From Pills: "Re: Doug Krebs. Tell ‘just asking’ that Doug Krebs left Cerner at the end of May. It was an amicable parting." I hadn’t heard that. His name is gone from the executive list, but his bio page is still up and I saw no announcement. Where did he go?
From Former Sage Employee: "Re: layoffs. My sympathies to the 235 Sage Healthcare employees who’ve lost their jobs this week. If the quote is any indication for how the reduction in force was executed, then it couldn’t have been with much compassion: ”They are all gone now,’ said Sharon Howard, senior vice president of sales and marketing with Sage Software Healthcare. ‘They are on severance. You give them two weeks’ notice, so they’re getting paid.’ As if ‘two weeks notice’ is a suitable exchange for the years of service that these people have given while this company continues to try to find itself through rebrand after rebrand. It’s true that, in this economic downturn, many companies are cutting back. It’s just too bad that these talented individuals weren’t worthy of a better farewell quote from the spokesperson member of the new management team. Best wishes to the 235 in finding a place to contribute elsewhere in our HIT market." Link. I have to admit that my reaction was exactly the same. I’d like to think it was a misquote, but Joe Conn wrote the piece, so I doubt that. I can only hope that something was missing without the context since it did indeed sound rather callous and I wasn’t picking that up from the company until that quote.
From Bill A. Bong: "Re: job change. Subodh Sheth, formerly sales VP of CareCentric, was named VP of Sales with AtStaff, Inc. a provider of patient demand and acuity-based staffing solutions. Not bad for him considering that staffing legislation is moving towards acuity-based staffing and away from ratio-based staffing (re: Illinois, Washington, and Ohio)."
From Buzz Lightyear: "Re: JJWild. As one of the affected JJWild/Perot consultants, I can confirm the layoffs last week. Cut employees got a phone call Monday morning with the bad news; in the afternoon an all-hands call was conducted in which the news was passed on to the remaining employees. Falling profits were blamed for the action. Severance packages were offered. It was specifically mentioned that there would be no press release regarding the layoffs." I can’t confirm, but not for lack of effort: Inga keeps trying, but they haven’t returned her calls. Unverified pending the company’s response, let’s call it.
From Interested HIT Investor: "Re: athenahealth. Interesting analyst report this morning on athena and their retail strategy. Do you know if WM/Target or their retail operators have since selected athena over eClinicalWorks? Figure you are the guy to ask." I haven’t heard, but I have readers who would know. Updates welcome.
From Mary Shelley: "Re: Epic. I heard that someone is using some kind of peer-to-peer alternative to RHIOs that Epic created. Any details?" I know they had developed some kind of information exchange add-on that a couple of hospitals were trying (it only works between Epic sites, I think), but I haven’t heard anything lately. It’s kind of interesting, but only in a town where big Epic customers dominate the market.
Vermont Information Technology Leaders picks its EHR pilot systems: Allscripts HealthMatics, Allscripts TouchWorks, and GE Healthcare Centricity.
Nebraska Health Information Exchange will use Axolotl Elysium for its HIE.
NPfIT is losing its grip on impatient trusts wanting to move ahead with the way-behind project, to the point that trusts are given the green light (and possibly the greenbacks) to buy their own interim systems.
Former Meriter Hospital CIO Peter Strombom editorializes about a proposed Wisconsin government interoperability project that just went to RFP for an architecture consultant. His gripe: the cost is estimated at $1.2 billion, it assumes that all hospitals will have EMRs to feed the 3-5 RHIOs it will spawn, and it’s planned as a centralized model with reposed data. He’s advocating a peer-to-peer model running on CCHIT standards, similar to a banking network with the Internet as the dial tone. $1.2 billion with no real funding model other than charging hospitals for access and hoping they’ll pay? I’m with him. My thoughts: the federated model may make more sense technically; a RHIO is a tough-to-run business, not a public good; everybody wants data, but nobody wants to provide theirs; and the high failure rate means proposed ones better do some serious and self-critical homework about financing, governance, and sustainability before spraying grant money over a roomful of panting consultants. And, it’s not likely that top-down mandates will get the job done better than the bubbling-up and eventual interconnectivity of local data exchanges.
So here’s a RHIO question for HIStalk’s readers: now that we’re in generation 2.x of RHIOs, what are the current best practices from a technology and sustainability standpoint? I like the work Medicity has done, I’ve heard good things about CareEntrust and the Indiana group, and I know the Bostoners were leading the charge with some interesting approaches. If you like the banking model, what would it look like in healthcare? Your thoughts are welcome.
Another heparin IV vs. flush error, this time at Christus Spohn Health System (TX), where 17 babies got the frighteningly common 1000x overdose. At least two of them have died, although of uncertain causes. Barcoding is an obvious answer that unfortunately isn’t nearly as effective as you’d think (you can still mix the IV wrong), but I’m beginning to wonder if maybe general care hospitals should dedicate a separate area, staff, and pharmacy for kids. It’s just too easy to miss errors when general staff (especially in pharmacy) are used to handling adult doses, meaning peds overdoses just don’t jump out like they would in a peds hospital. I might be wrong, but I don’t recall that any of these cases occurred in a children’s hospital.
Speaking of the Texas overdoses, here’s a really dumb comment that tries desperately to ride on the PR wave. Leapfrog Group rushes out a statement that quotes CEO Leah Binder as saying, "Incidents like this are the reason why computerized systems for ordering medication in hospitals has been The Leapfrog Group’s number one safety measure that it urges all hospitals to take … If this isn’t a wake up call, I don’t want to know what one really looks like." I’m guessing she doesn’t know what one looks like – according to reports, the heparin was mixed wrong in the pharmacy. None of the recent high-profile incidents had anything to do with physicians or ordering – it was all product delivery, preparation, or administration where what was ordered wasn’t what was administered. Trying to shoehorn in the tired old Leapfrog CPOE mantra is just absurd. And even if it wasn’t so wildly irrelevant, that’s a pretty obnoxious "we told you so" to blast out while the families and hospital employees are hurting. I’m not much of a Leapfrog fan, but this makes me even less so.
Here’s an odd thought I just had. The people at work have no idea that I’m Mr. HIStalk, so I always fight the urge to pipe up and say I know (electronically, anyway) the execs at some of our current or prospective vendors. What if I came out of the closet? Would vendor bigwigs come around to buy me lunch, thereby baffling my co-workers with my newfound popularity? I don’t think any of them read HIStalk, so they’d be like "what’s with him?"
Nancy McDonnell is named IT director at Illinois Valley Community Hospital (IL).
Cardinal Health completes its restructuring into two divisions and may sell its pharmacy management services.
I feel much better about paying big federal taxes knowing I’m helping buy a hot site for a New Hampshire hospital. No problem, it’s not like the country is in the financial toilet or anything.
Intel gets FDA approval for its Health Guide in-home chronic condition monitoring system that includes device connectivity, reminders, education content, and communication capabilities.
The European Commission announces interoperability plans that would cover the entire continent. I think they’re the folks behind the Euro.