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News 12/3/08

December 2, 2008 News 7 Comments

From Former Siemens Employee: "Re: CEO. Healthcare CEO abruptly resigned last Friday AM. Announced at RSNA yesterday." Link. Jim Reid-Anderson lasted only seven months to the day, having replaced Erich Reinhardt, who resigned April 30 after new compliance issues broadened the apparent scope of the company’s multi-billion dollar bribery problems.

From The PACS Designer: "Re: open source for virtualization. The virtualization space has been supported by proprietary software from mainly IBM and VMware. Now, open source Linux developers have added a Kernel Virtual Machine or KVM to compete in the virtual marketplace. HIStalk sponsor Red Hat has added KVM to their version of Linux. Michael Ferris, Red Hat’s director of product strategy, had this to say in an InformationWeek article: ‘adding KVM to Red Hat Enterprise Linux will reach new customers who might not otherwise have considered Red Hat as their virtualization vendor.’" Link.

Listening: the new reissue of Murmur, the debut album of R.E.M. from 1983. I keep forgetting how much I like them. So much so that went to this year’s Accelerate and it sounds fine, too. Thinking man’s (or woman’s) alt-rock. I’m air-drumming and making intense-looking facial gestures as I play Cuyahoga from Life’s Rich Pageant, pretending to be Keith Moon except with zero rhythmicity.

Tomorrow is Readers Write day, so it’s not to late to send me over something.

Health Level Seven and The Health Story Project announce an implementation guide for making information from narrative radiology reports available to EMRs.


Hospitalist application vendor Ingenious Med brings on Hart Williford as CEO. He was previously with Memorial Health of Savannah.

Jobs: Regional Sales Director, VP Sales, Epic Security Consultant.

A reader sent over an e-prescribing article featuring Glen Tullman of Allscripts from Ode Magazine, whose self-described audience is "intelligent optimists."

Someone passed along a juicy but totally unsubstantiated rumor about Rob Kolodner’s potential replacement at ONCHIT (it’s a political appointee job, as you probably know). The job seeker being speculated is a Man in Black (no, not Johnny Cash). It would be a big pay cut, but a giant ego boost for the Harmonizer. Sure, it’s probably totally off the wall, but fun.


New York Presbyterian Hospital suspends an employee for failing to report that NFL star and bonehead (was that redundant?) Plaxico Burress sought treatment after shooting himself in the leg while carrying an illegal weapon in a crowded nightclub. The hospital itself is also under investigation for failing to report the shooting to police. Mayor Bloomberg makes it clear he wants Burress behind bars since there’s an automatic 3 1/2 year penalty for illegally carrying a loaded gun. "It’s pretty hard to argue the guy didn’t have a gun and it wasn’t loaded. You’ve got bullet holes in and out to show that it was there." He also said, "It’s a chargeable offense, and I think that the district attorney should certainly go after the management of this hospital." Burress just signed a five-year, $35 million contract in September, but the Giants realized he was a flake and made most of the money contingent on his nearly non-existent good behavior.

I’ve been saying all along that hospitals are struggling with reduced occupancy, investment losses, and uncompensated care, all sure to hit IT. The feel-good publications pretend it’s business as usual, but here’s the clincher if you needed one: 30,000-employee Intermountain Healthcare stops its employee 401K matching for at least a year and scales back its holiday parties. Hospitals can save money in many ways (shouldn’t the lipsticked Centricity be doing that for them?) so I would have to suspect that this is a way to create voluntary attrition.

Nebraska Medical Center signs for McKesson Horizon PACS.

Intellect Resources shared the results (warning: PDF) of its survey on the economy’s impact on healthcare IT. Lots of companies are reducing headcount or freezing hiring as we’ve been saying. In the mean time, IR has some pretty sweet-sounding positions open.

A 32-year former employee of UCLA Medical Center pleads guilty to selling Farrah Fawcett’s medical records to the National Enquirer. Farrah should be suing the Enquirer if you ask me. You have to go after demand, not supply.

Snelling Executive Search, which did the "101 Healthcare IT Marketing Ideas" booklet with Chuck Christian that I mentioned in March, will be doing a HIMSS presentation in Chicago about CIO job changes, voluntary and otherwise. Contact VP Steve Bennett if you’d be willing to chat about the topic from experience (or if you’d like a free copy of the booklet, which I have – it’s great). They’re also turning the IT marketing booklet into a full-fledged book that HIMSS will publish, so if you have ideas or case studies, Steve’s your guy there, too.

Results of a new Deloitte survey show that the CIO role is not well defined, nobody knows what they’re supposed to be doing, and CIOs themselves are equally confused. The conclusion is that there’s no one-size-fits-all CIO and their ideal function is to make IT so innate to business process that their job becomes obsolete, freeing them up to move on to other senior management roles.

I’m still marveling that HIMSS called itself a "trade association" of 350 corporations in a press release, apparently for the first time. At least that’s an honest explanation for all the lobbying it does (I admit I never got Advocacy Day – why would provider people like me march on Washington to bug low-ranking political aides to spend more taxpayer dollars on healthcare IT?) As I always say, it’s Ladies Drink Free: we ladies (members) get liquored up for nearly nothing while the men (vendors) pay full price just to be around in our potential moment of weakness. I like both providers and vendors, but being represented by the same group just seems strange, especially if you’re watching from the sidelines as a patient (would you want your doctor joining the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and chumming up with drug companies for their marketing and lobbying work?)

Cincinnati Children’s chooses AMICAS PACS.


The Hartford business paper highlights (their photo above) bed management software vendor Premise, now running in five of the country’s eight top hospitals listed in US News & World Report.

I forgot to extend my usual best wishes to those heading off to RSNA (is it a trade association?) I hope your travels were pleasant and the subfreezing weather is gone by April when the rest of us get there to enjoy our winter flashback. I see O’Hare got buried in snow Sunday and flights were messed up all over the country as a result (the bad news: it’s supposed to snow every day with highs Thursday and Friday of 24 and 25, respectively. That’s Fahrenheit, unfortunately).

Speaking of Chicago, I ran across this by accident: Bistro HIMSS, a chance to wildly overpay for union-produced concession food right on the McCormick Place show floor. Actually, $23 a head to keep prospects captive in the hall isn’t bad, so make your reservations now. Maybe I’ll buy an HIStalk table and hold court.

Payer software vendor Medecision names Scott Storrer, formerly of Cardinal Health, as president/COO and James Adamek as SVP of sales.

Who says doctors can’t be skilled at using a computer? This British surgeon is accused by six female patients of fondling their breasts, one of whom claimed he did so while working the computer with the other hand and breathing heavily all the while.

Glyn Hayes, a British doctor and "undisputed elder statement of primary care informatics" is named an Honorary Fellow of the British Computer Society.

The Montgomery paper writes a nice article on the DoD-VA integration project, describing a real-life example of its use in a veteran’s treatment.

Vanderbilt rather smugly announces the results of their survey that describes the tragic disappointment and disillusionment doctors experience when they leave the technical nirvana of Vandy ("Health Information Technology-Rich Training Environment") and have to deal with "less modern facilities," i.e. the non-Vandy, non-Ivory Tower real world. I try to like them, but they make it so hard. It doesn’t matter since they’re obviously in love with the mirror.

Hospital layoffs: Portsmouth Regional Hospital (8 employees); Oregon Health & Science University (coming soon); Fairfield Medical Center (20-25 employees); Pinnacle Hospital (21 employees). if yours hasn’t, it will.

Interesting: a UK hospital uses BlackBerry devices to alert nurses when recurring patients are admitted, bringing nurses together who know the patient’s background. Orion Health helped develop it. It decreased length of stay: lung cancer patients from eight to six, lower GI from nine and a half to five. It’s also being used for patients with MRSA or C.diff.

Nuance announces Veriphy 3.0 for verified notification of critical lab results.

iSOFT wins a big pharmacy management system contract with Western Australian Department of Health.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

Red Hat donates cash for 800,000 meals this holiday season rather than host a holiday bash for employees. In addition, the employees are running canned food drives and collected coats for the needy. Well done.

SCI Solutions closes its fiscal year with 43 new clients across 63 hospitals, bringing its customer total to 300.

Virtual Radiologic also reaches a customer milestone with the recent live of its 1000th medical facility. I also see that Virtual Radiologic is now partnering with Brazil teleradiology provider Pro-Laudo.


Poudre Valley Health System (CO) is named the 2008 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award winner in healthcare, based on high scores in clinical quality while effectively controlling costs (in the 99th percentile); patient loyalty (in the top 1% in the US); and employee satisfaction (top 3%, plus top 1% for physicians). Poudre Valley was also named the top hospital for nursing quality by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Pretty darned impressive.

Israel’s Clarit Health Services commits $25 million for Carestream Health’s RIS/PACS solution.

Sentillion appoints Colin Wicks as its UK Regional Sales Manager. He previously worked for ICL (now Fujitsu Systems) as well as various identity and access management VARs.

Here’s a pretty disappointing statistic: only 2% of valid US prescriptions are being sent electronically to pharmacies. Will Medicare’s upcoming 2% bonus program (an average of $1,600/year per doctor) make a significant impact, or will most doctors still resist?

An Archives of Internal Medicine study indicates that physicians with EHRs pay less for malpractice settlements.

Fujifilm Medical Systems acquires its first proprietary RIS system with its purchase of Empiric Systems.

Ten percent of physicians who vaccinate privately insured children may discontinue that service because they lose money on it.

Outpatient facilities are not adopting PACS as fast at inpatient facilities, according to a new KLAS report. In addition, community-based hospitals have lower adoption rates than larger independent or IDN hospitals. Lack of finances seems to be the primary barrier.

Christmas is just three weeks away (wow!) and HIMSS a mere 17 weeks (it seems like we were just in Orlando). We already have nine companies lined up for HIStech Reports, but still have a few openings for companies that want us to do an in-depth executive interview. You can e-mail me.

I am not sure if these two announcements are related, but, Streamline Health Solutions names (warning: PDF) an interim CFO, then two days later says its Q3 results will be delayed “to provide additional time for the completion of necessary audit work and to finalize the results.” Donald Vick Jr. was named interim CFO to replace Paul Bridge, Jr., who resigned last month after learning his employment contract would not be renewed. Streamline’s financials will be revealed December 15th.

I feel kind of bad about this story, but in a twisted way it makes me feel marginally better about my 401K’s declining value. In August, Nuance offered speech recognition software vendor Zi Corporation an $.80/share buyout. Zi rejected the bid, claiming the offer was too low. The stock price at that time was about $.70/share. Like the rest of the market, Zi’s stock price has plummeted and today closed at $.34/share. Nuance has made a new offer, offering an all-cash deal equal to about half the original bid. Zi’s board of directors must decide this month whether to accept or reject the deal.


I was a little late getting my news to Mr. H tonight, in part because a friend of mine made me take a quick ride on his vintage Vespa. I feel incredibly hip.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. If RedHat and other profitable companies continue to cancel their holiday parties, the employees of the conference centers, hotels and/or caterers will be joining the lines of unemployed needing food from the food banks. I can understand scaling back, but businesses should consider the impact of their PC decisions on the local economy.

  2. TPD made a common mistake regarding the opensource movement.

    VMWare’s software is opensource (free as in speech – link below), but proprietary (not free as in beer).

    Given the growing roll of open source software, perhaps it would be beneficial to interview some of the key players, or post links to “The Cathedral and the Bazaar”, etc.


  3. re: “If…profitable companies continue to cancel their holiday parties, the employees of the conference centers, hotels and/or caterers will be joining the lines of unemployed…” I’m sure there’s some impact, but I think companies can support the local economy in more efficient ways than by throwing lavish, overpriced holiday parties.

  4. Re: Rob Kolodner’s potential replacement at ONCHIT. It seems to tie together with harmonizing men in black writing letters to the president on how to change the world with HIT…

  5. Re: Replcement for Kolonder at ONCHIT . . . . . . .

    An upgrade would come from anybody that has fundamental understanding of Healthcare IT industry and the fragmentation in our IT envronments and the lack of incentives for vendors to create a catalyst for interoperability . . .

    IE . . A doc isn’t necessarily the best choice here folks . . .

    Having said that there is one clear choice . . . Yes he’s a doc – – DAN NIGRIN . . . . . . JUST DO IT DAN . . .

  6. Don’t taze me either Bro

    There are many software programs that are both proprietary and open to allow changes but in the case of VMware their proprietary software is the predominate part of their stock offerings so that is why they are not offered for free and are not totally open.

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  • Susan Hassell: You can't simply pile on more work and expect employees to not be stressed. How about not reducing FTEs until you implem...
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