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Monday Morning Update 9/2/13

August 31, 2013 News 7 Comments

From The PACS Designer: “Re: TPD’s back. Since development efforts on a cloud based ICD-10 solution are winding, down it allows TPD the time to post again. A significant event took place concerning Apple this week which could be of interest to HIStalkers, and that is Apple’s acquisition of software company AlgoTrim. Their software improves access speeds to large file sizes typical  and larger diagnostic imaging studies that are more prevalent than ever in today’s practices. The AlgoTrim Fast Compression Library is the fastest lossless codec (compression) on the market, with speeds four times faster than similar codecs.”

8-31-2013 6-31-11 AM

I’ve been saying for years that companies need to override their lead-happy sales and marketing people and make their advertising material (like white papers and case studies) freely available on the Web without requiring completion of a sign-up form. My survey results back that up all the way. Half of a company’s prospects run for the hills when faced with a form, and another quarter provide phony information to avoid the dreaded follow-up call. Add in the number of people who sign up but don’t return calls and you’ll see the futility of trying to drum up product interest via an intrusive data collection form. New poll to your right: if you routinely attend the HIMSS annual conference, what’s your primary reason?

8-31-2013 9-25-23 AM

Just a reminder: a couple of folks with outstanding credentials will present a free HIStalk Webinar, “The HIPAA Omnibus Rule: What You Should Know and Do as Enforcement Begins” next Tuesday, September 10 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Their presentation is not sponsored – they just stepped up when I asked for volunteers to go over the changes for readers now that the enforcement date is upon us. Thanks to our presenters from The Advisory Board Company: Rebecca Fayed, associate general counsel and privacy officer; and Eric Banks, information security officer. I watched their practice session and it’s meaty and fluff-free in the admirable Advisory Board fashion.

8-31-2013 9-22-31 AM

Financially struggling 68-bed Gila Regional Medical Center (NM), a Stage 6 EMRAM hospital and Meditech customer, eliminates its CIO position after the departure of David Furnas (and most of the executive team) earlier this month.

8-31-2013 7-12-47 AM

Joe Miccio (Divurgent) joins ESD as regional sales VP.

8-31-2013 7-37-57 AM

A Dallas news magazine recounts the fascinating tale of a newly licensed MD-PhD neurosurgeon whose incompetence left several patients maimed or dead while the state’s medical board couldn’t stop him from practicing. Colleagues called the doctor the worst they had every seen and said his skill level was no higher than a first-year resident as he kept inadvertently slicing arteries causing patients to bleed to death, and in one case the OR team had to forcibly remove him from the OR to prevent him from killing his patient. His marketing team and his 4.5 star Healthgrades.com rating brought in plenty of new patients to his loftily named practice, Texas Neurosurgical Institute. Surgeon readers will be horrified by this recap by a peer who had to clean up one of his messes: “He had amputated a nerve root. It was just gone. And in its place is where he had placed the fusion. He’d made multiple screw holes on the left everywhere but where he had needed to be. On the right side, there was a screw through a portion of the S1 nerve root. I couldn’t believe a trained surgeon could do this. He just had no recognition of the proper anatomy. He had no idea what he was doing.” The article blames the situation on malpractice caps, laws that hold hospitals liable for damages only if their intentions are provably malicious, and a nearly powerless medical board charged more with keeping licensure records and counting CE hours than watch-guarding patient safety.

8-31-2013 7-53-57 AM

I’m constantly annoyed by websites (including healthcare IT ones) that tart up worthless “news” stories with catchy headlines, gratuitous graphics, annoying slide shows, and shameless ploys to get more clicks to impress potential advertisers. That’s all I’ll say since I can’t outdo The Onion’s eloquent criticism of CNN’s decision that Miley Cyrus is the most important news in the world, packaged as a phony confession from CNN’s editor, which is summarized as, “All you are to us, and all you will ever be to us, are eyeballs. The more eyeballs on our content, the more cash we can ask for. Period. And if we’re able to get more eyeballs, that means I’ve done my job, which gets me congratulations from my bosses, which encourages me to put up even more stupid bullshit on the homepage … Advertisers, along with you idiots, love videos.” Right now on CNN as some of its top stories: “The best cat video of all time is …”, “What Miley’s saying now”, “Twin baby pandas now fuzzy, cute,” and “Hear painful beauty pageant blunder.” You won’t find any of those stories on the BBC, although it probably gets a lot less traffic in not pandering to the average American reader. In healthcare IT, you get the added bonus of writers who have never worked in healthcare IT trying to explain it to experts or even editorializing about it, which would be like an unathletic sportswriter telling Peyton Manning how to throw a football.

The non-profit Medical Identity Fraud Alliance launches with founding members that include AARP and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. The group says its goals include driving policies, laws, and technology to reduce medical identify fraud.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s botched Epic implementation caused it to lose $55 million in the fiscal year on the operations side, according to its preliminary financial report. The hospital says the Epic implementation “did have a substantial negative impact on fiscal 2013 operating performance through both direct implementation expenses and associated indirect expenses,” causing a $54 million hit due to go-live disruption, deferred operational improvements, and billing problems.

8-31-2013 8-43-42 AM

The US Army is preparing for a major upgrade to its MC4 battlefield EMR that will include a move to Windows 7, replacing Micromedex with Lexicomp, adding a graphical user interface to TC2, and requiring a PKI-E certificate for security.

In England, NHS expects up to 50,000 clinicians to learn the basics of programming under its Code4Health initiative, which hopes to encourage them to develop prototypes that NHS can turn into open source tools. The program is based on the US Code for America program, which encourages government employees to learn programming. Code for America is described above in a TED talk by its founder and CEO.  

A North Carolina comprehensive clinic for the uninsured closes, blaming a loss of funding, the state’s decision not to expand Medicaid coverage, and a loss of productivity caused by its new EHR.

The Federal Trade Commission files a complaint against  Atlanta-based LabMD, claiming that a patient-specific billing worksheet with information on 9,000 of its lab test patients was found on a file-sharing network and later in the hands of identity thieves.

Vince continues his HIS-tory of Cerner, from which I learned where the name originated and how the IPO came about.

Happy Labor Day, especially to those actually laboring on healthcare’s front lines. It may seem like the end of summer, but officially you still have three more weeks to wear those snazzy white shoes and seersucker suits.


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. RE: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

    There have been a number of over budget or poorly done Epic implementations recently that had big impacts on hospital finances and credit ratings. To avoid the hearsay on this, does anyone have stats on the number or percent of Cerner, Epic, MEDITECH, McKesson etc. implementations which are over budget by over 15%, which have impacted a hospital credit rating or which caused a large layoff of clinical staff?

  2. Epic is easy to love…and hate. But love em or hate them you have to admire their marketing a the while saying “Aw shucks….we don’t do marketing”. Case and point. Any quasi negative post that appears here is swiftly followed by an aggressive, persistent , blind loyalty response from one of the Verona “ditto beads”

  3. Every time we hear of a hospital over spending mega millions for Epic, there’s a group in Madison that runs out if the hallways in to a conference room to crack up laughing.

  4. I am with you with being annoyed with all the hype on the web, including the Health IT stuff and debunk some of it when it’s appropriate. I end up chatting at times with mathematicians who create the models that software programmers use and some models are not so hot these days when it comes to marketing and making a buck. I found an NYU professor, who wrote the book “Proofiness, the Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception” who has a lot to say and it is by far the best video, which was given at Google NY headquarters about a year and a half ago. I just thought it was worth a mention here as he goes after a lot of the “stuff” we see out there and brings a bit of honesty back, like there’s no “happiness algorithm” or the “perfect fanny algorithm” and it’s entertaining too.

    He addressed quite a bit on how clinical trial data is presented too and the best line in that area is “the fish was dead”…anyway it’s all about context is the title of the lecture and once you watch and see what he has to say, it will probably turn you into more of a skeptic or at least you might think about asking questions on some of the stuff we see out there. When you get near the end, something outside of healthcare addressed that goes way back to nuclear treaties too and how the US used the wrong “model” when accusing Russia of their nuclear testings and where they did it as it turns out the government used a flawed model against all that recommended they not use it, interesting. Again the healthcare issues he addresses on trials and studies is very good and makes you think a little before buying to some of what you see out there and sometimes it gets difficult to figure out what has merit and what is hype, I agree.


  5. David, let’s see your personal track record of effectiveness trying to help massive organizations through these kinds of changes.

    You’re just another armchair quarterback or posting for AllScripts or something.

    This is really hard work and pompous posters like you don’t help.

    Respect these people for their efforts and often major accomplishments in spite of a few set backs.

    And by the way, ALL hospitals are having financial problems and layoffs. Can we say SEQUESTER? Can you you also accept that automation does in fact eliminate positions (mostly those that are not actually currently filled with a person, and some that are real people drawing a paycheck in support of some antiquated paper process).

    Jeepers … enough already on this. Go grab a beer with Suzy and chill!

  6. Re: Final Rule Webinar. I commend the folks who volunteered to present, and I’m sure the presentation will be excellent. But, if you’re just now getting started, it’s too late — the compliance date is September 23.

  7. @david “Go grab a beer with Suzy and chill!”

    If I see her, I will tell her. And since I am not tired of her, may I join?

    I, and my doctors, continue to be amused at the massive waste of money on over promised and under delivered EHR systems.

    It is worse yet because after all of this expense, time, disruption, and frustration, outcomes are no better and may be worse; and the EHRs are serving as billing machines serving the hospitals and their doctors to extract as many $$$$$$$$$$$$$ as possible from CMS and other payors.

    The crisis is on its way and the best of it is yet to be.

    Congress, wake up and admit you were wrong and cease this madness.

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