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Monday Morning Update 6/8/09

June 6, 2009 News 6 Comments

From Bright Idea?: “Re: DC HIE. What would happen to regional HIEs if the government goes national with an HIE of its own?” That refers to this news: Washington, DC’s Medicaid agency chooses MedPlus for its Medicaid-focused health information exchange. The pilot will involve three hospitals and six clinics, with analytics that allow public health officials to track outcomes and look for care gaps.

Moffitt Cancer Center (FL) names Mark Hulse, formerly of North Shore Medical Center (MA), as CIO.

More on Canadian government agency eHealth Ontario: it paid a $300-an-hour consultant’s eight-hour invoice stating that she consulted herself. It was a typo, but the agency paid it without question. The consultant works for a company that got a $268,000 PR contract for the agency ($300 an hour for PR help? Seriously?) She also billed $7,000 for writing a speech for eHealth Ontario’s CEO. Her husband is the managing partner for Courtyard Group, which got $2 million worth of no-bid contracts. CBC throws another punch in its salvo: the 30% bonus paid to the CEO after four months on the job was double the 15% maximum allowed, which the CEO says was pre-negotiated because she left Cancer Care Ontario before earning her bonus there. eHealth Ontario let three highly paid consultants go Thursday after the unflattering articles appeared, one of them an executive assistant being paid $212 an hour.

Speaking of eHealth Ontario, it discloses all salaries of over $100K on this page (subtract 10% to convert Canadian to American dollars). It’s a long list and the salaries seem awfully generous for government-hired technical people


Orchestrate Healthcare is now a Platinum Sponsor of HIStalk. The Greenwood Village, CO offers healthcare integration and technical expertise (HIEs, transactions, service oriented architecture, and integration tools like eLink, Bridges, Cloverleaf, Ensemble, and DataGate). Consultant resumes are here. The company won Best in KLAS 2008 in the technical services category. I thank them for supporting HIStalk and the folks who read it.

I got a nice note from Natalie Hodge, the pediatrician I mentioned who started her own company to help doctors start pediatrics concierge practices. She’s looking forward to the iPhone 3.0 and doing some Web infrastructure setup to get things rolling, she says.

I bought the MacBook and wasn’t disappointed: the twenty-something young lady who sold it to me at the Apple Store had spiked hair, lots of tattoos, and a gruesomely fascinating piece of silver jewelry implanted squarely between her middle two top teeth. I was infused with hipness by just being there.


A news site criticizes an Australian hospital for not yet implementing oncology software that was bought in November following 11 chemo overdoses, none of which cause patient harm. The Australian Medical Association is demanding that it be brought live, while the hospital says it’s still working on setup and training (note to the AMA: you don’t want to rush them). The software appears to be made by Australian vendor CharmHealth.

David Brailer and his Health Evolution Partners seem to have disappeared, so I thought I’d check their site to see if anything was happening. They just made an investment in Optimal Reading Services Group, an Alabama-based radiology reading service. It doesn’t sound all that innovative to me, but Brailer claims it is highly cost-effective, a good idea when the market wants imaging costs lowered. HEP has a lot of expensive talent, but I’m not seeing much in the way of results. You would think they would be buying up everything in sight at a big discount with the market down.

I’ve closed the poll on CCHIT, where 88% of 193 respondents said CCHIT is still under the influence of HIMSS. New poll to your right, featuring an idea from Evan Steele. CCHIT was formed to certify interoperability, not functionality or vendor stability. To encourage EMR adoption, would you support a mandatory EMR “lemon law” that would give purchasing providers their money back if they found the product they purchased unsuitable?

MD Anderson joins other big-name hospitals on the service-oriented architecture advisory group of clinical trials system vendor Velos.

Concord Hospital (NH) had systems down all this week when a SAN upgrade took down their network. Recently hired clinical users had no idea how to go back to paper, so they struggled and say they’ll have to develop policies and procedures. That happens in every hospital with new clinical systems, of course: the first big downtime causes newbies to struggle because they don’t know how the old paper processes worked.

The federal government will upgrade its Connect NHIN gateway later this year, adding a master person index, a policy engine, and a document management system.

A few years ago, the cheerleading health IT rags couldn’t write enough about HealthSouth’s “digital hospital.” Says HealthSouth’s CEO: “It was a pipe dream and a figment of the imagination,” saying the company would have had to stop all investments in its other 93 hospitals for at least two years to pay for it. Siemens was supposed to supply all the gadgetry, including Soarian.

E-mail me.

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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. New CCHIT workgroup members will be announced on June 11. To achieve a higher level of accountability and transparency under ARRA, they have limited health IT vendor participation to 33%, including consultants who receive any compensation from a vendor or hold a significant amount of vendor stock. This further removes CCHIT from past ties to HIMSS and the vendors’ influence.

  2. >>> This further removes CCHIT from past ties to HIMSS and the vendors’ influence.

    That’s not going to happen:

    1) CCHIT was founded by and is still a shill for HIMSS.
    2) Their chairman (Leavitt) gets compensated still by HIMSS.
    3) Histalk reported the CCHIT still pays rent and other payments to its founder, HIMSS.
    4) Their purpose in life is to decrease competition within the EMR market by their high cost “certification” process.

    The recent Leavitt/Kibbe public discourse through the medium of the Washington Post was amazing- it shows how Mr. Leavitt is so sensitive about remarks on CCHIT that he stooped so low as to attack Dr. Kibbe publicly and in other ways.

    For further reading-

    1) Check out my MDNG blog article, “The Kibbe/Leavitt Rumble in the High Tech Jungle!” (5/27/2009), http://www.hcplive.com/mdnglive/The_HIT_Realist/Kibbe_Leavitt
    2) My interview with Dr. Kibbe is soon pending.
    3) My next MDNG magazine column will be about the need to use the VAMC VistA EMR, with its 30 year worldwide experience, with its excellent interoperability within VA hospitals, and with the fact that it’s FREE and NONCCHIT makes it a perfect candidate CCHIT and HITECH killer EMR application. Senator Rockefeller has a bill before Congress advocating open source EMRs, like VistA.

    CCHIT, Leavitt, and all the CCHIT workgroup munchkins need to go, as this process has failed in its quest to find a simple interoperability standard. It’s time to let a heavyweight, VistA, take over.


  3. To encourage EMR adoption, would you support a mandatory EMR “lemon law” that would give purchasing providers their money back if they found the product they purchased unsuitable?

    Sure! Great idea. Just wondering though….who’s going to define “unsuitable”? Same folks who are defining “meaningful use”?

  4. MacBook – Have you opened it yet? Wait if you haven’t for this week – its the WWDC new announcements for new stuff. I always wait to purchase until after it. Not that anything will be wrong with your MacBook but just in case of buyers envy.


  5. I agree with Al Borges. I just finished reading comments on John Moore’s blog. CJ posted a comment about Mark Leavitt and Steve Lieber, and gets straight to the point. Lieber should resign as CCHIT Trustee Chair, and Leavitt should resign for violating the Federal Standard conflict of interest. CJ states that Leavitt received more than $10,000 in salary and benefits, including insurance, 401K, bonuses and perks. CJ asks, “why is Leavitt listed as “left employment from HIMSS on Jan 1, 2009″? Does that mean Leavitt received a severance package from HIMSS? And what bonuses did Leavitt receive as an employee of HIMSS up until January 09? I am sure the IRS will be busy for some time sorting through HIMSS/CCHIT/AHIMA accounting records. I for one want the IRS or HHS to explain how a nested “for profit organization” (CCHIT) who was involuntarily dissolved from 4.11.08 to 2.17.09 still think they are credible or in any position to certify any products, much less offer a definition for “meaningful use” that was handed down to Leavitt by Lieber. I agree with CJ. I am sick of the double standard, and both Lieber and Leavitt need to go away. They were only in it for the money, why else would HIMSS invest money in their WHIT, AsiaPac and MiddleEast conferences, when there is less than 17% adoption rate in the U.S? They both need to focus on what is needed HERE in the U.S. and LISTEN to doctors and other health care professionals. Getting advice from Lieber, who has neither a technical or clinical background, is a joke. We need to take action and write to David Blumenthal. This has gone on much too long. Interesting reading below.



  6. Thank you Dr. Borges. I’ve been waiting for months for someone to speak to the obvious conflict of interest of the larger EMR vendors and their ability to pay the high CCHIT fees every year, effectively squeezing out the smaller EMR vendors that sell their products to doctors at lower fees with lower margins. What happens to the doctor that invests in a certified product today that’s not certified a year from now, due to the fact that the smaller vendor can’t keep up with the high fees to certify? Do they buy another product, run two at the same time, pay to convert to a larger vendor, like Allscripts with a higher implementation fee? Or do they simply begin to refuse to see Medicare or Medicaid patients because the strings attached are simply choking off their ability to provide healthcare services?

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