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November 6, 2008 News 6 Comments

From Booger: "Re: ACS. Heard through the grapevine – Charles Bracken, managing director of healthcare solutions at ACS, will be the new CIO of Catholic Health Initiatives." All I’ve heard is that Witt/Kieffer is doing the search.

From Mr. Rev Man: "Re: development cost. Does anyone know much money has been spent to date on R&D for Cerner’s ProFit and Siemens HIS Soarian products? We always hear about how much is being spent on clinical software solutions, but not much is known about the these products."

Mac at Sales Lead Insights has written up the results of my marketing survey. And speaking of that, the folks at Intellect Resources are putting together a forum addressing the impact economic conditions on the industry. They invite everyone (providers, payors, consultants, vendors, etc.) to report their company’s experience and outlook in their short survey, in which you may also volunteer to participate as a guest panelist or online forum attendee. I’ll have the results here, so it should be a good read on what’s going on.

A couple of folks e-mailed to tell me they nominated me for some survey that Healthcare IT News is doing on "who stirred up the industry" in 2008. There’s no way that they would let me win even if I got the majority of votes given their regularly expressed contempt for HIStalk, but thanks for the thought.

Jobs: Information Systems Director (WA), PharmNet Project Manager (no relo needed), HL7 Integration Architect (AZ).

The private equity company that owns 26% of IBA Health Group says it will remain a backer despite this week’s $1.1 billion collapse of its parent company. And speaking of IBA, the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust is the first trust in England to go live on Lorenzo, developed by iSoft before that company’s acquisition by IBA last year. That’s a pretty big deal since the implementation is three years late, but it’s still a key part of NPfIT (which could use some good news right about now).


Health Robotics signs a big deal in the Middle East its IV automation technology (it competes with RIVA if you follow them, which I do). The deal includes 32 of its chemo-compounding "robots" and 175 of its non-chemo compounders. I see the company also has signed deals with University of Colorado Health System, University of Michigan, and Jackson Health System, so it’s looking pretty hot. I also know some of the US-based execs, as I found out when checking the company a bit further: former Eclipsys executives Peter Camp and Jack Risenhoover work there now.

Welcome and thanks to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Sunquest Information Systems of Tucson, AZ. Everybody knows them, of course, as a big player lab and rad, now expanding into Europe. It’s very cool that they decided to support HIStalk and I appreciate it. If you’d like to say thanks as well, click on their ad to your left and check out their offerings. As I’ve said before, it’s great to have the Sunquest name and company back.

Microsoft HUG will open membership up to those in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Which reminded me of a caustic-but-funny story I read in The Onion entitled Microsoft Ad Campaign Crashing Nation’s Televisions. "WASHINGTON—According to an FCC report released Monday, a new $300 million Microsoft ad campaign is responsible for causing televisions all across the country to unexpectedly crash … The new ad campaign, which features footage of everyday Americans using PCs, was launched as an upgrade to the poorly performing Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates commercials, which suffered unspecified failures in two-thirds of U.S. households. Microsoft pulled the defective ads in mid-September, but the move came too late, as countless televisions had already been infected with viruses and spyware … Recent frustrations with Microsoft have not been limited to its television ads, however. Earlier this week, a billboard promoting the company’s latest Windows platform angered hundreds in Detroit when it fell onto three cars, instantly killing all passengers."

Speaking of Microsoft, the company is offering Web start-ups Visual Studio, SQL Server, SharePoint, BizTalk, and Windows Server free … for three years (so it’s like open source, but only if your business goes down the tubes fast). Anyway, an early taker was doctor booking site ZocDoc, which I believe I’ve mentioned in the past. More info here.

And speaking of Microsoft yet again, the company raises some hackles by naming a programming language it’s working on M, apparently unaware that the name is a synonym for healthcare language MUMPS, which powers probably 80% of the HIT implementations out there, including those from MEDITECH, Epic, QuadraMed, and many others (courtesy of its inventor, MEDITECH’s genius Neil Pappalardo and the Mass General crew under Octo Barnett in the 60s). Microsoft’s Windows-only offering, part of its Oslo compiled .NET strategy, is supposed to be part of Visual Studio 2010. They say the name’s not final anyway.

Long Beach Memorial Medical Center CEO Terry Belmont quits

Infection control software developed by Tel Aviv University reduced hospital epidemics by 45%.

Axolotl’s Elysium e-prescribing solution earns SureScripts-RxHub Medication History certification.

I don’t know how I missed this: Dan Kinsella, healthcare practice VP with The Revere Group, has a blog called Healthcare IT Insights. The company was at the just-concluded Midwest HIMSS 2008 Fall Technology Conference, which I see has posted the presentations online.

A remote hospital in Canada, unable to find a pharmacist, signs up for a telepharmacy program in which a remote pharmacist will review and enter medication orders, also visiting once a month.

The Advisory Board Company’s Q2 numbers: revenue up 7%, EPS $0.32 vs. $0.45, with the CEO fretting about "member uncertainty about the budget outlook for 2009." Still, raking in $58 million from hospitals in one quarter is pretty darned good.

McKesson adds Swissray as its digital radiography partner.


George Washington University Hospital will implement clinical documentation from Baltimore-based Salar. I wrote about them in 2005, saying, "UPMC latches onto yet another early-stage healthcare technology: remote concurrent coding from a company I’ve never heard of: Salar. The CEO looks to be almost old enough to drive." Their client list now also includes Hopkins and UMass. It looks like a portable forms-style electronic system that overlays common clinical systems.

The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital (OH) develops software for a Virtual Microscopy Microarray, a personalized medicine technology that will allow Internet-based virtual teams of pathologists to review microscopic tumor scans and their genetic underpinnings to develop patient-specific treatment plans.

Emageon drew two bids last month other than the $3 per share successful one from Health Systems Solutions to buy the company, one for $2.20 and the other for $2.45.

A computer glitch with the Florida Healthy Kids low-cost health insurance program causes thousands of children to be dropped from the program. The state blames ACS, which got an five-year, $87 million maintenance contract this year, for incorrectly migrating data to a new system.

CMS moves its January 1 ban on faxed prescriptions until 2012 "in the interest of patient care and safety and to encourage prescribers and dispensers to adopt e-prescribing." That helps e-prescribing, oddly enough, since some EMRs can only send prescriptions by fax and doctors would have simply gone back to paper.

Saudi Arabia gears up to provide for the health needs of 3 million participants in December’s Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. The ministry of health will have 10,000 health care workers on the job, providing medical care, vaccinations, and emergency treatment, and also using computer links to hospitals and pharmacies to check resource availability.

The lawsuit involving a former Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC medical records worker is underway. The hospital says they received two patient complaints that the secretary had leaked medical information. She says the hospital was upset because she provided records as requested to a pathologist who is suing the hospital, claiming that pathologists’ signatures were being attached to records they had not reviewed.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

The election is over and so far, the country’s problems haven’t been solved, nor has the sky fallen! The news channels will have to discuss something besides the latest polling results or which candidate went off script. I personally am looking forward to more coverage on Michelle Obama’s style selections. Analysts have now turned towards educating the rest of us on what the election results really mean, including how HIT will be impacted. Obama says he wants to spend $50 billion over the next five years to upgrade the healthcare technology infrastructure, which would provide particular benefit to vendors supplying EMRs and e-RXs. Supposedly most of the money would go to those physicians who have claimed current solutions are too costly. Personally I am left wondering 1) if such a proposal will actually be approved; 2) if $50 billion will be enough; and 3) if physicians will use the technology even if it is free.


AT&T is acquiring Wi-Fi service provider Wayport for $275 million in cash. Wayport provides hotspots for a number of healthcare systems (including HealthSouth, Inova, and Sun Healthcare) as well as hotels, airports, and McDonalds. With the purchase, AT&T’s Wi-Fi footprint will be expanding to almost 20,000 hotspots domestically. I’m pretty psyched that I can do some serious downloads on my iPhone for free while eating fries and a Big Mac!

Sentillion CTO David Fusari will be a featured speaker at Gartner’s Identity & Access Management Summit next week in Orlando.

Sonitor Technologies and JAOtech are partnering up to allow JAOtech’s multimedia terminals to be equipped with Sonitor’s ultrasound receivers. The solution allows the terminals to form the nodes for a hospital’s indoor position system.

I saw this announcement regarding nine-physician Durango Orthopedic Associates’ selection of SRS for its EMR solution and recall chatting with the SRS guys at MGMA. One rep told me very sincerely that SRS has “never” lost a client. I’ve pondered that a few times over the last couple of weeks and have wondered if it really is possible to please all your clients forever.

Vista Equity Partners, the VC firm that purchased Sunquest last year for $382 million, has announced the closure of its Vista Equity Partners Fund III with approximately $1.3 billion in capital commitments.

Lots of companies are announcing their third-quarter earnings. If the sampling below is any indication, organizations that rely of direct patient payment appear to be struggling more than the HIT vendors. Will the affects of a weaker economy trickle down to the vendors by the end of year? Or, perhaps vendors won’t see much change until 2009, when most organizations are following a (likely tighter) 2009 budget.

Rehab services provider HealthSouth announces a 98% drop in income for Q3 compared to last year. However, revenue increased about 7% to $456 million. Earnings were better than anticipated and the company expects the full-year earnings will exceed its forecast. HealthSouth attributes the low income number to the $17.1 million charge related to its litigation with UBS Securities.

Tenet Healthcare fell short of analyst projections with its $2.2 billion revenue posting for Q3. Earnings were $104 million, up from a net loss of $59 million last year. Tenet predicts 2008 total earnings will be between break even to $75 million. The stock price has fallen almost $2 this week to $2.48/share.

Perot Systems also saw a decline in its stock prices after predicting a slower Q4. Results for Q3 were on target and included a 9% rise in revenue and a 25% jump in income compared to last year. So far this week Perot’s stock has slid 20%, closing at $11.48 today.

athenahealth beats estimates with its third-quarter revenue growth of 35%. Non-GAAP adjusted net income grew from $2.1 million last year to $4.8 million and EPS was $.14.

Eclipsys also saw good growth with a 9% increase in revenues and a 36% jump in non-GAAP net income that was in line with analysts’ $.30/share projections.


The eClinicalworks folks forwarded me this link to Dr. Greg Hinton’s blog postings on this week’s user group meeting. Sounds like one of the lighter moments occurred on Election Day at the start of a presentation by Dr. Farzad Mostashari, who is chairman of the Primary Information Taskforce. Mostashari’s “Top Ten Reasons Why eCW and Girish are Similar to Barack Obama” was apparently a big hit.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. We have worked with SRS on some mutual clients and they certainly go out of their way to provide value and make their clients happy. And their product is remarkably effective. That said, it’s impossible not to lose a client with enough time and size…retirements, buy-outs, mergers – you can’t avoid those. I heard the same comment about Phytel the other day, too.

    Ironically, I was also told by a well-known consulting group (whose name has been posted here more than once) that eCW was their “number one DEinstall” and eCW seems to be doing just fine.

  2. Inga-
    If that black dress with the red-orange paint splatter on the front is any indication, perhaps you should be looking elsewhere for style ideas. Perhaps it just looked bad on my broadcast-signal TV, but was a jarring image in an otherwise flawless election night celebration.

  3. My research back in 2005 had Sorian investment at about $100mill. So by now it’s got to be about $130Mill+. Don’t know number for Profit …but since it’s been in devel for over 8 years must be a big number.

    So you ask why such big bucks?
    Here’s one reason – In the late 90’s PriceWaterhouse published a study that said there were about 11,000 pages of federal regulation needed to comply with business income taxes. And how many did they say it was to comply with hospital billing requirements??? Guess – then see below…

    >>> 55,000!!

  4. Re: Microsoft – Can’t believe the “M” moniker will last – it is an ANSI standard – and the coincidence with VistA is certainly annoying to those folks. But, “M” is very non-Microsoft-y. They usually co-opt real common use words like “Word”.

  5. Sunquest, a big player in Rad? Don’t be swayed just because they are now a sponsor. Rad is on a vent with a DNR recommended. The few US based Rad folks are stellar but India is making great strides in killing the line. Then another management “re-org” brought in greenhorns wiht no concept of customers driving the line. Sad too. It’s a good product not kept up with technology thanks to money hording “leaders”.

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