekly News sort of podcast about healthcare IT. He’s also a professional voice-over guy, so it sounds great. I told him I was really sprawling back and relaxing since his voice is so soothing and so is the piano music he uses in the background (say, you don’t suppose he’s actually playing and talking at the same time?)

Update on the HIMSS Stage 6 EMR hospitals: Meditech has two customers in the 11: Citizens Memorial Healthcare (MO, home of one of my favorite CIOs, Denni McColm) and St. Agnes Healthcare (MD). Now if the Meditech folks could just hook a brother up with a Neil Pappalardo interview …

Deborah Peel, an AARP lobbyist, and an ONCHIT person debate federal privacy legislation in this video.

Another sign that Cerner is scrambling for growth: now it’s in the drug development business, sponsoring research into a dry powder inhaler technology, for which it has an option to become the exclusive licensee. Sounds like they want to become Cardinal Health or McKesson with their med cabinets and life sciences stuff.

Nice award, but an odd quote about a FirstHealth (NC) nurse who an ED award: "His work with McKesson (a health care services company) is just one example. He also built a beautiful chart rack, and his ability to work with multiple people and personalities in the ED has made him a true leader in our department." First thing I thought of: it’s odd to mention his carpentry skills. Second: was Sybil in their ED?

Red Hat announces that Florida Hospital is running Linux, JBoss, and several other technologies.

Patient throughput systems vendor PeriOptimum will partner with Sonitor Technologies for marketing a combined RTLS, being installed at Women’s Hospital (LA).

Washington Post runs an article on PHRs. Nothing new, but mainstream.

This is a little freaky: a sensor necklace detects magnet-implanted pills as they traverse your esophagus, time-stamping the med you took and reminding you of those you missed.

Massachusetts hospitals line up against a privacy bill that would allow people to block access to their medical records, inspect access records, and block their use for marketing. Ostensible reason: nobody will buy EMRs if they can’t just sling PHI everywhere. We’re getting into a touchy area here: if experts say your health could be jeopardized by your not approving records access, is it still your right to opt out? I’m going with yes. That just smacks of what should be an obsolete concept: "we doctors and hospitals are way smarter than you, so we’ll decide no matter what your personal wishes are." Maybe that’s what all the fuss against privacy bills is about: trying not to cede control to patients.

Who knew that Meditech owns a historic horse farm?

An RN turned malpractice attorney describes the "positive force of litigation" by enumerating the huge judgments she’s won against providers. Now she’s advocating expanded training for pharmacy technicians, even though their work is checked by a pharmacist and training doesn’t prevent doctors, RNs, and pharmacists from making similar errors. Quote: "We would all agree that the technician should be be held accountable." In other words, pharmacy technicians make too little money to be worth suing, so with more training, maybe malpractice insurance will become standard and lawsuits against them will become more lucrative. She was a nurse only while working her way through law school, so I’m sure she never made a mistake even without the positive force of litigation.

Speaking of litigation, the patient whose heart was cooked by an overheated cardiac catheter with known problems is awarded $40.1 million. Oddly enough, Providence Everett Medical Center (WA) was awarded $310,000 in the suit, claiming the monitor company damaged their reputation. I always weigh these awards by thinking, "Would I suffer what the litigant did for the amount of the award, and if so, maybe it’s excessive?" In this case, no way.

Kudos to CSC staff in the UK, who donated money for a children’s hospital there.

E-mail me.

Inga’s Update

Parkland Health and Hospital Systems (Dallas) partners with Affiliated Computer Services for a seven-year, $41 million contract to outsource its IT services. ACS will supply infrastructure support including data center operations, network monitoring and management, asset tracking, and help desk support. ACS also won a contract renewal with the Missouri HealthNet Division to provide HER and pharmacy benefits management. That contract could be worth up to $57 million over 10 years.

Children’s Hospital Boston is implementing RFID for inventory management for high cost devices and supplies within the surgical department. The selected product is Mobile Aspects’s iRISupply.

iSoft becomes Sentillion’s first European healthcare channel partner to distribute its SSO, context management and user provisioning solutions.

MediNotes is named the Technology Association of Iowa’s Prometheus Award for top software company in the medium-size category. MediNotes’ CEO and President Donald G. Schoen received the organization’s CEO of the Year award.

Picis announces the availability of a podcast of “Forward-Thinking CIOs Debate Hot Issues Facing Hospitals in 2008.” Panelists include multiple Picis CIO’s including HISsie award winner Judy Middleton of Osler Health Center.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. re: privacy bill- It’s NH not Mass, but regardless, this seems very politically motivated, and has little to do with medical reality. If your doctor is the type of person who will sell your information to a drug company or anyone, you need to find a new doctor. Everyone in medicine follows HIPAA, and hospital systems are extremely careful in terms of privacy issues. What these bills (including the Markey bill in congress) will do is stifle research. It will be practically impossible to get consent to do an electronic chart review if you have to get consent from every patient who’s record you look at.
    The comment about taking power away from patients is pretty over the top- this has to do with being able to actually practice medicine and do research, not with taking control away from patients. You can always get a copy of your chart and the audit trail under current regulations.

  2. RE: Meditech Horse Farm

    I thought this was common knowledge. IIRC, they bought this property as part of the Canton, MA HQ property purchase.

    Also, Meditech’s Canton building might be one of the most beautiful corporate HQs in any industry. I was blown away the first time I had a meeting there.

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