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Monday Morning Update 11/8/10

November 6, 2010 News 11 Comments

11-5-2010 8-21-28 PM

From Wireless Observer: “Re: Sprint-sponsored article in one of the rags called The Future of Wireless in Healthcare. I find it interesting that it didn’t mention WiFi in hospitals and clinics, but of course the telecom-centric view is that ‘wireless’ only means 3G/4G/broadband. Most wireless data in healthcare is transmitted over WiFi networks. I have been hearing for years (mainly from the telecom side) that WiFi will collapse under its own weight due to capacity limitations, leaving 3G/4G in buildings to step in and save the day. That hasn’t happened and never will, at least if the likes of Cisco has any say. There is no doubt that more data requirements are driven by mobile devices and 3G/4G will be the primary means of transmitting it. But how can you ignore WiFi completely when talking about the future of wireless in healthcare?”

From The PACS Designer: “Re: Microsoft Office 365 Beta. Last month marked the official launch of the beta for Microsoft’s online Office 365 feature set for business enterprises. The Office 365 application is cloud based and focuses on giving users a complete package of business functions to improve office efficiencies for clients through the use of cloud resources.”  

From Chump Change: “Re: Microsoft. CEO Steve Ballmer sold $1.3 billion in stock last week and plans to sell another $700 million in the next few weeks.” I’ll bring that up with Bill Gates when I have lunch with him Tuesday (along with everyone else at the mHealth Summit).

The Missouri HITREC announces its 10 preferred EHR vendors, with Cerner missing the cut. Make that 12 with Cerner among them: the organization reconsiders (probably with encouragement) and adds Cerner and Pulse to the list strictly because they are local vendors. That’s what everybody was worried about with the HITRECs: they can pick whomever they want for whatever reason. Unless those two local companies just happened to be #11 and #12 on their original ranking sheet, that means providers don’t get to hear about higher-scoring systems. I don’t know that being local makes a vendor a better choice. I doubt Neal will drop by on his way to work to make sure everything’s working OK.

Kaiser’s Q3 numbers: $11.1 billion in revenue (up 5.7%) and $634 million in profit (up 11.4%).

11-5-2010 8-48-03 PM 

A small percentage of readers planned to participate in Virtual HIMSS, but it’s still a higher number than I would have guessed. New poll to your right: Will the recent election results cause HITECH payment delays or reductions? Note that the poll accepts comments, so feel free to add yours as support for your argument.

11-5-2010 9-25-43 PM

We’re finalizing the attendee list for the HIStalk sponsor appreciation lunch on Tuesday, February 22 during HIMSS, so let Inga know if you’re coming if you haven’t already done that (or if you’re not a sponsor and want to become one just to get a free lunch away from the convention center, talk to her about that since she can be quite obliging). We’re not exactly sure what we’ll do there yet (ideas welcome), but we’ve lined up a host you’ll like, we’ll eat, and Inga and I will be there. It’s the day after our big Monday night bash, so we’ll try to keep the noise and bright lights to a minimum. Inga was firing off some great ideas while I was tied up at work Friday, so my lack of timely response moved her to send me the e-mail above.

Listening: Band of Horses, recommended by my new BFF Colette, who charmed me into giving them another listen. They’re a bit sulky and dreamy (think Neil Young meets Supertramp with a dash of Brian Wilson, at least to my ears), but nicely orchestral, dramatic, and entirely original. It’s not something to crank up at your next stripper pole party, but I think it would resonate on a rainy night or while recuperating from the pain of love gone awry.

Inga has added some videos she likes to HIStalk TV, so check it out if you’re interested. She was fooling around online and put together the above video, so we’ll probably do something silly with that tool occasionally (although I need to remonstrate with her about her choice of characters – Larry King for me and an attractive woman for her).

Saudi Arabia will announce a huge project this week that involves EHRs and other tools for 300 hospitals. Cerner has sold systems there, but I don’t know if this involves them.

Somehow I missed the fact that Cerner VP Jack Newman left the company last year. I only know because I just ran across a writeup of a speech he gave as representing “Jack Newman Advisory Services,” which must be successful since it doesn’t even have a Web site that I could find.

It’s obviously a slow HIT news weekend. Reliable sources tell me some news is coming: one HIT vendor will be sold, another will receive a outside investment. I’ve interviewed the CEO of one of them, but only mentioned the other a few times.

Odd lawsuit: SEIU sues a Florida hospital for subcontracting its housekeeping services to a private company that will take on the former hospital employees, but is requiring them to have credit checks, background checks, and tests for literacy, drug use, and tobacco use. The union says the hospital is required to make sure that nobody loses their job.

E-mail me.

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Currently there are "11 comments" on this Article:

  1. For some reason, I thought HISTalk used to have a “search” function in the past in order to search the archives for past comments and interviews. Am I whacked? If so, I think it would be a useful feature and would like to order mine!

    [From Mr. HIStalk] It’s right where it has always been — in the right column just below the text ads, marked “Search All HIStalk Sites.”

  2. Jack Newman retired from Cerner in 2008. Neal’s glowing internal sendoff at the time said that Jack had been “gradually and gracefully” retiring from Ceraner for several years. I saw him recently at a client’s leadership retreat, and he was great. He has always been a class act, smart, deadly funny and person of considerable integrity. He’s a naturally encouraging person who always has something nice to say in private and means it (or, if he makes you the punchline of one of his jokes, you feel lucky). I just wish he had a few younger clones. He seemed to be enjoying semi-retirement. I would imagine a guy like that has as much work as he wants to have.

  3. Re: SEIU lawsuit-Tests for tobacco use? I hate tobacco just as much as the next doctor, but since when does being a smoker make you unsuitable for doing housekeeping work in a hospital? Feh.

  4. “But how can you ignore WiFi completely when talking about the future of wireless in healthcare?”

    Easy. When no one is making money from it.

  5. The SEIU lawsuit is not without merit. EMRs will facilitate the access to medical information for these companies because of lax privacy.

  6. Dr. Herzenstube Says:

    Tests for tobacco use? I hate tobacco just as much as the next doctor, but since when does being a smoker make you unsuitable for doing housekeeping work in a hospital?

    It doesn’t, and trust me, as a former occupational medicine physician myself per-informatics, I would be frightened of the legal implications of declaring someone unfit for hiring or for duty based on a positive nicotine test.

    But some imperial hospital CEO’s and boards seem aloof to the implications.

    See my posts on a similar issue, weight, here and here.

    Watch your freedoms. They are precious and can disappear easily.

  7. Ah yes, link #1 above also reports on another major hospital where the CEO has banned smokers from being hired based on urine tests for nicotine.

  8. Re: WiFi in hospitals
    There are non-trivial issues with using WiFi in hospitals in 3 areas: 1> Deployment of access points is sub-optimal (your math model about where to locate an AP may conflict with mandated guidelines about not drilling in the wall near, say, an oxygen line) 2> Current 802.11 standards do not guarantee Quality of Service and many don’t want to take chances with performance while – to use a trite example – a junior trainee is streaming a video over WiFi; 3> Finally, wireless data security protocol WPA2 is not as prevalent and available as it needs to be and HIPAA die-hards can come up with scenarios where this can be problematic.

  9. I voted a qualified “no” in the current poll on the elections’ potential negative influence of HITECH funding. I just don’t think the Republican majority is that focused on (less kindly, even that aware of) HITECH, EHRs, and the work of the ONC in this area. The immediate focus post election is going to be on health insurance reform, the accompanying lawsuit, and CMS/Dr. Berwick (remember, his recess appointment ending at the close of 2011). Also, regardless of whether the new law is repealed or revised or which party is in power, Congress is going to have to find ways to cut costs.

    Obviously these type of reasoning projections are prone to error, and everything could change come the close of Stage 1 depending on how many hospitals and EPs actually received checks.

  10. HITREC’s main function is to aid in implementation of an EHR. Vendors that do that internally without the need of third parties would be in competition. And therefore not recommended. 🙂

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