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From HIMSS 4/7/09

April 8, 2009 News 13 Comments

From Evil Knavel: "Re: HIMSS. Do you get special treatment from companies at HIMSS, especially sponsors like athenahealth that seem to get a lot of PR? It seems like it." Guess you missed the part about eating burgers in the hotel and at McDonalds. Only one sponsor knows who I am, so the answer is absolutely not. I am an anonymous peon at the conference, so I’m seeing it just like everyone else (intentionally – I don’t want favors, but yes, I’m sure I could milk the heck out of it if that interested me). In fact, anybody with CIO in their title is going to get treated a lot better than me since they have their own off-limits meetings, vendor giveaways, and fancy event invitations that I don’t get (disclosure: I went to the Cerner CIO event as an anonymous guest of someone, which was cool to a day-jobber like me). FYI, athenahealth is not a sponsor (and disclosure there: they don’t do much marketing, but decided to be an HIStalk sponsor about a year ago just to be nice. I turned them down because that was right after the HISsies and it would have looked suspicious, which we both agreed was the right decision).

IMG_0310 From Christi: "Re: reception. I’m ever so grateful to Ingenix for hosting the party. The Trump Towers staff was over the top on customer service – every single staff person was incredible! When I’d ask for directions to something they’d not only tell me where it was, they’d walk me all or part way to it! And the ballroom we were in was gorgeous. What a lovely site and lovely party – thanks for being so cool as to have someone who wants to throw money into doing this." Thanks to Tom for sending over the pictures.

That’s it for me – I’ll be heading home first thing Wednesday morning. I saw quite a few people with suitcases in the hotel lobby today, so I’ll guess that the exodus already started. That astronaut doing the closing keynote tomorrow afternoon may have had more people in his Mir space station than will be in the audience.

My verdict on the conference: nicely done. I actually didn’t mind the weather as much as I thought, but the Saturday start in April really threw me off. The logistics were as good as ever and Chicago and the convention center were fine. My only remaining gripe the cost of hotels. I really wish I had bypassed the Ambassador people and just used Priceline since I paid too much, but couldn’t cancel and re-book without a penalty. 


My favorite giveaway (other than the foam slippers): the tee shirt above from Solution Q, vendors of the Eclipse project portfolio management system. It’s not new humor, but I hadn’t heard it in a while and never from a tee shirt.

VC firm Psilos Group will raise a $450 million healthcare IT fund.

IMG_0365 It’s probably just as well that Cerner opted to stay out of town this week since an ugly PR episode might have resulted. This article says that four Chicago mental health centers closed today as a result of billing glitches in the Chicago Department of Public Health’s Cerner system caused it to lose more than $1 million in state funding when bills backed up for over six months.

Someone asked me about ARRA and innovation. They are mutually exclusive terms. ARRA was designed to dump a lot of taxpayer dollars into private hands quickly and forcefully, yet it requires CCHIT-certified products that would take years to develop from scratch. For that reason, it will just boost sales of the same old stuff. If anything, it stifles innovation because all the prospects who might have decided to sit tight and hope for better products will have to spend sooner to get their cut. The most valuable asset any company can have right now is a CCHIT certification, whose value went up multiples with ARRA.

I was chatting with someone earlier this week and he said he hated Citrix. I made my usual comment that it’s like a Denny’s restaurant – always a compromise from what you really wanted. His theory is that the availability of Citrix allowed old, primitive applications live on, providing another layer of workaround that gave vendors an easy out for bad system performance, difficult maintenance, poor security, and lack of a true thin client or Web strategy. The healthcare-only combo of Citrix-MUMPS-Cache is everywhere, of course, and there’s no customer indignation to replace it because it works.

IMG_0346 Some guys talking on the escalator this morning said that Rob Kolodner got a standing ovation in his final HIMSS appearance as ONCHIT (and deservedly so). I would be shocked if he isn’t in Atlanta next year, but in the booth of a consulting firm or vendor instead. He confirmed that he’s retiring, but looking for other opportunities. By all accounts I heard, he’s a good guy, humble and fun.

I want to get the autograph of Gay Madden, CIO of The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, since she’s on the shuttle bus TV every morning (in a Sprint commercial, I think).

I went to a session this morning on digital pathology that was pretty cool. It’s interesting that systems exist to convert slides to massive images that can then be manipulated and studied in a cockpit of monitors rather than through a microscope. The speaker said his company had licensed satellite image processing technology since it works about the same on the cellular landscape as it does the terrestrial one.

UPMC chooses chooses the clinical research management system from mdlogix (the annoying all-lowercase name is their doing, not mine).

Ingenix announces its Care Tracker EMR, priced at $5,000 per year for a solo practitioner. Also announced: RAC software and services that help hospitals comply with the Medicare Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program by providing alerts of claims likely to be audited.

Someone told me of an overhead conversation this week in which national drug chain VP said his company hoped to cobble together a simple EMR (enough to claim minimal use) just to get stimulus money.

Jonathan Bush was on FoxBusiness this morning after a late night at the Trump (I don’t know how he does it). The site doesn’t support a direct link, but you can search on athenahealth and look for today’s video. The host opens with a HISsies mention, although not by name: "Jonathan was honored last night as the industry’s figure of the year in healthcare technology." He talks about HIMSS and HIT. The company also announced that its eRX module has received Surescripts certification.

Someone mentioned that it’s ironic that Sun is pitching its NHIN capabilities even as its IBM acquisition went up in smoke, implying that maybe it’s not stable enough to hang the NHIN hat on.

A HIMSS location name that sounds like 1999: "Surf the Net".

The digital pathology session talked about IT as a barrier because of locked down PCs. That reminded me of editorials I’ve written lambasting the lazy IT socialism of treating all users equally (badly) in assuming they are all too stupid and irresponsible to have any control over their PCs. Their ought to be a way to gain responsibility points based on need and ability, allowing higher level users with a defined need to perform simple software installations or OS changes.

Seen on Epic’s booth: every EMRAM Stage 7 hospital uses EpicCare. For a company that says it doesn’t market, that sure kicks the competition where it hurts.

I took a look at iMedica’s new/not new Transition product. It’s the existing product with the knowledge base turned off at a 20% discount, giving an easier and cheaper start. If you want the knowledge base later, you just pay the difference.

The last of the booth observations:

  • iMDsoft has a Visicu-like ICU monitoring. I tried to learn more, but the reps were too enamored with each other’s company to want any of mine.
  • Corepoint Health (the former Neotool) had a nice booth and seems to have grown considerably in capability and ambition.
  • iSoft was demonstrating Lorenzo, which isn’t sold in the US. One rep was, anyway. The others were sitting on the demo station stools playing around with their cell phones.
  • AT&T/Cisco Telepresence had a conference room setup in the booth with the big monitors in place, which actually looks like have a conference room since the one side of the table is for virtual participants.
  • Medicity had a good crowd.
  • I chatted briefly with the ICA person, who explained the company’s CDR and clinical portal that can also be used as an in-house clinical workstation to add capability to existing systems.
  • I checked out Bistro HIMSS: $23 (including tax and drink) gets you a paper plate on which to load up pedestrian-looking heat lamp Chinese.
  • I miss the blue nametags that distinguished vendors from providers, but that was in a simpler, black and white HIMSS world.
  • PatientKeeper had a big rack of smart phones and PDAs running their software to show its versatility.
  • I don’t know much about Orchard Software, which had some KLAS information on a booth sign that suggested it’s the highest rated lab system. I’d tell more, but nobody there was paying much attention to my eye-catching glances.
  • eClinicalWorks had a bunch of people in the booth.
  • There was a good crowd at the Sentry Data Systems booth.
  • EDIMS had a nice booth and crowd. Apparently they have a EDIS Lite kind of system with knowledge management, but nobody made an effort to talk to me.

I apologize if you e-mailed an invitation for me or Inga to visit your booth or meet you personally and it didn’t happen. We stayed very busy getting information to write each day’s HIStalk, so we ran out of time.

HISsies 2009 Winners

It’s time now to announce the winners of the 2009 HISsies, the Brutally Honest HIT Awards, as voted by the readers of HIStalk. We don’t claim the results are scientific, but they are always interesting.

  • Smartest vendor strategic move: Medicity-Novo Innovations merger.
  • Stupidest vendor strategic move: GE Healthcare losing unsatisfied clients.
  • Worst healthcare IT vendor: GE Healthcare.
  • Best healthcare IT vendor: Picis.
  • Best provider healthcare IT organization: Cleveland Clinic.
  • Hospital you’d want to go to if facing a life-threatening illness: Mayo Clinic.
  • Most promising technology development: Software as a Service.
  • Organization you’d most like to work for: Picis.
  • Company in which you’d most like to be given $100,000 in stock options: Picis.
  • Most overrated technology: speech recognition.
  • Biggest healthcare IT related news story of the year: Obama’s position on healthcare IT.
  • Most overused buzzword: interoperability.
  • “When _(blank)___ talks, people listen,” the person who influences healthcare IT the most: President Obama.
  • Best CEO of a vendor or consulting firm: Todd Cozzens, Picis.
  • Most effective CIO in a healthcare provider organization: Lynn Vogel, Ph.D., associate professor of bioinformatics and computational biology, vice president, and chief information officer, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
  • HIS industry figure with whom you’d most like to have a few beers: Tom Daschle.
  • HIS industry figure in whose face you’d most like to throw a pie: Neal Patterson, Cerner.
  • Healthcare IT industry figure of the year: Jonathan Bush, CEO, president, and chairman of athenahealth.

E-mail me.

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Currently there are "13 comments" on this Article:

  1. I’d add to the HISsies 2009 Winners:

    * Most politically connected vendor CEO: Glen Tullman
    * Best imarketed innovation for EMR vendor: eCW

    I’d begin a “HISsies 2009 Losers” and throw 2 of the winners entries to this column:

    * Stupidest vendor strategic move: GE Healthcare losing unsatisfied clients.
    * Worst healthcare IT vendor: GE Healthcare.

    I’d also add:

    * Biggest losers in the HITECH act: physicians (who have to buy c-EHRs) and patients (who will lose out when their docs are forced out of Medicare for not buying a c-EHR)


  2. Hi, I’m the presenter of the digital pathology session you attended 🙂 I’m glad you thought it was cool. If you have any questions about digital pathology please let me know.

    Cool blog… I’m subscribed…

  3. In regards to the Ribbon Race. Which Geek….ah…….I mean important person won the ribbon race? Last I read we had a tie for five.

  4. Picis, the best vendor… Really? I would rate Picis, from my expereince, both from an implementation as well as from a support perspective as average at best. And the app? You Picis employees must be stuffing the ballot box. They’re really not that good, unless you’re picking Picis as the “Best of the Worst” (using Hell’s Kitchen terminology) which is indeed sad testimony of the state of the vendors within HIT.

  5. duuude, you said it!! As a user I could not believe what I was reading about PICIS. “Best of the Worst” is too kind from my PICIS experience and I’ve worked with HIS systems for 25 years.

  6. Your article about the four Chicago mental health facilities closing due to Cerner’s system not being able to get out the bills – shameful! Cerner needs to finally shoot that horse and go buy something that they can integrate into their architecture. Sometimes you have to cut your losses and buy it if you can’t get it right – and in all their years of trying – they can’t get it right. It’s been a thorn in their catalog for years and it’s time they quit making excuses and costing their clients pain and suffering and lost revenues. Cerner is a good company and a good contender in many venues – but billing has never been one of them.

  7. I found this somewhat funny.. I was reading your HIMSS update prior to going to sleep, my wife asked what I was reading.. I told her it was a HIT blogger that hates GE (we have ties to GE). The funny thing was I wasn’t even down the HISisses awards where GE cleaned up the ‘bad’ categories.

    I’m trying to understand, did all your readers write in and vote “GE losing unsatisfied clients”? Vendors lose clients everyday.

    Worst vendor: GE.. I guess when you have most the marketshare you have a target on your back. I would think most the responses were vendors.

    I would argue that a HIT company that went bankrupt would be worse than a huge conglomerate. But that’s just me.

    Love the blog Mr H. It’s a daily must-read in my book. It’s even ok you don’t like GE (I’m guessing some large international company broke your heart once and now they can’t be trusted).

  8. hey bulb man – I’ll let let the Mister defend himself but I’ve always found him rather fair towards GE and other vendors (yes, even Cerner you Cerner associates). As to the worst strategic decision “winner”, I would agree. Look at what went wrong with the LastWord/Carecast/Centricity Enterprise product. They are loosing clients without making up for it on thr front end with new sales. Heck has there even been new sales in the past several years?

    No new sales + fleeing clients + no effort to shore up the base + concentrating on Intermountain too much + not having a saleable product to take advatange of the stimulus = poor strategic direction. We have a winner!

    Now the worst vendor? I would agree that’s a bit harsh. I believe they have a fine product in the EMR market (former Logician) that’s supported well. Their Radiology suite is fine. Other modliatity products are fine. Heck, even Centricity Enterprise implementation and support is average to above average in most cases (okay for those who are about to flame me on this – trust me, there are worst vendors in this area. Hint hint Picis).

    Without remembering who were in the “worst” categories, who would you rate as the worst, outside of GE.

  9. I heard the following from a former GE employee – “GE – where all good products go to die” – a little harsh, but there’s some truth to that.

  10. duuude:
    Mr. H doesn’t have to defend his feelings towards GE, afterall it’s his blog and it is just an opinion. I’m sure there is a reason for the dislike of the company and it could very well be the enterprise things you mentioned.

    To be honest my knowledge of the enterprise side isn’t so strong with GE. I’m more a follower of Logician/MedicalLogic applications, which I believe are doing well in the market.

    You can pretty much say that about any company. (MSFT, Misys, MCK, etc)
    “(insert here) – where good products go to die”

    [From Mr. HIStalk] Just to clarify, the genesis of this discussion was the HISsies, nominated by and voted on by readers. My opinions toward GE (which I admit are mostly negative) really didn’t play into that result. And when I voted with my one vote, I didn’t vote for them as the worst vendor on that list.

  11. Mr HIStalk,
    You are almost always accurate but stating that “certified EHR” automatically means CCHIT certified could not be more wrong. No where in the legislation is CCHIT mentioned, though the CCHIT folks and their suuporters certain infer otherwise.

    Hopefully, wiser minds will realize what you states above that CCHIT certification would put a sword into the heart of innovation, but maybe that has already happened as I saw little true innovation on display at HIMSS.

  12. One fellow walked by our booth….he had ribbons starting at his chest and linked all the way to his kneecap…
    very colorful….I suppose everyone was contributing.

  13. I will agree that as a technology the inherent value of speech recognition may have been overstated, but as a component of a medical transcription software and service, done well, it has great value. I’ve only been around fora few years but in that time I have personally witnessed computer aided medical transcription become a real source of time and dollar savings for the work of medical transcription. I’ll admit that all my experience in the industry has been for the first in KLAS speech rec company and so I am perhaps predisposed to think and say so…but still.

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