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August 19, 2008 News 4 Comments

From Radio Button: "Re: Betsy Hersher. Any word on her?" Last I read, she was going into CIO coaching, but she didn’t really say whether she would continue recruiting. She has six current searches on her site.

From Sharetheknowledge: "Re: AAN study. Does anyone know how much the RWJF gave to the American Academy of Nursing for their ‘Technology Drilldown Study?’ It annoys me when someone gets a grant for knowledge exploration and then doesn’t share findings with the industry. The AAN supposedly analyzed hundreds of clinical workflows and explored the technology implications. Why not share with hospitals and not just their members? If the reply is, ‘You have to go through the process yourself,’ I disagree. Can you imagine if everyone posting to HIStalk just said, ‘I just finished endeavor XYZ, but can’t share any lessons learned because your hospital is different, so it wouldn’t apply to you?’"

From Otis Day: "Re: Siemens layoffs. Yes, Soarian WAS singled out. Lost (as I have heard): 150 Soarian programmers in Bangalore. Also, consider this: when Siemens took over SMS, there was a huge push to get Soarian (formerly known internally as TNT) to be a viable, installable (not just marketable) product – so Siemens threw a bunch a people at it to get the base system working. Its stability has greatly improved in the last year. Therefore, why keep the overhead? Just a thought." The surge worked! Interesting thought. Unless they’re selling enough of it to need enhancements, I suppose it’s tempting to cut back (nice reward for getting the job done). TNT? Too easy.

From Melvin Cooley: "Re: Siemens layoffs. Revenue per employee is too low. More people will leave. All employees age 60+ with 15+ years of service have been offered early retirement. That’s another 100 people. Stopping offshore development in India is another 200." Unconfirmed so far.

From The PACS Designer: "Re: virtualization and PACS. TPD has read Doctor Dalai’s latest post on virtualization and thought it would be good reading for HIStalkers since the VEE (a TPD acronym) is gaining momentum in our move to a more digital world through the proliferation of PACS and other digital systems around the world. In case you didn’t know, TPD’s VEE stands for Virtual Electronic Enterprise!" Link.

New poll to your right, this time about to the Brev+IT e-mail newsletter. It’s a conundrum: it takes a fair amount of time that I don’t always have, but Inga likes it. I’m happy that so many copies go out and that it’s sponsored, but the spam filters are a challenge. Worth doing or not?

Speaking of Brev+IT, here‘s the latest edition. I’ve evolved into this format: a smart-alecky headline, straightforward facts, a short opinion, then some "musings" that are really whatever I’m thinking about the story (it covers the top three stories each week). This week’s headlines: German Re-Engineering: Siemens Corporate Layoffs Whack Hundreds in PA; MyWay or the Highway? iMedica Gives Misys the Answer: B; and Perot Makes Giant Acquisition Sucking Sound. I had one a few weeks back pertaining to that mythical contestant quote from The Newlywed Game featured in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind that I toiled a long time to work out, but I’m not sure anyone got it.

Anesthesia systems vendor DocuSys closes on its acquisition of Prompte, which sells presurgical care management systems. I would have included a link to Prompte, but its page is already forwarded over to that of its new owner.

SIS launches a customer portal that includes a knowledge base, support ticketing, education, and discussion.

Listening: Sam Phillips, the uniquely voiced and moody female singer-songwriter who did most of the excellent music from the Gilmore Girls.

Wednesday is Readers Write day here at HIStalk, at least if said readers do, indeed, write. Bang out 500 words about something industry-related that’s interesting or funny and send it my way.

Vendors beware: Acacia Research, which buys or files broad and likely unenforceable patents and uses them to shake down technology companies into paying licensing fees instead of the cost of a lawsuit defense, plans to expand in healthcare. Several vendors already pay them to go away, with only Epic standing up for themselves (I haven’t heard how that turned out). The company, which has raked in $150 million so far in its lifetime, has five new medical ones coming: progressive image downloading in PACS; automatic paging of abnormal lab results; medical image stabilization; heated surgical instrument blades; and surgical catheters. Siemens is already paying tribute for the PACS patent.

A Nigerian teaching hospital is the first there to start a department of medical informatics.

HP software will analyze code and represent it graphically to find inefficiency and spaghetti coding. An interesting comment from California’s controller, who talked the governor out of temporary programmer pay cuts for fear of losing the few COBOL programmers available to maintain the state’s payroll system: “It’s not that you couldn’t find people smart enough to do it. You can’t find people who would want to.”

BearingPoint, the folks that brought you the Bay Pines CoreFLS debacle that cost a few hundred million dollars and couldn’t even pass the VA’s beta testing, spent $500K in Q2 federal lobbying, some of it with the VA. Several politicians wanted them banned permanently from government work back then, but that apparently didn’t happen, probably because banning consultants with mega-failure government projects wouldn’t leave many and there’s always the risk that the consultants would expose bureaucrats as the problem.

UMDNJ is still laying off.

Another security camera-taped patient death occurs in a mental hospital while staff pay no attention. Nurses at a North Carolina mental hospital left a man sitting in a day room chair without food or assistance while nearby staff watched TV all night, played cards, and talked on their cell phones. As in the case of Kings County Hospital Center (NY), falsification of the patient’s record is suspected.

Premier offers data breach insurance.

Annals of Internal Medicine hates medical nomograms, instead recommending software development.

An iPod-sized device called the Zuri sends medication reminders to patients and reports compliance back to their doctor.


It’s not just a California thing: the Des Moines paper uses unemployment claims to create a fairly long list of Iowans who have been fired for privacy breaches and accompanies it with a good article. In one strange case, a woman operated on for heavy menstrual flow found her full name and medical problem in an article in the local paper, which she claims was planted there by a surgical training company and its PR flack.

A big real estate developer, an Indian hospital, and Johns Hopkins are building a "health city" in India. It’s interesting that, as bad as US healthcare is claimed to be, everybody seems to want to train doctors the way we do. Maybe that means doctors aren’t the problem here.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

The top concern for hospitals over the next 12 months is physician and nurse recruiting, according to a Picis-conducted poll of 300+ physicians, nurses, and hospital administrators. EHR rollouts is the next biggest issue. Eighty-seven percent believe that government-run EHRs would advance EHR adoption.

Question: How will the transition to ICD-10 diagnosis and procedure codes (deadline October 1, 2011) impact HIT vendors and the provider systems? The easy answer is that it will cost everyone some money, but I wonder if some vendors will be unable to accommodate the change? Will any vendors look at the mandate as an opportunity to sunset legacy products? How much training will staff need to learn the new system?

An Investor’s Business Daily profile on NextGen and new parent company CEO Steven Plochocki suggests the possibility of proxy fight with a "dissident board member" who claims the board chair has too much control. Plochocki mentions he has historically worked with small- to mid-market companies and taken them through growth and consolidation, suggesting that NextGen will expand offerings and consider fill-in acquisitions. The company reported great numbers on August 7.

Valley Baptist Health System (TX) contracts (warning: PDF) with The Breakaway Group to provide implementation services for four simultaneous HIT initiatives. Valley Baptist is in the process of adopting GE Centricity Enterprise EHR, Streamline Health document imaging and workflow software, Picis perioperative system, and ImageCast RIS.

UPMC appoints GE alum Katie Taylor as VP for business development in the International and Commercial Services Division. Taylor will lead efforts to market UPMC’s IT products and services internationally and expand its cancer centers. She served in various management roles in her 20 years with GE and is fluent in four languages (which impresses me).

Blogger and author Maggie Mahar writes a thought-provoking and probably controversial post asking "Should More Hospital CEOs Be Physicians?" She has plenty of criticism for non-physician CEOs who have engaged in fraud for personal gain. While she does not think CEOs must be physicians (or nurses), she does promote special health care executive licensure and believes all CEOs should be required to work closely with a panel of the hospital’s physicians. Of course, if the primary concern is reducing fraud, I don’t see how holding a special license or medical degree can be the answer. MBAs aren’t the only greedy people in this world.

The 45 providers at Presbyterian Anesthesia Associates (NC) are now live with athenahealth’s PM/billing platform.

Yesterday I hung out with a relative having outpatient surgery and did a little technology spying. Actually, it was more along the lines of observing the lack of technology. Though the facility (which is affiliated with one of the country’s largest chains) required online pre-registration, everything related to the nurse documentation involved lots of paper. Apparently all the history (which in this case included previous surgeries) was nicely compiled into a single paper chart. The nurse made manual notes directly on the paper records to update medications, weight, etc. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised by the lack of automation; however, I admit had higher expectations for this for-profit (and profitable) outfit.

Managed IT service provider Prematics names David H. Kates VP of product management. Kates has worked in health care technology over 20 years, most recently as COO of Hx Technologies. He also spent some time with WebMD, Sage, and Cerner.

Cleveland Clinic’s Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Pavilion and Glickman Tower will open next month and, by all accounts, it looks pretty slick. The buildings add 1.3 million square feet to the main campus, cost about $634 million to construct, and include a rooftop plaza, several retail stores, food options, more than 1,000 works of art, and a tree-lined boulevard with six reflecting pools. And the views aren’t bad, either.


Noteworthy Medical Systems announced earlier this month that it had closed on its MARS Medical System acquisition. Today’s news is Noteworthy’s acquisition of ChartConnect, a provider of web-based software for connecting healthcare communities.

Sunquest hires David M. Post as VP of strategic programs. He’s spent time at Cigna, Kintana Software, Accenture, and Keane.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. Re: Bearing Point. No mention of their role in the HIT definitions boondoggle – Is that related to this lobbying?

    Re: India’s “medical city”. The Economist had a story about the boom in medical tourism- most of the doctors who staff those hospitals are trained in the US, and are also being floated as ways to get FMG’s who train here to reverse the brain drain from their home countries. We MD’s work in the system we’re given, and it’s undeniable we could have been much more active in changing it, but it’s also undeniable that (most) medical training in the US is tops.

  2. The Siemens news is not surprising. I’ve seen them in three demos thsi year and Sorian isn’t fully cooked. In fact I questioned the sales rep about how really needed functions didn’t seem to be there. Her reaction to my question was to say “Yeah, I know.” I did follow up with reference checks and as you would think their client’s are not likely to say much bad about the system after spending a load of cash on software and implementation. Not something they want their boards to get wind of.

    There are some nice features but overall it still needs some work. Which makes me wonder what in the hell were all of those people doing?

  3. The PICIS explanantion says that 87% believe that a gov’t run EHR is the answer, while the survey slide shows the opposite.

    Is the write up or the slide wrong?

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