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March 5, 2009 News 9 Comments


From Bignurse: "Re: concierge practice. The New York State insurance department says that a New York City physician’s concierge medicine practice ‘amounts to insurance and requires a license’." Link. State insurance regulators order AMG Medical Group to shut down its $79-a-month practice. They are obviously wrong – if it was insurance, you couldn’t touch it for $79 a month. A bad call by the state, if you ask me.

From Leland Palmer: "Re: KP. Hearing any chatter that their CTO is seeking pastures of the greener variety?" Not so far, anyway.

From Harold Kumar: "Re: layoffs. The IT department at my hospital is sure to get hit next round. I am really worried." Worry is not a constructive action – it doesn’t change the odds that the next pink slip will have your name on it. Stop reading the negative financial news, work harder than you ever have, and keep your eyes open for opportunities. It’s all you can do. No matter how tough the times, some percentage of people will do even better than they did before and there’s no better place to do it than here. All of us in hospital IT are feeling the same way, I expect.

From CS Guru: "Re: Cedars-Sinai. Grand kudos to the folks at Cedars-Sinai as they went live this weekend with the full Epic revenue cycle suite. It is the biggest Epic install for revenue cycle ever (except of course KP). This is a huge success by all measures, but mostly for new CIO Darren Dworkin. The word is they are closing the command center early as support calls have slowed to a drizzle."

As you would hope, new health czar Nancy-Ann DeParle has resigned from Cerner’s board.

News flash headline from HIMSS: "Quaid to address ‘broken healthcare system’". Great! An actor who’s never worked in healthcare, who didn’t finish college, and who showed no interest in healthcare whatsoever until Cedars Sinai overdosed his twins on heparin is ready to tell industry experts what we’re doing wrong. I guess the non-celebrity parents of the other Cedars-overdosed baby weren’t invited because they don’t have The Right Stuff (my favorite Dennis movie, but he’s also been in some real crap, like Jaws 3-D and Wilder Napalm). He could bring his brother Randy to talk about Christmas Vacation.

Bret Jones of Leerink Swann was one of the best HIT analysts in the financial industry in my opinion, recently doing a ton of work following the stimulus goings-on and setting a contrarian (and accurate) tone in saying it wouldn’t boost the bottom line of vendors until at least next year. I say "was" because the company sent e-mails indicating that a "change in personnel" cause it to drop coverage of HIT companies and his bio page gives a 404 error. I assume he’s gone.

The country’s newly announced and first CIO, Vivek Kundra, booted Microsoft’s office tools in favor of Google Apps when he was CTO of the District of Columbia and said in a Thursday conference call that he wants the government to use more cloud computing.


Brooke Army Medical Center chooses the anesthesia system of DocuSys.

A New Zealand IT healthcare IT executive says governments should provide incentives for clinicians to use IT. Panelists said Australia’s e-health policies are falling behind UK, Northern Ireland, and New Zealand (the US wasn’t mentioned). Suggested initiatives include a SNOMED terminology project, a national provider and citizen health ID, and a user authentication system. Actually, the US was mentioned in lauding the potential of telehealth, with a Hawaii project as the poster child. An Intel healthcare guy said, "I’ll be honest; vendors are sometimes as much to blame for [e-health] challenges as policy makers; there needs to be a shift to [coalitions of] healthcare providers."

Vitalize Consulting Solutions announces its acquisition of 70-consultant r3 Health Partners of Santa Ana, CA, expanding its West Coast capabilities. Vitalize Chairman and CEO Bruce Cerullo dropped no hints that I could detect in my interview with him a few weeks ago.

A Washington hospital’s board approves motions to decline to participate in assisted suicide and to approve a $6 million EMR upgrade. The minutes do not indicate whether the decisions were related.


Thanks and welcome to new Platinum Sponsor 3M, specifically its transcription, dictation, and document and chart management business. Thanks to 3M for supporting HIStalk and its readers. It’s really gratifying that even in tough times, companies still want to support what Inga and I do.

The military’s Tricare system is cross-checking prescriptions for duplicate therapy and drug interactions, alerting the pharmacist to discuss the issue with the patient’s doctor. Also mentioned: a DoD/VA partnership with the FDA to track adverse drug events. The article slips in referring to AHLTA as "Altha," but it’s still interesting.

Jobs: Clinical Pharmacist, Director of Business Systems, EpicCare Ambulatory Consultant, Cerner CoPath Plus Consultant.

A couple of folks have had trouble registering for the HIStalk reception at HIMSS (probably some browser setting-specific Javascript error if I had to guess) so the folks at event sponsor Ingenix added e-mail and telephone options. Problems aside, something like 150 people registered in the first day. It’s RSVP only, so if you want to come, you might want to sign up before we hit the cutoff.

Vince Balsamo of Cisco e-mailed to say that someone either shares his name or used it in posting a recent comment. In any case, it wasn’t him.

I don’t know where expensive conferences are finding enough attendees willing to miss work and spend big money on education, but here are two: the X3 Summit on health design (notice the eye-rolling misspelling of Johns Hopkins as John’s Hopkins, which sounds like a Hopkins owned by a prostitute’s customer) and the HealthCare New Media Marketing Conference (warning: PDF). I know I’m a cynic, but here’s an idea: stay home and try to save your struggling non-profit employer instead of screwing around at conferences that cost thousands of dollars by the time you add in travel cost and missed work. I’m still puzzled that all these 2.0 and new media conferences still require you to travel to some remote site to physically sit in front of a speaker who’s pitching the benefits of online video and connecting with audiences via new media. That’s not exactly living the message.

Interesting: Pennsylvania’s state senate wants to copy an Altoona health clinic that treats patients whose incomes fall between Medicaid and private insurance. The mostly volunteer-staffed clinic treats 3,500 people a year for $207 each vs. the $4,470 it would take to insure them. The idea should appeal to everybody except insurance companies (which is why everybody else likes it) and hospitals, who would somehow have to be paid for rendering inpatient services. I would be surprised if it will scale, though, given the requirement of using volunteer doctors whose supply is finite.

Listening: Trion, symphonic progressive, on Prog.FM via my little Aluratek USB radio gadget. I know prog is pretentious, soulless, and overwrought, but I still like it.

Orthopedic surgeon and Time writer Scott Haig writes a piece critical of government-pushed EMRs. He says hospital-forced CPOE turned a lot of docs off and left them puzzled how to handle orders like "patient may wear her own flannel nightgown" and also made it less obvious how long it would take for a living, breathing nurse would find the order and act on it. "Before we had them on every countertop, computers held such promise for us in medicine: doctors and patients live in a world of painful, pressing questions, the answers might be in there. Or so we thought. Twenty nine years from the night I first sat in a hospital in front of a computer screen the questions persist. And I still don’t see the profit-maximizing, cost-controlling physician with his nationwide computer treating patients any better than the great physicians I’ve known have. With pen and paper, personal commitment to each patient and judgment born of practical experience. None of which I have found in a machine." I’d like his arguments better if they weren’t all about him.

MUSC chooses Horizon Enterprise Revenue Management from McKesson. CIO Frank Clark mentioned that deal when I interviewed him a year ago, so I’m not sure why it took that long to be announced.

Picis announces Picis InSight ED Charge Rules and Picis LYNX E/Point, two products that simplify ED documentation of infusions and injections. They say 15% of ED revenue comes from those items but is often lost because of deficient documentation.


API Healthcare has joined up as an HIStalk Platinum Sponsor. You may have noticed a new name for the #1 time and attendance vendor (seven years’ running) formerly known as api software, inc. (all lower case, so I like the name change since all upper or lower case names drive me nuts, ee cummings included). The name change was announced (warning: PDF) this week to emphasize that, unlike some of its competitors, it will tend to its healthcare customers instead of chasing new ones in other industries. New web site, too. The company was acquired by Francisco Partners in November and brought on J.P. Fingado as president and CEO. He and I have swapped e-mails a few times since about this and that, but it was still a pleasant surprise to have them sign on. I appreciate their support.

The Boston paper’s photo site shows two images (#3 and #12) of the da Vinci robotic surgery system. Reader Andy says, "While not in the typical bailiwick of your IT coverage, it is technology, and it is really cool." Agreed.

Baxa acquires ForHealth Technologies, the Daytona Beach, FL developer of the IntelliFill i.v. and IntelliFlow RX pharmacy robotics and software products.

eHealth Initative founder CEO Janet Marchibroda quits to become chief healthcare officer at IBM, thus neatly closing the loop: pushing hard for stimulus money from an independent non-profit, then cashing in with IBM once Big Blue got a whiff of the green chum in the HIT waters that resulted. I expect we’ll see more of this as companies (especially the big ones) try to beef up their lineups to improve their chances in the ARRA lottery.

A Medicity white paper says that CalRHIO’s Medicity-powered HIE project is "shovel ready", has a sustainable business model, and is ready for rapid expansion.

February’s HIStalk stats: 74,599 visits, 106,055 page views, 3,804 active e-mail subscribers. Not bad for a short month (both are records, in fact). We might hit the two million visit mark by HIMSS.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

From Nurse Chris: “Re: Who invented the hormone patch. Inga, my BFF … you know it had to have been a man who invented the testosterone patch. Heaven forbid they take any personal responsibility for our low libido 😉 It must be something wrong with us…” ‘Nuff said.

Google Health introduces a new sharing feature that allows users to invite others to view their health records. The “Share This Profile” enhancement works similar to Picasa or Shutterfly when a user sends you an e-mail link and password to view their photos. Also new from Google: the ability to print a wallet-size listing of your medications and allergies.

After losing $22.5 million in state funding since October, the College of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina plans to trim at least $3 million in expenses. Officials plan to consolidate programs and eliminate jobs.

The board of directors of Virtual Radiologic Corporation approves a $5 million re-purchase of common stock. Dr. Sean Casey, the company’s co-founder and chairman, also plans to sell up to 1 million shares to diversify his holdings.


Providence Alaska Medical Center implements Philips VISICU to connect off-site critical care specialists to ICU patients.

Patient Care Technology Systems announces successful implementations at three hospitals. Moses Taylor Hospital (PA), Providence St. Vincent Hospital (OR), and Stafford Hospital Center (VA) all have the Amelior EDTracker software in place.

Pediatric Associates (WA) selects Greenway Medical Technologies for its PrimeSuite EHR solution. The 70-physician group is the country’s largest pediatric practice.

An independent study concludes that Midland Memorial Hospital (TX) has reduced patient deaths, medical errors, and infection rates since implementing Medsphere’s OpenVista EHR.

Christiana Care Health System (DE) selects the financial decision support software suite of MedAssets.

Monroe Clinic (WI) becomes the first site to benefit from the integration of Epic’s Radiant RIS and the AMICAS PACS.

Catholic Healthcare West will test the EverOn patient monitoring technology from Israel-based EarlySense. The EverOn device is a wireless patient supervision system installed underneath the hospital bed mattress. EarlySense just raised $2 million in private placement from shareholders.

7Medical Systems announces it added 11 new contracts in the fourth quarter for 2008. 7Medical provides on-demand PACS, teleradiology, and EMR solutions.

Healthcare data exchange vendor Certify Data Systems hires Jeffrey Rideout, MD as its Chief Strategy Officer. Rideout previously served as chief medical officer at Health Evolution Partners, and as the global leader of the healthcare division at Cisco Systems Internet Business Solutions Group.

An anonymous donor provides an $880,000 grant to establish a Medication Management Research Network at the University at Buffalo’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences. The organization will use electronic medical record data to research how specific health care decisions impact patient outcomes and health care costs.


The 24-bed Eastern Plumas Health Care (CA) goes live on its $750,000 EHR system from Healthland. The local paper reports that it meets “HIPPA” security regulations.

A jury finds a veteran guilty of altering his medical records to collect more benefits. He apparently fixed up his records a bit so that his tonsillectomy and circumcision looked like a heart attack, thus earning him an extra $200,000 in benefits. He now faces 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.

A 35-year longitudinal study finds that kids who had the most friends grew up to be the adults with the most wealth, indicating the same social skills used to build friendships also serve you well in the workplace. Typically our social worlds consist of an inner circle of five core people, an additional layer of 10, then another 135 or so. Based on my social success in junior high, I am stunned I never made the Fortune 500 list of wealthiest people.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "9 comments" on this Article:

  1. eHealth Initative founder CEO Janet Marchibroda quits to become chief healthcare officer at IBM….

    Sigh, nice lady, but disappointing. Guess everyone has a right to move on though, eh? And who knows? Maybe Janet’s stock portfolio tanked as badly as mine did and she .needs the money

  2. Bret will doubtless turn up somewhere else. Funny that Goldman dosen’t seem the least bit interested in HCIT. Haven’t for quite some time.

  3. [Based on my social success in junior high, I am stunned I never made the Fortune 500 list of wealthiest people.]

    But Inga- at Histalk you’re our leader! Doesn’t that make you feel good? ;^)


  4. Response to CS Guru regarding Cedars deployment. This may be the largest Epic revenue cycle go live BUT it just went live less than 2 weeks ago. There is no way this can be considered a success yet!!! After all … they have not run the Charge Conversion for overlapping patients etc.

    And … regarding closing down a Command Center – they have/had 2 of them. So … it is logical that 1 would be closed down but it is not due to no problems. They have had many including the normal security issues which were so numerous that they needed to quickly deploy a special Security Swat Team. They are now having big problems with patient transfers. So … things are not as rosey or impressive as you make them out to be.

  5. [I know prog is pretentious, soulless, and overwrought, but I still like it]

    Must be because it’s so different from our business!

  6. Sorry, Inga, but when you ask “who invented…” anything, odds are it was a man. That’s just the way the world works.

    BTW, didn’t I see that patch on Oprah?

  7. 3M Dictation Transcription is the SoftMed Stuff. This used to be industry leading KLAS stuff. Products have gotten a bit dusty ssince 3M acquired it 3 years ago. Still pretty good stuff. Biggest Worry – – – 3M PRICE INCREASES. The coding products from 3M are insanely priced and already eat up so much of our hospitals budget. We are very serious about getting off the products and going back to QuadraMed or to HSS(now Ingenix) as we just can’t keep paying this kind of money for an encoder. Translate that to the Dictation stuff and there are just too many products or service models out there to choose from (Nuance eScription, Dolbey, Medquist, other outsourcers). 3M needs to prove to us all that they won’t do to us with Dictation what they already show they love to do – INCREASE PRICES – else sorry but all of the industry will buy other Dictation. Good functionality loses these days if your pricing strategies are HogLike. Remember Pigs get Fat . . . Hogs get slaughtered . . 3M – time to stand up . . which are you.

  8. Thank you for your comments regarding the Quaid headline. I recoiled when i saw it….already too much when I hear semi-HIT people stating they are looking forward to his session.
    Celebrity status greases the way…for what?

    If you really want to hear the story, put me on stage. My son was overdosed not once, but twice, by experimental drugs much more lethal than what the twins received. This dates back to pre-IOM….and I personally help to bring a few changes to med admin in that major academic medical center. And, yes, I worked in the industry pre-overdose and now it has been 18 years post-overdose in this business.

    I actually helped to launch a med admin program, rolled out by a large vendor. Amazing how Dennis now has the answer to such a challenging problem.

    Get the hook before he even reaches the podium….wonder if he is donating his fees to healthcare reform or some charitable cause?

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