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March 31, 2011 News 34 Comments

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3-31-2011 9-54-00 PM

HHS posted proposed ACO regulations today. We’re working on an interview that will address the IT implications, but in the mean time, you can review the proposed rule and the HHS fact sheet.

Reader Comments

inga_small From Court Jester: “Re: Nebraska Medical Center. I hear they signed with Epic about a month ago and are unplugging GE. The primary reason Epic was selected over Cerner was its interface capabilities. They’ll be kicking things off in May.” UNMC published an announcement on its Web site in November confirming Epic as the vendor of choice.

inga_small From Steel Curtain: “Re: MED3OOO. Rich Goldberg is leaving his business development job at TeleTracking to take over as president of MED3OOO division CPU Medical Management Systems.” Unverified, although he’s no longer listed on TeleTracking’s site. The move would not be a huge surprise since MED3OOO has filled its executive team with a number of former Misys VPs over the last couple of years.

3-31-2011 8-27-21 PM

3-31-2011 7-47-10 PM From MrSoul: “Re: IE6. This is a great tool as we watch IE6 sloooooowly fade into HIStory.”

3-31-2011 7-47-10 PM From Pescetarian: “Re: Seattle Children’s. Dumping Microsoft Amalga for Tableau Software. The press releases three years apart are eerily similar. The hospital was a lighthouse reference for Microsoft in their own back yard, but implementation was terrible, maintenance was almost impossible, and clinicians hated it.” CIO Drex DeFord didn’t confirm that, but was diplomatic in telling me that they’re still working on Amalga and its small base of users, but are always looking for business intelligence opportunities that will put information into the hands of end users.

3-31-2011 8-42-10 PM

3-31-2011 7-47-10 PM From Cray Zee: “Re: Trinity Health CMIO. Mike Kramer, MD has left the building.” Unverified, but the provided memo looks authentic. They wish him well, but immediately pledge undying love to their Cerner-powered Genesis project (seems strange that they would need to defend it). It’s a really ambitious project, not quite Kaiser-sized, but in the neighborhood.

3-31-2011 8-52-02 PM

3-31-2011 7-47-10 PM From Art Glasgow: “Re: Duke. Mr. H, I thought I’d confirm your note regarding me joining Duke Medicine. I’m scheduled to start around May 1st and am excited and humbled at the prospect of joining such an esteemed institution.” Art is leaving his Ingenix CTO job to become CIO of Duke Medicine, which we ran as a reader rumor earlier this week. He replaces Asif Ahmad, who left Duke last June to take an EVP job with US Oncology. Thanks for the confirmation.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga_small This week on HIStalk Practice: Micky Tripathi, president and CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, debuts Pretzel Logic, his new column on technology decision-making in medical practices. Epocrates introduces a mobile and Web-based EHR. HIMSS and MGMA offer a privacy and security toolkit for small provider organizations. A mainstream journalist attempts to explain the EMR industry — and does a pathetically poor job. The success of the ACO-like Atrius Health. Come visit and stay for awhile.

3-31-2011 7-47-10 PM Listening: new from Whitesnake (yes, you read that right). I had mental pictures of hair-transplanted, shirtless-and-Spandex guys in their 60s leaning into a single microphone for yet another round of their coy, unskilled Reagan-era poser ballads, but it actually rocks out quite nicely with excellent production. David Coverdale sounds better now than then (just do yourself a favor and don’t Google his ex-wife and car-gyrating video star Tawny Kitaen for a current picture). Makes me want to load up the Jag with beer and tramp-stamped bleach blondes and head off to Rocklahoma.

3-31-2011 8-13-38 PM

Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor UltraLinq Healthcare Solutions of New York, NY. The company offers a FDA-approved, Web-based ultrasound and image management system that lets physicians review exams from anywhere, including on its iPhone app. The physician does their interpretation using auto-populating review worksheets, the reports are distributed through a variety of ways, everything is stored and universally accessed from a secure Web site, and they handle all the infrastructure. The system is low cost, secure, flexible, and portable. Thanks to UltraLinq for supporting HIStalk.

On the HIStalk Job Board: Social Media Manager, Clinical Business Analyst, Regional Director Centergy Sales. On Healthcare IT Jobs: McKesson PM – CPOE, Application Programmer, Cerner Clinical Analyst, Senior Clinical Analyst IT Implementation. I know the job market is good because my work phone rings off the hook from recruiters.

Make me happy: (a) drop your e-mail in the Subcribe to Updates box to your right so I can tickle your e-mail ivories with HIT love; (b) send me your rumors, news, incriminating photos, and secret documents by clicking the garishly green Rumor Report button; (c) acknowledge the great society that lets you read HIStalk free because of the largesse of sponsors listed to your left, who are more likely to continue that support if you click around a little and maybe buy some stuff from them; (d) find Inga, Dr. Jayne, and me on LinkedIn and Facebook and click the correct buttons to boost our fragile egos; and (e) give yourself one of those pistol-pointing gestures in the mirror for reading and contributing here in whatever way makes you (and me) happy.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

3-31-2011 4-34-57 PM

inga_small VisualMed Clinical Solutions issues a press release saying it will launch a “new initiative” in the marketing of its EHR product in the US, following a two-year interruption. The company says that the 2008 financial crisis left many institutions without resources to implement systems and “all decision making was entirely suspended.” Its chairman believes that the time is now right for a re-launch, given that the recovery is underway and government incentives are in place. I found the message curious, to say the least, so I did a bit of digging and found a June 2010 press release that bragged of $2.6 million in new orders. At that time, the company credited ARRA for the the boost in sales and market interest. The chairman was quoted as saying, “thanks to the new reforms, our time has come.” Finally, I went back and found a July 2008 press release saying the company had completed restructuring and planned to focus on the “more promising” markets of oncology, Internet, and private clinics. Nothing like having a consistent vision and marketing message.


3-31-2011 4-37-49 PM

Winthrop-University Hospital (NY) signs a seven-year order for cloud-based RIS/PACS and archiving services from Carestream Health.


3-31-2011 8-11-37 PM

Don Claunch, CIO of Wyoming Medical Center (WY), will take over as interim CFO.

Announcements and Implementations

3-31-2011 11-19-23 AM

Marfraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi launches its Cerner EMR following 12,000 hours of training over the last month.

North Kansas City Hospital migrates to Corepoint’s Integration Engine.

3-31-2011 9-55-55 PM

Strong Memorial Hospital (NY) at the University of Rochester Medical Center launches Epic EHR. URMC’s Highland Hospital will go live in June. Outpatient services are scheduled for the summer of 2012.

The two big Orlando hospital systems, Florida Hospital and Orlando Health, start a one-year data sharing project via the Central Florida RHIO.

Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center goes live on the Central Logic ForeFront patient flow system.

Government and Politics

Victoria’s troubled HealthSMART project will need $200 million to finish the job, well over the original $360 million estimate.


If the rumors prove true, Google will be opting out of the health business. However, Cerner is looking forward to working with Google on its “fiber community” pilot. Google selected Kansas City this week as its pilot for a one-gigabyte-per-second broadband network. Other enthusiastic KC folks include representatives from the University of Kansas Hospital and KU Medical Center, who believe the faster network will help with telemedicine and transmission of medical records.

An editorial by Murray Feingold, MD mentions the mixed reviews of “the menage a trois in the examining room” – doctor, patient, and computer, but says it’s doctors using them incorrectly that make patients feel ignored. He closes with wise advice: “The use of a computer will be successful only if the doctor remembers that the patient is the most important person in the examining room, and not an inanimate computer.”


ICSA Labs awards ONC-ATCB certification to its first three products.

Passport Health Communications becomes the first RCMS solutions company to achieves full accreditation with the HIEAP EHNAC.

3-31-2011 4-40-37 PM

inga_small A California health clinic that caters to the porn industry announces the possibility of a criminal breach into its medical record database. Personal information on as many as 12,000 current and former adult film performers may have been exposed. The uncovered details include HIV status, STD test results, and the actors’ “real” names. Mr. H, Dr. Jayne, and I are particularly empathetic about the last item.

3-31-2011 7-29-20 PM

3-31-2011 7-47-10 PM Mark Rogers MD, a member of the Public Health Trust that oversees the rapidly flat-lining Jackson Health System of Miami, resigns with a warning that the Trust is incapable of saving it from failure. His final recommendations include bringing in an outside CIO.

3-31-2011 7-47-10 PM It’s April Fool’s Day Friday, so I’m wringing my hands in anticipation to see if Epic will come up with another world class spoof on their home page. But to amuse you in the mean time, here’s a phony press release from Concerro. Call me peurile, but I love that stuff when it’s done well.

Sponsor Updates

  • Allscripts ED, McKesson’s Horizon Lab, and Design Clinicals’ MedsTracker all earn ONC-ATCB certification. Allscripts ED product qualifies for complete EHR certification, while Horizon Lab and MedsTracker achieve modular certification.
  • Congrats to ESD, which celebrates its 21st anniversary on April 1.
  • Thomas J. Niehaus joins Encore Health Resources as EVP for client services. He’s the former president of CTG Healthcare Solutions and spent nine years with IBAX. We reported this a month before the announcement.
  • Medical Center of Plano (TX) selects ProVation MD Software for gastroenterology procedure documentation and coding.
  • Sayre Memorial Hospital (OK) will convert its ED from the T-System’s T-Sheets paper documentation system to T-System’s EHR.
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association names Health Language its preferred vendor to help BCBS companies transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10.
  • Stephen Newman MD, COO of Tenet, leads a MED3OOO one-hour webinar on physician affiliation.
  • Bridgehead Software is conducting its annual Data Management Survey, which looks at data and storage management trends year over year. Random respondents will be chosen to win an iPad, GPS, or Amazon gift cards.
  • The Network Health health plan chooses MedVentive as its technology partner for Web-based performance analytics that will enhance its care management, outcomes, and finances.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

The American Medical Association announces the 2011 AMA APP Challenge, calling for medical students, residents, and physicians to submit their ideas for “innovative medical apps” to impact clinicians’ daily lives. Ideas will be scored on usefulness; appropriate fit with the AMA and its mission; innovation; suitability for app format; and being representative of the submitter’s expertise. Sorry to all the great coders out there, but you have to be a physician, resident, or student to submit (so go ahead, convince your CMIO or CMO to let you be his/her ghost writer!)

Personally, I’d like to see a knock-off of Urbanspoon , the app where you shake your iPhone to receive restaurant suggestions. You could input symptoms and shake it to view different possible diagnoses. Much more fun that the clinical decision support apps that are out there.

What’s your favorite medical app? Send me suggestions and I’ll check them out and report on the coolest.

Abbott Laboratories receives FDA approval for a blood testing system that transmits results wirelessly, allowing caregivers to remain at the bedside. The device does basic blood chemistry testing and blood counts as well as blood gases. I’m disappointed that future generations of medical students will be denied the opportunity to take the blood gas sample from the patient, place the syringe in a Styrofoam coffee cup filled with crushed ice, and run through the halls of the hospital in the middle of the night to the lab and back.

Wednesday was National Doctor’s Day. I’m sad to say I didn’t get invited to any celebratory lunches in the doctor’s lounge this year (cutbacks, I’m sure). Thanks to Inga for recognizing it on HIStalk Practice! Doctor’s Day has been celebrated on March 30th since 1933, when Eudora Brown Almond, wife of Dr. Cha Almond, commemorated the anniversary of the first use of anesthesia in 1842. She and the ladies of the Southern Medical Association would place flowers on physician graves. The day was officially recognized in 1958 by the US House of Representatives and by President George H.W. Bush in the 1990s. Even though you’ll be a day late, show some love to the docs you love (and be thankful for that anesthesia!)

Reading one of my specialty journals, I was surprised to notice that there were more ads for EHRs and technology products than for drugs. I don’t recall the balance being tipped before. There were also two paid advertisements from CMS – one for Meaningful Use, another for the HIPAA 5010 EDI standards. I wonder how many physicians are familiar with 5010 compared to Meaningful Use? The 5010 is mandatory January 1, 2012. If your billing system doesn’t support it, if you don’t have a plan to test it, or you don’t know what it is, time’s a-wasting.

I’m embedded in a practice this week, which is always interesting. It’s extremely challenging to try to train physicians, let alone having them retain the information. I wish there was a better way to help my colleagues understand the following:

  • You actually need to show up for training.
  • Checking e-mail or playing on your iPhone does not constitute “participation.”
  • Your trainers are professionals who put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into their efforts. Show them some respect.
  • You don’t need an MD behind your name to be able to train EHR. Playing the “no one can understand how complex my specialty is” card just makes you sound whiny.
  • If you don’t understand, or need more practice, speak up. Ignorance is NOT bliss where patient care is concerned.
  • The EHR is not going away and complaining about it is not constructive. Your trainers didn’t select it, but they do have a vested interest at helping you use it the most efficient way possible.
  • Yes, we did bring all this food, primarily to get you to show up. Apparently many physicians still operate under Residency Rules: see a donut, eat a donut. You know who you are.

A Special HIStalk Update from Mr. H – 4/1/11

It’s harder than it looks to continually create HIStalk. I’ve worked on it several hours each day, seven days a week since 2003. It has been my hobby, my passion, and my unintended business for all these years. It defines me more than anything I’ve done, maybe because the time and energy it requires precludes me from doing anything else. For that reason, I always thought I’d just keep doing it forever.

I was wrong. It’s time for me to move on.

I’m weary of the grind. I write from the time I get home until bedtime, rush home to conduct interviews after work, and spend the whole weekend doing everything from browser debugging to invoicing. I’m tired of the never-ending criticism about the site layout, the number of sponsors I have, and my perceived bias for or against certain vendors. Unlike every other blogger in history, I’m not allowed to help an out-of-work friend or make a music recommendation because someone is sure to launch off on me for daring use a couple of dozen words about something that doesn’t fit their personal interest profile.

I started HIStalk as a place I could muse and amuse a little. It’s become so serious that I’m not having fun any more.

Timing is everything. I can’t legally divulge details, but a certain member organization that runs a big conference reached out, wondering if I’d be interested in being acquired. I always say no, but they caught me in a weak moment. Their offer was, to say the least, significant (I can’t divulge the number, but it has six zeroes and the first number is bigger than a one). I think you would do the same if presented the opportunity to be set for life and to be free to do whatever the heck you want instead of what someone else demands.

You’ll see the changes coming here soon. I’m here for the transition until that "wish him well in future endeavors" announcement is made. In the mean time, I’m planning the next chapter in my life and I can’t wait.

Inga really is a woman, as I’ve had to defend to skeptics more than once. In fact, she’s a wonderful woman. Our relationship has grown from terse, pure-business e-mail exchanges to a lot more, resulting in full-on passion at HIMSS. We never meant for it to happen, but we were destined for each other, it seems. I can think of nothing but having her as my soul mate. Mrs. H and I will be parting ways so that Inga and I can head off to the beaches of Mexico to start a new life together, where we’ll be forming the band we’ve always dreamed about, the Frail Loops (think Pink Martini meets Insane Clown Posse). We’re still trying to loosen up Dr. Jayne to get her to join us down there.

We’ll keep reading HIStalk, of course. My replacement is an esteemed industry reporter who won an award for hard-hitting industry analysis at her last job at a chocolate magazine. The site will finally receive that big makeover everybody wants, fancying it up and loading it down with industry-sponsored podcasts and white papers so it looks more credible. There will be no more objectionable material for readers to complain about, like pithy dismissive asides, scandalous reader comments, or contrarian conclusions. The new HIStalk will offend no one.

We may do a little bit of consulting if the acquisition money runs low. Inga is working on a design deal with Jimmy Choo and considering starting a tequila brand like Sammy Hagar did, calling hers Ingatini. We may run a for-profit HIStalkapalooza in our trademarked counterculture way — you’ll have to bring us cash, liquor, food, and iPads to be allowed in. We’ve kept quiet about a planned member organization we may start with the working name of Have Electronic Records, but Sacrificed Solvency (HERSS).

But it won’t be anything like the work we’ve been doing all these years. Like Hollywood types, we need a break from being wealthy, adored celebrities (of the anonymous kind, in our case). Inga’s going to be a great mom to those babies from Cambodia we’re adopting next week. We’re naming them Neal and Judy.

It’s been a great eight years. The record shows I took the blows and did it my way. Thanks for the memories.


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

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Currently there are "34 comments" on this Article:

  1. Enjoy the change in lifestyle Mr. H.

    You almost had me since it’s not 4/1 yet. Nothing like spending a little time doing some creative writing.

  2. When is Allscripts going to be called for not winning 1 new client since the merger was announced. Glen said it was now an Epic and Allscripts world. The facts are Eclipsys lost a 100 million dollar deal at St. barnabas becaeuse of the merger and $50 million of new business in the middle east. The only entity WINNING is misys shareholders. What a debacle.

  3. Ooh, a very good April Fool’s joke. Nice, Mr. H.

    Of course, if you’re serious, we’ve all lost a great resource.

  4. Mr H: I’m reading your special update on 3/31 Pacific time, not really ready for April Fool’s. Well done! The entire update seems realistic, with a few exceptions: not sure if biggest stretch is chocolate magazine reporter or Inga HIMSS passion, but clearly biggest whopper is associating credibility with industry-sponsored podcasts and white papers…

  5. We will miss you Mr. H and Inga! The rumor mill at the hottest new HIS blog spilled this news two days ago (www.HottestHITBlog.com), but they also posted pics of your “HIMSS reunion” and gave details about the “tell all” book deal, the exclusive movie rights and the upcoming tour. They even said that starring roles for the movie will be decided by an HISTalk Poll – and that the choices will include Jack Nicholson, Charles Grodin. Al Pacino, Gene Wilder, William Shatner and Morgan Freeman. Can’t wait to vote…

  6. Mr H.

    I told you during the negotiations that if you gave the game away on HISTalk I would stop the check, six zeros or nine nines, either way–it’s over–even if you did try to throw the scent towards last year’s “member” org rather than tomorrow’s trendy tech conference.

    And Inga’s mine–everyone knows that.

    So get back to the keyboard, and leave those babies in Malawi with Madonna where they belong.

  7. No matter what you say, it will never be the same. Outstanding work and best wishes! Trust me that you will be back somewhere.

  8. [From the Mexican beaches] Think I was kidding about the former chocolate magazine reporter working for an HIT publication? Not so … that actually happened a few years back when one of the rags proudly issued a press release about its new reporter, whose previous gig (and first job, as I recall) was as an art designer at a magazine for chocolate lovers. That’s only a little worse than at HIMSS a few years ago, when I overheard one experienced rag reporter encouraging her very young and nervous new colleague that she would do just fine covering HIT because she had taken one semester of biology in college.

  9. Well, you did have me, too, for a few minutes! Funny. But also made me realize (again) that if we really lost you, we’ve all lost a valuable resource. So, in case I haven’t said it often enough, thanks for all you do! And that goes for all of your contributors.

  10. They wish him well, but immediately pledge undying love to their Cerner-powered Genesis project

    Didn’t Khan Noonian Singh profess the same undying love about the Genesis Project to Bill Shatner before it all fell apart?

  11. “The use of a computer will be successful only if the doctor remembers that the patient is the most important person in the examining room, and not an inanimate computer.”

    That this statement even needs to appear in print makes me think — God only knows what they teach in the first year of medical school anymore.

  12. As I was reading the Update, I began weeping, gnashing my teeth, pulling my hair and walking towards the ledge, but then the Chocolate magazine line came up and I knew all was well—backed off from the ledge and had a good laugh. Excellent job, Mr. H.

  13. I have to say the “Special Update” was very well written. It started out so plausible and only gradually stretched credulity. I know that writing (and managing) this blog is a lot of work and the idea that someday it wouldn’t be fun any more is quite believable (and I’ve been anticipating this sort of announcement with some dread for some time). I know that nothing last for ever and my employer (a technology vendor) was recently bought out so the buy-out decision was not implausible. A mid-life crisis with related domestic upset has certainly happened to others and given enough cash one could imagine the freedom to be reckless. Toward the end I wasn’t reading that carefully (or critically), but finally caught on to the joke with the adopted babies’ names. Since the purpose of a joke is to catch someone, you had me completely, up to the end. It was an excellent ‘gotcha’ experience and left me marveling at the expertise to pull it off.

  14. OMG – you almost had me, till you got to the Tequila. EVERYONE knows that Inga’s tequila would be called ‘Ingaquila’ never to be confused with the sublime ‘Ingatini’s’


  15. Yup, EHR Geek, Epic seems to have outdone itself with this year’s page. Didn’t know that ACO stood for Accountable Chair Organization.

  16. To all those leaving comments…thank you for your creative writing and the much needed Friday afternoon chuckles. Much needed during this dreary week of cold, spring rains.
    As for the chocolate magazine reporter…might just be a leg up on some of the articles I have read.
    DrLyle you take the cake with your casting vote.

  17. Someone once warned me that our hearts have a specified (limited) number of “lurches” in a lifetime – you just used up a big one of mine. While you scared the bejesus out of me momentarily, I was sure that Inga’s many charms and great shoes – even under the spell of HIMSS – could not lure you away from Mrs. H.

    For those of us working outside corporate America, this is as close to water cooler chatter that we have. Don’t abandon us – even if you mess with our minds now and then!

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