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June 24, 2010 News 14 Comments


From Robert Simplicio: “Re: Stack Overflow. The hugely popular programming Q&A site now has a community-driven system to decide whether to create a new site or not. It’s staging a healthcare IT version. To continue to the next step, it needs followers and questions. I can’t think of anything more relevant to your readers, myself included. This could save us all a great deal of time.” It’s a great idea. Click here to check it out and give it some support. This would be a free site that’s platform/system agnostic, so healthcare techies should be all over it.


From Blue Mist: “Re: Duke University Hospital. CIO Asif Ahmad has resigned.” Verified. He’s going to US Oncology.

From JoJoBoston: “Re: GE. Kent Rowe, GM for Centricity Business (the old IDX Flowcast), has resigned. He was one of the last main IDX players left. GE looks to be smothering the product, which once had 85% of the academic medical plans.” I asked a GE spokesperson, but they don’t respond to personnel-related inquiries. I thought our earlier Allscripts acquisition rumor made sense. Maybe there’s a connection.

From Capezio: “Re: Cerner. Your comment from the KLAS CPOE report was a bit off the mark.” Probably so: I said Cerner has low CPOE adoption, but with a third of its clients doing CPOE, that’s actually pretty good. It still has more hospitals live on CPOE than anyone else and KLAS says its adoption rate is growing at 30% per year.

Healthland provided this response to LouisvilleLouie’s Tuesday report that CEO James Burgess has stepped down:

James F. Burgess, chief executive officer of Healthland since 2007, resigned from the company for personal reasons on June 17, 2010. John Trzeciak, Healthland board member and operating advisor for Francisco Partners, is serving as interim CEO. Trzeciak has an extensive background in executive leadership with a variety of healthcare IT organizations. A search is underway for a permanent replacement for Mr. Burgess. For Healthland employees and customers, it’s business as usual.

Listening: Crowded House, a long-gone and perpetually underrated Aussie band now trying to make a comeback with their thoughtful and intelligently crafted pop that reminds me more than a little of the Beatles. Excellent. And also unrelated, Amazon has dropped the price of the Kindle to $189 after BN brought out a WiFi-only version of the Nook for $149, so I bought one as a gift for a special lady. It’s pretty cool.

On the Sponsor Jobs Page: Vice President, Business Development, Vice President, Solutions Marketing, Meditech Consultant – Long Term, Epic Certified Clinical Documentation Consultant. On Healthcare IT Jobs: Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, McKesson HED Consultant, Cerner FirstNet Consultant.

Universities and hospitals in Memphis are connecting to Oak Ridge and other research centers via 10-gigabit-per-second connectivity and Internet2.

McKesson’s John Hammergren banks $35 million in proceeds from selling shares.


Microsoft announces that HealthVault is now available in the UK, three years after its US debut.

Indian companies are seeing gold in the US healthcare reform bill, specifically in business process outsourcing, reading diagnostic images, medical tourism, and drug manufacturing. Also mentioned is that because the bill limits offshoring, Indian companies are opening offices here and also buying domestic companies.


Motion Computing announces its J3500 tablet PC for healthcare and other vertical markets that require a rugged device. It’s way uglier than an iPad and quadruple the price (it starts at $2,299) but it’s tougher.

iSoft shares drop to $0.19, down nearly 75% in the past six months. The company had planned to make some US acquisitions (I’ve heard a couple of names), but that’s probably not going to happen with that loss of equity.

Interesting lawsuit: the CEO of Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare (FL) subtly tinkers with the formula approved by the hospital’s board to calculate his retirement benefits and submits it in his employment contract. The hospital’s board chair now admits that he “signed it, as was his custom, without reading it.” The CEO retires and the hospital is shocked to find that it’s stuck with paying him $614,000 per year for the rest of his life, triple the expected amount (even that amount sounds wildly generous – who gets a guaranteed lifetime pension of $160K per year on a $380K salary?) The hospital doesn’t want to pay, so he’s suing them. And in Ohio, a hospital CEO forced into retirement from his $530K job after highly paid family members were found on the hospital’s payroll faces another charge – shipping hospital baby formula to his daughter.


HHS CTO Todd Park says his team is working startup-like hours to launch the HealthCare.gov consumer insurance site by the legally mandated July 1 live date.

Strange, especially in this economy: 90 union construction workers at Central Washington Hospital (WA) walk off the job because two Port-a-Pottys of the 24 on the job site were dirty and one was out of toilet paper. Maybe they had to get in the iPhone line.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

Franklin Wood Community Hospital (TN) selects GetWellNetwork to provide patients with its bedside interactive learning tool. Among other functions, the GetWellNetwork system noteswhen patients finish their prescribed educational content and documents that information into the hospital’s Soarian EMR.


Money can’t buy you love or the the world’s best healthcare. A new Commonwealth Fund report ranks the US last for healthcare outcomes compared to six other industrialized countries despite its per capita cost of $7,290. The next biggest spender is top-rated Netherlands at $3,870. The US ranked particularly low in efficiency due to high expenditures and administrative costs. Other contributing factors included low scores on IT usage, re-hospitalization, and duplicative medical testing.


Nuance Communications buys the IBM spin-off Shapewriter, a continuous touch application that allows users of mobile devices to type by swiping their hands across a keyboard instead of hitting individual keys. I’ve never seen a similar app and I thought the online demo looked cool. I’m not sure if Nuance plans to add it to any HIT applications or if it even really does make input faster, but it looks sexy.

Speaking of Nuance, the company announces the winners of its 2010 eScription Million Dollar Awards. Twenty-two organizations were recognized for saving one million dollars or more on medical transcription using the eScription platform.

Over on HIStalk Practice, Dr. Joel Diamond weighs in on e-prescribing. Joel is a regular 2010 Renaissance man who not only writes blogs, but also serves as CMO for dbMotion and still manages to practice medicine a few days a week. Plus he’s got a great way of getting his point across while also making me laugh (I doubt I am the only one.) Here’s a sampling:

A colleague of mine told me of the time he once prescribed drops for a baby with an earache. The instructions were: “Put two drops in right ear every four hours” with right abbreviated as an R with a circle around it. The mother returned when the child did not get better. She showed the doctor the baby’s wet rectum as evidence of complying with the prescribed treatment. It turns out the pharmacy printed the instructions as “Put two drops in R ear every 4 hours”.


Even  though I just got back from vacation, I’m already thinking about what I’ll do for my next trip. Denver at the end of July sounds pretty inviting, especially if you’re interested in hearing  some experts chat about HIE adoption and implementation. The Institute for Health Technology Transformation is hosting a Health IT Summit July 27-28 and has lined up an impressive list of speakers and moderators, including John Moore of Chilmark Research, Lisa Khorey of UPMC, and Mary Anne Leach of The Children’s Hospital.

Design Clinicals contracts with ExitCare to enhance patient education features in the MedsTracker software. ExitCare will interface its ExitCareEDTM and ExitCareIPTM products with the Design Clinicals’ MedsTracker application. MedsTracker, by the way, was recently certified to connect with the Surescripts e-prescribing network.


Forerun, Inc. plans to incorporate Anoto Digital Pen technology into its Forerun Chart program for EDs.

Automated telephone reminders can increase colon cancer screening rates by 30%, according to a KP study.

Sad: the administrator and associate administrator at Central Louisiana State Hospital resign following the deaths of three patients from food poisoning. The cause of the outbreak was tied to improperly stored chicken salad. Another 54 patients and staff members were sickened.


Also sad: that the world needs this type technology. Baptist Memorial Health Care completes installation of RF Technologies’ Safe Place Infant and Pediatric Security Solution at eight hospitals. The system prevents abduction of infants by sounding an alarm and locking all doors if a baby is moved without authorization.

mens shoes

A medical technologist who worked worked at a couple different hospitals in Newark, DE, is arrested for stealing men’s shoes. Police discovered 3,900 shoes that were presumably stolen over the last 20 years. I thought I might have found a sole-mate (sorry) until I read more details about him. I mean, I could never go for a guy who just boxes up all his shoes and leaves them in his basement.


E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "14 comments" on this Article:

  1. I have tried a similar app, Swype on an Android phone. Granted, it’s in beta, but I haven’t been all that impressed. My phone (Samsung Moment, Sprint) has a slide-out keyboard, though — which on any day is worlds better than any on screen soft keyboard, no matter how good the software is behind it. Well, at least today. Maybe next week?

  2. >>> A new Commonwealth Fund report ranks the US last for healthcare outcomes compared to six other industrialized countries despite its per capita cost of $7,290.

    I’m not impressed with this group, whose agenda is to not only have HIT in every doctor’s office but also to have a single payer system of universal healthcare, which is why they have Obama’s ear- he wants the same thing. They run these reports intermittently as if they were real studies only to promote their agenda. They are a leftist group wishing to internationalize American healthcare. The Fund is currently led by president Karen Davis, a nationally recognized progressive economist who at one time worked under the Carter administration and is credited for much of what is in the dreaded Healthcare reform bill. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonwealth_Fund and http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/News/News-Releases/2009/Jan/New-Survey–Experts-Say-Obama-Administration-Should-Pursue-Ambitious-Health-Care-Reform-Agenda–SCHI.aspx)

    You shouldn’t waste the time on Histalk to post stuff from this leftist, Democratic lobbying group. Tsk tsk…


  3. Hey Al – rather than making an ad hominem attack, why not address the data from the report instead? You make working for the Carter administration sound like working for Pinochet while giving us no reason whatsoever for doubting a report *that seems to match dozens of others from non-“leftist, Democratic lobbying groups.”*

    Can you show me where our per-capita expenditures aren’t 2x more than everyone else’s? Or more? Can you show me where our outcomes are better than everyone else’s?

    You can’t.

  4. Money can’t buy you love or the the world’s best healthcare. A new Commonwealth Fund report ranks the US last for healthcare outcomes compared to six other industrialized countries despite its per capita cost of $7,290. The next biggest spender is top-rated Netherlands at $3,870. The US ranked particularly low in efficiency due to high expenditures and administrative costs. Other contributing factors included low scores on IT usage, re-hospitalization, and duplicative medical testing.

    Funny no mention of our horrible lifestyle choices as contributing factors. I think we’re fixing the IT issues but it won’t be quick, the duplicative medical testing is a direct result of the insane litigation environment we’ve created for ourselves. Tort reform will lower healthcare costs more than any other single action.

  5. Medical malpractice costs (from the insurance industries own figures: Towers Perrin) are $29.8 Billion. About 1.5% of the $2 Trillion industry. So about $8 if you completely remove the patient’s right to sue or stop errors completely.

    Its administration costs where the real savings are. Tort reform is a tiny blip of the costs, statistically insignificant.

  6. Regarding Shapeware; I have a similar ap on my phone (swipe). I find it to be a very useful way to enter text for emails and text messages.

  7. Sorry, that should have been $80 of the $7,290 per capita cost.

    Al, you inaccurately, posts on fake “21%” cut in payments from the socialized Medicare CMS payments, are you not at all worried about coming across as a hypocrite? You are willing to take those payments from a socialized system and then rant on about people trying to nationalize healthcare. I assume you will be stopping taking Medicare patients?

  8. That’s great news about a StackExchange for HIT: we definitely need resources like that. Now if we can just get the amount of people involved to make it useful.

  9. Cerner does have more sites live on CPOE than most vendors. Doctors and nurses don’t use it. As a patient that has recently been to multiple Cerner and Epic sites, Cerner is not used but its live….

  10. Motion J3500. Wow. Yet another $2,200, 3.6 lb, PC stuffed into a small box that gets hot enough to cook an egg on with a battey that can’t last a shift (unless I hot swap – and it will be “hot”) and oh, wait – I just turned it on – it’s booting up Windows 7! arg! – gimme a few minutes. Yup, just what healthcare always wanted. Thanks. Yawn.

    Now if I could only find an inexpensive tablet sized device with a 10 hr battery life at maybe 1.5 lbs that was actually ready to use the second after I pressed the ON button… ah, who am I kidding.

  11. Tort reform saves more than just the rewards of malpractice cases. Malpractice insurance costs go down, duplicate test are not ordered, etc. etc. When a physician can practice without a CYA attitude, the savings will ripple through the system.

  12. What evidence do you have that removing high insurance payouts will stop defensive duplications of tests? What evidence is there that Physicians don’t place duplicate orders to protect their jobs and careers irregardless of insurance company payouts?

    Isn’t the better way of fixing duplicate orders basic CPOE best practices and policy, rather than removing consumers rights?

  13. Hi Barmy:

    It’s not an ad hominem attack- it’s a fact that they are a leftist, Obama-loving socialist organization. For some readers, that is a good thing. I just happen to disagree with their agenda.

    I do consider Carter to be the worse president the USA has never had— until Obama, who is just slightly WORSE. Both were plagued with a malaise and with an inability to handle crises. Both had ideas on how to work with foreign governments that have left the USA in a weaker position. Obama, though, is surrounded with leftists and communists…

    >>> Can you show me where our per-capita expenditures aren’t 2x more than everyone else’s?

    The per capita expenditures are high due to a numerous reasons not found elsewhere in the world- s.a. high malpractive costs as well as the high cost of doing business, which includes higher wages paid to nurses and staff, as well as higher property costs and costs of equiptment, and now the cost of buying and using a “meaningful use” EHR. Physicians being forced to now recertify for their Medical Boards in some cases up to a yearly basis, forcing them to leave their practices to study further decreasing productivity.

    You can’t expect to have a highly bureaucratic healthcare system and pay Walmart prices. Actually, Average Joe said it perfectly in his statements.


  14. Hi Blah!

    Long time no debate… But fake 21% pay cuts? Do you not read the papers? How about just do a Google search: http://www.google.com/search?q=21%25+medicare+pay+cuts&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1

    I have to prostitute myself by taking these payments for now because I have to so as to survive, but I am cutting back on Medicare as much as I can. Eventually I will stop taking Medicare patients, or figure out a way to charge them extra for the payments cut by their insurance company.

    >>> What evidence do you have that removing high insurance payouts will stop defensive duplications of tests?

    So are you for continuing the malpractice situation that we have now?


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