An article in The Economist covers the programming that powers medical devices such as smart IV pumps and pacemakers, proprietary systems that the FDA has the power to examine but rarely does even though the programming can be sloppy, error-filled, or vulnerable to hacking. Penn researchers are working with the FDA on an open source alternative that would bypass uncooperative manufacturers, hoping to prevent more bugs and turn fixes around more quickly. Similar projects at other universities address open source CT and PET machines and surgical robots. The article also mentions $10 million NIH-funded The Medical Device Plug-and-Play Interoperability Program and the more ambitious Medical Device Co-Ordination Framework of Kansas State University, which is developing a core set of downloadable, open source apps that could be pieced together to create medical devices.
From Defiant: “Re: the University of Missouri billing fraud story. The dean of the med school is also the former chair of the Department of Radiology. He was the key influencer in having the Cerner RadNet application uninstalled six months after installation some six years ago. The Feds would be wise to plan an extended stay at this place.” Unverified. The health system announced that Dean Robert Churchill MD will retire after news of the federal investigation broke.
From Who CaresFX: “Re: Carefx. Looks like Chairman and CEO Andy Hurd has left for greener pastures. I heard they were doing a RIF, but the CEO? His profile has been removed from the site.” He has indeed been expunged from the site, but that’s because he left to become CEO of Epocrates in March. Harris bought the 250-employee Carefx just over a year ago for $155 million, expressing interest in its interoperability business .
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Awarepoint raises $14 million in funding, including the first investment of the Heritage Healthcare Innovation Fund, which is backed by several health systems and vendors.
Data analytics vendor MedAssurant changes its name to Inovalon.
Winter Haven Hospital (FL) will implement Amcom Mobile Connect for encrypted smart phone communications.
The VA awards Harris Corporation a two-year, $19 million contract to create a wireless network infrastructure for 26 medical centers.
Physician learning network QuantiaMD appoints Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka, MD to its board.
Harry R. Jacobson MD, former vice chancellor for health affairs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, joins ICA’s board.
M*Modal hires Jonathan A. Handler MD (Microsoft, MedStar Health) as the company’s first CMIO.
WebMD names former Pfizer executive Cavan M. Redmond CEO and a member of the company’s board. He replaces Wayne Gattinella, who resigned in January following a failed attempt to sell the company.
RF Technologies hires Ken Sandifer (GE Healthcare) as SVP of service and operations.
Anthelio Chairman and CEO Richard Garnick resigns in what the company describes as “an amiable and mutually agreed upon process.” Chief strategy and innovation officer Rick Kneipper will serve as interim CEO until a permanent CEO is hired.
Medsphere Systems names Lily S. Chang (Advent Software) as CTO.
Shareable Ink names Keith Slater (Henry Schein Medical) as VP of client services.
Mediware SVP/COO John Damgaard resigns effective September 7, when he will join an unnamed private company as president.
Halfpenny Technologies appoints Brian Muck (Vitera) as EVP of sales and marketing.
Plastic surgeon Howard Krein MD PhD, Organized Wisdom’s CMO, makes non-HIT headlines for his marriage last weekend to Ashley Biden, daughter of VP Joe Biden. I loved his unofficial bio, published in an independent Jewish newsletter:
Dr. Krein, 45, is quite the catch. He is double board certified in otolaryngology and plastic surgery and has a PhD in cell and developmental biology. He is an assistant professor at Thomas Jefferson University as well as maintaining a busy medical practice. Krein, who is a Cherry Hill, N.J. native, also serves as chief medical officer of Organized Wisdom, a company founded by his brother to provide digital solutions to medical professionals. Most importantly, he is a mensch.
A 21-year old Chicago man becomes the youngest student ever awarded an MD (as well as a PhD in molecular genetics and cell biology) by the University of Chicago. Sho Yano began reading at age 2, was writing and composing music at age 3, and earned his undergraduate degree from Loyola at 12. He’ll begin his residency in pediatric neurology. When I was 21, my biggest accomplishment was winning the Quarters tournament in my dorm.
Announcements and Implementations
The DoD extends Authorization to Operate certification to Mediware, paving the way for the implementation of Mediware’s HCLL Transfusion software to 68 MHS sites worldwide.
PDR Network announces that 18 EHR vendors have signed agreements to deliver its drug and safety information to their users.
Release of information vendor MRO Corp. announces availability of its patient portal solution, ROI Online.
Government and Politics
CMS reports that Medicare and Medicaid EHR programs have paid hospitals and EPs over $5 billion in incentives through the end of April.
ONC extends the public comment period for the Nationwide Health Information Network Condition – Conditions for Trusted Exchange until June 29.
Even CEOs and politicians wish they were rock stars, and you can see why given Jon Bon Jovi’s draw with the ladies at Tuesday’s opening sessions of the sold-out Health Datapalooza in DC (the photo is from the IOM.) The live streaming was of really good quality, so I watched Todd Park speak for a short time before I had to get back to work. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will speak Wednesday morning, with former Senate Majority Bill Frist later in the morning and other speakers and demos in between.
Innovation and Research
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Georgia Tech form a $20 million research partnership that will develop pediatric technologies, including medical devices and healthcare software.
Matt Grob, senior director of enterprise IT planning at The Mount Sinai Medical Center (NY), says he was inspired by recent HIStalk and HIStalk Mobile articles on pagers to write this mHIMSS blog posting that works in a mention of Caddyshack’s Dr. Beeper and the drug dealer/doctor pager connection in adjacent paragraphs.
The Consumer Federation of America says CSC’s Colossus evaluation software, used by insurance companies to classify bodily injuries in auto and homeowner insurance claims, intentionally downgrades injuries and saves the insurers 20% over the evaluation of human adjusters. The group claims the software can be used with other applications that reduce “usual and customary” medical costs. The above description is from CSC’s site.
The company that operates Walmart’s retail medical clinics is piloting in-store telemedicine-based video consultations.
Consumer Reports will publish ratings of Massachusetts physicians in copies of next month’s issue that are distributed to that state.
In Greece, the diabetes association claims that diabetics are at risk because pharmacists have cut off credit to the country’s largest healthcare fund, which owes them $670 million. The health ministry says it can’t pay its debts without more bailouts, leaving patients without the 75% medication subsidy it provides.
A Norwegian foreign exchange student rushed to a California hospital after a rattlesnake bite is billed $144,000, almost all of that the cost of antivenin. The patient, who notes that the same services would be free in Norway, expects insurance to cover most of the costs. Yesterday I opened a bill for recent medical expenses and nearly cried reading the astronomical amount due in the “patient responsible” column. Not to get political, but what do the uninsured and un/underemployed do?
Weird News Andy finds this story to be a mash-up of recent HIStalk ones involving heroic Army nurses and surgeons removing explosives from patients. A helicopter crew of four New Mexico National Guardsmen volunteers to medevac 20-year-old Marine Lance Corporal Winder Perez from the site of a Taliban attack in Afghanistan despite the presence of a live, foot-long rocket-propelled grenade lodged in his leg. They work on the patient in flight, exposing themselves not only to the possibility that the RPG would explode in their faces, but also that it might ignite the helicopter’s 300-gallon jet fuel tank just 18 inches away. They bring their patient safely to a field hospital 65 miles away, where a Navy lieutenant commander nurse and an Army staff sergeant, wearing full combat gear and flak jackets, remove the explosive so the medical teams can get to work. The patient is recovering at Walter Reed. As WNA says, “May God bless these brave people.”
Bizarre: a 31-year-old police officer dies during a sex threesome that doesn’t include his wife. His family sues the cardiologist he had seen the week before for chest pain for medical malpractice, claiming the doctor didn’t advise the man to avoid physical activity. His stress test appointment had been scheduled for the day after he died. The jury awards the family $3 million.
- nVoq will exhibit at the 11th International Congress on Nursing Informatics this month in Montreal.
- DIVURGENT employees raise $5,000 for Miami Children’s Hospital Miracle Network.
- EMC presents World Wide Technology with its Velocity National Partner of the Year Award.
- Macadamian Technologies’ Matt Hately, VP of product Strategy and innovation, will participate in a panel discussion on mHealth opportunities during next month’s 9th Annual Healthcare Unbound Conference in San Francisco.
- Billian’s HealthDATA presents EHR saturation by physician specialty based on CMS’ latest attestation reports.
- PROFIT Magazine names NexJ Systems Canada’s fastest-growing company.
- Christi Clinic (IL) selects eClinicalWorks EHR solution suite for its 150 providers.
- The Advisory Board Company highlights best practices and new technology supporting ACOs at this week’s Health Datapalooza in Washington, DC.
- An Allscripts-sponsored study finds that C-level executives have an positive attitude about value-based purchasing and its impending takeover of traditional fee-for-service reimbursement.