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January 19, 2010 News 8 Comments

From Garnut: “Re: Michael Blackman. The former Berskshire CMIO moved to Charlotte to become CMO of McKesson Paragon, which got 42% of the small hospital market last year. He started today.” Unverified.

From Dr. Know: “Re: unfortunate rumor. [name omitted], CIO has come clean about an affair with one of the VPs he hired, [name omitted]. The buzz is all over the vendor community. She may be leaving, but I’m not sure if he gets the hook. Too bad, because he has some good accomplishments under his belt (no pun intended).” Obviously I can’t name names in the absence of real news (like if he quits), but maybe there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

From Anonymous: “Re: Epic Haiku. Complaints submitted / About the Haiku app should / Be in proper form.” Nicely done – 17 syllables exactly.

Weird News Andy contributes some non-weird research on charities with a presence in Haiti. He turned up Food for the Poor, which gets high marks from Charity Navigator, Ministry Watch, and Forbes with only 1.7% fundraising overhead. My charity of choice is always Salvation Army, so that’s another option.


An Indiana angel investor group invests in PolicyStat, an Indianapolis-based vendor of a policy and procedure management system.

Just a reminder: if you are on the HIStalk e-mail list, I’ve sent you two e-mails with a link to the HISsies 2010 survey. A couple of readers who didn’t see the e-mail asked for one final reminder, so I’ve sent that Tuesday evening. Thanks for voting! To prevent ballot box stuffing, only those on the e-mail list get a ballot and they get only one vote. I’ve peeked at the results so far and, as always, they are pretty interesting. Hopefully we can get a winner or two to join us in Atlanta for the HIStalk reception. The RSVP page for that will open up next week, by the way.

It was a short stay at IBM for Janet Marchibroda, who joined the company this past April as chief healthcare officer after a long stint as the founder of eHealth Initiative. Sources tell me she has taken a job with the Office of the National Coordinator, i.e. David Blumenthal, at what must have been a gigundous pay cut.


Coincidentally (as far as I know), Janet’s former employer eHI announces its new CEO, Jennifer Covich Bordenick. She has worked there since 2001, most of it under Janet as COO.

Inga’s series of questions and answers with several executives of EMR vendors about Meaningful Use continues in HIStalk Practice. In the series:

Were the criteria a surprise and will they require product changes?
Which criteria will physicians find hardest to achieve?
What kinds of practices will hit the 80% CPOE threshold?
Is clinical decision support and interoperability emphasized enough in the proposed criteria?
How will providers give patients electronic copies of their visit information?

This video would have been more effective if edited down by about 70%, but what do you think?

Complaints about Epic are not too common, so several readers sent over the link to a newspaper article describing staff gripes about the $61 million Epic implementation at University of Iowa Hospitals. On the list: the system takes too long to use, support is spotty, information is missing, and lots of useless information is generated. They went live big bang in May, migrating off a homegrown app (always hard since those systems could be made to do whatever harebrained task users demanded), so I don’t think I’d put too much stock in the early complaints of a few users.

A couple of Massachusetts hospitals offer the Dossia PHR to a subset of their employees.


Several people have e-mailed me about more coverage of enterprise mobile technology in healthcare. I’m no expert in that topic, but I found someone who is: David Brooks, a co-founder of MercuryMD and the creator of a very cool and professional Mobile Resource Guide that has been downloaded something like 60,000 times strictly by word of mouth The result is HIStalk Mobile, which we’re just bringing up in soft opening mode. David will follow the tried and true HIStalk formula of news, rumors, opinion, and maybe the occasional cynical snark. We will also be cranking up a supercharged, online version of the Mobile Resource Guide shortly. Sign up on the site for e-mail updates if you are so inclined, and if you are an end user of mobile technology (especially the clinical kind), we might want to interview you about what you’re doing.

With the holidays behind us, I see quite a few new submissions to the HIStalk events calendar, to which you can add yours free.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will lead an HIT panel discussion in Nashville on Wednesday. A connected HIStalk reader invited me to attend, but I can’t get off work.


The Valley Hospital (NJ) promotes Eric Carey to VP/CIO.

Simon Samaha, MD is appointed to the New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority.


Former Aultman Health CIO Martin Tursky is named VO/COO of Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island.

In what could be the first CCHIT domino to fall, NIST awards Booze Allen Hamilton a $400K contract to help it create testing and certification tools for EMRs.

Stanford Hospital and Clinics is involved with the Personalized Medicine World Conference, running now in Mountain View, CA. Attendees were “investment bankers, investors, attorneys, accountants and entrepreneurs,” so that pretty much says all you need to know about the business aspects of US healthcare.

Former VA head Sumner Whittier, who installed the agency’s first computer in 1959 (all 6,200 square feet of it) dies at 98.

Sad lawsuit: the family of a patient who died in a New Orleans hospital when Hurricane Katrina knocked out power to her respirator is suing the hospital for $11.7 million, claiming employees were negligent in not preparing for the disaster.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

From Intelligence-R-Us: “Re: reporting and IT stimulus package. Based on the new proposed guidelines, it’s clear that there are many reporting requirements that hospitals will be compelled to adhere to in order to qualify for funding. Each data source will exist in the form of certified systems, but hospitals will still lack the holistic reporting engine that can bring them all together to meet the requirements for the stimulus funds. Do you think that CIOs share this understanding?” In the last week or so I’ve talked to several CIOs, all of whom have understood the need for more advanced reporting. In fact, a couple admitted that their current systems lacked the required functionality and stated that they will need business information tools to capture the data. So, yes, at least some CIOs understand their reporting gaps and will be seeking new BI tools. However, I would also add that many facilities are probably even more concerned with getting the basic infrastructure in place and are not yet ready to address the reporting aspects. After all, you can’t do much reporting if you don’t have the data.


From Pink Panted Trey: "Re: Huntington Hospital. FYI … this is a direct result of HIStalk. I asked the CIO how he found out about us and it was HIStalk! We are currently installed at three sites and all three CIOs follow your Web site. Amazing!” Trey forwarded the latest press release from Voalte, announcing that the nurses at Huntington Hospital (CA) are now live on its application.

memorial hc

Memorial Healthcare System (FL) selects Axolotl’s Elysium Exchange to network their hospitals’ IT systems with the EMR in community physician offices.

Congrats to HIE provider Medicity, which announced a 91% increase in bookings in 2009 versus 2008. Medicity’s five-year revenue backlog also grew 35%.

I particularly enjoyed yesterday’s Readers Write, which included Tiffany Crenshaw’s Lessons Learned From Our Top 10 Infamous Interviewees. Some of those people sounded familiar. I’d add a Number 11 — the Limp Handshaker. I recall several years ago interviewing a gentleman who was 10 or 15 years older than me. When we first shook hands, I shuddered because he gave me one of those limp-wristed handshakes. You ladies in particular know what I mean –  it’s that handshake where the guy barely squeezes your three middle fingers, as if the he’s scared he will crush your delicate hand. I learned later than when he shook the hand of my male co-worker, he gave him a regular “guy” handshake. I gave him two more chances to shake my hand as I booted him out the door and his follow-up attempts were no better. Perhaps it was a cultural thing or an age thing, but I sure wasn’t going to hire a guy who even unconsciously saw me as the weaker sex.

Starting next month, Memorial Hospital (TN) will no longer hire people who use tobacco products. Potential employees will be tested for nicotine during a required drug test. The hospital, which is part of Catholic Health Initiatives, claims its move is not about saving money but about the hospital’s commitment to health. The rule does not apply to existing employees. It’s a slippery slope to ban employees for personal habits, but I applaud the move nonetheless.


IB-Salut regional health services in the Spanish Balearic Islands implements Picis Critical Care Manager and PACU Manager at Hospital Can Misses in Ibiza. Sure looks like a nice place to visit. Anyone know what famous person was born in Ibiza?

Molina Healthcare agrees to acquire the health information outsourcing business of Unisys for $135 million in cash. This segment of Unisys provides outsourcing for several Medicaid systems.

eClinicalWorks signs a big order with Summa Physicians (OH) to provide EMR for its 223 physicians. Summa Health Systems is already an eCW client, having contracted with eCW in 2006 to provide EMR and PM solutions for its community physicians.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that mass layoffs of hospital staff will hit an all-time peak when the final 2009 number are tallied. Prior to December, there were a reported 145 mass layoffs (which is defined as a layoff of more than 50 people from a single employer). Unfortunately, economists are not ready to predict that the mass layoffs are over.


Meditech is integrating Micromedex CareNotes Systems from Thomas Reuters into four of its applications.

Microsoft announces a collaboration with Premera Blue Cross to integrate HealthVault with paid claims data. Premera provides coverage for Microsoft employees, so the partnership makes good sense. Now I am curious what percentage of Microsoft employees use Healthvault themselves.

Kronos announces the general availability of its Workforce Mobile Scheduler. This actually sounds pretty handy. Managers can broadcast a text message to the mobile devices of employees qualified to fill an open shift. Once an employee accepts the shift, it is automatically assigned and another message informs employees the spot is taken.

MRO Corp adds DeKalb Medical (GA) and St. Luke’s Hospital and Health Network (PA) to its customer base. Both have contracted to implement Audit Tracker Online.

Misys Open Source Software (MOSS) successfully tests its Connect Exchange application at the Chicago IHE Connectathon. MOSS representatives say it is the first time all the software needed to exchange electronic files in a healthcare community will be made freely available in open source.


Here’s a cool idea. At the American Association of Neurological Surgeons meeting, doctors will be given iPod touches pre-loaded with all session information, summaries of research presented at the meeting, and vendor information. Doctors will also be able to use the iPods to message and interact with presenters during meetings. The Association says the perk increased registration fees by $100. But they’re neurosurgeons, so I’m sure they can afford it.


E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. The video might (definitely agree 70% shorter would be better) not be as funny as the author thought. By the time the TSA gets done, the ‘pretravel questionaire’ might be as long as a health history form, and you just MIGHT need a full body exam before boarding. Which will need to be scheduled, but no, the airline can’t do that, and no, we won’t refund you if you can’t get the exam……..

  2. I am aware of Epic, Eclipsys, McKesson, Cerner and NextGen (in the “EP” space) working to update their respective reporting products (add-on modules) to support meaningful use metrics. They are also updating their templates to help with the data capture. This is definitely a concern for many organizations that haven’t been using the reporting modules, haven’t placed enough attention on them and for those without the resource expertise to really tune the end-to-end process (bad forms/content up-front, usability issues, where do I capture this info now).

    For more automated EPs, the challenge will also be sorting through current data capture forms and content in their EMR/EHRs and mapping that with the vendor released content and forms that are already mapped to the vendor reports. This is a case where we will need to work backwards from the end state goal to see who, what, when and how.

  3. re: PMWC, sponsored by Stanford. I’m at the conference and was thinking, isn’t it ironic/sad/not surprising that none of the big-name EMR companies are based in Silicon Valley? May explain a lot about their software design.

  4. The Air Travel video is FAR TOO LONG. but one does need it to be of some length to feel the excruciating agony of the absurdity……probably cut it by 50% to make the point.

  5. Sorry, Inga, I can’t agree. What an employee does on their off-hours is their business. Although a ban on not hiring smokers wouldn’t affect me, I would be loath to work for a company that feels it has the right to control an employee (or, at least, what they do ) 24 hours a day. You can call it whatever you wish: health initiative, caring for employee’s health but it’s still slavery.

  6. Your comment in the U of I Epic story: “migrating off a homegrown app (always hard since those systems could be made to do whatever harebrained task users demanded)” seemed uncharacteristically harsh and bureaucratic. Users tend to know what they need, but are not so good at writing specs for efficient IT functions. The implication that the users are harebrained is probably unwarranted – IT has some responsibility for understanding the user’s needs and working with them to set up a logical workflow. There is an art to getting results out of the interplay between user requests and IT capabilities, and there are many vendors and IT departments that suck at it.

    [From Mr. HIStalk] My experience is that users sometimes know what they need, but are equally likely throw out some casually thought out idea that IT implements, only to find that they’ve changed their mind once it’s finished. I’ve put in changes in place that users had characterized as “urgent” and included an internal flag showing how often they were used, only to find out that they weren’t at all. Part of what your Epic millions buys is the assurance that you are within the guardrails of what their average customer uses, i.e. if yours is the only Epic hospital that needs some capability, then your hospital is either uniquely insightful or doing something illogical. I’ve waffled about this over the years, but I think illogical user processes slightly outnumber unresponsive vendors (but not by much).

  7. Great to see the plug for Salvation Army, and I couldn’t agree more. I see they’ve had a clinic in Haiti for 30 yrs and generally served the most remote places.

  8. RE: Part of what your Epic millions buys is the assurance that you are within the guardrails of what their average customer uses, i.e. if yours is the only Epic hospital that needs some capability, then your hospital is either uniquely insightful or doing something illogical.

    $61million is a lot of money to spend. What is the real value of being amongst the average of users of that particular product in terms of the real dollars expended. Has the money been well spent? I bet the original projected cost of the project submitted for approval to the board was significantly less by a factor of 2 or more…

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