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May 4, 2010 News 6 Comments


From Newsies: “Re: Radianse. The RTLS vendor has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as of April 20.”


From Take the Time: “Re: Neal Patterson. The latest kudos.” Neal makes the Forbes list of best-performing bosses and rightly so: quibbles aside, there aren’t many executives who have transitioned successfully from scrappy startup founder to big-company CEO and kept investors financially happy most of that time. He’s a HISsies pie-in-the-face regular, but if I was investing my money in healthcare IT, he’s the guy I’d trust it with. That’s CERN (blue) vs. the Nasdaq (green) above, just in case you’re a hater.

Eclipsys announces Q1 numbers after Tuesday’s market close: revenue down slightly, EPS $0.09 vs. -$0.02. Shares are up a little in after-hours trading. In other Eclipsys news, E-Health insider reports that the company will take Sunrise Clinical Manager to the UK, offering it to trusts looking for an alternative to NPfIT’s systems.


Dr. Dalai and anonymous contributors document what they say is the end of AMICAS as Merge Healthcare does its best to screw it up after buying it. I’m linking to his main page since he’s running new pieces, so read back a couple of articles for the whole story. It’s big business as usual: layoffs of all the people that made the acquired company successful, forced relocations resulting in resignations, and apparent mothballing of previously sound products. He summarizes with a plea to Merge executives:

Bottom line is this: your actions are destroying AMICAS. If you don’t reverse what you are doing, you have just flushed $250 million down the toilet. Don’t do it to yourselves, don’t do it to the AMICAS people, and don’t do it to me and the other AMICAS customers.

I see that some new jobs have been posted on the HIStalk Job Board, so feel free to cruise over and see if any of them look interesting. Each job lists the number of times it has been viewed at the bottom of the page, so you can see which ones are hottest. I should mention, since a couple of folks have asked, that while everybody can view available jobs, only sponsors can post them.

Small-practice SaaS EMR vendor ClearPractice names pharmacist and former NotifyMD CEO Gary Ferguson as CEO. The company offers its entire suite for $425 per month, including revenue cycle management, help with stimulus funding paperwork, and CMS approval as a preferred provider for patient registry. I don’t know much about the company, so that’s just me reading the press release to you in an authoritative, yet know-nothing voice like a clueless TV news anchor.

A couple of readers e-mailed me noting quotes from both Steve Lieber of HIMSS and David Blumenthal of ONCHIT in which they discounted EHR safety issue reports. Blumenthal called such reports “fragmented” and “anecdotal”, not surprising given the lack of a central, well-publicized reporting mechanism for such problems. One reader also noted that problem reporters are often seen as troublemaking whistleblowers rather than staunch patient advocates, not to mention that some vendors prohibit such disclosure in their contractual language. My response to one e-mail was that we need this industry’s equivalent of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices to take up the banner of centralizing problem reporting and disseminating those reports out for everyone’s benefit. After all, the FDA’s medication safety track record wasn’t very impressive until ISMP got involved. Plus, you would think vendors would prefer that to FDA oversight.


Thanks to new Platinum Sponsor FormFast of St. Louis, MO. The company’s healthcare solutions include forms automation, document management, and workflow automation that help eliminate the paper chase. Specific solution examples include RAC tracking and response, admissions, bar coding, positive patient ID, cancer staging, patient self-service portals, e-signature, on-demand document printing, and importing documents into the EMR and saving the cost of preprinted forms, imprinters, embossers, and labels on the way to becoming paperless. The company is offering a free Webinar on May 25 at 11 a.m. Central, a Forrester Research update on Microsoft’s healthcare strategy called SharePoint 2010: What Value Does It Bring to Hospitals? Three attendees will win an iPad, just in case you’re interested. Thanks for FormFast for supporting HIStalk.

Revenue cycle services vendor Accretive Health sets its IPO price at between $14-16 per share for 13.33 million common shares for a market cap of $1.44 billion. The company had $510 million in revenue last year, which you’d never guess given its crude Web site and the fact that you’ve probably never heard of it except maybe when I mentioned their IPO plans back in the fall.

McKesson’s Q4 numbers: revenue up 2%, EPS $1.26 vs. $1.01, but falling short of analysts’ expectations on both revenue and earnings.

athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush has told me that he started his internal company blog using HIStalk as a model, so now he’s got a customer-facing version as well. Unlike most CEO blogs, it’s actually interesting and sounds like someone other than a marketing department committee talking.

Smartphone application developer Voalté announces seven new hires.


I’m streaming Netflix like a madman using my new Roku box as a defensive move to Mrs. HIStalk’s usual BBC and dancing shows, so a couple of old movies inspired this week’s guest editorial in Inside Healthcare Computing, an opus I called Healthcare IT Leadership Lessons Learned from R. Lee Ermey. Spoiler: I make a convincing argument that Neal Patterson’s famous “tick, tock” e-mail was cribbed from one of R. Lee’s profanity-laden monologues in Full Metal Jacket. I don’t think a Pulitzer is in my future, but at least I snickered while I was writing it.

All the big hospitals in Madison, WI run systems from next door neighbor Epic, so now they’ve decided to share ED records in a pilot project that runs through July.


Brigid O’Gorman, a Connecticut College pre-med junior and captain of the women’s hockey team, wins a $10,000 grant from Davis Projects for Peace to implement electronic medical records in Uganda. The money will go towards four computers, solar panels to run them, two printers, software, a laminating machine, and an external hard drive. The college will contribute $3,000 to allow her to spend eight weeks there to set it up and help transfer information from the paper notebooks carried by patients into the computers. I like her spirit: “I’m not a wiz at the computer, but I figured I could get a system and teach myself how to input the data before I go.”

Mississippi Baptist Health Systems says it has saved more than $4 million by switching to Symantec for storage, backup, and archiving of its 130 terabytes of data.

This was probably embarrassing: Canadian EMR vendor Medworxx issues a corrected press release about year-end earnings when it notices that the date was given as December 31, 2010 instead of 2009.

A couple of recent journal articles try to peg CPOE and EMRs to mortality and cost, at least in the minds of the headline writers. As I always caution, just because A and B happened together in no way implies that A caused B or B caused A, even though folks looking for someone to agree with their anecdotal beliefs will always drag those articles out as evidence.


Surgeons at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh are using a video-over-IP system to monitor progress of cardiac transplant procedures from any VPN-connected PC using a zero-footprint software video player. The Haivision Furnace system lets surgeons know when it’s time for them to jump in to do their part.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

From Sean Fitzpatrick: “Re: Paul Levy’s lapses of judgment. I’m with you on your observation. It’s too easy to write off the little lapses, which typically reveal underlying bigger ones.” I was glad to see a number of readers agreed with me. Apparently the BIDMC board did as well, fining Levy $50,000 for his “poor judgment” and saying it will also consider his “serious lapse” when determining his next pay package (which is over $1 million now). Board member Patrick Ryan is apparently not pleased with the outcome (not harsh, enough I suppose?) and announces his resignation.

From Madrigal: “Re: Meditech. Thought you’d like to know that Howard Messing has been promoted to CEO (his new title is president and CEO). His previous title was president and COO. Neil Pappalardo’s title is now chairman (it was chairman and CEO)” Unverified, though we heard this report from a couple of readers. The company’s Web site still lists Pappalardo as chair and CEO and Messing as president. One in-the-know person suggests the change means little in the short term and is more of a symbolic shift of official responsibilities.

lucile packard

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (CA) reports a 20% drop in mortality rates since introducing CPOE, giving it the lowest rate ever observed in a children’s hospital. Until Packard published its findings, no hospital has been able to show reductions in medical errors and mortality from using CPOE. The hospital, which spent $50 million on its EHR project, attributes its success to a careful and well-planned implementation.

Peninsula Regional Medical Center (MD) selects eClinicalWorks EMR for its employed physicians at the Peninsula Regional Medical Group. The Medical Center will also promote eCW adoption with affiliated community physicians and implement eCW’s Electronic Health eXchange as its interoperability tool.

Pantain Holdings Berhad, a 1,500-bed, 10-hospital network in Malaysia, selects Eclipsys Sunrise Enterprise. John T. Mather Memorial Hospital (NY) also plans to add multiple Eclipsys Sunrise products to create a single EHR across multiple venues of care.

washington county

Washington County Hospital (MD) replaces 40 interfaces with Corepoint Integration Engine. The hospital runs Meditech and connects to referring physician offices.

Doctors from Catholic Healthcare West will serve as medical directors for 10 CVS Caremark MinuteClinics in the Phoenix area. The new CVS/Catholic Healthcare West alliance includes plans to eventually integrate EMRs.

The 54 providers at Syracuse Orthopedics Specialists (NY) and New York Spine & Wellness Center choose Allscripts to provide EHR and PM across their 11 locations.

Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council (GA) goes live on its HIE, leveraging technology from Orion Health and Initiate Catalyst Patient Registry.

Mark R. Briggs, the former COO of Carefx, takes over as CEO of HIE vendor VisionShare. He was previously with NaviNet, QuadraMed, and LinkSoft Technologies.

fort healthcare

Fort Healthcare (WI) will partner with Cerner to create a connected health community through the use of Cerner Millennium solutions. The hospital, ambulatory surgery center, and specialty clinics will implement more than 20 Millennium products and use Cerner for IT management services.

Senior Lifestyle Corporation selects the selection and hiring solution of Kronos to manage the end-to-end hiring process.

MedLink partners with iMedicor to integrate iMedicor’s information exchange portal with the MedLink TotalOffice program. The combined solution will facilitate secure messaging and clinical data exchange. TotalOffice users will also have access to iMedicor’s ClearLobby drug and medical device information platform.

gary valasquez

Healthcare analytics vendor Outcomes Health Information Solutions appoints Gary Velasquez CEO. Former Ingenix CIO Jim Egan is also hired to serve as the company’s CIO.

Ingenix and Health Language, Inc. launch Ingenix Global Code Manager to translate between ICD-9 and ICD-10 coding systems.

Mediware releases Q3 numbers: revenue of $12.8 million compared to $10.2 million last year, net income $891,000 vs. $483,000.


E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. The 20% reduction in mortality from CPOE screamed in the headlines, sounds too good to be true. Eureka, it is too good to be true.

    The study announced by Stanford is significantly biased in so far as it is the same hospital and researchers that deployed rapid response teams in 2005 that significantly reduced mortality (interestingly, by 18%) during several years of the same time frame in which the current study was conducted. Thus, it is statistically unlikely that CPOE added 20% additional mortality reduction. I suspect it added none.

    The editors of Pediatrics and its reviewers will be scrutinized for conflicts. Do they think that the readership is that stupid? What role did the vendor assume in constructing the flawed methodology and promoting the results? Investigative authorities will be taking a close look.

  2. Mad props to Brigid O’Gorman, that’s a gutsy move to help the world. I love when I see people doing something about a problem rather than sitting around whinning that “Someone should do something!” What a refreshing story to read first thing this morning. And thanks for the heads up on the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital findings, that’s great for my blog post this morning. 😉

    Went over and read Bush’s blog; certainly not your standard CEO mouthpiece. I especially liked his comments on “think small and then run like mad.” It won’t replace my HISTalk consumption, but it certainly made a nice supplement this morning.

  3. Agree with Michelle re: Brigid O’ Gorman its great to see someone doing something! Will keep her in my prayers and would love to see a follow up story on her experience.

    [From Mr. HIStalk] I e-mailed the college last night asking if it would be possible to interview her, so perhaps I will have more soon.

  4. Congratulations to you, Mr. HIStalk. You have come a long way, now recognizing that patients die from defective and poorly designed HIT. You said: “My response to one e-mail was that we need this industry’s equivalent of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices to take up the banner of centralizing problem reporting and disseminating those reports out for everyone’s benefit. After all, the FDA’s medication safety track record wasn’t very impressive until ISMP got involved.” I disagree with you. No industry providing medical devices or drugs should be allowed to seel their wares without FDA approval for safety and efficacy. Of course the sellers desire to escape the purview of the law, as they have for the past decade.

  5. For what it is worth, at the New York City Apple store on 5th Avenue, between about 8 and 10 pm, the place was packed around the perimeter of the sales floor with people speaking many languages besides English, all in line to buy an iPad. I was told the number of buyers and the many nations represented are pretty typical for that time of night (could not get tickets to Carnage of God or the Addams Family, hey, let’s go buy an iPad…) Instead, spend your time wisely – see something off-Broadway, go have a nice meal or best of all, stock up on some to-die-for shoes, then go to the 5th Avenue store – it is open 24 hours and the lines disappear after 10pm on weeknights and after midnight on weekends…you could make a fortune selling coffee and cupcakes from a pushcart on the street nearby…what a country.

  6. Surprising you say this considering the number of complaints bout the company’s products:but if I was investing my money in healthcare IT, he’s the guy I’d trust it with…

    The disparity merits consideration. Awards and accolades when problems are ignored?

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