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January 14, 2010 News 10 Comments

HERtak by Inga

From: TV Critic “Re: ‘Biggest Loser’ Loses Paper with help of GE’s EMR. Did you see this – actually pretty good marketing! Reminds me of 30Rock and all their corporate synergies.  Hmmm… maybe they could do a Mercy showing the nurses getting mad at the docs for not using CPOE, or a Law and Order on people who violate HIPAA, or a new Hero who has the ‘ability’ to actually use an EMR efficiently :)” It’s a curious world we live in. Perhaps they could do an American Idol and the “winner” would be the provider that documents the most complete chart at the point of care. Also curious: the only link I could find to this article was in the Ethiopian Review. I would have never guessed that Ethiopians were fans of Biggest Loser.

From: Trouble Brewing “Re: Ambulatory physician eligibility for ARRA. Thanks for providing the additional explanation about how a  hospital-based EP is defined. Lots of physicians and hospital administrators are not happy with the likelihood that a big segment of the physician population will be left out in the cold.” I’ve heard similar feedback. The committee reasoned that if the physician was using hospital owned clinics or facilities, they would most likely be paying for their own EHR. Maybe true, maybe not. If the hospital is paying for the physicians’ EHR and no one is eligible for stimulus funds, wouldn’t a hospital be inclined to make ambulatory EHR a lower priority and instead follow the money? I suspect we’ll hear more on this topic.

I’m flying solo today while Mr. H is out and about. I’m actually not sure what he is doing but I hope it is something fun.


Siemens names Eric Spiegel CEO and president, taking over for the retiring George Nolen.The official press release hails Spiegel a top influential international management consultant and energy expert who previously served as SVP and senior partner at Booz & Co. I didn’t note anything in his background related to healthcare, by the way.

The NIST awards Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. a $400,000 contract to help develop a testing method and processes for certifying electronic health record systems.

eClinicalWorks joins several competitors in offering a guarantee that its software will meet meaningful use criteria. The company is also offering free meaningful use webinars, and, onsite and online readiness assessments. eCW says that 2009 was a great year for them, with revenues exceeding $100 million for the first time.

Congrats to Bill Spooner of Sharp Healthcare (CA) who was named CIO of the year by CHIME and HIMSS. In addition to his lifetime achievements in HIT, Sooner was recognized for spearheading his organization’s EMR transition.

Hum ho. Yet another insurance company reports the loss of confidential patient information. BCBS TN announces 500,000 patients records may have been compromised after 57 computer hard drives were stolen from a closet. The company believes at least 220,000 records included social security numbers.

Apparently the state of Connecticut was not happy about Health Net’s privacy breach last year. The state attorney general is filing suit against the company, charging it with violations of HIPAA privacy and security rules, based on the disappearance of a hard drive. The company believes the missing drive contained PHI on 1.5 million members, including 446,000 from Connecticut.


The news out of Haiti is mind-numbing. This article highlights the work of Doctors Without Borders, who have already set up four tented facilities to treat the injured. Some are working in undamaged hospitals in Port-au-Prince, while others try to identify medical structures that are still intact.The organization is also waiting on the arrival of an inflatable field hospital, which sounds like a incredible piece of technology that includes two operating theaters and 100 beds. Lots of worthy organizations like Doctors Without Borders and The Red Cross are, of course, accepting donations. If you’d like a quick option, you can text “HAITI” to 90999 on your cell phone to donate $10 to Red Cross.

Cerner promotes Michael Valentine to COO, filling a vacancy that’s been open since 2007. Valentine previously served as Cerner’s US general manager.

Saint Peter’s University Hospital (NJ) plans to deploy Horizon Clinicals, including CPOE and enterprise care visibility. Saint Peter’s already utilizing McKesson’s revenue management products.

I was recently asked how I got this great opportunity to work with Mr. H and HIStalk. Almost three years ago, Mr. H made this small comment about needing an extra hand: “I need some help doing HIStalk (writing, chasing down information, etc.) If you know someone who’s interested and who might work remotely for a less than extortionate pay rate, let me know. I was thinking about hiring a grad student who might work a few hours a week to handle routine stuff. I’m just completely tapped out on time.” Since I was a big fan and at a point in my career where I had a bit of extra time, I begged him to hire me. One phone call later I was on board. When I arrived in April 2007, HIStalk had about 42,000 views for the month; today, between HIStalk and HIStalkPractice, we average nearly 100,000 hits a month. Mr. H is still tapped out and HIStalk now takes me more than just the original “few hours a week.” And it’s probably the most fun job I have ever had.

Eric Zimmerman, RelayHealth’s former SVP of marketing joins RedBrick Health Corp. as chief marketing officer.

Here’s something to contemplate: by 2020, the newest doctors will have been born after Amazon.com and will have never known a world without email or cell phones. MEDSEEK will discuss the impact of technology on patient care in its upcoming webinar “2020 Vision: The ePatient Evolution Over the Next Ten Years.” Register here for the January 27th event.


Ridgeview Medical Center (MN) expands its use of Wellsoft’s EDIS program, upgrading to v11 and adding electronic OE, charge capture and an HL7 interface to McKesson’s Paragon HIS.

Coming to HIStalkPractice tonight: ten execs answer the question, “What kinds of practices will be able to reach the 80% CPOE level?” I was personally a little shocked that a couple CEOs thought it was going to be so easy. Sign up for e-mail updates while you’re there.

Good news. Americans are not getting any fatter than we’ve been over the past 10 years. Of course a “hefty” number of adults (73 million or 34% of the adults) are still obese. A greater percentage of women are obese than men, but the guys are catching up pretty fast. Unfortunately, so are the kids. Perhaps too many folks are just sitting on their couches watching shows like the Biggest Loser.


E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. The situation in Haiti is dire. Please support organizations like Doctors without Borders, Partners in Health, Unicef or other reputable organizations. The people of Haiti need our help!

  2. Congratulations Inga on a wonderful job flying solo and prayers to the victims and rescuers in Haiti.

    I found this a cheap deal: a $400,000 contract to help develop a testing method and processes for certifying electronic health

    There is so much to do that this price seems a steal. If only the vendors would offer such a good deal.

    There is a but, that being the ongoing failure to consider the safety of these devices. NIST should take heed and the consultants should learn from the grave mistakes of C$HIT.

  3. The FDA could consider the Pen a medical device, yet it doesn’t. It could consider your paper forms a medical device or label, yet it doesn’t.

    Noah, just you saying an EMR is a device doesn’t make it so.

    Comparing paper to an average EMR/CDR is a fairly straight forward thing.

    We’ve had order entry systems for years and you, Scottt and other doctors seemed just fine allowing others to enter orders on their behalf based on what often amounted to scribbles.

    Where were your cries for “treat these as devices” then?

    Get over yourself.

  4. Would love for you would ask the EHR execs if they agree with Leavitt’s statement from this week’s presentation, that a practice will take two to three years to reach MU (from scratch). Maybe CCHIT should focus on how easily MU can be achieved with an EHR.

  5. “Congrats to Bill Spooner of Sharp Healthcare (CA) who was named CIO of the year by CHIME and HIMSS. ”

    Isn’t CHIME a shortened version of the word “chimera”, which is an imaginary monster made up of incongruous parts? An illusion or fabrication of the mind, an impossible dream inclined to fantastic schemes?

    It is not a good thing for Spooner to be affiliated with CHIMERA and HIMSS.

  6. $400K may be cheap for developing certification standards for EHRs, ala Booz Allen, but then again, as we already have much of those standards in place not convinced that this is such a great deal for the US taxpayer.

    But what really gets to me is how these awards always seem to go to the same beltway bandits, many of which are not deeply involved in healthcare, only tapping federal largess.

    Guess I should take small comfort in the knowledge that at least this appears to b a better deal than the $500K that was dished out to define 5 common acronyms in HIT by the to the soon to be bankrupt Bearing Point.

  7. Thanks Inga for your excellent reporting and commentary.

    “Noah Should” deploys irrelevant logic. My patients’ experience with CPOE has not been good. It involves more than typing orders into a computer. CPOE is the totality of care.

    My patients suffer when the consultants can not figure out the course of events that led to the present problems because the chronolgy and data points are disjointed. Care is haphazzard. So there you go.

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