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January 28, 2010 News 12 Comments

From Ex-Cerner Guy: “Re: Yale New Haven. You’re not wrong, just early. Epic will unite all three facilities on a single enterprise-wide platform. Details are being worked out.” I have lots of moles feeding me information, some of them very well connected, so here’s the real story. YNHH recently hosted Epic demos and is actively discussing a system-wide implementation with them, but they are still working out the details and trying to figure out the money issues (back to rumor, someone told me over $150 million). They are reportedly not considering alternatives, possibly due to a strong desire to share data between the hospitals and their practices, which is an obvious Epic strong suit.


From Certifiable: “Re: Sisters of St. Francis. The chain of 10-12 hospitals in the northwest Indiana area has signed with Epic for virtually all applications.” Unverified.

From GoogleWave: “Re: HIMSS10. A Google Wave has been set up. You must have a GW account to access. Search for HIMSS10 and join.” HIMSS is always dabbling with Facebook or Twitter or whatever tech fad du jour their marketing people convince them is cool. I’ll bet money right now that, like its one-time experiment with live-blogging the conference, its Wave won’t be around for the next one.

From Jedi Knight: “Re: HITSP’s ‘wake’. I was there and it didn’t feel particularly sad to me. Everyone is wondering what the successor will be; HITSP2 or some other acronym. Somebody has to turn vague federal mandates into specific implementation guides, after all. My personal feeling is that whatever is next will be a lot more paid employees and fewer volunteers. There is a giant pile of money being dumped in here after all for the beltway bandits and lobbyists to jump into. It’s a shame for the volunteers, but also interesting to think that there is a core group of seemingly salaried standards people from federal agencies and large companies doing all this work. It was also interesting to watch the attendance over the years; a small group swelling to a large group as newcomers were sent in to figure out how to get some ARRA pie. Then, to dwindle back down to the diehards who did all the work.” The government has extended HITSP’s contract until April 30 (without further payment) so it can participate in HIMSS and the Interoperability Showcase. They are trying to convince the board members to stick around until the newly extended end of the line.

From Anthony: “Re: Boxtee. There is also a neat iPhone app for Boxee that allows you to use your phone as a remote for your laptop.”


From The PACS Designer: “Re: Microsoft Office 2010 Beta. If you are contemplating the purchase of Microsoft Office for a new PC, you might want to wait a bit. Microsoft has posted their new Microsoft Office 2010 Beta for everyone to view and also try some new added applications such as Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010.” That’s advice that I will use since I’m on a trial version of Student and Home or whatever the cheap version is called. I don’t have much choice but to either buy or re-install since, in typical Microsoft fashion, its installer assured me that my existing Office XP installation would not be affected, but now I can’t open any of the old versions without getting the dreaded “Preparing to Install” error that means it really did. Be cautious if you try the Beta. Since I don’t often say nice things about Microsoft, here’s one: OneNote is darned cool, although they don’t really seem to understand how to market it since it’s rarely mentioned.

From Mallory Keaton: “Re: showcase. Whatever happened to your idea of having a (not) HIMSS event to showcase selected new healthcare-related technologies? One or two days in a non-expensive setting. It was, and still is, a great idea.” I’m going to reply personally to Mallory, but here’s my problem: I was really stoked about the “unconference” idea, but I have no time between my hospital job and HIStalk. I’m long on ideas, short on time, unless I go part time at work or learn to Halamka-nap instead of sleeping for six hours. I guess I could contract with someone to do the heavy lifting, but that’s another management headache right there.


From JN: “Re: logo. Am I the only person who thinks that your graphic of a presumed doctor smoking a pipe is a little over the top? Do you have any plans to change it?” (a) yes; (b) no. Actually some other folks obsess over the logo (“he’s SMOKING and it’s 2010, for God’s sake”) without seeing the anachronistic 1950s irony that I strongly signaled with the Ben Casey head reflector thingie. On the other hand, I like hearing that criticism because I know I’m getting new readers — the old ones have heard me explain it many times in the past (use the search box to your right to find “reflector” and you will see). My HIStalk Mobile logo guy is not smoking, so at least I’m showing progress.

From David: “Re: Meaningful Use. Do you know where the technical specifications for the quality measures are located?” Some information is in the incentive program document, but maybe someone knows a better source.

From Sinead: “Re: HIT worker shortage. How does the situation bode for us with new undergraduate degrees in healthcare informatics? Is there a place for us without healthcare experience, or are those degrees suited only for currently employed nurses or clinical workers?” I’ve been asked that question a couple of times in the last few days. First of all, you are always better off with more credentials and yours is a timely degree. However, as you noted, when employers look for “informatics” employees, that often means nurses with no formal informatics education (maybe an ANCC certification or 10×100 at best) or perhaps a dabbling doctor, but with hands-on implementation experience and peer credibility. The health systems in which I’ve worked (big ones) did not have formally educated informatics employees that I can recall. Perhaps you have technical experience such as programming or project management? Reader input, please.


The RSVP page for the HIStalk reception at HIMSS is now open. We’ve maxed out signups pretty fast in years past only to have a mountain of leftover name badges of people who RSVP’ed but didn’t come, so please don’t take up a spot if you aren’t sure you can come. Your hosts are Encore Health Resources, Symantec, and Evolvent, so thanks very much to them. I’m not exactly sure what’s on the agenda beyond lots of food and drinks, but it doesn’t matter anyway because the attendees are scintillating on their own.

Hamilton Healthcare System (TX) signs up for applications from Healthcare Management Systems.

marotta_robert mgma-9228

eHealth Initiative announces new board members, including Robert Marotta, Esq. of WebMD (chair) and William Jessee, MD of MGMA (vice chair).

The American Occupational Therapy Association is working with Cedaron Medical to develop and EMR and documentation system for OTs.

I’m not a fan of unions, but congratulations to the Teamsters, who get McKesson’s shareholders to agree that the company can’t pay John Hammergren’s family big money when he dies without first calling a shareholder vote. He’s already got $80 million in retirement money socked away on top of his $29 million annual income last year, but his family would have received another $3.5 million at his demise, not to mention another $30+ million in posthumous benefits that aren’t impacted by this new policy. MCK shares are up 139% since he took over in 2001, which isn’t terrible (about the same as competitor Amerisourcebergen) but still behind HIT competitors such as Cerner (up 366%) or Quality Systems/NextGen (up over 2300%).


I am honored to report that Vocera has joined HIStalk Mobile as a Founding Sponsor. David Brooks and I appreciate their support. We have other Founding Sponsors on board to announce shortly. In the mean time, e-mail me your thoughts about the iPad in healthcare, although I’m taking into account that in my January 2007 poll, 84% of you said the iPhone would have little to no impact on healthcare (doh!)

AT&T reports Q4 numbers: revenue down 0.7%, earnings of $3 billion, up 26%. Also announced: the company will spend an additional $2 billion in wireless network improvements this year, it added 2.7 million new customers in Q4, it activated 3.1 million new iPhones, and it’s offering an unlimited iPad data plan for $30 per month.

A couple of readers e-mailed me about the McKesson earnings announcement, wondering if the company is having problems with Horizon Enterprise Revenue Management since they wrote off some of their investment. I’ve e-mailed the CIO at Baptist Health System (KY) to see how well they’re doing as the first go-live, but haven’t heard back. As one reader wants to know, “is HERM following ProFit and Soarian?”

Riyadh Military Hospital in Saudi Arabia will implement Web-based clinical systems from ICT Health.

An interesting Q&A with Dan Rosen, assistant vice chancellor for personalized medicine at Vanderbilt, about its DNA sample database called BioVu and the Vanderbilt Electronic Systems for Pharmacogenomic Assessment:

The second thing we want is for BioVu to act like a giant clinical laboratory. The idea is that we all see the increasing robust science of genetic or genomic variation as ultimately coming to the bedside … It’s a pretty commonly held vision that at some point in the future a doctor will write a prescription and the electronic health system will say, ‘That’s the wrong drug,’ or ‘That’s the wrong dose of the drug for that patient,’ or ‘This particular patient doesn’t have the disease that you think they have because of genetic variations of some type.’ While people talk about that kind of vision, actually executing it presents a lot of practical problems, such as which genetic variants would you actually want to act on? What would be the strength of evidence? How expensive is it to do this? What information technology challenges are there? How do you store huge amounts of genetic data on huge numbers of patients, and access it rapidly?

Also going Epic: Genesis Healthcare System (OH), although the article isn’t clear on whether it’s inpatient, practice, or both.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga


From YellowPad: “Re:iPad. I am interested to hear what HIStalk and its readers have to say about the iPad. I’m not sure why the market needs yet another device in addition to laptops, Kindles, and smartphones. On the other hand, Steve Jobs hasn’t made too many mistakes. My nine-year-old daughter wants one — that speaks volumes.” Like your daughter, I think it looks really cool and I’d love to have one to play with. However, it remains to be seen whether it can achieve widespread HIT adoption given its unique size, its price, and its lack of features compared to a notebook. I told Mr. H that I couldn’t see myself slipping the iPad into my purse on the way to a cocktail party, like I do my iPhone. And I wouldn’t want to use it all day, given the on-screen keyboard. However, if I traveled more, I’d like having one to take on the plane because it would make me look really hip.

From Weird Andy: “Re: $7 million to track down stolen hard drives. Well, yes, I bet there are some other people who think that it is a stimulus. However, instead of having a choice of where the $7M would be used, whether to buy equipment, reduce layoffs, improve facilities, or other options.”  All true, although in this case it was an (evil) insurance company that had the disk drives stolen and is now spending money for damage control. I bet those 700 temp employees aren’t complaining.


Rutland Regional Medical Center (VT) kicks off its $15 million EHR initiative and announces the project’s code name: SNOW (Simple Navigation to Online Wisdom). The project is scheduled to take 19 months to complete. I’m assuming GE is the vendor, since last fall Rutland agreed to serve as a national host site for hospitals considering GE products.

A Dell-sponsored survey by HIMSS Analytics concludes that data center demands for small and medium hospitals will increase 20-50% over the next two years. I’m sure Dell and its investors liked those results.

Valley Medical Center (WA) licenses Sunquest Collection Manager to automate specimen collection. Sunquest also recently installed its LIS and ICE Desktop solutions at employee clinics for the global airline Emirates.

Officials with University Medical Center (NV) say that personal information on traffic accident victims has probably been leaked from its trauma center. For more than three months last year, someone allegedly was selling patient information to personal injury attorneys. The FBI is involved.

McKesson and HP announce they are collaborating to accelerate EHR adoption among independent physician practices. The companies are bundling McKesson clinical and PM applications with HP solutions and including training, implementation, and local support. The program will be executed through HP distributor Tech Data. Good move, I’d say. McKesson seems to recognize that most practices, unlike hospitals, lack the internal resources required to coordinate the technical aspects of an EHR installation. And, despite how popular SaaS is becoming, there are plenty of providers who still insist on an in-house server. Offering a turnkey solution is going to appeal to a large constituency. HP is also a winner here because it’ll have a chance to increase its footprint in the small physician office space, a market where they’ve not been much of a player.

TX Ortho

A reader forwarded me this link to a blog compiled by Texas Orthopedics. Several of their physicians and other Texas clinicians are currently in Haiti helping earthquake victims. A few excerpts from real life heroes in action:

  • Our team performed around 14 surgeries today with 16-17 in-house patients remaining. The RNs and doctors will be taking turns over night to stay with these patients and take care of them.
  • The ORs at the Haitian hospital are like open out houses. Enclosed spaces with slits in the top of the walls to the outside. Our team converted a room into a two-bed OR with AC and an autoclave.
  • Today two women were getting their amputations revised, which involves cutting more of the leg off. They had spinals and were in no pain. Both of the women started singing a Haitian hymn while the saw blades were going.
  • Dr. Scott Smith from Texas Ortho group is hilarious. He is using his iPhone to entertain the kids in the village. He’s becoming a superstar!

McKesson announces the general availability of its Horizon Practice Plus 12.0 practice management system.

CareTech Solutions is providing healthcare help desk services to Mercy Memorial Hospital System (MI) and just implemented a Service Request Catalog to automate service requests.

Epocrates claims that over 350 medical centers and universities now use its mobile clinical and decision support software.

Odd lawsuit: A woman sues her oral surgeon for leaving an inch-long piece of steel in a mouth wound during a tooth extraction. Despite ongoing complaints of pain, nosebleeds, and sinus infections, she was told her reactions were normal and she needed to stop complaining. Eleven months later, after experiencing numbness and dizziness, she went to the ER and doctors found the metal piece. The steel has since been surgically removed.


E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. About the freakin’ pipe. I completely get it. When I was a little girl, my pediatrician had a picture of himself w/ a pipe and his wife w/ a cigarette likely from the 50’s (I was born in 1962 so my memory is probably 1970). Think Mad Men people and give Mr. HIS a break!!

  2. RE: OneNote. I agree. A very useful app but with no decent hardware to run it on. Now, OneNote on the new iPad would be perfect!

    And about the pipe… Keep it! Don’t bow to the PC of the masses.

  3. Craig Richmond currently with Wellspring has recently accepted a position with a healthsystem in the mid-west. We are wondering why someone from Florida would want to move too the cold north. Craig was waiting for year end bonus before announcing this move.

    We at Wellspring sure will wish him well.

  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1BUH9eXy18
    NPR was all over the Mad TV skit about the ipad that came out a few years ago. They aluded to the fact that there probably wasn’t a woman in the room when the staff named the thing. Or else no one rememebered the parody. Its pretty funny ……here is the link to the you tube version of the skit.

  5. The HIStalk HIMSS party link seems to be broken — is it just me or is anyone else getting a bunch of code on the screen?

    And – the pipe is great. Iconic and ironic!

    [From Mr. HIStalk, who does not smoke even an ironic pipe, not that there’s anything wrong with that] The RSVP link is working for me and apparently other folks … there were 100 RSVPs in the first couple of hours after I posted last night. I’ve opened it in Firefox, Chrome, and IE. I checked the page source and it looks pretty straightforward, although there’s some Javascript in there.

  6. I like the pipe and the last thing we need is political correctness in HISTalk! However, if you do decide to change, you might change the pipe out for a martini. The meaningful use requirements, HIPAA privacy and security requirements, ICD-10, and other pressures are enough to drive all of us to drink!

  7. RE: OneNote. I agree – it’s a very nice app. But be sure to also check out Evernote (www.evernote.com), a free competitor that does a lot of tricks OneNote doesn’t.

    For example, it will automatically OCR images that include text – including written or typed docs you scan – and make them available for (very fast) searching. Its ability to recognize handwritten text, even at an angle to everything else, is very impressive.

    BTW, I have no connection to Evernote.

    [From Mr. HIStalk] I did try Evernote at the same time. It was more elegant, available over the Web so that you can get to your information anywhere, and handles screen shots better. It wasn’t as flexible as OneNote, but was easier to use. Its Web Clipper and OCR was very cool. In the end, I liked Evernote better for the most part, but probably wouldn’t have used it enough to want to pay a monthly or annual fee as opposed to getting OneNote free with the rest of Office. I’m not using either at the moment, even the free plan of Evernote, but I could see how either one would be helpful.

  8. Mr. HisTalk writes: “However, as you noted, when employers look for “informatics” employees, that often means nurses with no formal informatics education (maybe an ANCC certification or 10×100 at best) or perhaps a dabbling doctor, but with hands-on implementation experience and peer credibility. The health systems in which I’ve worked (big ones) did not have formally educated informatics employees that I can recall.”

    Three observations on this phenomenon:

    1. Hospitals and talent mismanagement are all too common.
    2. Hospitals and cheap are all too common (except in the C suite).
    3. Hospitals feel there can be too much talent in an organization: http://www.tinyurl.com/stupidityinhiring

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