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June 23, 2011 News 4 Comments

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6-23-2011 9-27-09 PM

McKesson signs a definitive agreement to acquire Portico Systems, a supplier of provider management tools for health plans, for a reported $90 million in cash.

Reader Comments

image From Polymorph: “Re: ambulatory rumors. TactusMD just pulled out of their Meaningful Use / EncounterPro offer. EncounterPro has pulled their open source project and also brought in a new management team.” Unverified. These aren’t companies I follow, so I have nothing to add.

6-23-2011 8-40-49 PM

image From Bull City: “Re: Duke going Epic. According to job listings on their HR site, Duke is replacing McKesson Horizon with Epic. MCK loses a showcase site and development partner, Epic steals yet another high-profile client.” Even non-psychics could have seen that coming since Duke has Epic ambulatory underway and hospitals rarely stop there.

image From David: “Re: home brewery. I saw this article and thought maybe you had some extra time aside from HIStalk and the hospital.” It’s a fun article, but it’s not about me. The high-end home brewery of Tim Artz, a director of Agfa HealthCare’s government health IT and imaging business, is featured (he gets extra points for having a homemade meat smoker, whose product surely goes nicely with his beer).

image From Joey Cheesesteak: “Re: Investors Business Daily article. One of my daily reads (along with HIStalk). Their daily 10 Secrets to Success section is highly recommended.” IBD characterizes Cerner shares as slow but steady. I used to subscribe, but finally figured there was no way my casual reading was going to pit me favorably against professional money managers in the zero-sum game of buying stocks. I put my little stash in a wrap account, where it has outperformed my returns and given me someone to blame other than me when it doesn’t. However, I just now remember meeting with some investment guy at Cerner’s user group in Orlando years ago and he kept pressuring me to name one healthcare stock to buy. I told him Cerner. I’m sure he’s taking all the credit.  

6-23-2011 8-38-18 PM

From MT Hammer: “Re: Webmedx. Acquired by Nuance, as told to employees in a conference call Tuesday. Webmedx was the #3 player in the MT field behind Nuance and CBay/MedQuist.” Unverified. Webmedx was the #1 KLAS transcription services vendor for 2009 and 2010 and offers natural language processing solutions for clinical documentation.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

image If you still aren’t tuned in to HIStalk Practice, here are some of the goodies you missed over the last week: Henry Schein MicroMD GM Keith Slater shares insights on why physicians should or should not implement EHRs. A whole lot of physician practices are not ready for the 5010 transaction set. Healthcare insurers mess up one out of every five claims processed, costing $17 billion in administrative costs — wow. Don Michaels, PhD of Hayes Management Consulting and the Harvard School of Public Health takes about full plates and the ICD-10 500-pound gorilla. Forbes uncovers Practice Fusion’s vision for making money. The cloud looks pretty good in terms of security breaches. While catching up on the latest HIStalk Practice news, help us keep our supporters happy and our servers humming by touring the offerings of our sponsors.

image On the Jobs Board: Solutions Executive, Systems Engineer, Technical Marketing Engineer. On Healthcare IT Jobs: CEO & President, Clinical Application Analyst, Manager of Data Governance, Horizon Implementation Consultant.

image Listening: new from Montreal power poppers Simple Plan, cheery, loud summer music mostly about girls, such as You Suck at Love. It’s like sangria on a hot day: fizzy, sweet, unchallenging, and likely to lock in memories of what you were doing during those ephemeral days when you were enjoying it constantly. They’re big supporters of charitable causes.

image Your HIStalk punch list: (a) sign up for the e-mail updates if you haven’t already, joining a highly selective group of 7,414 subscribers who have Pavlovian reactions of various types when I ring their inbox bell; (b) engage Inga, Dr. Jayne, and me in social intercourse by making our electronic acquaintance on Facebook or LinkedIn (Dann’s LinkedIn HIStalk Fan Club is up to 1,666 members, universally cute and smart from what I can see); (c) vanquish your predilection for passivity and send me news, rumors, photos, guest articles, or sentimental yearnings; (d) love my sponsors at least a little for their brave support of what may be the most amateurish and off-the-wall site in the button-down world of HIT (You Suck at Love? Really?), appreciate their ads by clicking forcefully, check out the Resource Center, and trust that despite the inevitable role conflicts between you as a prospect and they as a vendor, you at least have HIStalk in common and therefore share an appreciation of the offbeat.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

6-23-2011 9-27-49 PM

Healthport merges with Universata, a provider of release of information services.

Shares in Philips take a hit after the Dutch consumer electronics giant warns of lower sales right before the quarter’s end. The company says it will cut costs and restructure.

CSC gets European Commission approval to acquire iSoft, although shareholder approval is still required.


6-23-2011 9-07-09 PM

Guillermo Moreno, formerly of Diebold and past president of the South Florida chapter of HIMSS, joins staffing firm Experis as VP of its healthcare practice.

6-23-2011 10-24-26 PM

Navicure names Craig Potts as EVP of sales. He was previously with Fiserv.

6-23-2011 10-31-32 PM

Christine Connelly, the high-powered CIO of England’s Department of Health, will leave her position at the end of the month. She says organization management is being restructured and she has decided not to pursue one of the remaining executive positions.

Announcements and Implementations

Omnicell’s new G4 medication dispensing system earns ONC-ATCB certification as a Modular EHR.

Baptist Health System (AL) and Henry Ford Health System (MI) will pilot a new cloud-based imaging management system from AT&T that provides quick access to images from any system and provides secure image access to referring physicians and facilities.

Mercy Medical Center-Sioux City (IA) makes the local paper for its new Web-based system that allows patients to pre-register, pay bills, and print a medication card.

Government and Politics

image ONC announces that it has made its healthcare IT teaching curriculum available to the public at no charge, including higher education institutions in the US and elsewhere. The material was developed with a $10 million ONC grant. Content covers work redesign, technical support, networking, usability, and project management. It also includes modules with hands-on lab assignments that use the free VistA for Education EHR. The links sent to me didn’t work, but check ONC’s site.

image The US Supreme Court strikes down a Vermont statute that prohibits the selling of prescription data to drug companies (usually via third-party vendors such as IMS Health) so they can develop customized sales pitches for doctors. The court found that Vermont had a vested interested in prohibiting prescription drug marketing as a form of censorship since it is a purchaser of generic drugs, not to mention that the advertising lobby argued that drug marketing is free speech. IMS wet its corporate pants at the news, vowing to gear up its hugely profitable business in the interest of public health and healthcare reform.

Innovation and Research

6-23-2011 8-52-45 PM

image The Children’s Boston/Harvard Medical School SMART Platform Apps Challenge chooses the Meducation app by Polyglot System as the winner of its $5,000 innovation prize, which focused on add-on EMR applications. Meducation will be added to the SMART App Store that launches next year, modeled after its Apple counterpart. Meducation pulls medication lists from the patient record, then allows printing simplified instructions in several languages. It was developed under an NIH grant for underserved populations.

image Two UCSF medical students create MediBabble, a free  app that lets caregivers play pre-recorded patient history questions in various languages to patients who don’t speak English. It asks questions that require only yes-no answers or pointing to a body part.


image Microsoft’s Craig Mundie pitches the company’s Kinect motion-based game controller at the Pacific Healthcare Summit, citing its potential use in avatar-based group therapy sessions for mental health patients and as a way for doctors to interact with medical records systems using voice and gestures. I didn’t see a video, but above is one from Wake Forest Baptist (NC) showing the use of Kinect to manipulate medical images.


image A 21-year-old con man poses as a doctor at OHSU Hospital (OR), providing medical advice to a patient from the hospital’s coffee shop while wearing a fake hospital badge and uniform. He also claimed to be a software developer at Microsoft.

image PatientSecure is getting publicity like I’ve never seen from its little press release about NYU Langone Medical Center going live on its palm scanning system for verifying patient identity. Above is a lengthy evening news piece from ABC’s New York affiliate.

Aspirus Wausau Hospital (WI) loses phone service and network connectivity for several hours on Wednesday when a maintenance worker accidentally triggers a fire suppression system, requiring ambulances to be diverted and some appointments to be rescheduled.

image Weird News Andy can’t decide if this is real or The Onion. A UK hospital, claiming it’s too broke to install a nurse call system in the wing for elderly patients, hands out tambourines instead. It even provides a backup system: maracas. A relative said, “These people are pensioners – not members of the Monkees or Mick Jagger,” apparently missing the fact that the once-youthful rockers she mentioned are pensioners themselves – Davy Jones is 65, Peter Tork is 69, Mick Jagger is 67, and Keith Richards has to be at least 185.

image WNA also weighs in on this gut-wrenching invention: a self-propelled endoscopy device called The Mermaid, a tadpole-like, joystick-controlled camera that can swim the entire length of the GI tract in a few hours, starting from either end.

Sponsor Updates

  • MedAptus will demonstrate its Intelligent Charge Capture technology at next week’s HMFA ANI conference in Orlando.
  • Also participating in HFMA ANI: EDIMS.
  • MED3OOO’s InteGreat EHR passes all required elements in the CCHIT 2011 Ambulatory, Child Health, and Security test scripts and is now a Pre-Market Conditionally CCHIT Certified 2011 Ambulatory EHR additionally certified for Child Health.
  • Encore Health Resources is named one of Best Places to Work in Healthcare.
  • Besler Consulting will feature its BVerified-Revenue Integrity Auditor at HFMA ANI next week. It allows hospitals to quickly act on revenue enhancement and compliance opportunities.
  • Capario achieves full accreditation with the Healthcare Network Accreditation Program (HNAP) from the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC).
  • Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) is featured as a case study in “getting staffing right” in the new issue of HFMA’s Leadership. Its eight-hospital pilot of Clairvia’s CVM tracks patient progress through the hospital and tracks progress and expected length of stay against CMS benchmarks, suggesting optimal staffing levels and skill mix along the way.
  • Concerro offers a complimentary Webcast that covers Joint Commission Emergency Management Standards.
  • KLAS ranks Encore Health Resources in second place (missing first by 0.2 points) in advanced health information technology services.
  • EnovateIT’s Fred Calero wins Michigan’s Entrepreneur of the Year.
  • Health Language, Inc. unveiled the latest release of its LEAP I-10 at last week’s AHIP’s Institute 2011 Conference in San Francisco.
  • Sage Healthcare adds nine new clients for its cloud-based Sage Intergy On-Demand PM/EHR.
  • Healthwise offers a white paper on Getting Patients to Meaningful Use.
  • GetWellNetwork releases a list of winners of its third annual Interactive Patient Care awards. Top honors went to The Indiana Heart Hospital for using GetWellNetwork’s Heart Failure Care Plan to reduce readmission rates and help cardiac patients manage their condition.
  • T-System promotes Bill Hall to VP of solution development, Scott Martin to manager of solution management, and Hank Hikspoors to director of new product development.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

6-23-2011 7-18-18 PM

A networking site for physicians has been launched by Doximity. Unlike my recent trip to the CMS Web site, a visit to Doximity found that my correct and updated practice address was already on file. Advertising the ability to not only connect colleagues but to allow “HIPAA secure messages,” Doximity is supported on iPhone, iPad, Android, and PC platforms. CEO Jeff Tangney co-founded Epocrates. I’m not sure what advantages it has over other networking platforms just yet, but I’m going to keep my eye on it.

6-23-2011 7-20-17 PM

Those of us that work in the primary care trenches have seen a variety of body piercings, some of which have gone awry. Researchers  at the Northwestern University School of Medicine have been using a technology developed at the Georgia Institute of Technology that allows patients with spinal cord injuries to steer wheelchairs using a magnetic tongue stud. The magnet sends signals to a headset, which then transmits to an iPod that controls the wheelchair. Although glue was originally used to hold the magnet in place, trials found that a tongue piercing was more reliable.

Life in the fast lane, literally: personalized medical monitoring devices are one of the coolest and least-discussed types of health information technology. This year I’ve been following IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball, who has Type I diabetes. Kimball wears a continuous blood glucose monitor that feeds to a gauge on the dash right next to other traditional race car data points. He finished 13th in this year’s Indianapolis 500.

News of the Obvious

Surprise, surprise: a Harvard study demonstrates that watching TV, snacking on chips, and staying up too late can cause weight gain. Researchers looked at over 120,000 Americans over a 20-year period and found an average weight gain of three to four pounds per four years. I wonder what the results would look like if it was repeated on IT department staffers, EHR and CPOE implementation teams, and Meaningful Use consultants during the last two years?

More non-surprises, as shared by Bama Bubba: Sleep Deprivation in Medical Caregivers Has Deadly Results.  Extended hospital shifts increase the risk of patient safety compromise as well as vehicular accidents. Having had a close encounter with a rural route mailbox after being up all night, I know this to be true. Starting next month, incoming first-year resident physicians will be limited to 16-hour shifts rather than the current 30-hour cap. Having trained “back in the day” when there were no work hour limits, I see this is a positive step towards a more humane training program, but the jury is still out on what impact the work hour limits may have on resident learning.


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

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. I helped review Chapter 11 of the ONC training material. Its some fun material that should at least introduce novices into how to setup VistA. What is interesting is how well it will translate to other EHRs after training.

    I’ve also been working on creating similar more in depth education material for my masters project. What should be interesting is with all the material available for free whether any hospitals will run programs educating their current staff members. Speaking as someone who has been on the vendor and hospital sides of the shop there’s some valuable material available that is being released for free.

    If anyone would like to discuss how to modify for a shorter training program you can email me at jeremytech@gmail.com (Or if this sounds too much like promoting myself cut this part. The ONC training material is great for being free to the public!)

  2. It is amazing to me to watch Hospital & University medical centers throw away millions in it investment dollars to pickup yet another million dollar IT product —

    Often it is failure of the people responsible for implementing the technology within the organization, not the software or its company.

    Take responisbility for your decisions and investments!

  3. RE: ONC announces that it has made its healthcare IT teaching curriculum available… The material was developed with a $10 million ONC grant…

    And here’s how they describe the CIO’s job in a hospital –
    -Manages maintenance and improvements to
    hospital information equipment and network
    -Ensures compliance with HIPAA (patient privacy law)
    -Responsible for information security

    That’s it. All you need to know about a CIO in 3 bullet points.
    If I was a CIO I sure wouldn’t want my CEO to see this. There goes my six figure salary!

  4. RE: ONC_” Content covers work redesign, technical support, networking, usability, and project management.”

    Hmmm, did they forget to educate on safety and efficacy, or, is that merely assumed?

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