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April 8, 2010 News 8 Comments

From Iommi: “Re: Advance for Health Information Executives. Have you heard that it’s shutting down?” A couple of readers, at least one of whom should know, told me it’s going down the tubes. It’s not a great time to be in the print publication business.


From RadioGuy: “Re: meaningful use and images. Can you comment on this article?” The Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance lobbies to have EMR integration of medical images included as a criterion for meaningful use, starting in 2013. Its white paper is here (warning: PDF). I can’t say I have strong feelings about the issue, so here are my off-the-cuff reactions: (a) MITA is a medical imaging vendor trade group, so that obviously influences their point of view since getting on the list would boost sales (although that’s arguably no more biased that having EMR vendor groups involved); (b) meaningful use was intended to increase EMR adoption, but I would think imaging doesn’t require that kind of incentive; (c) both doctors and patients clearly benefit from image availability, a case not so clearly made from EMRs, so misaligned incentives aren’t in play like they are for EMRs. Bottom line for me — it’s just trade group noise, albeit with some good underlying points.

From Kalispell: “Re: 200-bed hospital. Nobody mentioned Eclipsys because it’s not possible to use them for all solutions. I worked until recently in an Eclipsys hospital and pharmacy, radiology, and ambulatory are very weak. It’s not integrated like Epic or Cerner, say from radiology to SCM. Eclipsys doesn’t see billing as a primary role, so ancillaries will run into billing issues.” Unverified. I’d still rank it #1 for CPOE and clin doc, though. Another reader says Eclipsys doesn’t price Sunrise cheap enough for a 200-bed hospital.

From Arclight: “Re: you scooped the Miami Herald. An article popped up on the Miami Herald’s breaking news page 20 minutes ago about the death of PC inventor Ed Roberts. Breaking news? Really? Three days after it was posted on HIStalk? I have no idea how you manage to track and tabulate the freakish amount of data you condense for your loyal readers, but please keep up the good work. Your site should be required reading for anyone remotely connected to the HIS industry.” Thanks. I’m glad Ed didn’t go unnoticed. He may not have profited from the industry like Bill Gates, but he made it possible. 

From Diego: “Re: meaningful use final rule. Any idea when it will be final?” The comment period ended three weeks ago, but I don’t know how long it takes to review and incorporate those recommendations. Someone out there probably does and can share.


From Mark Moffitt: “Re: CDR/HIE model.” Image above – funny! Just in case the parody isn’t clear, it makes fun of reposing a local copy of patient data that’s already available at other locations, the equivalent of Google’s actually storing Web content rather than simply pointing to it.

Larry Nathanson MD, a BIDMC ED informatics doc, reviews the iPad for clinical app use, saying it lives up to high expectations and makes the iPhone seem “slow and inadequate.” He says it renders browser pages as fast as a laptop, supports easy typing, and hits close to the claimed 10-hour battery life. His only concern for ED use is durability. A commenter also reminds that Citrix Receiver and LogMeIn are both available for the iPad, allowing it to be used as a remote PC with full capability. Their ED app is Forerun EDIS, co-developed by BIDMC.

The usual reminders: put your e-mail in the Subscribe to Updates box to your right to get instant notification when something new is posted here (some of the 5,450 subscribers are probably your most feared competitors and you don’t want them to know first, do you?) There’s a search box over there too (and a new one coming – I bought a new search engine and am finishing up the installation). Your news, rumors, and opinions are always welcome (and will stay anonymous if you want). Make sure to read the interesting comments posted after each article and feel free to add your own. You can post your industry events to my calendar, catch up with mobile healthcare computing on HIStalk Mobile, and help me out by perusing the sponsor ads to your left and click those of interest. I genuinely appreciate your taking the time to read HIStalk.

NHS scales back its contract with BT, limiting the number of London trusts that can get Cerner and RiO. Scrapped: an ambulance solution and the previously acclaimed Map of Medicine visual care planning tool.


A reader sent a link to the full text version of the Health Affairs article in which David Brailer interviews David Blumenthal (ONCHIT-1 and ONCHIT-3, respectively). I notice Brailer’s bio omits his main credential that got him the ONCHIT job in the first place – starting up the Santa Barbara Project, a failed RHIO that started the whole interoperability craze, but died an ugly death without having ever exchanged even a single byte of information. Anyway, the article is definitely worth a read. Some snips:

  • A good Blumenthal quote: “The purpose of health information technology is to support health reform, and it is part of that larger puzzle. It is not a stand-alone goal or an end in itself.”
  • Interesting trivia: Blumenthal says it was Congress, not his office, that coined the term “meaningful use".
  • Blumenthal says his office is working with other countries to begin discussions about international standards for sharing healthcare information.
  • Brailer asks about lessons to be learned from NHS projects in England and gets an excellent and insightful answer. “One thing that is quite clear to me as I sit in the Hubert H. Humphrey Building in Washington is that no country — none of our Western peers — has attempted to create electronic health information for a country as large, diverse, complicated, wealthy, and dynamic as the United States.We are trying to create a nationwide, interoperable, private, and secure health information system for a country that extends from the Bering Straits to Key West, with more than 300 million people who by history and tradition and culture value local autonomy and need autonomy in order to manage their diverse local situations. And so that’s the tradition we inherit, that’s the method that we have to use, and we are working within those constraints.”

People mistakenly think the VA’s VistA was cheap to create since internal programmers did some of the work. It wasn’t, but it provided good ROI: a study by the Center for IT Leadership says VistA cost $4 billion over 10 years, but returned savings of $7 billion. The conclusion is that the VA spent more than a similar private sector organization would have, but got higher adoption and better care as a result (and low cost isn’t much consolation if you can’t get those things, of course). Nearly all the cost savings came from a reduction in duplicate tests and medical errors. And the good news, of course, is that your hospital can get that $4 billion system for $0 from Medsphere or some of the other companies that offer it license-free.

Listening: Metric,female-fronted indie from Canada, reader recommended. It’s so cool that readers suggest something I like about 80% of the time, which is saying a lot since I dislike 90% of what’s out there. Metric is a keeper. Try Satellite Mind on the player.


Catholic Health Services of Long Island files a certificate of need to spend $144 million on Epic for its five hospitals. It hopes to save $40 million a year in addition to the HITECH incentives, expecting length of stay to drop by a half-day.

The CIO of CMS says that companies that ask to link to its systems have such primitive IT security that it’s “almost embarrassing” and those systems are loaded with “basic amateur problems.” She says these are big-name companies, not mom-and-pops.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

From Cherry Blossom: “Re: Apple OS4. If you thought iPhone and iPad was big in healthcare, just wait until this summer. We haven’t dug into the guts of OS4, but if they can deliver on half of they have promised, the chains have been removed from developers and we are going to see some AMAZING apps.”  Well, I hope you are right in terms of improvements for app developers. In terms of simple end-users like me, I was glad to see that OS4 will support multi-tasking. The addition of unified e-mail is also a plus and something I’ll find handy as I float between my Inga World and Real Life. Bummer that Flash still is not an option, though.

HCA is preparing to file for  IPO that could yield $2.5 to $3 billion. About three years, ago HCA went private in a $33 billion leveraged buyout; an IPO would allow HCA pay off some of its ginormous $25.7 billion debt.


Allscripts releases its third quarter numbers: revenue of $179.9 million versus last year’s $160.7 million, which beats analyst estimates of $175 million. Profit came in at $18.5 million versus last year’s $13.3 million. Bookings grew 25% to $105.5 million.

I chatted with Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman a few days before the earnings’ announcement and he shared some thoughts on the Allscripts-Misys merger, one year later. He also provided his impressions on a few competitors (he believes Epic is “anti-innovation”), on industry consolidation (he sees “substantial” consolidation ahead). and Regional Extension Centers (he’s a fan).

MedQuist continues to lobby the Washington crowd to ensure that transcription is an acceptable method for getting information into EHRs.

john suender

Speaking of transcription, a reader sent over a newsletter by John Suender, who our reader claims is “THE guru of medical transcription M&A.” Suender speculates on what will happen with Spheris, which is in the midst of seeking bidders for a bankruptcy sale. His prediction: the most likely bidders are MedQuist, Nuance, and Transcend. He also estimates the new owner will pay around $125 million.

RelayHealth earns certification for its Payor Connectivity Services from the CAQH Committee on Operating Rules for Information Exchange (CORE) Phase II. The CORE certification means that RelayHealth’s provider customers can securely process electronic queries within 20 seconds and receive consistent patient administrative information.

Streamline Health Solutions announces Q4 net income of $1.59 million compared to the previous year’s net loss of $145k. Revenues came in at $6.28 million vs. $3.38 million.

Streamline Health also shares news of a new contract with East Orange General Hospital (NJ), which will implement Streamline’s health document workflow solution integrated with the hospital’s GE Centricity system.

Quality Systems makes Forbes annual list of America’s 25 Fastest-Growing Tech Companies, coming in at #23. I noticed that Red Hat also made the list at #19. To qualify, companies must have at least $25 million in sales, plus sales growth of at least 10% over the latest 12 months.

doctors hospital renaissance

Doctors Hospital at Renaissance (TX) selects Encore Health Resources to provide project management, consulting, and advisory services for its implementation of Cerner clinicals.

HEALTHeLINK, the Western New York Clinical Information Exchange, selects Anakam Identity Suite to provide its authentication and identity management solution.

QuadraMed announces the general availability of its ICD-10 Simulator, developed to help coders prepare for the transition to ICD-10. Quantim ICD-10 Coding Simulator duplicates the ICD-10 coding environment to facilitate training. (Someone will need to explain what “Quantim” means.)

central washington hospital

Central Washington Hospital goes live on its $22 million Cerner EHR.

Congrats to TELUS, parent company of HIStalk sponsor TELUS Health, for winning the 2010 Freeman Philanthropic Services Award for being the top philanthropic organization in the world.

Hennepin Healthcare System (MN) licenses Mediware’s Insight performance management software solution for its 900-bed hospital and clinic system.


E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. An insightful answer from Blumenthal? “One thing that is quite clear to me as I sit in the Hubert H. Humphrey Building in Washington is that no country — none of our Western peers — has attempted to create electronic health information for a country as large, diverse, complicated, wealthy, and dynamic as the United States.”

    It has failed in England, a country much smaller with one health insurance program. Pray tell how he thinks it will not be a failure in the USA. His doubletalk in answering the question is indicative of his denial of the defective American made systems and the incompetent deployments both in the UK and the US.

    Does Brailler think the readers are that stupid?

  2. I just quit Eclipsys – India from the Revenue Cycle group.
    As per my experiences, I really regret accepting the position at Eclipsys – India in the Rev cycle team.

    This (Rev cycle) is a terrible group to work with who have very little scruples. They have absolutely no vision for their product which they market in slideware as so called “integrated”. All the management members of this product group are interested in, is finding a scapegoat for the colossal failure that their re-write efforts are headed towards.

    Their Clindoc and CPOE teams are very good and well managed teams.Similarly have heard excellent feedback on the ePSI team also.

  3. Regarding imaging and meaningful use:

    It’s quite obvious that portability will define EMR/EHR use in the future. Imagine a future physician toting his/her tablet computer (iPad or similar) as he/she makes the rounds at a nursing home, remote clinic, patient residence, etc.

    Drove all the way over here, but no images! What to do? OK, let’s call the office and have somewhere there punch up the images and describe or attempt to describe what’s on the screen. Not very efficient. Let’s face it, a record without images isn’t really a record at all for the mobile physician of the future.

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