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News 5/21/10

May 20, 2010 News 17 Comments


From Skinny Little B: “Re: Advance for Health Information Executives. It’s officially dead, even though the staff were told not to tell readers or advertisers that the May issue was the last one.” Former editor Bob Mitchell is a good guy; his last day there was a couple of weeks ago. Maybe not admitting defeat is like hanging a “remodeling” sign on an obviously closed restaurant — a Hail Mary that somebody will buy it before word gets around that it’s defunct (like among the advertisers). They may try to salvage the non-print parts of the business like they did for the HIM magazine. I can only imagine what a disaster it would have been if I’d been running it, considering that I use a $5 invoicing program, I refuse to do anything to encourage prospective sponsors except e-mail a crude information sheet if they ask, and I keep turning down all kinds of brilliant money-making ideas because I don’t really care about money all that much and I’m lazy. So I give them credit for hanging in there for what must be at least a dozen years. I used to read it and like it.

From Hans Solo: “Re: Colorado RHIO. A big win for Medicity, beating out incumbent Axolotl.” Colorado RHIO chooses Medicity’s platform for its statewide HIE. The organization plans to cover 85% of the state’s providers and hospitals within five years.


From Nancy: “Re: Jefferson Regional Medical Center. The press release on Eclipsys 5.5 says they did the upgrade in 30 days. Is that really possible?” The headline also claims that unnamed users declared it “blazing fast and fun to use,” but doesn’t provide details anywhere in the actual writeup. Maybe a reader from JRMC will chime in with details.

From Limber Lob: “Re: MUMPS and Cache’. MUMPS takes hits because it’s still around after 30 years and many of the ancient MUMPSters are coding the way they did 30 years ago. Old COBOL, RPG, and Pascal programmers have all passed on instead.” I like that analysis and will extend it: companies like Epic and Meditech hire trainloads of noobs and train them on a language they’ve surely never heard of even if they majored in computer science. Since it’s more of an apprenticeship, they can also train them to follow their own internal programming standards and utilities, which are arguably more important than the choice of programming language anyway. It may be true that only in healthcare would a robust market still exist for applications written in something that quirky and old (or “industry-specific” and “time-tested” if you’re a glass-half-full type). Bottom line: it works, the vendors can support it, and customers shouldn’t (and apparently don’t) care about the invisible underpinnings.

From Epic Cleans Up: “Re: Atlanta. Epic will own the Atlanta market, having won the business at CHOA, Grady, and Emory (soon to be announced). It’s not surprising given the superior software, services, and support of Judy and her team. However, it should be a wake-up call to local companies that failed, including Eclipsys, McKesson, and Philips.” Unverified, but I will say that being local isn’t really much of an advantage. And, that those companies you mentioned are surely wide awake and well aware of exactly what they’re up against. I’ve been a customer of all three of those local outfits (well, Philips is from the Netherlands, but I’ll allow it). One of them was excellent, one was very good, and one I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

Jobs from the sponsor job board, where sponsors post free just because we are really nice: Implementation Consultant, Cerner Ambulatory Consultant, Regional Solutions Consultant, Healthcare Market Research Manager. On Healthcare IT Jobs: EMR Project Manager, Ambulatory Technology Trainer, Cerner Orders Consultant, Clinical Director of Field Marketing.


The health minister of Saudi Arabia is visiting Children’s Hospital of Michigan to check out its Cerner electronic medical records system. I’m not sure why since they’re already running Cerner in Saudi Arabia, but maybe they need fresh ideas.

Dell’s Q1 numbers: revenue up 21%, EPS $0.22 vs. $0.15. The former Perot was a bright spot, while PC margins weren’t.

I decided I needed a Facebook page so I won’t have to keep using Inga’s login to add to the HIStalk page (man, that’s confusing). Anyway, if you want to friend me, just search for HIStalk and I’ll pop up in all my smoking doc glory. I’m helping that obnoxious kid who started Facebook add to his several billion dollars so he doesn’t have to lifeguard this summer.

Weird News Andy and I agree: this story is sad. An admittedly inebriated woman in England falls in a bathroom, embedding a six-inch toilet brush handle in her pelvis. She tells doctors what happened, she shows them the bleeding wound, they take an x-ray, and they still can’t find the problem, so they send her home on pain meds. After two years of constant pain, she finally convinces them, but dies of massive blood loss in a 10-hour surgery to remove it, the hospital’s third attempt. Her husband summarizes, “I think it was probably down to the hospitals trying to save money and doing things as cheaply as possible … I’m sure she would have got better treatment in foreign countries.”


Miss Russia 1998, who was a physician back in the Motherland, is charged in New York with forging a Vicodin prescription using a prescription pad stolen from her psychiatrist’s office. She was already on trial for a nearly identical case. I will make a flimsy argument about illustrating the benefits of e-prescribing in order to justify running her picture.

Listening: reader-recommended Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights, bluesy straight-ahead rock. From the look and sound, I thought I’d traveled back in time to see Grand Funk Railroad, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.


Inga and I appreciate our new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor, Navicure of Duluth, GA. They’re a medical claims clearinghouse, meaning they help their 20,000 physician customers get paid (eligibility, claims, remittance, recovery, productivity). The company is on several “fastest growing” lists and – get this – they GUARANTEE that every call is picked up in three rings or fewer, which as they say, is because their client services area is “purposefully overstaffed.” They also have a 90%-plus “would recommend” rating from clients (video testimonials are here). Check out their blog, The Daily Practice. You may also remember that CEO Jim Denny wrote a Readers Write piece in October the value of clearinghouses. Thanks much to the folks at Navicure for supporting HIStalk.

Nurses in Australia picket a local hospital over incorrect pay caused by a new payroll system, a problem still unresolved after five pay cycles.


The CEO of Bend Medical Clinic (OR) writes a good blog post that explains to patients what an electronic medical record is and why they use them.

A group of Florida hospitals is using a BCBS grant to track employee reports related to infections and and surgical outcomes, rather than the usual billing data. They hope to convince CMS that billing data is worthless in trying to monitor clinical results.

Greenway’s PrimeSuite EHR for the iPhone and iPad.

Baptist Health cranks up Philips VISICU eICU in its five San Antonio hospitals, where a critical care team monitors their 134 ICU beds from an office building.

Yet another sobering malpractice verdict: a six months pregnant woman is turned away by the local trauma center, whose NICU doc says his facility can’t handle a preemie that small. They call an ambulance to take her to another hospital an hour away. She delivers in the ambulance, but the baby suffers brain damage and cerebral palsy. The malpractice jury returns a $10 million verdict against the county’s non-profit ambulance service. The hospitals had already settled for $1.4 million.

North Adams Regional Hospital (MA) fights with its nursing union, with ergonomics being a key union bargaining issue. Said a union rep, “We’ve had two instances where a computer station on wheels has fallen on a nurse.”

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

maxIT Healthcare and Ingenuity Solutions Group enter into an agreement to combine as maxIT Healthcare. The merger expands maxIT’s expertise with Lawson ERP solutions. Ingenuity President and CEO Phil Summer will now be maxIT’s National Practice Director.

PatientKeeper announces the availability of Mobile Clinical Results on the iPad.

Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian selects Patient Care Technology Systems’ Amelior EDTracker solution for its new emergency department opening in Irving, CA later this year.

DigitalPersona, the provider of U.are.U fingerprint biometrics, will integrate its product into ScriptRX’s products. ScriptRX provides touchscreen EMR and discharge systems for ERs and urgent care centers.

For all our readers who are 7th grade boys (or 7th grade boys at heart), here’s an opportunity to come up with all sorts of tasteless jokes. HP Labs calculates that a hypothetical farm of 10,000 dairy cows could produce enough energy to power 1,000 servers.

Greenville Hospital Systems (SC) selects MedAssets for revenue cycle software and services.

RCM provider Accretive Health offers 10 million shares in an IPO that raised $120 million. The $12 per share price was well below the proposed $14 to $16/share.


E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "17 comments" on this Article:

  1. To Epic Cleans Up: While I am rooting for Epic all the way in Atlanta, to say that they own the market is just wrong. Ever hear of Piedmont, Gwinnett, Northside, WellStar, Southern Regional and Henry? All MCK customers. Now, if Epic gets those THEN they will own Atlanta. You must not know much about the market here.

  2. While former MCK’s list of McKesson installs is accurate today, that list might not be accurate in 6 months if other rumors are true.

  3. MCK is losing accounts on poor service and poor product offerings. More old school mediocre crap cobbled together with a mix of poor service and support. Intergration means unifying the apps name (yea this is now an industry standard). Rumor has it that Piedmont is going to switch to EPIC as well in the not too distant future.

  4. Yes, the upgrade can be done in 30 days when you have development teams on site and throw enough resources at it. JRMC is the first site live on ECLP’s CCHIT certified version and they needed it up and running immediately. There are other clients right behind them, although none will get it done that fast. Big win for ECLP and JRMC.

  5. As to the statement by Limber Lob, “many of the ancient MUMPSters are coding the way they did 30 years ago”, he’s right.

    As someone who left the field as an HL7 interface and lab reporting programmer in MUMPS back in the late 90’s, I then began working with OOP C++, Java, etc., and other buzzword-compliant programming languages. I was also exposed to a myriad of other concepts; like using variables with more than one character for one thing.

    Once I came back to the Cache world via the integration engine Ensemble I was able to apply some of those Object Oriented principles I learned – and at least MY code can be understood by any Cache’ noob at 2AM in the morning even after a hard night of partying.

    I’d also recommend to all the MUMPSters still out there – read “Code Complete 2” by Steve McConnell. Let’s move beyond the days of “I can name that full screen editor in one line of code”. Yeah, you’re brilliant. Lovely. I can do that in Perl, too – but remember to give the client something they can actually read IF THEY WANT TO. 🙂

  6. Got to love Grand Funk – Mark Farner sliding across the stage, great B solos from both Farner and Craig Frost – just can’t beat it!

  7. Am I confused? “I will make a flimsy argument about illustrating the benefits of e-prescribing in order to justify running her picture. ”
    What exactly does e-prescribing have to do with the babe’s picture? Does she have bad handwriting and the pharmacist could not read her prescription?

    [From Mr. HIStalk] Because stealing a prescription pad is a lot easier than hacking into an e-prescribing system if you’re going to attempt to create fraudulent prescriptions.

  8. I have a relative who is an MD in a highly dominated Epic market with one large hospital system on McK & general agreement is that McKesson stinks. Rumor has it that they’re shopping around & will likely end up at Epic so not surprising to hear there are others as well.

  9. I’m sorry, but I just have to disagree with the whole cow energy thing. I don’t like to be a nay-sayer, but the cows would almost certainly need to remain outside, and at 10 cows per server that’s a lot of surgical tubing. When HP engineers things down to, say… 2 cows per server, then call me.

    And would that tubing job title be… Systems Anal-ist?

  10. RE: Atlanta Market – Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t Children’s Eclipsys, Grady (laughable on how they will even afford one HIT vendor much less overpriced EPIC) was on paper, and Emory is Cerner. I am not a McKesson shell at all, but how is this a diss on McKesson? I believe they still have the two largest health systems in the Atlanta area (Wellstar and Northside). I think Piedmont is Meditech?

    Having worked on the three largest vendors in this space (Cerner, EPIC, and McKesson) I honestly don’t see a difference in their software from an end-user perspective. Where I see the difference is how those companies change the culture at the organization and how they sell their product. I think each style speak to different organizations and why each have highly successful organizations on all of their products. Where I would be most concerned is the constant flip-flopping accounts making massively expensive wholesale switches from vendor to vendor. If they don’t get it together internally, they will never be successful on any software they go up on.

  11. RE Atlanta Market – You are right – it is hard to keep up. CHOA has had Epic for at least 5 years. Food for thought: Ya think Judy gives non-profit city/county-type organizations better pricing than say a Kaiser, Cleveland Clinic or Emory? Hmmmm – can envision lots of reasons for them to do that. BTW – this former clinical enduser sees a BIG difference between Cerner & Epic vs. McKesson. I’d take C or E over McK any day. . .

  12. RE: Pezzer – I can see where a clinical user might prefer to use a Cerner or EPIC, but I couldn’t see a financial/back-end user flocking to either of those systems over McKesson’s products. In the end, and what I thought was painfully obvious, is that there really isn’t a difference between these products as a whole. They all have massive flaws and are a work in progress.

    And even if Judy discounted more than she did Emory, I can guarantee it was still overpriced and more than Grady (who is MILLIONS in the hole) could afford. Anything more than $1 is too much for that hospital.

  13. re: Atlanta Market: I’m almost positive Piedmont in Atlanta is Eclipsys, unless something has changed in the last couple of years!

  14. Good luck with EPIC. It is a pathetic health-care management system that increases morbidity and deceases any quality of life for the professionals forced to use it. Sounds like health-care in Atlanta will be significantly worsened.

  15. RE: Peacheater – Grady has had near or over $100M in debt for years. If you aren’t an Atlanta local, then I guess I can understand not knowing this… Not too mention Grady owes Emory for the use of their residency program (I believe Morehouse as well) of about $50M. They have been hot to trot on getting donations this past year, but in the end it just hasn’t been enough (not too mention paying for the $40 MILLION EPIC install). BTW, to the EPIC fans, does this typical include the outsourced consultants it requires to install the solution, or is that in addition?

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