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January 20, 2011 News 12 Comments

1-20-2011 6-26-17 PM

From Leopold Stoch: “Re: Meditech. They finally buy out LSS.” Bill Belichick and other readers tipped us off on January 5 that Meditech would be buying out its ambulatory partner. They were right. Meditech also announces that HCIS version 6.05 has earned certification through Drummond Group, so all three of its platforms (MAGIC, Client/Server, and 6.0) are now certified. Thanks to the several sharp-eyed readers who let us know about the announcements.

From Frank Poggio: “Re: Privacy and Security Tiger Team of the HIT Policy Committee. They’ve started looking at the issue of a unique person / patient identifier, the ultimate US-only conundrum that has been struggled with for decades.”

From Blah: “Re: Verizon hotspot. Tempting, but Verizon’s 3G network won’t allow data and voice at the same time. Will you just miss calls when using the phone as a hotspot?” See tech expert David Letterman’s skewering of Verizon above.

From Doc Martin: “Re: LA County Department of Health Services hospitals. The surgery system install is going badly, with servicers needing to be rebooted several times daily, reports going unwritten, and [vendor name omitted] staff unable to stabilize the system. It has affected OR throughput.” Unverified. Give me something verifiable and I’ll name the vendor.

From Shot Doctor: “Re: Allscripts. I hear they’ll announce a new president of sales next week and it will a big name. I couldn’t get anything more than that.” Hmmm … anybody want to guess who it is?

From Two Down, One to Go: “Re: Cook County seeks to end inpatient care.” The county wants to end inpatient, emergency, and surgical services at Oak Forest Hospital and turn it into an outpatient primary care center.

From Murray the K: “Re: Allscripts. Has brought on a third-party vendor to supply manpower to its remote hosting facilities.” Unverified, but rumor is that ACS is involved in a capacity somewhere between oversight and total outsourcing.

From Guy Who Lives in Midwest: “Re: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). Is he talking about Epic? Starting at 3:10.” He mentions an unnamed, large, privately held, woman-led Wisconsin company with thousand of employees. He says the CEO told him she wants to offer health insurance to her employees, but her two publicly traded competitors have said they’ll dump their employees from insurance and pay the fine instead, saving $15,000 per employee. Since that gives those companies a competitive advantage, she will have to do the same, he reports. I don’t know if it’s Epic, but I’ll say this: the Congressman is a heck of a speaker.

Jobs on the HIStalk Jobs Page: Director of Consulting – Healthcare IT, Epic Credentialed Trainers, Sales Representatives. On Healthcare IT Jobs: Senior Consultant Health IT, Revenue Cycle Project Manager – Arizona, Cerner CareNet and INet Analysts, Clinical Consultants McKesson HPP.

Listening: new from Jamestown Story, because I know the band (indirectly). I predict they’ll be big soon, so check them out and you can brag that you hopped on the bandwagon early. I’m also liking Tennis, summery 60s-sounding garage pop.

Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA) is fuming because not only did Congress turned down his $500K earmark request to buy an EMR for a local nursing home, the House Speaker says he won’t even allow spending bills on the floor for a vote if they contain earmark appropriations. Says the Congressman, “They were killed by the Senate Republicans. We thought we were going to get an omnibus [spending] bill, but [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell bowed to the Tea Party.” The nursing home says the EMR is vital and they’ll have to buy it with their own money instead of using federal taxpayer dollars.

1-20-2011 6-49-53 PM

Thanks to long-time HIStalk sponsor GetWellNetwork, which is upgrading from Gold to Platinum. The Bethesda, MD company offers TV-based interactive patient care solutions used by 70 hospitals and health systems that provide bedside patient education, entertainment, patient feedback and surveys, care planning, outcomes research, and personalized patient experience driven by integration with HIT systems. Thanks to GetWellNetwork for its ongoing support of HIStalk.

1-20-2011 6-57-15 PM

I’d also like to welcome and thank Staffing Angel Software, a new Platinum Sponsor of HIStalk. The company offers one-click, Web-based scheduling and labor management solutions for medical personnel, with specialty applications for nurses, pharmacy, and physician groups. Each application is personalized and can include electronic timesheets, reconciliation, payroll file compilation, and a historic archive. A video demo is here and you can check out the online training videos for more details. Client-reported results include increased employee satisfaction, efficient multi-campus scheduling, improved recruitment and retention, reduced overtime, and better utilization of FTE and PRN resources. The rules-based scheduling allows employees to self-schedule and to be alerted of available shifts. Thanks to Staffing Angel Software for supporting HIStalk.

1-20-2011 7-12-41 PM

Inga won’t stop bragging on her perfect score on SRSsoft’s Meaningful Use IQ Test, so I might as well go ahead and acknowledge it publicly and hope she gets over it. Getting a mention on their site got her wound up all over again.

The wacky, anonymous folks behind Extormity (“the electronic health records mega-corporation dedicated to offering highly proprietary, difficult to customize, and prohibitively expensive healthcare IT solutions”) have cranked out a pretty funny video claiming to feature one of its executives testifying before Congress.

Weird News Andy salivates at this story: a suicidal drug user who showed up at a hospital’s ED twice in two days spits in the face of a nurse trying to place him in restraints for his own protection. He is initially charged with attempted murder since he’s infected with hepatitis C, but the charges are reduced to assault.

Thanking you in advance for the following: (a) use the Subscribe to Updates box to your upper right to ensure immediate e-mail notification and triumphant “me first” smugness when I write something new; (b) use that newfangled thing called Facebook to Like HIStalk or Friend Inga, Jayne, and me so we can pretend to me the popular cool kids we always yearned to be instead of HIT nerds; (c) support the companies that support HIStalk by reading over the sponsor ads (to your left) and text ads (to your right) and click excitedly where indicated as acknowledgment that it’s a pretty gutsy move by them considering some of the stuff I write about companies; (d) send in your rumors, news, top secret documents, incriminating photos, or whatever would titillate me using the garish green Rumor Report button to your right (or if you can’t bear to look at it, just e-mail me). Thanks for reading. And for those asking about HIStalkapalooza, the signup sheet should be online and therefore mentionable in my Monday Morning Update (which by some freakish tear in the fabric of time, actually goes out whenever I get it finished after an all-day effort on Saturday while you’re out having fun).

Ad-supported (free) EHR Practice Fusion says it’s the #1 ranked EHR among primary care specialties in Black Book Rankings. 

Meta Healthcare IT Solutions announces MetaCare Event Manager, a clinician task alerting application that works with its EHR, CPOE, and eMAR systems.

A report suggests that the US will continue to lead the world in medical innovation, but will lose some ground to China, India, and Brazil because of expensive FDA compliance requirements and an entrenched healthcare system that favors the old guard.  In a possibly related move, FDA proposes changes it says will streamline medical device approvals.

Sunquest announces a new physician portal for outreach orders and Web results connectivity.

E-mail me.

HERtalk by Inga

From Wowed: “Re: Dr. Monteith’s testimony. Listened to this clip. This  is one of the most eloquent and straightforward comments I have heard that is so dead on that it will probably be dismissed as a ‘naysayer’ or outlier from typical ‘political’ opinion, even though I and probably many others agree completely! Perhaps David Blumenthal and Obama should have heard these intelligent comments!!!” Wowed is referring to Dr. Scott Monteith’s testimony from the HIT Standards Committee Meeting. Link here and cue to 2 hours and 49 minutes.

cooper green

Cooper Green Mercy Hospital (AL) contracts with Medsphere to implement its OpenVista EHR.

Adreima appoints former Vanguard Health Systems CEO  Ken Howell as COO.

marin county

Marin General Hospital (CA) selects ProVation Order Sets as its electronic orders set solution.

The Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (CT) says it has invested over $2.5 million on HIT systems over the last three years and intends to apply for Meaningful Use incentives. The hospital’s  HIT infrastructure includes products from Meditech, Dr. First, Micromedex, Iatric Systems, and Zynx, as well as HIE infrastructure from MobileMD. Future plans include establishing an ACO and clinical decision support system partnerships.

Ingenix forms Ingenix Life Sciences, a newly-organized division that will focus marketing the company’s life science offerings. Meanwhile, Ingenix signs a definitive agreement with  inVentive Health for the sale of Ingenix’s i3 clinical development business. COO Lee Valenta takes over as president of the life sciences unit while Glenn Bilawsky will remain CEO of i3.

The Indiana HIE names Eric Miller VP of information technology and Patricia Ping information security officer. Miller is the former senior director of IT with Ascension Health; Ping previously was the security officer for Wishard Health Services.


HIMSS confirms Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA as a conference speaker. She’ll share updates on her efforts to incorporate the My Family Health Portrait into PHRs and EHRs, and discuss obesity and efforts to improve healthcare delivery for underserved populations. Benjamin intrigues me, given her history as the first woman and/or first African American woman to fill various leadership roles. It’s on my calendar for Wednesday, Feb. 23 from 9:45 to 10:45.

Brooke Army Medical Center (TX) selects Ekahau RTLS to track over 5,000 pieces of mobile equipment throughout its 1.5 million square foot facility.


Lori Evans Bernstein takes over as president of GSI Health, a provider of HIE and management solutions. She’s the former chief executive of provider solutions with ActiveHealth Management and used to be David Brailer’s advisor when he ran ONCHIT.

AHA issues a member-only resource guide that provides a checklist of topics and questions that hospitals should consider when establishing a vendor relationship. The AHA says the guidelines are intended for hospitals running licensed EHR software and related products on their own servers.

This week on HIStalk Practice: Weno Healthcare takes issue with not being named an ONC-ATCB, plus a look at the Weno/Spring Medical press release that inadvertently hit the Web. athenahealth stock hits an all time high after a big sale to Summit Medical Group. For  EHR gurus or guru-wannabes, SRSsoft has developed a tough quiz on the EHR incentive program (I’m happy to report I made a perfect score). Dr. Gregg Alexander provides an update on his EHR hunt. We are still looking for lucky subscriber #1,000, so make sure you sign up for HIStalk Practice e-mail updates.

medical mart

The Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center hosts a ground-breaking ceremony and shares news of its 57 committed tenants and 31 scheduled conventions. It will open in the fall of 2013.

BMC Healthcare (MD) says it has begun implementing various HIT tools and has filed for Meaningful Use incentives. BMC’s IT advancements include CPOE and EHR (Meditech) and PM/EHR (eClinicalWorks) in its physicians offices.


E-mail Inga.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

Dear Dr. Jayne,

I admire doctors for what they know and what they do. But I also have to work with them as they learn EMR and have all the understandable reactions to it. I say it’s like telling someone, “OK, now you have to go through life for the next two months doing everything with your non-dominant hand.”


Dear Bignurse,

I absolutely love this analogy and am planning to shamelessly copy it (with the appropriate citation, of course!) There’s a favorite slide I use when talking about EHR implementation that lists the Kubler-Ross stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It seems lately I’m dealing with a lot of bargaining.

I tell them two things. First, CMS doesn’t bargain. Second, you passed biochemistry in medical school (hopefully) and that was a LOT harder than learning to use a clinical system.

There was a lively bit of commenting after one of my posts last week, with a good discussion about the potential limitations of clinical systems and their forcing clinicians to practice cookbook medicine, stifling creativity, etc. Like any piece of software, EHRs are only as good as the programmer and the user (not to mention their sassy CMIO and clinical champions).

I remind my docs when they are implemented that the EHR is not intended to replace their brains or their good judgment. It’s a tool that if misused can be dangerous. Geriatric (and pediatric, for that measure) patients have different needs than typical adult patients. So do transplant patients, immune-suppressed patients, and pregnant patients. And renal patients. And heart failure patients. And on and on.

Systems are limited by the breadth and depth of the order sets, formularies, and protocols that are designed and loaded. If clinicians feel that the systems have order sets that cause harm, likely it’s not entirely the vendor’s issue. If you have an order set that prohibits you from giving an appropriate dose of medication or one that is unsafe, that needs to be addressed. Look behind the curtain to the Committee that specified the order sets and protocols and express your concerns. Or join the Committee and be part of the solution.

Trust me, these things are not easy to design, and if I lock five nephrologists in a room with a patient, I will get seven different treatment plans. If you feel that certain consultants have lost their minds, vote with your mouse or stylus and refer to another group. If there are no alternatives, discuss serious clinical concerns with the appropriate body in your hospital. Sometimes taking the variation out of medicine is good – especially when there are evidence-based, statistically valid treatment approaches that have been proven to have less morbidity and/or mortality than others.

I personally have benefitted from the alerts and limits within the systems I use. Every physician at one time or another has inadvertently prescribed a medication to a patient with a documented allergy. I’d much rather have a system catch that (or warn me that I’m about to dry-clean my patient’s kidneys) than have the pharmacy call me later after they’ve told the patient I missed it, which is still better than harming a patient.

Dr. Jayne

Dear Dr. Jayne

As an IT guy myself, there have been many angry doctors asking for the evidence that the EHRs you and I manage meet evidence based criteria. What is your view of the evidence? Tell me so that I become better educated to find off the angry and bewildered doctors.

The IT Cowboy

Dear IT Cowboy,

I figured I’d go ahead and tackle this one since I already used the word “evidence-based” entirely too many times. I feel like I’m at a pharmacy and therapeutics committee meeting!

If we’re talking about proving that the use of EHR itself has benefits to morbidity, mortality, patient safety, and other factors, I think the evidence is all over the place. It depends on whose study you look at, on what day, and whether you asked the Magic 8-Ball about it before you started reading.

Bottom line: it depends significantly on the education, training, and proficiency of the users. Many organizations are learning this the hard way as they prepare for Meaningful Use. They have fully capable systems, but staff either doesn’t use them in the way they were designed, or isn’t using them at all. The jury is going to be out for a long time.

On the other hand, sometimes the systems are, for lack of a better word — bad. My first EHR had hard-coded templates whose protocols that were out of date before the software made it out of QA testing. Vendors are getting smarter and are coding to allow rapid update cycles or user configuration on the fly. Still, whatever governance body is responsible for the clinical integrity of the system (and hopefully you have a fun CMIO who shares in that role) has to review it before it goes into production.

In the city where I trained, due to the presence of a certain researcher’s clinical trials, the local standard of care for a condition is significantly higher than the national standard. Woe is the hospital that tries to deploy out of the box. I’ve seen it done and it wasn’t pretty, especially if there wasn’t enough physician involvement. If I wanted to be a consultant, I could fund a shoe habit worthy if Inga with the proceeds of tidying up after the dust settles.

Speaking of shoe habits, barely a month ‘til HIStalkapalooza. I’m getting nervous about my footwear choices and meeting Inga in person, but I’m looking forward to helping with photos of the exhibitors with the best wardrobes.

Dr. Jayne

Have a question about medical informatics, electronic medical records, or that itchy rash that won’t go away? E-mail Dr. Jayne.

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Currently there are "12 comments" on this Article:

  1. Re: Rep Paul Ryan’s comments. He scores on style points but not on substance. Of course you can reduce the deficit and still increase the debt — it’s the difference between a stock and a flow. And as for Epic. If your competitors are cutting compensation in a very tight labor market with growing demand, I wouldn’t race them to the bottom, I’d invite them to send me the resumes of every employee whose health benefits are being cut!

  2. Re: Paul Ryan’s speech. Having previously lived in Wisconsin and being very familiar with Paul Ryan and Epic, I would say without a doubt, it is not Epic (and is probably ABC Supply). 1) Madison is not in Paul Ryan’s congressional district, 2) Paul Ryan is an ultraconservative & I think Epic has shown that it tends to fall to the other side of the spectrum. ABC Supply on the other hand is in Ryan’s district & is also owned by a woman that sits on the republican national committee & is a long time supporter of Paul Ryan. If I were on MythBusters, I’d call this one debunked.

    You’re right though, he’s a very smooth speaker (we used to joke that he’s got a chart for every word that comes out of his mouth)…though I don’t know why he wouldn’t want health care for the thousands of unemployed workers that were left behind by a GM plant closure in his district which he seemed to sit idly by and watch (political rant over :-).

  3. Former Wisconsite, thanks for that info.

    re: LA County, I wonder if this blog will do its due dilligence research before naming the vendor to be sure if it was Citrix or some other excuse for the issue. It seems whenever a negative aspect of Epic is mentioned, there is a quick excuse for why it’s anything but teflon Epic that caused the problem. When it’s another vendor, especially GE, McKesson, or Siemens, there’s a rush to crucify that vendor, even when other people point out that the vendor is not to blame. Good to know the Fox News mentality has escaped the television and inflitrated HISTalk as well.

    [From Mr. HIStalk] “This blog” gives the cause when it’s known, which it was in THR’s case because Ed Marx provided a detailed explanation related to their Citrix upgrade. I didn’t rush to crucify the vendor in LA County’s case despite its being one of the three you mentioned. If you have examples where I’ve reported problems due to Teflon Epic that I attributed otherwise, please provide. I believe I gave ample coverage to Kaiser’s HealthConnect (Epic) problems, for example.

  4. Re: Paul Ryan’s speech. He is fabricating information to try to make a political point. Here are the facts:

    1. The employer fine does not start until Jan 1, 2014 and is only $2,000 per employee.

    2. Publicly held companies don’t tell their competitors (or anybody else) about their future compensation plans.

    3. Epic already offers its employees health insurance.

  5. RE: the PA Legislator’s outrage over losing his $500k earmark for the Nsg Home EMR… while I am sure he wasn’t happy over that, let’s get real. While I am not familiar with the Nsg. Homes ties with a Hospital (or Hospital’s), their need for an EMR isn’t isolated for their own brick-n-mortar use… in other words, there has to be a Hospital tied to their need or this form of data exchange.

    If that is the case, then many of you out there recognize that there are many Hospitals out there that are funding their outreach facilities and physician offices with an EMR offering… which makes one question why this lone Nsg Home would not have access to an EMR… much less one at the cost of a $500k earmark? Therefore, for us in the Healthcare community to allow this Legislator turn this into a ‘political’ football game, we need to have more information about the ‘earmark’, the Nsg Home and the Hospital(s) it is associated with

  6. Re : Evidence based.

    Lets say you are trying to improve quality for a given area. Be it VTE, Med Rec or something as simple as vaccinations. You must take a baseline, you must evaluate again after implementation and then reevaluate. You will find workflows and departments that are pulling your numbers down. Then you can implement a (hopefully) final time. Rinse and repeat until you have 100% compliance then present your evidence to your facility.

    While there is plenty of evidence on Pub Med that shows EMR’s can improve quality and outcomes, it is specific to the methods you chose and the make up of the organization.

  7. About Congressman Doyle, he should know better. Nursing homes do not need EMRs unless they want their itinerant help from nursing agencies to kill more of the end of life patients. They need better paper records and more staff to take care of the patients who lay in their poop for hours. “The nursing home says the EMR is vital and they’ll have to buy it with their own money instead of using federal taxpayer dollars. ” That means the patients will have fewer nurses and aids.

  8. ““Re: LA County Department of Health Services hospitals. The surgery system install is going badly, with servicers needing to be rebooted several times daily, reports going unwritten, and [vendor name omitted] staff unable to stabilize the system. It has affected OR throughput.” Unverified. Give me something verifiable and I’ll name the vendor.”

    We had the same problem, sounds like the same vendor. We had these problems in TEST and they claimed that they would go away once in production. We told them to fix it in test first and we could talk about putting it in production. Took a long time, but I’m glad we insisted.

  9. Re: Evidence Based

    Mother Mary, what in heaven is going on with HIT?

    This data from FDA makes my hair stand on end.

    Its your care affected, not just mine – at least I know what to look out for.

  10. re. Nursing Home EMR:
    “…EMR is vital and they’ll have to buy it with their own money instead of using federal taxpayer dollars.”

    Well that’s just terribly, terribly unfair isn’t it?

  11. Ditto on Epic & Healthcare, having worked there I can tell you that you are required to get health insurance – they don’t give you the option of not selecting one of the options due to one of the early employees in the company’s history decision to forgo coverage and then needing it. So as long as Judy is alive and in charge of the company, she would never dump health coverage….

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