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News 5/2/08

May 1, 2008 News 5 Comments

From Bman: “Re: Baylor. Rumor has it another major shakeup has happened at Baylor in Dallas. Most of technology management up to the VP have been escorted to the door. Does it never stop there?”

From Benny Hinn: “Re: UM. Any fresh insight on the hullabaloo? They were hired to start the new Institute of Health Informatics (IHI) at the U. This isn’t they way I was hoping informatics was going to make headlines, but I guess any press is good press.” Two former Georgia Tech professors, a husband-and-wife team that brought big grants to GT, leave for University of Minnesota. They’re under state investigation for fraud because they paid $80,000 in GT money to the wife’s brother. Tech is also claiming they started full time in Minnesota on October 1 but are still drawing GT checks. Tech paid them a combined $400K per year. Maybe informatics is so hot that profs are being wooed like football coaches.

From Larry Finkelstein: “Re: WHCC. I went to the World Health Care Congress conference in DC recently and was very impressed as to the depth of breakout small group discussions. Most of the 1,300 (so we are told) attendees were CEOs, COOs, CIOs and the spin level was at a fairly tolerable level. My favorite session was a couple hours with Denise Cortese of Mayo fame in an intimate open discussion with maybe 30 people talking about how to fix healthcare.”

From unionjack: “Re: UPMC in the UK. It all sounds very mysterious. Surely Epic won’t allow a third party to implement their apps. It must be Cerner and the others then. Why all the hush-hush? And what is UPMC up to?” They’ve installed more stuff in their own place than most vendors, so they’re qualified. The article strongly hinted that they’re looking for financial growth outside the US, something the average hospital isn’t thinking about. It does kind of stretch the definition of a non-profit whose mission is improve health since it’s local taxes they aren’t paying.

From Will Weider: “Re: my picture in USA Today. All I could think was that this has to improve my chances of winning a HISsie next year.” Will is still bummed that he lost the Best CIO HISsies award. He goes on record saying what Microsoft hates to hear (but should get used to hearing): “I wouldn’t put on Vista if it was free,” referring to Ministry Health Care’s 14,000 desktops. John Halamka is quoted too, saying BIDMC will skip Vista because XP’s running fine.

From Amy: “Re: RHIOs. I’m not sure how much better a chance at success CalRHIO actually has. They wanted one big integrator to pay ~$2m to play in their sandbox, ditto for another vendor. How sustainable will that be over time? Tons of good hype though – they are great at that.”

From HISJunkie: “Re: HTP. Just heard that RelayHealth (McKesson) bought HTP, the revenue cycle/claims scrubbing firm out of Ohio.” Listening: The Apples in stereo. Sunny Denver pop. Like crossing the Beatles with ELO.

Sign up for e-mail updates and the weekly Brev+IT newsletter to your right, if you’re so inclined. If you’re new, that Google search box over there digs through five years’ worth of HIStalk (well, it will be five years next month, anyway). The obnoxiously green Rumor Report button will take you to a secure, anonymous reporting form that will even accept attachments if you have juicy stuff to send my way (no dirty pics, please – I meant rumors and secrets). And as always, thank you for reading and recommending HIStalk. I’m always buried in work, but feel free to e-mail me – I guarantee I’ll read it and I’ll try to reply.

John Glaser touts linking genetic information to EMRs. I like the idea, although there’s still a ton of work to do in just linking EMR information to EMR information.

Jobs: Sales Executive – Workflow Solutions, Regional Sales Manager SE, Epic Pharmacy Consultant, Credentialing Verification Specialist. Sign up for the weekly job blast here.

New poll to your right: are you seeing the negative effects of business conditions at work? I’m not in my hospital (yet), but lots of businesses have shut down not far from my house (including two fast food restaurants, which is unusual). The good news is that the world’s appetite is insatiable and we farm like nobody’s business in the good old USA, so unless they’re planning to eat their highly valued currencies, they’ll need to send some of it our way. Money talks, but so does wheat (as the former Soviet Union found out).


Thanks to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor Virtual Radiologic. The Minneapolis company provides around-the-clock radiology interpretation services. Here‘s a story about them. More related to HIT, they offer vRad Enterprise Connect, a fully hosted RIS/PACS solution for big rad groups interesting in rolling out teleradiology. Former Misys Healthcare guy Rob Kill is the company’s president and COO and most of the management team is physicians. I appreciate Virtual Radiologic’s support of HIStalk and its readers.

Community Hospital of Los Gatos (CA, 143 beds)  is testing a PDA system for physicians from Validus Medical Systems. Never heard of the company, but its board looks strong. Here‘s a newspaper story about the CEO’s interest in technology.

Allscripts misses estimates yet again: revenue up 11%, EPS $0.09 after special items vs. $.08, but analysts expected $0.11. Share price didn’t change much, probably because software sales weren’t too bad despite the company’s problems with TouchWorks. Apparently it was announced during the call that the Misys merger might close this summer (which is soon, just in case May slipped up on you).

The iPhone in Healthcare: hot.

Perot Systems announces Q1 numbers: revenue up 15%, EPS $0.23 vs. $0.19, beating estimates of $0.22.

Cardinal Health announced today: revenue up 5%, EPS $1.02 vs. -$.01, exceeding analyst expectations of $1.00. Shares are up 6%.

A former Johns Hopkins professor and physician files suit against the university and hospital for sexual harassment and gender discrimination, claiming that a male colleague had what he called his “T&A display” for a screensaver, that another had “wall to wall” provocative photos, and that inflated condoms were left on her chair. She also claims that her female boss screamed at her and asked why she wouldn’t cry “like a normal woman.” Her bio and picture are still up on the Hopkins site, but I’m not saying a word.

UnitedHealthCare gives El Rio Community Health Center (AZ) $200,000 for a connectivity project.

The CEO of Siemens says the US healthcare market will improve next year. Guess that means he’s hoping the government’s cost containment efforts on imaging will go away. Good for Siemens and GE, bad for everybody else who’s paying.

The Fort Worth paper goes after tax-supported JPS Health Network’s charity claims. The system claimed to have seen 850,000 patients, but it was actually just 157,000 unique patients. It claimed it spent $75 million more for charity care than it was given, but that didn’t include “tens of millions” of extra taxpayer dollars it received for it. The health system claimed to have provided $439 million in charity care in one year, but based its numbers on charges, not cost (which the paper claims was less than $25 million). The health system bragged on 15,000 trauma admissions, but when challenged, said a computer glitch caused an error — the actual number was 1/10 that figure. Doh!

Hospital lawsuit: a New York doctor was hired as a top administrator at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital, so he quit his job and moved at Grady’s expense in October. The hospital called the night before his first day and said he didn’t have a job after all. The money-losing hospital’s former CEO (later fired) had hired him without board approval, offering him “excessive” compensation of $800K and a 15-month severance package. The doctor wants over $1 million in severance and damages. His fired almost-boss is suing for $2 million in severance himself.

E-mail me.

Inga’s Update

As if we needed more proof that healthcare is in a mess, the AHA notes that uncompensated care nationwide has increased by 44% to $31.2 billion in 2006 since 2000. Not surprisingly, bad debt is rising as well, so more hospitals are requiring upfront payment before performing care. I actually agree with the up-front approach in theory, but not sure where that leaves the masses of under- or uninsured. And, sadly, I don’t think the next White House occupant will be able to fix the system any time soon. For some reason, the whole issue is making me particularly gloomy today. How many more jobs will be outsourced and/or hospitals closed before things get better? Oh well, guess I will go back to worrying about more mundane concerns, like the $80 it just cost me to fill up my SUV.

Besides, how can I fret over such things when I could be rejoicing that David Blaine held his breath for over 17 minutes on Oprah, David Cook is poised to win American Idol, and Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson are in love? I guess I really am happy to see that celebrity-snooping hospital employee from UCLA is being indicted for supplying us with the inside information we all wanted to know.

Sentillion’s context management solution technology is now patented.

Heritage Ministries Management Company (NY) is deploying Vocollect’s AccuNurse voice-assisted technology across its three skilled nursing facilities.

A study of 100 minimally invasive coronary bypass surgery patients indicates that robots provide better care than surgeons. Researchers at The University of Maryland Medical Center determined that the use of a DaVinci robot resulted in shorter hospital stays and faster recovery for patients, as well as fewer complications and a better chance that the new bypass vessels will stay open. Plus it is apparently cheaper. No mention of who writes the better chart note.

Aloha means goodbye for 89 employees at Hawaii Medical Center. Perot has been contracted to handle the hospital’s business office, call center, health information management, and admissions departments beginning June 28th.

Hospira acquires Sculptor Development Technologies, developers of the bar code med administration system VeriScan Rx.

The Daughters of Charity Health Systems will offer Misys MyWay to its physician practices. For the next three months, apparently (why only three, I wonder?), interested physicians can contract for the hosted solution at a “subsidized rate.” Daughters has also been offering a hosted version of Misys Vision/EMR product for the last couple of years.

ThedaCare (WI) is spending $90 million over the next three years upgrading technology, re-designing patient rooms, and eliminating nursing stations in its two hospitals. Officials predict the changes will reduce patients’ length of stay by 21% and overall cost of care by one-third.

Sharp Healthcare is selling its Sharp Mission Park Medical Center to Scripps Health. The combined group of Sharp Mission Park and Scripps Mercy Medical will form a new 100-physician entity specializing in FP, peds, and internal medicine.

From California Dreaming: “Great blog. I just wanted to send a quick note to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog. The HIS field is somewhat new to me (I came from the higher education sector). Over the past few weeks I have been trying to immerse myself into as much information and knowledge as I can, and your blog has definitely helped. I’m not sure if anyone sends a ‘Thank You’ to blogs… but I felt the need to show my appreciation.” I am not clear on blog etiquette either (though I see a potential opportunity there.) In any case, we are glad you are reading. Tell your friends.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. Rumor (c0nfirmed) is going around that Brown and Toland IPA in San Francisco is threatening to terminate provider and referral agreements with doctors who are using their EMR and billing services and want out.

  2. RE: Healthcare Sexual Harassment – pandemic proportions in healthcare. Forget the Catholic Church’s improprieties briefly and go into many of your prestigious cathedrals of healthcare and you will probably find one lone person in a sexual harassment situation.

    My first had account of advances made toward me were from my boss’s secretary in a well know medical cathedral. My wife was told the same night that her sexual innuendos turned to physical advancement and I left the hospital within a few weeks.

    Contrary to all those good old boys & girls in healthcare who think they are being cute, medicine is not a rerun of the adventures of “MASH.” Patients need to know that we are honorable people when were are at work in the hospital.

  3. Genetic information linked to EMRs? This has to be one of the most overhyped and worthless issues I have heard about. Let’s actually try to get useful information into an EMR first before going down worthless rabbit holes. Besides all of the issues you actually get with genetic testing (e.g., false positives, etc.), they hype I have seen around genetic information is sorely lacking and will be for quite some time unless it is a specific single-point gene mutation. Just a ton of things that need to come together from several different fields to figure out the pathway sequences of events.

  4. Re: Genetics – I feel grossly under-informed. I fail to see what the issue is. It is another result type that is patient-centric as far as I know. The volume of data is crazy and there is a paucity of standards but those are the main challenges. Can someone fill me in?

  5. There are some things that genetics has already been very useful in health care (e.g., BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 screening for breast cancer) and some of the things in molecular diagnostic are very promising. Just another case though of putting the horse ahead of the cart. If we just focused on doing the things we know that worked much better in health care, you really would start to see some see changes in quality, safety, and cost.

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