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News 11/26/08

November 25, 2008 News 3 Comments

From Jupiter Jones: "Re: insurance companies and Susanne Madden interview. Boy, the ice is going to get thinner and thinner under the insurance apologists as Verden’s predictions start to ring true. BC of NC and LA (and maybe others) just published a new rule: providers must now PAY for any APPEALS. That’s right – the insurance company mis-pays a claim, which happens every single day, and the doctor has to pay at least $50+% of the claim to appeal it. I’m not kidding. If that doesn’t look like the result of ‘…they all sit in a room and think of creative ways to simultaneously drive up prices and reduce the attractiveness of the product, even if it means scaring off a bunch of their customers…’ then I don’t know what does!"

From Todd: "Re: virtual HIMSS. I filled out my virtual HIMSS satisfaction survey with these remarks. 1) Presentations could have been more substantive. A major health system talks about clinical transformation in a greenfield exercise in Australia? Interesting, but comparatively easy. How about someone who has been through the trenches of clin tran in a large, established health system? If a presenter is doing an ‘all happy story of IT implementation,’ you can guess it’s not reflective of your audience’s reality. I understand there are dozen or hundreds of applications for these speaking positions to choose from. 2) All the Web 2.0 stuff was unnecessary and confusing and some of it froze. There were only a handful of Webinars to manage. This wasn’t Orlando with 27,000 people. One page with all the presentation links would have done it. 3) Weak vendor turnout. Would have really liked to see some online demos of various new business and clinical apps (OR, bed management, ICU, med rec, etc.)  Premise and others, what made you decide not to participate? 4) If it were free, cherry picking a presentation or two would have been a nice diversion for the day, but of course it’s not free if you don’t work for a hospital."

From Wompa1: "Re: demand. Not exactly IT related, but it certainly could affect hospital revenue and spending." Link. Since I’m a big fan of economic theories, this Keynesian one is fun: when consumer demand drops, businesses decrease production rather than lower their prices. HSA guru John Goodman says that’s true in healthcare, where patients defer self-pay elective surgeries in tough times, leaving hospitals with less profitable insurance and charity cases.

From Eliza Cummings: "Re: jobs. Is there a way we can have a forum to look for software sales jobs? There is a boat load of great sales people and this is such a small industry that we really need to focus on who are the vendors that are looking." Absolutely. You can post jobs or resumes in the Jobs Offered/Positions Wanted section of HIStalk Discussion. You have to register, but it’s free (e-mail me first if you’re using a generic Hotmail or Gmail account since I usually delete those otherwise because of spammers). Any other ideas on how I can help?

Informatics Corporation of America wins two of five innovation award categories at the Healthcare IT Summit: greatest market potential and most innovative presentation. The company was also nominated for best new technology and best value. All were for its clinical interoperability products, which were originally developed at Vanderbilt.

Nova Scotia wins a public sector technology award for its EMR linked with lab and rad results. Nightingale Informatix is its partner on the project.

Ochsner CIO Lynn Witherspoon credits SIS with increasing virtual capacity of the hospitals ORs after Hurricane Katrina.

Dr. Deborah Peel posts this critique of Google Flu Trends on the Patient Privacy Rights site, along with Google’s response to her inquiries. I have to say that, of all the healthcare privacy issues to fight, this one seems pretty inconsequential, but that’s just my opinion.


Emageon acquirer Health Systems Solutions gets a CEO interview on Fox Business. He says they have the interest and the financial backing to make more acquisitions and will be doing so.

RTLS vendor Awarepoint gets $13.3 million in Series D financing.

Here’s a way to cut your IT costs: arrest the CIO who’s robbing you blind. The New Zealand health district that I mentioned previously saw its IT spending drop from $8 million a year to $2 million the year after it fired the CIO who is accused of stealing $17 million over six years by submitting fake invoices. A board analyst says he asked the CIO about budget-busting server maintenance costs and was told, "What to you want me to do – turn the f…… things off?"

HIMSS "applauds" (does it have little hands somewhere?) Tom Daschle’s appointment as HHS secretary, apparently joining every other industry in hoping for some Uncle Sam handouts. HIMSS says it’s looking forward to "working closely" with Daschle, Obama, and every citizen of Washington, DC and its suburbs to make sure the feds help pay for technology that supposedly already pays for itself. HIMSS calls itself both a membership society and a vendor trade association in its press release, which is the first time I recall hearing anyone there publicly admit the latter. Does that mean we all belong to a vendor trade association?

Jobs: ANSOS Consultant (MA), Program and Project Manager (CO), Senior Product Manager (UT). Gwen at Healthcare IT Jobs is feeling expansive for the holidays and will give a free job listing for each one bought before December 31 if they mention HIStalk. You know it’s hard to get people relocated and working over the holidays, but that’s a great time to recruit and interview to be ready for January.

The folks at Nuance confirm that eScription co-founders and co-CEOs Ben Chigier and Paul Egerman are giving up day-to-day responsibilities, serving as advisors going forward. Nuance announced its $363 million eScription acquisition in April.

Lawmakers in Indonesia support a bill that requires HIV/AIDS patients in its remote Papua province to be implanted with microchips to allow them to be tracked and punished if they deliberately infect others. Strangely enough, the guy with that bright idea is a doctor and member of parliament. "Seeing that the number and spread of HIV in Papua is so high, I’ve been researching it and found online that microchips can be used in humans, so I am convinced that this can help us detect signals related to the spread of HIV in society." Well, at least he used the Internet to come up with his bizarre recommendation. What the hell is he thinking when he talks about "signals?"

IBM launches a cloud computing validation service, with the first customer being Allscripts and its online backup and recovery service that will move to IBM’s technology in the spring.

Francisco Partners closes its acquisition of labor management systems vendor API Software, also naming its new board members, all of whom have deep healthcare IT experience.

Medical University of South Carolina will require 1,200 employees to take four days off without pay starting in January. It will also lay off a dozen others.

Odd lawsuit: a woman in labor in the hospital is started on an epidural, but a physician’s assistant sneaks into her room and steals her fentanyl. He is arrested, claims the narcotic was for his dying dog, and pleads guilty and serves probation. The woman and her husband are suing the hospital and the PA two years later, claiming the hospital was negligent in hiring him, took too long to get her another dose, and seemed more worried about apprehending the PA than taking care of her labor.

An official in India asks people to not trash hospitals after patients die, even if the doctor involved was negligent.

Here is some vendor good news sent my way after I expressed fatigue with the other kind that has everyone in a funk:

  • Sunquest is running a company program through the end of the year to support the World Vision humanitarian organization, encouraging employees to donate.
  • Inpatient practice management system vendor Ingenious Med says it recently hired new employees in sales, marketing, development, account management, and implementation and is looking for more developers and implementers.
  • Coding vendor CodeRyte will hire 25-30 people in 2009.
  • Marc Winchester of Digital Healthcare, which offers the Retasure retinal imaging service, says revenue is up 75%, headcount is up 125%, space is up 100%, and patients served has increased 1,350%.

Have a great holiday. I will be eating turkey, watching football, and maybe writing a little HIStalk stuff if I can’t resist the siren song. If you need me for anything, now is a great time to e-mail me since I’m not in my usual frenzy to keep caught up.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

From Gatelynn: “Re: Mary Staley-Sirios. I so enjoy reading your info, especially the one noted below. Very inspiring. It makes you take a pause in all our hectic work lives to be successful for our companies and ourselves. I thought it was worth the time for me to say – THANK YOU!!! I hope you slip a few more of these in every once in awhile.” Gatelynn is referring to the post on former Baylor Healthcare System VP Mary Staley-Sirois leaving the corporate world to serve as VP of non-profit MediSend.

From Dr. Nick: “Re: Facebook. Are you and Mr HIStalk on Facebook?” Not yet, anyway. I kind of like that idea, actually. Maybe I’d learn secret details about our readers’ lives.

Intermountain Healthcare (UT) is adding additional Agfa Healthcare technology, including integrating IMPAX PACS systems for its 21 hospital facilities and 150+ clinics.


MEDSEEK donates its web portal and content management system to Tennessee-based Whitwell Middle School. The website will facilitate communication between the school, students, and the community. MEDSEEK’s system will also host a separate site dedicated to the school’s Children’s Holocaust Memorial and Paper Clips. I hadn’t heard of this project before, but apparently Whitwell students collected 11 million paper clips, representing six million Jews and five million others killed by the Nazis. A German rail car once used to transport Jews to concentration camps was donated and then filled with the paper clips. The memorial now permanently resides on the school grounds.

Epic also has the good neighbor thing figured out. So far this year, the company has donated about $356,000 to local Verona, WI organizations. Recipients include the public library, the food pantry, the police and fire departments, and area schools. In addition, Epic has donated over 300 PCs and laptops to the school system over the last two years.

CareTech Solutions is one of 11 companies in Michigan awarded tax incentives aimed at creating additional jobs. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. approved a $38 million credit over 10 years to encourage Caretech to expand in Michigan instead of Ohio. If Caretech accepts the deal, the company will build a new data center in Troy and create 400 direct jobs.

The HIMSS folks say that attendance at their recent virtual conference and expo was up 65% from April. An estimated 2,800 attendees logged in during the two-day event.


The Louisville paper profiles local medical billing company Zirmed, which is building new office space to accommodate its growth. Between 2003 and 2007, the company’s revenues have grown 465% and are expected to hit $35 million this year.

The AMA would like at least another year before enforcing a new Joint Commission policy that denounces disruptive, intimidating, or abusive physician behavior. It’s not that the AMA wants to allow its doctors another year to be bad; rather, they’d like clearer definitions for what constitutes bad behavior. Sounds like an opportunity for Miss Manners.

The Michigan State Medical Society is establishing the first state-sponsored physician network to connect 15,000 physicians. The service will be free to members; nonmembers will be charged a yet-to-be-determined fee.

I noticed in a recent post on Loftware’s blog that the Sisters of Mercy Health Systems’ supply chain division has added specific terms in contract language that require the use of GS1 standards in transactions and in production processing.

Nuance Communications announces a Q4 profit of $22 million ($.09/share,) which is much improved from its $3.41 million loss for the same quarter last year.

I am taking off to hang with family for the next few days and I can’t wait. I went to a friend’s funeral last week, which made me especially aware of my many blessings. It’s easy to take for granted so many things in life, such as health, financial and physical security, our loved ones, and our many freedoms. Life is short and uncertain, but I have a renewed commitment to living my dreams today. I hope everyone has time to give some thanks this week and perhaps make some time to reflect on how you can live your life’s passions — today. I am incredibly thankful to HIStalk, Mr. H, our sponsors, and our readers, because this is one fun job! Happy Thanksgiving all!

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. RE: MUSC
    Maybe the employees are being given the time off to attend the conference in Virgin Islands that MUSC is cosponsoring.

    Like the auto execs, it seems that people at the top just do not get it.

  2. Inga,
    Funny you should end on the note regarding a close friend’s death. Today, there are a number of us putting up posts to promote the One Slide Project and encouraging folks to discuss this important topic with loved ones ove the holiday.

    Maybe not the easiest subject to raise, but once it’s put out there, should generate healthy and needed discussion about how we all wish to spend the last of our days.

    More info over at http://www.engagewithgrace.org

    May both you and Mr. HIStalk have a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving.

  3. So what happened to IHC’s implementation of GE’s PACS? I guess they finally game up & de-installed. How is that Centricity make over coming along anyway? I see a deteriorating relationship there.

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