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News 5/15/09

May 14, 2009 News 15 Comments

From Eckert’s Sweetheart Deal: “Re: departure. According to Eclipsys records, Mr. Eckert will reap $6-9M for achieving numerous operational goals. Let’s see: ECLP stock price is lower than when he took over in December 2005 (not that); Eclipsys KLAS scores are lower across the board (not that); ECLP has fewer customers today (not that); customers are leaving in droves and are unhappy (not that); a quarter of the company has been outsourced to India (maybe that?) Guess it’s not just financial companies that overpay their CEOs.” Jay Deady: stay or leave?

From The PACS Designer: “Re: Adena Health System. TPD congratulates Marcus Bost, CIO of Adena Health System, for the successful completion of an EHR system as it is never easy when attempting to transition an organization from paper to digital record keeping through EHR implementation.”

From Kid Schlock: “Re: Kadlec Medical Center’s prom setup. Lovely story, and not to minimize the positive impact on the patient and family – but – this was done on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy a couple of seasons ago. Life doesn’t always imitate art, sometimes it just imitates cheesy TV.” I’m convinced that everything you need to know about life can be found in Lonesome Dove.

From Slap Maxwell: “Re: Omnicell. If Omnicell is dedicated to customer service, why did they lay off so many nurses? In fact, all of them, I think.”

From SmallTown CIO: “Re: HIMSS. In the latest HIMSS Weekly newsletter, the new HIMSS Online Buyer’s Guide Ideal Database for Providers is unveiled. It may be me, but I can’t locate Meditech in any of my searches. Give it a shot and see if you have better luck. How good could the database be if a major vendor has been left out? Hmmm … Meditech pulls out of the HIMSS show and now mysteriously disappears from their vendor database – coincidence?” No coincidence – check out the Become a Listing Company page, which basically says, “For a price, we will pimp out our provider members to our vendor members.” HIMSS exhibitors get a free listing. So, my reaction: (1) I’m not surprised since HIMSS is one big sales job, conveniently enabled by a 50:50 provider-to-vendor ratio that provides ongoing matchmaking income, at least until providers get tired of being sold like meat and walk; (2) the site is “powered by” HIMSS Analytics, which apparently in this case “analyzes” only those companies that pitch cash into the kitty (so much for objectivity); (3) I would hope that there’s no CIO dim enough to look to HIMSS to provide suitable vendors; (4) how the hell much money does HIMSS need to rake in, and for what? The shilling never stops. Meditech has 25% of the hospitals in the country, something like 2,000 of them, with 98% customer retention, affordable products, and the cojones not to exhibit at the boat show just because their competitors do. I just might spring the $395 to put my own caustic message in their “database” since HIStalk should qualify as a publication.

From ORISpilot: “Re: Toronto. The eHealth office in Toronto, Ontario was held to task on the consultants that they hired to help build the Pan-Canadian EMR are paid from $650 to $1000 per day. Here’s a quote: ‘The one-year consultants’ tally for 2007-08 was $32.9 million, rising to $34.3 million between April ’08 and March ’09.’ They hired MBAs and networked linguistics graduates. Guess what? They have virtually no clinicians working in that office.” All those hired guns despite having 166 of its own employees being paid over $100K. The CEO blames competition from stimulus-frenzied US companies, no different than hospitals that lamely say they are forced at gunpoint to pay $2 million CEO salaries because the market demands it (which, as I always say, must mean that they are real dumps if nobody will come for less).

Listening: Hard-Fi, excellent, highly original British indie (Clash meets Elvis Costello and a dance beat). Brilliant marketing: they record every concert and sell it as an autographed CD.


And this: HITECH: An Interoperetta in Three Acts by Ross Martin, MD. Brilliantly conceived, written, and performed. Not to mention acted: watch his expressions throughout, remembering that this appears to have been filmed straight through with no flubs. Don’t dare stop listening until the big finish, which I won’t spoil (I’ve watched it like 10 times and I’m mesmerized). He would be a great pairing with Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Blues Band. I need to give him some kind of HISsies award to coerce him into performing at the next HIStalk event at HIMSS.

You have hopefully noticed that I have acted on a reader survey suggestion and added underlined links.

Who knew that Andy Eckert didn’t even live in Atlanta while serving as president and CEO of Eclipsys? He was in California while the rest of the company was in Atlanta or Malvern or Pune or wherever. Note to companies: if the hotshot you’re recruiting to run the place won’t even move to your town, keep looking. That’s just nuts (but not unique to Eclipsys in HIT-land, unfortunately). The stock dropped a little on the news of his resignation, but not much. Reader Cam Winston called his shot on February 25 right here in HIStalk: “I’ve heard a rumor that Philip Pead, former CEO of Per-Se, has joined the board of directors of Eclipsys and that he ‘may’ replace Andy Eckert by year-end. As CEO of Eclipsys since 2005, Andy has failed to turn around this second-tier HIT company.”

I will immodestly boast that I was the first to post the Andy Eckert news just after it came out at 7:00 a.m. Eastern (thanks to ECLP for sending over the announcement) while the pro journalists were tucked away in their beds. I checked a couple of minutes later and the site was groaning under the load – who knew people would be up and reading at that hour? I can see only minimal info about who’s on, but here are some interesting ones. Countries: India, Dubai, Israel, UK, Germany, Canada and Australia (tons from India, so hello to readers there). Organizations included HHS and NIST. Companies: Eclipsys (duh), Perot, Picis, Allscripts, and GE (industrious early risers all). Schools: Duke, Penn, Hopkins, U. Chicago, Michigan State. Money people: T. Rowe Price, JPMorgan Chase.

Jason Dvorak, formerly of TeraMedica, has joined Sage Healthcare as SVP of sales.

A biomedical scientist in a UK hospital is accused of pursuing recreational human anatomy: he supposedly hooked up a Webcam in a room where on-call nurses slept and stored porn on hospital PCs.

This Hong Kong CIO who has worked in US healthcare IT takes a dim view of bloated hospital IT departments that buy big packages that take lots of people to install and manage. “Are they really doing that much? I would say here in Hong Kong we do much more per dollar spent. One of the Adventist hospitals in the US has more than 100 employees in IT and more than 30 of them are implementing and maintaining Cerner.” He also says that HIT systems are relatively easy to develop, vendors don’t know how to turn one implementation into an off-the-shelf package, and systems aren’t designed with user customization in mind.


Genesis Health Clinic (IA) chooses the hosted PM/EMR from Waiting Room Solutions (odd name: sounds like something to entertain patients). Never heard of it, but it looks kind of cool (you can upload audio files to it) and the price runs from $49 to $600 per doc per month. I’m suspicious that they don’t list the names of anyone involved on the site (I always assume it’s Chinese hackers in disguise). Being a pretty good snoop, I tracked it down to Lawrence Gordon, MD, medical director of a reference lab in New York.


St. Joseph’s (AZ) signs for Clinical InfoNET videoconferencing from Clinical Information Network, which they’ll use to provide communications between consulting and community docs.

Wireless health monitoring vendor MedApps signs a deal with Microsoft to provide device data to HealthVault. 

What’s keeping Google Apps from dominating the office software world? It offers only remote storage that may not comply with the privacy requirements of businesses. And, people trust the company less than they once did. On the other hand, it just signed a 30,000-user deal, its largest yet.

Being cynical, I like this article that says interoperability initiatives provide bigger bang for the buck. “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. —-President John F. Kennedy. Imagine if President Kennedy in his famous speech didn’t stop at this point. Instead, he started describing the rocket. Assume he demanded a rocket with only two, or maybe four stages; that he insisted on a specific type of fuel, or certain weight and speed. Would the American space program have succeeded? I doubt it, and you should too. The Obama administration’s plan to spend $19.2 billion on electronic medical records as the sole path to achieve health care automation is the equivalent of Kennedy dictating to NASA the specifications of the rocket carrying Neil Armstrong to the moon.”

This makes encryption look cheap. Non-profit hospital operator Health Quest, stung by an ED laptop theft that triggered an Office of Civil Rights corrective action plan, will spend $50 million to change its software and improve security.

Online systems vendor A.D.A.M., which provides reference libraries and patient education material in its healthcare product line, creates a CTO position and hires Keith Cox, formerly of Microsoft, to transform the company into a cloud-based computing solutions vendor.

Hospital layoffs: Park Nicollet (MN), 240; Loyola (IL), 440; Geisinger South (PA), 179.

Johns Hopkins Hospital expects that a former patient registration employee will be charged with the fake driver’s license scheme in Virginia.

Police in Mt. Airy, NC say a Russian hacker got into the business computer of a local drugstore.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

From Patrick Henry: “Re: healthcare reform. Regarding cutting healthcare costs, here is a suggestion: if politicians at all levels were required to have healthcare and retirement benefits that were adjusted each year to match the average of every American, then we would see a lot more movement. It would still be motivated by self-interest, but that self-interest may start looking a lot more like what the rest of us are interested in.”

From An Interested Party: “Re: meaningful use. I am inviting you to view www.meaningfuluse.org as your one-stop resource for the national dialogue around the stimulus package. Please join me in this critical discussion.” I got this message in my email via a LinkedIn message. I am trying to decide if his approach belongs in the category of creative marketing or just plain old spam. In any case, www.meaningfuluse.org is a new site sponsored by Compuware and AMDIS. As is obvious from the name,  its focus is on “meaningful use” discussions and the impact of the HITECH legislation.

ProMedica Health System selects Sectra as its RIS provider. ProMedica will integrate the RIS with their existing Sectra PACS solution.

Fifteen hospitals are currently participating in the Louisiana Rural Health Information Exchange telemedicine initiative, including six running Healthland EMR.

Following a $10 million operating loss in the first quarter, Hennepin County Medical Center (MN) announces plans to eliminate 75 to 100 FTEs by the end of June. The hospital employs about 5,000 people.


Orion Health appoints Anna Theriault Vice President of Alliances for Orion Health North American and Europe Middle East and Africa. I think that her title must set some sort of record for its length. Clearly she’ll need a really big business card. Theriault was most recently the Healthcare Services Sales Lead for Cisco in the US and Canada.

Seven AT&T employees in San Jose are sent to a hospital for nausea and vomiting and another 21 are treated at the scene, after becoming sicken by an overwhelming stench. The culprit: decomposing food left in an office refrigerator. Apparently one brave employee (who had poorly functioning nasal passages) began cleaning the common refrigerator, using a 409-type cleaner. Another employee tried to combat the odor with a different chemical spray. Before long, the fumes overwhelmed several workers and 325 employees were evacuated from the building. Rescue came in the form of the fire department’s hazmat team, who were summoned to snuff out the scents.

Allscripts announces a technology coalition designed to educate physicians about opportunities aligned with the ARRA. The EHR Stimulus Alliance includes Allscripts, Cisco, Citrix, Dell, Intel, Intuit, Microsoft, and Nuance. The Alliance is sponsoring The EHR Stimulus Tour, which includes “hundreds” of virtual and physical events for physicians. While I am sure the educational offerings will be of excellent quality, the whole program seems like creative marketing to me. (Have I been hanging with Mr. H so long that I am turning cynical? Or perhaps I’m just reading too many press releases from too many companies announcing how they are helping providers benefit from ARRA.)


The folks at SCI Solutions passed on that their client Flowers Hospital (AL) was named the top performing hospital based on CMS quality of care data. The Commonwealth Fund sponsors a site named www.whynotthebest.org, which includes a list of the hospitals scoring in the top 1% for quality measures.

The local paper provides an update on University Hospitals’ (IA) Epic implementation.The switch started in December and doctors began CPOE this month. Despite a few complaints from doctors wanting their paper back, Hospitals’ VP for information systems Lee Carmen says things are going pretty smoothly. The hospitals reduced the number of clinic visits for a couple of weeks in order to adjust to the new work flow. So far, 1,200 system issues have been noted. Carmen claims the system is working exactly as they expected.

Blogger Doc Gurley addresses the age old question: how to ask a doctor out. She advices that you don’t ask out your own doctor; points out that just because a doctor doesn’t wear a ring doesn’t mean he/she is not married; and warns that just because your crush is a doctor, that he/she is rich. I remember once thinking a particular doctor was pretty hunky and I was curious of his status because he didn’t wear a ring. A bold friend of mine called up the office and said she was with the local medical auxiliary and needed to know his wife’s name for a party invite. I was bummed when the receptionist supplied a name. Just as well. He probably had a ton of medical school debt.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "15 comments" on this Article:

  1. I read the Adena Health article. I think the phrase “successful completion” might be inaccurate. The article states that they are 3 years into a 5 year plan. I know some CIOs that are 7 years into their 5-year plan. So you don’t want to claim victory until you cross the finish line.

    I also think it might be an incorrect assumption that they have gone from a paper to a digital environment. That was not clear from the article. The article talks about a patient portal (cool) and a telemedicine system. EMR is one of those phrases that means different things to different people. So, don’t assume that they are now a stage 7 hospital (a meaningless phrase).

    I wish there was more info in the article. Does the $16.5M include labor (more than half of our EHR expense)? CPOE? What did Cisco do that warranted the gratuitous mention?

    I don’t want to take away from Marcus and Adena have accomplished. This is really a rant about the quality of the reporting. It was the opposite of why I read HIStalk.

    PS, I love Marcus’ pic. I am thinking about going with the shaved head look.

  2. When our Exchange server reached its end of life I seriously considered going the Google apps route. I really wanted to hand that off to someone that does it well. The problem was that Google wanted $50 per user per month. That is $8.4M per year for my organizations. By comparison, my all-in cost for our new internally hosted Exchange Server is less than $4 per user per month. Sure Google Apps includes their web-based apps. But we already own a zillion copies of Microsoft Office.

  3. > You have hopefully noticed that I have acted on a reader survey suggestion and added underlined links.

    Dear Lord thank you so much. 😉

  4. Re: Eckert’s Sweetheart Deal

    These Executive payouts are like spitting in the face of those who have been laid off with the princely sum of a month’s severance.

    Having worked with many members of the C-Level throughout my career, I can count on one hand (and not the whole hand) those that I felt were worth their salary.

  5. Re: Adena Health Systems
    Last week, I attended a local HIMSS chapter conference at Adena Health in Chillicothe, OH. One word for what they have done and are doing: WOW!

    This is a town with a population of 23,000. To clarify, they have achieved Stage 5 EHR Implementation. (Impressive still, for such a size.) They have an absolutley beautiful new “PACCAR Medical Education Center” building where the meeting was held and where they train nurses through RN degrees (working on Masters program) in a fully digitized space including a 5 unit medical simulation center with robo-patients and all the cameras, computers, and associated gadgets you could want.

    Not mentioned in the article is the fact that they are doing all this with Meditech. While I and many folks I know are not huge Meditech fans, the comment from Adena on them was interesting. To paraphrase: “Meditech is made up of a bunch of clunky components that, once you put them all together, seem to work.” Hmmmm…

    Yes, Will Weider, the reporting on Information Week was not up to HIStalk standards. But, I can tell you first-hand, what Marcus Bost and company are doing in little Chillicothe, whether $16.5 or $37 million, is impressive. I suggest you, or anyone looking for some inspiration, head over the Appalachian foothills to see for yourself.

    (Full disclosure: I was born and raised in Chillicothe; knowing where the old Ross County Hospital, now Adena Health, came from only heightens my appreciation for their accomplishments.)

  6. > You have hopefully noticed that I have acted on a reader survey suggestion and added underlined links.
    This is absolutely great. Would it be possible to get the same on HISTalkPractice as well?

  7. Google Apps is awesome and is $50.00 per year per user, NOT $50.00 per month. 12X4=48. Reduce your pain and switch!! Just my thoughts!

  8. Saw an article today where Booz Allen Hamilton notes U.S. corporations are filling the chairman and CEO positions with different individuals but corporate governance is this country remains largely woefully inadequate.

    Andy Heckert essentially by almost every metric failed to deliver any additional incremental value to his shareholders, customers, or employees (Note: Still puzzled on why institutional investors would be such big holders in this stock with its mediocre performance and no dividend) and he gets awarded with a $6-$9M severance package? Ugh.

    What is really hard to figure out is if Tremblant Capital who made a massive investment in April and purchased a 6% ownership stake in the company was just trying to make some quick bucks and piggyback on the good vibes from the ARRA stimulus funding (Note: they have made a nice tidy investment as Eclipysys has well out-paced market benchmarks) or if they are trying to force the company to eventually move to an M&A down the road in the next 12-18 months.

    I think the former is more likely the case but it also wouldn’t surprise me if Eclipysys does get bought up by one of the bigger fish in the acute IT world in the next year or so either.

  9. There should be more Adena’s as the on ramp to going digital can be a small project to test the waters, also to get staff familiar with how much more efficient things can get when everyone is on the same page so to speak when using an EHR across several departments, i.e. Radiology, Cardiology, Pathology, and Labs. TPD has worked directly with customers during an entire career that spawns over 35 years to get customers the best solutions for their work environment! An EHR is never totally complete as there will always be some changes as time progresses, and more training will be needed with each improvement to the EHR process.

  10. Thanks for the lead, TPD will review what’s on the link and contact someone for further discussion being that custom design architecture is one of my strong points! Thanks to Mr. H for providing the medium from where the posting of needs can be discussed intelligently!

  11. TPD – If we just all one time acknowledge your greatness, could we avoid future statements like:

    “TPD has worked directly with customers during an entire career that spawns over 35 years to get customers the best solutions for their work environment!”

    in every post?

    Maybe Mr. HISTalk could add a positive affirmations bar to the right or something where we could acknowledge and move on.

  12. That’s what I get for going by memory. Google Apps is $50 per user per YEAR. The disparity is not as wide as I had stated. Still, we calculated we could provide email service less expensively than Google. That was the primary basis for continuing to run our own Exchange server.

    Having greater control over things like eDiscovery and archiving was another factor.

    My family uses Google Apps as our home email service.

  13. I attended the Allscripts EHR Stimulus Tour event in Dallas (hosted by Cisco). It was well done and informative if you’re a provider who doesn’t like reading the fine print issued by the government. It was well attended and had a mix of providers and non-alliance vendors looking for information. Attendees were treated to breakfast, a t-shirt and 10 minutes in the rain when a storm triggered the fire alarm forcing an evacuation into the parking lot.

  14. To Eckert’s Sweatheart Deal:

    I’m not lover of big CEO payouts, and certainly don’t believe Andy earned that kind of cabbage, but can I also can’t stand by with incorrect data being stated as facts:

    Stock price – It was about $16-$17 when Andy took over; it is around $14-$15 today; the rest of the market is down some 30%. You can’t compare the two.

    Klas scores – I don’t know what the Klas scores were when he took over, but I do know that Eclipsys has climbed in the rankings during his tenure. Eclipsys is 2nd in clinicals and 3 in financials (last I looked). This is up from 4th or 5th in clinicals and 4th in financials when he took over.

    Fewer customers – Can you back this up with hard data? I believe Eclipsys has added to it’s customer base, even if you remove the customers added through acquisition.

    Customers leaving in droves – can you please provide examples/statistics? Sure there are some existing customers leaving, but you have that in almost any established company. I believe the customers being added far outweigh the customers being lost.

    Customers unhappy – again, can you please provide statistics? Customer satisfaction has been Andy’s montra since he began at Eclipsys. Since they have moved up the Klas rankings, I would conclude that statisfaction is trending up.

    Quarter of the company outsourced to India – I don’t know how many people are working for Eclipsys in India, but I’m sure it’s significant (500?) That still would not equate 25% of the company. Also, my understanding is that the international business is being driven and support from India, so while most of these folks are working on US products, a good number of them are developing/support/selling to the international market.

    Again, I am sickened by Andy’s golden parachute, but please stick to the facts, and back up your claims and/or cite your sources. It’s already hard to seperate fact from fiction; nobody needs fact-less rumors flying around.

    If you believe I am in error in any of my analysis (I am not perfect), I would welcome some back-up to prove me wrong.

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