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News 12/11/09

December 10, 2009 News 6 Comments

From Mogall: “Re: Sentillion. Word on the street is $200 million for the purchase of Sentillion. It will be interesting to see if anyone hears the Sentillion name again.” If I were guessing, I’d say the name will fade away from widespread use since Microsoft likes its own brand, but the technology and the people will do fine under the Microsoft banner, perhaps jump-starting a concept in which Amalga UIS is the “control panel” that launches various applications and databases and tie them together with CCOW (sort of like making iGoogle or MSN your home page). It’s a good strategy — it’s time for the best-of-breed pendulum to swing back, and visual/virtual integration provides customers with a lot of options, including interoperability. Microsoft has been working with Sentillion since at least early summer, so that peek up their skirt must have stirred up some ideas.

Speaking of which, thanks to Peter Neupert and Rob Seliger for inviting me to chat with them about the acquisition the day before it was announced. A reader had tipped me off, so when Jenn from Sentillion e-mailed to see if I was available, I probably startled her a little by speculating that it must be Microsoft announcement time. I was surprised to see quite a few folks on and reading HIStalk on so early when I posted the article (since I was bound to an after-midnight embargo), so I jotted down some of their locations: UK, Ontario, India, Dubai, Austria, Sri Lanka, Australia, and what must have been a bunch of night shifters or insomniacs right here in the US.

From Fashionista: “Re: Dr. Halamka’s blog. If there was ever a day to read it, today is it. He itemizes each piece of the $1,500 outfit he wore to meetings today … serenity now.” He always says he rarely sleeps, but I think he might need a nap or a jet lag cure judging from his obsessive ensemble: a Gortex suit, a Kevlar shirt, and vegan boots (who knew?), all donned before riding a folding bike to work in sub-freezing Boston blizzard. Maybe the Kevlar is for protection the next time the BIDMC network goes down.

From Tim: “Re: Christmas ornament. Or is that YOUR name?” Inga and I use names sometimes. They aren’t necessarily the ones on our birth certificates, not that it matters.

From TV’s Frank: “Re: AHIP. Surely Karen Ignagni’s hugely oversized income has nothing to do with the health insurance industry and its cost to the system.” She’s the president and CEO of AHIP, a trade group and lobbying organization for insurance companies. According to a Modern Healthcare article, she was paid $1.9 million last year. AHIP lost  $4.6 million after spending $1 million on lobbyists, $2.5 million on lawyers, and $10 million on consultants. AHIP got snippy with a Mother Jones reporter a few weeks back when she asked the company what Ignagni’s coverage and copay is. I’m sure she’s like members of Congress — convinced she is qualified to decide what insurance dozens of millions of us can have, but secure in the knowledge that she’ll never have to stoop so low anyway (that’s Point #16 by Dan Fields – everybody in government should be required to use whatever health system they cobble together for the rest of us).

From Thomas Servo: “Re: Healthvision. A good source says Battery Ventures will close the sale of the company around New Year’s.” Unverified.

From RoadWarrior: “Re: Allina. Heard through the grapevine that they are out for RFP on a new LIS. Rumor is that ‘integration’ has been touted as a high priority, but McKesson and SCC have been engaged.” Unverified.



I mentioned that I like reader pictures related to HIT, so here are a couple from Joe of Clarian Arnett Hospital in Lafayette, IN.

Cerner wins its five-year-old patent dispute with Visicu (now Philips). I enlisted an attorney to give a legal overview of it way back in December 2004.

Keane will implement RCM for Atlantic General Hospital (MD).

Listening: The Volebeats, who must be really obscure since they’re barely on the Web at all. Sounding good, with finely crafted, brooding jangle indie pop like R.E.M. at their best. I’m also anxiously watching the mail for delivery of some DVDs that I didn’t know existed, but now crave: homebrew recordings of Mystery Science Theater 3000, one of my favorite TV shows ever.

Hayes Management Consulting has developed a hospital version of its RAC auditing tool called MDaudit Hospital. Webinar signup is here.

SCI Solutions announces that it signed 51 new contracts with 76 hospitals this year for its Order Facilitator, Schedule Maximizer, and Revenue Accelerator.

CCHIT announces three new board members and five new commissioners: On the board are Lori Evans (ActiveHealth), William Jesse (MGMA), and Stephen Klasko (University of South Florida). New commissioners are Patricia Becker (University HealthSystem Consortium), Barbara Byrne (Edward Hospital), Timothy Elwell (Misys Open Source Solutions), Jay Srini (UPMC), and Grace Terrell (Cornerstone Health Care). That’s a pretty strong lineup considering the heat that CCHIT has been taking. It must have been a quick turnaround for Bobbie Byrne since she just quit her CCHIT job this month, but is now a commissioner.


Vanderbilt joint venture partner Acuitec releases an iPhone version of its Vigilance messaging system for high-acuity providers.

John McInally, formerly of biotech company CollabRX, joins MetroHealth (OH), replacing the retired Vince Miller. He was also CIO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at one time.

A Weird News Andy find, although not a happy one: a woman drinks herself into a stupor while celebrating her 20th birthday and is taken to the ED of Uniontown Hospital (PA). The doctor leaves her passed out on the floor with her legs tucked under her for 12 hours, she claims, with the lack of circulation eventually requiring her legs to be amputated at the knee. She’s suing the hospital and the doctor.

A reader in his early 20s asked me for some education and career advice, also suggesting that a good interview question would be to ask industry veterans what they would do if they were starting fresh in HIT. Feel free to comment or Readers Write me on his behalf.

Kansas, following the federal government’s lead of trying to buy its way out of a recession, throws more money at Cerner and Neal’s soccer team, freeing up an immediate $47 million in cash of its $230 million incentive to start construction on the $414 million project.

Maybe lawyers could be our main export, at least to Singapore. A woman who was overdosed on chemo by a hospital receives a cordial visit of apology from the country’s health minister. She said she was touched. Her husband is philosophical, telling the two pharmacists who made the error, “You will have much more to achieve. Do not allow a single mistake to be a permanent psychological barrier. Just focus on helping more patients and serving them well.” He also urged the hospital not to fire them. I can’t even imagine that here. The injuries from the lawyers trying to leap over each other to get to the bedside would be widespread.

The Georgia inspector general gets involved after Business Computer Applications of Atlanta wins a big contract to develop a prison EMR despite a bid that is double that of eClinicalWorks, the second-ranked vendor. Someone from the Atlanta company hinted to an evaluation team member that he might be hired if BCA got the bid. In fact, it played out exactly that way, with the employee going to work for the vendor less than a month after the company was chosen on the basis of subjective evaluation to which that employee contributed.

Interesting conjecture in Charlie McCall’s case: did his high-powered legal team intentionally allow an attorney to be seated on the jury, knowing they might be able to find something to challenge later just in case he lost? Charlie’s team is demanding a new trial, claiming the jury foreperson, an attorney, improperly defined a term for her fellow jurors. The judge doesn’t seem impressed. “Please, Mr. Wells, you knew when you left her on the jury she was a lawyer … This is such a mess you’re inviting.”

iSoft sells its first PACS system to a customer in Germany. The company also said it may hire up to 500 new employees in Australia. The managing director, in complaining that innovative businesses often are acquired or sold to an overseas company, also admitted that half of iSoft’s 4,700 employees are in India.


The FBI launches a privacy investigation at University Medical Center (NV) after a Las Vegas Sun investigative reporter’s source produces copies of patient face sheets, saying they are regularly being sold to ambulance-chasing lawyers.

ONCHIT chooses members of the Health IT Policy Committee’s privacy and security workgroup.

CMA Consulting Services fires its CEO and former New York state Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno within hours of his conviction on two felony fraud counts. Competing bidders Thomson Reuters and Ingenix protested, the newspaper article says, when CMA was awarded a $159 million contract to build a Medicaid data warehouse despite his indictment earlier this year.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

The VA awards QuadraMed a $24 million contract for its Encoder Product Suite and training services.

MedAssets confirms its 2009 forecast, predicting revenues of $341 to $345 million. The company also forecasts 2010 revenues of $390 to $400 million.

The Georgia Department of Community Health will use recently awarded grant money to create a State Medicaid Health Information Plan, designed to manage incentive programs for EMR adoption. The $3.2 million in federal funds will promote the state’s to give all Medicaid providers access to an EMR and the ability to participate in health information exchange.

Community Memorial Health Systems (CA) selects Allscripts’ EHR, PM, and RCM products. Community Memorial Health System will host applications for 70 contracted physicians and a pilot group of 12 community physicians. The health system will also use technology from dbMotion to allow physicians access to a virtual patient record that includes aggregated clinical information from all the heath system’s computers.

Speaking of dbMotion, the company was chosen to provide an interoperable EHR for the Canadian province of Manitoba. IBM Canada is also participating in the project.

st. vicent's

St. Vincent’s Medical Center (CT) picks Streamline Health’s Contractor Management Solution for workflow management to ensure OSHA compliance. Streamline Health released its third quarter numbers this week: a net loss of $296,000, compared to net income of $15,000 a year ago. Total revenues were $4.1 million, down from $4.4 million.

Streamline Health also negotiated a 45% tax credit from the state of Ohio, valued at about $214,000. The credit will help the company undertake a $2.75 million expansion project expected to create 25 jobs.

A UK study concludes that one in 10 handwritten hospital prescriptions contains a mistake. Poor handwriting, transcribing errors, and ambiguous prescriptions create most of the problems. Most mistakes are minor and few lead to serious patient harm. Not sure if that last part is suppose to make us all feel better.

Hospitalist management company PrimeDoc Management Services signs a three-year contract renewal with Ingenious Medical to provide automated charge capture, practice management, and reporting.

dragon dictation

Nuance introduces a Dragon Dictation app for the iPhone that help users create e-mail, text messages, and notes. Despite the warnings that it downloads and stores all your contact, I added it to my phone. While it’s cool, so far it’s been less than 50% accurate for me. Does it mean I talk funny?


Deck Inga’s e-mail.

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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. RE: CCHIT lineup. Given Klasko’s and Elwell’s ties to Allscripts, and Tullman’s (Allscripts CEO) tie to Obama, maybe CCHIT WILL be the final ARRA certification standard! I’m sure it will be coincidence if Allscripts is one of the first out of the gate to be ARRA certified as soon as final standards are confirmed!

  2. Many of the news stories surrounding the woman with the bilateral amputation imply that she was left for twelve hours without medical care in the ER. From this article (which appears to be more complete), it seems as though her twelve hours not moving was spent at home, before she was taken in to the ER. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/regional/fayette/s_656888.html

    Still a tragic story, but perhaps not as terrible as the news reports imply.

  3. RE: UK study on handwritten prescriptions. I was floored as a new nurse watching one unit clerk, two nurses, and the nurse manager gathered around a chart for 20 minutes trying to decipher doctor’s orders. I took a look and could see that the handwriting was just little ants footprints scrawled across the page. When I said that we should call the doctor to clarify, they were all vigorously opposed because he “yells at them” when they call him for clarification. I am proud to be at a CPOE hospital now.

  4. I spelled the drug wrong, thus, it is a mistake, according to the study.

    According to MedMarx, electronic prescribing errors are becoming tops on the list of errors. Such errors are insidious and dangerous because the computer is always right.

  5. Regarding CCHIT’s new commissioners: Jay Srini was a former HIMSS board member (2008) and was INSTRUMENTAL in shaping HIMSS’ first Mid East conference in 2009. It was a bust for HIMSS (they lost money), but a HUGE investment for Siemens and other Corporate EHRVA vendors, who were also partners for the conference.

    Is HIMSS consider a tax-exempt, nonprofit when they venture overseas?

    Has a anyone seen Senator Grassley’s latest request to healthcare orgs? I wonder if HIMSS, EHRVA, AHIMA and CCHIT are on that list. All are recipients of large grants, and receive funding through their “foundations”.

    I wonder how H. Stephen Lieber, HIMSS CEO, sleeps at night?

  6. I read with interest your unbiased reports and the thoughtful reader comments, especially those of other nurses. I work in hospitals that have varying degrees of computerization. What I have found is that increased computerization is directly proportional to less time with the patient and inversely proportional to effective use of nursing time, mainly due to useless box clicking to document patient care. This is not what medical nursing is all about. The money being spent on computerization is money not well spent.

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