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February 4, 2010 News 11 Comments

From Farrell: “Re: Microsoft. Substitute Epic for Microsoft in this article and it holds true.” The article, written by a former Microsoft VP, observes that Microsoft is a “clumsy, uncompetitive innovator” whose products are “lampooned” and its marketing “inept” as it loses market share in nearly every important category, milking profits from Office and Windows but falling slowly into irrelevance otherwise. Company bureaucracy and infighting are blamed.


From Nell: “Re: McKesson. W-2 forms have always listed the employer as McKesson Corporation. The ones just sent out say McKesson Information Solutions LLC. I wonder if they are quietly preparing to spin off the HIT division?” I figured it was probably a Delaware corporation, so I check that state’s corporate database. That corporation was formed in 1974, so I don’t know why it’s suddenly showing up on W-2s. Could mean something, could mean nothing.

From Warren: “Re: QuadraMed layoffs. This is absolutely not true. There has been senior leadership change in sales, resulting in some realignment of the sales force, and two sales folks were let go. QuadraMed Sales is now better aligned to serve its clients. QuadraMed is absolutely committed to meeting Meaningful Use requirements for current and future QCPR customers. These types of rumors can be deal killers — please vet sources carefully before printing.” I held the first report I received suggesting layoffs and a change in the QCPR product just in case it was bogus. I then received two more saying the same thing. All three came from non-anonymous sources I’ve known for years who are also pro-QuadraMed. The official company contact told Inga last time we asked that they do not address rumors. We asked about this one anyway, but her e-mail bounced back as undeliverable. It’s tough to confirm when the company won’t talk. Still, I would be happy to hear that layoffs were minimal and that QCPR will live on. If it were me, I’d get an announcement out there.


From Doug Wallace: “Re: Dwight Schrute from The Office on EMRs. ‘I think one of the greatest things about modern America is the computerization of medical records. As a volunteer sheriff, I can look up anyone’s psychiatric records or surgical histories.’”

From FreddieMac: “Re: Cerner. In order to improve cash flow, the company is aggressively pursuing complete IT outsourcing deals (like MU) among its client hospitals through any any back door they can. Of course, they think RHO Millennium translates into knowing how to run all the other aspects of health IT. I believe they got Naples Community and are trying for some other academics. Beats the hell out of trying to compete with Epic for new sales.” It’s a good strategy, I think, and I expect it will open some doors to hospitals who don’t consider data center operations to be core. Not to mention that, as you noted, Epic is taking most of the pie anyway. (I just noticed that I said Cerner, Epic, and pie together … could that be a HISsies Freudian slip?)

From Mark: “Re: Dragon Naturally Speaking. I bought it on your first recommendation and absolutely love it. A product that lives up to its billing, just like HIStalk!" Another reader suggested that I note, probably unnecessarily, that I am using DNS for personal use, which is why it was cheap. For EMRs, you would need Dragon Medical, which comes with integration tools, a medical vocabulary, and a much larger price tag. My point is still valid: speech recognition absolutely works and is not just for geeks any more.

Mcesson announces Practice Partner Connect, an interoperability platform for users of its Practice Partner physician system.

Loma Linda University Medical Center chooses the MDaudit Hospital compliance and revenue risk mitigation system from Hayes Management Consulting.


eMix will launch its vendor-neutral medical imaging information exchange at HIMSS. The company is affiliated with DR Systems.

Janeen Cook says thanks for taking a look at her nursing video. She won the Vanderbilt School of Nursing student video contest with 560 views, saying, “One of my former team members said I was just like Susan Boyle. Wait a minute, I thought — is that a complement being thought of as frumpy and a bit odd? ”


Englewood Hospital and Medical Center (NJ) signs up for McKesson Horizon Clinicals and Horizon Enterprise Revenue Management.

I’m entering my second week or so of being ridiculously behind, so if you are expecting something from me, I’ll try to catch up over the weekend.

Arizona Regional Medical Center (AZ) chooses clinical and financial systems from HMS.

Mayo Clinic takes a minority position in Centerphase, a startup that will mine Mayo’s patient database to find patients who qualify for specific clinical drug trials.

eMids Technologies offers an “AGILE for ARRA” presentation at HIMSS that covers iterative product development. If you are involved in product development and delivery, you can sign up for the Tuesday morning breakfast at the “W” Hotel here.

This week’s e-mail from Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson notes that of 16 organizations winning a Continuous Availability Award for computer uptime, Kaiser was the only healthcare winner. Two of its data centers that host clinical systems had 100% uptime for the full year, with overall availability of HealthConnect at over 99.9%.

Alert, the hospital information system vendor from Portugal that had fanboys swooning at HIMSS a few years ago and then promptly sank without a trace, signs its fourth hospital customer.  

Sentara CIO Bert Reese is interviewed on Cox Business TV, talking about EMRs and interoperability.


Please welcome Precyse Solutions, which has joined our merry band as a Platinum Sponsor of HIStalk. The Wayne, PA company offers a variety of HIM-related services: transcription, coding, consulting, outsourcing, oncology data management, audit, clinical documentation improvement, and its PrecyseAssist service to answer difficult coding and claims questions. You can download a variety of Webinars and presentations from their site for more information. Googling just to see what I’d said about them previously, I notice the company made my radar in mid-2008, when I said this: “I’d watch this company: HIM vendor Precyse Solutions puts Pam Arlotto and Carl Witonsky on its advisory board, giving them a lot of strategic horsepower.” Thanks to Precyse Solutions for their gracious support of HIStalk and those who read it.

A non-profit clinic run by an associate of a Louisiana Parish councilman overbilled West Jefferson Medical Center by $150,000 for its treatment of uninsured patients, an audit uncovers. Also discovered: the clinic had $100,000 in missing checks and undocumented purchases, spent $29,000 on parties, and gave $100,000 in interest-free loans to employees. The hospital has paid the clinic $4.2 million to keep patients out of its ED since 2004. The former clinic CEO says missing documentation for certain payments was caused by an accounting software virus.

We’re booming over at HIStalk Mobile, to the point that we could use some help. I’m interested in talking to a physician, resident, or med student who has good understanding of mobile health and would like to share their passion with our readers in some sort of paid arrangement. E-mail me. I also just remembered that I probably didn’t mention our latest HIStalk Mobile Founding Sponsor, Voalté, so thanks very much to the Men (and Women) in Pink for their support. 

College Park Family Care Center in Overland Park, KS wins a free radiology information system from Swearingen Software, chosen as the most deserving “hardship” radiology department.

Rich Helppie’s Santa Rosa Consulting announces (warning: PDF) its merger with CSA Consulting. Both companies are in Michigan.

Jobs: Information Services Manager (VA), Information Systems ERP Manager (WA), Clinical/EMR Project Manager (NC).

After-hours medical services come under fire in England after the recent death of a patient under the care of a sleep-deprived doctor brought over from Germany and put immediately to work with no rest. Computer problems are named as an issue since doctors can’t see each other’s records. The newspaper article cites a 2005 case in which a post-surgical patient spoke to six doctors by phone and saw two in person, only to die of undiagnosed septicemia.

The VA will freeze its $3.3 billion IT budget in FY11.

Canada reaches national consensus on using GS1 bar codes for drug products, led by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute. The GS1 bar codes are smaller, hold more information, and can hold product-specific codes such as lot numbers and expiration dates that can be used to track products through the supply chain.


Meditech just released its annual report. Revenue was down 1%, the first drop in the five historical years listed. Product revenue dropped to $176 million from last year’s $186 million. Net income was way up at $81 million compared to a big investment-related drop in 2008, but still lagging compared to the past few years. Neil Pappalardo has 13.8 million shares worth $511 million at the internally set share price. I wouldn’t say the company is struggling, but the long string of growth numbers has clearly ended just as HIT spending increases. It will be interesting to see how well it competes for the small hospital business fueled by HITECH.

EnovateIT kicks off a dramatic expansion of its mobile and wall-mounted clinical workstation manufacturing facility, increasing its current space fivefold. The company also forecasts record 2010 sales and announced plans for further expansion later this year.

NHS Scotland will use TrakCare from InterSystems as its patient management system.

Informatics Corporation of America makes a white paper available called Health Care IT Investment Heightens Need For Effective Implementation.


A bizarre, only-in America lawsuit: Heart Attack Grill, a Arizona restaurant characterized as its attorney as “the originator of the medically-themed hamburger grill and restaurant” whose motto is “Taste Worth Dying For", files suit against Florida-based Heart Stoppers Sports Grill. The former has waitresses dressed as nurses serving Bypass Burgers and Jolt Cola, while the latter does the same for its Chili Chest Pain Fries. Another point requiring intellectual property interpretation: both restaurants offer free food to anybody weighing over 350 pounds.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

Picis and iSOFT form a strategic alliance that gives iSOFT the right to distribute, implement, and support selected Picis CareSuite solutions. iSOFT’s initial marketing focus will be on ICU and anesthesia in the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, Australia, and New Zealand.

Design Clinicals’ MedsTracker medication reconciliation application is now fully integrated with Wellsoft’s Medication Verification & Exchange capabilities. CentraState Medical Center (NJ) was the first ED to employ the integrated solution.


Design Clinicals, by the way, gains an exclusive endorsement from the AHA for its MedsTracker program, having proved its ability to help health care organizations achieve organizational excellence.

atlanta food bank

I love the guys at Vitalize Consulting Solutions. Rather than spending thousands to throw a big party at HIMSS, the company has decided to donate funds to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Of course I have nothing against big parties, but I like social consciousness as well. So, here is what VCS is doing. For every person who signs up to follow them on Twitter, joins their Facebook group, or leaves a comment on the “Help Us Help Atlanta” blog, they will donate $1 to the food bank. (do it now before you forget!) Or, you can pay them a visit at booth #5203 at HIMSS. Last year VCS had an equally cool program that allowed HIMSS attendees and VCS donate thousands of soup packets and money to the Chicago Food Bank.

Christiana Care Health System (DE) announces its go-live on CPOE at its Wilmington Hospital. The health system will soon  launch CPOE at its other facility, Christiana Hospital.

The US Patent and Trademark Office awards Medicity a patent for its agent-grid technology for health information exchange. The technology is the core of Medicity’s Novo Grid, which provides EHR integration and community-wide information exchange. We did a HIStech Report on Novo Innovations a couple of years ago,before it was purchased by Medicity. I remember at the time thinking that if it worked they way Robert Connely said it did, it was some hot technology. Guess the patent guys agreed.

The folks at EHR Scope blog did an awesome job summarizing our recent EHR executives series on the proposed meaningful use criteria. If you missed the series, the EHR Scope article succinctly outlines the bottom line opinion of each executive to each question. It’s interesting to see what vendors share similar philosophies on certain topics and who provided the more unique perspectives.

Edward Hospital in Naperville (IL) formally names Barbara Byrne, MD vice president of HIT. Byrne is former clinical director for CCHIT and was named a CCHIT commissioner just last month.

truth on call

Would you pay $50 to text one question to one doctor? Truth On Call is hoping patients, or perhaps physicians in developing countries, will take advantage of the service. Patients text their questions on cell phones and the doctor texts back, receiving $10 for each question. The model sounds interesting, especially if you think about physicians in rural India needing a quick opinion from doctors in the US. But $50 per question per doctor? Seriously?

Here’s a more mainstream product that happens to be free. Text4Baby is a mHealth service designed for pregnant women and new moms through the baby’s first year. Expectant mothers can text “baby” to sign up for the service and receive three to four text messages a week that align with their due date. Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra is promoting its use to make sure moms-to-be and babies stay healthy. Voxiva created the system, mentioned by the company’s co-founder, chairman, and president Paul Meyer in our November interview.

I’m kind of glad that most of my plane rides are fairly boring. On the other hand, passengers on this flight had a bit more entertainment, when shortly after take-off, a man starts screaming, drops his pants, and attacks crew members. He later admits he overmedicated himself before take-off, downing a double dose of medical marijuana cookies.


E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "11 comments" on this Article:

  1. What a silly comment. What do you really know about what goes on inside Epic? These guys are more integrated and run more like a small agile company than many small agile companies even imagine.

    Integration certainly carries responsibilities to make sure that what one guy considers and innovation makes sense and doesn’t mess up what another guy did in another app. That’s honest to god work and if they didn’t do it, and do it carefully, then the customer gets stuck dealing with it.

    Epic may not be perfect at it, but they certainly do a reasonable job of it and you can tell they seek to continually improve on it.

  2. About the UK after hours HIT problems, there are more problems than this: “Computer problems are named as an issue since doctors can’t see each other’s records.”
    Ubiquitous communication dysfunction is paradoxically worse from HIT systems. The communication failures of those HIT systems were specifically cited in the NHS report. They are commonplace in the USA also.

  3. Mr. HIStalk tells me that Farrell is a childhood friend – needed to go on record that these sentiments are not from me – I remain an Epic fan.

  4. Didn’t say the software was terrible, obviously they’re not losing share, but there are serious internal problems.

  5. What Cerner is pursuing is not just data center outsourcing, but complete takeover of entire hospital IT operation as they did at MU and Naples. More to come.

  6. Blogs are fun and all, but man, if you got your butt canned from a company it would be cool if that were a required disclosure if you wanted to blast that company anonymously on a blog.

  7. Harper, what makes you assume Farrell was canned? Are the only people dissatisfied with the company’s process those they fire?

    Personally I turned in my resignation so that I could pursue my graduate degree in Healthcare Informatics. A degree I would never have considered before working at the software company. That didn’t stop me from seeing inefficiencies (from my perspective) in the way the company was run.

    Regardless, Harper, blogs are fun and all and for the moment free speech remains.

  8. Hey Farrell,

    Besides Apple and maybe Google, can you name one large tech co that wouldn’t fit those “stifling innovation by management” claims?

    “Substitute Microsoft for Cerner”
    “Substitute Microsoft for Oracle”
    etc etc.

    Sounds like you just have a bone to pick

  9. Re: Christiana Care CPOE

    Only took them 14 years to do so after my 1996 recommendations.

    — former CMIO

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