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Monday Morning Update 1/31/11

January 29, 2011 News 13 Comments

1-29-2011 8-19-31 AM

From Expandable Beltway: “Re: VA. Opens a solicitation for VistA.” I skimmed the document – the VA is looking for help to define an open source structure to support VistA modernization. I don’t know if they’ve ditched their previous plans to buy commercial systems like Cerner’s LIS.

From Epic Employee: “Re: Epic. If you’re a star, you’ll go far. If you’re not a star, you won’t. It’s like a professional sports team – you grab the best college recruits and some work out, some get cut. You are compensated based on your talent, so your subordinates may out-earn you if they’re better at what they do than you are at what you do. You don’t have to be CxO to be financially set. If you need a manager to succeed, you won’t like it here.”

From Merger Pain: “Re: Allscripts. Over 30 sales reps let go this week.” Unverified.

From Philly BlackBerry: “Re: widespread e-mail outage Saturday morning. RIM is not commenting.”

From Lupus: “Re: sponsors. Why do you have so many?” I freely admit that I’m an incompetent, unmotivated, and staggeringly lucky accidental businessperson who just wanted to write work-related stuff for fun back in 2003. I expend zero effort to solicit sponsors. I’ll reply tersely to e-mail inquiries from vendors and the always-nice ad agency and marketing people, but replying to the e-mails is all I’ll do. Every other HIT-related blog you read is written by someone trying to sell something – consulting services, EMRs, conferences, speaking engagements, etc. I’m a money-indifferent guy who’s happy working full time for a non-profit hospital. If I get sponsors, great, I get paid for the endless hours I spend on HIStalk. If not, that’s fine since that was the case for much of HIStalk’s eight-year existence and my hospital job ensures that I won’t starve anyway. I like staying anonymous because it keeps me honest: you can’t get too full of yourself if nobody knows who you are. My About page explains everything.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: cloud basics. FedEx CIO Rob Carter explains cloud basics and how FedEx deploys a private cloud solution to run the giant package distribution system. He explains the cost advantage of private clouds this way: ‘What’s happening, and this is such a big deal in our world, is that for the first time ever, you can make investments in a whole new class of technology for about the same price of just maintaining the base.’ This cost advantage is something to think about in the effort to employ cloud solutions in healthcare settings.”

1-29-2011 10-13-52 AM

Thanks to everyone who signed up for the “I want to come” list for HIStalkapalooza. The page has been turned off since it was scheduled to run for a week. I haven’t checked the count to see if we can accommodate everyone, but I’m hoping we can, and anyone we can’t will go on the waitlist in case someone cancels. We’ll be sending out e-mail invitations soon. It’s only three weeks away, as I just now realized in near-panic as I think about all the HIMSS-related stuff Inga and I have to do between now and then. I should take a week off from work just to catch up.

Here’s the HIStalkapalooza agenda for those who need to plan their existence down to the minute. Doors will open at 6:30, starting with red carpet interviews streamed to a big screen on stage (it’s a “big entrance” kind of thing that I thought would be fun, but you can bypass straight to the bar if you’d rather). Eating and drinking commences, with IngaTinis in abundance and beauty queen sashes strutted by a chosen few. The video and photo crews will be plying their trade and I’ll have a roving reporter inside BB King’s covering the event for summarization in HIStalk afterward. The official welcome comes at 8:00, followed by Jonathan Bush and the HISsies awards (special guests are always possible, but I usually get a polite “no thanks” when I ask, so don’t count on it). We’ll have a short HIStalk Queen and King contest with voting by applause (like high school, winners will be chosen based on fashion, poise, and willingness to pander shamelessly to the audience). Inga’s BFFs will choose the “Inga Loves My Shoes” winners while most of the men head off for another beer. Our super sponsor, Medicomp, will offer up some doctor recognition at 9:00. At 9:10, the Insomniacs concert starts, running until 11:30, with food and drink available most of the evening if I remember correctly. Dancing will be encouraged by our HIStalk ambassadors, the band, and the open bar. Inga, Dr. Jayne, and I will probably be in anonymous attendance, overwhelmed and schizophrenic (am I me or Mr. H?) Everybody who works hard all year deserves a little bit of silliness and entertainment and that’s what we’re offering (but I bet that as in past years, important contacts will be made and deals will be struck by high-powered attendees hammered on IngaTinis).

1-29-2011 7-37-21 AM

A Weird News Andy graphic moment, in the form of a patient instructions handout.

Listening: Tiamat, because sometimes you need a little depressing Swedish doom metal (Pink Floyd meets Metallica) to brighten up your day. It’s good.

A reader tells me those Extormity EHR parody people will be unveiling themselves at HIMSS, revealing themselves to be sellers of some flavor of PM/EMR. I’d scoop them by announcing it here except I have no idea who they are.

1-29-2011 6-21-40 AM 

These poll results confirm what people are telling me (not that I didn’t already know since recruiters are burning up my phone and e-mail at the hospital): it’s getting tough to find experienced HIT people. New poll to your right: how many hours per week do you work? I’m curious since the comments from Epic’s employees seemed to raise some curiosity. The poll accepts comments, so add yours if you like. 

Quality Systems, Inc. (the NextGen people) turns in record Q3 numbers: revenue up 23% to $91.9 million, EPS $0.60 vs. $0.46, expectations beaten, dividend raised. Board chair, founder, and former CEO Sheldon Razin holds almost $400 million worth of shares. He started the company in his garage in 1973 with $2,000 in capital and took it public in 1982. Its market cap is now over $2 billion.

1-29-2011 5-31-42 AM 

I’m happy to announce Symantec as a new Platinum Sponsor of HIStalk. Everybody knows Symantec for their security products (Norton, Ghost, pcAnywhere, Veritas, etc.) but I’ll call your attention to Symantec Health. They offer Symantec Health Safe, a medical image archiving and sharing service designed to complement existing medical imaging infrastructure. Per-TB Storage costs are reduced since you pay for only the capacity you use with no upfront capital expense or data center operating expenses, lowering the total cost of image archiving by 25 to 50%  or even more. Images can be retrieved directly to PACS and shared securely online with any other provider. The trusted leader in online security is offering a free cost savings analysis. Thanks to Symantec for supporting HIStalk.

If you’re interested in more than my brief explanation of Symantec Health Safe, I found the above video on YouTube.

1-29-2011 9-24-54 AM

David Darnell, a 39-year-old VP with healthcare data analytics vendor MDI Holdings of Ponte Vedra, FL, died Thursday in car accident. He is survived by his wife and four children ages 1 to 7. Condolences.

1-29-2011 9-36-32 AM

UPMC’s insurance division forms a joint venture with UK company Ultrasis to create a US version of that company’s Beating the Blues online CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) patient tool for treating depression.

University of Iowa Hospitals opens an investigation after determining that the electronic medical records of 13 University of Iowa football players may have been inappropriately accessed. The hospitalized players have been diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis, a kidney-damaging condition caused by damaged muscle and sometimes by nutritional supplements. The university has also launched a separate investigation into the football program’s off-season workouts, which started last week.

1-29-2011 9-54-16 AM

The Methodist Hospital (TX) opens a 35,000 square foot simulation-based surgical training center that will teach physicians to use technology such as image-guided procedures and robotic surgery. One tool uses a thermal camera to determine a student’s surgical expertise.

An interventional radiologist who patented the idea behind drug-eluting stents while a medical resident in 1993 is awarded $482 million in his suit claiming that Cordis stole his idea and made $13 billion from it. Bruce Saffran, MD PhD had already settled with Boston Scientific for $50 million after winning a $431 million judgment against that company three years ago.

Mobile drug reference vendor Epocrates plans an IPO next week valued at around $50 million.

1-29-2011 5-48-59 AM 

I appreciate and acknowledge the support of Perceptive Software of Shawnee, KS, a new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor. The company offers the ImageNow document management, imaging, and workflow solution that ties unstructured documents to the EMR and streamlines paper processes and workflow. The benefit: a comprehensive, hybrid patient record that improves care by offering immediate access to content, provides secure access, reduces the cost and space requirements inherent with paper, and quick implementation. It integrates with any HIT system including those from Meditech, Epic, Cerner, Allscripts / Eclipsys, Lawson, and Oracle. There’s an overview demo series here and they’ll send you a copy of The Top 10 Things You’ll Save with ECM if you mention HIStalk (or if you don’t, for that matter, but maybe I’ll score points with them if you do). Thanks to Perceptive Software for supporting what I do.

Above is video I found on Perceptive Software’s healthcare solutions. It’s just some real-life customers (North Kansas City Hospital, Asante Health System, Citizens Memorial Health) talking in a seemingly unscripted way about how they’re using the ImageNow solution.

1-29-2011 6-03-25 AM

Digital Prospectors Corp. of Exeter, NH is supporting HIStalk as a Gold Sponsor and we appreciate that very much. DPC is a fast-growing boutique consulting firm whose healthcare division provides consultants and direct-hire candidates for all areas of HIT, including experts in Cerner, Allscripts / Eclipsys, Epic, McKesson, Lawson, and Quovadx. The company has won several awards (Inc. 5000, top woman-owned business, best places to work) since its founding in 1999. I found a nice profile of the company in a local publication here and also its Facebook page. You can also check out their open positions. Thanks to Digital Prospectors Corp. for supporting HIStalk.

Awarepoint’s 2010 results include 91 hospitals contracted for its RTLS solutions (up 30%) and revenue up over 100% for the third straight year.

Bizarre: a pregnant woman that her husband has impregnated his mistress as well. She decides to kill the mistress’s baby, forging a doctor’s prescription for Cytotec, an ulcer drug that also causes abortions, and calls the woman pretending to be the doctor’s employee and tells her take the medication to protect the unborn baby against Down syndrome. The mistress takes the Cytotec, sending her into immediate labor, but the baby survives in the hospital. The wife then sends a male friend to the hospital with two bottles of poisoned baby milk, which suspicious staff refuse to pass along. Somewhere along the way, the wife pretends to be a hospital executive in an attempt to get the baby’s ventilator turned off. Says her lawyer, “My client was in the last trimester of her pregnancy and was acting irrationally.” The jury didn’t buy it: she’s going to prison for four years. I’m sure she’ll make a stellar mom.

E-mail me.

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Currently there are "13 comments" on this Article:

  1. Re: “Re: Epic. If you’re a star, you’ll go far. If you’re not a star, you won’t. ” Epic employees are warned by Judy not to post anything in blogs or anywhere. I’m guessing this is from the HR epartment. Just sayin’…

  2. All of this talk about hours of work gets to me. These Epic workers and other HIT workers make big bucks while complaining of time at work. Since I started using EHRs, my work week has gone from 60 hours to 75 hours. I just wanted to let you know and thank you for posting this. I love your blog and pithy comments.

  3. Hi There, a brief comment/correction on the ePocrates IPO from the Investor’s Chair: The company is actually trying to sell $75 million worth of stock at a proposed market capitalization of $312 million (at the mid-point of the proposed range on the cover). Recall from my IPO post that the Market prices deals, however. Given historic revenue growth and that 80% of the proceeds are going to selling shareholders, in one form or another, that seems a fairly robust price from where my Chair sits. I’ll be making some buy-side inquiries and can post a more thoughtful analysis if there’s interest – let me know…


  4. The HISTalk iPhone App is coming soon.
    Click the icon and the app produces a random rumor, comment, quip or completely fictional statement about EPIC.
    Let’s try it now

    “Epic rewards efficient employees with a necklace made of the teeth of mountain lions as well as providing Alaska King Crab Legs for All Employees every Tuesday”

    Wow it works great!

  5. Ed, are those crab legs served up in the Treehouse? As a loyal Epic customer, when you climb to the top of the Stairway to Heaven, do you also get a necklace? If you do, it wouldn’t be the first kickback Epic has ever given out to a “happy customer.” But you’re right, all these facts coming out from former Epic employees just have no place in a blog. After all, aren’t blogs just supposed to be about opinion and rumor? Eagerly anticipating your next fact-filled column. Great stuff!

  6. “If you’re a star, you’ll go far. If you’re not a star, you won’t.”

    This all depends on how one defines “star” and “not a star”. Although I’ve never worked FOR Epic, I have worked WITH them (as a partner) and attended multiple user group meetings.

    In a nutshell, working with them is torture. What seems to be rewarded is insularity and being an expert on EPIC products. Which is all well and good, unless your (mutual) client needs EPIC to integrate with products built this century. Or use industry standard ETL tools, etc.

    That’s when you find out that the guy who’s risen through the EPIC ranks since being hired directly from UW Madison (a star) doesn’t know much outside of EPIC. And the heretical EPIC folks who confide in you over a beer that they know enough to know how backward things are at EPIC…just leave. And the customer is left over the proverbial barrel.

    Without change, the same culture that lead to EPIC’s emergence as “cream of the crap” in health IT will eventually cause it to fail.


  7. Re: cloud basics

    We are looking at cloud computing for the same reasons Mr Carter is but as a conservative healthcare IT shop have many questions related to utilizing componentry hosted overseas and privacy/security. Make sure you discuss this with your legal & HIM groups before committing.

  8. Agree with QI. While Epic’s products are head and shoulders above the competition, working with them to help clients integrate operations with their new Epic products is not an easy task. First is just running the gauntlet to get access (woe be unto those that plan to be “Epic Experts”) that is truly tortuous and if you are a n operations consultant who needs it?

    As for the Epic stars, they know Epic and only Epic cold and work hard to “hold the line”. Not sure what that means other than that so long as your organization fits the mold of a large sort of integrated delivery system, the stuff works, try to reach out other lines of business or introduce a different idea (not the forbidden custom!) and you are met with the silence usually reserved for those shunned by the Amish…

  9. Mr Histalk wrote:

    Every other HIT-related blog you read is written by someone trying to sell something – consulting services, EMRs, conferences, speaking engagements, etc.”

    Agree, with one exception, see below; these are known as “conflicts of interest” and have become the bane of impartiality and honesty in every industry, healthcare included.

    Minor correction – while not strictly HIT-related, HC Renewal is not selling anything other than opinion.

  10. Personal opinion (and the Iowa football player story is an example of why I have this concern):

    Cloud computing + healthcare data = endless increased trouble with privacy, security and confidentiality of healthcare data.

    In fact, after seeing stories like this, where the Supreme Court will hear whether states can ban selling prescription data …


    … I am increasingly concerned that national, interoperable electronic medical records on the one hand, and security, privacy, and confidentiality of medical data on the other, may be mutually exclusive goals.

    The data’s worth too much (in terms of money and power) to too many to prevent its abuse in the real world on an increasingly large scale.

    — SS

  11. Mineope at #7 writes:

    We are looking at cloud computing for the same reasons Mr Carter is but as a conservative healthcare IT shop have many questions related to utilizing componentry hosted overseas and privacy/security

    The problems are real. Example – “Medical records of patients treated at a private British hospital, The London Clinic, have been illegally sold to undercover investigators“, where outsourced medical records were for sale at bargain basement prices. Outsourcing the whole HIT ballpark increases risk exponentially.

    Make sure you have good insurance if you do it, and put your house in a spouse’s name…

    — SS

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Reader Comments

  • Sam Lawrence: Except in this case, coding = medical billing, not development. Though the same warning may be true...
  • BeenThere: Partners will find the savings from their cuts of coders as fools gold. There are a lot of hidden costs running an outs...
  • JC: If there is not there can be. VistA has a reference lab interface that can create the manifests/labeling and such as we...
  • Tom Cornwell: Great stuff from Dr. Jayne as usual. One small typo, last sentence of second-to-last paragraph: should be 'who's' not 'w...
  • HIT Observer: What I find most interesting here, is people defending their common practices rather than truly taking this as invaluabl...
  • Bob: There's no incentive for the provider to spend time doing a price comparison for the patient. Nor is it a good use of th...
  • Peppermint Patty: Veteran - can you clarify what was "fake "? Was something made up (definition of fake) or did you disagree with Vapo...
  • Pat Wolfram: Such a refreshing article. Thanks -- there really can be a simpler version of an acute HIT implementation. But I do ...
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