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News 9/2/09

September 1, 2009 News 16 Comments

Medsphere gets $12 million in funding
AHIMA Foundatation gets $1.2 million HHS grant
Nurse develops iPod nursing reference

From Winchester: “Re: Meaningful Use. I’m surprised we’re not seeing more debate on Meaningful Use given the stakes involved. Readers, I hope you’ll chime in: (a) are you delaying given the vagueness of MU? (b) what do you most wish was clarified? (c) do you anticipate major changes by December? (d) are your vendors giving you all the right assurances? (e) is there a scary scenario where you’ll have to tell your CEO you’re not going to achieve MU after all?”

From CDiff: “Re: NHS. Gives another meaning to rationing.” UK researchers find that prisoners are fed better than hospital patients, even though hospitals spend more on food. A quote: “If you are using food as a treatment, it’s not working.”

From Nicole: “Re: EHRs. You did a series of short interviews with several EHR vendors. Can you tell me where to find that?” The interviews with 12 vendor executives ran on HIStalk Practice as a five-part series called EMR Vendor Executives on HITECH. They’re here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

From Back Pocket: “Re: Navin Haffty newsletter. The newsletter questions KLAS results. Aren’t KLAS results from clients? So, John Haffty is questioning Meditech client comments.” The Meditech consulting company principal complains that a particular magazine’s story about Meditech’s Version 6.0 is “more dramatic and pessimistic” than the KLAS report it cites, which he characterizes as contributing “to unnecessary and misleading negativity and one can only wonder whose purposes are being served.” I’m just happy than an HIT magazine didn’t cheerlead for the entire article, frankly. We know which self-serving interests are at stake: the magazine’s (to get and keep readers) and the consulting company’s (to get and keep Meditech customers). Meditech is at a crossroads with 6.0, which is a really difficult upgrade, readers have told me. It’s a natural time for customers to re-evaluate their options. I’m pretty sure they will not use a free magazine’s article as a key decision-making tool (nor a vendor’s free newsletter either, I would hope). I score the magazine criticism as Messenger 1, Would-Be Shooter 0.


From Hank Kingsley: “Re: HIStalk logo. I don’t think the doctor should be smoking a pipe!” Man, healthcare IT people are so literal. It’s supposed to be ironic, OK? As I’ve explained before, I told the graphics person to give me something very 50s, with the reflector thingie, the square jaw, the old-school white coat, and the pipe with wispy smoke. Ward Cleaver, MD, you know?

From Beulah Balbricker: “Re: comments. Reader comments start off with ‘Re: some topic’. Are they initiating these remarks on their own or responding to specific news items?” Could be either. It’s like a letter to the editor that starts with their subject (which is whatever the Re: says) and a short comment, with all of that in quotation marks and in blue. Whatever follows is my reply. People usually e-mail about something I wrote in a recent HIStalk posting, but sometimes they just send something they want to say.

From Gary Numan: “Re: non-disclosures. A peer of mine was just asked to sign a non-disclosure to get trained in GA-released (not Beta) EMR software from Siemens, so it does exist.”


From Gregg Alexander: “Re: Healthcare Crisis News with Rosalie Michaels. Debuts September 1. A Colbert-esque take on the ‘crisis’, though Rosalie is far more attractive than Mr. Colbert.” I think it proves that everything is fascinating and amusing when a former Mrs. Arizona reads it while smiling and wearing a deep-cleavage clingy black shirt. It’s sponsored by the No Insurance Club, which is really a prepaid doctor visit plan that costs $480 for 12 visits per year, but only has a handful of doctors across the country (I’d be suspicious of doctors willing to work that cheap) and does not cover emergency room, hospital, or specialist visits (so it’s really more of a selective uninsurance program that covers doctors but goes bare on hospitals).

From The PACS Designer: “Re: As the Software as a service (SaaS) marketplace evolves, we are going to see low cost solutions appear for consideration as a service. One that has appeared recently is a security service called the Egress Switch. The UK firm offering this service uses e-mail addresses to validate each member of a secure network, and then encrypts the messages to meet the needed security level for the application being used by the validated members of the group.”

Atlanta Women’s Specialists puts out a press release about its EMR capabilities and its ability to exchange information with other medical practices via the Medicity Novo Grid. It can post and flag abnormal test results within 24 hours and to send prenatal records directly to the hospital. The practice will deploy to smart phones as well.

TeraMedica will offer its Evercore medical imaging system to the healthcare customers of technology solutions vendor Logicalis.

Epic finally works out a deal to get the Epic.com domain from the company that owned it (epicsystems.com still works too). 

A MEDSEEK Webinar next Wednesday features an eHealth Director talking about whether your hospital needs one of those.

Atlantic General Hospital (MD) signs a deal for Keane Optimum Patcom and other apps. Another Keane client, 25-bed Montgomery County Memorial Hospital (IA), is mentioned in an article about IT investments in small hospitals.


Baylor Medical Center at Frisco (TX) chooses Orchestrate Healthcare and Vitalize Consulting Solutions to roll out a new clinical and technical architecture.

The Columbus paper covers the diagnostic image sharing capability of some Columbus-area providers. A doc from the radiologist group complains that Ohio State isn’t one of them.

Jobs: McKesson Paragon Consultants, Clinical Business Analyst, Associate RIS Administrator.

Orion Health and Cisco announce a public health reporting and notification solution.

California can’t manage its fiscal crisis, but has time to legislate the speed with which managed care plans see patients. New regs require that routine PCP visits be scheduled within 10 business days, specialists 15 days, and urgent care appointments within two days. After-hours emergency calls must be returned within 10 minutes. Sounds good except physician payments keep going down and so does their number, both problems that can’t just be lawyered out of existence.

Another example of lawyers fixing everything: the attorney general of Kansas files suit against a non-profit hospital, its board, and its corporate parent. The charge: it’s going broke and will close. The AG is mad that the hospital hasn’t transferred its critical access designation to some other entity that otherwise couldn’t survive financially in Pawnee County.


A nursing professor and her husband develop Nursetabs, a pocket reference for the iPod Touch. They’re in Michigan, I found out after only 10 minutes of digging through the rube newspaper’s site to finally find something that mentioned which of the 50 states Livingston is in.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

saint barnabo

Saint Barnabas Health Care System (NJ) selects MedAssets to provide revenue cycle process re-engineering services.

Medsphere secures $12 million in a secondary round of VC funding, to be used for ongoing development and expansion efforts.

Greenway and RelayHeath introduce a new partnership that will leverage Relayhealth’s Virtual Information Exchange to provide Greenway clients access to lab results, radiology reports, and transcribed documents from their community health systems.

Speaking of Greenway, the company announces its 11th consecutive fiscal year of positive growth, ending its 2009 fiscal year with a 38% increase in sales over 2008 and 88% over 2007. Ever since I can remember, Greenway competitors have loved to discuss how the privately help Greenway wouldn’t be able to make it long term, that they would run out of money and never turn a profit. While higher sales do not necessarily equate to increased profits (or any profits, for that matter), you have to hand it to Greenway for its tenacity and continued growth. There are a lot of sunset companies out there that would have loved eleven years of positive growth.

eClinicalWork partners with Correctional Medical Services (CMS) to provide EMR solutions to correctional facilities affiliated with CMS. eCW already provides its EHR to Rikers Island in New York.

Jeffrey L. Sunshine is named VP and CMIO of University Hospitals (OH) after serving in these roles on an interim basis since November 2008.

athenahealth’s Maine Operation Center is named one of the 2009 Best Places to Work in Maine.


Sheila M. Sanders takes over as VP for information services and CIO for Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (NC.) Sanders most recently served in a similar capacity at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

If you are feeling the need to get up to speed on the upcoming ICD-10 coding system, you can review the new fact sheet being offered by CMS. I assumed it was going to be dry and technical, but actually found it to be easy to understand, nicely laid out, and informative.

QuadraMed names Bonnie Cassidy VP of Health Information Management Consulting Services, to direct the expansion of QuadraMed’s HIM services business and lead the company’s consulting team. Cassidy is the president-elect of AHIMA and formerly worked for CCHIT in certification development and program delivery.

HHS awards the AHIMA Foundation a $1.2 million grant to continue its state-wide HIE consensus project project.

A study finds that the quality of care provided by retail clinics is on par with physicians’ offices and urgent care centers, yet treatment costs were significantly less, although the study covered only sore throats, ear infections, and UTIs. The cost of care was 30-40% less than in a doctor’s office and 80% lower than in an ER.

osu medical

Oklahoma State University Medical Center selects Lawson S3 Enterprise Financial Management and Supply Chain Management suites. The Medical Center, by the way, was recently purchased from Ardent Health Services by a City of Tulsa trust.

If you are reading HIStalk, you are likely already involved with HIT. Fortunately, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says it’s a good field to find a job in right now, with employment for medical records and HIT technicians expected to grow faster than average for all occupations with an 18% increase through 2016. Within the field, there are different 125 job titles in more than 40 settings, but expect the most opportunities to be in integration, programming, project management, and training.

Stephens Memorial Hospital (TX) plans to add a new EMR in time to qualify for stimulus incentives. The 44-bed hospital will pay CPSI $443,286 for the new technology.

Look for state and local governments to increase their spending on HIT over the next few years. INPUT forecasts that state and local government investment in HIT will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.6% between 2009 and 2014, from today’s 7.6 billion to $9.6 billion. Spending on EMRs will grow from $850 million in 2009 to $1.85 billion in 2014.

As of this week, Medina General Hospital (OH)  is officially affiliated with Cleveland Clinic hospital. Now known as Medina Hospital, the community hospital is receiving $40 million in capital investments from Cleveland Clinic and will implement MyChart within the next year to 18 months.


I am fascinated by this new “intelligent” pill organizer that beeps or calls / e-mails patients (or family members) to alert them to comply with treatment regimens. In addition to reminding patients when to take what medications, the MedMinder also produces weekly or monthly reports of missed medication. It’s being offered to consumers for $77 plus $30/month for support and wireless connection. Sort of pricey if you are on a fixed income, but kids of aging baby boomers might find it a worthy investment for their folks. However, I am sure that plenty of patients will find it annoying and will resent the intrusion.


E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "16 comments" on this Article:

  1. #1) Epic probably paid 50Million+ for that domain name. Good move to whoever profited off that – seems like they can afford it.

    #2) Greenway partnering with Relay(McKesson)…helping the competition co-exist or is another Mckesson acquisition eminent.

    #3) Meditech 6.uhh ohh…. that’s the first time I have heard Mr. H ever say anything other than gleaming about Meditech…btw there is a typo in that blip.

  2. I am hearing alot about Health Information Exchanges. Are they really viable? Are the acute folks wanting to make their data available to the ambulatory side?
    I would love to know what you know about this!

  3. Comment on Back Pocket re Haffty was pretty amusing. I assume the comment moniker is supposed to say it all so I can only assume its from a competing consultant company.

    Let’s be real – MEDITECH doesn’t pay to advertise in magazines, doesn’t lobby like other vendors (do they at all?) and they do their own thing. How do you make money off of that approach if you are a conventional vendor/marketing model? I’ve worked for the other vendors (never MEDITECH however) and they do pay to play. I have no issue with factual information being reported but continued conjecture from the non participants is becoming tiresome. Years ago when Millenium came out if an article came out hinting at issues Cerner would have been all over them. MEDITECH doesn’t appear to operate that way.

    So Haffty commented there was a bit of sensationalism in the article? – well good for him! Doesn’t conjecture belong in an editorial vs. as fact. Some people DO in fact use these articles as their due diligence research – what a shock.

    I did therefore need to disagree with Mr HISTalk’s added comments. In a perfect world there is your type of due diligence. I know many people who have made decisions exactly because of what was written in one article or because Joe down the street has it, Joe got his picture in the paper because of it, Joe was taken golfing for it, dined, ego stroked what ever. Do people want to be John Glaser because he’s incredibly brilliant. Do they dig Halamka because they like his Jobs like black attire? If there was no associated media and fame would they still want to be these guys? This does not even account for the people who are naive and believe the pitch.

  4. Well there’s something that beats the pill minder, there’s CareBot the robot. Actually there have been CPT codes added now to allow for compensation for using telemedicine, and some of the codes include robotics, wild world we are living in today. Robots are not yet real affordable, but they are getting smarter.


    If you check out the link above, there’s the CareBot and I’m showing my age here a bit, but it reminded me of Rosie the Robot from the Jetsons, one of those you have to see to believe and it reminds grandma to watch jeopardy as well as when it is time for her pills. The promo video even shows grandma telling it to go away for a while:)

    The robot has devices built in as well that can take your blood pressure and pulse and a few other goodies too, so Rosie needs a PHR built in to do the full job and comes equipped with full Wifi, and I guess it is what I have to look forward to when I retire, well maybe:)

    The good news though is that they are finally creating codes for payment when interacting and working with home monitoring devices.

  5. What does “problems such as patients not receiving help with eating and a lack of hospital monitoring to check they are well-fed” have to do with rationing? I’d hope that Mr. HISTalk can easily spot a flamebait. but I guess one slipped through…

    [From Mr. HIStalk] Rations=food. It’s a pun by the reader who submitted it. Man, healthcare people are so literal … oh wait, I already said that.

  6. As I am told, the CONNECT code-a-thon was an interesting event last week in DC. Most of the good people in attendance were said to be serious coders.

    I find it interesting that CONNECT has been deployed in the private sector and the press, ever watchful, failed to notice. CONNECT is in production as of July 25th, exchanging patient health records between an HIE and SSA disability claims.

    The people behind the ‘connection’ also opened-sourced a CONNECT installer routine. I would call the meeting, conducted with intense security, ‘meaningful use’ of time.


  7. I am not sure why everyone is so worried out about meaningful use. Look at what is in the ARRA, consider what CMS is most interested in (quality and efficiency) and the mystery fades away. Most of my clients want to be in line first. Many vendors are making that possible by providing software leasing programs, delayed payments and/or contractually agreeing to make sure they can meet the final meaningful use requirements.

  8. Re: non-disclosures. An exercise – How many other hospitals or practices do you have contacts with that are similar to your situation? Clinical/HIS/Imaging/Document Imaging systems?

    Do your vendors encourage you to compare notes and feeds with others? Do they jump at the opportunity for you to ask questions and have a dialogue with other customers?

    To me, an NDA is a move to stiffle this, backhanded-ly, I might add.

  9. The ICD-10 brochure is pure propaganda.

    It doesn’t mention the following ‘facts’ about ICD-10-CM

    1. The official distribution format is PDF. Good luck importing that into your database.

    2. NCHS maintains ICD-10-CM using a word processor.

    3. ICD-10-CM has more codes for disease than SNOMED-CT (if you count all the descendants of the “disease” concept)

    4. There are 318 codes for diabetes mellitus, depending on various things like whether you also have retinopathy, the severity of the retinopathy, and whether you have macular edema with your retinopathy. PCPs will love navigating through 318 search results when all they want is “type 2 diabetes mellitus”.

    5. Diabetic retinopathy does not have its own code. It’s combined with diabetes mellitus into 55 or so other codes. So if you want to find patients with diabetic retinopathy, you have to search on 55 or more ICD-10-CM codes.

    6. ePatient Dave still would not have been helped if ICD-10-CM had been in place. He had spread of kidney cancer to his skull coded as spread to his brain instead. There is still no ICD-10-CM code for metastases to the skull, regardless of the primary cancer.

  10. Rainy Day…maybe your clients ought to be worried about the advice you’re giving them. There is good reason why so many are concerned about what “meaningful use” turns out to be—including those trying to define it. Just because a product says it will do “meaningful use” functions….NO ONE is addressing how DIFFICULT it will be for providers to be able to actually use the product that way…or the impact it will have on them to do the elaborate documentation during patient exams. Are YOU thinking this through…cause if you’re telling your clients that will be a piece of cake…you may be misleading them more than informing them. Tell us how leasing programs, delayed payments or contractual promises fix those problems.

  11. Reefdiver– what standard do you use to determine “Difficulty to use” ? Do you measure by the ability of the “Nintendo generation” to use something or do you measure by the standard of the generation that thought Slinky was cool technology. Due diligence is the responsibility of the person purchasing it as it is always a personal preference and personal standard.

  12. Reefdiver:

    Not sure your experience with EMR/EHR, regulatory work, implementation or design work. But after 28 years in the biz I can figure out pretty easily how to report on hypertension statistics just using simple information. BTW hypertension is one of the reportable elements in meaningful use.

  13. Re Haffty comments concerning the “news story”, Klas and MEDITECH. If you spend the several thousands of dollars to purchase/read the Klas report their “analysis” is based on interviews/surveys with approximately 100 respondents. MEDITECH has 2000+ customers. With only a 100 respondent sample size Klas extrapolated 25% of MEDITECH customers were going to pursue a competitive analysis. Of the 100 respondents did 25 say they were going to look at other vendor options? To suggest 1 in 4 of their customers will assess alternative systems based on that survey sample is outlandish and an effort to manipulate perceptions in the marketplace. I’m sure Klas would be more than happy to share with Mr. HISTalk their sales figures from that report. Accurate. Honest. Impartial??? They are driving a revenue stream in a down economy by doing an opinion piece disguised as real investigative analysis on the vendor with the largest customer base in the industry and most potential buyers for their report.

  14. Dr. Spock, assuming it was a random sample of customers and there was no selection bias, 100 respondents out of ~2000 is plenty. This is statistics 101 stuff.

    Your only argument is that either their questions are misleading or the manner in which they selected hospitals, or in which hospitals self-selected, led to an unrepresentative sample.

    But the sample size is PLENTY.

  15. Re: Meditech KLAS report
    A major part of the report had to do with customer comments that they will indeed seek out the competition’s offerings and price shop before jumping. And this was presented in as a threat and a negative customer perception of Meditech’s 6.0 product. Guess I’m just old school, but I thought this was known as due diligence.

  16. p-anon assumptions aside there are still many questions left un answered concerning the methodology utilized by Klas…how much of the raw survey data was shared in the report?? What type of stratification did the respondents fall into…what was the exact make up of the survey response options provided?

    The amount of inacurracies, negative bent of the opinion and conclusions suggest less than an impartial position..hopefully those who did fork out coin for the report found it of value.

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