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March 29, 2012 News 2 Comments

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3-29-2012 9-40-00 PM

Vocera shares gain 40% over the $16 offering price in the company’s Wednesday IPO. Shares were up another 19% Thursday to $24.91, giving VCRA a 56% jump in the company’s first two days of being publicly traded.

Reader Comments

3-29-2012 9-45-10 PM

From Max: “Re: Microsoft/Sentillion. The bloodbath is in full effect. Employees received either a 60-day notice this week or an offer to move to Caradigm. I’ve heard losses on the Amalga side were significant.” Unverified. I asked my Microsoft contact, who says that like most companies, Microsoft doesn’t comment publicly on HR-related questions.

From HMSUser: “Re: HMS CEO. ‘Resigned’ last Friday, rumor that more high-level people will be shown the door.” Unverified, but Tom Stephenson’s bio has vanished from the executive team page. HMS’s parent company, HealthTech Holdings, has been owned since 2007 by private equity firm Primus, whose other healthcare IT-related investments include InSite One, Medhost, and Passport Health Communications.

From Epic-urious: “Re: Epic leading the market and gunning for the big guys. I’ve only read a few new customer updates. Where are all of these new customers?” Just to be clear, Epic is the big guy now, so there’s nobody left to gun for in terms of penetration of patients and providers (not necessarily in  number of hospitals since it’s a lot easier to dominate the market selling to one 1,000 bed hospital than ten 100-bed ones.) The company doesn’t announce sales, so new customers come to light only casually, like at conferences with mostly large-hospital attendees, where just about everybody finds out simultaneously that they’re all implementing Epic. Another way to look at it: the lack of significant sales announcements from Epic’s competitors, who do indeed happily announce new sales when they can get them.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

3-29-2012 9-30-41 PM

inga_small This week on HIStalk Practice: a physician being sued by his former practice resigns over “technology troubles” and “billing errors” that he claims were the caused by computer problems. CMS offers help to providers not deemed “successful electronic prescribers” in 2011. Nancy Pelosi’s connection (or lack of one) between Practice Fusion’s rapid growth and the Affordable Care Act as she cuts the ribbon at the company’s new building (above.) Brad Boyd urges providers to continue moving forward on their ICD-10 transition. In our reader survey, 85% said reading HIStalk Practice helped them perform their job better last year, so if you’re in ambulatory HIT and need performance enhancement, you should be reading.

Listening: new from The Mars Volta, complex, perfectionist progressive rockers from El Paso, TX. An Amazon reviewer said it well: they’re what Led Zeppelin would have sounded like time warped into 2050. Dead ringers for Manfred Mann’s Earth Band at the 4:10 mark of the video, but very Zeppelin-like at 5:00. And I’m reflecting on the amazing musical contributions of Earl Scruggs, who almost single-handedly gave non-hayseed credibility to both the banjo as a musical instrument and to bluegrass as a uniquely American musical genre and who died Wednesday at 88. Foggy Mountain Breakdown was the speed metal of its day and it still sounds amazing as I listen to it right now.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

3-29-2012 9-47-54 PM

ClearDATA Networks, which provides healthcare cloud computing services, secures funding from Norwest Venture Partners and several angel investors.

3-29-2012 9-48-34 PM

Seven-month-old hospice management software vendor Hospicelink of Birmingham, AL says it expects $50 million in sales by the end of 2012. Color me skeptical.

3-29-2012 9-49-13 PM

Ann Arbor, MI-based HIE vendor CareEvolution is expanding its 22-employee workforce to 38, expecting to hire three software developers per quarter. I notice from the company’s site that they claim a trademark on the term One Patient, One Record, which I would associate more with Epic than CareEvolution, which I’ve heard of only once when a reader said they did an impressive demo but still lost the West Virginia Health Information Network bid. UPDATE: the company clarified the newspaper article – it has 38 employees now (22 of them in Ann Arbor) and will add another 15. WVHIN did choose Thomson Reuters’ HIE Advantage, but that product actually runs CareEvolution’s HIEBus under an expanded agreement between the companies signed in February 2011, so CareEvolution is in place (and scheduled for go-live next month) even though the announced winner was Thomson Reuters.

3-29-2012 9-52-02 PM

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion reports sagging sales, a quarterly loss, and an executive housecleaning. The CEO says he won’t rule out selling the company now that he’s seen from the inside just how dire the situation is, although he’s hoping for a turnaround. The steep downward slope above is the one-year share price, down 75%.


3-29-2012 9-56-45 PM

Asante Health System (OR) selects iSirona’s medical device connectivity solution to populate patient data in its Epic system.

Memorial Hospital of Union County (OH) selects Wolters Kluwer Health’s Provation MD for its gastroenterology and pulmonology departments. In addition, Duke University Health System (NC) licenses ProVation Order Sets.

3-29-2012 9-57-48 PM

Duke University Health System (NC) selects M*Modal Speech Understanding technology to support the Epic system it’s implementing.

Two practices within the University at Buffalo School of Medicine select PatientKeeper Charge Capture, which will be integrated with UBMD’s GE Centricity Group Management PM product.


3-29-2012 5-38-12 PM

EMR vendor CareCloud appoints PowerReviews CEO Ken Comée to its board.

3-29-2012 5-39-26 PM

Online physician networking site Sermo names former Revolution Health president Tim Davenport CEO. He replaces founder Daniel Palestrant, who left the company in January to run Par80, a startup focused on patient referrals.

3-29-2012 5-41-45 PM

Aventura hires Brian Stern (NewsGator Technologies) as SVP of sales and marketing and Brandi Narvaez (Sentillion, Vitalize – above) as chief customer officer.

3-29-2012 5-42-52 PM

eMerge Health Solutions, a provider of voice-powered documentation systems, hires Trent McCracken as president and CEO. He was previously owner of a telecommunications software company.

Announcements and Implementations

St. Francis Hospital & Health Services (MO) will go live on Epic Saturday morning.

3-29-2012 9-59-45 PM

The Verizon Foundation donates $100,000 to launch a telemedicine pilot project at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. CHOP will offer community hospitals consults with its pediatric specialists.

Government and Politics

The New York eHealth Collaborative and the New York State Department of Health form the Statewide Health Information Network of New York Policy Committee, tasked with updating and creating policy measures to protect PHI while expanding the state’s ability to electronically share clinical data.

The White House announced Thursday that various government agencies will invest $200 million of taxpayer money in so-called “Big Data” R&D. A NSF/NIH project will look at large-scale health and disease databases.

It’s not healthcare related, but it’s another hugely expensive government computing foul-up: the State of California pulls the plug on a $2 billion court system that still isn’t fully rolled out 11 years after the project started. The project was originally supposed to cost $260 million, with a state audit last year finding that the massive overruns were due to poor management of contractors. An IT project failure expert said, “I am dumbstruck over the incredible waste and obvious poor planning associated with this system. This failure only adds to California’s reputation as the land of IT boondoggles”


Henry Ford Hospital (MI) implements telerounding, in which minimally invasive surgery inpatients are given an iPad to post-operatively communicate with their remotely located surgeons using the FaceTime video chat app.


Weird News Andy likes this video story of a BYU nurse practitioner student whose professor, while observing her practice thyroid exams in her third week of class, happens to notice that she has a hard-to-spot tumor. The mass turned out to be highly aggressive, but she’s OK after fast-track surgery and radiation therapy. She will take a nurse practitioner job at the Thyroid Institute of Utah when she graduates this summer.

Hill-Rom joins Stryker and Zimmer in laying off hundreds of its employees to offset the cost of complying with a new medical device tax that takes effect next year. The 2.3% tax, enacted in the Affordable Care Act, is based on company revenue regardless of profitability. The industry estimates the tax will cost its members $30.5 billion and could result in the loss of up to 38,000 jobs.

3-29-2012 9-07-00 PM

Howard University Hospital (DC) notifies 34,000 patients that their health information was potentially exposed in January when a laptop was stolen from the car of a contractor who had downloaded the information in violation of hospital policy. The contractor had quit working for the hospital in December 2011, but reported the theft on January 25 of this year.

The government’s bet-the-farm idea of paying hospitals for quality didn’t move the needle on deaths or readmissions in its own demonstration project, a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine found. The Harvard public health author says incentives are the right idea, but the metrics aren’t yet right. He also says it’s nice when processes are executed consistently, but the only thing that counts is that patients get healthier, and that didn’t seem to happen here.

It’s definitely not up to the high snark standards of The Onion, but this satirical article called Myanmar Embraces Facebook as Electronic Medical Record is kind of funny. “Whilst Facebook users can currently Add and Delete Friends, the updated site is going to allow users to Add Doctors, Nurses and other allied health professionals, who can be granted varying degrees of access to confidential medical data. ” You just know someone out there is working on this already.

3-29-2012 8-17-57 PM

I probably would find a new press release headline writer.

Here’s what HITECH has driven providers to. Physicians at Samaritan Healthcare (WA) gripe at a hospital board meeting about the hospital’s new Meditech system, which the hospital freely admits it implemented for only one reason: to get a $2.2 million HITECH check. According to one doctor, Meditech is “… time-consuming, it is frustrating, it is archaic, it’s hard to work with … It didn’t matter what we said, you were going to go ahead and implement this because there were the economic benefits being reaped by the hospital at our expense.” In response, the hospital CEO admitted that the system isn’t ideal, but says now that the money’s in the bank, Meditech is history, its replacement to be paid for by the HITECH money Meditech earned for the hospital.

3-29-2012 9-00-20 PM

Strange: two-thirds of respondents to an online poll run by the Chinese Communist Party’s newspaper choose a “smiley face” as their reaction to a story about a medical intern who was murdered by an enraged patient in a hospital, apparently because doctors are right up there with government workers in being hated for insisting on being paid bribes to do their jobs. The poll was quickly taken down. The government reported that over 5,000 medical personnel were injured by patients in 2006, the last year such statistics were published. Experts blame the anti-doctor mood to the lack of a medical malpractice system to provide compensation for errors, physician salaries that start at only $500 per month, and the fact that doctors are legally paid commissions for orders written. It was also reported that some doctors are taking kickbacks from funeral homes for promptly alerting them of the newly deceased.

Sponsor Updates

  • EHRtv runs an interview with David Caldwell, EVP of HIE vendor Certify Data Systems, filmed at the HIMSS conference. We interviewed CEO Mark Willard last month.
  • Salar and Transcend will participate in the Society Hospital Medicine 2012 Conference April 1-4, 2012, in San Diego, CA
  • MedAssets launches its Population Health solution suite to support the industry’s transition to fee for service and accountable care.
  • Greenway Medical Technologies announces the availability of PrimeMOBILE for Android and tablet devices.
  • TELUS Health Solutions will license Get Real Consulting’s InstantPHRO to resell into Canada under the TELUS Personal Health Record brand.
  • MEDSEEK announces that its eHealth ecoSystem V4.0 is 2011/2012 compliant and certified as an EHR Module.
  • Queensway Carleton Hospital (Canada) is delivering ED records to more than 120 family doctors using TELUS Health Solutions’ CareShare technology. 
  • GetWellNetwork announces its fifth annual users conference, to be held April 30 – May 2 in Orlando.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne


All eyes are on the Supreme Court this week. Oral arguments for the cases challenging the Affordable Care Act concluded Wednesday. This has been a busy week at work so I haven’t been able to process the transcripts as quickly as I’d like. Stay tuned for my detailed reaction in Monday’s Curbside Consult. I find the whole process fascinating. It wakes up the non-medical part of my brain with the interplay of the Justices’ personalities and the complexities of legal theories of intent, severability, and judicial restraint.

The focus on PPACA overshadowed dialogue on last week’s ruling that state workers cannot sue their employer for violating a part of the Family and Medical Leave Act. A 2003 decision allows suits against state agencies for violations related to leave taken to care for family members, this decision involves leave take by employees to take care of their own health. There are already many loopholes in FMLA due to multiple court challenges over the past two decades. Additionally, states have made their own requirements and definitions, turning it into a patchwork. It’s a great example of what might happen to PPACA over the next few decades should it be allowed to stand.

My other exciting reading this week has been the recently-issued NIST protocol on EHR usability. The three-step process includes EHR application analysis, user interface expert review, and user interface validation testing. There are some interesting points in the document. Check out Appendix A, which discusses the use of human factors engineering by the Department of Defense, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

It also provides questions used to evaluate an EHR’s “aesthetic and minimalist design” and “pleasurable and respectful interaction with the user,” including whether the EHR has artistic value. I never found that documenting as required by CMS (and now other payers) is particularly pleasurable, nor do I find artistic value relevant to patient care. I don’t care how ugly it is — I just want it to be easy to use and comprehensive.


AHIMA announces the Grace Award, which recognizes excellence in health information management. Nominations are open through June 30 and the award will be presented at the annual meeting in September. I give this new award a thumbs up for aesthetic and minimalist design (NIST would be proud.) It would look great on my credenza.


Wireless medical monitoring devices are highlighted in an article published yesterday. I like the idea of an edible sensor integrated into a medication that can document when it was taken, although I don’t want to receive patient information on my phone so that I can try to interpret it “all without a visit to the doctor.” Let’s take it one step further and integrate a monitoring sensor into every Girl Scout cookie produced, and if too many are consumed at a single sitting, it can send warning texts to purchasers. Having just found a stash of Thin Mints at the back of my freezer, I could definitely use the moral support.


More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Mobile.

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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. “…like most companies, Microsoft doesn’t comment publicly on HR-related questions.”

    FAIL. Most companies are forthright about major changes in staffing. Especially those that care about their customers.

    Microsoft themselves publicly announced layoffs in the past: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/microsoftpri0/2017392275_microsoft_layoffs_being_announced_today.html

    I hope the engineering and product support of the new company will be better than the communication effectiveness.

  2. I talked to a friend who received one of the Microsoft pink slips. No idea how broad the layoffs were, but can confirm they are real. Not a surprise for those of us watching this unfold. Thankfully, friend already had resume in motion anticipating this potential.

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