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News 11/5/08

November 4, 2008 News 5 Comments

From The PACS Designer: "Re: Skyfire. If you want the PC look for HIStalk and also TV viewing on your cell phone, check out the demo from Skyfire, which is a free download. They claim to be better than most other cell phone Web and TV viewers and can easily outshine the iPhone and Opera-mini viewers." Link.


From Hari Seldon: "Re: product placement. There was a huge HIT product placement in the movie Serenity (above). I wonder how many other movies and shows have featured HIT products?"

From Fourth Hansen Brother: "Re: layoffs. 74 at Columbia St. Mary’s (WI)." Link. Add to the list from just the last couple of days: Shasta Regional Medical Center (CA), 150 employees; Charleston Memorial Hospital (SC), closing completely, 14 employees; RJ Reynolds Patrick County Memorial Hospital (VA), 40 employees; and Cooley Dickinson Hospital (MA), 47 employees.

The European Commission’s high-level, invitation-only conference will merge with the World of Health IT conference of HIMSS. I was going to make a joke about France surrendering to HIMSS next, but at least one person e-mails me a nastygram when I drag that joke out of mothballs, so I’ll claim new global enlightenment.

Wristband maker Precision Dynamics acquires healthcare label vendor TimeMed Labeling Systems.

AT&T is offering free Wi-Fi for buyers of some of its smartphones (including the new BlackBerry Bold, out today), with details of its Wi-Fi services here. Coincidentally, my AT&T contract just ran out last week, so I’m seeing what’s out there, although I’m too cheap for anything more than basic voice-and-text-message service.

Panasonic announces the $2,999 Toughbook H1 mobile clinical assistant, claiming six-hour battery life and featuring RFID and bar code readers, a 2-megapixel camera, a smart card reader, and fingerprint readers. Cool feature: it has a utility that sends wipe-down reminders to users and marks them as done in a database.

Cincinnati Children’s (OH) will use Click Commerce’s eResearch Portal to automate grant application and budgeting.

Uganda is considering implementation of an e-health system.

Sunquest names Richard Batch, formerly of Cardinal Health, as VP of product development.

Emageon will pay CEO Charles Jett $1.2 million in severance when the company’s sale to Health Systems Solution, Inc. is finalized.

Only in hospitals: a clergyman is taken to a British hospital ED to have a potato surgically removed from a rather private area. He claims he fell on it while hanging curtains naked.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

An AMA survey concludes that PQRI process needs to be made easier for physicians. Most could not download reports and less than half of those who did found them useful. Physicians also complained that reports took 12 months to receive, which didn’t leave them enough time to make adjustments to qualify for bonuses.

It sounds like MedcomSoft is running out of options for staying afloat long-term. The company will keep trying to find a buyer (at far less than the $15 million of new capital originally sought) or initiate a wind-down of the business. Each of MedcomSoft’s board members has also resigned.

Virtual Radiologic signs a deal to be VHA’s preferred provider of teleradiology services.

The six-county Mississippi Coast HIE will use Medicity’s MediTrust clinical operability platform and ProAccess clinical applications suite to exchange clinical data.

Versant Ventures invests $13 million in CodeRyte.

eClinicalWorks is hosting its four-day conference in Orlando, sold out with nearly 1,200 attendees. New products were announced for next year: eClinicalMessaging (physician-to-patient messages) and eClinicalMobile (smart phone access for physicians). Also announced: a new deal with Continuum Health Partners (NY) and its 3,300 docs. The nice folks at eCW invited Mr. H and me to attend this first national conference, but unfortunately neither of us could make it happen. I personally hate missing a good time, so if you are there, send us an update.


A construction journal discusses some details of Epic’s expansion, which will feature three 150,000 square foot buildings, a 177,000 square foot building, and a 752,000 square foot underground parking deck. Pedestrian tunnels will connect the buildings and geothermal fields will heat and cool the whole complex. It will be finished in 14 months.

Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics will lay off 151 Los Angeles-based employees on December 30th, according to reports.

The Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Rural Health and Primary Care awards $3.5 million in grants to 21 EHR implementation projects.

The NY State Department of Health extends CSC’s contract to support the state’s Medicaid system with a $322 million, three-year contract.

Whitmore Lake Health Clinic (MI) faces closure over a $110,000 IRS bill. The clinic blames its large number of uninsured and underinsured patients.

A couple of Dallas area readers forwarded me this story. A Baylor Healthcare laptop taken from an employee’s car in September contained names and treatment codes for 100,000 patients and Social Security numbers for another 7,400. Leaving a laptop in the car is against Baylor’s policy and the employee was fired. Meanwhile, Baylor’s offering $1,000 for the laptop’s return and free credit monitoring to those affected.

Lakeland Regional Health System (MI), already a user of the agent-based healthcare exchange platform of Novo Innovations for its 70 affiliated physicians, signs a new deal to offer it to its remaining 200+ affiliated providers.

Oklahoma University Medicine is live on MEDSEEK’s consumer portal, just three months after starting implementation.

ABEO, the country’s second largest anesthesia-specific revenue cycle management services company, purchases Pasadena Billing Associates.

Hard to believe, but Mr. H and I are already starting on some HIMSS-related projects. One big one is our pre-HIMSS HIStech Reports, which highlight individual companies with an interview and Mr. H commentary. We include a magazine-style reprint that several companies handed out at HIMSS last year to great response (until they ran out because everybody was picking one up). If you’re interested, e-mail me.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. It would interesting to know what proportion of the cited layoffs are due to a potential loss of patient revenue and what is due to the institution taking risky investments and suffering losses in its portfolio.

  2. Re: Product Placement. The most recent X-Files movie (from the summer) had Scully perform neurosurgery with a BrainLAB surgical navigation system. It’s not quite HIT-proper, but it is computer-assisted surgery so I think it counts.

  3. Re: eClinicalWorks and Continuum- Continuum was going with IDX (now GE) for its inpatient systems, and was building an outpatient module onto Carecast. I assume the eCW contract means this didnt happen?

  4. This crossed my desk today. It seems quite amazing to me after knowing how much work Lumetra did to advance the adoption of EHRs in physician practices through it’s leadership in the DOQ-IT program, but hey, what do I know? I’m sure there must be more to this story, but sad nonetheless.

    As of October 31, 2008, Lumetra’s current contract as California’s Medicare Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) ended. We have begun working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to smoothly and seamlessly transition this work to the new Arizona-based contractor, Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG). As you may recall, Lumetra did appeal this contract award. However, we still do not have a decision from the Federal Court of Claims in Washington D.C. to overturn CMS’ award of the California QIO contract; hence, we are proceeding with the transition. You will also likely receive communication from CMS and HSAG soon.

    At this point, if you have any questions related to the California QIO work, please contact Health Services Advisory Group at (602) 264-6382 or info@hsag.com.

    It has been our privilege and pleasure to serve California’s diverse healthcare community and 4.4 million Medicare beneficiaries for the last 24 years. We hope that we will have the opportunity to partner with you again as we work with other public agencies and private sector clients to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and integrity of healthcare in California and across the nation.

    Please accept our gratitude and appreciation for your support as Lumetra pursued the CMS QIO 9th Scope of Work this past year. We will keep you apprised of our progress in other areas in the months to come.

    Jo Ellen H. Ross
    President & CEO

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