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August 26, 2010 News 5 Comments

8-26-2010 8-06-17 PM

From Sweet Thang: “Re: Blue Shield of California. Pulling out of Emdeon on November 1. It’s been mentioned nowhere, including on Emdeon’s site, but it’s on the Blue Shield site.” Seventeen claims vendors remain, among them Allscripts Payerpath, Navicure, and RelayHealth.

8-26-2010 8-23-37 PM

From The PACS Designer: “Re: Office 2010 Web Apps. If you haven’t purchased Microsoft Office 2010 yet, you can download a free trial copy of Office 2010 Web Apps to get an idea of what’s new in Microsoft’s business software offering to all of us HIStalkers.” 

From e-R Nurse: “Re: Pittsburgh. Congrats to fellow Pittsburgher Rich Goldberg, a tireless worker. And last week, 90-minute waits for meds at the UPMC Shadyside Hospital ED when the vacuum tube system got plugged for hours. It is used to facilitate efficiency between ED and Pharmacy with the CPOE system.” Not uncommon. Tube systems are in many hospitals and serve as the lifeline from far-flung patient areas to pharmacy and lab, not just for paper orders, but for meds (at least the non-hazardous and non-fragile ones that can be tubed). I can say from experience in multiple hospitals that a CPOE or pharmacy system downtime is nothing compared to a tube system outage, which requires finding people to act as couriers to run stuff back and forth constantly. If anyone ever makes the Star Trek transporter a reality, hospitals will be an instant market. And like CPOE systems, sometimes you find a lot of missing items that got waylaid in transit from Point A to Point B (the tube system is the ultimate interface).

From Katrina: “Re: kudos. Keep up the great work. I owe a lot of other people’s perceptions of my brilliance to HIStalk. ;-).” That’s a nice comment — thanks! Inga and I don’t get to look brilliant ourselves since we’re anonymous (and might well look a lot less brilliant if we weren’t), so we’re happy when readers say they benefit from reading. Our favorite stat is from our annual reader survey earlier this year, in which 82% of readers said reading HIStalk helps them do their jobs better. We console ourselves with that when someone insults us.

8-26-2010 10-07-40 PM

From Lisolette: “Re: VA’s VistA. A good blog article.” It a book review of sorts, covering the well known Best Care Anywhere. It makes some good points (VistA doesn’t get used enough because it doesn’t generate profits like proprietary EMRs) and some questionable ones (VistA is being adopted in other countries because the VA model works so well, not mentioning that many of them grab it because it’s free). Minor quibbles aside, it’s a pretty good read, especially the nice, simple overview of how MUMPS and Cache’ work. It’s also true that the VA care model is one that would be perfect other than providers are paid for procedures instead of improving health: lifetime patient care, a data-driven approach, and having incentives to improve health and not just healthcare.

Changes to the Health Information Act in Alberta, Canada bring up a question for debate: should chiropractors, dentists, and optometrists be allowed to access the full electronic health records of patients?

I’m awaiting the official announcement before naming names, but the Yale-New Haven CIO job has been filled. Readers who sent me the rumor were correct. I’d ordinarily just blast out the name since it’s confirmed, but I’m bending my own muckraker rules since it’s a friend of HIStalk and the announcement is immediately forthcoming anyway. It’s a great job for the new person and a great hire for the hospital. More to come.

8-26-2010 8-18-07 PM

A Florida medical news site profiles Sushoo (bless you!), which claims to be the first independent HIE. It was started by a Florida entrepreneur and his physician wife as a small side project, but now has 40 employees.

8-26-2010 8-21-31 PM 

Hilary Worthen, MD is promoted to CMIO of Cambridge Health Alliance (MA).

I didn’t scour the entire list of Inc. Magazine’s Top 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies, so here’s another HIStalk sponsors that made it: Culbert Healthcare Solutions, coming in at #988 in its first year of eligibility. Also: GetWellNetwork.

Keith Boone, “Standards Geek” for GE Healthcare, did some good sleuthing in noticing that the public health notification standards in Meaningful Use are incorrect. It uses standards intended for state reporting to the CDC, not for providers reporting to states. It’s also an obsolete version and describes only the message standards, not the content. Apparently his observation made its way to ONC, with John Halamka stating that ONC will issue a correction. Let’s hear it for the geeks (including both Keith and JH), the unsung heroes of HIT often deprecated among the Alpha Male sales jocks and cutthroat MBAs who climb their backs to reach the organizational pinnacle.

Inga and I pride ourselves on making all viewpoints available on HIStalk, not just ours. How that works: you are welcome to post article comments, send in a Readers Write piece, or suggest items we should cover or people we should interview. We’re always especially interested in hearing from provider-siders, who tend to be underrepresented simply because they don’t hire PR firms or have products to pitch.

Ingenix Consulting announces its Strategic Technology Solutions practice, which offers services related to IT strategy development, technology procurement, and implementation. 

Weird News Andy muses, “Does the C in C-section stand for ‘clean’?” A maternity ward in Sweden, short on help, tells a newly delivered mom being discharged to bag up her laundry and tidy up her room before leaving. Two midwives in the hospital confirm her story: “You can’t leave a mother while she’s giving birth. It’s true that we sometimes need to make use of the parents and that doesn’t feel good at all.”

BridgeHead Software releases a healthcare disaster recovery white paper.

8-26-2010 9-03-15 PM

Clay County, West Virginia pilots HealtheMountaineer, a PHR system modeled after the VA’s MyHealtheVet project and tying into the state’s open source systems (Medsphere’s OpenVista and the Resource and Patient Management System from the Indian Health Service). This is pretty impressive, especially if you’ve ever been to Clay County.

Sponsor jobs: Epic Certified Consultants, Account Manager. Jobs from Healthcare IT Jobs: Executive Director Epic Systems, Lab Systems Project Manager, Medical Information Officer Acute.

Businessweek sees competition between the deep pockets of UnitedHealth and McKesson to sell updated insurance company systems (enrollment, care management, and claims processing) and those moving to ICD-10. Here’s an interesting quote from a VC guy: “Every healthcare payer in the world needs an upgrade. You or I are talking about getting an iPad. They are still getting off mainframes.” Potential acquisitions mentioned are Click4Care and ZeOmega.

OakBend Medical Center (TX) chooses the Corepoint Integration Engine for its Paragon implementation.

8-26-2010 9-22-37 PM

I got a pop-up message in my Gmail account offering free calls for the rest of the year, which must mean that the very Skype-like Google Voice is live.

An two-year NHIN pilot project will test (warning: PDF) sharing of clinical information between the Indianapolis VA and the Indiana HIE.

Senator Max Baucus, a key player in writing the healthcare reform bill, admits that he hasn’t read all of it. He hasn’t said whether he knew about the unrelated tax change attached to it that will require businesses to send out 1099 forms to any supplier selling them more than $600 worth of goods or services.

Odd lawsuit: Marin General Hospital announces a lawsuit against Sutter Health, claiming Sutter siphoned off $120 million before turning control back over to the county this past June. Equally odd: a couple sues SeaWorld of Orlando for traumatizing their ten-year-old son by trying to resuscitate a trainer who was killed by a whale during a performance they attended.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga


University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) collaborates with Carefx to provide business intelligence dashboards and analytic tools for UHC’s Clinical Data Base (their spelling). UHC members include about 90% of the nation’s non-profit academic medical centers.

Passport Health Communications launches Payment Navigator to provide upfront financial triage when patients are admitted to hospitals.


The CNO of Covenant Hospital (TX), which is implementing Meditech, says it will advance Covenant’s “Design for Perfect Care” strategic initiative, with goals of “perfect care, sacred encounters, and healthiest communities.”

Epic takes top honors in yet another KLAS report. KLAS’s latest project looked at the EMR buying experience of 146 healthcare organizations and examined such elements as the true cost of ownership, scope, how well vendor kept promises, and getting one’s money’s worth. Epic was the only vendor with high ratings for money’s worth, contracting, and costs. Epic’s projects also had the largest scope of any vendor. Meditech fared OK, with clients saying they got what they expected in terms of contract, delivery, and post-live selling events. However, Meditech’s clients were disappointed in the company’s lack of proactive help in getting their money’s worth. GE earned lackluster ratings, with customers saying that GE has been on a downward trend since it bought IDX in terms of keeping commitments.

A new study finds that hospital EHR adoption in hospitals grew slightly from 2008 to 2009 (8.7% to 11.9%) and that only 2% of hospitals meet Meaningful Use criteria. In addition, small, public, and rural hospitals are less likely to have adopted EHRs compared to larger, private, and urban hospitals. Thirty-one hundred hospitals participated in the survey, which is more than half the country’s hospitals, and researchers claim their reporting methods were conservative. Even if these results significantly understate reality, it’s probably still safe to say that HIT adoption has a long way to go.


Cayuga Medical Center (NY) contracts with Summit Healthcare for its Summit Apex integrated product suite, which will facilitate patient data exchange between Cayuga’s Meditech system and physician office EMRs.

Quality IT Partners says it’s leading the Meaningful Use analysis efforts for one of the largest multi-facility health systems in the country.

New this week on HIStalk Practice: a pretty darn funny video that pokes fun of a clueless CEO trying to set up an ACO; highlights of an MGMA letter to CMS, including e-rx recommendations; and, news on a couple of New York practices that each earned $100,000 leveraging data from their NextGen systems. Make sure you are signed up for e-mail updates so you don’t miss the upcoming interview with ACO expert Chet Speed of AMGA. It’s a good read, especially if you are an ACO newbie.

Premier healthcare alliance says 150 hospitals and healthcare systems saved over $120 million in labor and supply costs participating in Premier’s LaborConnect program. It tracks labor productivity, performance, and costs.

The AHA spent $4.2 million lobbying the federal government during the second quarter, up 20% from the same period last year. Most of the activity centered around Medicare fraud and health care reform.

Allscripts, eClinicalWorks, e-MDs, GE, NextGen, and Sage all donate EHR systems to the University of Texas at Austin’s HIT program. I noticed that a few students in UT’s program had a chance to spend two weeks this summer working at the Gulf Coast REC. One project involved spending a day in a non-profit clinic that relied completely on paper records. By the end of the day, students had created a new database system for tracking the health of diabetic patients.


E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. Keith, thank you for pursuing this.

    It just goes to show, the government does not know how the government works. They need more lawyers, consultants, and experts in the ONCHIT to assure accuracy before they put these laws out there. I wonder if they were distracted while fending off the demands to have these devices first tested for safety and efficacy by the FDA.

    I too pray that Blumenthal’s hands are taking good care of the patients and that they are clicking for safety.

  2. hmmm..another Klas report touting the wonders of Epic. Now it is the solution organizations receive the most value from for dollars spent?? Really? What was the size and scope of the organizations surveyed? Big hospitals with big money to spend and lots of resources believe they got exactly what they expected..A very expensive system!

    And another representation with a negative bent of MEDITECH…KLAS is getting really good at Spinning their data. Could there be an agenda? Adam Gale a couple of years ago in an interview on this blog acknowledged more than 50% of KLAS revenues come from the vendor community. I wonder if Epic is a significant source of revenue for KLAS? Does MEDITECH buy services from KLAS? Technically, KLAS has become an advertising agent for the vendors who pay for their services.

    KLAS is a survey organization with questionable methodology and subjective, qualitative information from selective groups of customers many of which have contractual clauses in their vendor contracts restricting their ability to speak negatively about their vendor and products. Should the conclusions they come to really be considered viable industry and vendor analysis? Is it worth the thousands of dollars they charge?

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