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News 11/14/08

November 13, 2008 News 6 Comments

From Some Guy: "Re: OSF. Epic signed a deal with OSF Healthcare to replace all existing systems. Can you confirm?" I knew they were a EpicCare user on the ambulatory side. Confirmation welcome.

From John Oates: "Re: Centura. Heard that Dana Moore, the CIO at Centura Health, has had his role expanded to include lab, supply chain, business intelligence, clinical quality and safety, central verification office, community benefit, the regional float pool, real estate management, system recruiting, and Ask a Nurse." They might as well rename the place after him since he’s running it all. You know you’re a good executive and not just a good IT executive when they ask you to take on a bigger role, so that’s pretty cool.

From Donna Redd: "Re: pictures. Love the pictures you run. That was the last reason to read the printed publications, so I’m all yours." Thanks. I didn’t run them before because it was a pain (thanks to Microsoft for the software solution) and because of my adserver, which overloaded with page views to the point that pictures would have taken forever to load (thanks there to adserver genius Erik in the Netherlands, who redesigned the setup and made the page load nearly instantly). I still run the pictures small or thumbnailed to keep things snappy, part of our fervor to not waste your time (including in what we write about and how we write it, which sometimes fools new readers who figure "short" must mean "unimportant," leading them to completely miss something that we scooped everybody on. Writing less is hard work.)


From The PACS Designer: "Re: iPill from Philips. As the patient starts to become a receiver of better care through increased internal treatment focus, the iPill from Philips seems to be a potential winner in the war against disease. Also, being able to include the wireless function in such a small form factor really can bring added value an more comfort to the patient." Link. The pill (capsule, really) contains a microprocessor, battery, wireless radio, drug reservoir, and manually activated pump to allow medication release in a specific location.

From Clara Barton: "Re: Allscripts. Saw an impressive demo of a new tool for prenatal documentation from Allscripts this week at the AMIA conference. It’s interoperable (‘robust API, SaaS model, uses Mirth’) and very easy to use (mirrors ACOG form perfectly). Here’s the surprise: this came from the Misys side pre-merger! So someone WAS doing cool stuff in Raleigh. No details on release date (‘soon’) … mention of an OB/GYN group in Indianapolis who has been testing it since March and is raving about it." Sounds pretty interesting. The Mirth integration engine is cool. Maybe Allscripts should buy LMS Medical Solutions to round out their OB offerings (story to follow).

A hacker gets into a University of Florida College of Dentistry server containing the PHI of 344,000 patients. Technicians upgrading the server found an exploit.

Reminder: click the Project Valour-IT graphic to your right if you would like to donate toward giving a seriously injured soldier or sailor a laptop equipped with assistive technology. Imagine having your hands blown off by an improvised bomb in Iraq. You would appreciate being able to keep writing e-mails and use a computer, right? That’s where 100% of the donated money goes (laptops, Wiis for physical therapy, and GPSs for mobility). Thanks to those of you who mentioned you donated money or, in one reader’s case, a brand new Wii. The fundraiser runs through Thanksgiving and the Army team is beating our Navy team nearly two to one.

Jobs: multiple Epic positions (CO), NextGen Customer Support (PA), Clinical Expert/Consultant, MD or RN (NJ). Just ask and Gwen will send you her weekly job blast.

MedAptus promotes William Marshall to SVO of marketing and Rick Little to executive director of client services.

The SEC files insider trading charges against McKesson sales VP William Gallahair, claiming he overheard his supervisor’s telephone conversation about the impending acquisition of D&K Health Resources, then loaded up on shares, pocketing a $120K profit when the announcement was made.

An HHS pilot project in Arizona and Utah, announced Wednesday, gives Medicare recipients two years of their health records if they agree to keep a PHR on Google, HealthTrio, NoMoreClipboard.com, or PassportMD.


Patrick McCormick, aka PatrickMD, was a student finalist at AMIA as mentioned by Grant Ritter yesterday. He writes about the Facebook Medline application created by Steven Bedrick and Dean Sittig (or at least I’m assuming it’s Dean from the citation). Interesting, but I’m finding PatrickMD himself at least equally interesting: MIT computer science grad (BS and MEng), senior platform engineer with the Tellme voiceXML startup later bought by Microsoft, Columbia MD, and now PGY-1 medical intern at Mount Sinai. All these Boston people are always doing cool stuff. Must be the long winters.

OB software vendor LMS Medical Solutions gets de-listed from the Toronto Stock Exchange when shares drop to below $0.04. They dropped another 60% today, down to $0.02. The company just filed Q2 results: revenue was up 21% to $730K US, EPS -$0.04 vs. -$0.07. Seems like someone should be interested in them at that share price.

Medicity will hold its first customer summit in Salt Lake City February 19-21. Also mentioned in the company’s latest newsletter: a presentation by Daughters of Charity CIO Dick Hutsell on rapid access to clinical information; go-live of HSHS on MediTrust and ProAccess; and customer presentations coming at HIMSS in April. And as always, thanks to Medicity and Nuance/eScription for being HIStalk’s founding sponsors, going way back to 2004 when we could have had a meeting of all HIStalk’s readers in the private dining room of an IHOP (you know who you are – thank you).


Cielo MedSolutions announces that its evidence-based treatment guidelines are available as SaaS for third-party integration with portal and EMR products.


This is cool: the folks at Vitalize Consulting Solutions read my September 29 writeup about IT volunteer Robert Schilt, who is implementing basic technology on a shoestring at Goroko General Hospital in Papua New Guinea. Vitalize sent him 13 laptops, most of which will be used in the hospital, but one will go to the first PNG blind person to graduate from college and one will benefit a local school. Here’s a list of what he could use ("PNG people do not have two spare coins to scratch together") and donations received (nearly all of them sent by his faraway family to support the locals through him, you may notice). Here’s a response left by a young PNGer: "Wow!!!! What an awesome donation! THANK YOU Vitalize Consulting Solutions.I’m looking forward to following up on where these laptops end up and what lives they will change. Unbelievable."

The health of retail pharmacy workers is threatened by automated dispensing machines in drug stores, including those made by McKesson and Parata, according to an aerosol science lab.

If you don’t get e-mail updates when Inga and I write something new, that means 3,217 people are beating you to the scoop (some of them mortal enemies and competitors, no doubt). The cure: put your e-mail address and name in the Subscribe to Updates box to your upper right. Right below that is the E-mail This to a Friend graphic, which can be clicked to easily e-mail a few buds about good old HIStalk.

Insurer WellPoint is jumping into medical tourism, offering pilot participants free treatment in India for certain non-emergent issues. They’ll even cover a companion airfare, but that’s not overly generous considering that costs are a fraction of what US hospitals charge (example: knee replacements, $8,000 vs. $70,000).

Six Web site clients of CareTech Solutions win 2008 WebAwards, including Hendricks Regional Health (IN), which took home Outstanding Web Site. It looks cheery and easy to use.

Michael Donlon, former McKesson clinical systems sales VP, joins offshore medical call center operator MediCall as VP of business development.

Chronically ill Canadians wait the longest to see a specialist among eight developed countries, the headline says. Almost: same-day appointments were equally rare in the US at 26%, with citizens of both countries heading off to the ED as a substitute. Their patient-reported medical error rate was also the highest — except for the US, which also led in the percentage of respondents who said the health system was so screwed up that it ought to be blown up and rebuilt from scratch (if you believe survey conclusions without seeing the actual instrument and methodology, anyway). 

New telemedicine vendor SwiftMD gets a contract with an entire 300-home subdivision under construction to provide emergency medical services, including 24/7 physician access by telephone, Internet, or bi-directional video and also including PHRs. The company offers direct consultations, claiming you’ll be talking to a doctor within 30 minutes of signing up. Prices: $18 to enroll, $9 a month, and $59 per consultation for one person.

First Express Scripts got extortionate threats to release PHI. Now some of its clients are getting similarly threatening letters. The company has launched a site for updates and is offering a $1 million reward for the arrest and conviction of those responsible (so it should take about two days to have someone in custody, I’m guessing).

I get a little uncomfortable when I can’t tell non-tax paying hospitals from international conglomerate vendors. UPMC partners with GE to develop international cancer centers.

Hospital layoffs: Boca Raton Community Hospital (FL); several hospitals in Hamilton, Ontario; St. John’s Regional Medical Center (MO); Cheboygan Memorial Hospital (MI).

King’s Daughters Medical Center (MS) says its T-System EDIS cut wait times in half and sped up charge posting.

The whistle-blower in the Magee-Womens Hospital case apparently wins, despite a private settlement with no details. UPMC spat out a "no comment," while the woman said she was elated. She said she raised patient safety concerns; the hospital claimed she violated patient confidentiality.

Vanity Fair magazine’s lawsuit against the Navy over John McCain’s medical records is dismissed. A reporter claimed to have interviewed first-hand sources who said McCain was involved in a 1964 auto accident that was rumored to have injured or killed another person. The magazine wanted any of his records during that time from Portsmouth Naval Hospital. The judge said the Navy was right to refuse the Freedom of Information Act request since hospital records are exempted as an invasion of privacy.

Who’s the bad guy here? A drug dealer gets a 25-year-old woman hooked on heroin. She ends up paralyzed in ICU and her family tells the dealer she’s dead to keep him away from her. Someone tells the dealer where she is and he admits himself to the same hospital, then heads to the ICU claiming to be her relative. The family finds out he’s there. One of them, a 45-year-old male nurse, is charged with using the hospital computer to find the man’s room and then threatening to break his spine. The nurse is now defending himself in a nursing board hearing on whether he’s fit to practice.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

From: Dr. J: "Re: Advisory Board. Have you assessed the value of Advisory Board Company membership for provider organizations or vendors?” Neither Mr. H nor I haven’t ever looked into it and we don’t know what membership costs. Anyone care to comment?


The Big Brothers at Google are watching your keystrokes to detect regional flu outbreaks. Using the new Google Flu Track, Google tracks the input of such phrases as “flu symptoms.” Over the last few years, Google’s search data has been able to detect regional trends about 10 days before they are reported to the CDC.

Not surprisingly, privacy advocates aren’t too hip on Google’s new tool. Patient Privacy Rights founder Dr. Deborah Peel sent us this note. “We think Google needs to prove their claims–that’s transparency. The science is there to do effective de-identification—but we have no proof that is what Google did. This is very similar to our certification requirements for how vendors use aggregated de-identified info for business purposes such as improving how the site works, etc.” Peel also provided us a copy of the letter that she and EPIC.org president Marc Rotenberg sent to Google Inc.’s CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt.

Singapore’s largest healthcare group SingHealth has successfully activated Eclipsys’ clinical solutions. Within the first few hours, 1,500+ concurrent users were live across three hospitals and 12 clinics.

Medsphere signs a $9.7 million contract to provide support, maintenance and development for the Indian Health Service. The agreement extends Medsphere’s existing relationship supporting the agency’s Resource Patient Management EHR solution.

Speaking of Medsphere, ousted co-founder Scott Shreeve shares his recollections of the company’s early days and up until the time of the new regime. Scott and his brother Steve are winners of the 2008 Linux Medical News Freedom Award, based on their support of Free/Open source software ideals in medicine.


I inadvertently found this blog today and of course was drawn to the photos of the two adorable Hungarian medical students maintaining it. I know next to nothing about the fascinating world of radiology and nuclear medicine, but I could learn.

The VA contracts with HITT Contracting for a $32 million regional data center in West Virginia on the same grounds as the Martinsburg VA Medical Center.

The campus newspaper provides an update to KU’s transition to Epic’s EMR.

Twenty small hospitals across Kansas and Nebraska are sharing a single computer infrastructure to automate their patient medical records. Funding comes from the US Department of Agriculture and the nonprofit Great Plains Health Alliance.

InterSystems is opening a sales and support office in Dubai Healthcare City following an acquisition of key assets and staff from local distributor HBO Middle East.


UT Systems orders the layoff of 3,800 state employees at UTMB, claiming the medical branch is losing $40 million a month as a result of Hurricane Ike. Damage has forced the main Galveston hospital to be closed for renovations, though the medical school has re-opened. The layoffs represent nearly a third of UTMB’s 12,000 employees. UTMB is also the island’s largest employer.

Merge Healthcare is offering a new iPhone/iPod touch application that allows users to view digital medical images on their devices. A demo of Merge Mobile for the iPhone is free from the iPhone App Store, so I plan to load it up and check it out.

A Houston doctor sets up Telerays, a Web-based auction service that facilitates radiology interpretation services. Using an eBay-like model, hospitals or imaging centers can put up certain radiology/interpretation projects for bid. The (approved and properly credentialed) radiologist with the lowest bid wins. The hospital pays Telerays, who in turn pays the radiologist. Interesting financial model, though it does suggest all radiologists are equally skilled. When the company expands to plastic surgery, I think I’ll take a pass.

A Louisiana medical assistant is arrested on 342 counts of obtaining prescription drugs by fraud. Her suspecting doctor hired a computer expert to audit her computer and found numerous prescriptions generated without accessing a patient’s chart and that were later deleted (what EMR allows you to do that?) She’s accused of obtaining more than 20,000 tablets of various drugs and claims she took 20-30 pills herself each day. 


Aruba’s only hospital, Dr. Horacio E. Oduber, is implementing Cerner Millennium beginning in March. I bet there are a few Kansas City folks trying to get in on that gig.

CCHIT announces the certification of four new inpatient and ED and EHR products. In addition, Epic Enterprise Clinical system was certified as providing a comprehensive and interoperable ambulatory, inpatient, and ED solution.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. In regards to UTMB…

    Our company, InterOPERANT, is located in Houston/Pearland some 45 miles inland from Galveston. Today we offered to take on certain roles within our company in light of layoffs within the IT division which sources indicate are certain.

    For UTMB readers, please see our web-site. In particulair, if you have EPIC experience, forward immediately to us your resume. We will try and assist you either directly, or indirectly.



  2. Re: CareTech’s Website Clients – looking at some source on the pages, they use Telerik’s Controls and Content Management Systems (CMS) as the basis for their CMS offering. The good and bad thing about the web is that it is hard to protect a good design.

  3. I am senior director of marketing communication for Parata Systems. I would like to correct the misinformation picked up from Alburty Labs.

    Typically investigations of workplaces aregenerated by an employee or employer with a concern, not by a competitor interested only in discrediting a competitive technology. (The study you reference was paid for by another automation provider.)

    That said, you also should know that Parata testing under OSHA standards (the governing body for indoor workplaces) demonstrated our automation to be 120 times better than the OSHA-regulated worker exposure limit. Further, Parata has nearly 2,000 Parata RDS units in the field, and has never received a complaint or concern of this type from a pharmacy customer.

    Finally, talk to pharmacists using our automation and they will talk to you about safety: Parata’s automation is 100 percent accurate for drug and dose, greatly reducing the risk for error.

    Thank you for the opportunity to respond.

  4. Donna Redd

    TPD backs up MR. H’s comment about trying to be brief but put enough detail in the post to make HIStalkers want to follow any links provided. By adding the pictures it gives the post even more value without slowing the reader. It took TPD sometime to get into brief postings so I know what Mr. H must go through for his part in this educating endeavor, so tell your friends to come see what they are missing, we really appreciate the following we have achieved!

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