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Monday Morning Update 5/18/09

May 16, 2009 News 15 Comments

From JB Good: “Re: Adena. Do you know who Adena went with for an EMR?” Meditech, I believe. They must not have used the HIMSS Online Buyer’s Guide or done their tire-kicking at HIMSS since Meditech doesn’t play there.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: Windows 7. TPD has posted previously about some key new features of the upcoming Windows 7 release. Now, Dr. Bill Crounse’s Microsoft blog has a post on the Windows 7 platform and it appears to highlight some additional features when it comes to its potential use in the healthcare process.” I dunno … if Bill wasn’t drawing a Mr. Softy paycheck, I’d swear he was pitching Apple. “you just want your computer to work … works better … visually pleasing … graphics are simply stunning.” Windows? Seriously? It’s always mixed news when a vendor tells you how great their new versions are, implying that what you originally bought wasn’t so great. They weren’t saying that when you first forked over the cash for Windows ME … err, Vista. Personal users only have to pay and install, but for corporate users, it’s a major, non-strategic IT project to replace everybody’s desktop OS and train people to support it. I’m still fumbling around with that damned productivity-sapping ribbon bar on Office 2007 at work (no way I’d install it on my home PC), so I’m waiting for Microsoft to convince me that they have a clue.

From Neal’s Pizza Guy: “Re: UK. Redundancy plans were announced at yesterday’s Cerner UK town hall with 20-100 associates to be future endeavoured. Those in the firing line include Solution Delivery Consultants, System Engineers and Learning Consultants.” Unverified.

From Ukelele Bill: “Re: Stanford’s Epic implementation. It’s been mentioned before. How much are they spending and what are the problems there that anonymous posters have mentioned?”

An Eclipsys spokesperson disputes the comments left earlier by Eckert’s Sweetheart Deal. In summary: (a) ECLP shares rose from $16 when Andy Eckert started as CEO, rose to $26, and ended 2007 there. Shares have declined this year, but still outperformed the S&P 500. (b) KLAS scores for Sunrise Clinical Manager rose from 5th to 2nd place during his tenure. (c) Eclipsys has more clients and a larger market share than in 2005 and continues to win new business. (d) the company had 2,000 employees when Andy took over as CEO and now has 2,700, of which 700 are in India, so the company’s presence there was additive. (e) Phil Pead and the BOD asked Jay Deady to stay on and he has agreed.


Here’s the five-year chart of ECLP (blue) vs. the S&P 500 (red), just in case you’re scoring at home. From the day Andy Eckert took over as CEO until now, shares are down 12%. How does that compare to its main competitors? Non-conglomerate, publicly traded HIT vendors are as scarce as hen’s teeth, but Cerner is up 33%, QuadraMed is down 19%, and CPSI is down 8%. McKesson shares are down 15%. NextGen parent Quality Systems is up 69% over the same period as an example of a vendor selling mostly practice-based systems. The S&P has dropped 26% since October 2005.

Cerner and its customer Mayo Clinic request a federal gag order against a former Mayo physician and professor, accusing him of violating trade secrets for speaking at a conference about natural language processing software he developed. Mayo says Peter Elkin stole a backup and offered to sell the software, while the Elkin says Cerner and Mayo just wants exclusive rights to sell his product without paying for it. Mayo says he signed over his rights, while the Elkin says the application isn’t part of what he signed over to Mayo and he hasn’t received promised royalty payments anyway. Elkin left last year to become VP of Biomedical and Translational Informatics at Mount Sinai Hospital (NY).

St. Mary’s Hospital (MD) goes live on Cerner CareMobile bedside medication scanning.

Several of my reader survey respondents asked to hear more from provider IT shops about innovative things they’ve done, little-known systems they are using successfully, and ways they are responding to organizational demands. Inga and I would enjoy hearing from hospital IT people. Reluctant to go on record? I’ll leave you and your organization anonymous (places I’ve worked don’t want employees out there giving interviews either, so I understand that). E-mail me.

GE Healthcare has another round of layoffs, but doesn’t release numbers.

Children’s Boston announces a biomedical technology development fund to underwrite technology commercialization research projects at the hospital. The non-profit is hooking up with a bunch of drug and device vendors, which I admit confuses me (research universities and hospitals dabbling in for-profit industries makes me uncomfortable). Community hospitals and colleges deliver services to patients and students, respectively, without having that other cash cow, which I admire since it forces them to execute their primary mission well.


More EMR-related music humor, this time by Dr. Sam Bierstock and his An Introduction to the Electronic Musical Record. You won’t get the deadpan humor until halfway through or so. His upcoming release: Sorry, Man, but Your Bypass is Considered Cosmetic. His video with the Managed Care Blues Band is here and a tribute to veterans here.

Kaiser Permanente is fined $250,000 after 21 employees and two doctors inappropriately accessed the electronic medical records of Octo-Mom in January. Kaiser had already fired 15 people, reprimanded eight others, and self-reported the violations to the state, so it was surprised by the fine. I don’t get it myself: is that really going to diminish the chances of it happening again compared to firing the transgressors?

A new Washington Post article called The Machinery Behind Health-Care Reform says HIMSS successfully maneuvered public policy to benefit its members. “It also represented a triumph for an influential trade group whose members now stand to gain billions in taxpayer dollars … Corporate members include government contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, health-care technology giants such as McKesson, Ingenix and GE Healthcare, and drug industry leaders, including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America … runs a trade show for technology vendors, publishes a health technology newspaper and operates a research unit to help members find new markets …” Also mentioned: Steve Lieber admits that HIMSS had to lobby hard to get then-President Bush to include his one line about EMRs in his 2004 State of the Union speech. Now I’m feeling stupid for being a HIMSS member – I’m just giving its vendor lobbying work credibility by boosting the headcount.

OK, I’m going to acknowledge the elephant in the room and say this out loud. It’s time to split off the provider part of HIMSS into its own organization or form a new provider-only group. HIMSS is deviating further and further from my interests through its pro-vendor lobbying and its glitzy trade show that charges vendor members to connect with provider members. I like vendors just fine, but we each have our own agendas. I resent it if even a little of my paltry $140 in dues was used to convince a struggling administration to use taxpayer money to goose sales of HIT products. HIMSS took up the membership slack because TEPR was lame and AMIA was academic. It would be nice to have an alternative for us provider people, like women who just want to go out to dinner together without feeling like they’re being hit on constantly. Maybe it’s just me since nobody else is complaining.

Uh oh … President Obama publicly hailed the $2 trillion of healthcare savings over the next 10 years offered by industry groups, but he misunderstood. Those groups now say they did not pledge specific cuts. Obama’s healthcare reformer Nancy-Ann DeParle said “the President misspoke,” but then changed her own story, saying he cited their offer correctly. Does a “target” of raising the “rate of increase” to 1.5% within ten years really count as reform? The American Hospital Association was appalled at the thought that struggling hospitals can afford a reimbursement decrease according to its president, who made $1.5 million last year, and its executive VP, who took home $822K. UPMC President Jeffrey Romoff, who made $4.5 million last year after taking a pay cut, was not quoted.


Video game Hysteria Hospital is coming to the Wii. “Hysteria Hospital challenges players to race up and down hospital floors, treating testy patients with crazy ailments while saving your emergency room from turning into mass hysteria.” Now if someone would just create actual hospital software for the Wii …

E-mail me.

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Currently there are "15 comments" on this Article:

  1. I was part of CHIM — Center for Health Information Management — before it was acquired (or absorbed?) by HIMSS. It may be time to resurrect that model.

  2. Re: HIMSS

    I am going to stay a member in the hope that the billions of dollars will trickle down to me as a kind of return to shareholders. However, given that HIMSS is adopting a big business model, it will probably go to further enrich management.

  3. I usually wait to adopt new Micro$oft OS technology until at least one Service Pack is out. However, Vista was so bad…. and the things I heard personally about Windows 7 were so good…. I went ahead and downloaded the free trial of Windows 7. I have to say, it is awesome. It is everything that Vista SHOULD have been after two Service Packs. After I used it for awhile and pronounced it good, I decided to install it on my wifes laptop… it had Vista, and for some reason it would “lose” the USB drivers and mess up her iPhone like every other week which ended up having her on the phone to Apple sometimes for hours at a time. I upgraded her to Windows 7 and BAM no more problems. It isn’t really fair that 7 is what Vista should have been. All those poor fools who bought PC’s that came with Vista are getting screwed because now they have to buy Windows 7 just to make their PC’s run right. The best upgrade path would be to go directly from XP to 7.

  4. Socialist Health Information Technology. The acronym alone would summarize the state of the healthcare nation; Providers in a sea of S.H.I.T.

    Join now and change the world as Guy Kawasaki would say.

  5. Is anyone considering a limited release at their facility of W7 RC? Then R7 when available? I know that sounds crazy but I hate to roll out new PCs with XP.

  6. You are not alone – I am in complete agreement with you Mr. HISTalk regarding HIMSS. I complained a couple of years ago that HIMSS was getting too cozy with the vendors and would have liked to have seen John Page brought back (although I know that is not realistic). Maybe it was just perception, but I felt like John Page didn’t cater to the vendors and he had the provider member’s best interests at heart.

  7. We are testing the Windows 7 in our IT department…everyone loves it. They say it is almost stable enough for me (CIO) to use. Not sure if that is a slight at Microsoft or me…?

  8. RE: Best MS OS Upgrade Path… Latest release from MS doesn’t have an XP to MS 7 upgrade. Only upgrade is from Vista to MS 7.

  9. As the Chair of the HIMSS Advocacy & Public Policy Committee, I want to share why HIMSS is among the leaders urging federal government support of the adoption of electronic medical records. The reason is for our patients, and for those of us who work to provide patient care. As a nurse serving in a leadership position for an integrated health system, I know the value that EMRs, properly implemented and used by trained staff, can bring to patient care–improvements in quality, safety and cost efficiency. It was for this reason that I joined HIMSS in 1993 and some years ago stepped forward to become a volunteer leader at HIMSS. In doing so, I have been a part in helping to achieve wider adoption of EMRs and other health IT so that the care we provide patients is better.
    It is also the reason why I volunteered numerous hours of personal time to join with over a hundred of my colleagues and serve as co-lead-author of HIMSS Call for Action. Yes, my hospitals and physician practices purchase technology from vendors; that’s where technology usually comes from. But my motivation to increase the use of health IT, and the motivation of all of us who call HIMSS our professional society, is to improve healthcare through the optimal use of IT. That is HIMSS’
    mission, my mission and the mission of the thousands of other HIMSS volunteers who are making a difference.

    Maggie Lohnes, RN, FHIMSS, CPHIMS
    Administrator,Clinical Information Management MultiCare Health System Washington State

  10. I’m a crazy wild-eyed liberal who hasn’t seen a spending plan she doesn’t love. While I work in HIT, I used to be a lobbyist and I can tell you that that one line in the President’s speech took years and years and years and tons of money to get in….Isn’t that disgusting? One of the reasons why I left D.C.

    So knowing that I read the article and I have to tell you, HIMSS really doesn’t represent me in the provider world. It’s really just a group for the vendors. We in the provider world give HIMSS the political credibility to say that “Oh, this is coming from the hospitals, doctors, nurses” when really it’s coming from the Cerner shareholders. HIMSS really is just the lobbying arm of the big HIT companies, just like the auto companies have their lobbyists.

    When HIMSS loses their political credibility, they lose their clout too.

  11. We run MAC hardware so we can bounce between OS whenever we want. I’ve got Leopard and W7 RC on my MacBook and Vista on my Mac-mini in my office, soon to be W7 RC. The cost of a Mac-mini is comparable to a PC and much smaller.

    We are deploying about 300 Mac-minis to our clinical areas. I really don’t want to roll-out with XP. And we’ve tested Vista but the technical staff was not comfortable with rolling it out. Now they are exploring W7 RC as our deployment OS until W7 is offically released.

    Anyone have comments on this approach? I acknowledge this is an unorthodox approach. But is it viable?

  12. Ralph Hinckley Says:

    “RE: Best MS OS Upgrade Path… Latest release from MS doesn’t have an XP to MS 7 upgrade. Only upgrade is from Vista to MS 7.”

    We are not upgrading….we are installing W7 RC new. So the upgrade path does not apply.

  13. From the comments it sounds like many people are considering going straight to Win 7 from XP in the business community. Just from personal use of both OS’es I have to agree with the common point of view: Vista never has been ready for primetime but so far Win7 seems a worthy successor to XP.

  14. I think Win 7 was very nice, but beware that the drivers and video cards and such might take time to adapt.

    Vista at the current service pack is very stable and most of the driver issues are dealt with.

    XP, Vista and Win 7 are all solid OSs. I think the trick with MS operating systems (especially as compared to Mac) is that they don’t exert complete control over the platform elements and therefore what ever version you pick, the real thing to watch for is the maturity of driver support.

    The other issue to check carefully before you jump in is the security model and its potential impact on any software (other than MS Office products) that you might depend on.

    Each version of Windows usually ends up making dramatic improvements in the security infrastructure, but often that creates a support lag for the software gusy – so add ons, macros, virus checkers, emulators, etc. all need to be checked out carefully. Basically – make sure that if you depend on something more than just MS Office and IE 8 that you carefully check things out.

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