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September 22, 2009 News 11 Comments


From Shane O’Keefe: “Re: Boingboing. Healthcare UI is on it it today.” It’s a Minnesota HHS app screen shot. I thought sure it was from my hospital since we’ve got an app that’s a dead ringer, PF keys and all. One of our clinical apps at a hospital I worked at jumped from merely unattractive and clunky screens to what nurses called “the DOS screen,” some kind of function the vendor must have slapped in there in the early 1990s without ever finishing it. Every time a group got trained, you could stand outside the door and hear the universal gasp when it came up, a moment every bit as horrifying as the chest buster scene in Alien.


From The PACS Designer: “Re: search in 3D. If you want to save some clicks while searching and scrolling for information, try SpaceTime 3D. TPD entered HIStalk in the search box and selected Who is Mr. HIStalk and got some interesting links about our Mr. H. and his fame in the healthcare space!” Now that’s pretty darned cool. I was captivated at being able to flip through images of Web pages with the scroll wheel, although maybe the attraction was that I was reading about me.

From Barb Wyerr: “Re: CCR data exchange between practices in Wisconsin. I am a physician interested in learning who accomplished this task.” I didn’t get the name from the rumor reporter, so shoot it over if you know. Thanks.

From Raphel Cherry: “Re: Accretive Health. They are indeed a rising star in the area of revenue cycle management. They perform end-to-end accounts receivable process enhancement for hospitals, working closely as a partner with the internal staff rather than an outsourcing service. Their forte is analyzing PPO contracts between insurance companies and hospitals. The system they developed for this is very effective at finding areas of discrepancy between the contracts’ stated amount and actual reimbursement, giving hospitals an edge in appealing claims. It’s a good value proposition for the hospitals because they only charge a percentage of the incremental revenue recovered. So far they have invested very little in marketing because they have been able to build a strong backlog on word-of-mouth referrals.” I notice that its Web site is not only primitive, it’s running a DotNuke add-in that has a lapsed license (it comes up first thing when you Google the company). They must be real tightwads, a characteristic I admire in a business.

From Hilton Valentine:
“Re: Accretive Health. I believe Accretive Health is owned or at least partially owned by Ascension Health. Ascension essentially seeded it by outsourcing revenue cycle work and workers from Ascension Health Hospitals in Michigan and Indiana. They have consolidated those people, systems and processes from their not-for-profit hospitals and I believe their long-term goal was to also provide services outside of Ascension Health and take the company public.” I think you are right. Accretive is listed among the many, many portfolio holdings of Ascension Health Ventures. Ascension is obviously doing just fine and about to do a lot better after the IPO. In snooping through Ascension’s tax records, I believe we have a new winner in the highest paid non-profit hospital CIO category – $803K. The legal counsel,  CMO, and several VPs make over $1 million, the CFO nearly $2 million, and the CEO over $2.5 million. It spent $700K on lobbying and has its own advocacy department. All are puzzled about how to bring exorbitant healthcare costs down.

From Billy Bear: “Re: ACS. They have mandated a one week ‘furlough’ for all employees. In other words, an enforced week’s vacation without pay. In a generous gesture, the Tucson based Midas+ division management negotiated to take the burden on themselves with a two week ‘furlough’ each. Meanwhile ACS posted a profit of $97.5 million on revenue of $1.696 billion in its fiscal fourth quarter.That’s down from a profit of $98.6 million in same period in 2008, but despite the economic downturn, ACS had its second-best quarter ever in terms of new business signings. It added accounts valued at $271 million.” Unverified.

Salar, the Baltimore clinical document solutions vendor I mentioned the other day, is named one of Baltimore’s Best Places to Work. The Fells Point company is hiring, their spokesperson let me know, and among its clients are Johns Hopkins, UMass, UPMC, and George Washington. 

My doctor’s EMR pleased me again. I got an e-mail yesterday that my lab results were in. Clicked the link, signed into the portal, and not only were all my results there, my doc had put a comment at the top of each set, adding stuff like “looks good”, “everything’s normal”, etc. I thought it was very cool, like getting another session with my doc without having to drive and fork over a co-pay.

Cerner shares are on a tear once again, screaming up to $75.17 at Tuesday’s close. That values the whole shebang at over $6 billion and Neal Patterson’s shares at an amazing $420 million. One analyst speculates that Dell wants to get into the software business and might be interested in Cerner, CPSI, or Eclipsys.

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Mark Amey, formerly of Ascension Health, is named CIO over several healthcare units of University of Southern California. Don’t blame me for scalping Mark in the picture – it was some kind of arty USC photographer.

HIMSS announces the 2009 Davies winners: MultiCare Health System, Tacoma, WA (organizational); Virginia Women’s Center, Richmond, VA (ambulatory); and Urban Health Plan, New York, NY and Hearts of Texas, Waco, TX (community health). 

Listening: reader-recommended Anberlin, hard-rocking emo from Winter Haven, FL. On tour now crisscrossing all over the US. I like it when readers say, “I think you’d like this” and I do.

This is one of the most bizarre HIT-related press releases I’ve seen. The MyMedicalRecords PHR people proudly announce that they’ve paid $250,000 for an 80-million person marketing database (provided by a company whose Web site doesn’t even work). Tons of irrelevant and frankly embarrassing details are included, like how the company will pay for it, how annoyed spam recipients can unsubscribe, that they bought cell phone numbers along with the usual e-mail and street addresses, and how competitors can’t use the same database. So, let’s review: would you trust your sensitive healthcare information to a company that brags on its newfound spamming capabilities? What the hell were their PR people thinking? 

Australia’s health department cancels a contract for a desktop software package that would have provided stopgap interoperability functionality. The biggest practice management vendor decided not to participate, saying the timeline was too short and the budget too small. “Clearly, this is just another little pilot where the initial work consumes the whole budget, and there is no provision for ongoing support.”

Nobody had much to say about Dell’s acquiring Perot. Here’s your chance. I’ll probably run a Readers Write on Wednesday, so feel free send me your opinion piece. Who wins and loses? Does Dell do another healthcare acquisition? And since grabbing up consulting companies seems to be cyclically imitative, who else might buy or sell?

Speaking of Perot, the family will supposedly make $400 million on the sale, boosting the $2 billion fortune of Ross Junior and the $5 billion pile of Ross Senior. There’s that theory that even if you redistributed all the country’s wealth evenly, the same tiny percentage of people who have it now would get it all back in a few decades. I tend to believe that.

Blessing Hospital (IL) integrates its AtStaff ClairVia patient acuity system with its EMR to calculate acuity and workload on the fly from patient assessments.


A WebMD co-founder is involved with a startup called SampleMD that will replace traditional doctor drug samples with downloadable vouchers and co-pay coupons that are sent directly from doctors to pharmacies. Sounds good other than that pharma will get even more prescribing and patient data that’s none of their business.

Thanks to Kermit, who e-mailed me bright early Monday morning about the Dell-Perot deal, allowing me to scoop all the pros, which being shallow and insecure, makes me happy.

A BIDMC doctor wants patients to read the notes that doctors record in the chart, electronically or otherwise, and urges removing obstacles such as high copying costs or requiring the chart to be read only in the doctor’s presence. Mentioned is a $1.5 million national study that will see how doctors and patients like it when patients can read the chart notes.


Weird News Andy mines this gem: an ED nurse is handcuffed by a Chicago police officer and locked in his squad car after she tells him he can’t get blood samples from a DUI suspect until they’re admitted. She’s suing, saying, “We work hard. We get abused. We get yelled at. We get, you know, beat up. And to have a police officer treat an emergency room nurse that way goes against so many things.”

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

Picis is declared the winner of a live “Chart-Off” during the California Emergency Physician Annual Partnership Meeting. The challenge pitted EDIS vendors against each other in documenting an electronic patient record, with Picis ED PulseCheck winning over competitors that included Cerner, Wellsoft, and T-System.

Schuylkill Health (PA) deploys SafeTrace Tx transfusion management software, which is offered through Global Med Technologies and its Wyndgate Technologies division.

Rex Healthcare (NC) signs a multi-year agreement with MEDSEEK to design and implement a clinical portal.

Apparently the locals are pleased by the economic boon provided by Epic’s annual user conference, which started Tuesday. The 3,600 attendees are expected to provide a $2.5 million boost to the economy. As I wore my boots this weekend, I thought about all the fun events planned for the the Wild West-themed meeting: horse and carriage rides, a tug-of-war tournament, mechanical bull rides, and a cow-chip tossing. Yee-haw!

comm hospital south

Community Hospital South (IN) goes live on GE Centricity Enterprise 6.1 and Monitored Care. The combined solutions will help the hospital capture clinical and medical device data into their existing Centricity EMR system.

Two new healthcare systems successfully launch Siemens Soarian Clinicals: Ingalls Health System (IL) and St. Peter’s Hospital (NY), both of which went live in the spring.

Quality Systems, the parent company of NextGen, appoints Philip N. Kaplan COO of NextGen and the QSI dental unit. Kaplan resigned as a board member in order to take over the COO role. Craig A. Barbarosh, an attorney who specializes in organizational restructuring, becomes NextGen’s newest board member.

I got my first news bit from Weird News Andy, who said, “If ANYBODY would be interested in this, it would be you.” Apparently there’s a movement afoot (no pun intended) in the UK to ban stiletto heels in the workplace. Which is obviously just plan wrong and a violation of women’s civil rights, as suggested by the proposal’s critics. The gals on my side argue that stiletto heels give women a power advantage in male-dominated workplaces because the shoes make them appear taller and enhance their sex appeal. Someone needs to throw shoes at those crazies supporting function over fashion.

KLAS adds four members to its advisory board: Russell Branzell, CIO, Poudre Valley Health System; Chuck Christian, CIO, Good Samaritan; Jessica Grosset, CIO, Mayo Clinic; and Rasu Shrestha, chief of enterprise imaging software, UPMC.

Speaking of KLAS, the prolific research firm’s latest report looks at customer satisfaction for hospital staffing software, finding a significant gap between the vendor solutions favored by nurses and other stakeholders. Nurses prefer RES-Q Labor Resource Management and McKesson ANSOS One-Staff. Kronos Workforce Scheduler is their least favorite option. On the other hand, the financial and HR people types strongly favor Kronos over other options for its strong reporting capabilities and anticipated cost savings. That probably makes sense both ways.

MEDHOST is selected to provide the ED solution for Cox Healthcare (MO).


IASIS Healthcare goes live with the Medicity Novo Grid in two of its six regions. The implementation facilitates health information exchange between IASIS and providers, regardless of whether the providers use electronic or paper records.

If you are wondering how US healthcare compares to the rest of the word, this article includes a number of “real-life” anecdotes from American travelers. For the most part, patients reported care was good and much cheaper than comparable services in the US.

ACS State Healthcare wins a $4.5 million, two-year deal to develop the Kentucky HIE.

Blessing Hospital (IL) goes live on AtStaff’s ClairVia Patient Acuity system, which is integrated with the hospital’s Eclipsys EMR.

Officials at Phoenix Children’s Hospital calculate a $140,000 savings in license fees after implementing Orion Health’s Rhapsody Integration Engine. The hospital made monitor data available to clinicians within the hospitals. They’re adding a second Rhapsody interface, this one to establish bi-directional information exchange between the pharmacy application and EMR for another $180,000 in savings.

The local paper provides detail on the McKesson EMR go-live at Three Rivers Health (MI).

CareTech Solutions partners with Peak Positions to provide a turnkey organic SEO program to improve the search engine ranking of hospital Web sites.


This new iPhone case looks pretty handy, complete with its flash option and credit card holder. All it needs is a removable side pack for lipstick.

E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "11 comments" on this Article:

  1. J J Wild worked hand in hand with Meditech. Perot buys J J Wild. Dell buys Perot. Dell goes after healthcare software company….?

    Meditech is privately held but so was J J Wild.

  2. Re: “Re: Boingboing. Healthcare UI is on it it today”

    I’d rather have those, if they work, than these GUI screens:


    GUI’s don’t take the place of proper user interaction design. Ironically, in IT there is far more time spent tweaking and debating the nuances of the user experience of Windows XP/Vista/7 vs. Mac OS X vs. Linux and our cellphones and PDA’s then the tools physicians must use to take care of patients.

    Very sad.

  3. I agree with the ties to Mtech. I would agree that Mtech, CPSI, HMS, and even Healthland (owned by a VC) would be options. One of the main issues with all of these is while there systems are mature, they are all proprietary in some form or fashion and oudated from a tech perspective. However, a big company like a Dell has the expertise and resources to retool any one of those and bring them into the 21st century. One thing to keep in mind is all of these have very stable continuous revenue so a big firm could purchase, take a few years to retool, and then hit the market with something new.

  4. RE: Dell acquisition of Perot

    I am curious about this as Perot has been aligning itself with GE for quite sometime. Even going so far as to recommend GE to customers. Does Dell begin to partner more with GE now?

    And to the ever so constant rumors of a Cerner acquisition…I will believe it when I see it. It seems annually this happens with their stock that a purchase is coming soon (Oracle, Cisco, Dell, McKesson, etc)…but it never happens. Out of any possible suitor…what makes the most sense? My money was on Oracle, but it could potentially alienate their revenue streams they have with many other Healthcare vendors who use Oracle databases. I just can’t see Cisco and Dell purchasing them before an HP or IBM (especially since IBM has been so adamant about getting into the Healthcare business). And we all know the ship sailed on McKesson when not only the HBOC debacle happened, but they went another lesser expensive route for their clinical software (considering that’s about 99% of what Cerner is…).

  5. Did My Medical Records really just announce they are going to spam us? And that the spammer gets a cut of the deal if we sign up?

  6. RE: Hawkings what an A-hole you are! Instead of an occult insult to our host, why do you try to contribute something of IT value to enlighten us all.

    I am noticed more and more inconsiderate A-hole responders to this blog and if you don’t like what you read then don’t bother visiting this blog. Inga, the case you noted is a cute and thoughtful gesture and would do a fine job of protecting my iPhone. Whatever happened to simple manners in this country?

  7. As online communities grow, they tend to grow meaner. It can get a lot worse unfortunately.

    I love listening to the StackOverflow podcast and one thing I find interesting: both hosts have subscriber bases in the 100K+ area and they have repeatedly discussed how much negative feedback they get after posting to their blog. Sometimes after making a controversial comment they’ll say “uh-oh, I’m going to get a lot of emails about that.” It’s just what happens.

    Unfortunately I don’t have anything helpful to say, except, sorry, there’s going to be more where that came from.

  8. RE: Hawkings what an A-hole you are! Instead of an occult insult to our host, why do you try to contribute something of IT value to enlighten us all.

    I am noticed more and more inconsiderate A-hole responders to this blog and if you don’t like what you read then don’t bother visiting this blog. Inga, the case you noted is a cute and thoughtful gesture and would do a fine job of protecting my iPhone. Whatever happened to simple manners in this country?

    Manners may be dead, but irony is thriving.

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