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November 29, 2011 News 17 Comments

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mrh_small HIMSS EHR Association responds to NIST’s EHR usability draft. Its concerns:

  • There’s no proof that usability issues are a barrier to EHR adoption
  • The document does not take into account how EHRs are used in practice
  • The document’s references are old and the checklist-based review method has limitations
  • The stated expert review requirements are “unwieldy and unproven”
  • The summative testing requirements are impractical and don’t reflect practice customization and limitations imposed by vendors of the underlying operating system
  • Users prefer a system that’s efficient to one that’s easy to learn and the main beneficiary of usability improvements would be novice users
  • Usability reviews are subjective and even expert evaluators often don’t reach the same conclusions
  • Prescriptive standards for functionality and aesthetics will hinder innovation

Reader Comments

11-29-2011 7-55-04 PM

mrh_small From Blue Horseshoe: “Re: ViaTrack acquisition by NextGen. Verified.” According to the e-mail, QSI’s acquisition of its NextGen EDI partner closed on November 14, with the goal of expanding the company’s inpatient EDI market (with no impact to its ambulatory clearinghouse partners, the e-mail emphasizes).  

11-29-2011 9-23-51 PM

mrh_small From Red Flag Raised: “Re: Epic. Why are they talking to the New York Stock Exchange?” Epic’s CFO speaks at the Wisconsin School of Business in a presentation stated to be “a practice run through the material that the Epic group is planning on giving to the NYSE.” The topic was on the Dodd-Frank Act that addressed Wall Street reform. A bit of sleuthing turns up Anita Pramoda’s November 29-30 NYSE audience – a CFO forum for institutional investors at NYSE Euronext. She’s moderating the session, which doesn’t appear to have anything to do with an Epic plan to go public. Unrelated: she’s apparently also the CFO of OnTech, which makes self-heating drink containers for coffee. Above is what rather surprisingly displayed when I pulled up her LinkedIn profile.

mrh_small From ShakingMyHead: “Re: UMCSN in Las Vegas. Finally signed an agreement to buy Horizon Clinicals. Now that is weird news.” The hospital chose McKesson as vendor of choice in August 2010, but ran into money problems until McKesson apparently came way down on price.

11-29-2011 6-53-52 PM

mrh_small From The PACS Designer: “Re: Nimbula. TPD has blogged about cloud applications in the past, and now that the concept is becoming widespread, thought HIStalkers would like to try out this concept themselves. Now they can with a free trial called Nimbula Director 1.5.” The company says the product provides “a one-stop virtual data center management solution.”

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

11-29-2011 3-22-15 PM

Optometry HIT company RevolutionEHR is raising $600,000, according to an SEC filing.

11-29-2011 9-26-39 PM

Xerox subsidiary ACS acquires The Breakaway Group, developers of the PromisePoint cloud-based service that allows providers to practice using their EMR technology in a simulated environment.


11-29-2011 3-29-00 PM

Beth Israel Medical Center (NY) signs a five-year contract with CriticalKey for its KeyEngine software, which enables the electronic transmission of patients results from Beth Israel’s RIS system to the individual EMRs of participating physicians.

The Johns Hopkins Hospital selects Versus Advantages RTLS for staff locating, asset tracking, and automated nurse call cancellation.

Abbeville Area Medical Center (SC) selects Virtual Radiologic’s Enterprise Connect, a PACS alternative solution.

11-29-2011 3-26-20 PM

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (NC) chooses Huron Consulting’s Click Portal software to automate clinical trials business processes.

Vitera Healthcare Solutions announces that Medical Group of North County (CA), Bloomingdale Medical Associates PA (FL), Doctor’s Medical Center (FL), Rheumatology Associates PC (MA), Women’s Care Group, PC (TN) and Robert C Byrd Clinics (WV) have selected Vitera Intergy Meaningful Use Edition EHR solution.

Northern California Surgery Center selects the ProVation EHR solution for ambulatory surgery centers from Wolters Kluwer Health.

St. Jude Heritage Medical Group (CA) chooses MediRevv for insurance resolution A/R management services.

Acuo Technologies announces contracts for its vendor neutral archiving solution with University of Rochester Medical Center (NY), Kettering Health Network (OH),  and CHRISTUS Health (TX).


11-29-2011 5-11-46 PM

Good Shepherd Medical Center (TX) appoints Ralph Holcomb as CIO. He was previously with Baylor Jack and Jane Hamilton Heart and Vascular Hospital (TX).

11-29-2011 5-13-44 PM

MedQuist Holdings hires Matt Jenkins as SVP of corporate business development. He was previously with Allscripts.

11-29-2011 5-15-19 PM

Elsevier/MEDai names Thomas H. Zajac as president. He was previously with CareScience and TSI.

11-29-2011 7-04-06 PM

Cardiology center software vendor Perminova announces Craig Collins as its president and CEO. He was previously with PetriTech.

Medicalis names Jim Boyle (Stentor, Perot) as COO and Guy Anthony (Solaicx) as CFO.

Announcements and Implementations

Children’s Mercy Hospital & Clinics (MO) completes its 30th installation of SeeMyRadiology.com for the communication of radiology images between hospitals, imaging centers, and physician practices.

11-29-2011 3-30-05 PM

Willis-Knighton Health System (LA) deploys EMC Symmetrix VMAX storage systems to accommodate its Meditech, Siemens Soarian, and Sectra PACS applications.

University Behavioral Healthcare, a division of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, goes live on vxVistA and vxMental Health Suite from DSS, Inc.

11-29-2011 9-32-06 PM

Martin Memorial Health Systems (FL) gets a mention in the local paper for going live on the first phase of its $80 million Epic EMR this week. VP/CIO Ed Collins checked in with an update last week.

Kony Solutions announces Member Mobile, which allows health plan members to browse and purchase plans, locate care services, request appointments, check benefit status, and refill prescriptions.

RTLS vendor Intelligent InSites will introduce its “big data” business intelligence solution at IHI’s quality improvement forum in Orlando next week. The company also announces a consulting service to help hospitals place a value on their RFID and RTLS technologies.

Walgreens subsidiary Take Care Health Systems, which operates employer health and wellness centers, will run Cisco’s San Jose health center and provide telemedicine services from there to the company’s Durham, NC campus using Cisco’s HealthPresence technology.  

11-29-2011 7-07-45 PM

Healthcare imaging vendor Barco announces MediCal QAWeb Mobile, calibration software for tablets used for viewing medical images. A free version is available on iTunes.

Select Data introduces an iPad application for use in the home health market.

Candelis announces that its cloud-hosted medical image services will be integrated with Microsoft HealthVault, allowing patients to import and share images.

11-29-2011 9-34-13 PM

Montage Health Solutions says that its enterprise search and analytics technology for EHRs and radiology information systems is live at Keck Medical Center of USC (CA), Children’s National Medical Center (DC), and University Health Network (Ontario).

Government and Politics

11-29-2011 8-42-59 PM

Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) is taking heat from critics of his bill that would allow providers to report suspected EMR-related errors without legally admitting wrongdoing. Attorney Cliff Reiders, who sues providers for a living, says giving providers immunity would “encourage the wrong thing” and wouldn’t provide encouragement to improve EMRs.

The National Library of Medicine updates its RXNorm clinical drug vocabulary, adding standardized drug names linked to NDC numbers and also including the full NDC set from the Red Book by Thomson Reuters.

The VA says 89% of its project milestones were met on time in FY2011, exceed the goal of 80% that was set in 2009 when fewer than 30% of its projects were finished on schedule.

Innovation and Research

ONC announces four finalists for its developer challenge for apps related to using public data for cancer prevention and control. They are Ask Dory! (locates nearby clinical trials), My Cancer Genome (provides treatment options based on clinical trials involving specific genetic mutations), Health Owl (provides cancer recommendations from family history and demographics), and Cancer App by mHealth Solutions (offers suggestions for reducing cancer risk).

Technology developed by a hospital in Israel allows the family members of patients undergoing cardiac catheterization procedures to watch in real time on their iPads. The original version of the story said the app was co-developed by McKesson, but that reference has been removed.


Sanford Health (ND) is hiring 100 part-time and full-time employees to help with its $8 million transition to the Sanford One Chart EHR (aka Epic).

Oxford University Hospitals Trust pushes back this week’s Cerner go-live at three of its hospitals, saying it needs more time to prepare.

inga_small I couldn’t help but reminisce about  Mrs. Fletcher reading this story. An 81-year-old woman activates her medical alert system when her 55-year old daughter attacks her in bed after an argument over money. Paramedics saved the day.

inga_small One day I will check out RSNA, mostly because I am intrigued by the size and scope of the event. OK, I also like the idea of holiday shopping on Michigan Avenue. RSNA was expecting about 700 exhibitors and over 58,000 attendees from over 100 nations. If you are there, send us an update and your best photos.

UCSF, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Inland Imaging partner with Medicalis to form a radiology workflow consortium to enable direct scheduling of radiology orders from the point of care.

Karen Pletz, the former president of the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, is found dead in her Florida home. Under her leadership, the school expanded its campus and fund-raising efforts, but she was abruptly fired in 2009 amidst charges of embezzling $1.5 million.

11-29-2011 9-37-02 PM

MedicalRecords.com, which offers a free online database of EMR applications to generate leads that it sells to vendors for $150-300 each, says the 400 EMR vendors clamoring for business is “like a gold rush” with 7% of them buying its leads.

The New York Post runs just-released compensation information for executives of New York’s hospitals, naming four hospital CEOs whose one-year bonuses exceeded $1 million. Herbert Pardes, retiring CEO of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, made $4.3 million, while the CEO of a struggling 326-bed hospital came in #2 with $4.2 million in total compensation in a single year.

mrh_small Weird News Andy, observing that “people are smarter than governments” since healthcare insurance doesn’t carry a two-year contract like cell phones, likes this story: a study finds that “jumpers and dumpers” are taking advantage of a Massachusetts law that forces insurers to accept patients with pre-existing conditions. They are buying insurance, having expensive elective surgery, and then dropping coverage. That practice costs the state $37 million per year. WNA also likes this story about electronic surveillance of hospital handwashing practices, which he entitles, “Big Brother is Washing You.”

Sponsor Updates

11-29-2011 6-19-36 PM

  • Quality IT Partners sponsored the 12th Annual Scott Hamilton & Friends Ice Show and Gala, held in Cleveland on November 5. The company’s guest was a patient undergoing cancer treatment at Cleveland Clinic. 
  • Medical Transcription eXpress joins MD-IT as a Medical Transcription Service Organization associate, allowing it to resell the MD-IT platform and EMR.
  • Nuance Healthcare and Bayer HealthCare’s MEDRAD launch an interoperable solution that connects the MEDRAD Certegra informatics platform and Nuance PowerScribe 360 reporting technology .
  • Sarah Corley MD, CMO of NextGen Healthcare, and Gregory Sheffo MD, CMO of Clearfield Hospital (PA) will discuss the impact of healthcare reform to the ambulatory care sector during a December 15 Webcast.
  • Dell says its acquisition of InSite One a year ago has increased its managed object count by 25%, with the company managing over 65 million clinical studies and 4.5 billion diagnostic imaging objects.
  • Robert Hitchcock, MD FACEP, T-System VP and CMIO, discusses five key reasons a CDS should be used in the ED.
  • Worcestershire Acute NHS Trust goes live with Orion Health Clinical Portal.
  • At RSNA, Merge Healthcare unveils its cloud-based platform Honeycomb along with its first application, free image sharing.
  • T-System expands its partnership with Iatric Systems to include interfacing technology for hospitals connecting T-SystemEV EDI with enterprise EHRs.


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

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Currently there are "17 comments" on this Article:

  1. Vitera Sales of Intergy EHR–I’ll bet dollars to dopughnuts, the sales they announced were add-on sales to existing customers, hardly newsworthy. Aren’t vendors are supposed to make those type of sales every day? It isn’t press release material, is it ?

  2. Intelligent InSites announces consulting group, but Johns Hopkins selects an RTLS after testing multiple…question is what failed and why? Maybe we could just ask Johns Hopkins?

    @Inga Kudos to the parameds!

    @WNA video monitoring of hand hygiene…seems like a huge privacy invasion when others are doing it passively with other techs. Anyone read the JC Hygiene Project Report?

  3. HIMSS – “There’s no proof that usability issues are a barrier to EHR adoption”.

    So I guess HIMSS has never been to a go-live?

  4. RSNA: Just got back from there. If you’ve been to HIMSS, imagine HIMSS with no limit on exhibit booth size and no shame on vendors building exhibit space. As you walk through much of the conversation is not in english. And, they hire bouncers to kick exhibitor badged people out of booths because of corporate espionage.

    The technical exhibits and sessions are really technical, and not the disguised sales pitches at HIMSS.

    And @Marc, nicest Chicago weather this time in 5 years. Although they did finally turn on the winter wind machine yesterday.

  5. I am suddenly struck this morning by the fact that all head shots – including Bill Murray as Mr HISTalk – are oriented with shoulders right, head turned left. I wonder is this some new standard??

  6. “There’s no proof that usability issues are a barrier to EHR adoption”

    ‘Splains much if the 43 vendors in the EHRA believe this

    ‘Splains even more if they’re willing to claim such BS in order to duck accountability

  7. Head Shots….Mr. HIStalk (appropriately capitalized) and Inga are not in the standard you pointed out as their avatars are opposite with their shoulders left and head turned right.

  8. HIMSS EHR Association? Let’s not confuse that with the member-based HIMSS Usability Task Force, which had much more logical and provider-based suggestions to NIST…

  9. Re: Head Shots. I sent this to my brother, Camera Cowboy, who is a photographer by trade. His reply is below (note the shameless plug at the end!)
    There is no standard pose for a headshot. A professional photographer will take into account the shape of the subject’s face, their prominent features and any undesirable features when deciding how to compose a headshot. In addition, each might require unique lighting to emphasize or deemphasize certain facial features. Making sure that you utilize a professional photographer for your headshot will make sure that it is the best can possibly be.

  10. Why no outrage or guffawing that EHR vendors can say without their noses growing that:

    “There’s no proof that usability issues are a barrier to EHR adoption”.

    REALLY? It’s impossible to overstate how out of touch these execs are – is it cluelessness or malevolence in shirking accountability.

    What would it take for EHRA to “believe”? Would a 3rd public or private detailed review persuade these CEOS? The outpouring of user complaints apparently has fallen on deaf ears.

    First, they claim EHRS are not unsafe and refuse to self-regulate(despite evidence to contrary, including recent IOM report) and now EHRSs poor ease of use is not proven.

    Has EHRA been marginalized and discredited to the point their (and HIMSS) views are discounted? Chutzpah at it’s finest?

    How can we solve problem if the execs responsible for it are in denial – see no evil, hear no evil…

  11. These are the people who lead the HIMSS EHRA.

    If you believe that they are out of touch, then let them know. Especially if you give them millions of dollars.

    Carl Dvorak, Chair Epic
    Charles Jarvis, Vice Chair NextGen Healthcare
    Leigh Burchell Allscripts
    Pamela Chapman e-MDs
    Jason Colquitt Greenway Medical Technologies
    Michele McGlynn Siemens
    Rick Reeves CPSI
    Mark Segal, Vice Chair Emeritus GE Healthcare IT

  12. No proof that usability issues are a barrier to adoption.

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME? If that were actually true, doctors wouldn’t have to be PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT to adopt them.

    When there’s an elephant in the room, introduce it.

  13. Re: Kelly Pete

    My post specifically addressed the picture of Bill Murray posing as Mr. HIStalk as Epic’s newest employee. I never mentioned the avatars.

  14. Regarding HIMSS’s comments: Playing devil’s advocate here. Many commenters on this site have said that there is no proof that EHRs improve quality, just spotty individual reports of improved results that are not easily reproduced. They therefore call for consistent proof (ideally in the form of comprehensive, peer-reviewed studies) that EHRs improve quality before we do anything with them.

    Why then are spotty, anecdotal reports of usability issues considered “proof?” Why is everyone posting “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” (see #15) instead of pointing to comprehensive studies that detail specific UI challenges that EHRs face? There are probably studies out there that can name specific deficiencies and quantify their impact (or at least quantify how frequently users find those UI issues difficult), so we should use those to rebut HIMSS.

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