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January 6, 2011 News 8 Comments

1-6-2011 6-23-57 PM

From Clarence: “Re: HIMSS. Isn’t the conference in Orlando?” Looks like someone copied over last year’s e-mail announcement for this year’s HIMSS Annual Leadership Survey. Doh!

From Lizzy Thin: “Re: GE Healthcare. Rumor is that several workers in Seattle were shown the door today.” Verified, thanks to my GE media contact, who proactively e-mailed me to tell me the following: “As a part of the continuous review of our priorities and opportunities, we’ve eliminated a limited number of positions due to overlapping responsibility. The majority of the impacted roles are based out of our Seattle office. This does not in any way signal a change to the updates that I’ve given you in the past few weeks. Though a difficult decision, we remain committed to the success of our customers and employees.” Condolences to those affected, with my rare positive counsel being that as bleak as it seems when the career rug is pulled out from under you (it’s happened to me), you are likely to eventually end up being glad it did because it forces you to re-evaluate and focus. Kudos to GE Healthcare for at least waiting until after the holidays and for being honest about it.

From John in the UK: “Re: shares in Fletcher-Flora Health Care Systems. Please, could you inform me of their value?” I contacted CEO Neal Flora, who says to e-mail him so he can verify that you are on their list of shareholders. He’ll then provide the information. His contact information is here.

1-6-2011 9-39-45 PM

From Student: “Re: Northwestern University. It’s considering changing the format of its online MS in Medical Informatics from live, synchronous meetings (with instant feedback and collaboration) to asynchronous. Students are concerned about the respectability and quality this will provide. What do you and your readers think of an asynchronous format only?” I think it’s fine as long as the pedagogy is made clear to the faculty, i.e. this isn’t just putting lecture notes online and giving online tests, which I’m sure they already know since the program isn’t moving from classroom to online for the first time. Synchronous learning isn’t convenient to students or professors, especially with the considerable number of non-US based students taking HIT-related coursework (the time zone challenge is tough, as are hospital people who don’t work day shift). Technology supports asynchronous learning quite nicely, with podcasts and video lectures being well suited for it. The key is student collaboration and engagement through asynchronous discussion, projects, and learning that supports multiple learning styles (especially tactile/kinesthetic, which in my experience is tougher in an asynchronous environment, but that just means the instructor needs to plan for it). My conclusion: it’s not only OK, it’s a good idea, provided the proper expectations for student engagement are given to instructors. I’ve always thought that synchronous learning was more show than substance, often mandated by highbrow educational institutions that were not only slow to move online, but anxious to show their superiority over competitors who actually make learning accessible. Today’s synchronous is yesterday’s sage-on-the-stage.

The first sizeable acquisition of the new year will be announced Friday, so look for my news blast as soon as I get the green light to send it out. I’m hoping I’m not tied up at work since that’s always my nightmare – I’m stuck in some meeting sitting on hot news that’s congealing while I impatiently check my watch every ten seconds. I’ve also been given a heads up that a consulting company will be making an announcement tomorrow. If you don’t get my e-mail blasts, now’s the time to put your name and e-mail address in the spam-proof Subscribe to Updates box to your upper right. Tomorrow will be another chance to one-up that smart-alecky colleague down the hall.

eHealth Initiative announces its new board members, including new chair William Jessee of MGMA and Micky Tripathi of Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative.

Motion Computing announces the CL900 Windows 7 ruggedized tablet at CES. Available in Q2 starting at under $1,000, Motion says.

This article impacted Weird News Andy, which he titles “You have WHAT in your colon? I don’t even want to think about how it got there.” A woman undergoing a routine colonoscopy for abdominal bloating is found to have a Blatella germanica in her transverse colon. For you lay folks, that means they found a cockroach in her large intestine, presumably accidentally eaten by her in her infested home. I would have included the picture, but I’m sure your mental one is graphic enough.

HISsies nominations will close soon … make your nominations now. Voting will start this weekend if I get time to put the ballot together and e-mail it out to the HIStalk subscriber list.

I was playing around with Webinar tools the other day and liked Dimdim, which has a goofy name but pretty cool technology. I just got an e-mail from my signup that it’s been acquired by Salesforce.com.

Jobs on the sponsor-only job board: VP Sales Central Region, Senior Software Engineer, Software / Implementation Engineer. That reminds me that I need to figure out why people who don’t work with engines are still called engineers. On Healthcare IT Jobs: Project Manager, McKesson HEO Analyst, Assistant Health Services IT Director.

1-6-2011 9-41-24 PM

Travis, the tech-savvy doc who writes HIStalk Mobile for me, is putting up some good stories. Up now: hospital support of mobile devices, next generation iPad speculation, Skype for telemedicine, practices offering online appointment scheduling, Sutter and MyChart, IDEAL LIFE’s health tablet, and more. Drop your e-mail in the Subscribe to Updates box on that page to make sure you don’t miss anything, and if you’d like to contribute guest articles, news, how you use your favorite health-related iPhone apps, etc. give Travis a shout. Thanks much to our sponsors there: AT&T, Vocera, Voalte, 3M, Access, Thomson Reuters, and PatientKeeper. Some of the most interesting technology in healthcare involves smart phones, messaging, clinical communication, health management via technology, etc. and we cover it all there.

I’ll have a new HIStalk contributor to announce shortly. She’s a practicing physician and informatics expert who nonetheless described herself in offering her services as a long-time HIStalk fan and “young, blonde, and love shoes, making the perfect bookend for you with Inga.” I knew her lofty credentials, lack of pretension, and obvious sense of humor would raise Inga’s professional jealousy, which they did, as Inga sniffed to me that our new BFF is “too smart and young and cute and perfect.” They are both wonderful, so readers will benefit as we are able to explore even more issues and offer more useful information. She will be contributing to all three sites (HIStalk, HIStalk Mobile, and HIStalk Practice) and will be on the ground with us at HIMSS. Since Inga is often insecure, I should say that I don’t value or love her any less just because we’re getting help to hopefully achieve higher levels of pretty-goodness. I may need your assistance in reassuring her, though.

1-6-2011 9-45-46 PM

LifeIMAGE, which offers a medical image sharing platform, finishes its second funding round with $12 million, raising its total to $17 million. I interviewed Hamid Tabatabaie, president and CEO, a few weeks ago.

4Medica’s Inpatient Cloud EHR and integration engine earn CCHIT certification as an EHR module using hospital criteria.

1-6-2011 9-49-57 PM

I don’t find this to be true, do you? A reporter claims that Microsoft Making Name in Lucrative Health Care Records Market. The article suggests that HealthVault is profitable, which it isn’t as far as I know. It also touts Amalga HIS, overlooking the fact that the company shut it down not long after it bought it. The sweeping, big-finish conclusion: “Whatever the reason, Microsoft’s strategy seems to be working – it’s making a name for itself in a sleeping giant of a market that’s only now awakening to the power of business technology.” I’m not saying they aren’t doing some interesting things, but I’d hardly say they’re leading a sleeping market, and some of what they are doing is more in life sciences than healthcare. At my hospital, Microsoft means Windows, SQL, Office, and now Sentillion.

Some scumbag steals three Internet Cafe computers from Brockville General Hospital (Ontario) over the holiday, shutting it down and leaving users (some of them palliative care and rehab patients) without. The hospital doesn’t have the money to replace them, but a local travel agency donated one and is challenging other local businesses to do the same.

I still think this software should win awards: still another patient is saved by a kidney transplant made possible by an application that figures out a complex series of transplants that gives the greatest possible number of donor-recipient marches from the available pool.

University of New Mexico Hospital is reviewing its emergency alert system after a gunman fires a shot inside, but the employee text and e-mail alert took 32 minutes to get out after police had showed up en masse. The hospital says their incident people couldn’t get logged into the Web-based alerting system. They also couldn’t get executive approval to blast the message. The hospital says it will  hire a consultant. Something to think about before the reporters show up. I bet employees were already burning up Twitter and Facebook.

The local paper covers IT raises at University of Missouri and the hospital, noting that 52 employees were promoted with raises in December alone. It suggests that a just-opened IBM facility in town may have forced the university to give raises to keep staff.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

From Joe Walsh: “Re: HISsies. I am aware that the HISsies are just a bit tongue-in-cheek, but how serious is the proposal for a Lifetime Achievement Award?” I’d say all the categories are as serious as readers want them to be, but that one in particular is totally serious. As Mr. H often mentions, 100% of the nominations and final voting come from readers. Many of our past winners have been touched by the recognition. Todd Cozzens, for example, was quite appreciative of Picis’s Best HIT Vendor award a couple of years ago, and even the irreverent Jonathan Bush seemed to love winning HIT Industry Figure of the Year. We also know some organizations stuff the proverbial ballot box in favor of the home team (at least before we starting sending ballots directly to the HIStalk subscriber list last year instead of letting anyone vote), but ever that suggests that folks consider the HISsies an honor. 

From Elmer: “Re: Kudos. Love your blogs. You guys are the glue to what’s going on in HIT.” Thanks, Elmer. As Mr. H will tell you, I’m chronically insecure and need loving encouragement every now and then, so your words are appreciated.

From AA CoolNeal: “Re: A MEDITECH rap song. Funny rap song composed (supposedly) by former MEDITECHers. I worked there for 10 years and the song does hit all the highs and lows.” Very clever. And reminds me of many things I don’t miss about working for a big company.

From Eero Saarinen: “Re: Cerner win. Columbus (IN) Regional Hospital has signed a contract with Cerner. No surprise; they’ve been in negotiations for many weeks. CRH has used Cerner PathNet and Apache for several years but the new deal is a near-total McKesson replacement.” Unverified.

uk healthcare

University of Kentucky Healthcare and Central Baptist Hospital are among the first recipients of Meaningful Use incentive checks. Kentucky Medicaid has already issued a $2.8 million check for UK and $1.3 million for Central Baptist. An additional 25 Kentucky providers have begun the application process.

Partners Healthcare is borrowing $420 million for EMR improvements and debt refinancing.

Healthcare represented 17.6% of the US economy in 2009, with total spending of $2.49 trillion (with a “t”). That’s up from 16.6% of GDP in 2008. Reminds me of when I was interviewing for my first job in HIT. I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave my budding career in finance, but my soon-to-be new boss convinced me that the business of healthcare and computers was going to become increasingly important. Obviously he was right.

I see that Bill O’Toole, an occasional HIStalk contributor, is offering a complimentary white paper to providers considering the purchase of an EHR. He’s founder of the O’Toole Law Group, spent 20 years as corporate counsel for MEDITECH, and has a friendly writing style.


Spectrum Health (MI) launches its MySpectrum smart phone app created with the InterSystems Ensemble integration and development platform.

Saint John’s Health System and St. Vincent Jennings Hospitals join more than 80 hospitals as part of the Indiana HIE.

Maricopa Integrated Health System (AZ) renews its agreement with MedAssets for multiple Web-based, revenue cycle tools.

New on HIStalk Practice this week: a peek at Cerner Ambulatory. Hospitals buying up practices. A physician review of the Motion J3500 tablet.  A couple of my New Year’s resolutions. Health reform may boost house calls. HIStalk Practice traffic, by the way, grew 25% in 2010. If you haven’t stopped by yet, it’s time to check out what you have been missing.

Jennie Stuart Medical Center (KY) implements ChartWise:CDI for clinical documentation.

LinkedIn is rumored to be going public this year, making it the first social network to do so. Which reminds me: I am pretty social, so feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or Facebook. Mr. H is not quite as social as me, but seemingly better connected, so make sure you friend and connect with him as well. And don’t forget to join the HIStalk Fan Club on LinkedIn and to like us on the HIStalk Facebook page.

Cleveland Clinic and MetroHealth Medical Center say they will begin sharing patient records using Epic’s Care Everywhere program.

hit xo

Dr. Lyle Berkowitz, MD, another occasional HIStalk contributor and medical director of clinical informatics at Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group, asked us to give a plug to HIT X.0 (Beyond the Edge). That’s a new sub-conference that will run during HIMSS and focus on innovation and the future. One session that looks particularly fun is called HIT Geeks Got Talent.  Eight companies will be given 2-5 minutes each to show off their coolest, newest technology. A panel of judges will give feedback, then audience members will have a chance to text their vote for the best product. The call for contestants is still open If you have some bleeding edge technology you’d like to demonstrate. There’s no extra charge for the HIT X.0 sessions, but Dr. Lyle said attendees are advised to pre-register to get a guaranteed seat. Mr. H tells me he’s in and planning to sit on the front row.

er car

A patient drives his Chevy Blazer through the doors of a Kelowna General Hospital (BC) after being told he’d have to wait 45 minutes to see an ER doctor. The hospital estimates damages of $15,000. I wonder if the hospital is now checking into one of those Web-based apps to display ER wait times.


E-mail Inga.

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  • Imprivata OneSign is named a premier solution in SC Magazine’s 2011 Reader Trust Award competition, which honors best-in-class security products and services.
  • maxIT Healthcare promotes Mike Sweeney to president, reporting to CEO and Chairman Parker Hinshaw. maxIT also names Reese Gomez executive vice president of solution management.
  • McKesson takes top KLAS honors in eight separate categories, including Best in KLAS in Community HIS for its Paragon solution. Horizon Practice Plus also wins Best in KLAS for  Practice Management (26-100 physicians).
  • The MED3OOO-owned CPU Medical Management Systems partners with Revenue Advantage to provide hosted interactive voice recognition applications to billing companies and healthcare providers.
  • Allina Hospitals & Clinics chooses Greenway’s PrimeSUITE for providers in Minnesota and western Wisconsin largely due to Allina’s Epic-based EMR.
  • YouTube Video: Using RXHub and External Med History in eClinicalWorks v 8.0.
  • Carefx expands its presence in the UK by partnering with Northgate Managed Service, and agrees to deploy its Fusion healthcare interoperability platform with Cambridge University Hospitals.  Trillium Health Centre (Canada) also goes live with Fusion.
  • AT&T includes MedApps as part of their ForHealth telehealth products and solutions.
  • maxIT Healthcare appoints Mike Sweeney to President; he will manage day to day operations and will report to Parker Hinshaw (CEO).
  • SC Magazine Awards names Imprivata as a finalist in the Best Multifactor Product category for the Reader Trust Award competition.
  • CentraState Healthcare System chooses MobileMD for their HIE.
  • Frank Stellato is announced as myHealthDirect’s Chief Financial Officer; he’s been with the company since July 2010 and was most recently CFO of MedAssist. Doug Cobb also joins myHealthDirect’s board of directors.
  • Ochsner Health System (LA) goes live with Orion Health HIE.
  • Lake Medical Group selects GroupOne Health Source to implement eClinicalWorks EMR system for its roughly 50 healthcare providers.
  • Nuesoft has a nice entry on their blog asking the question: Are more doctors adopting EHRs?
  • CynergisTek CEO Mac McMillian will present at the HIMSS Southern California Chapter meeting on January 13th in Orange, CA.
  • North Highland acquires Insight Solutions Group.
  • OnePartner selects MobileMD for its HIE.
  • Nason Hospital (PA) will use tablet-based e-Forms completion from Access, integrated with MedSeries4 and the Soarian document management application.

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Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. I’m in the asychronous Master’s of Science in Health Informatics at the University of Illinois-Chicago. I have found the program to be very, very good. The professors are good. The quality of the material and the learning opportunties are excellent. I have a co-worker who is in the Northwestern program. We’ve talked a lot about the differences. While the learning seems to be the same between the two, the Northwestern program clearly loses on convenience. If you aren’t in the Central or Eastern time zone, the program is impossible to do at Northwestern.

  2. The article from the last link above states that Nason Hospital is “transitioning to MedSeries4 and Soarian EDM”; the hospital currently runs Siemens INVISION. Either the article is wrong or the issues with Soarian Financials must be pretty severe. The expectation was that INVISION sites would ‘upgrade’ to Soarian — what does it mean about Soarian that they are moving their smaller hospitals to MedSeries4 instead? Glaser acknowledged in his HISTalk interview that Soarian wasn’t ready for every Siemens customer to be able to move to, but Nason has to be one of the smaller INVISION customers in the U.S. Soarian can’t work for them? Maybe the article is wrong.

  3. I just finished the MMI program at Northwestern and feel as though the only factor unaccounted for in the synchronous/asynchronous discussion is the inspiration one might get from the virtual ‘classroom’ interactions with a great instructor. Maybe the classroom banter is worth mentioning as well. Convenience is big though, and as it really doesn’t affect me anyhow, I’m reserving judgment.

  4. @Samantha, I am also enrolled in UIC’s MSHI program. I had no idea that Northwestern’s program was not asychronous! While I’m sure Northwestern’s program is very good, I can’t imagine being enrolled in a synchronous program, as my schedule varies day to day.

  5. MedSEries 4? – MedSeries4!!
    I’m a former MS4-er who always believed it is a great system for small hospitals. It is the ‘the little system that just won’t go away’. Siemens is finding that, like trying to put Cerner into small hospitals, Soarian, as it stands, is beyond many if not most small hospital budgets.

    The MS4 product is a very stable, function-rich, integrated system that includes general financial, patient management and clinicals. It is very suitable for small hospitals and what used to be called the ‘chain market’. The applications are easy to use, easy to implement, easy to maintain and have the flexibility to be customized without having to go back to the company OR jeopardize the ability to take future upgrades.

    Soarian came the Holy Graill because, face it, there’s a lot bigger commission on a $20M deal than on a 2$M deal. And a lot more system bells and whistles that many small hospitals don’t need. Looks like someone is finally figuring out that the idea of matching the systerm to the client’s needs really does work!

  6. I’m in Northwestern’s MMI program (and a former classmate of Lincoln’s — Hi Lincoln!) and specifically chose it over UIC’s program because of the synchronous nature. From the response of others in the program, that is a common theme.

    I can’t help but think this is the market at work. With two similar, competing programs, students chose the one that best fit their learning needs (NU: synchronous but inconvenient and UIC: asynchronous but convenient). As a result, the NU student body seems to prefer synchronous as a whole. I suspect the reverse is true for UIC and an announcement that they are moving to sync would lead to just as much concern among their student body.

    It’s an interesting discussion that the students are having, and administrators are starting to join in. I hope NU recognizes the needs of its particular student make-up and keeps the synchronous format while tweaking it in ways to make it more convenient for others that can’t always attend at specific times.

  7. Re: From Student:

    “Re: Northwestern University. It’s considering changing the format of its online MS in Medical Informatics from live, synchronous meetings (with instant feedback and collaboration) to asynchronous. Students are concerned about the respectability and quality this will provide. What do you and your readers think of an asynchronous format only?”

    As the architect of Drexel University’s asynchronous, online graduate certificate in healthcare informatics, I can say that it works well … if the teachers are experienced, verbally facile, and committed to spending a lot of time in discussion boards, providing lots of hyperlinks and commentary.

    It should be remembered, thought, that to impart the highest levels of skills and experience, nothing can match an applied, real-life multi-year fellowship or in-class degree program. However, these are generally at the doctoral of post doctoral level.

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