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December 9, 2010 News 8 Comments

From Patella Poker: “Re: Joint Commission. Big news on medication reconciliation. They’ll start scoring again on July 1 with no phase-in period. I bet a lot of hospitals will have to rush to squeeze this in with all their other initiatives.” The “streamlined and focused” version of the National Patient Safety Goal for hospitals includes creating an admission medication list (and developing a policy for doing something similar in non-inpatient areas), comparing the home meds brought in against those ordered, providing written medication information at discharge, and instructing the patient to keep an up-to-date list and let providers know of changes.

12-9-2010 6-55-59 PM

From Kiosk Guy: “Re: VA. They have again selected Vecna. They originally won the award in July 2010, but it was protested by a competitor and the competition was done over last month.”

From Hirudo M: “Re: Aetna. What does its purchase of Medicity say about Aetna’s ongoing partnership with IBM? Aetna is using IBM’s HIE strategy and infrastructure for ActiveHealth.” Good question. That deal was just announced in August and there was a big press release about some Aetna-IBM HIE work in Puerto Rico just a couple of weeks ago, when Aetna was quietly well into its Medicity courtship.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: Pogoplug. We’ve been hearing more about different types of cloud apps lately and now there’s a personal cloud appliance called Pogoplug. Pogoplug turns your hard drive into an Internet accessible device so you can use any browser to call up your files with your iPhone and other mobile devices through a free online service.” The hardware component is $70 and the service is free. You can even stream music videos from your home PC anywhere on the Web, including your smart phone. The pitch is that in 60 seconds you’ll have your own personal cloud running your own content from an external hard drive.

Listening: reader-recommended Ned Evett, which I loved instantly. Well-produced killer guitar riffs, powerful drumming, excellent vocals, and good songwriting and big hooks. Forget the endless technical mention that he’s a “fretless” guitar player and focus instead on some really rhythmic blues, pop, or prog (it could pass well for all three). I’m really liking the Middle of the Middle album on Rhapsody (Shine Like a Diamond on Me is amazing, like the Beatles meet Pink Floyd). I’ve listened to all four albums and they’re excellent. This would be among the best stuff I’ve heard in a long time. I can’t get enough, other than my fingers are getting sore from drumming along on my desk. He’s opening for Joe Satriani on some tour dates.

The webcast of ONC’s day-long PHR Roundtable from last week is now online. They’ve also posted 16 new 90-second Beacon Community videos, one of which I’ve included above.

HealthCare Partners Medical Group goes live on Unity RIS/PACS from DR Systems.

12-9-2010 6-30-00 PM 

Say hello to NCR, supporting HIStalk as a Platinum Sponsor. The Duluth, GA company is the #1 provider of patient self-service solutions, offering pre-registration, appointment scheduling, and bill pay online, which as they point out, can help preserve the patient experience as hospitals face being swamped with 32 million newly insured patients. Some of its healthcare self-service offerings a check-in kiosk, the eClipboard wireless unit for check-in and registration, mobile reminders and results, ED triage and check-in, revenue cycle management, patient portal, and a wayfinding kiosk. There’s a good video from Richmond Bone & Joint Clinic on their site, featuring the clinic’s CEO. Thanks very much to NCR for not just coming along for the HIStalk ride, but chipping in for gas.

12-9-2010 6-47-57 PM

Weird News Andy uses a deadpan delivery for this story, captioning it “You might be expecting twins, Mr. Plettell.” A British man receives a letter from a hospital inviting him to drop by for his ultrasound, urging him to bring along his maternity record. His mates (I’m picturing Andy Capp lookalikes) are encouraging him to show up in a dress and wig, which probably wouldn’t really be all that odd in England since they seem to find cross-dressing endlessly hilarious.

12-9-2010 7-12-35 PM

Greg from Citizens Memorial Hospital (MO), the super-progressive 74-bed hospital, tells me about work they’ve done there with Google Health.

We implemented Google Health in March of 2010. The initial response was large, mostly due to local TV news coverage. We send medications, labs, procedures, allergies, and conditions to Google Health. Our next step is working on sending radiology and other reports. We have the ability to import Google Health information as an external document in the EMR. It’s currently a manual process that has to be initiated outside of Meditech, but in the future, we’re planning to automate this process. As more patients and other providers start using the service, it will become a more valuable report. Since we are the only provider in our area sending data to Google Health (with the exception of a few national pharmacy chains), most of the reports we import have only the data we sent.We promote Google Health in conjunction with our Clinic Patient Portal. Users can sign up for both on our website. Information is verified by our HIM department and we contact the patients if necessary to verify their identity before linking their records.  We also have guest PCs in our rural family practice clinics so that patients can sign up at the clinic.

Ross Martin MD MHA, esteemed leader of The American College of Medical Informatimusicology, makes his Interoperetta available as an MP3, explaining that 85% of all humans should listen to it to provide herd immunity against dangerous subliminal messages that could be introduced by the questionably motivated fan who requested the MP3 version in the first place. I think Ross is simultaneously opening and closing the loop, in other words. I’m trying to cajole him into creating an HIStalk theme song in preparation for future HIStalkapaloozas.

On the Jobs Page, for sponsor postings only: Payer/Provider Connectivity Project Manager, Eclipsys Activation Consultant, Segment Marketing Manager. On Healthcare IT Jobs: Cerner ePrescribe Builder, Director EHR Systems Division, McKesson Paragon Consultants.

Orlando Portale, chief innovation officer for Palomar Pomerado Health (CA), tells me he’ll be demonstrating some prototype Android healthcare apps for tablets (EHR access and remote physiological monitoring) at Cisco’s Community for Connected Health Summit, which will be held Monday of the HIMSS conference. Jason Hwang, co-author of The Innovator’s Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Healthcare will open the session.

12-9-2010 7-35-40 PM

Speaking of Cisco, I notice that they’ve released a personal version of their high-quality video telepresence system called umi (there’s supposed to be a bar over the non-upper cased U, but darned if I know how to type that character, which might have been one of those marketing-inspired gaffes since nobody can actually type out the name). Unlimited service is $24.99 a month, although the broadband specs are pretty beefy for non-FiOS residential customers (1.5 mbps upload). It works with your HDTV. I’m picturing a Webcam porn industry vertical sales, but there are probably other uses.

Cerner’s innovation subsidiary is assigned a newly awarded patent for a genetic banking system for securely storing genetic profiles.

I know it will seem odd since the Thanksgiving to New Year’s period is pretty slow for a lot of people, but Inga and I are super-buried at the moment. We’re working on lots of news items, several interviews, and a heavy load of new sponsor activity (thanks for that!), not to mention that we need to start planning for our HIMSS events and the HISsies nominations and voting. It’s the funnest job in the world, of course, but be patient or maybe even forgiving if you are waiting on something from us. I don’t expect our loads to lighten until after the conference. We may need to hire someone or something.

In the first Microsoft Amalga news I’ve heard in awhile, UW Medicine (WA) finally pulls the trigger after a two-year evaluation and licenses Amalga for translational research. That’s one slow sales cycle.

 12-9-2010 8-18-44 PM

An Ohio doctor, angry that his uninsured patients can’t afford the lab tests they need, strikes a deal with LabCorp and an online lab test marketer to offer his patients discounted tests (example: a $148 lipid panel costs his patients $18). The patients simply order their tests from the county medical society’s site, pay by credit card, and go to LabCorp to get the tests. Everybody can use the service except residents of NY, NJ, and RI. Says the doc: “It’s like using Amazon.com to buy your lab tests.”

Drug and device companies are arming their sales reps with iPads for showing sales pitch presentations to doctors. Medtronic just bought 4,500 of them, Boston Scientific 2,000, Zimmer Holdings 1,000, and Abbott 1,000. It figures that the coolest, state-of-the-art technologies in a doctor’s office will be carried by a drug rep trying their best to keep healthcare costs high.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

From Camus: “Re: Drummond certification. Am I the only person finding it bizarre how fast the companies certified by Drummond have gone from relative obscurity to MU certified? What happens when practices pick these companies and the company goes out of business in nine months? It’s like wine — you just don’t go from planting vines to world-class cabernet in six months.” The issue is not unique to Drummond. I see plenty of “obscure” vendors on CCHIT’s list. I’ll also point out that Drummond’s certification clients include plenty of familiar names that are hardly fly-by-nights, including Allscripts, GE, and McKesson. I suppose your point is that certification does not guarantee a company is financially sound. Agreed. And I might point out that just because a company is financially viable and has a certified product, a buyer may still be left out in the cold if the vendor makes a business decision to sunset a certified product.

The HIE space continues to heat up as health systems and regional exchanges align with vendors. Recent announcements include:

  • Beacon Community of the Inland Northwest (WA), a regional collaboration led by Inland Northwest Health Services, chooses the Orion Health HIE solution.
  • Vantage HGT RHIO (PA) selects Verizon’s Health Information Exchange platform.
  • The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton (OH) picks Medicity to provide bi-directional connectivity between the medical center and affiliated physicians and partners.



Tift Regional Medical Center (GA) implements the remote access management solution of Minicom Advanced Systems as part of its two-year process to consolidate two data centers.

Cymetrix aligns with Siemens Healthcare to provide conversion support for clients moving from legacy patient accounting systems to Siemens Soarian.

Maryland’s REC, CRISP, has signed up its 200th client.

Anvita Health, a provider of clinical analytics, hires Darren Schulte, MD, MPP as VP of Clinical Strategy. He was previously at Alere Health, where he served in executive positions related to clinical product strategy and development.

In Australia: 98% of GPs use computers for some clinical purpose and almost two-thirds are paperless. A mere 2% of the GPs use paper records only.

pharmacy xpert

Rush-Copley Medical Center (IL) chooses Thomson Reuters Pharmacy Xpert, a clinical intelligence dashboard that helps pharmacists with medication management.

The VA awards Carefusion and technology integrator MicroTech a contract to supply Pyxis to 153 VA medical centers and 17 outpatient centers.

Providence Care of Kingston, Ontario, contracts with QuadraMed for QCPR, Enterprise Scheduling, and Electronic Document Management. Providence Care will also use QuadraMed technology to share clinical data with existing QuadraMed clients Kingston General Hospital and Hotel Dieu Hospital.

Wolters Kluwer Health acquires iCare, developer of an educational program that trains nursing students how to document care in an EMR.

Streamline Health Solutions posts Q3 revenues of $4.5 million, up 9% from a year ago. Earnings were $95,000 ($.01/share) compare to last year’s $296,000 loss ($.03/share.) The company says the improved results are a result of higher license system sales and increased recurring revenue from maintenance contracts.

This week I posted some new videos to HIStalkTV, including a few product demos, an interview, and a fun Lady Gaga spoof by Nuesoft. I must admit the posting task is time consuming, but only because once I get on YouTube I’m easily distracted by other fun videos that have nothing to do with HIT. For example, when I was looked at the Swype demo, I noticed a suggestion for the World’s Fastest Typist from a 1985 David Letterman episode. How can one not get sucked into watching a competition between shoulder pad-wearing women typing on IBM Selectrics with Letterman commentary?

Troubling: only 15% of CIOs think they’ll be ready to qualify for Meaningful Use incentives by April 1, 2011. That’s about half the number who said in April that they’d be ready. CIOs cite CPOE implementation as their biggest challenge, with more than half noting concerns with getting clinical staff to use the systems.

MED3OOO appoints John Wallace as a SVP on its business development team. He was previously SVP at mPay Gateway and served in leadership roles at Misys Healthcare.

Wemedx earns top marks in a KLAS report on outsourced transcription services. KLAS says overall the market “remains a high-performing, competitive segment.” Other top vendors include Precyse, Encompass, and TransTech.

This week’s must-read items on HIStalk Practice: GPs in the UK head to supermarkets. Hayes Management Consulting gets into the holiday spirit. Social media increase participation in online health programs. Building physician alliances in Northern California.

Sponsor Updates

  • InSite One will offer its InDex image archive management and access solutions as a per-site license, independent of its hosted and on-site cloud services.
  • Keane Optimum earns ONC-ATCB certification as a complete EHR from CCHIT.
  • Berkshire Health Systems (MA) chooses Allscripts PM/EHR solutions for its employed physicians and will offer to host and support it for its 300 affiliated doctors.


E-mail Inga.

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Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. Re: High use of clinical software among Australian GPs – does anyone have an idea of what the difference is between their situation and the GPs in the States? This is definitely worth digging into.

    (It’s likely that Suzy or one of her alts will be here shortly to claim that Australian GPs regularly kill patients with software).

  2. @Camus Re: bizarre EHR certifications
    It’s not Drummond that is the problem. As Inga pointed out CCHIT has a bunch of obscure certified products too. The problem is that the certification process is so minimal that it is practically meaningless (pun intended).
    Going out of business is a secondary concern for these vendors. I am concerned that physicians will be lured into buying these things only to find out that they are totally inadequate for any kind of use, let alone meaningful use.

  3. Music to check out, since you seem to have an eclectic taste — “Killing Him” by Amy LaVere. If you haven’t seen the $5 Cover New Orleans episodes, I can highly recommend (you can get from iTunes, not sure where else).

  4. Re: IBM & Aetna
    IBM’ s HIE solution is really not much more than the Initiate eMPI, thus the ActiveHealth-Aetna partnership is pretty thin when one thinks of it from a purely HIE perspective. Also note that ActiveHealth was very active flogging the market and seeking to establish partnerships including one with AXOLOTL which was pretty far down the road when the Ingenix acquisition blew that one out of the water.

  5. @Margalit

    “The problem is that the certification process is so minimal that it is practically meaningless (pun intended).”

    Seriously? The process of actually checking your product off against the criteria, yes, that is a simple (relative) process. But updating your product or coding new changes for an established product that has a baseline of functionality is extremely tough. Let along a brand new company that has to start from scratch.

    I think you need to re-evaluate your statement.

  6. From Patella Poker: “Re: Joint Commission. Big news on medication reconciliation. They’ll start scoring again on July 1 with no phase-in period.

    Med recon failure kills.

    As med recon issues facilitated by what I consider poorly done HIT, disrupting clinicians from reconciling a patient’s meds with its very own records, nearly killed my mother, this is good news. (I had reported the events to the JC.)

    Hospitals need to spend on the human and informatics [in the people sense, not the hardware/software sense] resources needed to get the meds correct, period.

  7. @Tommy Two

    A product with a baseline of functionality such as a previously CCHIT certified product should have had no trouble with the ONC certification, and if you remember, once CCHIT was open for business as an ATCB there were 30 products certified practically over night.
    A product just started from scratch should not be in a position to certify for at least 2 years from when it was started. The fact that so many previously unknown products are getting certified should be of concern.

    For example, you can certify for the eRx criterion with only the ability to create an NCPDP NEWRX message. If that’s all the product can do, it will be 6 more months, at the very least, before it can significantly interface with Surescripts.
    Another example is the “incorporate structured lab results” where the vendor is free to select the format of the lab results coming in and the method by which they come. So a comma delimited text file, emailed out, would do just fine. No national, or regional, lab does business this way, so it will be a long time and lots of work before such certified product can interface with an actual lab facility.
    Calculating percentage based measures can be satisfied by two text boxes for users to enter numbers in, after which the product performs division and multiplication by 100 to get percentages.
    And there is plenty more along the same lines.

    As unpopular as this may be, I would stick with a fully CCHIT certified product. At least those are tested against a coherently scripted work-flow.

  8. The reason Drummond Group doesn’t have more of the big names is because CCHIT locked in many of the big names by offering free certification for those that were Preliminary ARRA certified or had the latest full certification. That’s why many of the names that many people don’t know went to Drummond Group. They didn’t want to wait in line behind all those EHR vendors that were getting their ONC-ATCB EHR certification from CCHIT for free.

    Just because the readers of this site had never heard of these EHR vendors doesn’t mean they haven’t been around for a while. Check out this list of 300+ EHR vendors from 2006: http://www.emrandhipaa.com/administrator/2006/02/21/overwhelming-list-of-emr-companies/ They were there, but there’s just too many to know them all.

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