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October 21, 2010 News 10 Comments

From Wee Man: “Re: [vendor name omitted]. The rumor you recently ran about halted implementations and delayed upgrades for [product name omitted] is true, I’m 95% certain. Also, the same company’s flagship clinical product line [product name omitted] is going to maintenance-only.” I’m chickening out in naming the company since this is big news if it’s true and I’d hate to get in trouble just in case it’s not. I’ll say just this: the non-anonymous source is a good one, this rumor fits with some earlier stories and customer survey results that I’ve run, and some mighty big hospital systems are going to be super PO’ed if it’s true. If you have confirming evidence, send it my way.

10-21-2010 7-32-40 PM

From FormuLarry: “Re: Micromedex. They’ve released free versions of their drug information application for the iPhone and iPod. It’s not as slick as Epocrates, but the price is right.”

From Stifler’s Mom: “Re: Epic certifications. Can anyone share the exact numbers of certified people out there for products like Prelude, Bridges, Beacon, Cadence and the year/version? Also whether they have clinical backgrounds?” I’m pretty sure there’s only one source for that information so I wouldn’t get my hopes up, but if anyone knows, send it over and I’ll forward to Stifler’s Mom (I gave this non-anonymous HIStalk pal that name years ago and she adores it, not to mention it makes me cackle every time because I have a puerile sense of humor).

10-21-2010 10-09-32 PM

From Broadway Joe: “Re: Keane. Being purchased by NTT Data for $1.2 billion.” Rumor is that the Japanese company (part of Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp.) is in advanced talks to buy Keane, which is half owned by Citigroup. The deal is imminent, Tokyo newspapers are saying. Keane offers application, BPO, and infrastructure services, not to mention its healthcare presence (Keane Healthcare Information Systems), which markets the Keane Optimum system and other products.

From Oops, Here: “Re: glitches. We are not aware that any of these patients were injured after death.” Errors in loading UK driver’s license organ donor information to the NHS databases cause the wrong organs to be removed from 25 donors. Nobody noticed until prospective donors (the ones not already dead, in other words) complained that their information was wrong.

10-21-2010 7-49-55 PM

From Matt Mucha: “Re: my blood pressure chart. I’m a Web developer from Krakow, Poland who also happens to have hypertension. I created a tool to let people keep records online and share them with a doctor. I know you’ve written healthcare apps in the past, so I hope you can relate :). Check out the video and forums. I’m not profiting from the site in any way.” It’s a pretty slick with a clean design. Nice job. Take a look


From Greed Earns Justice, Eventually: “Re: McKesson/HBOC scandal. Sales SVP Dominick DeRosa pleaded guilty in 2000 to one count of aiding and abetting securities fraud by hiding side agreements to manipulate revenue recognition. This past April, the judge overrode the prosecution’s request for probation and sentenced him to a year in federal prison. While waiting 10 years for his sentence, he appears to have built quite a resume, serving as CEO of OneWeb Systems, VP of sales at Transcend Services, and executive VP of sales at CareMedic. Rumor is that he was at MedAssets before getting the bad news about jail. Mastermind and former president Al Bergonzi is apparently doing his 41 months in Atlanta after being given more time than the prosecution requested. He’ll get out Christmas Eve this year. He’s been doing consulting work for former friends and one of the many HBOC acquisitions he coordinated. CEO Charlie McCall, who almost got off, is due to be release in 2019. Controller Timothy Heyerdahl was released in 2008 and CFO Jay Gilbertson was released earlier this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s still in HIT somewhere.” He didn’t even mention Jay Lapine, one of few corporate counsels to ever be indicted for securities fraud (he got off on criminal charges a year ago and then settled the civil case against him, barred by the SEC from involvement with publicly traded companies for five years). McKesson’s executives, desperate back in 1998 to prove they could run something sexier than drug warehouses, paid Charlie $14.5 billion for a company everybody knew was a house of cards ready to collapse if he couldn’t fast-talk some rubes into taking it off his hands in a hurry. He did, with the announcement of the accounting scandal just a few months later evaporating $9 billion in McKesson shareholder value in a single day (the stock went from around 90 to less than 20 and still hasn’t hit that level since). Not to mention that a lot of HBOC software was as crappy as their corporate books, also widely known by nearly everybody. It’s always ugly for the foot soldiers when greed meets stupidity. Sorry for the rant, but what those guys did to McKesson’s employees (many of them unfortunate conscripts due to HBOC acquisitions), their hospital customers, patients, and to the industry really ticks me off even after a decade. 


Hosted pharmacy applications vendor MedKeeper announces its acquisition of DoseResponse from Keystone Therapeutics, a competitor in outpatient anticoagulation management software.

I mentioned the 21-year-old Georgia computer tech who was arrested for accessing a hospital’s computer system. I’m beginning to think he got a raw deal. He was working on a physician group’s hospital connectivity problems and documented seven problems with the hospital’s server, hoping to impress the hospital enough to land him a job. The hospital CIO and security person met with him, asked him for a copy of his resume and a list of the problems he found, and then came back in with police officers to arrest him. The kid’s been in jail since last week, with the hospital claiming he’s a danger to them since they can’t fix the problems he cited without outside help. Maybe the hospital should swallow its pride, admit its apparent security incompetence, and hire the kid cheap.

 10-21-2010 8-02-02 PM 

Acuitec announced its iCare mobile anesthesia apps for the iPhone, iPad, and iTouch at the American Society of Anesthesiologists conference in San Diego this week. Jessica sent me a press release that I can’t find online anywhere to link to, so you’ll have to take my word for it. The above is a shot of its Vigilance remote presence monitoring system running on an iPad, which I found while looking unsuccessfully for the press release. The Birmingham-based company is a joint venture with Vanderbilt University.

HIStalk pal Justen Deal sent over a position listing for “geek interns” at his Vieu Health startup that was a fun read (he’s a really good writer in a Joel On Software kind of way). I was hooked enough to read the whole thing. If you’re a techie and want to be underpaid (so Justen says), but live and ski free at a resort, get a MacBook Pro and a BlackBerry Torch, and work with “misfits, rebels, square pegs, and troublemakers,” you might want to connect with Justen. I have no idea what Vieu Health is building since they haven’t said yet, but it’s something to do with electronic health records and networks. Maybe I should follow his lead and get some interns myself since I always seem to be buried.

Former NaviNet SVP Tim Mills is named VP of sales and marketing of revenue cycle management company Avisena.

The Toronto newspaper profiles the involvement of Telus in Canada’s move toward digital healthcare. It mentions that Telus provided the software and technology behind The Ottawa Hospital’s plan to buy 3,000 iPads to run on the Telus-provided wireless network to access an aggregated database. That hospital’s CIO says the information needed by key staff members that is available electronically has gone from 30% in 2008 to 100% now. It also mentions the Oacis product, mentioned several times here previously. The healthcare division of Telus is bringing in $400 million a year. It’s a well-done article. Somehow Telus Health seems to come in under the radar in the US, but it’s an impressive operation run by a a large telecommunications company.

Cardinal Health Foundation will award $1 million in medication and OR safety grants in 2011 for the fourth consecutive year. Applications are due by December 3, 2010.

The Chicago Sun-Times covers the local healthcare use of iPads: University of Chicago Medical Center will give iPads to all of its internal medicine residents, a plastic surgeon uses her to explain reconstructive surgery to breast cancer patients, and one hospital says at least half of its ED docs bought their own iPads once they found that they could use the EMR on them.

Jobs on the HIStalk Sponsor Job Page: Clinical Executive Physician, Clinical Executive Nurse, Healthcare Consulting Lead. Platinum sponsors get free listings there. On Healthcare IT Jobs: Epic BSA Ambulatory EMR, Clinical Product Specialist, Epic Consultants.

In Germany, CompuGroup Medical AG says it will invest $180 million in its software over the next five years, most of that to further develop its Software Assisted Medicine medical knowledge system.

Ontario’s health administration is slammed by an auditor’s report that found the same expensive practices previously found in eHealth Ontario scandal last year: single-source contracts, overpaid consultants, and excessive expense reimbursement. One temporary executive who was making $275K per year billed the hospital an extra $150K for helpers, $14K for bonuses, a Christmas lunch, and world-wide travel, including $500 in telephone charges in one hotel stay.

Q3 numbers for UnitedHealth Group, parent of Ingenix: revenue up 9% to $23.7 billion, with net earnings of $2.15 billion in earnings from operations, easily beating expectations on revenue and earnings. The company gave guidance of $94 billion in revenue for the fiscal year. Ingenix revenue was $592 million, up 23%, with $70 million in earnings from operations. The announcement also gave the cost of the Q3 acquisitions by Ingenix (Axolotl, Picis, and A-Life Medical, I assume) at $1.9 billion in cash. UnitedHealth market cap is $41 billion.

Odd lawsuit: a couple says a waiter at the local Steak ‘n Shake gave their child a bottle of Blair’s Mega Death hot sauce for his chili, causing him to break out in hives (assuming the child wasn’t hitting the restaurant on his own, maybe the parents should have intervened). They’re suing for $10,000 in compensation and $50,000 in punitive damages.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

CMS incentive payments are taxable. That’s the opinion of Steven Waldren, director of AAFP’s Center for Health IT. I’d never really thought about it, but that hardly seems fair. Definitely not nice.

Cerner Ambulatory tops the list of a recent Ovum report entitled Selecting an Ambulatory EHR Vendor in the Healthcare Market. I mentioned this on HIStalk Practice yesterday, but it perplexes me so much that I’m also asking HIStalk readers to share their impressions. I don’t know much about Ovum (which is a division of DataMonitor) so I asked them to provide me more background on their research methodology. No response as of yet. Cerner, along with eClinicalWorks and GE Healthcare, make their short list of top vendors based on strong brand names “in the ambulatory market” and for demonstrating “market-leading positions.” The report also says Cerner is the “most versatile and multi-faceted” of all the vendors reviewed (which included Allscripts, Sage, NextGen, athenahealth, and Amazing Charts.) To be fair, I know Cerner ambulatory by reputation only, so for all I know Ovum is spot on. The Cerner folks have graciously offered to dispel my skepticism and asked me to stop by for a demonstration at MGMA next week.


Follow-up: back in March I mentioned the former MedAssets employee who was arrested after using a fake identity to get her job and stealing financial information on more than 1,200 patients. Katina Candrick was sentenced to 10 years and ordered to pay more than $163,000 in restitution. As I was looking for a photo of Candrick, I noticed that in 2008 she had been charged with fraud, falsifying identity, and fraudulent possession of a controlled substance after posing as a medical clinic employee and attempting to pick up prescription drugs at a CVS pharmacy.

HealthGrades says that overall hospitals are improving, but the gap between the best- and worst-performing hospitals is substantial. A typical patient would have a 72% lower risk of dying in a 5-star rated hospital compared to a 1-star rated hospital, and a 53% lower risk of dying by going to 5-star rated hospital compared to the US hospital average.

baptist shelby

Baptist Health System (AL) contracts with Passport Health Communications for Passport’s IntelliSource software for revenue cycle management.

Virtual Radiologic is named the top-rated vendor in the KLAS Teleradiology Study 2010. KLAS notes that teleradiology contracts had historically been held by local radiology groups, but now hospitals and clinics have 40% of the contracts. Look for teleradiology volumes to rise in the next few years.

athenahealth posts a 33% in increase in third-quarter revenues ($63.1 million vs. $47.4 million). Excluding one-time items, the company’s net income doubled from last year, coming in at  $6.4 million or 18 cents per share. Analysts were looking for a 27% increase in revenue and 13 cents share. Basically, a darn good performance. The always entertaining Jonathan Bush will provide more details at 8:45 a.m. Friday on CNN.

AirStrip Technologies collaborates with Sprint to offer a bundled solution that includes Sprint’s clinical grade in-building coverage and AirStrip services for hospitals agreeing to expand or extend an enterprise commitment to the Sprint network for more of their employees.

clincial expert

Thomson Reuters releases a new version of Clinical Xpert Navigator mobile for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad devices.

Lots of good stuff on HIStalk Practice this week: in addition to the usual posts, we feature several HIT Vendor Executives who shared their opinions on what attendees will be discussing next week at MGMA 2010 in New Orleans. We also published a handy vendor guide summarizing what each of our exhibiting sponsors will be highlighting at MGMA (you can download a PDF to print and take along). Do us a favor: stop by their booths, ask for a tour of their offerings, beg for a trinket, and tell them thanks for powering HIStalk and HIStalk Practice.

Sponsor Updates

  • Greenway introduces PrimeSPEECH, an integrated direct-to-EHR speech technology and PrimeIMAGE PACS solution. Both solutions are fully integrated with Greenway’s PrimeSUITE EHR and physician workflows.
  • MED3OOO acquires health benefits consulting firm Insurance Solutions Group.
  • Voalte partners with Meru Networks to extend its capacity in hospitals running the Voalte application. The company also announces a trial at Parkview General Hospital (IN).
  • For the third year, Vitalize Consulting Solutions earns a spot on the Philly 100 List, coming in as the 57th fastest growing privately held company in the greater Philadelphia area.
  • Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center selects the Allscripts Care Management solution, which will integrate with the hospital’s existing Sunrise Clinical Manager system. Bronx-Lebanon also recently deployed Allscripts solutions in its ED and 40-physician multi-specialty practice.
  • SRSsoft is named to Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500, which lists the 500 fastest growing (by revenue increase) high-tech companies.
  • MedPlus parent company Quest Diagnostics releases its Q3 financials: revenues of $1.9 billion, down 1.7% from last year; net income rose to $198 million ($1.13/share) compared to $192.2 million ($1.02/share).
  • McKesson signs an exclusive agreement with MedVentive to offer that company’s SaaS-based Analytics Advisor analytics solution to the payor market, where it connects payors and providers transparently around clinical and financial performance metrics.

I’ll be traveling to New Orleans this weekend to attend the MGMA conference. I’ll be on the lookout for cool HIT stuff, collecting giveaways, and hopefully learning a few new things. Look for updates and photos.


E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. Mr. HISTalk writes:

    It’s always ugly for the foot soldiers when greed meets stupidity. Sorry for the rant, but what those guys did to McKesson’s employees (many of them unfortunate conscripts due to HBOC acquisitions), their hospital customers, patients, and to the industry really ticks me off even after a decade.

    I guess my comments in an earlier thread about the truth-stifling nature of political correctness rubbed off…(Juan Williams, are you reading this?)

    My own beef with HBOC: I was leading a MPI project for Christiana Care back in ’96-98 and was depending on HBOC and an inventor/developer they’d hired to actually come through with a product. We wasted a lot of time and several field trips out there on the house of cards.

    Still, it seems all the principals in the debacle are going to come out of the fire with fat banks accounts and new jobs via work given by their “friends.”

  2. The paragraph on Muzek’s chart for home tracking of blood pressure did not contain a hyperlink. Can you provide one for this site. Thanks.

    [From Mr. HIStalk] Sorry. I added the link.

  3. Interesting both you and Inga have stories about medasset rev cycle employees doing prison time.

  4. Matt, Great app… if you’d take a feed from my Omron HEM790IT cuff I’d be using it tomorrow… Unfortunately without being able to link, it would be religated to the heap of PHR’s that I started to fill in, and then stopped. I’m just too buzy (and lazy).

  5. When Greed meets Stupidity the footsoldier always, (ALWAYS) loses. Pick your industry, politics, finance, healthcare, are we really surprised by any of this? You now actually have people who left (read: “fled”) finance prior to the meltdown running healthcare companies, healthcare consulting companies or sitting on their BODs. Perhaps a modern day “scarlet letter” for identification of criminals not to hire?

  6. Vendor problems?? “Re: [vendor name omitted]. The rumor you recently ran about halted implementations and delayed upgrades for [product name omitted] is true, I’m 95% certain.”

    Certainly sounds to me that the FDA needs to step in and protect the safety of the patients, and for this HIT experiment to be halted, NOW.

  7. I was so glad to see your mention of the Largosypams! We love these guys. In fact, we commissioned them to create a song for us and are now promoting a video contest for hospital departments. Readers can check out our video music contest inviting hospitals to sing (and dance) the blues about missing equipment. Although we can’t give away $1 million dollar grants, we are offering $2,500 and an iPad to the winner! Contest details here: http://www.awarepoint.com

  8. Mary Thompson –

    The product referenced in the rumor is a Revenue Cycle Management system. I am pretty sure the FDA isn’t going to shut anyone down for faulty UB04s.

    But please dont let that stop your Luddite posts – I always find the computers-are-evil crowd entertaining if nothing else.

  9. Health grades report is deficient: “A typical patient would have a 72% lower risk of dying in a 5-star rated hospital compared to a 1-star rated hospital,”
    It neglected to report the names of the 5 star hospitals. The glossy should also include the degree of wiring in the hospitals. That is conspicuously absent. How do they define a 5 star hospital, exactly?? Anything like a 5 star hotel? Does a 5 star hospital clean the bed pasns more often?

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