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April 2, 2009 News 8 Comments

paulegermanFrom Cherry Forever: "Re: political appointments. For the HIT Policy Committee, Minority Leader John Boehner appointed Gayle Harrell. Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed Paul Egerman. Incidentally, you can find this information if you do a search on ‘HIT Policy Committee’ in the Congressional Record." Harrell is a Republican member of the Florida House who recently railed against the stimulus bill. "One of the scariest provisions of the bill misuses the laudable goal of expanding electronic health records and spends $1.1 billion to create a new bureaucracy called the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research. The intent is to use this new government bureaucracy and electronic health records to monitor the effectiveness of different health-care interventions and medications with the cost of treatment being considered as a factor in determining effectiveness. Such cost-based medical decision-making could eventually be used to allow the government to ration health-care goods and services. A congressional committee report stated that ‘more expensive (treatments) will no longer be prescribed’ as a result of such research." Paul’s an uber-Democrat and was co-founder of IDX and eScription (an interesting mix of social issues plus good old capitalism, the ideal combo if you ask me). If you Google him, the #1 hit is my 2005 interview with him, which was a blast to do.

From Don Frijole: "Re: Dell. Rumor, unconfirmed, that Dell will buy [big consulting firm] and announce acquisition next week at HIMSS. Hope Mr. HIStalk can get to the bottom of this one." The onset of HIMSS always starts acquisition rumors, sometimes true. If anybody has a Dell scoop, give it up.

From HCIT Girl: "Re: GE and Intel. The companies have scheduled a press conference in New York, hosted by Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini and GE Chief Jeffrey Immelt, to discuss plans to work together to deliver health-care-related technology, including possible applications for health care IT and home health monitoring, according to people familiar with the situation. BTW, you rock Mr.HISTALK and Inga!" She sent that rumor Wednesday and this was announced Thursday: GE and Intel announce they are jointly developing products for remote health monitoring. The pair will invest $250 million over the next five years to develop new technologies in this area. Also, GE’s health care unit will take over distribution and marketing of Intel’s Health Guide home care product. Thanks for saying we rock (not in a chair, I hope).

From Irwin M. Fletcher: "Re: Sutter. Don’t know if you saw your mention in the SF Business Journal regarding Sutter Health. I looked at your site and couldn’t find any mention. The article is titled ‘Sutter Health to postpone hospitals’ and says, ‘But Fry and Chief Information Officer Jon Manis denied reports on the well-known HIStalk health-care IT blog that Sutter is giving up on its $1 billion Epic installation …’ So congrats on being well known!" Thanks – I hadn’t seen that.

From HIT Man: "Re: CMIO. The premiere issue of CMIO magazine is released. From working with many, it is evident that these folks think because they are MDs, they know healthcare IT. Wrong. So, take a look at this issue and notice the language they use. It’s like a bunch of hippies writing specialized articles for themselves. Simply another rag, at least this first issue. One of the problems with HIT adoption is physicians, and now we let CMIOs run HIT work (at least in some places). Amazing how much credential is given to those who effectively can’t even agree on standard dosages from practice to practice. I lament, but let’s empower the IT executive, not the MD that studied IT. Also, Halamka is quoted again. This guy is a relentless media hound. He really should be a PR consultant."

From The PACS Designer: "Re: JeOS. With all the virtual appliances showing up in the marketplace, there was bound to be an mini-operating system to enhance their use. Now, Ubuntu open source software has a Just enough Operating System solution (JeOS), which has been nicknamed Juice. This new solution is bound to show up in new virtual appliances to improve performance and free up valuable bandwidth for other uses." Link.

From Frankie Knuckles: "Re: Chicago food and drink. If you want to get out of the Trump hotel bar, there are a couple good spots close by. Emerald Loop is a pretty good Irish bar (owned by a Notre Dame grad, so you know it’s good). Their curry fries and a few Guinness are a fine meal. Across the street is the South Water Kitchen, with comfort food like meatloaf and fried chicken. And if you want to hang out at a real mobbed-up Chicago Italian place, head a few blocks east to Volare — some good people watching there, and good food too. Just don’t lean against the Cadillacs and Mercedes parked out front."

Other rumors heard: GE is going after a specifically named large ambulatory EMR vendor. Allscripts will announce a new iPhone offering. Cisco will be making an investment in a specifically named physician billing company. All unverified.

Allscripts reports Q3 numbers: revenue up 65%, EPS $0.09 vs. $0.12, but the numbers aren’t really apple-to-apples because of the Misys deal. Both earnings and revenue missed analysts’ expectations, but shares are up a little in after hours trading, adding to the nearly 4% rise before the market closed.


A former dialysis center nurse in Texas is charged with intentionally injecting 10 patients with bleach, killing five of them.

Listening: The Vincent Black Shadow, one of my faves, with a 2008 album I didn’t know about.

Several readers e-mailed to confirm the rumor reported here earlier that Eclipsys development SVP Joe Petro has left (he’s off the Eclipsys Web page, finally, and here’s the 8-K). Also gone, several of them said: Bobbi Byrne MD, SVP for clinical strategy. A reader reports, "The clinical solutions group now reports to Keith Figlioli, who reports to Jay Deedy. Not a clinical person in the hierarchy until you hit the fourth level in the organization."


HIStalk’s two millionth visitor arrived Wednesday afternoon, hailing from Johns Hopkins. March was a record traffic month as well, surprising to me since Inga and I took our respective spring breaks.


Meet Culbert Healthcare Solutions of Woburn, MA, just joined us as an HIStalk Platinum Sponsor. They do clinical systems consulting (strategic planning, EHR readiness assessment, selection and project work), revenue cycle (PM selection and implementation, billing and A/R outsourcing, and operational assessment), practice management (management, CBO, physician recruitment and retention), and IT (interim management, implementation, help desk, interfaces). Doesn’t matter if you work for an academic medical center, a community hospital, or a physician practice group large or small – they can help. Thanks to Rob Culbert and crew for their support.

Medsphere will show OpenVista 2.0 at HIMSS.

Microsoft launches a new low-end server family that can support up to 15 users for less than $1,000 in total hardware and software cost.

JAMA’s editors are on the hot seat after repeatedly calling a neuroscientist "a nobody and a nothing" and saying, "Who do you think you are? You are banned from JAMA for life. You will be sorry. Your school will be sorry. Your students will be sorry." The editors were angry after the neuroscientist brought attention to the drug company ties of a JAMA article author, which JAMA reportedly ignored until it was run in a competing journal months later.

Jobs: MS4 Patient Accounting Expert, Compatibility Test Engineer, Cerner CCL Programmer, Training Consultant.

If you’re going to HIMSS, take a look at our Must-See Vendors List (which, entirely coincidentally, are HIStalk sponsors). If they’re cool enough to sponsor some anonymous blog, they’re worth a look.

I was always curious about McKesson Paragon, a highly regarded small hospital system that escaped what looked like sure sunset death years ago. We interviewed Paragon’s GM on HIStech Report. Products like that will be essential if we’re ever going to move the needle on small hospital EMR adoption (and since there are so many of them, to move the EMR needle in general).


I appreciate the support of new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Virtelligence, a premier IT consulting firm offering solution advisory and IT consulting services to all types of healthcare organizations (which have given them a 95% repeat business rate). The company has won awards for being a great place to work (consultants average 15 years’ experience) and is listed in the 2008 Healthcare Informatics Top 100. Their "Why Virtelligence?" section of the Web site summarizes nicely: "Delivery-based contracts, low rates, fixed prices and pay on the results." Why not drop by at Booth # 2373 at HIMSS and check them out? 

I’m going to be running around in the cold Saturday and onward to tell you what’s going on at HIMSS. I’ll give you a scoop on the cool and the ugly booths, who’s getting traffic and who’s not, the certain acquisition rumors floating around, and whatever else catches my eye (and ear) as a non-profit hospital peon being ignored by the high-powered, self-absorbed suits. I’m your Everyman on the scene. Happy and safe travels to all.

HERtalk by Inga

From Dick Vitale: "Re: NCAA basketball pool. Is the basketball pool going to get a mention in HERtalk?" I’m blaming the pre-HIMSS rush for my failure to recognize one of our sponsors for inviting Mr. H and me to participate in their company basketball pool. My failure to mention these fun folks has nothing to do with the fact that for the second year in a row I am a loser. Dick, however, does point out that I am in the running for the Consistency Award because my total points/correct points are almost identical to last year (i.e., I am a consistent loser). Rather than hand over the pool winnings to the lucky winner, our gambling friends are giving 50% of the pot to a local charity for needy families. Nice.

From Dutch Treat: "Re: downing Heinekens. If you want something fun to cover while at HIMSS, there is a contingent of about 200 Dutch HIS and vendor people traveling over together for the conference. This is a fun group. I know a bunch of them. They are staying at the Hyatt and have already begun calling it ‘Holland town’ where they say they are having nightly cocktail receptions." "Fun" and "nightly cocktails". Intriguing. And with a name like Inga, I am sure that some of them might be fourth cousins or something.

Insight Health Services enters a seven-year agreement with Perot Systems to provide revenue cycle outsourcing, IT outsourcing, and other practice management tools for Insight’s free-standing imaging center facilities.

Like Mr. H, I was disappointed by the MyHIMSS09 calendar program. If only it would have had a nice, concise print option. I have now put all my picks onto one nice sheet of paper. I have a pretty nice balance between educational sessions, exhibits, and food and drink opportunities.

Hospital Rahway (NJ) is the third hospital in the Robert Wood John Health System to adopt Eclipsys Sunrise Acute Care.

AMICAS completes its tender offer of Emageon and now hold 88% of outstanding Emageon shares.

Capital Area RHIO (NJ) deploys Axolotl’s Elysium Exchange solution to facilitate secure sharing of clinical information.

Beaumont Hospitals (MI) expands its existing Agfa Healthcare IMPAX PACS to include IMPAX Cardiovascular.

McKesson’s Physician Alliance Program signs agreements with three hospital systems to provide their community physicians with EHR solutions. The announcement indicates that VARs will be responsible for selling, implementing, and supporting McKesson’s Practice Partner and RelayHealth solutions to the participating physician offices. Interesting that McKesson seems to be relying on VARS, rather than a direct sales/support team, though that model is similar to the way Allscripts is distributing its MyWay product to small offices.

The VA selects Picis to provide anesthesia record for five of its medical centers. The VA will use Picis’ Preop Manager, Anesthesia Management, and PACU Manager applications.

ne ortho

Nebraska Orthpaedic Hospital selects Surgical Information Systems (SIS) Anesthesia solution.

HIMSS attendees will have a chance to take a five-question survey about the economic stimulus and its impact on healthcare. Beacon Partners will conduct the electronic poll at their exhibit booth (4416) and real-time results will be posted on monitors. I’m stopping by because I want to be eligible to win one of the three iPod Touches they’re giving away.

MEDecision announces its intent to acquire HIE company HxTechnologies. MEDecision plans to inbed HxTI’s HIE technologies into is Alineo and Nexalign platforms.

Good news for all you Call of Duty 2 fans. A new study finds playing action video games may help adults improve their eyesight. In particular, such games can improve contrast sensitivity and benefit those with amblyopia (lazy eye syndrome).

If you originally signed up for the HIStalk/Ingenix reception and your plans have changed, please let the Ingenix folks know. I believe they may have a waiting list going and a few waitlisters are hoping to take any empty spots.

Marin Healthcare District (CA) signs a $67 million, seven-year contract with ACS to provide consulting and outsourcing services. ACS will implement an enterprise-wide EMR and provide revenue cycle services.

Heartland Regional Medical Center (MO) is considering outsourcing some technology services as it moves to Cerner’s EMR. The hospital’s CMIO says the hospital must spend millions upgrading computer equipment or outsource some in-house services. 

Kaiser opens a new hospital next to its existing flagship LA Medical Center. The $600 million, 400-bed facility is designed to withstand a major earthquake, features 85% family-friendly private rooms, and includes all the latest technology.

Surescripts names former Mastercard executive Harry Totonis as president and CEO. He replaces JP Little and Rick Ratliff, who have served as co-CEOs since RxHub and  SureScripts merged last year.


My next update will be coming direct from Chicago! I’ll be the one wearing a coat.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. To HIT Man – what was that all about? Were you attacked by CMIO’s as a youth? Let’s cut to the chase- many CIOs are glorified techies who can implement stable financial systems but don’t have a clue about clinical care- they think that success is turning on a system, not implementing a solution. We need more doctors in positions to help… I realize many CIOs are scared of doctors – but get over it and start sharing your power- you’ll be a better man for it… and remember to think about the patients. (FYI – I didn’t say “you’ll be a better woman for it”, since they don’t need this advice- every female CIO I have ever met has been completely on board with sharing power to help a greater good).

  2. Inga, Inga, Inga. Call of Duty 2 has few fans these days. If it did it would probably be of the more nostalgic sense. In the Call of Duty series, the latest version is World at War, which followed COD: Modern Warfare. Although WoW is excellent, a lot of critics dislike the WWII theater with older weapons. It was a hard transition for some after Modern Warfare’s airstrikes, helicopters, M16s, etc. You should definitely pick up a copy if you have any eye issues!

  3. To HIT Man –
    Doctors doing IT is almost as ridiculous as CIOs thinking that they can practice medicine! At least the CMIOs have gone to school (most of them) to learn IT. How much medical school have you done? Your comment about drug dosing shows just how much you know about medicine, the complexity of it, and how many variables there are.

  4. Re: HIT Man

    Considering the following reading list, your views on medical people leading HIT initiatives are pretty neanderthal. IT is a commodity, but health IT is a specialty that requires a medica background. Don’t argue with me, argue with the authors of articles such as the following (appears on EMRUpdate.com):

    Joint Commission: Sentinel Events Alert on HIT, Dec. 2008.

    National Research Council report. Current Approaches to U.S. Healthcare Information Technology are Insufficient. Computational Technology for Effective Health Care: Immediate Steps and Strategic Directions, Jan. 2009

    The National Programme for IT in the NHS: Progress since 2006, Public Accounts Committee, January 2009. Summary points here.

    Common Examples of Healthcare IT Difficulties (website). S. Silverstein, MD, Drexel University College of Information Science and Technology.

    Health Care Information Technology Vendors’ “Hold Harmless” Clause – Implications for Patients and Clinicians, Ross Koppel and David Kreda, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2009; 301(12):1276-1278

    Finding a Cure: The Case for Regulation And Oversight of Electronic Health Records Systems, Hoffman and Podgurski, Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 2008 vol. 22, No. 1

    Failure to Provide Clinicians Useful IT Systems: Opportunities to Leapfrog Current Technologies, Ball et al., Methods Inf Med 2008; 47: 4–7,

    IT Vulnerabilities Highlighted by Errors, Malfunctions at Veterans’ Medical Centers, JAMA Mar. 4, 2009, p. 919-920.

    Unexpected Increased Mortality After Implementation of a Commercially Sold Computerized Physician Order Entry System, Han et al., Pediatrics Vol. 116 No. 6 December 2005, pp. 1506-1512

    Role of Computerized Physician Order Entry Systems in Facilitating Medication Errors. Ross Koppel, PhD, et al, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2005;293:1197-1203

    Workarounds to Barcode Medication Administration Systems: Their Occurrences, Causes and Threats to Patient Safety, Koppel, Wetterneck, Telles & Karsh, JAMIA 2008;15:408-423

    The Computer Will See You Now, New York Times, Armstrong-Coben, March 5, 2009,

    Health IT Project Success and Failure: Recommendations from Literature and an AMIA Workshop. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. Bonnie Kaplan and Kimberly D. Harris-Salamone (preprint, doi:10.1197/jamia.M2997)

    Bad Health Informatics Can Kill. Working Group for Assessment of Health Information Systems of the European Federation for Medical Informatics (EFMI).

    Electronic Health Record Use and the Quality of Ambulatory Care in the United States. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:1400-1405

    High Rates of Adverse Drug Events in a Highly Computerized Hospital, Nebeker at al., Arch Intern Med. 2005;165:1111-1116.

    “Dutch nationwide EHR postponed: Are they in good company?”, ICMCC.org, Jan. 24, 2009

    “Avoiding EMR meltdown.” About a third of practices that buy electronic medical records systems stop using them within a year, AMA News, Dec. 2006.

    “The failure rates of EMR implementations are also consistently high at close to 50%”, from Proceedings of the 11th International Symposium on Health Information Management Research – iSHIMR 2006

    “Industry experts estimate that failure rates of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) implementations range from 50–80%.”, from A Commonsense Approach to EMRs, July 2006

    Adverse Effects of Information Technology in Healthcare. This knowledge center presents a collection of information on the adverse effects of information technology in its application to healthcare. It also references sources of information on information security, and related media reports.

    Pessimism, Computer Failure, and Information Systems Development in the Public Sector. Shaun Goldfinch, University of Otago, New Zealand, Public Administration Review 67;5:917-929, Sept/Oct. 2007

  5. I actually thought the CMIO magazine was pretty good for a first issue. My only concern about it is that the TriMed Media Group, who publishes it, doesn’t appear to have any info about who the people are on their team, like the editors or anything. This may just be an omission on their web page that is corrected in the print version (which I don’t have). I had some concern they were another HIMSS mouthpiece, especially considering the prominent banner ad (the only one on the page), the “HIMSS 360” button embedded into their UI, and the vast amount of news, which would be difficult to maintain without a lot of money for staff, and which they’re doing with apparently only one advertiser. Some of their articles were extremely pro-current-HIT-solutions, but with very carefully selected quotes and statistics to back them up that would require somebody with a lot of knowledge to cull from the pack of articles that are out there. Anybody else out there equally paranoid, but with time on their hands?

    And HIT Man, CMIOs, just like CIOs, CEOs, COOs, and any other CxOs can be either good or bad managers. Most of the CIOs I’ve met have never even “studied IT”, and learned in the trenches the same way many of the CMIOs did. I’ve actually seen more CMIOs with CS degrees than CIOs, but I imagine that’s a sampling error on my part. You should read the Harvard Business Review article about being a happy employee, it might help…

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