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News 10/3/08

October 2, 2008 News 6 Comments

From The PACS Designer: "Re: Microsoft going virtual? Amazon has announced that they are testing Windows Server on their Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) platform. We could be seeing Windows Server (for virtualization)  as a monthly service soon!" Link.

From Tippy Martinez: "Re: Pfizer. So much for the expensive advertising of drug companies about how they’re out there searching for cures and helping people. Between the lines: ‘Since we lost our two big cash cows (Lipitor & Norvasc) and can’t make any more obscene profits on heart drugs, we’re quitting. We’ll go after other cash cow drug with patents. Oh, we have other heart drugs in the pipeline, but there’s no profit in pursuing them" Link.

From Otis Sistrunk: "Re: Siemens. The corruption situation is about to get messy. Some believe they’ve been getting information from subcontractors on what competitors are developing." Philips files suit against Siemens Medical Solutions for patent infringement.  

From Nick Carlton: "Re: I’ve said before, but just can’t stop myself from saying it one more time – damn, you’re good …" Please, if it makes you feel better, keep saying it. You’re too kind, or at least I think you are since I’m not sure what I did to elicit such a nice comment.

From SPEECHtoTEXT: "Re: speech recognition. What does this mean now for partners of Philips SpeechMagic that were/are competitors of Nuance (Dictaphone/eScription)? This includes Dolbey (uses SpeechMagic as speech engine), Medquist (used to be owned by Philips and uses SpeechMagic), 3M (former SoftMed). Nuance will own the market in 24-36 months and you will pay four times more than you do now."

From Elvira Hancock: "Re: more graphics instructions for the world. Before holding down the shift key so as to not distort the image, please make sure the 10-megapixel, 35-megabyte image file has been reduced to a manageable (under 100 KB) file size. If you don’t know what this means, please don’t add pictures to your Word document and if you do, please don’t email it to me." Yessir. I remember a previous employer’s HR department, which constructed highly elaborate Excel pivot tables for even the simplest information (like which three of your employees had missed their TB check). They put the whole hospital’s employee database into one worksheet and e-mailed all 25 megabytes to every manager and supervisor in the organization.

From Adam: "Re: GE. The troubles at GE indicate to me that we may see GE HC exist at some point in the next year or so as a separate company. This could then trigger similar moves at Siemens and Philips. We may soon be witness to a dramatic restructuring of HCIT on a global basis." GE shares fell another 10% today, even as the company offered $12 billion in new shares that were discounted to the price Warren Buffet paid. Like everybody else in the financial business, GE claims its GE Capital lending division isn’t all that exposed. Nobody believes that.

Lawson Software’s Q1 numbers: revenue up 2%, EPS -$0.01 vs. $0.03.

Some of the reader comments about financial issues were justifiably gloomy, but here’s a thought for both providers and vendors. The risk of pulling out of the stock market in times like these is that you lose money going down, but miss the chance to make it back going up (and the market is notoriously impossible to time). From a business perspective, your competitors could leap ahead while you’re dusting the cobwebs off sales, R&D, etc.

Two Partners Healthcare IT employees and an IT consultant are charged with bribery for allegedly steering business to Future Technologies in return for kickbacks.

If you’re registering for HIStalk Discussion using a non-work e-mail address, please let me know ahead of time so I can activate your pending request. The Russian spammers are sending through dozens of automated signups each day from Gmail and other free accounts, so I’m just deleting those that look fishy.

CMS says (warning: PDF) providers can no longer sent orders with stamped signatures, but electronic signatures are allowed. I know SCI’s Order Facilitator can send electronically signed orders from community hospitals to physicians. What that means for hospitals: a marketing advantage to docs (meaning: $$$).

Virginia HIMSS will feature a healthcare debate between the presidential campaigns at its conference in a couple of weeks, with Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-Tex) taking McCain position and Blackford Middleton, MD (Partners Healthcare) speaking on behalf of Obama. I see that Blackford is pictured on Obama’s site, saying "This country may suffer in fail in significant ways unless we fix healthcare." Healthcare’s now a tiny bump in the road compared to the obstacles in front of us, unfortunately.

Charles Colander is named CIO of Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare (IL), moving from Northwestern Memorial Hospital.


A software company’s "fake snow" mail promotion shuts down Gunnison Valley Hospital (CO) when the leaking white powder is noticed by a hospital mail clerk and emergency authorities evacuate part of the building, fearing anthrax. Before the contents were verified, 40 people had to strip naked and shower in an inflatable decontamination tent in the hospital’s parking lot. Says the hospital’s culinary director, "We got to take a shower, that was nice. It was a different day altogether, that’s for sure." The vendor makes help desk software (notice the Instant Snow promotion – that was the stuff) so the package was probably headed to the IT department. SnoWonder is the snow and it’s cool (no pun intended). I’m thinking of getting some and burying someone’s office at work. The picture above is of the Gunnison stuff, but a fake snow competitor (who knew?) has a video.

John at Chilmark Research is offering a free download of the executive summary of its May PHR market study.


ZocDoc, a service that lets patients schedule doctor appointments over the Web, gets a few million from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. It also includes patient ratings of providers, I noticed.  One big gripe: they aren’t national, so if you search for an area they’re not in, you get a "Notify Me" signup box that can’t be closed. Nothing like annoying people first thing.

Think about it: CPOE for the Wii. CPO-Wii. Just sayin’.

For hospitals roll out consumer portals from MEDSEEK.

Palm Drive Hospital (CA), withdrawing its plan to exit bankruptcy, says it will use open source computing to save money and operate more efficiently. Guess they didn’t listen to HIMSS.

HP is pulling the plug on its Identify Center security applications, so IBM wants them to think Tivoli. It’s been awhile since I looked at it, but it was highly complex and expensive back then.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

From Elsie EHR: “Re: Bizarre skin disease. MSNBC reports on a peculiar skin disease called Morgellons which is being studied by the CDC. Page 3 of the article says: ‘The study is a joint project with the northern California research division of the giant HMO Kaiser Permanente. California seems to be a Morgellons hot spot, and Kaiser uses electronic medical records — which allows investigators to search among 3.5 million patients for complaints of fibers and either skin lesions and/or itching or crawling sensations.’” Link. It’s encouraging to see that EMRs really are helping in disease detection and healthcare studies. The report also indicates that roughly one new disease is identified every year. As EMR use becomes more widespread, the data mining potential becomes invaluable.

MidSouth eHealth Alliance (TN) is transitioning to Informatics Corporation of America’s (ICA) patient exchange technology. MidSouth has been using Vanderbilt’s version of the same product. The ICA technology was developed based on a platform developed originally by Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Wal-Mart associates are now able to take advantage of Dossia’s personally-controlled health record technology.

Stephanie Alexander has apparently resigned her senior VP post at Premier Healthcare Informatics.


I love the name of EnovateIT’s new articulating wall-mounted arm. The Fluid makes me think of some hunky WWE superstar. Actually, the Fluid is designed to serve clinicians in confined work space or can be configured as a wall-mounted computer station (if you visit the EnovateIT web site, you can see a fun little clip of the arm in motion). For an arm, it’s actually kinda sexy.

Former Misys exec Andrew Lawson is now president of MedAvant Healthcare Solutions. MedAvant had filed for bankruptcy protection back in July, then PE firm Marlin Equity acquired the company for about $300 million.

Perot Systems names Harry Greenspun, MD its new executive VP and CMO for the healthcare industry group.

If you’re a Texas Medical Association member, you can now get DocSite PQRI tools as a membership benefit. The solution provides physicians with tools satisfy PQRI requirements and qualify for incentive payments.

CHIME and the AHA name University Health Systems (TX) winner of their annual Transformational Leadership award. UHS was recognized based on their investments in health care technology, including the development of EMR, CPOE, and PACS systems.

In yesterday’s Readers’ Write, a top prediction for vendors was an increase in consolidation. Here are a three more small deals, in addition to this week’s Nuance/Philips deal and GE’s Agility Healthcare acquisition:

  • Amcom Software has acquired Commtech Wireless. Amcom makes call center and paging technology while Commtech provides technology to connect nurse call alarms, patient monitors and similar technology to healthcare providers.
  • IdentiSys acquires CardSmart Systems. Identisys sells and integrates ID and access control products. CardSmart specializes in ID and card issuance products.
  • Quantros, a provider of safety, quality, and compliance software data infrastructure solutions for the healthcare industry, acquires Medcast Health Analytics a provider of web-based clinical utilization and financial analytic solutions.

There is also the ongoing Allscripts/Misys saga and Eclipsys’ purchase of Medinotes. Definitely sounds like a consolidation trend to me.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. I am surprised to learn Andrew Lawson has taken on a new endeavor. I thought he retired in Tucson, AZ after the sale of Misys lab to Vista, and the resurrection of Sunquest.

  2. Re: Healthcare policy of the two candidates…
    Harvard Law School sponsored a debate yesterday with two economic professor policy wonks that are working for the respective campaigns. Debate begin with David Cutler, speaking for Obama stating that right now, th country is in a serious financial mess that will take time and resources to rectify. The McCain Prof. (Tomas Philipson of Univ of Chicago) concurred. Bottom-line, we are unlikely to see any siginificant healthcare reform anytime soon. My bet: not until the second term, if they make it that far.

    Also, I asked what both felt about “medical home concept” and the diminishing ranks of primary care physicians. Surprised by Philipson’s comment: “the market is working and signaling that the value of primary care is diminishing” So all you primary care docs, don’t expect a lifeline from McCain.

    One last note, WSJ has a decent article of GE Healthcare today, second section, front page. Focus was on new head, John Dineen who came over from the transportation business. Dineen’s goal is to (at least according to the article) focus on overseas sales, HIT & life science diagnostics.

  3. It is too bad that some of your readers feel the need to drop innuendos regarding competitors. For example I tried to follow the link regarding the Siemens lawsuit only to find that one must pay to subscribe to the site. Upon further investigation it appears that this lawsuit probably has nothing to do with HIT or the folks at former SMS.
    Maybe this individual is having trouble making his quota and needs to have this “info” out there or is showing how well he would do working for one of the campaign organizations where this tactic is appreciated.
    Maybe you need to set up a “Snopes” type of clearance for this type of “info”.

  4. Robert

    In this new era of digital communications, modalities can send patient episodes to PACS for recording the “present” thus creating an electronic medical record of the event so the lawsuit is of even more significance than it has ever been before. Due diligence on protecting your patents is vitality important in this world of intense competition for valuable new business.

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