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Monday Morning Update 9/15/08

September 13, 2008 News 4 Comments

From Epic Gossiper: "Re: Epic. We all read about Epic’s elitist, snobbish way of picking customers, but now it seems there is reason behind this madness. Is it true that Epic refuses to work with hospitals of fewer than 500 beds? Another case of success intoxication or just down to earth good business practice?"

From TiredCIO: "Re: naming rights. It’s amazing what a non-profit healthcare organization can find to spend money on. Parkview Health System buys naming rights to a new minor league stadium." I’m with you there. The Indiana hospital lays out $3 million over 10 years to name the new ballpark of the current Fort Wayne Wizards to Parkview Field. Half of the money goes to the city, half to the team. I bet you could find quotes somewhere in which hospital executives moaned mournfully about how hard it is to keep the lights on given their financial hardship. Their argument: (a) they want to be a good corporate partner (do people really expect their large hospital bills to be used in a Robin Hood like manner and spent on community projects that they wouldn’t support on their own?) and (b) they can market services to a captive audience (hospitals marketing their services gives me the creeps, I have to say). On the other hand, the hospital showed an $82 million profit in its most recent tax year (time to drop those aspirin from $8 to $7?) The CEO made $600K. I’m really beginning to believe that the model of having "nonprofit" hospitals billing the heck out of private insurance and government is responsible for much of what’s broken in healthcare.


Detroit Medical Center’s Cerner systems go down in at least four hospitals on Friday.

Someone who should know says it’s Eclipsys that’s working on a deal to acquire MediNotes. That would be the first Eclipsys foray into PM/EMR systems, I believe, if it actually happens. 

Inga contacted Bill Bates, CEO of digiChart, to ask about the layoff rumors (60% of staff cut loose) that we mentioned on Thursday. Here’s his e-mail response: "For several months, digiChart, Inc. has sought creative opportunities to expand its sales force, automate software development and streamline implementation and training of new clients. As a result of these opportunities, digiChart was able to decrease its staff and gain the benefits of a wider distribution and training model. Like Southwest Airlines — a contrary business model to the standard airline model — digiChart, Inc. has identified ways to gain efficiencies at lower costs. As a result of these strategic decisions and its committed employees, digiChart, Inc. will achieve another level of growth."

Listening: The Kilaueas, an obscure German surf rock band I ran across. Also, Elvis Costello, a favorite I’d forgotten about until I saw him on some TV special the other night. He’s one angry little Brit.

Emdeon files for a $460 million IPO.


Welcome to HIStalk Gold Sponsor Red Hat of Raleigh, NC. I have to admit that, years ago, I never thought that open source would be popular in hospitals or that Red Hat would be a household name in them, but they proved me wrong, creating a highly successful company whose market cap is $3.5 billion at the moment. You can read about their SOA solutions for healthcare here (warning: PDF). Thanks to Red Hat.

UTMB says it weathered Hurricane Ike fairly well, with only one minor injury but unknown campus damage. They’re on generator, of course, and providing only ED services. From the hurricane updates, it sounds as though they were quite well prepared. Hospital updates from the area are welcome.

If you’re not getting updates when I write something new, just drop your e-mail address in the Subscribe to Updates box to your right. The mailing list has nearly 3,000 confirmed subscribers, all of whom will know important stuff before you do if you don’t sign up. You should see the server light up when I send a new e-mail blast, especially if it’s a news story (I don’t waste your time e-mailing out questionable news. If you get a blast, it’s important). Send the HIStalk link to your friends, too (your enemies already know about it, probably).

Providence Health & Services and Inland Northwest Health Services move their squabble to court, with a key element of the spat being MEDITECH. I’m not interested enough to wade through all the corporate entities named in the articles or what the MEDITECH argument is all about, but feel free.

Philips will acquire Alpha X-Ray Technologies, an India-based cardiology imaging vendor.

I finally saw one of the Jerry Seinfeld ads for Microsoft (the shoe store one) and it was just dumb (long, pointless, and tragically un-hip). What a waste of $10 million. Does Microsoft really think that Jerry is happenin’ enough to out-cool Apple, even with bonus bad acting from Bill Gates? Steve Jobs can take both of them with one pancreas tied behind his back. It’s not cool enough to be viral and not focused enough to sell anything (it never mentions the product or company). An expensive embarrassment all around. Microsoft IS your father’s Oldsmobile, I’m sorry to say.


UCSF Medical Center starts a $1.6 billion, 289-bed hospital project. Is it not possible to render quality medical services for less than $5.5 million per bed just for the physical plant? Those buildings seem to be nonprofit executive’s way of memorializing themselves as an emotional substitute for the shares that their publicly traded counterparts give themselves (or maybe it’s one of those "mine is bigger than yours" things).


Siemens may lose another medical equipment deal amid claims of bribery, this time in India. Wipro Health said its technology was better and cheaper, but authorities rigged the bidding at the last minute so that only Siemens could qualify (Wipro got Strogered, in other words).

Wednesday is Readers Write day, so dip your quill and tell us what’s on your mind. I’ll also have a cool interview on Monday and, coming soon, the first HIStalk online CEO chat (once certain news is announced).

Vendor Deals and Announcements

  • Stillwater Medical Center (OK) has administered more than one million doses since 2004 using IntelliDOT’s BMA solution. Stillwater was IntelliDOT’s first customer to implement the solution. IntelliDOT, by the way, made the “100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare” list.
  • Medicalis signs a distribution agreement with MedLink International, giving MedLink the ability to offer Medicalis solutions to its radiology customers.
  • CapMed is now offering “smart messaging” to its PHR users. This feature will analyze inputted information and provide gaps-in-care notices for relevant treatment options and reminders.
  • Tony Bellomo takes the helm as TriZetto’s new president.
  • Affiliates in Imaging (CA) selects AG Mednet’s diagnostic imaging network.
  • The Minnesota HIE will use Covisint technology to build its e-health exchange.
  • Alameda County Medical Center implements Concerro’s web-based staffing services to manage nursing shifts.
  • AmeriHealth New Jersey is sponsoring the NJ HIE. HxTechnologies is building the exchange.
  • GE Healthcare introduces Centricity Enterprise Orders and Pharmacy, which provides customizable order sets and embedded real-time clinical decision support. The new module was created in partnership with the Mayo Clinic, University of Virginia, and UCSF.
  • Valley Baptist Health System (TX) selects Trintech’s ClearContracts Payer Compliance suite to more accurately calculate managed care and government payments.
  • Sisters of Mercy Health System completes implementation of an upgrade firewall from Palo Alto Networks. The new security infrastructure serves Mercy’s 28,000 employees across seven states.
  • Virtual Radiologic announces the addition of Brian F. Sullivan to its board of directors.
  • The 1,300-bed Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (NC) is now wire-free following the installation of a 900-access-point wireless LAN.
  • Picis announces a new webinar series featuring healthcare providers, IT execs, and clinical managers. Participants will be discussing best practices for using healthcare IT in the high-acuity environment.
  • Eclipsys names Bill Bregar as VP of Quality and Total Quality Management. Bregar is leaving Philips to take this newly created role.
  • Perot Systems has successfully rolled out a hospital information system in multiple hospitals and primary care centers in Abu Dhabi.
  • athenahealth completes its acquisition of MedicalMessing.net for $7.7 million in cash.
  • El Camino Hospital selects ITelagen to provide healthcare IT and EMR support for the hospital’s independent physicians.
  • Siemens Soarian Financials customers can use payer validation edits and rules within the revenue cycle workflows. A new agreement with the SSI Group for its ClickON LinX product provides Siemens clients with new claims management tools.
  • McKesson introduces InvestiClaim, a new web-based fraud and abuse detection and management application for health plans.
  • Adam Gale is taking over as President of KLAS Enterprises, replacing Kent Gale.
  • Mercy Merced Medication Center (CA) contracts with Thomas Reuters to use the Clinical Xpert CareFocus solution. CareFocus allows physicians to rapidly identify high-risk patients within the active hospital census.
  • WakeMed Health and Hospitals (NC) selects Peopleclick to automate their recruitment and hiring process.

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. When it comes to Epic, they can be selective since there’s no wall street investor pressuring them for contracts. Seems like they tend to pick customers who either very large, present unique challenges, or show a good chance of success. Ill-fit customers can eat up a lot of resources, so there’s something to be said to being selective up front.

  2. RE: Seinfeld/Gates ads. Worst…commercials…ever. Ironically, Gates has participated in some genuinely funny videos for the MS development community over the years, but these commercials are just awful. They’re actually worse than no spots b/c they confirm that MS really *isn’t* cool. Blame falls completely on the writers, though.

    Having said that…MS has never been effective at marketing to consumers. What it does know how to do (and knows how important it is to do) is cultivate its business and developer relationships – something Apple still hasn’t figured out.

  3. Naming rights at a baseball park, hmmm

    Here in Boston I listen to Red Sox radio (what self-respecting Bostonian wouldn’t) and last night, there were at least 4 different non-profit hospitals with ads during the game. And last week, while at the “Epic” 14 inning loss to Tampa, what should I see up there next to the score board, a big ol’ Beth Israel Medical Center sign – after all, they advertise as well on the radio as they are “the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox”.

    Seems to me like Parkway is just following a trend.

    And no, it does not disturb me that hospitals advertise their services, but it does disturb me that they claim they are a non-profit, while acting like a for profit with their big advertising budgets.

  4. Since they’ve modernized their implementation methodology, the customer size limit doesn’t really apply as much anymore, give them a jingle. However, customer quality matters some but not as much as you think- they installed at UMDNJ for example.

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