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September 3, 2014 Headlines 3 Comments

Task force taps the brakes on interoperability

During Wednesday’s Health IT Policy Committee meeting, members decide that a JASON report on health data interoperability that had been created to guide future policymaking is inadequate and overlooks the pressures on EHR vendors.

Google’s Calico, AbbVie forge deal against diseases of aging

Google’s Calico initiative to extend human life enters into a $500 million research agreement with US drugmaker AbbVie to help create life sciences research facilities in Silicon Valley, and then collaborate on drug development projects. Each business will contribute $250 million initially, with the option of adding an additional $500 million over the lifetime of the partnership. The team will share both costs and profits equally as new drugs are developed and marketed.

Groups press FDA to encourage medical-device registries

Pew Charitable Trusts, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, and the Science Infrastructure Center run by Weill Cornell Medical College are collectively calling on the FDA to create a medical device registry that would be tasked with post-market surveillance and capturing data for long-term research initiatives.

CMS finalizes auto-enrollment process for current Marketplace consumers

CMS publishes a final rule that will provide consumers who purchased their health insurance over an insurance exchange with a simple way of to renewing the plan.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. Policy delays. While developing safe and functional software has to be a priority, why is there so much focus in being “fair” to vendors and delaying policies. HCIT works with extremely large profit margins. Instead of paying execs huge bonuses, and lobbying for delays why isn’t more pressure put on the companies themselves to adequately staff and support efforts to meet deadlines?

  2. Ugh! the gooberment getting involved in HCIT to determine interoperabilty standards. Well, we’ve had those for quite some time. We don’t need the government leaking data everywhere because they insist on a certain “standard”.

  3. @Vermont: “Extremely large” profit margins? Yes, if you look at gross profit margins they seem absurd, but that’s because gross profit margin is almost meaningless in the entire software industry, where 80-90% is average. It’s a metric from the manufacturing industry that really doesn’t translate well into the creation of software. The biggest reason is that the costs of actually developing and testing the software aren’t factored in at all, and that’s most of what a software company actually does.

    The meaningful statistic to look at is the net profit margin, which is how much profit the company actually takes home as a fraction of its revenue. Let’s look at the net profit margins of some of the big players for the last year (those that are publicly available):

    Cerner’s net margin over the past year is around 13%. McKesson and Athena are barely breaking even, at 1% and 0.5% respectively. Allscripts is currently running at an 8% net loss. Even Cerner’s 13%, while very respectable, isn’t outstanding within the software industry – it falls short of the leaders of other software industries (Oracle’s 32%, Microsoft’s 25%, Apple’s 20%, Google’s 18%, etc.) I’m sure Epic’s doing well, but it’s still probably closer to Cerner than Oracle.

    As for adequately staffing, the current unemployment rate for programmers is below 3%, which means it’s considered beyond full employment. The BLS predicts a 23% rise in demand for programmers over the next 10 years. You want companies to hire more programmers? Teach more people how to program so that there are more people to hire.

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