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October 27, 2009 News 17 Comments

From Midnight Oil: “Re: Australia. The South Australian Department of Health has posted a notice on its Web site for a Vendor Conference on November 13. The RFP, to be issued in mid-December, is for a full EPAS (enterprise Patient Administration System aka HIS) and an EHR, plus Billing, Mental Health, Oncology and ED as optional components.”

From The PACS Designer: “Re: Windows 7. TPD was thinking of buying Windows 7 to load on a laptop, but now will wait based on what PC World had to say about it. It appears that the install procedure has several flaws in it, thus frustrating buyers of this new operating system. A major flaw is not recognizing the product number after entering it as instructed by the program!” I think many of the problems came from that student discount version that I have a coupon for, which had some kind of snafu with Digital River’s download package. In the mean time, I installed a Snow Leopard upgrade the other day without doing anything more than starting it and checking back a few minutes later to make sure it finished. And unlike the XP-to-Win7 “upgrade,” it did not require a fresh install. Advantage: Apple.


From HISFan32: “Re: Waterbury Hospital. Despite having spent mucho dinero on a consultant over the last five months to evaluate Meditech, WH has decided to retain Cerner on a RHO basis. Why they wasted money on this foolish endeavor is beyond reason. They had only had a successful install of Cerner only a few years ago.”  

srs  srslogo

SRSsoft of Montvale, NJ has become a Platinum Sponsor of HIStalk, which Inga and I appreciate very much. The company offers a hybrid EMR (“specifically designed for high-performance, high-volume, high-revenue practices”) that focuses on workflow, not physician data entry, and thus enjoys a 100% adoption rate. Their site contains 106 testimonials that include the practitioner’s name and location (don’t you hate anonymous product testimonials that you can’t check?) CEO Evan Steele’s blog, EMR Straight Talk, is here. I’m impressed with the executive team’s credentials (lots of Ivy Leaguers, a former naval aviator who served in Vietnam, and even a sales EVP who has a Harvard MBA). Thanks to those folks for supporting HIStalk. I was going to take their six-question Stimulus IQ Test, but I was afraid I’d do poorly and would have to disclose that fact.

The Coalition for Patient Privacy urges HHS (warning: PDF) to repeal its HITECH interim rule covering breach notification, complaining that organizations involved in a breach don’t have to notify anyone if, in their judgment, those people whose information was compromised won’t be harmed by the exposure.

Professor Jon Patrick of the University of Sydney says the government should cultivate development of local open source expertise instead of importing proprietary software that wasn’t designed for Australia’s health system. I asked if he’d heard more about why the University pulled his article critical of an ED system implementation offline last week, but he still doesn’t know.

McKesson announces Q2 numbers after the bell: revenue up 2%, EPS $1.13 vs. $1.19, which beat expectations. Shares are up a little in after hours trading.

Speaking of McKesson, former HBOC chairman Charlie McCall is on trial again in San Francisco. The US attorney claims Charlie and general counsel Jay Lapine cooked the books to inflate revenue right before McKesson insanely bought HBO & Company for $14.5 billion in 1998 (nearly 40 times even the phony earnings), only to see its own shareholder value drop 48% just months later when the house of cards collapsed. McKesson shares still haven’t recovered from the mini-Enron, priced today lower than in their pre-HBOC heyday in 1998 (not to mention the nearly $1 billion McKesson paid in 2005 to settle shareholder lawsuits). Charlie’s mouthpiece told the jury today that his man was wronged by his trusted lieutenants, who conspired without his knowledge to write side letters and recognize phony revenue. That mouthpiece, of course, has an impeccable track record of defending those accused of white collar crime, including former labor secretary Ray Donovan, former agriculture Mike Espy, former Cheney chief of staff Scooter Libby, junk bond king Michael Milken, and the corporations behind the Exxon Valdez environmental disaster. He got Charlie and Jay an acquittal on one charge and a mistrial on the others in 2006, so here they are again in a retrial. Not to be pessimistic, but I feel sorry for a barely-six-figures assistant attorney who has to butt heads with Charlie’s uber-expensive dream team.

Cerner and Eclipsys are the final two vendors being considered to implement clinical systems for Sidra Medical and Research Center in Qatar. It must feel odd not to see Epic sitting across the table.

Speaking of Cerner, Hospital de Denia is the first in Spain to move to a single-vendor EMR, using Millennium.


Vocera ships its first smart phone, developed by Motorola and running Windows Mobile. It supports dual-band wireless networking and supports a fixed number and role-based permissions. It does not look like a Star Trek communicator, however, unlike the original Vocera badge device.

The Wall Street Journal lists the HIT vendors that were sent Senator Chuck Grassley’s letter asking for contract and product defect information: 3M, Allscripts, Cerner, Cognizant, CSC, Eclipsys, Epic, McKesson, Perot, and Philips. I’m not sure why some of those companies were included since they don’t sell inpatient EMRs (and what about Meditech, QuadraMed, Siemens, IntraNexus, Healthland, etc.?) Maybe he actually got complaints about these specific 10, which seems unlikely. This will be fascinating to watch in any case – what will the fiercely independent and reclusive Judy Faulkner do? And will the CEOs make nice long enough to ask each other whether they plan to comply and to what extent?

Thanks to Health Data Management writer Joe Goedert, who credited HIStalk in his story about the CalOptima data breach. Lots and lots of press get their ideas and sometimes their actual stories from here, but it’s uncommon for them to give credit. He and I have swapped e-mails a couple of times and I consider him first rate.

A reader forwarded a technical alert from McKesson that warns Horizon Clinical Infrastructure clients that hard-coded passwords were posted on the Internet. I found the document refreshingly free of mumbo jumbo as it listed some user actions that hopefully aren’t new to anyone technical since they are basic auditing stuff: check your firewall, disable TELNET, enable SSH, and change system-level and Oracle passwords. I’m no security expert, but the exposure seems minimal — any bad guy would need to penetrate the firewall and get into the application or database server to do any harm (the passwords don’t work from the application, I assume). Most interesting to me was the reminder that McKesson’s documentation is “Produced in Ireland,” as it says at the bottom of the notice. That always strikes me as both odd and fascinating. I may need to inspect the facility first-hand at someone else’s expense to augment Senator Grassley’s inquiry.


A cardiac hospital in Malaysia goes live with the myCare2x open source hospital information system. You can run the demo system live here, although it didn’t work for me in Firefox but did in Chrome.

Some nice news on QuadraMed CPR, which got four new sales. Everybody always forgets about them as a clinical systems player, but in the last system selection I was involved with (admittedly years ago), our nurses and I liked their product better than those of the competition (although it was Per-Se Patient1 at the time and we weren’t sold on the company). Shares are close to a 52-week high.

Kaiser Permanente will start a pilot in January in which it will exchange patient information electronically with systems from the VA and DoD (that comment is way down the page in the next-to-last paragraph of the story, but I don’t think I’ve heard it until now).

iPhone clinical alert vendor Voalte is profiled in its hometown paper in Sarasota, FL, along with its customer Sarasota Memorial Hospital. The reporter noticed the pink pants the Voalte people wore at HIMSS. 

Dossia announces that its PHR can now manage information for both employees and their dependents.

The Wii Fit is the first computer game to be endorsed by British government, specifically the NHS. Nintendo will use the NHS’s Change4Life logo in its advertising. I can say first hand that it’s amazing, especially now that other really good fitness software has come out that uses the Wii console and the balance board (Wii Fit Plus, Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout, Active Life Outdoor Challenge, My Fitness Coach, etc.)

Odd lawsuit: Nevada’s controlled substance prescription database flags a woman buying large quantities of hydrocodone and Soma, so the Board of Pharmacy sends letters to 14 Las Vegas pharmacies warning them that she could be a drug abuser. A year later, the impaired woman runs over a motorist changing a tire on a highway shoulder, killing him and seriously injuring another man who was helping him. The survivor and family of the deceased man are suing Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and other pharmacies, claiming they shouldn’t have filled her prescriptions after receiving the state’s warning. Drugstores say they’ll get sued by both sides: for refusing to fill questionable prescriptions or for filling them for someone who later causes harm.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

Peeking doesn’t pay, as evidenced by the federal sentences handed down to three Arkansas healthcare workers. A physician and two hospital workers are ordered to pay fines and are sentenced to probation after improperly accessing the medical records of a slain TV reporter. The doctor received the harshest judgment, which included one year of probation, a $5,000 fine, and 50 hours of community service educating professionals on HIPAA.


Carroll Hospital Center (MD) implements multiple applications from Lawson Software, including enterprise financial management and asset management suites, Lawson Business Intelligence, and HR management suite.

Picis says that over the last two quarters, six large IDNs have contracted for the Picis LYNX E/Point revenue management solution. Picis also announces it has extended its relationship with The Sullivan Group, a provider of risk management and performance solutions for EDs. Under the multi-year agreement, the companies will integrate the Sullivan Group’s risk management content with Picis ED PulseCheck.

first daughter

I normally wouldn’t mention a news piece like the article above, posted on Foxnews.com. However, the headline caught my attention and I think some of Mr. H’s grammar and spelling snarkiness must be rubbing off on me.

Blood Bank of Alaska selects Mediware’s LifeTrak Technology for blood donor management.

Virtua, a multi-hospital healthcare system in New Jersey, selects NextGen EHR for its Medical Group network. In addition to implementing NextGen across its 23 locations, Virtua will offer NextGen EHR to its community-based physicians.

best places

Congratulations to all the employers named to Modern Healthcare’s 100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare. Sadly, HIStalk came in at #101 and thus failed to be mentioned. But, Mr. H says it was an honor to be nominated.

When it opens its doors next year, The Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center (CA) will use the latest oncology products from Elekta. This includes EMR, workflow management systems, and treatment planning.

The Brooklyn Hospital Center (NY) contracts for several Eclipsys Sunrise applications.

Privately held Sunquest Information Systems reports that its fiscal year 2009 (ending May 31) was the most successful one in its 30-year history. Its FY2010 first quarter was also strong, with sales up 30% from the previous year.

Rhode Island becomes the first state to use e-prescribing records to track the spread of swine flu statewide. A brilliant example of using HIT to improve patient care (although the tracking is based on prescriptions of Tamiflu and other antivirals). Maybe things are different in Rhode Island, but in many parts of the country, physicians are reluctant to prescribe antivirals, so maybe the data isn’t all that helpful (although the directional trend may be valid). Still, I like that someone is at least trying to use that data for more than tracking prescribing trends.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson names the NM Health Information Collaborative the state’s official HIE. The organization will partner with MedPlus to create the HIE infrastructure to connect with physicians.


Rex Healthcare (NC) introduces Rex Express Care urgent care clinic wait meter for smart phones. This handy application (with a long name) provides instant wait time information for each of Rex’s three urgent care clinics. Great idea , but more importantly, it has helped me come up with an even better application. You know how the airlines will send you a text or e-mail telling you the status of your flight? How about an application that sends a similar note saying whether or not your doctor is running on time? Just think how handy it would be to know your doctor is 30 minutes behind so you have extra time to keep working or to stop off for a Starbucks. I’m sure it could be automated to some sort of appointment scheduling system. Feel free to steal my idea as long as you call it the Inga Meter.

The New York eHealth Collaborative appoints David L. Whitlinger its new executive director. The organization also announces it has received a $35 million grant from the State of New York to support the NYeC’s efforts to advance HIT implementations.

Regular HIStalk reader Jon Wikstrom sent over a note saying he has posted an album to Pandora. “You were the first person who ever made me aware of Pandora, though there seems to be wide recognition of it now whenever I mention it to someone.” I guess I mentioned Pandora a year or more ago, when I first set up IngaRadio (which is still out there, by the way.) Jon’s got some sweet vocals (in a James Taylor-ish way) with some jazzy influence. It may not be edgy enough for those favoring Mr. H’s picks, but I’d give it a thumbs up.


E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "17 comments" on this Article:

  1. Although I think they *ought* to have been immunized early and often, there is NO WAY the Obama girls followed the procedures that everyone else did to get their flu shots. It defies the odds.

    I’ve run a pediatric mailing list for almost 15 years and the stories the last two weeks (plus the dozens of stories I have from clients) about the swine flu distribution debacle are among the most frustrating and compelling I’ve ever heard.

    Read this thread from a mom in PA who gets the total run around about where to get her vaccines. Or look at the dozens of threads on the issue in general.

    As it relates to IT, here are two things you may not know:

    – For two weeks, the major clearinghouses REJECTED the new swine flu codes. That’s right, they just kicked them out. At least one of the major clearinghouses didn’t/wouldn’t even resubmit the claims.

    – Most of the immunization registries aren’t equipped to deal with submissions. A lot of the kids getting the shots have never been entered in the registries before (they’re >10yo, for example), so the submission gets kicked out when the state doesn’t recognize the kid.

    Worse, *the overwhelming majority* of EHRs and PMs don’t submit to registries. So, imagine doing your public service and collecting $6 per flu shot on some weekend and hammering out 750 kids…and then having to HAND ENTER all that data into your crappy state IIS (lot number, shot location, etc.).

    No wonder no one wants to be a pediatrician any more.

    Sorry, soapbox time. Add the anti-vaccer conspiracy theorists to the mix and it makes me want to work for plastic surgeons.

  2. Joe Goedert has been an outstanding healthcare reporter and writer for MANY years; there’s not a better man or more hard-working guy in the industry.
    Ford (and you can use my name!)

  3. Chip Hart,

    Before you get too upset about EHR and PMs not being able to access registries, remember each state created their own registry for immunization information. They had no regard for what other states had already set up, so each one was unique. There also was no help process established, testing and results has been spotty, etc etc. On this matter, the vendors should be cut some slack don’t you think ?

  4. re: QCPR. I am still shocked every time I see someone purchase this system. There has been 0 investment in it over the past few years (including the misys days), it’s not HIPAA-compliant (doesnt log activity, just whose chart your accessing), and , at least in the version we use, has no protection against losing your work. You can have worked on an ambcare note, and mistakenly click on the “x” next to the patient name, and there’s no warning “do you want to save your work”, say, like there’s been in Word since it’s existence- you just lose everything. In our experience, every new feature has been home grown, and I still dont think they’ve made it over to Cache.

  5. QCPR has made it over to Cache. I like the product. It is a true closed loop medication management system with Rx and Clinical Documentation in one database. This is major stumbling block for a lot of the systems out there.

    I will say that the “NEW” clients for QuaraMed are not so “NEW”. Most of them have been Affinity clients for years that QuadraMed is forcing to move to QCPR. Just a little misleading on the “NEW” QuadraMed client spin.

    As for the above listed product, “deficiencies”, I would like to have QuadraMed respond as those seem like issues that should be addressed.

  6. Grizzled Vet:

    Eh, lame vendor excuse. About 25 of the registries all use the same Wisconsin-based model, so you’d cover about 1/2 the states with more-or-less one interface.

    Yes, some of the registries really suck (NJ, for instance). And some of them have clearly been designed by people who really don’t know how to do their jobs. [“What, we have one kid in this batch of 1000 immunizations missing a required middle name? Throw out the batch!”] I think the registries themselves are primarily to blame for the problems related to Swine Flu recording, not the vendors.

    However, some of the registries have been operating well, with support, for a long time (AZ, MI, NYC, to name 3). There are even 3? of them now doing bi-directional work, which is really cool.

    The bottom line is that the registry interfaces would be written if peds represented more money to the EHRs and PMs. Which they don’t. Boo hoo, human nature, I know.

  7. Mothers are a more reliable keepers of medical records than the $ billion dollar devices. Invest in humans, not code. Invest in books and paper.

    Patient had heart ultrasound in 1993. No medical follow up. Chest pain in 2009 after bringing down a buck (hunting). ER advises medical evaluation. Patient finds name of doctor who interpreted the 1993 test. Looks up name in phone book and calls. Brings in the report from 1993. Wants a comparison with updated test. Mother saved key reports under plastic. How do you like that?

    Call hospital for x-rays and records on computer and paper. Can not find.


  8. Re: Sunquest

    Not only did they lay off half of the staff, they’re also closing off the top floor of the building and moving the staff downstairs to cut down on power costs. As far as I know, there are no current plans to sub-lease, but don’t be surprised if that comes soon.

  9. RE: Cerner vs. Eclipsys at Sidra. A little desert camel tells me that Cerner is very confident. However, the politics of the Middle East are shifting sands and maybe New York Presbyterian gang might exert an influence on the predominant British, Canadian and Australian IT team lead by an American CIO.
    Her Majesty has placed a deadline on the opening of the acute care Women & Children’s hospital and completion on time will be miraculous – personal opinion. Although Sidra does not need HITECH funds, will they be ready for Meaningful Use and Medical Tourism?

  10. The comments section is become less and less of a repository for squelching rumors, expounding on hot topics, and carrying on healthy debates. Some of these comments sound like the Westboro Baptist Church…

  11. Hey, PezMan, did your irony detector break? Glad you could contribute in a positive way yourself.

    If I’m not clear, I really don’t appreciate being associated with a bunch of homophobes and religious wackos. You have no idea how offensive that is to me.

    I guess you just created a corollary to Godwin’s Law.

  12. Chip – I suspect you haven’t been paying attention to the past few weeks of psycho babble that has come from some of the posters on this board. They are so far out there and so incorrect & in a small minority it’s outstanding. I am not going to go and point out specifically who is like this, but I think you can figure out pretty easily who this is… They just shout their opinions without any fact just like Westboro Baptist Church does in their own right…it was not meant as a direct correlation in topic.

  13. I’ve paid plenty of attention to the comments on this board – they’re often like nearly any WWW-based comment board I’ve ever seen, from my local paper to EHRupdate…their best use is for personal amusement.

    Given that I had posted 2x to this thread, and at length, it was easy to assume that you were referring to me.

  14. No Chip…not you at all. It is Suzie’s outbursts in every Mr. H post for the past month. She makes all these random & baseless comments. It sounds like Westboro in the fact that they hold onto such ridiculously conservative & out there beliefs, much like she does concerning HIT. Everything is a conspiracy and there is no way we can ever change…ever.

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