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October 21, 2008 News 6 Comments

From Elsie EHR: "Re: two I’ve not heard of. While reviewing the new 2008 CCHIT-certified EHRs, I saw two products I hadn’t heard of before … MedLink and SmartClinic. The web site of the latter looks a tad (how to put this delicately?) like it was created by someone whose full time job is not in the field of web design (I like the fact that the title of their home page is ‘home’). Oddly, despite being one of only ten 2008 CCHIT-certified EHRs, SmartClinic’s website doesn’t mention the certification." MedLink is here and VIP Medicine (the SmartClinic people) is here. I’ll refrain from snarky commentary on the latter except to say that you have to see it to believe it. I guarantee I could get an ultra-slick version done for a few hundred dollars (including graphics that are attractive and legible), so it seems like a poor investment to leave it hanging out there like it is.

From Ken Malansky: "Re: the former chairman of that fraudulent vendor you mentioned. He is GUILTY! I spent seven weeks of my life on that jury. The one holdout was star struck by his lawyer’s impersonation of Johnny Cochran." I thought they were going to retry him, but that was probably just prosecutorial chest-puffing after the hung jury in 2006. His attorney also represented Scooter Libby (where he parked his aging mother in her wheelchair where the jury could see him fawning over her), Eliot Spitzer, Exxon, Merck, and Philip Morris.

From Dave Dravecky: "Re: rumor. Heard at MGMA that GE is buying Greenway; can’t verify. Supposedly the VC guys want their money, the market is no good for going public, and GE needs a more up-to-date product."

From Salesgal: "Re: Sage. [name removed] got the axe." Unconfirmed. The person named was sales VP for the northeast, but I didn’t feel right about putting his name up here. If he’s gone (which I assume is the case) it’s embarrassing to him, and if he’s not, it’s embarrassing to me. Those who care will know who it is from the position (and whether it’s true or not).

From TalkoftheTown: "Re: Allscripts. I’m surprised you discount what McConnell says about the Allscripts/Misys headquarters situation. The guy has gotten more then 1.2 billion from the two companies for parts of what is left and it’s now valued at about 600 million. Which raises another issue on my mind – what was Allscripts worth when Tullman took over 11 years ago?" I don’t get the feeling that John is involved at all with the new Allscripts, so while his assessment about Raleigh may be interesting, I don’t know if he’s got any insider information now. I could be wrong. Most of the company is in Raleigh,I think I read somewhere.

From GirlGeek: "Re: Epic. Altru Health Systems, Grand Forks, ND, is switching from QuadraMed’s Affinity software to Epic. Altru is one of QM’s oldest clients dating back to the 1980s (or earlier?). Word is that Altru had to beg Epic to take them on since they don’t meet their bed count criteria."


From Al Borges, MD: "Re: Magellan EMR. Anyone know what has happened to them? Their website is dead. A physician who is still using the Magellan Writer can’t get in touch with them." I snooped around starting with the old domain name, registered by John Curtis of College Station, TX under the company name of BTQnet, a Texas corporation (custom software) with an Austin apartment address (the corporation is not in good standing with the state). He appears to have been at Quotient Integrated Solutions afterward (owned by BTQnet, I suspect) but their PBX doesn’t list him (this writeup says he ways still there in July). He’s on LinkedIn. Magellan was going crazy giving away tablet PCs back in 2005 and that’s all I ever heard of them. OK, can someone take it from there?

Just in: Cerner beats Q3 estimates: revenue up 13%, EPS $0.54 vs. $0.37. The company says it will exceed that in Q4. Well done.

A woman who waited 19 hours in Parkland Hospital’s ED and finally left without having her broken leg treated receives a bill for $162. They probably shouldn’t have let Parkland’s revenue VP go on record because he made it an even worse PR nightmare: "She’s not paying for waiting. She’s paying for the assessment she received." No she’s not, the woman says, who has no insurance and says she will not be sending Parkland a check for having a nurse take her blood pressure and tell her to wait.

McKesson will sell its specialty pharmacy business to Walgreen.

Listening: new AC/DC. It’s no Back in Black, but it’s good, straight ahead rock. I saw them live in the Bon Scott years — the guy in schoolboy knickers (guitarist Angus Young) doesn’t look any older even though he’s now 53.

RAND Corporation is all for NHIN and a unique patient identifier, but then again they’re not the ones who have to pay the hundreds of billions of dollars those would cost. The predict great cost savings and patient safety improvements, but they said the same thing about those EMRS that few doctors are using for various reasons unrelated to the quality of the doctors or the EMRs (poor adoption of which make NHIN and the identifier worthless since they add little value to paper charts).

Kaiser says HealthConnect is now live in 12 Southern California hospitals, bragging that its total of 22 hospitals serving 4.8 million members is the US civilian record.

Dr. Wes says it’s not an "electronic medical record," it’s "a sea of electronic medical servers," observing that every system at his hospital requires its own logon. Sounds like they need a physician portal at NorthShore to run Epic and those other applications mentioned.

Talyst announces its medication system (ordering, pharmacy, automated dispensing) for correctional facilities.

CareTech Solutions migrates the 80-server data center of Port Huron Hospital (MI) to its own Troy, MI headquarters in 36 hours as part of its outsourcing contract. The company has 1,000 employees and is bringing on many more. "Pretty much anything that has an electron running through it we are probably working on it," says Jim Giordano, president and CEO.

Arthur Clark is named VP/CIO of Haven Hospital (FL), coming over from John Sealy Hospital (TX).

A survey reinforces what everybody knows already: order sets improve processes and patient safety. The best time hospitals can spend in a clinical systems implementation or improvement is to develop an effective order set review process, starting with automatic inclusion and working toward evidence-based consensus.

Winchester District Memorial Hospital of Ontario, Canada signs for QuadraMed QCPR, document imaging, and enterprise scheduling.

ClearCount Medical Solutions, a Pittsburgh vendor of RFID surgical sponge counting technology, raises $4.1 million in Series A financing.

Daniel A. Krause, formerly of SciHealth, is named head of US business development for Satyam Healthcare.

Millin Associates announces a new practice management billing system for certain clinic types.

A new project named Wareed will electronically  link all hospitals in United Arab Emirates. Cerner is a participant.

A mob with iron rods storms and vandalizes a hospital in India, claiming that a patient’s lab tests were sent to an outside organization because the hospital’s doctors get a cut of the cost. The hospital says techs work only normal office hours and after hours work is always referred.


A man registering his pregnant wife online at Mary Washington Hospital (VA) finds that he can see the files of 803 patients on the site. The hospital said it was "an anomaly." The man got an invalid security certificate warning, then tried to delete some of the URL, which then took him to other pages that showed him the records of every patient who had registered online since December 2007.

Jack McCloskey joins Magruder Hospital (OH) as IT director, leaving a similar role at Floyd Memorial Hospital (IN).

NextGen Healthcare is named as one of the best places to work in the Philadelphia area.

Jobs: Epic Consultant, SIS Project Manager, Cerner PharmNet Consultant.

About 88% of American adults can’t make good health care decisions given the right information, an AHRQ study reports.

HLTH and WebMD cancel their $2.31 billion merger. I can never figure out that corporate mess where one owns most of the other and Marty Wygod is chairman of both companies. Conveniently, I have zero interest in both.

E-mail me.

Inga Live from MGMA

From Nasty Parts: "Re: political correctness. Did not realize the whole Obama thing was a done deal!” A couple of weeks ago I made one remark about Sarah Palin’s bangs and suddenly started getting hate mail from folks who treated that as a political endorsement. Yesterday I quoted someone else who mentioned “a possible role in an Obama administration” and suddenly I have written off McCain. I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and settle down. It will all be over in two weeks.

From Inga Wannabe: “Hi Inga. I am at MGMA and for some reason, several friends insist that I am Inga. I finally gave up and let them call me Inga. And, I actually decided it might be fun to be you.” Yea! We had a fake Inga at MGMA after all! By the way, it is pretty fun to be me. You are welcome to be Tina Fey to my Sarah Palin anytime (note to the crazy politicos: the previous sentence was not meant to be political).

From oneHITwonder: “Re: annoying texting. Man, I am so bummed out that I did not identify Inga in the relatively small CCHIT crowd. I will have to keep looking … hope she was not the annoying lady who was texting behind me during the entire session.” Likely not me since I sat up pretty close and (just like in third grade) would have been embarrassed if the speaker caught me not paying attention. As for the texting people, you have to remember that there are a lot of busy people in this world who believe the world may fall to pieces if they were unavailable to their underlings for an hour.

I got my first LinkedIn recommendation! “Not only does she give us great information, she also gives us humor, fun, and something to look forward to reading every day.” Thank you, Christianne for making my day. Mr. H and I, by the way, love to accept all LinkedIn requests.


It’s Tuesday afternoon in lovely San Diego. There is a reception tonight, but I don’t think my feet can handle any more standing or walking. I think I’ll go for dinner, a glass of wine, and an early night before I head for home in the morning.

Last night was a not an early night. I scored an invite to the Allscripts party, which was in a beautiful outside patio on top of the Hard Rock Café. It was pretty packed. Everyone seemed to be upbeat about the Allscripts/Misys thing, though it’s easier to be happy when you’re being provided all the free drinks you want. The only thing I heard anyone complaining about was the lack of food. Perhaps Allscripts decided to eliminate consumption synergies.

In a session yesterday, the speaker asked who had a hospital-provided EMR. Only about 10% of the hands went up, which surprised me a bit. I wish he had also asked if anyone’s practice had been offered the financial assistance from the hospital but turned it down. That’s the question I want answered.

I touched on this yesterday, but my impression is that the top concern for attendees is improving the bottom line. Hence, vendors are promoting many tools for increasing revenues and/or cutting costs. Even solutions like EMR are being discussed in terms of how it will help with pay-for-performance objectives. When I thought more about it, I remembered that the administrator is the one charged with taking care of the bottom line, so it shouldn’t really surprise me that they are less concerned with finding tools to make life better for physicians, etc.

A cool tool I checked out was from a company named Phytel. As I understand it, their Proactive Patient Outreach program works with any PM/EMR. It scrubs the offices’ data and finds all the patients meeting a particular set of criteria, such as all diabetic patients who have not had an office visit in over a year. Then it will call those patients, thus increasing revenue. Really simple concept, the technology works, and it produces results.

A couple of companies were promoting standalone products that calculate the patient-responsible monies at checkout and then place a hold on the patient’s card for that amount. Thus the patient has no surprises about the costs, does not have to worry about later paying a bill, and the practice is paid faster. Preferred Health Technology and mPay Gateway were the two I saw offering slightly different flavors of this concept. Both claim the PM vendors are lining up to partner with them.

One of the most entertaining moments of my day was a meeting with athenahealth’s Jonathan Bush, who gets excited about everything. He was clearly still pumped by a dawn surfboarding expedition. He’s about 100 IQ points higher than the rest of us, reflecting on recent industry consolidations and Marxist capitalism (consolidation is a predictable result of capitalism). We quickly jumped to his theory on software licensing versus software as a service, which is where he obviously believes the industry is heading. Finally, JB was gracious enough to say that HIStalk is about the only industry publication he reads (the always skeptical Mr. H says he probably says that to all the journalists).

A few other quick tidbits:

  • I tried a couple of times to ask someone at the busy NextGen booth to explain more about their recent RCM acquisition. I never got a chance to talk to anyone in the know, but I did get a free t-shirt and a cool little flashlight.
  • I spent a bit of time in Greenway’s booth and got the scoop on their new PrimeResearch product (they are excited about it) and quickly met EHRA chair Justin Barnes.
  • Tried to check out PatientKeeper a few times, but every time I walked over there were busy, busy, busy.
  • I met Sage VP Sharon Howard, who commented they were happy to be done with the turmoil a few months ago when her comments about some layoffs were misinterpreted. She thinks they did the right thing trying to be as forthright with the press as possible.
  • I asked several attendees if they had an EMR and if they were on their first one, second, etc. Almost all claimed to still be on the first. Several vendors claimed they had replaced one competitor or another, but admitted that most buyers are on their first install.

Enough on my impressions! My wine is waiting. If you were at MGMA, please send us your thoughts!

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. I can confirm the departure of Todd Grice, Northeast VP of Sales at Sage. Todd was not fired but left to rejoin the life sciences industry. Todd was brought to sage by Michael Cardone, previous Sr. VP who was indeed fired. Word I hear about Todd is that he was a great guy, tremendous boss, but just not experienced enough in the EMR industry. The whole Michael Cardone hiring is more blood on the hands of Andy Corbin, again, another guy that was fired. Hopefully this is a sign that Sage if finally righting the ship, from an executive management perspective.

  2. VIP Medicine’s site is a classic wizard-created FrontPage 2002 site (version 6 site). They could have at least bought some third party template “skins” for it.

  3. Re: Angus and AC/DC – how could you tell if he looks any older, the dude never stops flying across the stage. The tale of the tape will be if he ever needs to check into hip replacement a-la Van Halen.

  4. My last company I worked for used Phytel, they have a pretty good product. We used it for collection calls. The quality of reporting from them was really good. We had low complaints about the product, and we even had some doctors use it for patient reminders, not a bad concept, good execution. Also, Phytel has some clout they are not some small mom and pop shop.

  5. > I’ll refrain from snarky commentary on the latter except to say that you have to see it to believe it.

    Mr. HIStalk, I saw the VIP site and I still don’t believe it. I mean, somebody somewhere actually stopped, looked it over, and said, yeah, it’s ready for prime time now! Was there no one in the room to refrain them?

  6. FYI there’s a discussion going on about these issues now (Oct 27-Nov 3) at: http://www.thenationaldialogue.org

    It’s called the National Dialogue on Health IT & Privacy. On the site, you can contribute ideas, and read and rate others’ ideas. Watch in real time as the best ideas “rise to the top.”

    The results of this online dialogue are being compiled into a report to the Federal CIO Council, Office of Management and Budget, and the incoming Administration by the National Academy of Public Administrators. **
    Hope to see you there,
    Roz @ The National Dialogue

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