From Velveteen Rabbit: “Re: NYU Langone and Sandy. My cousin is a neuro fellow at NYU Langone. Was in the middle of surgery when all power flickers and then goes out. Closed via flashlight and then patient was transferred to another hospital.” Sounds like an episode of MASH. A backup generator failed at the height of the hurricane, forcing NYU Langone Medical Center to evacuate at least 215 patients to other hospitals. Other facilities forced with forced evacuations include Coney Island Hospital (NY) and Palisades Medical Center (NJ). Numerous hospitals relied on backup generators and many facilities reverted to paper systems when EHR access was lost. Billionaire and Home Depot co-founder Kenneth Langone was an inpatient in the hospital bearing his name (courtesy of his $200 million gift) at the time and had to be evacuated with everybody else. A board member says the hospital knew its generators were old and poorly located; they’re planning to spend $3 billion to upgrade the facility.
From Halsey A. Fredrick: “Re: Allscripts. The Mountain Lakes data center attempted and failed to move to generator power Monday evening. Approximately 50 Sunrise customers were down for at least seven hours, including those hosted at the company’s other data center in New Jersey. Some reportedly came back up overnight, some were still down as of Tuesday morning.” Unverified, but HAF forwarded a purported company e-mail update indicating that power was being restored. As any of us who have run IT during a weather disaster can vouch, backup generators work maybe 50 percent of the time, and that’s assuming you’ve been diligent to test the cutover regularly and have stockpiled an adequate supply of diesel fuel.
From Inspired but Concerned: “Re: Connected Health Symposium in Boston last week. I listened to great speakers and met people with truly great ideas, but few will address the elephants not in the room (i.e., Epic and Cerner). Conferences focusing on eHealth and connected health have a grassroots feel of empowering patients and consumers, but I rarely see big vendors participating unless it’s incognito to get new ideas. Providers are increasingly becoming part of IDNs and ACOs that use those large vendors and their non-open, non-easily integrated systems. Will consumer-based healthcare IT and their innovators suffer against these big vendors and providers?” My cynicism is predictable, but I’ve always said that these conferences and their self-selecting, charged-up evangelists are buying the illusion that patient empowerment is increasing when it’s really not. Few examples exist where customers have convinced big businesses to change their ways, especially when those changes threaten their profits, and I can’t think of even one where it happened when those customers had little buying power discretion and in fact aren’t even paying with their own money. It’s going to take a lot more than some feel-good conferences attended by the same familiar faces and featuring demos of the latest cool app to change healthcare, if in fact it can be changed at all. Healthcare reform may end up making it worse, as the massive consolidation it has triggered means a lot more physicians are now just another cog in a faceless corporate wheel whose bargaining power just went up several notches through market-dominating mergers (Partners Healthcare, which puts on the conference you attended, is a good example of using size and brand name to command high prices). In that regard, their choice of IT systems is way down on my list of concerns.
From BK: “Re: hospice-specific EMRs. What’s a good source of information? Most seem to be focused on the in-home aspect and we’re a 50-bed inpatient unit not affiliated with any major hospital or health system.” I know the names of a few companies that offer hospice EMRs but I’m not familiar with any of them, so I’ll ask readers to jump in.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Online physician communication platform vendor QuantiaMD closes a $12 million expansion round.
Hospice and home health software provider Homecare Homebase lands a $75 million senior secured credit facility to refinance debt and fund a dividend payment to shareholders.
Deloitte Consulting acquires Recombinant Data Corp., a provider of data warehousing and clinical intelligence solutions.
CommVault Systems reports Q2 results: revenue up 21 percent, EPS $0.29 vs. $0.17.
McKesson announces Q2 numbers: revenue up
Relexion Health, developer of interactive software that uses Microsoft’s Kinect system to help physical therapy patients, raises $4.25 million in seed funding.
McKesson says in its earnings conference call that Technology Solutions had flat revenue in Q2, but performed a bit better than expected. The MedVentive acquisition provides a technology asset that will bring other McKesson products together to manage populations, the company says, while its MED3OOO acquisition will allow the company to add capabilities to its market-leading revenue cycle management business. CEO John Hammergren hinted that McKesson might work with athenahealth given that a third recent McKesson acquisition, PSS World Medical, sells athenahealth’s products and appears to still hold some portion of the $96 million worth of ATHN IPO shares (at today’s price) that it acquired in 2007 and partially sold in 2008-2009. Hammergren also said that McKesson has experienced some attrition of its Horizon customers who declined to migrate to Paragon because of functionality shortfalls, but the company is on track to deliver the ambulatory capabilities Paragon users need.
The American Association of Endocrine Surgeons selects ArborMetrix to provide clinical performance analytics for its national clinical outcomes registry.
The hospital board of governors for Fulton County Hospital (MO) approves a $1 million contract for Healthland’s EMR.
Eastern Connecticut Health Network signs a multi-year agreement with MedAssets for its RCM solutions and process improvement consulting services. Also contracting with MedAssets is Sharp HealthCare, which will implement its Spend and Clinical Resource Management solutions, including group purchasing services.
Mountain States Health Alliance (TN) selects Streamline Health Solutions and its OpportunityAnyWare solution for business analytics and automated workflow.
Resurgens Orthopaedics (GA) chooses Merge Honeycomb as its patient image archiving and long-term disaster recovery solution.
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center chooses lifeIMAGE for medical imaging sharing.
InTouch Health, an acute care telemedicine provider, elects Siemens Healthcare exec John Glaser to its board.
AirStrip Technologies adds Todd Cozzens (Sequoia Capital, Picis) and Keith Pitts (Vanguard Health Systems) to its board, with Cozzens named as chairman.
CommVault Systems promotes Brian Carolan to VP/CFO. He replaces Louis Meceli, who was named SVP of finance.
The Dallas Business Journal names T-System CFO Steven J. Armond as CFO of the Year in the technology segment.
SPi Healthcare appoints Brian Mitchell (GE Healthcare) as SVP of sales.
Announcements and Implementations
The Asian Centre for Liver Diseases & Transplantation announces an agreement with UPMC to develop a transplant center in Singapore. The facilities already share medical and technological expertise, including telemedicine and EMR.
Saint Agnes Medical Center (CA) goes live on Cerner.
Document Storage Systems and GetWellNetwork bring two VA hospitals live on GetWellNetwork’s interactive patient system integrated with the VA’s VistA.
IBM partners with the Cleveland Clinic (OH) to enhance the medical knowledge of its Watson supercomputer.
Government and Politics
The Indian Health Service is building a PHR populated with data from existing IHS clinical, administrative, and billing systems.
CMS publishes the final 2014 clinical quality measures for MU reporting.
AHRQ will conduct a 14-month, $800,000 observational study at six Vanderbilt University Medical Center clinics to look at how EHRs affect workflow at various phases of implementation. The work might have had more applicability had AHRQ chosen a more typical site than Vanderbilt, which developed its own ambulatory care model and EHR.
Wells Fargo Securities has updated its list of hospital EHR attestations by vendor. Small-hospital vendors CPSI and Healthland, along with Cerner, top the list of attestations as a percentage of customers. Trailing the pack are GE Healthcare, QuadraMed, NextGen, and McKesson (interestingly, three of those four are publicly traded companies, and QuadraMed was too until it was taken private in 2009). Also interesting: we’ve talked recently about upstart RazorInsights and I see they’re right in mid-pack with 30 percent.
Innovation and Research
A study finds that whole-genome sequencing will cost the US healthcare system $25 billion annually by 2021 even with steadily dropping prices, with the virtual certainty that the cost of those tests and the patient demand for treatment of conditions they suggest will dwarf the relatively small savings they create from earlier treatment of a few specific conditions.
Dale Sanders (SVP of Healthcare Quality Catalyst and also holding senior roles with The Advisory Board Company and Cayman Islands National Health System) develops a HIMSS EMRAM-type model for measuring a hospital’s analytics capabilities. The Healthcare Analytic Adoption Model, he says, is the key to delivering value from the country’s big EMR investments.
Robert Schwab, MD, chief quality officer for two Texas Health Resources hospitals, adds a new Meaningful Use-related verse to his “Go-Live Ballad,” recorded live at the National CXO Summit last week in Dallas.
Cerner CEO Neal Patterson and his wife celebrate his company’s record quarter by buying the $100,000 grand champion market steer at the Junior Premium Livestock Auction in Kansas City.
A Colorado hospital’s lawsuit claims that it hired WebMD Health to evaluate its wellness programs, only to find that the company used its confidential information to launch a competing service.
A Texas woman is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after striking a man in the eye with her high-heeled shoe in a fight among 17 female employees of the Hot Body strip club. The man may lose his eye; the deadly weapon’s condition is unknown.
- Steven Waldren, MD MS, director of the AAFP Center for Health, explores the HIT environment during Care360’s Nov. 14 webinar.
- Access releases case study videos featuring employees from Texas Regional Medical Center (TX) and Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital (CA).
- Billian’s HealthDATA introduces its healthcare sales and marketing portal, which includes over 3,900 data points on more than 40,000 US healthcare facilities.
- Emdeon launches its EDGE solution to detect inaccurate healthcare claims and prevent inaccurate payments.
- TELUS Health Solutions reviews the financial and strategic implications of attestation timing for Stage 2 MU in its fall newsletter.
- The Phoenix Business Journal profiles Desert Ridge Family Practice (AZ) and its effective use of NextGen’s EHR.
- InterSystems recognizes 3M Health Information Systems with its Breakthrough Applications award for the 3M 360 Encompass system.
- Kony Solutions announces that its KonyOne mobile application development platform now supports Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system.
- CIC Advisory launches its new website.
- T-System CEO Sunny Sanyal discusses overcoding and upcoding in the ED in a guest article in a Dallas healthcare publication.