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July 23, 2009 News 9 Comments

From Org Insider: “Re: HIMSS. I was told HIMSS may have exceeded the 20% lobbying limit allowed by Congress and the IRS and is trying to rearrange its financials to satisfy the requirements so its 501(c)3 status won’t be jeopardized.” Unverified, but per the Webex I mentioned below, it doesn’t sound like that’s the case. If anyone has firm information, send it over, but I would be very surprised if this is true.

Inga verified with a spokesperson that Elekta, Sweden-based parent company of IMPAC Software, laid off 100 employees as BadNoodle said earlier this week. She said it happened at the beginning of the fiscal year, which would go back to May or June, I think. They have 3,000 employees and they didn’t say where the cuts fell.


Six-hospital, 1,260-bed Kettering Health Network (OH) will spend over $50 million on its just-announced EMR project, buying from — who else? — Epic.

Electronic drug detailing vendor Physicians Interactive acquires Skyscape, which sells online medical references for portable devices.

Christopher Pike is named VP/CIO of Health Alliance Plan (MI).

The HIMSS Webex for staff about its governmental relations activities didn’t say too much. HIMSS does not employ a registered lobbyist, but estimates that it spends 4-8% of member dues on lobbying. It says it started up its government relations group in 1998 because of member concerns about HIPAA. It began offering government relations services to “sister organizations” in 2008, which seems odd (CHIME? AHIMA? They didn’t say). Mentioned: Institute for e-Health Policy, run from the HIMSS Foundation instead of the main organization.

Two of the seven out-of-cluster NHS trusts stay on with iSoft rather than switching to a local implementation of Cerner Millennium, saying it was too risky and expensive. “The implementations of CM [Cerner Millennium] in London have had a damaging effect on trusts, which has led to the creation of a new deployment model, which has yet to be tested on a deployment.”


And in Australia, Lismore Base Hospital officials claim that Cerner SurgiNet has compromised patient safety such that “negative outcomes, including death, will inevitably result from the continuing use of this system.”

If  Epic, the NHS, and bad Australian publicity weren’t problems enough, Cerner has now incurred the wrath of PETA, which is all over it for using glue traps to inhumanely kill mice on its campus. Cerner’s director of properties, PETA says, told its people that “their use of glue traps was no one else’s business but theirs.” You have to figure a disgruntled CERN employee must have turned them in.

eHealth Initiative releases the results of its HIE survey. Conclusions: more HIE initiatives are underway, those actually operational jumped way up, and doctors reported a positive impact on their practices.

From Weird News Andy: a woman gets a call from a hospital’s ED doctor saying her husband had died there from electrocution. She and her sons rush to the hospital, only to get a call from her husband, to whom she replied, “‘Doug, you’re dead. We’re going to the hospital to view your body.” The hospital had called the wrong Doug Wilcox’s family. The hospital refused to talk on camera and hasn’t contacted the woman to apologize, but e-mailed a statement blaming “a breakdown in our communications.” Understandable, but the bunker mentality won’t win it any friends.

Misys announces year-end numbers: revenue up 41%, profits up 43%, helped mightily by the performance of Allscripts.

Microsoft turns in terrible Q4 results Thursday evening: revenue down 17%, EPS $0.34 vs. $0.43. For the year, the company’s revenue fell for the first time since it went public in 1986, falling short of expectations by a mile. Windows revenue tanked a staggering 29%. Shares are down 7% in after hours trading, back to 1996 levels.


The OMB director isn’t impressed with Aetna’s claim that its software reduced the use of medical services by 6.1% back in 2001. “One cannot reject the hypothesis that the true effect … on outpatient and RX charges is zero.” Aetna’s CMO co-founded the ActiveHealth Management, which developed the software and then sold out to Aetna in 2005. OMB says it didn’t do much except for hospital inpatients. That’s its PHR above, from a pretty cool video on its site.

Credentialing software vendor Medversant files a patient infringement against Morrissey Associates, saying it is “marketing for sale a process that is consistent with our AutoVerifi process.”

A judge in a medical malpractice lawsuit in Canada gives Meditech a nice pitch from her bench, explaining a $5 million ruling against a hospital that had misfiled a patient’s paper-based meningitis diagnostic results for a full year, resulting in his incapacitation. “Despite the UBC Hospital’s acknowledgement of its heavy responsibilities and its knowledge of past failings, it relied exclusively on a manual system with no back-up system in place to manage virtually inevitable employee error. The absence of such a system is particularly unfortunate given that in September 1999, the hospital possessed that capability through the Meditech computer system, which it was using to track films for billing purposes.”

Ann Coulter is a bit of a wack job even to a conservative like me, but this is a fun quote: “The reason seeing a doctor is already more like going to the DMV, and less like going to the Apple ‘Genius Bar,’ is that the government decided health care was too important to be left to the free market .. We already have near-universal health coverage in the form of Medicare, Medicaid, veterans’ hospitals, emergency rooms and tax-deductible employer-provided health care – all government creations …  The whole idea of insurance is to insure against catastrophes: You buy insurance in case your house burns down – not so you can force other people in your plan to pay for your maid. You buy car insurance in case you’re in a major accident, not so everyone in the plan shares the cost of gas.”

HR 2630, submitted by Rep. Ron Paul, would give individuals to opt out of any federal EHR system, repeals the act requiring HHS to create a unique patient identifier, requires informed consent for any use of electronic patient information, and prohibits the federal government from requiring providers to participate in an electronic healthcare system. It’s from a few weeks back, but I just ran across it.

Christ Hospital (OH) extends its outsourcing agreement with CareTech Solutions.

I mentioned earlier that for Red Hat VP had started up Axial Exchange, which offers open source healthcare interoperability solutions. She and her startup venture get profiled in the Raleigh paper.


WebMD announces the free Medscape Mobile for the iPhone.

Zynx and eClinicalWorks sign a deal to make the former’s AmbulatoryCare order sets available to eCW customers.

Medicity spinoff Allviant, which will market consumer access tools, announces its advisory board members.

The DoD will expand its PHR pilot that ties its data into HealthVault and Google Health, but it’s also evaluating RelayHealth. DoD required Google and Microsoft to use only US-based servers and to delete all information immediately for an employee who opts out.

Odd lawsuit: a woman who gained 20 pounds during her hospitalization for Crohn’s disease is suing the hospital, saying it overhydrated her with IV fluids. She wants compensatory damages.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

The local paper reports on the status of an Epic installation at Atrium Medical Center, which  is one of three Premier Health hospitals now live on on Epic’s EHR. Ambulatory clinics are also getting on board. Officials estimate the implementation will be completed by the end of 2010.

The VA selects Anakram.TFA Two-Factor Authentication as its enterprise authentication tool for remote access to VA systems.

John Muir Health (CA) claims it saved $8.5 million using VHA’s Non-Salary Cost Reduction solution over a two-year period.

St. Joseph Medical Center (PA) selects McKesson’s Revenue Management Solutions to manage its medical billing processes. St. Joseph physicians will deploy McKesson Practice Complete for RMS services, along with Horizon Practice Management software and RelayHealth payor connectivity services.

Tufts Medical Center (MA) places an order for a Carestream Health RIS/PACS system and contracts for Carestream’s eHealth Management Services for remote disaster recovery.

Someone at the University of Michigan Health System clearly listened to his/her mother. UMHS lawyers and doctors are quick to say they’re sorry and admit mistakes up front, finding the policy creates savings in time, money, and feelings. Between 2001 and 2006, malpractice claims fell from 121 to 61 and the average time to process a claim fell from 20 months to eight months. In addition, costs per claim fell 50% and insurance reserves dropped by two-thirds. I like the words of Richard Boothman, the system’s chief risk officer: “What we are doing is common decency.”

The National Institute of Health Clinical Center picks the QuadraMed AcuityPlus platform to ensure interoperability with existing ADT and staff scheduling systems. The NIH facility will use AcuityPlus to make its nurse resource allocation process more efficient.

HIT consulting company Virtelligence is recognized by the Midwest Minority Supplier Development Council as Class II Supplier of the Year. The award is based on such factors as company growth and development and quality of products and services.

Carefx says its Fusionfx clinical workflow solution is now successfully deployed at Fletcher Allen Health Care (VT). My interview with Fletcher Allen CIO Chuck Podesta posted earlier this week. One reader wrote in saying that, based on the interview, they’d work for Mr. Podesta.  I concur.

The VC folks seem to think health care companies are worth investing in these days. In the second quarter, health care firms raised $2.2 billion in VC funds, surpassing last year’s $1.89 billion figure. HIT providers are of particular interest as result of growing demand for health care solutions.

Speaking of VC money, MedVentive, a provider of P4P software for evidence-based money, raises $7.25 million in series C funding. Excel Venture Management led the round.

Those choosing an alternative to Mr. H’s DIPSHIT certification program may want to check out Johns Hopkins new master’s degree in health informatics. The one-year program focuses on how to develop IT systems to be used in hospitals, clinics, and public health settings.


E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "9 comments" on this Article:

  1. Read the article on the surginet problem in Australia and it says:

    “It should be emphasised that Surginet is operating satisfactorily in Sydney hospitals without patient safety concerns being raised.”

    Clearly, the implementation depends on the team implementing surginet, and if the analysts don’t know the solution well, that’s the type of problem that happens. I have seen hospitals doing well with surginet, and other hospitals struggling with it. It is definitely not a pretty system, but if implemented by the smart analyst, it does the job, ok, not superb.

  2. Premier Health hospitals, an amazingly smooth install across three hospitals, one hospital live on CPOE and the other two coming soon. Device integration on-line. Another one of those many installs going on around that nation that there is little to report or blog on apart from its success. Doctors are happy. 3 drama free go-lives. Watch out for PHP being one of the trail blazers for HIS systems. They are already catching up to some of the earlier adopters and are starting to use the system in some innovative ways.

    If the story was told, it’s another big success for EPIC. I only wish there was more of the success stories told. I guess the point is that it’s not very interesting to report on. Failure and drama make much more interesting reading. While some are debating the value of HIM systems others are getting on with the work and making it work.

  3. Read the comments below the article “Following the N.J. corruption money trail: Money laundering splintered into political probe”.
    “Cooper Hospital reminds me of Assemblyman Herb Conoway and Senator Vitale, Big Pharma Recipients,.. tens of thousands of dollars. The Feds should look into the massive prescription drugging of the 39,000 children in NJ’s Foster Care Medicaid Program. NJ taxpayers payed more than 76 million dollars for adult antipsychotis given to infants and toddlers as young as six months of age. These Antipsychotics are not FDA approved for this age group, it is clearly medicaid fraud, and Ann Milgram has ignored our most vulnerable children as they are drugged into oblivian, where is the justice?”

    Herb Conoway is the NJ Assemblyman who introduced the bill that would prohibit the sale or use of healthcare IT not certified CCHIT.

    Does anyone know more information about the NJ Foster Care Medicaid Program and Herb Conaway Jr.’s involvement?

  4. NJ Politico,
    the correct spelling of Herb’s last name is: CONAWAY.

    A good way to remember this, is as it states in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is: “CON” as in convict or against, and “AWAY” as in out of the way (incarcerated, confined).

  5. For all you U.S. healthcare system haters out there…
    “I have a simple question. If health care is such a catastrophe in this country, if there is such a pressing, overwhelming need for reform, why didn’t any of the $1 trillion in Porkulus money go to insuring those who don’t have any insurance? Why didn’t that happen? If there are truely 47 million uninsured people out there (U.S. citizens) for a measly $100 billion, you could buy a health insurance policy for a full year for every person who can’t afford it. That’s twelve million people, people that can’t afford it!

    Now, we just spent a trillion dollars in Porkulus. Why didn’t we buy health insurance for all those suffering people if it’s such a catastrophe? But wait! What about all the TARP, all the bailouts? Why do we need to spend a trillion dollars on health care to insure people? Why didn’t the stimulus bill pay for health insurance for the downtrodden? Why not send billions to emergency rooms and hospitals who provide care for anybody who walks in? Why not do that? Why didn’t Obama rescue the people without health insurance while he was rescuing the economy? We have a deficit we can’t pay off; we have unemployment about to go double-digit; Obama wants to destroy the health insurance policies a huge majority of Americans have and like. He isn’t rescuing anything. He’s destroying it. Destroying the American economy is not how anybody helps people and this health care debacle is an absolute debacle. It has no prayer of working and providing greater health care. ”

    A slice of common sense anyone?

  6. PETA and Cerner. Oh good lord. Can’t PETA find something more worthwhile to worry about? Mice are vermin. They spread disease. Most ways that you exterminate them are somewhat inhumane. And what does this have to do with the quality of systems that Cerner develops, sells and implements? Nothing. Why don’t we poll all the Healthcare IT companies and see how they deal with their mice problem? I’m sure the results will be illuminating and a barometer of how well that company is ran.

    Not a slam on you Mr. HISTalk – just sayin’… this ain’t really news. It’s a nuisance, like vermin.

  7. @ El Jefe that quote comes from an ETNA CEO right?

    Ask any emergency room doctor or nurse if they think its a good idea to send over 40 million extra people to them. Do you really expect the uninsured to go to the E.R with flu? Or an in-growing toe nail? Come on. “Common sense”? No, plain stupidity.

  8. @blah
    I was an emergency room nurse for years. No of course it’s not a good idea to have “over 40 milllion extra people” come to ERs.

    Do I expect people to come to the ER with the flu and ingrown toenails? YES, because they do it NOW. The problem is with EMTALA and our current regs we can’t send them away.

    IF universal HC passes (and I hope it does not) EMTALA etc…would have to be revised to allow ERs to send away the truly non-emergent cases that clog up the ERs currently.

    I don’t know what this has to do with anything that is of concern on HIStalk…but anyone who doesn’t think that people go to the ER with non-emergent complaints needed addressing.

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