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Monday Morning Update 5/28/12

May 27, 2012 News 4 Comments
From Wanderlust: “Re: [company name omitted.] They say [CEO name omitted] has an open bedroom door policy and that [president name omitted] is really running the operation while [CEO name omitted] publicly spouts the company line.” Unverified, so I’ve expunged names, which means a least half a dozen people will e-mail me convinced that it’s their company I’m writing about. Some of them will probably be right.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: iPhone 5. A rumored feature is a 4-inch screen versus the 3.5 inch screen in the iPhone 4.  Another new feature is called haptic touch, which gives the user the feel of a real keyboard click.”

Several folks said they enjoyed reading about the innovative companies named by the HIStalk Advisory Panel. Me too, so I’ve decided to open up the process to anybody who works for a provider organization. Send me the name of an innovative company you’ve hired at your place and tell me why you like them. Use your work e-mail account so I know you’re really a provider and not a shill. I’ll summarize the responses, omitting those companies I’ve already mentioned.

5-26-2012 9-02-07 AM

Three-quarters of poll respondents don’t agree with Cerner CEO Neal Patterson that Epic and Cerner will be the only survivors in the full-system hospital business. New poll to your right: should hospitals be required to give discharged patients an easily understood itemized bill? Folks have asked me why that’s such a big deal. I can only say that from my experience working for several hospitals, we made every effort to make patient bills hard to understand, mostly because (a) our charges, like those of most hospitals, were wildly inaccurate, and (b) patients tended to get really upset when they found out what we charged for a box of Kleenex or a single Lipitor tablet. In either case, we didn’t want lines of patients demanding explanations or legislative changes, so we just made the bills hard to understand by deliberately creating vague CDM descriptions.

My Time Capsule editorial this week from 2007: Surprise! Below-Average Doctors Use EMRs, Too, in which I say, “Personally, I don’t care whether my doctor uses electronic medical records, pen and paper, or a stone tablet and chisel. His tools are his business. I judge him on my personal outcomes. I expect him to invest in whatever it takes to deliver those outcomes, no different expectations than I would have for a mechanic, masseuse, or chef.” But since them, my doc has moved to an EMR and is a shining example of how to use it right: we view it together, he pays it minimal attention when I’m talking, and he uses previous data points (labs, weight, etc.) to put the current values in perspective. I’d probably not care whether he used an EMR if he was the only provider I ever see, but in this day and age, that would be highly unusual.

5-26-2012 10-26-30 AM

A Delaware court grants HealthCor its motion for an expedited hearing on its complaint against Allscripts. The investment company, which is a big Allscripts shareholder, wants the company’s annual shareholder meeting pushed back from June 15 to give it time to submit its own slate of three directors and to enlist shareholder support for that slate via proxy votes. The court date will be June 14, the day before the shareholder meeting – that should provide some drama.

5-26-2012 10-28-01 AM

Vinc’s HIS-tory is his second installment on product names.

The Minneapolis papers are having a field day with the Fairview-Accretive story, knowing that those stories are easy to write and are inflammatory enough to boost dying print circulation for a day or two. In the latest installment, they find patients with anecdotal stories about Accretive’s collection practices, such as, “After they put me on a morphine drip, they came into the emergency room with a credit card machine. Because I had an IV in my arm and had limited mobility, they handed me my purse so I could pay them on the spot.” Fairview also admits that sometimes Accretive collected more than the amount eventually owed and refunds were slow in being sent, with a least one patient’s refund still not delivered after eight years. The papers don’t seem to be writing stories about the many patients in every hospital who keep coming back for additional services without any intention of paying, even though they are financially capable. That’s because the real story is a lot harder to write — why hospital charges are so high that patients can’t or won’t pay (high salaries, low efficiency, expensive buildings, low ROI information systems, lack of incentives to lower costs, etc.)

The Pittsburgh newspaper examines an interesting issue related to a $1.37 million settlement against UPMC Presbyterian. Four doctors were accused of changing the patient’s electronic medical record to hide their mistakes, but at UPMC’s request, the doctors were removed as defendants in the lawsuit. The hospital pays, while the docs get off with no record of wrongdoing in practitioner databases. Federal law requires that doctors be reported if they were dismissed from a lawsuit as a condition of settlement, but hospitals and insurance companies don’t do it. The AMA’s position is that settlements of questionable medical liability lawsuits have little to do with physician competence, so they aren’t fans of more detailed practitioner reporting. I’m not sure I disagree, but maybe it would make sense to launch a separate investigation into possible practitioner wrongdoing every time a lawsuits are filed.

5-25-2012 6-30-27 PM

UC San Diego Health Sciences CMIO Joshua Lee is named CIO of USC Health.

5-25-2012 6-53-41 PM

BESLER Consulting promotes Jonathan Besler to president and CEO. He was previously senior director of client services. Former President Brian Sherin will transition to senior advisor.

5-27-2012 2-55-06 PM

Murray-Calloway County Hospital brings on Annette Ballard as CIO. She was previously with Jacobus Consulting.

Weird News Andy wants to sell this patrol car video (which isn’t really family friendly) as Docs Gone Wild. A Florida anesthesiologist arrested after nearly causing an accident with his speeding BMW fails a field sobriety test, refuses to give a blood sample, bangs his head repeatedly into the back seat of the patrol car until it’s bloody, then spits the blood in the face of a Florida Highway Patrol sergeant. Once in the hospital, he kicks out a light fixture and threatens three troopers. Police find $40,000 in his pockets and in the car was another $14,000, a .44 caliber pistol, a .45 caliber semiautomatic, and unidentified drugs. The doctor was upset because he thought the troopers were stealing his money. He’ll really freak out when he calculates the net present value of his immediate and permanent unemployability.

WNA is also fascinated with this weight loss story. A 70-year-old woman whose slow weight gain had swelled her stomach to the size of a huge beach ball is found to have a benign ovarian cyst. Her surgeon removes the 56-pound, fluid-filled mass, but is modest about his achievement, saying he’s seen a 100-pounder and the record is over 300 pounds.

Spokane, WA-based radiology provider Inland Imaging LLC spins off Nuvodia, with plans to offer its technology services nationally.

5-26-2012 10-40-54 AM

Nokia and the X Prize Foundation announce the $2.25 million Nokia Sensing X Challenge, a competition to stimulate development of continuous sensors for public health issues such as obesity, chronic diseases, and aging. Three competitive rounds will be held over the next three years and will likely include teams progressing toward the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize.

Memorial Day is not just a three-day weekend — it’s the one day set aside each year to honor those who have died in military service. Go to the beach, picnic, or have a cookout, but please take a moment to honor the memory of those who gave up all of those things to die thousands miles from home while serving their country (and are dying still today.) Most of us will never experience or even understand their sacrifice, but the least we can do is take a few minutes from our year-round comfortable existence to honor it.

E-mail Mr. H.

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. May God bless all our veterans and their families – those who are with us, and especially those who are not.

  2. Thank you for your paragraph reminding everyone why US-based people have a three day weekend – it’s not just a reason to barbecue, drink beer and lounge around.

    My son James, his best friend Stefan and a friend’s son Joseph are all currently serving in Afghanistan. I spent an hour on the phone last night as Joseph was wounded and his patrol partner killed in a IED ambush on Saturday.

    Please take time to thank the military for allowing you to enjoy your day off – Freedon isn’t free.

  3. Re: Pittsburgh UPMC lawsuit that settled, the quality officer got off scot free too, because the case settled. No one will ever know exactly what went wrong and why.

    The article opens with this paragraph: “A medical malpractice case in which UPMC Presbyterian was accused of covering up some of the circumstances of a death at the hospital was settled recently.”

    Recall that the original coverage reported that someone was in the chart, twiddling with how to add a “Difficult Intubation” warning banner. days after the patient had died.

  4. God Bless our Troops !! Taking a little time to remember those that have sacrificed so much, is not a lot to ask. Thanks for reminding us all.

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