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Monday Morning Update 1/18/10

January 16, 2010 News 12 Comments

From LargePop: “Re: David Brailer comments on HITECH. He says he thinks Congress will back down on penalties. He also says we’re approaching the peak of the hype cycle and will slide back to reality once we see how slow the money comes from CMS.” Also interesting: he thinks it was wrong to dump healthcare IT into ARRA, saying it puts too much risk into adoption (I assume he means the accelerated timeline).

From Haiku: “Re: Epic’s Haiku iPhone app. It’s piece of junk, hiccupping and having connection issues. Epic needs to go back to the drawing board.”


From ChrisF: “Re: Extormity. Any chance you could get an interview with CEO Brantley Whittington?” I don’t know how I’d arrange an interview with the fictitious CEO of a fictitious company put up as satirical Web page by unknown individuals, but if I can figure it out, I will do so. Or, perhaps its equally fictitious CMO: “I may have graduated last in my class at the Medical School at Universidad de Guatemala, but the parchment still says MD” whose value is described as “Bartram’s recollections of practicing medicine bring a real world perspective to Extormity products and services.”

From KayBee: “Re: Picis. I’m shocked by how often Todd Cozzens and Picis is mentioned in only the positive questions in the HISsies again this year.” Every year I urge people to nominate, stating in advance that the nominees with the highest number of votes will be the finalists for the actual voting. Every year, someone who didn’t nominate anyone complains about the choices of the people who did. I don’t know what else to say except that democracy rules when it comes to the HISsies nominations and voting. 

From Kasabian: “Re: Michael Blackman of Berkshire Health Systems. Any idea where he went? You did a a great interview with him a while back.” E-mail to him bounces back saying he left BHS on December 11, but his LinkedIn profile has not been updated. I’ll let you know if he provides an update.

From Atlanta Observer: “Re: McKesson. The comment re: Dr. Bill O’Connor jumping ship from McKesson to Eclipsys to join Jay Deady has more than made MCK ‘not happy’. They are going to aggressively make an example of his non-compete agreement breach. Decided at the highest levels.” Unverified.

From Jessica: “Re: Haiti. I was searching for ways to help with the recent earthquake in Haiti and came across Partners in Health (PIH). They are doing medical work in a number of poor countries and even more interesting, have a number of volunteer opportunities for healthcare IT types – some in the Boston area, others remotely. Thought this would be a nice way for your audience to have the opportunity to make a difference with an organization making a really big
I checked the organization in Charity Navigator and it looks solid: a four-star rating, low CEO salary, and low overhead (95% of income goes to programs).


From EMRDude: “Re: Ivo Nelson of Encore Health Resources. Heard that his house burned to the ground.” True, sadly, as Ivo confirmed to me by e-mail. Thank goodness nobody was hurt. Here’s an eloquent quote from Ivo’s e-mail: “I don’t think memories sit on shelves or hang on walls. Memories are what you did to procure those treasures. The real treasures are in our minds. Everything else is just ‘stuff’.” Here’s my one and only Ivo story since I met him only one time (and that was as me, not as Mr. HIStalk). I was talking to someone at the IBM booth at HIMSS shortly after they bought Healthlink and asked some “just being polite” question about something or other that didn’t really interest me all that much. The guy said, hey, come with me and I can get you an answer. I was sitting waiting and some guy walked in and started shooting the breeze, running off to get me a soda and talking about the good old days of being a consultant on the road. We swapped stories like old pals. He didn’t have a name tag and I wasn’t even sure he worked for IBM, so I said, “What company did you work for?” He said Healthlink. I said, what was your name again? He said Ivo Nelson. Dragging my memory, the light came on. I stammered out something like, “But … but … you are the guy!” He was really casual about it. Good guy. I’m really sorry to hear about the fire, but he’s taking it philosophically.

I’m traveling to a land where hotel wireless performance is awful (which narrows it down to everywhere, in my experience), so I’ll need to be uncharacteristically abbreviated this time around. I promise to resume posting massive tomes once I’m home. Thanks to Inga for handling Thursday’s post for me.  


I think the above poll results speak for themselves, at least if uncertainty is a valid conclusion. New poll to your right: David Brailer said it was a mistake to include healthcare IT in ARRA, saying it adds risk to adoption. Do you agree?

Chris Rauber, the excellent San Francisco Business Times reporter, covers the stunning breakup of CalRHIO, which was until recently the lead contender to run all interoperability projects in that state and serve as a conduit for millions of stimulus dollars. He says CalRHIO and its competitor CAeHC were told by the state to settle their differences and figure out who should develop a statewide HIE by mid-January. They didn’t, so the state will create a new entity to replace them both. Chris says CAeHC seems to be working with the state, but CalRHIO has laid off all its staff and CEO Molly Coye (who had just started on July 1) has gone into consulting. Board members from both organizations (and possibly some employees) will be involved in laying out next steps. Molly Coye sent this statement to me:

HIStalk readers may have heard that CalRHIO and CAeHC, the two finalists in California for ARRA funding governance entity, were unable to negotiate an agreement and form a new organization as the state requested. As a result the state has taken the lead in forming a new governance entity, with input from board members of the two organizations. For the past six months, I served as CEO of CalRHIO, and I’d like to take this opportunity to clear up possible confusion about the basis for the state’s decision. The decision was in no way a rejection of CalRHIO’s technology, as some media reports have implied. In fact, the state did not review CalRHIO’s technology in the RFI process, and specifically welcomed our technology partner, Medicity, to participate in the open procurement process that the state and the new governing entity will initiate some time this spring.

Medicity has been an excellent partner, from planning through the early stages of implementation. CalRHIO is grateful to Medicity for its innovative thinking in developing with us a sustainable business model based on shared savings. We hope other states and local health information organizations will consider this model as they develop their long-term financial plans. Medicity also helped us develop the concept of statewide shared services, a framework that California seems likely to adopt. In collaboration with the Orange County Partnership RHIO, CalRHIO and Medicity teamed to launch HIE services in one of the largest counties in the state, an initiative that will continue to bring critical patient data to emergency rooms throughout the county.

For more information please see the statement from CalRHIO’s board at www.calrhio.org.

Hundreds of California health care leaders and stakeholders worked together to create and build CalRHIO over the past five years, and we want to thank them again for their pioneering efforts. We hope that the new governance entity will be convened promptly and that providers and consumers will be well served as HIE is deployed over the coming years in California.

Jackson Health System in Miami is tanking big-time, with its reported $56 million fiscal year loss possibly actually being as much as $150 million. One excuse for its $438 million in AR is its billing system change.

Back to normal soon, so e-mail me but don’t expect an immediate response until I dig out of the backlog in two or three days. Taking time off is really hard.

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Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. RE: Picis – I’m a big fan of HIStalk but I’m surprised that it hasn’t occurred to you that the vendors are manipulating the HISSies nominations. The omnipresence of Picis and Todd Cozens (PICIS?, come on!) in the nominations, to say nothing of athena’s ongoing domination of the awards is no accident. They ask every employee and every partner to nominate them. Healthcare IT News learned this lesson and stopped accepting multiple nominations from the same location. The HISSies may be a lot of fun but don’t be fooled; they’re not democratic, they’re a PR charade.

    [From Mr. HIStalk] Why would you think I don’t know that? I see the responses and can tell when I get a bunch that vote for the same best vendor, best CEO, etc. and leave all the other categories blank. That was the entire point of the “nominate or hold your peace” message, even though some categories had only a couple of dozen nominees with few multiple vote recipients (meaning that even without vendors getting involved, there still weren’t enough nominations). On the brighter side, the actual voting uses the HIStalk e-mail blast list and prevents multiple votes per recipient, so getting on the ballot does not guarantee winning.

  2. So why isn’t the same email blast list used for nominations?

    What YOU know vs the perception of the casual reader is IMO a chasm you’ll need to address to avoid the perception of being a Corp shill.

    [From Mr. HIStalk] Nominating by e-mail list wouldn’t have helped, I suspect, unless the response rate increased. Vendors have enough employees on the e-mail list to still dominate the nominations if they encourage employees on the list (even though they don’t know who they are) to complete the form in a certain way. That’s why I think the nominations may favor certain companies who focus on them, but the voting itself won’t since it’s hard to dominate a larger number of votes. The other option would be for me to come up with the nominations myself, but I don’t think that’s fair either.

  3. I participated in the HISSies poll – one complaint. There are several other names that should have been included in each category with no way to vote for them. Could future polls at least have a write-in field. Even if forced to vote for one of the named, at least let us have a way to write in a second name that is not on the list. I could think of a few “better” names for the good lists, and certainly a few “worse” names for the worst lists, if given the opportunity.

    [From Mr. HIStalk] I consider that every year, but it’s the same problem as having a presidential election without primaries — the voting would be so fragmented that someone could with with 12% of the vote or something like that. And, I would have to count every category manually. Like the presidential primaries, I plea for participation knowing that the actual elections are sometimes anticlimactic since winning the primary is the biggest hurdle.

  4. Re: JMH’s financial situation. Deloitte did a big reorg there several years ago. I wonder how many of their recommendations were actually acted upon? I was part of that team and we were stalled at every opportunity.

  5. Brailer eloquently states:'”The meaningful use criteria are highly consistent with what we did,” he said. “It feels right to me.”‘

    It might feel right to him but he does not have to use the CCHIT certified unsable computerization that is out there now. After Brailer uses the stuff for clinical care for a few months, ask him for his opinion. Dr. Delight

  6. Okay… can someone tell me what Dr. Brailer’s opinion of what ONC and CMS did with ARRA/HITECH matters? Last I checked, he didn’t do very much to advance HIT. I don’t think irrelevant is too strong a word.

    Enough of the gadfly syndrome and pay attention to the opinions of the actual relevant leaders in HIT. Guys like John Glaser and other “doers” not talkers. The momentum in HIT is like no other. Time to move on….

  7. Partners In Health is an excellent organization, doing wonderful work. Read the book about Paul Farmer, its CEO by Tracy Kidder to see how this amazing man accomplishes wonderful things in Haiti, and other poor countries.
    It is safe to give your money to PIH.

  8. There are a number of valid, great organizations doing work in Haiti right now, and some of the faith-based ones have been there for years. I do volunteer work with a GREAT organization where 100% of ALL donations will to relief, especially to the orphans (Haiti already had 400,000 of them BEFORE the quake). They have a benefactor who pays ALL administration costs, to allow all the donations to flow directly to the kids. They build orphan homes (not for adoption – for care) with local Haitian churches and put in agriculture and training to make the home sustainable within 3-4 years.

    Please check out The Global Orphan Project, powered by C3 Missions, to learn more. These are people of integrity, with teams on the ground, right now in Haiti, delivering food, water, medical care, love and hope to this devastated country.


  9. Doubter,

    If you do not like the fact the one company is flooding the ballot, start a grass roots movement and spread the word about HIStalk. If you do this stuffing the ballot box becomes less and less significant, and in the mean time the HISSies become more relevant.

    If some can dilute the voting pool one way, I can do the same thing the opposite way.

    On that note Allen Iverson for the NBA all-stars all the way.

  10. On Jackson Memorial and “one excuse for its $438 million in AR is its billing system change.”

    “One excuse for its $438 million in AR is its mismanaged billing system change.”

    There, fixed that for ya.

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