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March 24, 2011 News 10 Comments

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3-24-2011 5-41-22 PM

iSoft suspends trading in its stock and puts itself up for sale. That probably forces the hand of primary contractor CSC to buy the company itself given its own commitments to the UK’s NPfIT project (although you never know – Cerner might give iSoft a look given its global ambitions). Just about every vendor and consulting company involved with NPfIT, including NHS itself, has suffered despite the billions the British government has spent on its ambitious but largely failed centralized healthcare IT strategy.

Reader Comments

From Hate Manual Entry: “Re: JarDogs. A large medical practice is exiting their selection of JarDogs as their preferred vendor of portal services as the company is unwilling to sign a BAA agreement. Their stance is that they do not have independent access to the patient data. As a subsidiary of Springfield Clinic, one can only assume they are receiving poor legal advice from the practice perspective vs. a software vendor. Who would sign without a BAA in place? Mr. HIStalk, do you know anyone in high places at JarDogs to confirm or deny this stance?” The company’s response: “To date, Jardogs has not lost any FollowMyHealth deals as a result of a BAA issue.”

3-24-2011 4-52-08 PM

From Epic Interest: “Re: VA and DoD. Here’s the letter from the Wisconsin congressional delegation. You can see here that besides Epic as a company and Judy as an individual, her husband Gordon has been keeping up with her political donations penny for penny. The PCAST report listed only four institutions as health IT success stories – the VA and three Epic sites.” All the recommended sites use Epic, of course. Judy gave $349K and Epic another $726K in political contributions, but that was over a 13-year period. I don’t know that $82K per year in donations buys a lot of clout these days, but having thousands of taxpaying employees surely does.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

The new format stays, with the voting 62% to 38% in favor. Old-schoolers can still look forward to a more informal and category-free Monday Morning Update.

This week on HIStalk Practice: a PCMH pilot results in lower costs and better outcomes. The SoloHealth kiosk is coming to a grocery store near you. Kaiser Permanente Hawaii sees an uptick in patients using online tools to schedule appointments and communicate with physicians. The owner of storage units holds medical records hostage over unpaid rent. One hundred percent of readers say they love or like the news presented on HIStalk Practice, so we promise it’ll be a good read.

Tonight’s post will be a bit shorter than usual since I’m taking Mrs. HIStalk to a concert (I’m dressed in all black and scowling so I’ll look emo-intense, which I’m sure will amuse her). Your regularly scheduled verbosity will return with the Monday Morning Update.

On the Jobs Board: Implementation Tester, VP/Director, Microsoft Alliance, Regional Director of Enterprise Sales. On Healthcare IT Jobs: Cerner Clinical Analyst, IT Systems Analyst, Eclipsys Clinical Consultants, Clinical Informatics Specialist.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Fortune Magazine publishes its annual list of World’s Most Admired Companies and HCA is named best medical facility. McKesson was the overall leader in the healthcare wholesalers category, while Henry Schein took the top spot for social responsibility and global competitiveness among healthcare wholesalers.

Publicly traded EMIS, the UK’s largest EMR vendor, shuts down its operations in Canada without having established significant market share there. The company blames the lack of national standards that fragments the Canadian market into 10 provinces that each have their own certification requirements.


3-24-2011 4-21-06 PM

Good Samaritan Hospital (IN) promotes Chuck Christian from director of IT to CIO.

Announcements and Implementations

3-24-2011 1-21-17 PM

Southeast Texas Medical Associates reports that its use of IBM business analytics has helped doctors identify trends and assess treatment protocols, which in turn have reduced the number of patient hospital readmissions by 22%. In addition, physicians have reduced the required time to evaluate patients’ data prior to treatment from an hour to a second.

The South Florida REC says that more than 1,000 physicians have signed up to receive EHR adoption and implementation services.

Maine Primary Care Association (MPCA) partners with Arcadia Solutions on an initiative to gather and standardized electronic PHI for evidence-based decision making. MCPA is connecting 19 community health centers to a centralized database for aggregate reporting.

The REC PaperFree Florida updates its list of qualified vendors.

Innovation and Research

The engineering school at UC San Diego announces a call for entries for its Southern California Healthcare Technology Acceleration Program (it would have been acronym heaven if they’d used “uptake” instead of “acceleration.”) Three to five programs will be chosen that can lower the cost of an area of California healthcare by greater than 30%. They will receive mentorship and up to $100,000 in funding, with suggested areas including chronic disease management, reduced procedure cost, and telehealth.


I feel like I have a new PC with all the speed I’m getting. Reason: Firefox 4.0 (super fast) and a much-needed upgrade to Yahoo Mail, which had slowed down to the point of being nearly unusable. Now if someone could just fix Netflix streaming, which is dog-slow now that everybody and his brother has signed up.

We might have guessed right on the supposedly big announcement from billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong. Most of what he had to say at the CTIA conference seemed to be pie-in-the-sky predictions about personalized healthcare, but he mentioned object recognition (like that developed by the computer game company he just invested in) as having medical application.


3-24-2011 12-03-51 PM

LinkedIn membership hits 100 million this week. Sounds like a great reason to link up with Mr. H and Inga. Or if you rather, friend Mr. H, Inga, or Dr. Jayne on Facebook. Or just like HIStalk. LinkedIn, by the way, says nine percent of its members are in the high-tech community, though a mere 74 individuals are Elvis Tribute Artists.

3-24-2011 5-03-27 PM

I’ve griped before the some of the allegedly HIT-focused news blasts have unrelated stories that seem to indicate a lack of reporter knowledge about healthcare IT. Example above, from the loftily titled Health IT Strategist (I never see much of anything strategic in their headlines, but whatever). So I wondered why I hadn’t heard of Teleflex, which earned a big mention here. Reason: the “medical technology” it wants to focus on (the reason it’s selling its boat steering products division) has nothing to do with IT – they sell catheters, ventilation supplies, and laryngoscopes. Just what strategically thinking CIOs are worrying about these days.

Sponsor Updates

  • Six oncology treatment centers add IntelliDose software to their Allscripts EHR to handle oncology-specific functions. Allscripts and Intellidose signed a partnership agreement last year.
  • Sunquest Information Systems announces three enhancements to its ICE 5.0 Solution Suite, which is principally intended for use in primary and secondary care NHS Trusts.
  • Baycare Health System (FL) selects Medicity’s HIE solutions to connect with community providers and to share patient data. McKesson’s Practice Partners, Allscripts and GE Centricity are among the first EHR applications the HIE will integrate.
  • The 17-provider Orthopaedics East & Sports Medicine Center (NC) selects SRS e-prescribing application as a first step towards full EHR adoption.
  • AT&T partners with BlueLibris to provide wireless connectivity for a wearable, personal monitoring device that provides near real-time monitoring of patient physical activity.
  • HMS clients Rockcastle Regional Hospital (KY) and Breckinridge Memorial Hospital (KY) are awarded incentive checks for their EMR adoption. Rockcastle received a check for $630,000; Breckinridge for $194,000.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

According to a recent Intuit Health survey, offering e-mail and online payment would boost collections. American Medical News cites patient confusion as a frequent cause of delayed payments. Additionally, physician practice spending on bills and attempts to collect would be reduced. Surprisingly, the study notes that half of patients still pay with paper checks. Although I agree in principle, I think that before practices and health systems deploy these systems, key players need to enroll themselves and try it out first hand.

There are winners and losers in the game. My last experience with the online bill pay website at a large academic medical center (which shall remain nameless) was somewhere on the scale between “exasperating” and “who are they kidding?” Luckily since I’m a patient at a practice with a topnotch patient portal, I’ve experienced the other end of the spectrum, completing their new patient questionnaire from my sofa rather than in an uncomfortable waiting room chair.

USA Today features hospital robots used to transport everything from pharmacy supplies to linens. Units are programmed with hospital floor plans and use sonar, infrared, and laser sensors to avoid people and obstacles. This isn’t a new concept – one of the hospitals associated with my medical school had one. It wasn’t sophisticated (running along a painted line on the floor and beeping at you when you were in its way) and only operated during the night shift.

HealthDay highlights a recent study  which concluded that text messaging can help heavy smokers quit. Text reminders to document cravings, smoking, and mood were seen to be “as effective as more costly and harder-to-use handheld devices.” I wonder if I can get a grant to do a text message study reminding compulsive text messagers to close their phones and enjoy the spring weather?

Low-tech but fascinating. Most physicians have war stories about the most interesting cases they’ve seen. Some take it a step farther and collect medical artifacts. Personally, I have a collection of medicinal alcohol prescriptions that were written during Prohibition. I used to be a patient at an ophthalmology practice where the physicians had a curio cabinet of items they had removed from patients’ eyes – metal fragments, projectiles, and even fish hooks. Chevalier Jackson MD practiced in the late 1800s and early 1900s and kept a collection of foreign bodies swallowed by patients during his career. Over 2,000 items are on display at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, with a slideshow available for the curious.

Social media fans take note: The Dayton Business Journal reports that 41 percent of people turn to social media for healthcare information, with 94% of them leveraging Facebook for medical advice. I was starting to feel pretty good about my Facebook following until I saw that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has 80,000 fans and the American Cancer Society has 226,000. Regardless, you can still friend Mr. H, Inga, or Dr. Jayne.


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg.

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Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. Since the “Epic” money is simply a sum of individual contributions to candidates, the numbers don’t surprise me. Madison is a liberal town so Epic’s employees will naturally support democrats. Nothing sinister there. It’s not exactly as if Epic has a PAC and is itself spending money on political influence. Sorry, this is a non story.

  2. Re: Innovation and Research
    Okay, I’m missing it. “Acronym heaven” is SCHTUP?

    [From Mr. HIStalk] Yep. Google it.

  3. Re: New Format

    As a long time reader of HIStalk and HIStalkPractice – and now EPtalk – I enjoy the “vibe” created by each blogger in their writings. Weaving snippets of each blogger’s post into one piece segmented by topics wipes out the “vibe” and makes reading the blog more like reading a newspaper written by a hodgepodge of reporters.

    I wonder if there was some positive correlation in the poll between those who have been long-time readers and those who voted to keep the old format.

  4. Re: Jardogs. If you push for it, they’ll agree to one although they want it to be very limited in scope; only related to the work they do where they might have access to your system for support and set-up.

  5. That comment about “Epic” contributions – … and Epic another $726K in political contributions, but that was over a 13-year period. – IS NOT CORRECT

    The Epic comment is wrong – as a corporation it looks like Epic gave $ 0.00 in that time frame. The number comes from adding up every donor in their database that reported Epic as their employer over that 13 year period. That seems to be how the site works.

    The original blog entry that quoted it as Epic simply got it wrong. Epic makes no donations to politicians of either party.

    It does however make significant community donations: http://www.veronapress.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&subsectionID=2&articleID=1011

  6. 1) To the comment about thousands of tax paying employees making a difference in the political process…I wish. I have a hard time remembering the last time congress looked out for citizens’ needs.
    2) If you look at the giving habits of the Faulkners in that link, I think it goes to prove that they’re nothing more than progressive (all their donations go to democratic candidates)…if they were really after government cash, then (1) they really started early (they’ve given like this FOREVER) and (2) they gave absolutely zero money to two of the people that signed the letter. If that’s what they were after, shouldn’t they have gone at it from all angles just like any other business?
    3) Someone should do a handwriting analysis on these people…their signatures are gigantic, a sure sign of their egos I presume.

  7. Schtup ? …as in “Lili Von Schtup” ? Madeline Kahn’s great role in “Blazing Saddles” ? Ahhh, if the Oscars only had a sense of humor, she would have won easily !

  8. “In addition, physicians have reduced the required time to evaluate patients’ data prior to treatment from an hour to a second.” I hope that my physician spends more than a second evaluating my data before my treatment…

  9. I’m still a little dumbfounded that so many Epic apologists want to ignore their political influence. The Faulkners are Epic, so to talk about them separately is naive. To assume that they’re just nice people who like to give money to their friendly neighborhood democrats is also a bit naive. They’re not unique in trying to wield political clout. What’s amazing to me is that nobody sees how engrained Judy Faulkner is in all this HITECH nonsense we’re all suffering through, and just how many millions she has personally banked directly as a result of her significant political clout within the industry. For better or worse it’s the way the world works, so I don’t have any grudge that she’s looking out for herself and her company. It’s a bit of a joke to see people try to defend the political contributions as just a couple of folks doing their civic duty by giving away money to politicians with no expectations in return.

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