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Monday Morning Update 5/9/11

May 7, 2011 News 19 Comments

5-7-2011 6-35-12 PM 5-7-2011 6-43-56 PM
From Ralph Hinckley: “Re: [vendor name omitted] acquisition. Announcement coming very soon on a core HIS vendor acquisition.” Just for fun, above is a tiny bit of the logo of the company supposedly being acquired (left) and that of the acquirer (right).

5-6-2011 9-53-55 PM

From CMIO: “Re: Apple iPad 2 commercial. The medical app shown is almost certainly Great Connection, a Swedish company partnering with Qualcomm.” The company’s site says a hospital can deliver and receive medical images with nothing more than an Internet connection to its cloud server that takes five minutes to connect to an ultrasound machine, allowing them to be sent (encrypted and authenticated) to a smart phone or e-mail. It also says that a US entity was founded in San Diego and took over the Swedish entity in the spring of 2010. It also notes that the product is available in a white label version to mobile operators that want to resell healthcare images and related services to consumers.

5-7-2011 5-21-39 PM

From Lucite: “Re: Nuance. As a stockholder in both companies, this would be exciting!” Some rumors suggest that Apple will buy Nuance, while others say an expanded partnership is more likely, with the impetus for either being Apple’s interest in including speech recognition technology in the upcoming release of iOS 5. Nuance has a market cap of $6 billion, with its five-year share performance shown above (Nuance in blue, the S&P 500 in green). Those who timed their NUAN purchase just right by buying on the December 2008 dip would have tripled their money in just over two years, and surely will do even better if either rumor is correct.

From Epic Alum: “Re: Epic non-competes. Legal and enforceable or not, Epic has no-hire agreements with clients that they don’t tell you about in the exit interview. Those seem seem to prevent you from working with Epic clients through third parties, including those that aren’t Epic partners (but you might have better luck than I did). Even if you got a job or contract, Epic will instruct its employees to ignore your phone calls, e-mails, and questions at meetings, which would make your job all but impossible. I’d be concerned about retaliation from Epic when it comes to getting and maintaining certification later, although I don’t know for sure that they blackball anyone. As for what you should do now, every else (a) goes to grad school; (b) does non-Epic programming work if they’re a programmer; (c) does non-Epic healthcare consulting; or (d) works outside of healthcare. There will be plenty of work next spring. Advice to prospective employees, most of which are in their first real post-college job with no money saved: when you leave, you will be pretty much locked out of the one industry you have real experience working in.”

From InovaDoc: “Re: Epic at Inova. I wish that IT departments could be more transparent about their decisions. What will happen to those physicians that spent $30K on GE to integrate with the hospital? De-install, then re-install, foregoing their investment?”

A quick poll … please answer if you would be so kind. Thanks. Just trying to get a read on who’s out there.

Listening: Electric Wizard, Dopethrone. I’m the least-likely demographic for this Sabbath-y sludge / doom /stoner music, but I still think it sounds pretty cool. Also: Blackmore’s Night, renaissance faire rock by the former Deep Purple guitarist and the angelic Candice Night. And Watching: Saxondale, a well-made Britcom about a trying-to-stay-cool 1970s rock roadie turned pest control operator who mumbles his wry, psuedo-intellectual monologues like Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow.

I think I may have messed up one of the e-mail blasts Friday night, so apologies if you got something confusing. I put in nine hours at the hospital, ran six miles on the trail, and did another seven hours of HIStalk work after I got home, eating only some peanut butter crackers in the 12 hours from lunch until bedtime. I think the combo of hypoglycemia, slight dehydration, and way too much work made me a little woozy.

My Time Capsule editorial from March 2006 covers open source in healthcare, which I prefaced by promising little: “Since my open source knowledge is right up there with most CIOs and health care executives (I have next to none, in other words), I figured my populist opinions might be as useful as the next guy’s (also next to none).”

5-6-2011 9-28-29 PM

An article in last week’s San Francisco Business Times confirms that Alameda County Medical Center (CA) is going with Soarian (clinicals and revenue cycle) and NextGen, with CIO Mark Zielazinski giving the price tag as $75 million, including infrastructure upgrades. The hospital expects to receive $18 million in HITECH money.

5-6-2011 9-17-33 PM

Community Health Network (IN) names Ron Strachan as CIO, replacing the retired Ed Koschka. He was formerly SVP/CIO at WellStar.

5-6-2011 9-21-34 PM

Valerie Fritz joins the RTLS division of TeleTracking as VP of marketing. She was previously with Awarepoint.

5-6-2011 9-45-38 PM 5-6-2011 9-46-30 PM

NaviNet promotes Michael Ross MD to chief medical officer and David Kates to SVP of product management and clinical strategy. Both came to the company via its Prematics acquisition in December 2010.

I mentioned that Camden-Clark Hospital (WV) has signed up for Allscripts Sunrise Enterprise and Enterprise Performance Management. Also announced as new Sunrise Enteprise customers: Hannibal Regional Healthcare (MO) and Lakeway Regional Medical Center (TX).

5-7-2011 4-49-49 PM

It’s a fairly even split of which company’s stock looks good to readers. New poll to your right: when will vendors see the peak of HITECH-generated business?

Kaiser’s Q1 numbers: $12 billion in revenue, $921 million in profit, up 9% and 30%, respectively. Membership rose by 208,000 to 8.8 million. Considering healthcare costs, I can’t decide whether this news is good or bad, although I’m leaning toward the former since Kaiser is just about the only provider out there showing success in controlling costs without reducing quality.

5-7-2011 6-39-47 PM

Two Allina hospitals fire 32 employees, 28 of them from Unity Hospital, for snooping in the electronic records of 11 teen partygoers who overdosed on a synthetic drug. That surely is a record number of privacy-related terminations. Allina says it knew the patients were high profile, so it did an EMR access review afterward and discovered the digital intruders.

5-7-2011 6-32-25 PM

Q4 numbers for The Advisory Board Company: revenue up 22%, EPS $0.30 vs. $0.32. Two new programs were announced: Crimson Care Registry, which prompts physicians based on clinical care guidelines, and Clinical Denials Prevention Program, a best practices approach to pre-certification.

Quest Software acquires virtual desktop scanning and imaging technology vendor RemoteScan. RemoteScan has a pretty big healthcare presence in providing a scanning solution for providers running EMRs on Citrix or Terminal Server.

5-7-2011 6-49-56 PM

Froedtert Health (WI) cancels its HIM outsourcing contract with Pyramid Healthcare Solutions, offering jobs to all but three of 118 contractors. Pyramid was acquired a year ago by an India-based conglomerate.

Britain’s Department of Health will reduce CSC’s scope of work involved on the NPfIT project, specifically cutting back on work related to the Lorenzo system. CSC is in the process of acquiring Lorenzo vendor iSoft.

5-7-2011 6-33-40 PM

An interesting fact in a story about union nurses at Tufts signing a new contract: the average salary of a full-time nurse there is $115K.

Omnicare Clinical Research, a contract research organization, will use the clinical trials and clinical trials imaging solutions of Merge Healthcare in a large-scale clinical trial.

Hopefully, gentlemen, you did not forget either your mother or your wife on Mother’s Day. The entirely logical but ill-advised insistence that that, “Hey, you aren’t MY mother” will greatly increase the chances of experiencing a lonely night in the dark visually tracing said soulmate’s vertebral column.

E-mail Mr. H.

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Currently there are "19 comments" on this Article:

  1. So more county hospital CIO turnover….JPS Health Network CIO Joe Venturelli resigns only a few months after taking on the full time role from his interim role. JPS, a county hospital in Fort Worth, TX supported by tax revenue, selected Epic as their vendor of choice to make MU in 2009. Rumor has it they contracted with Accenture for a CIO to manage the Epic project…also being implemented by Accenture. The fox is in the house….

  2. Poor Mr H…I think I may have messed up one of the e-mail blasts Friday night, so apologies if you got something confusing. I put in nine hours at the hospital, ran six miles on the trail, and did another seven hours of HIStalk ….

    Hey didn’t you read Ed’s last Unplugged??? That’s a walk in the park for him! Maybe you should hire him as a trainer?

    [From Mr. H] I don’t know how Ed found the time to spend four hours a day on the treadmill. I’d have to quit doing HIStalk (or quit working in the hospital) to get in that kind of condition.

  3. Is it just me or does anyone else finds Epic’s non-compete policies and follow-om
    N actions draconian if not outright unconscionable? I understand the desire to keep people that they have invested in/trained, but it appears to this casual reader of HIStalk that Epic has taken it too far.

    And to think, Judy is on a FACA Committee for ONC. Wonder if anyone in Washington feels a little uneasy about her company’s handling of former employees?

  4. I think the Epic approach seems to work just fine. A ton of investment is made into each and every new person that Epic hires out of school. In exchange for that investment, they ask for a commitment. A real, honest to god commitment.

    They do have a policy that if you come from a role in health care you can go back to that role (or related role) at any Epic customer site. If you come from an organization, you can go back to that organization in any role.

    The only time they enforce the commitment is when you want to jump ship and join a consulting firm doing Epic work or join an Epic customer doing Epic work.

    It’s actually fair and reasonable and yes, I think you would find the overall structure enforceable. And even if not, I think you’d find the agreement with customers enforceable.

  5. @Chill out: have you ever had a job? every employer spends time and money investing in its employees. Epic employees aren’t unique in any way in that regard. non-competes are really there to prevent theft of intellectual property when an employee leaves and goes to a competitor. everyone has a right to work and to advance their careers. Epic is just being spiteful by trying to stop it.

  6. Thanks for the tip on the music. You’re right, they’re not the kind of stuff I’d listen to normally either but its certainly something that goes great with EMR development.
    @chillout: Maybe if they were more competitive employers they wouldn’t need to have non-compete clauses. Meditech has the same problem. Why work for McDonalds Manager’s wages at MT when you can work for a lot more as a consultant? If they want the talent they need to pay for it.

  7. John_Chilmark is absolutely right. I know that it increasingly has become a foreign concept at most large employers to actually spend real time and energy to investment in training of their employees. I don’t know if this policy is draconian but it is certainly overbearing.

  8. My two cents worth regarding how a company can prevent employee departures and what to do when they an employee does leave:

    – Look internally for any reasons why an employee has left. You want to make sure your company isn’t giving them a reason to “vote with their feet”.

    – Don’t treat your employees like something that needs to be locked up. If you treat them fairly, you can let them go home at night and not worry if they’ll show up again the next day.

    – If an employee does leave, treat them professionally and fairly. Remember, your other employees are judging your company based on how you treat their former co-workers. Also, do you want a bunch of former employees out in the wild telling people how poorly you treated them? Show some class.

    – Our parents taught us the best advice through the Golden Rule – “treat your employees (and former employees) as you would want to be treated”!

  9. RE: Allina firing 32 employees… I wish corporations would be so blunt as to come right out and say at employee orientation, “You WILL be fired if you look at a patient record in an unauthorized manner”. I feel like most companies tiptoe around the subject to a great degree. I know when I ask my non-IT coworkers about this, they are surprised that the penalty is so harsh. Why is this still a surprise??

  10. “You WILL be fired if you look at a patient record in an unauthorized manner”.

    I think I heard this exact phrase during orientation. We don’t play around and I’m proud to be part of a quality (and classy) organization.

  11. Do other health IT vendors have similar non-compete policies as Epic? None for whom I’ve worked have this policy (including both health IT and IT firms).

  12. What does Epic truly offer? a better job? – who wants to live in Wisconsin !!
    Who wants to have a year long non-compete thrown at them, ruining your chance of working in industry post-Epic
    Who wants to be worked till your knees drop all to be a “epic” employee

    I just dont get it. Basically, you go to epic because a) you think its a great LONG-TERM career move and b) because of the name

    BOTH A and B are FALSE.

    You couldnt pay me enough to work for that joint. Those policies are absolutely spitting on employees. Have we not seen enough of that. When will companies learn. The Epic name is over-done in my book. Count me out!!

  13. every vendor has a non-compete, but they don’t enforce it unless the person leaving is actually doing harm to the company. Epic’s policy is way over the top. the only way they can really enforce it is by manipulating their partners and customers, since most non-competes do not stand up in court in a standard situation. that makes it even worse

  14. I find it interesting that Epic has so little regard for employee’s rights that they hold their customers and partners hostage to this non-compete… after all, when Mr. Histalk posted a link a while ago about Ms. Faulkner’s politcal donations (public record), they all went to the party supporting employee’s rights in Wisconsin (or so they claim…).

  15. Everyone knows about Epic’s arrogance as a partner and vendor, so why is anyone shocked at thier record as an employer?

    It’s great to be on top. Someday Epic won’t be and there will be many, many axes to grind.

    Think of the old-school vendors that we all love to hate and mock – at one time they were the hottest game in town, and they engaged in ridiculous arrogant behavior. What makes anyone think that Epic’s trajectory is that different? The popcorn machines?

  16. EPIC should play Darth Vader’s music everytime they sign a client, instead of Wedding Bell Music…………Their limited, inflexible and poorly scoped out “model system” is going to bankrupt all of the CIO’s drinking the kool-aid out of Verona……..and then when time comes for them to go to the cloud…..there will be no money, just the a half blown up Death Star!

  17. Epic will instruct its employees to ignore your phone calls, e-mails, and questions at meetings


    Tortious interference, also known as Intentional interference with contractual relations, in the common law of tort, occurs when a person intentionally damages the plaintiff’s contractual or other business relationships. This tort is broadly divided into two categories, one specific to contractual relationships (irrespective of whether they involve business), and the other specific to business relationships or activities (irrespective of whether they involve a contract).

    Anyone who’s experienced this form of discrimination should seek an attorney.

  18. @Chill “I think the Epic approach seems to work just fine. A ton of investment is made into each and every new person that Epic hires out of school. In exchange for that investment, they ask for a commitment. A real, honest to god commitment. ”

    Are you serious? As someone already pointed out, every employer does that. What Epic gets from its employees are 80+ hour weeks generating tons of income for them. That’s enough for any business. It’s not like Epic paid for their college tuition and then expect years of service in exchange.

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