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Monday Morning Update 3/31/08

March 29, 2008 News 9 Comments

From Up to You: "Re: Scott Wallace. From a magazine: Wallace said he will continue to work in the area of healthcare IT at, ‘something really exciting, but I’m not quite ready to announce it yet. I’ve got another six weeks of really intensive work before I can announce it.’" NAHIT seems to want to reinvent itself following (and may related to) his departure. So, where’s he going?

From Tree Adams: "Re: RHIOs in Europe. Points worth mentioning: (1) Taxpayer money and government are the only available sources of funding and administration in a cradle-to-grave welfare state; (2) Might it be easier to introduce a single, electronic solution within an existing nationalized bureaucracy when compared to our disparate, private organizations?; (3) Is it theoretically easier to finance and implement technology when the populations in question are so small (less than 10 million)? But go ahead and keep comparing them to our model."

From The PACS Designer: "Re: Philips acquisitions. TPD is impressed by the recent acquisitions of Emergin, Visicu, Respironics, and Tomcat  With the addition of these four, it appears a move by Philips toward the center of the IT process in the enterprise. The mini-EMR mentioned in my HIStalk interview may have to be revised to a main player in the EMR competition!"

Listening: new B52s, the first album with all four members in 16 years. If you liked Cosmic Thing, this is for you – the always-cute, beehived Kate and Cindy still sound young when they soar on the harmonies. Bet they’d play a mean HIStalk party next HIMSS.

A reader pointed out that the Rumor Report button wasn’t working all of a sudden, so I made a new one and moved the form to a new page. It now loads instantly and takes you back to the "new" HIStalk page. So, send me a rumor.

Why Epic is so expensive: take a virtual drive through its new campus Google Street View (the car-mounted 3D camera thing). Nice buildings surrounded by endless muddy fields, but it probably looks better now (or will by summer).

Cool booklet: Steve Bennett, VP of Snelling Executive Search and Chuck Christian, CIO of Good Samaritan Hospital have published 101 Healthcare IT Marketing Ideas and sent me a copy (I had mentioned their quest for reader ideas, although I don’t know if they received any). Item #38: "Station the Help Desk in the cafeteria for a day." Fun. Some of my smarter IT management ideas have involved internal marketing, so I can vouch for these 101 as useful for ensuring IT department visibility and CIO job security. I don’t know how you can get your copy, but I expect the Snelling folks can hook you up. 

Execs may like the Allscripts-Misys merger idea, but the sales natives are apparently restless. Resumes from both companies are hitting the street in great numbers, a recruiter tells me.

Your federal tax dollars at waste: a for-profit hospital in New Jersey gets $500K for PACS upgrades. The hospital won’t peg a completion date until it can take another lap around the trough for more federal money. A real estate development company bought the bankrupt hospital in October. Maybe New Jersey has hospitals that aren’t bankrupt, under investigation, or both, but those aren’t making the papers.

A bunch of New York RHIOs gets $105 million in grants.

I mentioned that AT&T’s booth at HIMSS was busy, with a lot of potential partners sidling up as well. If you wonder what the company’s healthcare strategy is, check out my HIStech Report interview (just posted).

A demonstration project says its "best practices" processes reduced medication administration errors by 56%, but of course leaves off the most important stat: how many of those would have caused patient harm? Most people miss the point that a "medication error" is usually something as benign as not being given your daily 8 a.m. laxative until 8:30. Fixing that doesn’t do … well, you know.

More jobs: Account Executive (NC), Revenue Cycle and Operations (MA), Healthcare IT Project Manager (FL), RVP Sales (Western US), Information Security Manager (CA), MUMPS/Cache’ Software engineer (VA), Epic/Bridges Senior Integration Analyst (MA).

Deborah Moore, a former RN and CEO of Accustat EMR of of Myrtle Beach, SC, is named as state Small Business Person of the Year (I assume it’s the business that’s small and not her).

LSU wants a $250 per semester tuition increase on top of $43 million extra it’s getting from the state. They plan to spend $20 million for a new hospital EMR system.

I was looking for a lesser-known EMR vendor and found them on the list of 321 covered by EHR Scope. I didn’t realize there were so many.

Strange hospital lawsuit: Dongwoo Chang, a UC Davis neurosurgeon, accuses his supervisor Jan Paul Muizelaar of incompetence and practicing illegally. UCD suspends Chang citing his high complication rate and being a general pain in the ass. Chang is suing UCD’s top physician officers, saying he was fired in retaliation and that his own death rate and number of malpractice suits is zero, compared to Muizelaar’s high numbers of each. Makes you feel real good about needing trauma work done there.

HHS launches a hospital comparison site that includes process of care measures and patient survey results (when available). I doubt most patients would understand the clinical measures (although they can review bathroom cleanliness and noise), but providers might find competitive bragging rights therein. Unmotivated newspaper reporters are already crafting stories around how the local hospitals did, I’ve noticed.

Sad: a man whose mother died at Doctors Hospital (GA) in 2004 after what he believed was substandard care returns to the ICU armed to the teeth, killing a nurse, a secretary, and a bystander. I’m scared to say it out loud, but I’m surprised that it doesn’t happen more often with all the wackos that pass through hospital doors.

The charitable foundation started by IDX co-founder Bob Hoehl donates $1 million to a Vermont literacy organization.

Vermont Information Technology Leaders changes its mind – it now backs a surcharge on medical claims to pay for physician EMRs. Getting doctors to use them wasn’t mentioned.

Oracle’s Larry Ellison is bonkers, but smart: he successfully challenges the tax valuation of his $200 million Japanese-themed estate, arguing that Larryland is so bizarre that it’s worth a lot less than he paid. Result: he’ll pay taxes on only $65 million, earning him a $3 million refund.

ZDNet says Janet Dillione, CEO of Siemens Medical Solutions,was the smartest person at HIMSS, apparently because the reporter thought she looked a little like Hillary Clinton and because of her daringly insightful predictions such as "PHRs will be popular" and "Healthcare IT needs to change." ZDNet fawns over Soarian, apparently unaware that nobody’s buying it.

E-mail me.

Thoughts from the HIStalk 2008 Reader Survey

Thanks to those to responded. Inga and I pored over your survey submissions endlessly, so your time was well spent.

Not surprising: about 4% of readers are CEOs and 4% are CIOs, not much different than last year. As to the degree that HIStalk influences your perception of products and companies, 8.7% said none, 68.6% said some, 22.7% said a lot. The most popular HIStalk elements (in order) are news, rumors, and humor.

Surprising: to the true/false question of whether reading about a company in HIStalk raises interest or appreciation for those companies, 80.3% said yes (that’s a lot). Best of all, to the question of whether reading HIStalk helped you do your job better in the past year, 75.4% said yes (a 10% jump from last year). I don’t know of any organizations or publications that can claim that strong of an endorsement, so that’s pretty darned cool.

The comments were nearly universally complimentary (thanks for that). Some specific themes I teased out: you would like to see more interviews with non-CEO/CIO types, such as clinicians and non-hospital IT leaders (we’ll work on that). You’d like to see more activity in HIStalk Discussion (so would I.) You suggested a raffle or other incentive for readers who recommend new HIStalk readers (good idea). You suggested changing the sponsor ads (smaller, simpler, different layout) which we will review with the sponsors since they’re the ones keeping the virtual presses running. You asked me to highlight small, innovative vendors who might not make your radar otherwise, another good idea (if you know one or are one, check in).

You also gave us a couple of great ideas for major, separate offerings that we may do if I can figure out how create extra hours in the day. Since I work full time, I’m close to maxing out at maybe 90 hours a week, so maybe it’s time to hire more helpers or something. The ideas were good and have been suggested before, so I’m confident they would be successful.

Inga’s Update

Cerner is participating in a community outreach program that will bring in 45 Kansas City area high school students for half their school day. The curriculum will focus on teaching students the skills necessary to succeed in the workforce, particularly team work and problem solving. Good stuff.

The chairman, CEO, and CFO of Misys show enough confidence in the company’s direction to pull out their checkbooks and make substantial purchases of additional shares.

The chief of neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital is accused of sexual discrimination in a lawsuit filed by a female surgeon who believes she was denied promotions in favor of male colleagues with less experience. Whether true or not, the chief definitely has odd taste in office decor and at a minimum has been accused of having a pretty annoying sense of humor. (I will leave my “men are pigs” comments to myself.)

MD Anderson is implementing MedAptus’s Facility Charge Capture and Infusion Services modules. Eight infusion centers will initially use the programs for reconciling the charge review, approval, and transmission processes.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "9 comments" on this Article:

  1. Re: Scott Wallace – is he going to do that startup for LEAN in healthcare? Heard some big names are doing something – Toussant (WI CEO), Burwick and others.

    Also, Epic campus looked pretty basic. But cool drive through… do you have other vendors campuses?

  2. Great to see the acquisitions Philips is making…looks like they understand the need for information acquisition and utilization, hopefully with meaningful decision support and early alerting. The big question now is where are they going to find a group to steer this integration/development? Have they acquired the right GM talent, engineering, and product management folks? Not sure anyone they’ve gotten can do all that’s required….thoughts?

  3. I’d really like to see a lot less slamming of Misys-Allscripts deal. We really need to see what happens and give it a chance. All these gloom and doom predictions are not good for anyone. – As for those that feel the need to bail out now, you gotta wonder what kind of opportunities are you going to miss out on. This could and should be a good thing for the market…unless your the competition

  4. RHIO’s in Europe : Two points in addition to the 3 Tree Adams referred to : 1) compared to the USA , much more emphasis on the role of primary care/gatekeepers pre admission and post discharge to hospitals . Just look at the ratio family practitioners/specialists – factors higher in Europe 2) no matter how you slice or dice it – deploying universal healthcare coverage – with competition in the mix – from womb to tomb ( ie before birth ! ) does help deploying nationwide rollout of RHIO’s

    The result ? Penetration of EMR’s in first line care providers is close to 100% – they are the drivers

  5. What I wonder about Philips and its acquisitions, particularly the most recent one TOMCAT is: Is this a way for them to get into the EMR space without actually acquiring a large EMR vendor? Looks like they are acquiring smaller, discipline specific EMRs like TOMCAT that are fairly open and can connect into a larger hospital-based “parent” EMR.

  6. There has been some speculation that GE might make a bid for Allscripts in order to prevent the chaos which might ensue should Misys complete the acquisition instead. Many former IDX customers use Touchworks, of course, and this fact might compel GE to go ahead and end the drama right now. The alternatives: do nothing and hope for the best or attempt to expel Touchworks from GE customer base completely.

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Reader Comments

  • Sam Lawrence: Except in this case, coding = medical billing, not development. Though the same warning may be true...
  • BeenThere: Partners will find the savings from their cuts of coders as fools gold. There are a lot of hidden costs running an outs...
  • JC: If there is not there can be. VistA has a reference lab interface that can create the manifests/labeling and such as we...
  • Tom Cornwell: Great stuff from Dr. Jayne as usual. One small typo, last sentence of second-to-last paragraph: should be 'who's' not 'w...
  • HIT Observer: What I find most interesting here, is people defending their common practices rather than truly taking this as invaluabl...
  • Bob: There's no incentive for the provider to spend time doing a price comparison for the patient. Nor is it a good use of th...
  • Peppermint Patty: Veteran - can you clarify what was "fake "? Was something made up (definition of fake) or did you disagree with Vapo...
  • Pat Wolfram: Such a refreshing article. Thanks -- there really can be a simpler version of an acute HIT implementation. But I do ...
  • Woodstock Generation: Bravo to HIStalk's Weekender recaps and other news/opinions. I read it first thing on Monday mornings..................
  • Veteran: #fakenews...

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