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News 2/26/10

February 25, 2010 News 10 Comments

From Wrangler: “Re: is Inga a man?” An online article suggests that perhaps Inga is a man writing as a woman. I couldn’t wait to tease her about that, but she had already seen it and responded back that a couple of readers have e-mailed her with the same suspicion. Let me forcefully allay that speculation: Inga is most definitely female, and a quite striking example if I may say (not only at least as cute and charming as her avatar suggests, but darned smart and caustically funny in our offline e-mails). So let’s treat the lady with some respect, OK? She’s the queen around here.

From Olivia: “Re: karma. With hard times and cutbacks around him [vendor exec name omitted] goes out and buys a $450,000 Maserati, parking on the corporate lot (and taking several spaces) for viewing by the layoff-ees exiting the building. Need I say there was a small round of applause that swept the building when news traveled that he’d hit the back of another vehicle and smashed its pretty little face. He has to be the most hated exec in the EHR industry – I’ve never met anyone about whom 100% of people say he is truly insufferable.” I hope he closes the Maserati’s gas cap tightly because the sparks from keys repeatedly meeting paint could present a fire hazard.  

From Lee Minors: “Re: first step of Microsoft purchasing Eclipsys?” Microsoft will integrate parts of Eclipsys Sunrise Enterprise with its Amalga UIS. The press releases talks about an open platform and the pretty cool MLMs and ObjectsPlus components that are exposed for customer self-development (not all inpatient EMR vendors offer something like this, but I’d find it hard to justify buying one that doesn’t). I don’t see any clear-cut evidence of further Microsoft interest at the moment, but its recent Sentillion acquisition started out this way and I’m hearing the rumors, of course. Thanks to Eclipsys for offering me personal, pre-announcement access to its very tippy-top management to discuss the strategy behind the move, which I had to unfortunately decline because I was occupied with stuff at the hospital. As I e-mailed Inga afterward, “One of these days, it will hit me how strange that is — telling a billion-dollar company that I unfortunately don’t have time to talk to their top executives.” Darned day job. Even without the briefing, though, I like the move.


From Connie: “Re: HITMEN. You didn’t mention the TV series behind the theme. It’s Mad Men on AMC, based on early 1960s Madison Avenue advertising men. There have been two seasons and it’s wonderful!” I knew that but forgot to mention it. I haven’t seen the show — I guess my DirecTV package doesn’t have AMC because I keep scanning the DVR list to record it and it never comes up.

From Byter: “Re: Quality Systems acquires Opus Healthcare Solutions. From the SEC 8-K, they paid $12 million in common stock plus up to $14 million in future shares subject to performance.”

From PACS All Mighty: “Re: Merge. Given the odd but always entertaining history of Merge, Amicas, Emageon, Cedara, eFilm, etc. and their oft-crossed swords of mutual conquest, an Auntminnie.com forum writer SlingshotPM  calls this “Efilmergemedeageonicas – a seamless and fully integrated solution that capitalizes on the synergy of integrating a best of breed technologies solution to the radiology workflow paradigm.’ Clearly the GE, Philips, McKesson, and Siemens big dogs would love to see all these yapping Chihuahuas go away.” Speaking of Merge, the company is suing its former CEO and CFO for the $880K it spent defending them on accounting fraud charges, plus the $3 million it shelled out to settle the class action suit that resulted. Also speaking of Merge: the company gets $200 million in bridge financing to support its $248 million offer for Amicas.


First time I’ve seen this: advertising for Epic people for “a massive healthcare project” on Craigslist.

I interviewed the folks from DIVURGENT for HIStech Report, including former BayCare CIO Lindsey Jarrell, who just joined the company.

Listening: Tarja, the operatic former lead singer of Finnish symphonic metal bad Nightwish, which just may teleport you to a winter’s evening in Finland spent on a bear skin rug in front of a fireplace (hopefully not alone).


I interviewed iMDsoft CEO Phyllis Gotlib a couple of weeks ago, so it’s fun to have the company back, this time as an HIStalk Platinum Sponsor. iMDsoft has big plans for expanding its US market, which should be made a lot easier by already having a Who’s Who of top US hospitals as customers (BIDMC, Lehigh Valley, Mass General, Henry Ford, Barnes-Jewish, Johns Hopkins, etc.) Its flagship product is the Metavision continuous patient record for ICU, anesthesia, and acute care, along with solutions for electronic dashboards, remote intensivist monitoring, and mobile clinician access. Drop by Booth 8633 at HIMSS and tell them you read about them in HIStalk. Welcome and thanks to iMDsoft.

Several HIStalk sponsors have swapped out their ads on the left with HIMSS-specific ones, so give them a look and click on any that move you.

Thanks to the one and only PACSMan Mike Cannavo for his guest article this week. Mike doesn’t know who I am, but we hired him at our hospital to help with a PACS selection years ago. He’s one of those guys who knows more people in his first hour on site than you do after years of working there, and seems to be reverentially quoted by all of them constantly. The best I could do to compete was to remind everyone that I signed off on the contract to bring him in.

Medical University of South Carolina will deploy the care continuity module of the Oacis data aggregation solution of TELUS Health Solutions. It creates a portable care record that can be printed, faxed, e-mailed, or sent to an EMR as an HL7 message. I think I got an early copy of the announcement because I don’t see it on the Web yet. I respect and like Frank Clark of MUSC as much as any CIO anywhere. We chat occasionally, so I asked him about Oacis a couple of weeks back (they use it because McKesson’s Horizon portal isn’t so great for academic medical centers). Oacis is still a big piece of their strategy, providing viewer capability as a front end for Horizon Clinicals. He was remarkably frank (no pun intended) and modest when I interviewed him a couple of years ago, including giving me a nice overview of Oacis.

3M Health Information Systems releases its Mobile Dictation Software for the iPhone. It was already available for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile.


ONCHIT is Tweeting. Or at least has the capability.

Here’s an amazing video of a new Enovate computer wallstation. I wasn’t paying too much attention until the guy started moving it up and down the wall electronically with one finger; then, it turned itself off and closed its own keyboard tray and shut down when the user walked away.

We’ve got an interview with Paul Brient, PatientKeeper president and CEO, on HIStalk Mobile. We will have daily updates there from HIMSS, so if you are interested in mobile healthcare computing, signed up for the e-mail updates and get the scoops (we will get first crack at a few of those, I think).

order optimizer 

Order Optimizer is a brand new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor, so thanks very much to those folks. It’s the first inpatient system certified by CCHIT as meeting preliminary ARRA 2011 standards for CPOE and decision support. The SaaS sytem was developed by the hospitalists of Intercede Health and provides comprehensive support for evidence-based admission orders. It contains over 180 evidence-based order sets and a merging engine that helps doctors create evidence-based treatment plans. Admission orders can represent up to 70% of the total during a patient visit and the product focuses on those, so the company says hospitals can get Order Optimizer up and running within weeks with no capital expense, giving much of the benefit of CPOE without requiring 100% physician adoption, reducing time, risk, and cost. It was a finalist for the 2009 Microsoft Healthcare Innovation Award. Thanks to Order Optimizer for supporting HIStalk.

Charge master applications vendor Craneware announces six-month results: revenue up 25%, earnings up 36%.

PatientKeeper and and EMPI vendor NextGate announce a partnership to integrate their technologies to enhance PatientKeeper’s HIE capabilities.

Mayo Clinic will conduct a one-year study to determine if home monitoring technology from GE and Intel can reduce hospitalization and ED visits of patients with chronic disease.

HIMSS says it expects 28,000 at the conference next week and all the hotels are full. Atlanta weather for Sunday: lows in the low 30s, highs in the low 50s, sunny. Getting cold by Tuesday, in the upper 40s with a chance of snow (can’t HIMSS go anywhere without the snow following?)

I’ll be writing as usual Saturday and then daily from Atlanta. You are my eyes and ears, so let me know if you learn something that others would like to know.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

Healthcare execs say their biggest hurdle in EHR adoption is lack of internal resources, according to a Beacon Partners’ survey. I was surprised that only 25% of the execs believe their organization won’t fulfill the first meaningful use deadline with most feeling comfortable with their progress. Even more surprising to me was that a whopping two-thirds of the 168 surveyed were not familiar or had little knowledge of Stark.

klas hit

In yesterday’s HIStalk Practice I mentioned that HIMSS has a new HIT Buyers Guide just for HIMSS. It’s free to providers, though not vendors nor consultants and I assume not bloggers. When I am told I can’t have something (unless I pay a bunch of money), why do I feel I must have it? Anyhow, a kind reader shared these reflections:

A good number of vendors aren’t going to like this guide because no one wants to see anything less than an A by their name. A few categories have no vendors earning an A and most categories are littered with Bs and Cs. I even noticed one F. Even industry darling Epic made a B+ in one of its categories. If I were a buyer, I would be seriously depressed by the lack of low-risk choices.

Sunquest Information Systems extends its relationship with two customers who are expanding their use of Sunquest’s anatomic pathology solution. Massachusetts General Hospital is installing Sunquest CoPathPlus and Bon Secours Health System (MD) is adding Sunquest CoPathPlus at three facilities.

Praxis EMR selects MedUnity as its exclusive provide of HIE and fax services.

MD Anderson Cancer Center (TX) deploys LodgeNetRX Interactive Television System throughout its 11-building campus.


The Voalte One solution is now offered on Blackberry smart phones, in addition to the iPhone. The pink pants guys say they will be showing off both versions at HIMSS, booth 2407.

OakBend Medical Center (TX) successfully implements McKesson’s Paragon HIS, along with AcuDose-Rx medication dispensing cabinets. The hospital CEO says 100% of the nurses were using the system the first day of go-live and 100% of the physicians were using it within three months.

Beth Israel Deaconess Healthcare selects MedAptus’s Professional Intelligent Charge Capture technology for its 170-physician hospitalist group.

mid michigan

Five years after first implementing Allscripts’ practice management system, the 70-provider Mid-Michigan Physicians decides to add Allscripts EHR.

The Oregon Department of Human Services contracts with Netsmart Technology to implement Netsmart’s Avatar EHR and PM software at Oregon State Hospital and other state behavioral health facilities.

athenahealth announces it will postpone the release of its Q4 and 2009 year end financials in order to allow additional time to complete a year-end audit and conduct an internal accounting policy review. The delay is in connection with an internally-initiated review of its accounting policy for the amortization period for deferred implementation revenue.

Medsphere Systems appoints Michael Previti as VP of national sales. He was previously VP of provider sales for Initiate Systems and also did stints at both Cerner and McKesson. I see that former Picis exec Doug Schumann also just joined Medsphere to head up implementation and training, and, Health Data Sciences alum Carol Somer is the new director of marketing.

In September 2008 Mr. H mentioned that Pegasus Imaging Corporation filed a lawsuit against Allscripts, claiming  intellectual property infringement over licensing fees for a Pegasus development toolkit. I don’t recall ever hearing more about the lawsuit so I assumed that it was settled privately, as most lawsuits are. That’s apparently not the case and a trial could start in March. Pegasus president Jack Berlin says he’s been trying to work out a settlement for the last 18 months. Allscripts isn’t commenting. Berlin believes Allscripts could owe him $60 million or more in license fees.

After budgeting  an initial $590 million to deploy an EMR, Catholic Healthcare West is adding another $419 million to its budget (holy cost overrun, Batman!) Of the initial funds, $240 million was spent implementing Cerner EMR at eight of the health system’s 41 hospitals. CIO Ben Williams says the cost per hospital will be much less going forward because the implementation team is now more experienced. My math says they need to be much more experienced.

Emergisoft releases Emergisoft EC Forms Digital Solution, an application that converts template-style documentation into a narrative language chart.

AT&T announces plans to expand its AT&T Healthcare Community Online (HCO) solution to include a portal with pre-integrated applications. HCO is AT&T’s cloud-based HIE and collaboration portal. Some of the new enhancements include real-time access to patient data at the point of care, single sign-on access, integration with e-prescribing, EMRs, and lab services.

att 3g

Speaking of AT&T, I got a text yesterday saying there’s a brand new tower close to my neighborhood. Coincidentally I see PC World praises AT&T’s efforts to improve its 3G network performance, which is now 67% faster than the network speeds of Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.

The HIT Standards Committee recommends that federal certification criteria for EMRs be flexible and not lock into specific requirements that could become outdated. Certifications should consist of a family of standards for certain criteria, rather than specific requirements, e.g., require HL7 version two, though not specify a specific release.

Phytel appoints Dr. Richard Hodach its chief medical officer.

NextGen says that for each person who follows them on Twitter and retweets “#NextGencares and I do too,” they’ll donate $1 to charity. At HIMSS you can vote on which charity you’d like see get the money, and for each vote, NextGen will donate more money. I’m all for corporations sharing their profits with the world, so starting Twittering and stop by booth #7433.

Keane’s Healthcare Solutions Division is awarded contract extensions with University Physicians Hospital (AZ) and Ernest Health. Both entities recently upgraded to Keane’s Optimum Patcom offering.

I have to ask: why do marketing types feel the need to mention ARRA in every single press release they issue? It’s not just the folks selling EMRs. New hire announcements, infrastructure upgrades, and earnings announcements are all deemed worthy platforms to mention ARRA stimulus money. Enough already.

I’m sure regular readers are aware that Mr. H has been especially prolific with the interviews the last couple of weeks (I only did one of two). A couple of trivial observations: where are all the intriguing female interviewees? Please send your suggestions. More trivial: HIT has its fair share of hunky guys. I’m definitely heading to the AirStrip booth in Atlanta.


As Mr. H mentioned, a few of our guest at Max Lager’s Monday night will be adorned with beauty queen-type sashes. Most of our sash-designees have been good sports in agreeing to participate, even though none of them yet know what their sashes will say. Note that we will be awarding the above sash to two lucky attendees at the party, so keep this in mind as you pack your bags.

If you are going to Atlanta – safe travels! If you are staying home, we will do our best to let you know all you’re missing.


E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. Good grief on the Craig’s list for Epic, in my backyard and had my curiosity generated here as who’s doing the big project.

    Also, just a note here on the “duck” post a couple weeks ago, there’s others like the CEO of Ciisco that sit around and play with a duck caller, so no wonder they though the new computer system had “ducks” if they happened to see what John Chambers does:) videos at the link:)


    Have a great time at HIMMS!

  2. Re: HITMEN, Apparently my moniker was years ahead of its time! Back in the “early days” the immediate assumption was it was somehow gangster related. No longer is that the case, looks like I’ve gone mainstream. (and boy is that a scary thought!)

  3. RE: $450K Maseratti. Sounds like Mr DD is at it again. He once drove his fancy car to one of their premeir sites in MS where dollars are very tight. CIO commented that if and when he makes the trip out again to leave the car in his own garage because it wasn’t welcome at his hospital.

  4. On the Epic positions I am betting it is Cedars Sinai Medical Center. They had alot of consultants doing that implemenation and the concern was how they were going to support it going forward after the experienced consultants left.

  5. Thanks for the tidbit on Medsphere (and me — you are definitely well-read in the industry since your blurb prompted several old friends from Bridge Medical days to get in touch today so thanks!) … just want to clarify a bit about Doug Schumann, who is not a recent hire — he was promoted. Here is the text from the news release. Thanks again for the news item and stay out of trouble at HIMSS!

    “Doug Schumann has been promoted to senior director of implementation and training. As “dean” of Medsphere University, he established a process improvement initiative called “The Medsphere Way” based on Six Sigma methodology. In his new role, Schumann is focused on standardizing and optimizing the OpenVista implementation methodology. He joined Medsphere in August 2009 from Picis where he led a 74-person field team responsible for implementing, training and documenting all Picis products.”

  6. RE: Mayo Clinic one year study on home monitoring reminded me back on Jan 27th Inga gave a link to the HealthGrades top 5%. Mayo Clinic in AZ and FL made the list, but not MN, which seemed odd until reading through their criteria. This week HealthGrades listed their top 50 hospitals, only Mayo in AZ made it. So, just wondering, as institutions push into patient’s homes, who will be monitoring the outcomes of their home monitoring and who will determine the medico-legal aspects of the data and the clinical interventions taken (or not taken) based on it. Safe travels, sashes on, and write to us every day.

  7. Olivia: “Re: karma – NOTE: The most expensive production Maserati out for 2009 or 2010 is $135,000, not $450,000 (unless he’s got some amazing mods). However, I’d agree that being/looking ostentatious when others are losing their jobs is a sign of low/no class; worse yet, no concern or respect for those that work (or worked) for you. If I were in his position, I’d be driving his kid’s BMW M3 instead. 😉

  8. Re: karma – I agree with bkern that it is $135,000 Maserati, and I happend to see a damaged Maserati at the Three Ravinia Drive parking garage the other day. May’be everyone coming to HIMSS should swing by to see it.

  9. The plan by the Standards Committee serves the HIT vendors well: “The HIT Standards Committee recommends that federal certification criteria for EMRs be flexible and not lock into specific requirements that could become outdated. ”

    HIMSS BOD members have infiltrated this committee and have influenced the policies. Hmmmmm to HIMSS. What a scheme they have enacted!

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