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November 8, 2012 News 4 Comments

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11-8-2012 5-13-39 PM

Allscripts reports Q3 results: revenue down 1 percent, EPS $0.23 vs. $0.24 excluding special items, missing consensus revenue estimates by 4 percent but beating adjusted EPS estimates by a penny. Earnings were down by more than 50 percent on asset write-downs and slipping margins. CEO Glen Tullman confirms earlier reports that the company is evaluating strategic alternatives, adding that the company will not comment further on the issue and will not issue financial guidance for the next quarter.

Reader Comments

From Curious in Cleveland: “Re: Lyman Sornberger, executive director of revenue cycle management at Cleveland Clinic. Two confidential informants confirm that he’s out – any idea why? I’m a loyal reader and ex-Epic. Judy had me scared stiff to report anything to any blog, so this is a real thrill for me even if you don’t publish it.” Unverified. We’ll see if anyone confirms. I get basically no reports from anyone at Epic, so you’re not alone there.

From Coyote: “Re: McKesson. Half verified – they will acquire Greenway and athenahealth.” Unverified and unlikely given that those are two publicly traded vendors of competing systems with market caps totaling more than $2.5 billion. However, experience has taught me to at least mention even bizarre rumors just in case they happen to come true. If this rumor is accurate, it would easily be the most bizarre. Color me even more skeptical than usual.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

11-5-2012 12-43-17 PM

This week’s HIStalk Practice highlights include: CMS adds a couple of new hardship exemptions for the e-prescribing rule. As more hospitals buy physician practices, facility fees for routine office visits are expected to increase Medicare spending $2 billion a year by 2020. The number of physicians in independent practices is predicted to drop to 36 percent by 2013. Occasional HIStalk  contributor Lyle Berkowitz, MD earns a spot on the list of Top 25 Clinical Informaticists. The most commonly deferred Stage 1 menu objectives by EPs include providing patients with a summary of care at transitions, using EHRs for reminders, and reporting data to public health agencies. NYeHC Executive Director David Whitlinger provides an overview of his organization and its initiatives. Stop by HIStalk Practice to get the latest ambulatory HIT updates, and while you are there, check out a few of our sponsor offerings and sign up for e-mail notifications. Thanks for reading.

On HIStalk Mobile, the talented and knowledgeable Lt. Dan is putting up several news items each day, while Dr. Travis has written an immediately popular post called Where I Would Invest. We don’t want to overload your inbox with the news posts, so you’ll get notification only of Travis’s longer posts if you sign up for updates. Thanks to HIStalk Mobile’s sponsors: 3M, Access, AT&T, Imprivata, Kony Solutions, Truven Health Analytics, Vocera, and White Plume.

11-8-2012 6-47-17 PM

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Clinovations. The advisory practice of the DC-based company targets ambulatory and inpatient provider organizations, non-profits, and federal and state government. Their expertise includes patient safety, quality, and all phases of electronic medical records implementation. I mentioned Pitt County Memorial as one of the North Carolina academic medical centers running Epic and I’ve learned two things about that since yesterday: (a) Clinovations provided go-live support, EMR optimization, and physician engagement services for their implementation; and (b) the hospital changed its name earlier this year to Vidant Medical Center, with the 10-hospital system now going by the name of Vidant Health. I first connected with Clinovations a few weeks ago when I interviewed CEO Trenor Williams, MD, recommended to me by Travis from HIStalk Mobile, who knows him. More than half of the company’s 100 employees are clinicians, Trenor told me. In fact, read the interview to get a feel for how the company works (hint: they’re big on upfront optimization planning, wringing value from EMR implementation, and using data to improve care delivery). Thanks to Clinovations for supporting my work.

On the Jobs Board: Systems Engineer, Epic and Cerner Resources, Senior Certified Epic Analyst, Senior Quality Engineer. HIStalk Platinum Sponsors post their jobs for free, while everybody else watches enviously because they aren’t allowed to post jobs there at all.

11-8-2012 7-41-58 PM

It’s unfortunately unfashionable to divert one’s attention from self-absorbed activities to take a moment to think about members of our military, living and dead, whose sacrifices (ranging from modest to ultimate) provide us with the illusion that the world is full of caring people who wish us no harm. Sunday is Veterans Day, the eleventh day of the eleventh month that is set aside to honor every man and woman who has served this country in uniform. It’s a real shame that most cities don’t bother to have Veterans Day parades any more, but chances are you know a veteran or will see someone in uniform this weekend who would be grateful for nothing more than a nod and a “thanks for your service” instead. If you served, thank you. If not, thank them.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

11-8-2012 5-12-54 PM

Cerner will acquire Anasazi Software, Inc., a provider of behavioral health technology.

11-8-2012 9-04-55 PM

Accretive Health’s Q3 numbers: revenue up 2 percent, EPS $0.03 vs. $0.07. They signed some new revenue cycle management deals despite being run out of Minnesota for harassing ED patients to pay up. Amusing: their AR days jumped from 48 to 56 due to “delayed payments from a few customers.” They must not have strong-armed their own customers like they did those of their hospital clients, although they did take “action relative to the resources that were local in the market and focused on the clients in those areas,” i.e. fired their Minnesota employees once the company got the boot from there.

11-8-2012 9-06-55 PM

A Reuters article says that Merge Healthcare has attracted the interest of at least five private equity firms as it contemplates taking itself private. Named as suitors Thoma Bravo LLC, GTCR LLC, Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe, Francisco Partners, and Avista Capital partners. Sources say the company hopes to have offers by today (Friday).

For-profit hospital operator Vanguard Health Systems announces that it will consolidate its IT operations in San Antonio. They will move to the Inner City Reinvestment/Infill Policy zone, which sounds great for corporate tax credits but lousy for night shift computer operators.


11-8-2012 11-13-52 AM

SAIC subsidiaries maxIT Healthcare and VCS close a combined $102 million in contracts from several North American hospital and clinics.

Summit Radiology Associates (NJ) selects Merge Healthcare’s radiology suite.

The DoD awards Evolvent Technologies a $20.5 million contract to build additional coding, database uses, and mobile applications into AHLTA-Theater.


11-8-2012 7-53-38 AM

Lakeland Regional Health System (FL) names J. Scott Swygert, MD chief quality officer and CMIO.

11-8-2012 2-55-02 PM

Vermont Information Technology Leaders appoints John K. Evans (Strategic Alliance Advisors dba s2a) president and CEO of its statewide HIE.

Announcements and Implementations

Wellmont Health System (TN) will begin file building for its Epic implementation in January and will phase its go-live throughout 2014.

11-8-2012 8-21-12 AM

The 17-provider Reedsburg Physicians Group (WI) goes live next week on GE Centricity EMR.

11-8-2012 9-07-52 PM

Park Nicollet Health Services (MN) goes live with Levi, Ray & Shoup’s VPSX software solution for document and printer management.

RamSoft will integrate MModal’s Speech Understanding technology into its PowerServer RIS/PACS, PACS, and Tele Plus Systems.

Government and Politics

11-8-2012 10-27-38 AM

CMS releases updated reference grids for Stage 1 and 2 MU requirements, including details on how MU objectives align with EHR certification criteria.

HRSA (Health Resources and Service Administration) offers a November 16 Webinar called Patient Charting and Documentation in an Electronic Health Record for Nurses and Allied Health Professionals, with presenters that include practicing nurses.

11-8-2012 9-09-52 PM

El Camino Hospital (CA) considers a legal challenge after voters narrowly pass Measure M, which will limit the pay of its executives to twice the governor’s annual salary, or around $350K. CEO Tomi Ryba, CFO Michael King, and CMO Eric Pifer, MD would all see major pay cuts if the legality of the measure is upheld. Meanwhile, an SEIU-UHW union steward admits that the union proposed the measure only because hospital officials declined to meet with its leadership in last year’s labor negotiation in which the union was unhappy that its members were no longer being offered free healthcare (that perk has since been reinstated).

Innovation and Research

A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine finds that clinical decision support tools in EHRs can help reduce the inappropriate use of antibiotics for acute respiratory infections.

Chicago startup MetisMD offers radiology second opinions for $75 (report review) to $250 (MRI, CT, PET, mammography, nuclear medicine, echocardiograms). Patients get a copy of their study, upload it to the company, and get a written report and a conversation with the radiologist within 1-2 days.


11-8-2012 6-27-29 PM

Healthcare venture capitalist Lisa Suennen says healthcare reform will create business opportunities for companies offering tools that can help manage chronic care and that keep people out of hospitals. She mentions one of her investments, SeeChange, which pays patients if they get annual blood work and agree to follow customized prevention guidelines that are generated from a mash-up of the lab results, personal health record information, and claims data. She says hospitals and insurance companies are vulnerable to marginalization if they are slow to react to the changes:

We are going from fee-for-service to not-quite-fee-for-service, in a pretty broad way, where you are paying fixed amounts for cases. Hospitals don’t know how to deal with that. The profit now will come from being efficient instead of being prolific. So they will need tools and programs and analytics to help them make that transition. The other area is the whole “retailization” of insurance. There is a huge, fundamental shift in the business, as individuals are driven more and more to buy their insurance from exchanges. Insurance companies don’t sell that way. They don’t have good brands from a consumer-satisfaction standpoint; in fact they have some of the worst brands in the world. So organizations that work on consumer brands are coming into the marketplace.

11-8-2012 8-40-18 PM

Motorola Solutions rolls out the HC1 Headset Computer, a self-contained wearable computer with a boom-mounted viewer that simulates a full-sized monitor, a two-way headset, and the ability to respond to voice or head-movement commands. It came out too late for making a fashion statement at AMIA.


Aprima announces that it has settled the lawsuit brought against it by Allscripts, which had claimed that the wording of Aprima’s advertised “MyWay Rescue Upgrade Program” violated state and federal laws. Aprima agreed to changed its advertising, but will continue to market its product to users of the Allscripts MyWay EHR. Allscripts previously announced that MyWay will not be upgraded to handle ICD-10 or Meaningful Use Stage 2, but customers will be offered a free conversion to its Professional product.

11-8-2012 6-39-47 PM

Athenahealth Chairman, CEO, and President Jonathan Bush appeared  on CNBC Thursday morning in a discussion about healthcare reform.

You’re going to get more rules and innovation anyway when the healthcare costs are going up faster than GDP. Everyone is going to force some innovation. In this next stretch, it will come from the government … Medicare first and the commercial health plans are falling nervously behind the tank that is Medicare … If you’re a buyer of healthcare, an employer or consumer, you’re going to see two things. You’re going to see some markets where hospitals rally around and buy up doctors. We’ve seen half the doctors in the country become employed in the last three years in preparation for this. And then jack up commercial rates and say, “I got this huge group of Medicaid rates coming in, I’m going to jack up” … we saw this in Massachusetts, the first state that did this. Commercial rates went up 50 percent for the same coverage over a five-year period just for the commercial side … The hospitals bought all the doctors and said, “You can’t have any of us unless you go up.” There will be others who figure out how to get cheaper. They’ll get more efficient. They won’t need to raise rates. And then the third group will be the ones who go bust … they’re supposed to go bust. Please, no bailouts for the hospitals that go bust.

Here’s a new video on the Texas approach to a statewide HIE that involves 12 local HIEs.

11-8-2012 9-12-22 PM

Heisman winner runner-up and Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck signs his first big endorsement deal … with Riley Hospital for Children.

A new study finds that doctors, like most people, are subconsciously biased against the two-thirds of Americans who are overweight. If you’re obese, your best bet for compassion is to find a fat female doctor, the study results suggest.

FDA urges that providers writing prescriptions write neatly, minimize the use of abbreviations, and consider using e-prescribing instead. The practitioners being addressed are veterinarians.

inga_small This is nuts: genital injuries send 16,000 men and women to the ER each year.

Bizarre: a California couple lose a real estate fraud lawsuit when the husband, the director of pathology and clinical laboratories of Community Regional Medical Centers, admits that he faked the death of his wife, a former National Raisin Queen. The purchaser of their horse ranch, an anesthesiologist, says the couple faked her death to increase the value of their property to $2.3 million. The wife, a former waitress, changed her name from Genevieve Sanders to Genevieve Marie de Montremare and claimed to be a physician and French-born royalty. Their transgressions will cost them $1.55 million.

Sponsor Updates

  • API Healthcare CEO J.P. Fingado offers insight on how the results of the presidential election will affect the healthcare workforce.
  • Prognosis maintains its 100 percent success rate among its eligible clients achieving and attesting for MU.
  • GetWellNetwork launches Transformative Health, an online publication covering the intersection of patient engagement and technology.
  • 3M hosts a Webinar on the critical need to start ICD-10 education now.
  • White Plume offers advice on creating interoperability in preparation for the ICD-10 deadline in a blog post.
  • The IT director and a senior systems analyst from Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital will lead a November 14 Webinar on their use of solutions from Access to create a paperless admissions and bedside consent system, send completed forms automatically to their Meditech system, and maintain electronic registration and clinical activities when the hospital system is down.
  • Shareable Ink hosts a Webinar on preparing anesthesiologists to qualify for MU.
  • An article by T-System VP Greer Contreras highlights the need for physicians to describe their thought process when documenting to help prevent denial of payment.
    Bottomline Technologies publishes a case study that highlights Alamance Regional Medical Center (NC) and the efficiencies it has gained since implementing the Logical Ink e-form solution.
  • The Canadian Health Informatics Society honors Orion Health and eHealth Saskatchewan as Project Implementation Team of the Year for the successful integration of Orion Health’s Clinical Portal with four eHealth Saskatchewan applications.
  • Liaison Healthcare’s Gary Palgon, VP of healthcare solutions, discusses cloud-based solutions for big data during this week’s 12th Annual BMS IT Symposium in Princeton, NJ.
  • Robin Mitchell, MD (WA) shares how her practice has improved patient care by leveraging EMR support services from INHS in a company profile.
  • Ingenious Med becomes one of the most downloaded apps for Android.
  • SAIC subsidiaries maxIT Healthcare and Vitalize Consulting Solutions will exhibit at the NextGen User Group Meeting next week.
  • Fulcrum Methods recognizes new Meaningful Use-EP Tracker users, including Duke  Private Diagnostic Clinics (NC), Greenville Hospital System (SC), Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford (CA), Physicians Medical Group of Santa Cruz County (CA), and University Hospitals-Cleveland (OH).
  • IT staffing company Digital Prospectors Corp ranks #9 on “Top 100 Private Companies for 2012” by Business NH Magazine.
  • Besler Consulting will participate in the HFMA Region 9 conference in New Orleans November 11-13.
  • Carl C. Jaekel of Santa Rosa Consulting offers five ingredients for successful ICD-10 activation in the company’s team blog.
  • Jason Fortin, a senior advisor with Impact Advisors, weighs in on meeting Stage 2 menu objectives.
  • MModal’s chief scientist Juergen Fritsch discusses ways for healthcare organizations to obtain a holistic view of patients’ health in an article published in the Allscripts Newsletter.
  • The latest version of Imprivata’s OneSign technology includes Fade to Look walk-away security for shared workstations, No Click Access for Citrix XenApp, and support for Epic 2012.
  • Florida State University student Bill Blough takes first place and a $1,500 prize in iSirona’s e Code-A-Thon competition.
  • Bottomline Technologies hostted a November 8 Healthcare Customer Insights Exchange to foster collaboration between healthcare organizations using its technology.
  • Wellcentive highlights Borgess Health (MI) and its use of Wellcentive’s Advanced Outcomes Manager solution for population health management and clinical analytics. 

EPtalk  by Dr. Jayne

I worked double shifts in the emergency department this week as a result of another physician defection. In case there’s any question, I can attest to the fact that the front-line physician shortage is very real, especially if patients are on Medicaid or are uninsured. Out of an entire day’s work, only two patients actually belonged in the ED – a child with a laceration and an adult with a fully dislocated finger. There were multiple patients there for medication refills, work notes, and plenty of malingering.

I think stationing a Boy Scout with a first aid kit outside the door of the hospital would have not only have provided great cost savings, but also also would have helped patients learn that many of their conditions could be treated at home with basic first aid training and a little common sense. Until we figure out how to educate patients on these things, we will continue to have unnecessary ED visits.

Other countries seem to do a better job with this. A friend who lives in Germany keeps telling me about the baby nurse that comes to her home to do basic parenting and health education (how to handle fever, why babies are fussy, what to do when your child falls and hits his/her head, etc.) Having something like that here would be fabulous. However, that would require what many interpret as government intrusion and it would certainly require government funding, so I don’t see it happening here anytime soon.

Here are some pearls of wisdom from last night’s adventure:

  • Influenza season is here. If your child has a fever, doping them up on Tylenol and sending them to daycare to infect everyone else is a bad idea.
  • When your child shoves something in her ear, do not try to get it out with a cotton swab. You will jam it in further. What I could have removed quickly and painlessly has now become a procedure that requires us to sedate your child and quadruple your hospital bill. And BTW, please do not call an ambulance for this.
  • Pain in a wrist you broke 10 years ago is not an emergency condition. I will screen you and send you home.
  • Asking me to diagnose a rash that is no longer present is just silly.
  • When you’re a homeless guy who just wants a warm place to hang out and a sandwich, it’s best not to strip naked and sexually harass the nurses and physician. We will call security. But if you keep your clothes on, we’ll board you for a little while.

I did have some downtime in the wee hours of the morning and tried to keep up on the massive stream of social media and correspondence that was flowing my way. One of my Tweeps mentioned that BlackBerry 10 looks “promising.” Unfortunately, the hospital firewall blocked my attempts to read the article. but I did find a blurb on YouTube. Anyone seen it and have good intel? It sounds like it has a slick camera feature that lets you go back in time to modify faces when someone blinks.


Inga’s not-so-secret admirer Dr. Lyle Berkowitz makes Modern Healthcare’s list of Top 25 Clinical Informaticists. Of all the honorees, he’s got one of the best-looking head shots. Being an anonymous blogger, I know I will never make the list, but it’s fun to see lots of HIStalk friends on it.

I ran across another first-hand account of the evacuation of NYU Medical Center, this time from a medical student. It depicts situations which would make great scenarios for your next disaster preparedness drill.

There have been lots of good tweets coming from attendees of the AMIA 2012 Annual Symposium. Lots of thoughtful ponderings on “real” interoperability and what data elements really need to be tracked across disparate care settings. Not a lot of photos, though. If you were there and have some good ones to share or general thoughts about the meeting, feel free to send them along.


Speaking of meetings, the NextGen Annual Users Group Meeting starts Sunday in Orlando. Hope to see some good pics and tweets from readers who are enjoying the warm weather and getting in some quality time with The Mouse.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Mobile.

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. “Re: McKesson. Half verified – they will acquire Greenway and athenahealth.”

    So just in case it comes to fruition, how about a Poll:

    Greenhealth? or athenaway? McGreen? athenaKesson?

  2. RG III was the Heisman winner over Luck but Luck was drafted ahead of RG III.

    [From Mr. H] Thanks … fixed. I knew that, but it just came out from hearing the words “Luck” and “Heisman” together so many times except when it counted.

  3. Speaking as a Stanford guy I am pained to correct Mr H and point out that Andrew Luck (actually deservedly) never won the Heisman but came 2nd TWICE (last 2 years)

    The travesty is that the year before Stanford RB Toby Gerhart clearly deserved to win it but also came 2nd. By the narrowest margin ever.

    Jim Plunkett remains Stanford’s only ever Heisman winner

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Reader Comments

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