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News 2/27/09

February 26, 2009 News 3 Comments

From JCrew: "Re: Meditech. Has anyone heard a rumor that they will launch a new product?"

From Susan Jacks: "Re: GE. I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned the layoffs at the Centricity Enterprise office in Seattle. Rumor has it that 100 folks got their 30-day notice, including client-facing staff. A shame to see the old LastWord/Carecast product and employees fade away." That’s the first I’ve heard about it, if indeed it’s true. GE stock price is back where it was in 1995 at barely $9. It’s kind of like the newspapers: your local one was probably doing fine until the high-falutin’ conglomerate blew into town and bought it with a ton of highly leveraged debt, reducing it to a pathetic joke because they can’t make their overly optimistic earnings and are too paralyzed by corporate nonsense to come up with a competitive business model. Maybe the one lesson we’ll learn from our financial Armageddon is that there’s no shame in being small, profitable, and anti-Wall Street.

HIMSS Analytics announces the current 42 Stage 6 EHR hospitals, ranging in size from 55-bed Parkview Adventist Medical Center to 7,654-bed Kaiser.

Athenahealth announces results after Thursday’s market close: revenue up 47%, EPS $0.19 vs. $0.07. I’m glad somebody’s turning in good numbers.

Based on what appears to be a misleading (or at least intentionally inflated) press release, Motley Fool crows that "Big Blue Struts its Stimulus Stuff" in selling "its medical records systems". Apparently the Fools missed the point that IBM doesn’t sell EMRs, at least here. After skipping over several paragraphs of self-congratulatory gibberish, here’s what it says IBM actually sold: (a) services for a Sovera document imaging and workflow account; (b) some vaguely described services for a tiny hospital; (c) a business intelligence contract; and (d) an ILOG business rules engine (IBM bought the company last summer). Given its status as an on-again, off-again HIT dabbler, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the big blue corporate toe poised to dip in our now-enriched waters. Maybe this was the kickoff, as modest as it was.


Hammy General Hospital actors chew the scenery in a scene involving "Meditech," an unnamed product from a publicly traded company that one of the hospital executives wants in the hospital despite being turned down by the board. "I want them to think Meditech is like the second coming … I want Meditech in this hospital." I’ll say this: I’ve worked in several hospitals and I’ve never seen nurses that look like those in GH.

Someone asked me if I have many readers in the UK. If you read there, let me me know (and also what else you read to keep up with HIT happenings there).

Listening: The Old Ceremony, polished orchestral pop from Chapel Hill, NC that I found on Rhapsody. Touring now. A compilation CD they are on led me also to Kelly McRae, who I like a lot (try "Fall" on the player).

Alliance for Clinical Excellence, a new international non-profit group that looks at cost/benefit metrics of IT, announces at AsiaPac09 that evidence is insufficient to prove that IT improves healthcare. Given the unyielding support HIMSS has for its vendor members, I’d be surprised if they are asked back.


Speaking of HIMSS, this was the subject line of their latest e-mail blast. Tacky, yes? (not to mention grammatically atrocious with the superfluous "why" after "reasons").


Wirral University trust signs its own deal with Cerner, going direct after local service provider Fujitsu bailed out last summer.

Sentry Data Systems announces availability of its Datanex Platform, a cost-effective healthcare cloud computing platform on which solution providers can build business intelligence and data-intensive applications. It includes a virtual server infrastructure, a massively scalable distributed database, ETL services, an API, and a "digital highway" transport and interoperability layer. They’ll have a preview fired up at HIMSS, which I plan to check out since this is the future. Pharmacy folks will know Sentry for their inventory and 340b tools and claims processing infrastructure, while hospitals may have seen their HealthBIT business intelligence system. They’re already moving hundreds of millions of transactions each day, so they’ve got cred.

Supply chain and revenue cycle vendor MedAssets announces Q4 numbers: revenue up 55%, EPS $0.11 vs. -$0.20.

Q4 numbers for soon-to-be Emageon parent AMICAS: revenue flat, EPS -$0.81 vs. -$.02, although all but a penny of the loss was from an impairment charge.

Jim Brady, founder of Payerpath and a partner with the private equity firm that acquired claims processor MedAvant for $24 million last year, will take over as MedAvant’s executive chairman.

Merge Healthcare’s Q4 numbers: revenue down slightly, EPS $0.03 vs. -$0.28.

David Brailer announces the agenda of a conference that the public can’t attend (So why a press release? Maybe to remind you that he was king of the HIT world once, leaving just in time to miss the chance to be a $2 billion Santa Claus). Anybody want to buy some stocks? Anyone?

CareTech Solutions announces that it finished 2008 by signing Web product and services agreements with Lehigh Valley (PA), Covenant (TN), and Marietta Memorial (OH), wrapping up a big year for its Web services division. Client quotes here.


Singapore General Hospital will go live on a SaaS EHR by the end of the year now that its pilot project has concluded successfully.

We don’t have this here: a UK charity hospital radio station gets a grant to replace its equipment that provides patients in many hospitals with music, information, and entertainment. It doesn’t actually broadcast since the content is sent directly to individual patient beds. Pretty cool, although I’m not clear how it’s content differs from regular radio.

eClinicalWorks gets a mention in an Inc. article titled Three Small Business Owners Who Love Obama’s Stimulus. At a $1.75 trillion deficit and counting, Obama’s not exactly exploding the image of politicians bankrupting tomorrow to keep today’s party hopping, but I guess that’s considered conservative ranting these days.

Here’s an interesting business: a 30-year-old paramedic starts Remote Medical International, which offers world-wide telemedicine services for adventurers and travelers, with its medical staff sharing information by iPhones, laptops, BlackBerries, and satellite phones. He said he could do it all cheaply because of the technology, with just himself and another techie handling the IT chores for 67 employees.

Bizarre: Mercy Walworth Medical Center (WI) fires two nurses and calls in the FBI after they’re caught posting cell phone pictures of a patient’s X-ray on Facebook. The image showed a sex device lodged in the patient’s most private of areas, as Howard Stern used to say when he was on FCC-regulated radio.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

We know that Obama’s 2010 budget proposal includes a 10-year, $634 billion reserve fund to help finance universal health coverage. Unfortunately, we don’t have too many specific on what money (if any) will be targeted to HIT (beyond the HITECH funds.) However, if you want details about possible dogs for the Obamas, a simple Google of “Obama dog” will yield over 41 million choices – or, about 40,994,00 more options than you get with “2010 budget healthcare technology”.

The Institute for Transfusion Medicine licenses four of Mediware’s Blood Center Technologies software products to enhance recruitment and improve efficiency and effectiveness of blood collection initiatives.

Device manufacturer Medtronic will disclose payments it makes to any physician that exceed $5,000 starting next January.


Baylor Health Care System (TX) selects MedAssets to provide group purchasing services, supply chain analytics, and medical device consulting services. Also, MemorialCare Health System (CA) signs an agreement with MedAssets for its Alliance for Decision Support enterprise-wide management tool.

Siemens announces three new Soarian clients: H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center (FL) — financials; Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (NY) — clinicals, ED, and Device Connect solutions; and Franklin Medical Center (LA) — several applications plus MedSeries4 general financials. That last hospital caught my eye in the press release, first because the CFO’s name is Bob Boullion (if only that first O wasn’t there) and he said this about MS4: "The MedSeries4 will bring state-of-the-art technology to Franklin Parish." It’s an OK product from what I’ve heard, but unless it’s been rewritten since I saw it last, it’s a lot of 1980s COBOL with some technical lipsticking (the Siemens Web page calls it a "proven, yet progressive platform"). It’s a workhouse, I imagine.

A Parks Associates’ report finds that personal health technology providers can generate over $460 million in revenue by 2013 in targeting the disease management industry. The study looked heart monitoring devices, PHRs, and similar technology.

Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Mercy Medical Center (IA), and CHRISTUS Health (TX) implement PatientKeeper’s Sign-Out application.


Mobile charge capture and rounding software provider pMDsoft offers a BlackBerry Storm version.

HIMSS promotes its vendor members by offering an Online Buyers Guide, which is free for providers looking to buy HIT solutions. Question: where do you go to find product information when looking for options? Mr. and I have had this discussion a few times, only to conclude there aren’t enough unbiased and free alternatives out there.

A jury awards a female Brigham and Women’s neurosurgeon $1.6 million after finding she was subject to a hostile work environment and that the hospital retaliated against her when she complained. The verdict concludes a seven-week trial that addressed a sex discrimination lawsuit.

State government rolls out a secure portal for staff in rural hospitals in South Australia that will give them around-the-clock access to cardiologists.

Streamline Health Solutions names Jay Miller to its board of directors. Miller is the former president and CEO of Vital Images and served in various roles at GE Medical Systems and Siemens.

Here’s more evidence that the economy is causing more Americans to cut back on healthcare in order to save money. Of 1,500 people surveyed, 53% admitted to delaying medical treatment or seeking home remedy alternatives. Nineteen percent claimed that medical costs were already leading to severe financial hardships and 34% feared losing their healthcare coverage.

Presbyterian Healthcare Services (NM) selects  master data management software Initiate Patient to support its enterprise-wide call center.


Dr. Gary L. Gottlieb, the president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will take over as CEO of Partners HealthCare Systems when Dr. James J. Mongan retires at the end of the year. Meanwhile, Partners announces it lost $185 million in its first quarter as a result of investment performance. As a result, the health system will slow its HIT investment plans, as well as facility expansions and other capital expenditures.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. You’re right about GE. How long before we see an independent GE Healthcare, probably renamed something silly like “Avia Health”. The longer GE waits, the poorer will be the prospects of the health spin-off. If they do not act soon, we may see GE creditors selling the health care assets for scrap.

  2. Mr. H, I have never heard you say one positive thing about GE. Why don’t you mention that you have a negative impression of them in your “about HIStalk” section? I think you will be wrong about GE – I hear they are making huge investments in HIT.

    Joe, I am sure GE is just running mean & lean like every other company is doing these days.

  3. My point is not that GE Healthcare is underperforming. It is that GE’s credit issues will eventually impact all the other businesses, and that the best way to keep those businesses from being sucked into the GE finance maw would be to set them free. And soon.

    I made the same comment on this board many months ago, when GE’s stock was around $30.

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