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April 9, 2009 News 8 Comments

From Big Bird: "Re: AMICAS. They are closing the former Emageon headquarters in Birmingham. Many layoffs announced today."
From Leo Sayers Fro: "Re: I enjoyed Chicago much more than Orlando or Atlanta. Thoughts: (1) is Fourth Hanson Brother really saying that Linux has less capacity, is older technology, creates more pollution, and appeals only to hippies who are kidding themselves? Lots of enterprises employ Linux, although they do use some middleman like Red Hat. Lots of people say that Cache is older (and complain about old technology), but InterSystems is successfully supporting a lot of enterprises across industries in this big world. Old technology is not necessarily bad technology. Maybe Medsphere is the way to go given a lack of access to capital and given that lots and lots of residents like their VistA system. I would have a better idea if the VA and DOD were on the same page (and is there still a question about Medsphere truly being an open source participant?) (2) EMRAM Stage 7. Just how many Stage 7 users really use a unified medical vocabulary underlying their clinical documentation, thereby presumably allowing for meaningful analysis (and comparison) of clinical documentation? How many use LOINC for results, not only for clinical laboratory, but waveforms and imaging? How many fully leverage SNOMED? And how can you really determine efficacy if you really can’t evaluate outcomes fully? Are their cancer registries fully linked to their EHRs and data warehouses or their pathology reporting systems? And to think: a common medical vocabulary is a Level 2 requirement!"

From Vendman: "Re: GetWellNetwork. Johnson and Johnson to invest $25 million for a substantial ownership position." I asked Michael O’Neil, founder and CEO, and he says that’s not exactly true. J&J’s development corporation invested $10 million in the company in January, reported here, and has high expectations of its impact on healthcare. That’s it so far, although the companies continue to share ideas and discuss projects. Michael did mention that GetWellNetwork recently expanded its relationship with Catholic Health Initiative and added new accounts with Norton Healthcare and an Adventist hospital.

From The PACS Designer: "Re: ETIAM CD-in. When patients are at the ER with CD’s or DVDs from previous episodes of care, it is never easy to import the image files. Now, ETIAM has a new version of their CD-in solution with enhancements that make it much easier to do the importing of other institutions’ image files into your PACS archive." Link.

From Mark: "Re: CPOE – A New Conceptual Model. Physicians use the iPhone to dictate orders and approve the transcribed order; view clinical results; and dictate reports. Say ‘Potassium Replacement Protocol’, press Send, receive a text alert with HIPAA-compliant link, click on the link to review order, select Approve. Orders flow to appropriate systems and personnel. Fast, simple, and easy." Link to presentation

From Dodele: "Re: EMRAM Stage 7 all being Epic. Sounds great, but I believe there are only two that qualify as Stage 7. Still, kudos to Epic for having a system capable of getting them there." Correct: two organizations (KP and NorthShore) with 15 hospitals (12 and three, respectively). It still makes a killer ad for Epic.


From HIMSS Party Dude: "Re: HIMSS parties. Perot Systems and Dell get high marks, but the one that seemed to be most accommodating was Ivo Nelson’s Encore Pub Night at Fado’s. EVERY NIGHT he hosted folks at the pub to free adult beverages. I’m gonna guess that over 300 people were there on Monday night. Great concept – free beer, free food, come and leave when you want – EVERY NIGHT of HIMSS. Simple. And blue jeans are a welcome alternative to my stuffy suit." Sounds nice, at least if you like chain, Atlanta-based fake Irish pubs (and I’m not saying I don’t). Did you know there’s an entire company that builds fake Irish pubs in this country and others? We’ve probably got more Irish pubs than Ireland.


My only real meal in Chicago was here and it was outstanding (and this beer was mild but amazing).

IBM says China’s healthcare reform will create the need for at least $1.5 billion in software.

Medsphere, Midland Memorial Hospital, and David Whiles get some BusinessWeek love.

Listening: Carolina Liar, pop-rock MTV darlings from Sweden (despite the name). Also: obscure Philly hard rockers Automatic Black.

New poll to your right: if you went to HIMSS, would you like to see the conference return to Chicago at some point?

I’m still getting used to being home from HIMSS. Mrs. HIStalk opened the door for me this morning and I tipped her $1.

It was funny to hear several times at HIMSS and at the reception (Todd Cozzens asked for a show of hands) that many people jump on to HIStalk first thing in the morning or sit by the PC at the time they know I usually post. I don’t know what they’re doing (scooping the competition? hoping not to find their names mentioned?) but that’s pretty funny.

Premise, now part of Eclipsys, earns the Outstanding Portfolio Company award from Connecticut Innovations.

Heard at HIMSS and elsewhere, when some pompous ass was asked where he works: "Oh, I work for this little outfit you might have heard of called Oracle." Nobody should have so little self-identity that they can’t come up with something to crow about except who pays them. I heard it again from someone from a snotty university guy.

A reader asked if I’m convinced that it will be CCHIT alone doing the government’s EHR certification going forward. I am, given its clout, connections, head start, and performance. Anyone else feel differently? I know a different group could theoretically be named, but I don’t see that happening.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announces a call for proposals due June 3 for $2.4 million in grants for Project HealthDesign: Rethinking the Power and Potential of Personal Health Records. Up to five teams will be funded for 24-month demonstration projects for up to $480K each. The topic is how Observations of Daily Life (diet, exercise, sleep, pain, etc.) can be used to infer how patients feel and therefore modify their treatments. I had a great idea for offshore call center operators to call patients and ask how they’re doing, but all Americans ever say is "fine."

GE Healthcare announces its Digital Day One program, a service to get Centricity Enterprise implemented in a year or less.

MEDSEEK will integrate 3M’s CDR and vocabulary capabilities into its community portal, providing comprehensive interoperability.

A new JAMA study finds that Leapfrog Group’s safe practices (CPOE, intensivists, evidence-based surgery referrals) are not predictive for patient mortality. "The results of this study support the concerns expressed by physician groups who have discouraged public use of quality measures that have not been fully validated." Leapfrog cranks out a press release (warning: PDF) questioning the number of hospitals surveyed and citing a study with different conclusions, but admits that process improvements don’t always provide better outcomes.

Incoming national coordinator David Blumenthal says that his office needs to tighten the EHR certification process to include usability and their capabilities to support HITECH’s quality and cost goals.

Jobs: Inside Sales Executive, Sunrise Clinical Manager Consultant, Business Development Executive.

Shared Health will make its HIE technologies available to hospitals in some way, but the press release is so self-congratulatory it never really says how (that I can tell, anyway). I was looking for "free" and didn’t see that.

IBA is looking for US distributors for its iSoft Lorenzo Health Studio, hinting that the Australian company would like to get some stimulus handouts like everyone else.

IntraNexus will remarket Mediware’s Ascend pharmacy system to round out its Sapphire HIS. Ascend was the system sold by Hann’s On Software, the California company Mediware bought in November.

Yale-New Haven’s CEO breaks the $2 million compensation mark in 2008.

Odd lawsuit: A Toronto weight loss surgeon who already lost his medical license after sexual abuse claims now faces a $12 million class action lawsuit along with the hospital that employed him. He pleaded no contest to sexual abuse that included a twin sisters on which he had performed bariatric surgery, reportedly telling them that it was every man’s dream to have sex with twins, which he did in his office along with using illicit drugs he told one of them to buy.

E-mail Mr. HIStalk.

HERtalk by Inga

From Dr. G: "Re: HIMSS/Ingenix reception. Thanks for the invite. Boy, you’ve really become the ‘Fantasy Girl,’ at least with Jonathan Bush!" Even though Jonathan’s comments weren’t exactly politically correct, I must admit I enjoyed being called "luscious".

From Smaller Vendor: "Re: HIMSS impressions. The show was okay – it was really more to meet with other vendors. The most exciting booth I saw at HIMSS was … not there. I was very pleased to see the many infrastructure offerings finally bringing true connectivity (Capsule, among others). The Microsoft booth — folks raved to me about the table demos — left me ho-hum (it was really just a new table-based display). As pretty as it was, it was in reality expensive and not high enough resolution."

From Spice Guy: "Re: reception. That was an interesting night! Was talking with Matthew Holt when ‘Shhhh Inga’ (Deborah Peel) came up. Interesting to eavesdrop on their interaction!" Matt Holt, who was wearing a "Inga 2.0" sash, had the opportunity to chat with Deborah Peel (adorned in a "Shhh, I’m Inga" sash.) Suffice it to say that Matt and Dr. Peel don’t see eye to eye on all matters of privacy, though both were perfect guests.

From C-Note: "Re: Ingenix reception. I spent most of the reception going around and accusing people of being Inga, all of whom were honored at the accusation and resulted in great conversation. One person even watched me carefully as I walked by, then as he got to the ‘toe’ part of his head-to-toe scan of me, he started shaking his head. As I made eye contact with him he grinned real big and said, ‘Nope, you’re not Inga – I can tell by the shoes.’"

I’m recovering from my post-HIMSS fatigue, wondering if my feet will ever return to their original non-puffy form. All in all, I thought the meeting was great: tons of informative topics, good speakers, and a fun city. I loved catching up with old friends, chatting with new folks, and spying on our sponsors’ booths. The HIStalk/Ingenix party was in a gorgeous location atop the Trump Tower and everyone seemed to be having a great time. I got invites to a couple of vendor parties and each was very well done in its own way.

Only complaints: I hate cold. I really hated having to pay $3 each day to check my coat. Wish the shuttle buses ran more frequently. Don’t understand why it has to cost at least $14 to get lunch at a convention center. I’d have liked a few more "surf the net" stations since I chose not to lug my laptop around (the iPhone is great for checking e-mail, but not writing anything of length.)


Probably not worth complaining about, but I didn’t win this cool scooter that a magazine was giving away.


Sunday morning, the Olympic International Committee toured the convention center. Everywhere you looked you saw dancing dragons, wrestlers, and tumblers. Also, these two adorable girls in Native American dress.

I spent a fair amount of time waiting for Starbucks coffee the last few days (not exactly a complaint since I did make a conscious choice to stand in the long lines.) I actually enjoyed the opportunity it gave me to talk with strangers about their HIMSS experience. One IT manager told me his large health system typically brings 30 or so people every, year but this year the employer only sent the five who had speaking engagements.

This year’s buzz words: stimulus, ARRA, meaningful use, and interoperability. The "also-ran" words were iPhone and mobility. In the mix you heard discussion about CCHIT and whether or not they provided the de-facto standard. According to CCHIT and all CCHIT-certified vendors, CCHIT is the inevitable standard. If you had a document management-only system or some sort of EMR-lite offering, you stressed the necessity of your offering to get ramped up. A reader shared that the CEO of a large CCHIT-certified vendor told an audience to expect only five major players to remain after everything shakes out.


I tried to check out as many of the smaller vendors as possible and MedKey PHR Systems caught my eye. I’ve said before that I don’t believe the public is ready to take the time to set up a PHR. However, if you are chronically ill, for example, I liked how this technology looked. The device is a portable and wireless PHR that can be worn like a medical bracelet or be on an insurance ID card or on a key chain. It is supposedly "completely" secure and password protected. Data can be synched with the integrated USB port, or wirelessly. I suppose if a big insurance company pushed the technology, the design is convenient enough that I think people would wear/carry it. Although there is still the question of who is going to input the clinical data.

eClinicalWorks and Sam’s Club release details of their new EMR program, which is targeted for the one- to three-provider space. Check out the Sam’s Web site to see of what is included in the offering.

Greenway Medical Technologies announces a strategic deal with Detroit Medical Center to provide PrimeSuite EHR to physicians across Detroit Medical’s nine hospital network.

Streamline Health Solutions reports a net loss of $146K for the fourth quarter and $1.4 million loss for the year. The company posted a net loss of $736K in 2007.

The Texas Senate is considering raising taxes on chewing tobacco and using the funds to help doctors pay off student loans. New physicians could be reimbursed as much as $160,000 for agreeing to work at least four years in under-served areas.

The University School of Community Medicine and IBM plan to build a primary-care medical home pilot project that connects clinical data between the medical school, 325 physicians, and other area care-givers.

Sprint Nextel and GE Heatlhcare sign a multi-million contract with Methodist Healthcare (TX) for a complete wireless infrastructure across its six sites. The setup includes integration with GE’s Carescape Enterprise Access.


My feet are recovering nicely, thanks to my new slippers from Chipsoft. As I was unpacking, I also found some a frosted Oreo, courtesy of HealthPort. Yummy. Next week, back to reality.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. I thought Chicago was OK, but another nit about Chicago/McCormick was there were very few places to plug in your laptop /cell if you were low on battery power. Most outlets I found in meeting rooms and hallways were 220v outlets. You don’t think that since Mr Softie sponsored the recharge tables (which were always full) they planned it that way??

    Also I agree that the buses were not anywhere as frequent as the stated schedule. On all days but one, after waiting 30+ minutes I would share a cab with other folks.

    Trump reception was done very well…thanks, although why did Bush have to yell into the mike, and I thought he could have cut the talk time in half. He must suffer from the Neil Paterson syndrome!

  2. Follow up to your comment on response to “where do you work?” – noticed how most people, with passion of this business, would respond to “what do you do with your company” as an identifier…..the good guys give a quick description of what they actually do….the others, the insecure ones, pontificate on their title, how important they are (their own value) and how many people they outrank….usually the ones doing the real work at the conference and the ones with the real answers. (me? I work with lab systems…you? Oh, I am the head of all healthcare and all these people around me)

  3. eCW/Sam’s: Not once but in both footnotes it states:
    * Sam’s Club does not except checks over $20,000

    I’m sure they mean “accept.” We’ll see how quickly they correct.

    Otherwise, interesting…still wonder if the price point is low enough for providers.

  4. ’tis true, Deb Peel and I were not yet at handbags at 20 paces when the speeches started, but we were getting into it a little…to be continued I hope.

  5. We decided not to have a booth presence this year. No regrets. Other booth babe vendor marketing types were envious of my freedom. I felt like a HIStalk guy wannabe, wandering around under cover just talking to people about what they’re seeing and hearing. Overheard in Interoperability Showcase: “Yeah, but will they play nicely together in real life?” Funny — sat in on an ed session featuring Monica Donofrio, Sr Director care management and patient access, Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center about their implentation of visibility solution. BTW nicely done including nursing perspective on project as well as implementation steps, benefits and results stats. A gentlemen afterward had several specific questions about the solution, namely if the vendor planned to add any drill down functionality to see lab results. There was no one there from McKesson to answer his questions. So I (ok I’m from a competitor solution) went up afterward and talked to him then went over to the McKesson (ranch style) booth, and there was no one there either to answer his questions.
    Ended my stay with a run along the water front with a full moon rising — cool city. Want to come back and explore it more. We’re in ATL — so looking forward to having HIMSS on our home base in 2010.

  6. re: CCHIT
    I thought I heard in one of the presentations (M. Leavitt?) that CCHIT was going to move beyond just certifying features/functions of EHRs and begin evaluating/certifying vendors for implementation, service and support.
    Did I hear that right? Anyone know anymore about that?
    I think it’s a great idea, but the vendors might not think so.

  7. RustBelt Fan,
    At the FOSS and CCHIT meeting M. Leavitt talked about the idea of sharing usability data of certified EHR. He described that it wouldn’t be a pass/fail type of situation, but instead could possibly just be CCHIT sharing their research data on how certified EHR customers rated their EHR. Could be good, or could be really skewed depending on how they do this.

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