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News 10/31/08

October 30, 2008 News 7 Comments

From JoJo: "Re: Frost & Sullivan’s HIT senior analysts/consultants. They appear to have lost them all. After years of being able to offer different content and provide strong insight (we used them for advisory for a new product introduction and emerging technology information), it seems like this ‘group in a corner’ of an otherwise lackluster place found new revenues elsewhere. We have been reluctant to seek others such as Advisory Board, Sg2, Gartner, or even the smaller joints since we had a such a strong machine running with them. Would appreciate any ideas from you or others for a few strong minds in the field."

From JonJon: "Re: The Breakaway Group. Can anyone verify them? They were at the CHIME fall meeting, but I really am not certain what they do. The focus seems to be EMRs, but the only account they could speak to was University of Tennessee and their new CMO came from there, so I am not clear if that is valid experience."

From Tony South Dakota: "Re: [magazine name deleted]. Ha, that’s rich. This was live on their business briefs web site." TSD had sent me a link an HIT magazine’s so-called online news brief that contains a story I ran nearly three months ago in HIStalk (not a rumor, an actual news story). Maybe that’s why 44% of respondents to my 2009 marketing survey so far say their companies will decrease print magazine advertising in 2009 (not to tip off the results early, but I figured that was relevant). Don’t worry, if you completed the survey using a company e-mail address, I’ll be sending out the compiled results this weekend. They are interesting.

From Rene L. Fallure: "Re: CCS. I attended the CCS HIT Spring Summit in Washington, DC. It was not well attended and those who did attend were the sponsor representatives and a few of their guests (expenses paid). Most of the speakers arrived just in time to speak and then hightailed it out the door. Content was weak and very little new. With other venues of more substance, I doubt I would attend another CCS event. The hotel was nice, but too expensive. Lunch was not included either day although the attendance fees were steep enough." Mr. HIStalk’s three critical meeting planner reminders: (1) a good breakfast and lunch will get you high evals even when everything else goes wrong; (2) allow a lot more socializing time for attendees than you think they need since that’s why they are really there; and (3) include an no-pressure, no-agenda evening social event that includes cocktails and even more good food. Running a meeting on the cheap doesn’t work when attendees are paying (and even when they’re not). I’ve been to a couple of events (not CCS ones) where the speakers got comped registration and travel and everybody else had to make themselves available for vendor pitches. The speakers were big name, but they looked at it as a free trip and did pretty much nothing more than show up and sleepwalk through the same old stuff.

From Pierre Doncarlo: "Re: UCI. I can confirm that Joy is out and Jim is back in an interim role."

Listening: Queen’s new studio album, just released. Paul Rodgers (Bad Company) takes Freddie Mercury’s place and the result is pretty good, less pretentious than the Bohemian Rhapsody-era Queen. Also: Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s, eminently listenable and fresh indie pop out of Indianapolis.

RWJUH signs with Lawson for HR, supply chain, financials, and performance management.


I mentioned UTMB’s under-recognized telemedicine program. Turns out that the AT&T Foundation has been funding UTMB’s AT&T Center for Telehealth Research and Policy, which publishes outcomes research, holds seminars, and trains fellows, since 2002. I also noticed that UTMB offers Web-based telehealth courses and the subject areas sound quite practical and useful (like what kind of staff and equipment you need and how to get reimbursement). I’ve talked to a couple of folks there and I’m a fan.

University Health System (TX) gets board approval to buy an RFID equipment tracking system from InfoLogix. CIO Bill Philips is quoted: "These little squares have holes in them so you can put them on a patient’s wristband. Think of psychiatric patients, Alzheimer’s patients. You want to know, I sent this patient to X-ray. Where are they now? They should have been back. My ultimate vision is, you start tagging surgical instruments in the OR like sponges. You wave a wand over them and hear ‘ping.’ You don’t leave them in.” That’s a pretty darned good description if you ask me.

ICD-10 sounds like a great idea, right? Who could be against a more descriptive coding scheme? Rich Elmore provides an example: an ICD-9 insect bite is 919.4. Under ICD-10, there are nearly 100 codes instead of one. 

Results of a new Picis survey say that maybe we Americans are too critical of our health system. About half of people who received healthcare services said they had a positive experience in both the European countries and the US. Most respondents said technology could improve care delivery, ranging from 80% in the US to 96% in Spain.

Geisinger Health will use ForeFront Transfer, Web-enabled patient transfer software from Central Logic Healthcare Systems of Ogden, UT. I see some other big names in recent press releases doing the same: New York Presbyterian, St. Joseph’s in Phoenix, CHW, and WF-Baptist. I don’t know who’s involved with the company because its site doesn’t say.

Continua and IHE sign an agreement to jointly promote device interoperability.

House Democrats, dissatisfied with technology adoption by doctors and apparently not troubling themselves with massive deficits and a wheezing economy, are drafting a new HIT bill.

The folks at Hayes Management Consulting just finished their latest newsletter, including an early recap of the company’s 2008 highlights.


Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is a co-sponsor of a bill that would establish independent health record trusts where consumers could manage their own health records. Anonymized data sales would be allowed, but the proceeds would be split between the owner and the data bank, which would use the money to fund its operation. He would also require EMR vendors to link to those trusts. "The software packages that are out there – Epic, Cerner, McKesson, General Electric – they would have to have patches on their software systems for interoperability, for universal connectivity. To me, a lot of this is simply requiring interoperability among software providers so that these hospital and physician systems do talk to each other. You have to have that common architecture in order to have a system where we can compare apples to apples throughout the health IT system.” Sounds like he knows what he’s talking about, actually. He’s up for re-election next week.

DR Systems announces five new RIS/PACS sales.

University of Kansas researchers get a $2 million NIH grant to see if smoking cessation counseling by telemedicine works.

Cardinal Health’s Q1 numbers: revenue up 11%, EPS $0.69 vs. $0.82.

An interesting quote from a VP of telephone company Embarq (even if the company did just get sold for $12 billion): "My [chief financial officer] observed to me the other day that if I don’t stop the escalation in health care costs, we’ll be spending more on health care than we do on information technology. And in our industry, information technology is the core of what we do. If [Embarq] did information technology like the health care system has been doing it, we’d be giving you tin cans strung together with twine to do your communications.”

Hospital layoffs: Boone Hospital Center (MO), St. Joseph’s Hospital of Atlanta, Valley Presbyterian Hospital (CA).

Children’s Hospital Boston launches a philanthropy web site for 8-12 year olds.


A British nurse faces disciplinary action after hospital IT experts tracked her down for offering her panties for sale on eBay using her hospital e-mail address.

Intel funds a digital clinic in Russia.

St. Vincent Charity Hospital (OH) says its former director of marketing, who committed suicide with her husband in July, had stolen over $4 million from the hospital. The hospital had mailed payment for phony invoices to a PO box, where the woman’s husband picked up the checks and cashed them.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

From Sam Matalone: "Re: what the candidates propose. I have to start working for CNNmoney and they will talk to me." Sam has been trying for several weeks to get each presidential candidate to provide him some specifics on how they see HIT playing into their plans. Both camps are apparently too busy to respond. This story touches on each candidate’s health care reform proposal and this article summarizes each one’s plans. Both claim they want investment in information technology to drive efficiency, but the details are sparse. Too bad Joe the Plumber is getting all the attention rather than our own Sam the HIT guy.

At the risk of being called out bringing up too much political stuff,  here’s another nice little summary of the candidates’ plans. It comes from a publication called Medill Reports, which I thought was neat because it is written and produced totally by Northwestern University graduate journalism students.

I’ve been reading through the results (warning: PDF) of the 2008 HIMSS/HIMSS Analytics Ambulatory Healthcare IT Survey since it hit my e-mail yesterday. I feel like a bit of a nerd to say this, but I love this kind of stuff. Here are a few highlights from the survey of 500 individuals (primarily office managers) working at ambulatory clinics: (a) there are no dominate market leaders in this space; (b) only 13% of practices are planning an EMR purchase in the near future; (c) thirty percent of all practices had an EMR, 24% of the small ones, and 47% of larger groups; (d) cost was cited as the biggest barrier to EMR adoption (40%) followed by lack of interest in EMRs (25%).

Glen Tullman purchased 100,000 shares of Allscripts stock earlier this week. Now his boss Mike Lawrie has also upped his holdings, purchasing 70,000 shares for about $350K.

Healthvision announces that it added 15 new clients in the third quarter.


Wheeling (WV) Hospital’s board of directors approves the $20.9 million purchase of Eclipsys Sunrise, to be rolled out over three years. The hospital checked out 12 different companies before deciding.

Portico Systems has acquired Ethidium Health Systems. Portico’s offerings include solutions for managing provider operations while Ethidium develops clinical and collaboration tools (including EMR) for providers.

Huron Consulting Group is increasing its healthcare and HIT focus with the hiring of two industry veterans, Scott Kolesar from EDS and John Kavka from CGE&Y.

Women purchasing their own health insurance pay as much as 50% more than men for identical coverage. Insurers claim women use healthcare more than men and maternity costs are a factor for women in child-bearing years. However, women advocacy groups claim the gap is much wider than it actuarially should be.

HealthSouth receives $100 million in cash from UBS Securities as the two companies settle their lawsuit. The lawsuit stems from charges that UBS was part of a $2.7 billion fraudulent accounting scheme that included over a dozen HealthSouth executives between 1996 and 2002. HealthSouth is still awaiting judgments on suits filed against HealthSouth’s former CEO Richard Scrushy and E&Y.

Expenditures for diabetes medications have risen from $7 billion in 2001 to $13 billion in 2007. Patient visits have increased and newer drugs are more expensive.

Cisco cuts the ribbon on its new LifeConnections Center at its San Jose headquarters, which will include health care services, child care, and fitness offerings. Cerner is providing the health care clinic software.

AT&T sent me a text message on my iPhone today saying I now have free Wi-Fi access at 17,000 hot spots, including Starbucks. On their web site, they also mention some other cool spots to connect, including airports, hotels, restaurants and supermarkets. Kind of cool to think that I could be downloading Mr. H’s latest music recommendation while picking up a gallon of milk.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. Paul Ryan – He’s got an intriguing idea there. I confess I am ignorant as to how researchers currently buy their data or how much they pay for it. Could readers familiar with that facet of the industry give us an idea? How viable is it? I know some of the vendors sell some data, so I’m not too interested in hearing from them. They have dogs in that race.

    Expect to see the larger developers cozying up if that bill passes. Regulation is always an advantage for larger companies, as it helps to stifle smaller competitors.

    Medill report/summary – $50 BILLION from Obama? where will that come from? I’m sure that has some of the readers salivating. McCain is going for the public/private partnership. PPPs are popular since they afford only modest tax increases. Truly they should be avoided. Any company that chooses to put up money expects more money (or power) in return. Government and industry should always be kept separated, just as churches should be separated (and protected) from government.

  2. Congressman Ryan- “simply requiring interoperability among software providers” …wasn’t that the goal for electronic claims with the National Standard Format (NSF) – also known as National “Similar” Format? If you could “simply” require interoperability, then why are there so many claims clearinghouses around? Ultimately, I beleive a clearinghouse scenario will be the way interoperability occurs for EHR.
    Regarding the HIMSS survey of Office Managers. My experience shows that this is not usually the group that champions major office operational change, providers are the ones that benefit directly. Just my thoughts.

  3. The Breakaway Group engagement at UT Medical Group is around building online training simulators for the use of Enterprise EHR (TouchWorks) from Allscripts. UT Medical has not had a structured training program for the EMR and as such there is varied use of the application across the organization. The intent is to use online simulators and practice scenarios for learning. Breakaway has worked with other applications for online simulations – practice management, RIS, etc. The goal for completion of the modules is December 2008.

  4. The congressman, like so often is true with Congress, does not seem cllue-enabled much less clue-interoperable. As I used to say promoting Cloverleaf: the nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from. While interoperability come a long ways, it seems to this somewhat removed observer that it has a long way to go and most of that is caused by how fundamentally different in content, structure, type and periodicity great batches of clinical data can be.

    On the second point, does *anyone* really, truly think people are the best managers of their patient data when to date, americans are very poor managers of their own health (from which said data is derived)?

  5. In response to JoJo’s post of this morning re Frost and Sullivan. JoJo: I would suggest that you take a look at the product and service offerings of Health Industry Insights, http://www.healthindustry-insights.com. We just celebrated our third anniversary as a wholly owned subsidiary of IDC, Framingham MA, a global leader in IT market research for 43 years. Our practice covers the provider, payer and pharmaceutical sectors of the industry. In the provider sector, our research covers such topics as EMRs, EHRs, RHIOs and HIEs, business and clinical intelligence, telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, wireless networks, RFID, unified communications, e-prescribing, virtualization, Health 2.0, disease management and care management, to name just a few. Feel free to drop me a line at mholland@healthindustry-insights.com.

  6. JoJo, regarding your search for a good market research/analyst firm – that’s a tough one as it all depends on what you hope to get from the relationship. Different firms target different needs and you will need to have a very clear idea of objectives prior to engaging.

    Drop me a line at john at chilmarkresearch dot com and maybe I can assist as at one time I headed up analyst relations and have a good read on capabilities, culture etc.

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