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News 10/1/08

September 30, 2008 News 9 Comments

From oneHITwonder: "Re: a low-tech PHR. Pros: providers might actually look a a piece of paper vs. a flash drive or log onto the Internet. Cons: storage space limited for anyone with a chronic condition." Link. Great idea. It’s the one platform that’s compatible with what 99% of doctors use.

From Spart: "Re: private enterprise. You obviously have a very right-leaning and libertarian slant on things, with one exception. You deride HIMSS for being pro-industry and private enterprise." I’m right-leaning and libertarian on fiscal and government role issues, liberal on social issues (don’t you get my grassroots populism and anti-establishment tone?) HIMSS is a nonprofit member organization and I pay dues, so it’s a little different. Like RSNA, AMA, ASHP, etc., they need to work harder to keep the commercial side away from the supposedly scientific side if you ask me. Like they used to, in other words. I wouldn’t enjoy the conference nearly as much if vendors weren’t involved, but I might like it a little more if I didn’t feel constantly manipulated by HIMSS to consort with them. It’s like having the junior high school dance chaperone pushing you publicly toward the wall-hugging row of girls before either of you have worked up the nerve to talk. In my generation, anyway.

From OB1: "Re: HIStalk. I just don’t know how you do it. You have a full time day job and yet you are able to post regularly and troll to find relevant and interesting information. Have you managed to slow time in your universe?" Apparently not because it’s flying by on this end. I can’t wait to get home from the day job to do HIStalk stuff, although it takes many of my waking hours (counting all the e-mail and web maintenance stuff I do that I don’t mention). You know I enjoy it when a cynic like me blathers on about how much fun it is, as though I had Kim Kardashian’s hand in my back pocket or something. As I write this, I’ve been at it for 3.5 hours without even getting out of the chair and another hour to go and I’d swear it was only 15 minutes. The saddest sound of the day is when XP shuts down. What a nerd.

You may have noticed that Leah Binder, CEO of Leapfrog Group, added a comment to Monday’s posting. I’ve invited her to me one of our "An HIT Moment With …" guests and sent her five questions, so she’s got the floor if she wants it.


Listening: King’s X, hard rock/prog/semi-Christian from some mighty talented guys from Katy, TX. And speaking of Texas (maybe my favorite state), I had barbeque at the epicenter of brisket above on a recent trip. Name the place and you get … well, satisfaction.

GE Healthcare acquires Agility Healthcare Solutions of Glen Allen, VA. The privately held company uses a Real Time Locating System for enterprise visibility and patient flow management. I knew CEO Fran Dirksmeier in a previous life.

University of Washington’s Institute of Translational Health Sciences and Seattle Children’s Hospital sign for Microsoft Amalga (just the Azyxxi part, apparently, since they’re a little sloppy with that name).

Jobs: Soft (SCC) Implementation Manager, Developer, Customer Support Representative, Solutions Executive. Employers who ask Gwen nicely will get her Halloween gift – a free introductory job posting in October.

A Cisco survey says outsourcers in China, Brazil, and (to a lesser extent) India are unsure how their employees handle sensitive data or already suspect they’re sending it outside the company. Employees there are more likely to tamper with the security settings on their PCs, use P2P networks on work devices, and install unauthorized software than in the US. The Grady transcription breach is mentioned.


Exempla Healthcare (CO) signs a deal with Novo Innovations to deliver data directly to practice EMRs, moving up from Novo’s drop box data exchange.

Since I’ve never had anything to do with Virtual HIMSS, I didn’t realize that the signup page requires answering questions similar to those asked by the "never had a paid subscriber" rags before sending you the subscription you don’t really want, leading you to just randomly check blocks here and there to be done with it. The footnote suggests that if you aren’t a hot vendor prospect, you’ll pay $79 instead of getting in free like everybody else, a reader tells me.

FDA will spend $2.5 billion on new IT systems over the next ten years as part of what’s called a bioinformatics initiative, but it mostly sounds like infrastructure and data center relocation.

Victoria, Australia is going back to the drawing board on its ambitious HealthSmart project after falling two years’ behind schedule and failing to bring up even one site on Cerner Millennium. "A $79 million deal with Cerner was signed in March 2006, but costs had risen by $17 million to $96 million in 2006 – the biggest price blowout so far, the audit office found."

Speaking of Millennium, a key Connecting for Health doctor thinks iSoft’s Lorenzo will be used more than Millennium because Lorenzo is newer and better suited for web deployment.

Yet another medical helicopter crash: four die in Maryland when a helicopter goes down taking a patient to Prince George’s Hospital. One of the two teen patients being transported was the only survivor. Condolences to those affected.


Doctors in Iraq will be allowed to carry guns to encourage them not to leave the country in fear. Over 2,200 doctors and nurses have been killed since the 2003 US invasion. The article says at least 20,000 of the 34,000 are already gone and healthcare is worse than it was pre-invasion. Bet they’re really glad we John Wayned right in there.

HIMSS backtracks on its curt statement that it won’t support Pete Stark’s HIT bill because it calls for making open source systems available. HIMSS says "there has been some confusion" and claims "with some modifications to the legislation, common ground can be made to meet stakeholders’ goals." You know they’re sweating when a fact sheet (warning: PDF) is produced. It says, "This would be like the Department of Defense developing a new automobile to compete against Ford and Chrysler." First, we’re already bailing Ford and Chrysler out of their own stupidity with taxpayer billions, so that’s not much of a free market example. Second, much of healthcare is non-profit and we all pay for it without having a choice like we do with cars. Third, the bill doesn’t require developing new systems; VistA is the obvious incumbent and nobody seems too threatened by it other than HIMSS. Last, why does HIMSS even need to weigh in on whether the government builds an IT system? And while I’m at it, maybe HIMSS should have polled use dues-payers before presuming to make snide statements on our behalf. This might be the second case in a couple of days where an out-of-touch administration misrepresented its constituency and was shocked at the backlash.

Speaking of HIMSS, open source advocate Ignacio Valdes, MD, MS leads off his editorial with, "HIMSS response, while predictable, is misguided on so many levels that it is difficult to know where to begin." But he does.


A Florida newspaper article covers a local women who, faced with an estimated $4,000 to $5,000 worth of diagnostic tests in multiple locations even after her insurance paid its part, heads off to India and gets it all done in six hours in one place for $350. Unlike HIMSS and its anti-open source stance, AMA’s board chair actually sees it the patient’s way: "We are not opposed to the idea, especially when institutions are accredited properly. Some of these institutions overseas are wonderful, and many of their physicians have trained in the United States." In another example, a woman went to Mexico for two root canals, two extractions, airfare, and three nights in a hotel in a mini-vacation with her daughter for $1,600.

QuadraMed will offer real-time BI tools from InterSystems in its revenue cycle applications, providing dashboards and key performance indicator monitoring.

Moses Cone (NC) will spend $2 million to put Centricity in its 29 clinics and physician offices.

In the UK, Ascribe Group acquires the healthcare division of WCI Consulting.

A Florida ambulance service gets a local paper mention for its unnamed technology that sends a patient’s EKG results to the hospital ED, reducing the door-to-balloon time for a heart attack patient to just 12 minutes vs. the national average of 112. Now that’s cool.

A note to the entire world: please hold down the Shift key when you resize PowerPoint or Word images so they don’t get distorted. Thank you.

Greenville Memorial Hospital (SC) will require ED and night visitors to wear electronic security badges linked to their driver’s license and destination.

Ontario restructures its eHealth programs under one organization.

A Massachusetts company’s technology allows filtering text messages and BlackBerry e-mails, using the example of a hospital’s blocking all outbound messages containing the name of a VIP. From the website, the product also allows setting white/blacklists for user smartphones, archiving messages, and maintaining BlackBerry PIN addresses even when devices change. Sounds like a big brother’s delight. I just wish restaurants and other public places would install that technology that blocks all cell phone use.

Lawson’s CEO obviously has vested interests, but his quote is still fun: "Getting signed up as a SaaS customer is fast, but getting out is just as fast, whereas traditional software is like cocaine — you’re hooked. It’s too difficult and expensive to switch providers once you’ve invested in one. If it were easier to jump ship, a lot of people would’ve hit the eject button on SAP a long time ago."

I wish I hadn’t found this page because I screwed around with it for most of Sunday afternoon: a complete list of Web 2.0 applications and descriptions. Some I liked and may use, most I laughed at, especially the dumb "you can’t sue us because it’s not a real word" names.

E-mail me. I read every one and always reply to the nice ones. I thank you – seriously – for reading and contributing. Over 61,000 visits and 94,000 page views in September … I’m honored and pleased. Thanks, too, to BFF and co-conspirator Inga.

HERtalk by Inga

Misys announces its Q1 earnings. The healthcare division’s revenue was flat compared to last year, with ILF revenue falling seven percent. Not too surprising given the uncertainty associated with the Allscripts acquisition and iMedica lawsuit.

I wonder if this is a sign of the times? Virtual Radiologic’s stock fell 34% Monday after the company announced weak September sales. The company continues to sign new customers but the number of procedures performed dropped. The company speculates that higher gas prices have resulted in fewer motor vehicle accidents and thus fewer radiology tests. Or perhaps people are avoiding medical treatment all together to avoid co-pays. Is it a start of a trend?

CCHIT announces the first 10 products to receive ’08 Ambulatory EHR Certification.

Cardinal Health is spinning off its clinical and medical products business as a separate company. Current Cardinal vice chairman David L. Schlotterbeck will lead the group. When the spin-off is completed in 2009, current Cardinal Chair and CEO Kerry Clark will retire. His replacement is George Barrett, who has served as vice chair and CEO of the Healthcare Supply Chain Services group.

Baptist Healthcare Services (KY) is rolling out in-building cellular infrastructure across its five acute-care hospitals.


In case you missed it, we debuted last night our latest HIStalk feature, “An HIT Moment With…” We will run these periodically and will include just five questions. Thanks go to Matt Grob for agreeing to be our guinea pig. Check out Matt’s comments about the state of the economy and the effect on HIT budgets. Here’s something to add to your stress level if you are a techie type: “Interestingly, here in the New York market where some of our clients are hiring for technical positions (i.e. those that do not require specific healthcare knowledge or expertise), the candidate pool just got a bit more sophisticated and bigger with jobs lost at Lehman Brothers and the like.” Anyway, if you would like to participate in our HIT Moment (or nominate an interesting person) let us know.

MediConnect Global announces it will provide at no charge digital backup copies of archived medical records to any patient or organization losing medical records during one of the recent hurricanes.

Stratus Technologies and Orion Health are teaming up to offer continuous availability of patient health portal data running on Stratus servers.

Emdeon acquires GE Healthcare Technology’s patient statement business.

Several readers have mentioned they’d like to hear where our presidential candidates stand on healthcare IT policy. Here is a bit of information courtesy of Health08.org:


  • Supports the rapid deployment of 21st century information systems and technology that will allow doctors to practice across state lines.
  • Believes if the system demands information on outcomes, then the market will respond to provide the HIT infrastructure.


  • Believes the use of HIT should be a requirement for participating in government health programs.
  • Supports a government investment of $10 billion a year over the next five years to move the U.S. health care system to broad adoption of standards-based electronic health information systems, including electronic health records.
  • Would phase-in requirements for full implementation of HIT and ensure that patients’ privacy is protected.

Innovative Consulting Group, a healthcare IT support services provider and HIStalk sponsor, sent over a link to their latest newsletter (warning: PDF). In addition to some tech tips and client profile, they feature an interesting by a Cerner practice director about maximizing EMR for quality initiatives.

One of my official HIStalk duties has become tracking the HIStalk Web traffic. I am pleased to report that September has been our biggest month ever in terms of number of visitors. So, thanks, readers, for allowing us to keep you current and/or entertained!

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "9 comments" on this Article:

  1. re: Florida ambulance service. In my interview one year ago with Inga I said the following “Everything is going digital. The patients are becoming more involved. Here is a new term – Digitally Connected Patients (DCP). The patients from home will be able to be wirelessly monitored by the hospital. That will be the next big wave over the next 10 years. Patients who live alone with health problems would definitely want to be connected. We’ll actually see that in less than five years. We already have the ability to send heart rate, blood pressure, and other vitals information from remote locations, such as ambulances in route to emergency departments, and also remote digital storage for redundancy.”

  2. >>> HIMSS is a nonprofit member organization and I pay dues, so it’s a little different. Like RSNA, AMA, ASHP, etc., they need to work harder to keep the commercial side away from the supposedly scientific side if you ask me.

    1) I find it hard to believe that HIMSS is a not-for-profit organization since its principle raison de etre is to lobby Congress to force legislation that promotes the use of EMR.
    2) HIMSS is NOT like other organizations like the AMA. I have never seen a professional lobbying group go out of its way to promote legislation that will eventually threaten the livelihood of another group that is not in direct competition with its members. Unlike other organizations the represent professional groups, HIMSS/EMRA will try to sell their EMRs through the use of threats, intimidation and heavy lobbying.

    The relentless attempts of EHRA/HIMSS to influence healthcare is generally despised by most physicians, and fortunately has had only limited success, as study after study has shown that since 2005 the growth of the EHR use has remained essentially flat

  3. I’m not the first, but a quick google image search of barbecue sausage texas restaurant finds a picture that looks like the same building. As mentioned above, it’s Kreuz Market, a converted grocery store.

    [From Mr. HIStalk] Correct! (almost). It’s Kruez, but they left the converted grocery store years ago in a family squabble and built this monster of a building from scratch. The old grocery store is now Smitty’s, another excellent barbeque place run by the other part of the family. They are the brisket royalty in and near Lockhart, TX. No sauce, no silverware or plates, no credit cards, minimal side dishes. More here.

  4. If you ever make it up to Dallas, got to go to the first ever Sonny Bryants. The restaurant uses an no longer legal smoker. The food is so good, and a great place to eat.

    I think I will have BBQ for lunch now.

    BTW congrats on the big month.

    [From Mr. HIStalk] I have actually eaten at the original Sonny Bryan’s on Inwood. It was good, although I wasn’t a fan of the old school desks used for chairs! And I know it’s travesty, but in a pinch, I’ve eaten at Colter’s, Luther’s, County Line, Dickey’s, and Bill Miller’s, all supposedly inferior chains, but good nonetheless (I like every kind of BBQ). Thanks for the congrats and enjoy the barbeque. Nothing like smelling like smoke going back to work.

  5. Looks like Travelinman and HITman beat me to it, but Kruez…and Smitty’s for that matter…are Texas institutions and an absolute must-stop-by if you are ever in Central Texas as they are culinary landmarks. Plus, the family fued aspect makes it all the more interesting…and very Texan. Louie Mueller’s (grandfather) in Taylor and John Mueller’s (grandson) in Austin split due to a family spat but I understand that has been patched up. Not to incite a riot, as talking BBQ is almost as bad as talking politics if you are from TX, TN, SC, NC, MO, etc., but here are my Texas faves in no particular order:

    1. City Market, Luling
    2. Louie Muellers, Taylor
    3. Williams Smokehouse, Houston
    4. Kruetz and Smitty’s, Lockhart
    5. Thelma’s, Houston
    6. Coopers, Llano
    7. Littles, Dickinson
    8. Gonzalez Meat Market, Gonzalez

  6. So I need help, guys. Oops… Ya’ll. (I grew up down there and even earned my Aggie ring, but moved to MI long ago. I’m flying into DFW and driving to Aggieland next week. Got any recommendations for BBQ along the way? Also have to get my fill of CFS (chicken fried steak for the non-TXn’s). Recommendations welcome on both! (Good to know I can get my BBQ & CFS recommendations off a healthcare website. How good is that!?!)
    CT! 🙂 ’82

    [From Mr. HIStalk] Just to get you started, here’s a Google map of Texas Monthly’s 50 best BBQ joints. My only personal experience anywhere even close is at the New Zion Missionary Baptist Church barbeque in Huntsville, 90 minutes away, great but quite a haul. For CFS, you might try Longhorn Tavern in Bryan.

  7. Chicken fried chicken!?! One word… MOM!

    Thanks for the link. Not sure I’ll have room for much after the CFS and the other things my family has planned for me. At least I can get Blue Bell & Shiner Bock up here in MI now.

    If only I can help my hospitals get their internal materials distribution & logistics as good as the interstate food system these days. I just I need to update my presentation on “The Last 100 Yards” again. 🙂

    Thanks again!
    CT! 🙂

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