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Health Wonk Review, Boss-town edition

Health Wonk Review is shipping up to Boston this week, over at the Boston Health News blog.

There’s a musical theme to this one, which is why I linked to a Dropkick Murphys video above. They’re from Massachusetts, as are groups such as Boston (obviously), Aerosmith, the Pixies, the Cars, the J. Geils Band, and, yes, NKOTB (formerly New Kids On The Block). Curiously, HWR host Tinker Ready returns to her New Jersey roots to salute Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

My post about an outrageous statement by Epic Systems chief Judy Faulkner makes the cut–albeit under “Spare Parts”–but there’s a long, Boss-like setlist of posts to pique your interest. I particularly recommend the item from Health Care Renewal about the empty digital hospital in Birmingham, Ala., that was supposed to be the jewel in the HealthSouth crown until the feds caught up to Richard Scrushy and his greedy minions.

May 28, 2009 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

More from the BNET blog

My latest post on the BNET Healthcare Blog went up yesterday. Perhaps I should be posting there more than once or twice a month, since that actually comes with a small payment?

In any case, the piece is about health IT consultant Dr. Sam Bierstock of Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Blues Band fame, and his latest brainchild, the “electronic musical record,” a biting parody of electronic medical records.

May 27, 2009 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

A belated thanks

Thanks to Jill Rose, editor of Inside Healthcare, for the shout-out in the May issue. This blog was highlighted in the “Blog Watch” section of the print edition, on page 6. Jill excerpted from my April 7 post on the festering controversy about CCHIT and its relationship to HIMSS. I guess the word “pseudononymous” got some attention, even though I now see the more correct word is “pseudonymous.”

I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Embedded images in mobile messaging

I’ve got an exclusive story at FierceMobileHealthcare today: San Diego-based Globaltel Media is bringing its Alirti messaging system into healthcare, allowing embedded links to medical images in text messages.

The announcement will be made tomorrow, but the full story is at FierceMobileHealthcare right now.

May 26, 2009 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Vendors, this is your wake-up call

I just re-read a BusinessWeek story from about a month ago and was shocked to read the following passage:

Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa., wanted all that when it spent $35 million to purchase and install software from Epic Systems, a large vendor in Verona, Wis. But in June 2005, during a pilot run of a computerized order-entry system at Geisinger’s flagship medical center, errors began appearing at a rate of several a week in the hospital’s psychiatric unit. “The pharmacy would interpret an order as one drug at one dosage, and the patients were ordered the wrong medications at different dosages,” recalls Jean Adams, a nurse in charge of the IT team. Fortunately, astute staffers discovered the problem after a few weeks and began verifying the computer drug orders using the phone. Full implementation of the Epic system was put on hold. Adams says Geisinger traced the trouble to incompatibility between a common pharmacy database and Epic’s system.

Epic CEO Judith Faulkner says the episode at Geisinger, and similar incidents at other hospitals, taught her company that physician orders and pharmacy records cannot use distinct technologies. “It doesn’t work when you mix and match vendors,” Faulkner says. “It has to be one system, or it can be dangerous for patients.”

Am I right in interpreting this to mean that Judy Faulkner believes that the inability to integrate systems is a risk to patient safety? Really?

This shouldn’t have to be a warning to customers that they should only buy from one vendor. This should be a wake-up call to vendors that they had better start cooperating with each other.

As an American taxpayer, I don’t want my money spent on systems that can’t interface and can’t interoperate. That’s not “meaningful use.” It sounds more like blackmail by a vendor.

May 23, 2009 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

UCLA has a Wireless Health Institute?

I got an announcement Thursday that UCLA has named Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., executive director of its Wireless Health Institute. This was news to me, not that the institute had a new director, but that UCLA had a Wireless Health Institute in the first place.

According to the press release, the school set up the institute in 2008. That was news to me. I guess I should be on top of this, given that I’m the editor of the new FierceMobileHealthcare, but it appears that UCLA hasn’t done too much to promote this center, given that the last headline on the home page was from Oct. 31, 2008. Perhaps the appointment of Soon-Shiong, founder and chairman of biotech firm Abraxis BioScience, means the institute will become more active?

May 21, 2009 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Former Per-Se boss to head Eclipsys

Philip M. Pead has been named president and CEO of health IT vendor Eclipsys, replacing the departing R. Andrew Eckert, according to a company press release.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Pead was chairman, president and CEO of Per-Se Technologies until that company was taken over by McKesson in 2007. He’s also been a director of Eclipsys.

Eugene V. Fife remains as chairman of Eclipsys.

According to the company, Eckert is leaving for family reasons. “Eclipsys needs a leader committed to operate from Atlanta and usher the Company through the next phases of its development. Given my family ties to Silicon Valley, it was not realistic for me to continue in my role as CEO. I am pleased that Eclipsys is in the hands of an experienced executive who will help the company continue to achieve its business objectives,” Eckert said in a company statement.

May 15, 2009 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Gorging on Health Wonk Review

Step up to the smorgasbord that’s the latest edition of Health Wonk Review, over at the Workers’ Comp Insider blog.

There’s plenty about the health-industry deal with President Obama to reduce health spending by $2 trillion over a 10-year period, the $10 million extortion attempt with Virginia health records and, of course, swine flu, but it also includes my post on teletrauma care.

May 14, 2009 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Even more ‘Fierce’

As I mentioned earlier this month, I’m writing the new FierceMobileHealthcare, which premiered last week.

I’m particularly proud of this week’s Editor’s Corner, in which I expound on the Hospitals & Health Networks story I wrote about the videoconferencing and telemedicine technology in ambulances in Tucson, Ariz., and Baton Rouge, La. (I blogged about the same thing on Monday, but the Fierce piece adds many details.)

I still think the story belongs in the national, mainstream press. I guess I risk having a staff reporter steal the story, but I’m still the only reporter outside Arizona or Louisiana who’s seen the technology in action. I also have some insights about which other cities are considering systems of their own. Another Arizona municipality has approved a bond issue to build a similar network.

While I continue to shop that story, I’ve also been busy on a prototype issue for yet another FierceMarkets publication, called FierceEMR. If you go to that site now, you can register for a free subscription. I’m awaiting word on the launch date, but it seems like the e-newsletter will debut June 4 and be published on Thursdays.

In a comment on this very blog last week, FierceMarkets COO and Publisher Maurice Bakley explained the rationale behind launching new titles in a crowded marketplace.

Personally, I can think of about 19.2 billion reasons why new health IT publications are popping up and established ones are thriving even as the wider publishing industry tanks.

I’m leaving Friday morning for a wedding in Toronto and will be there through Monday, which is Victoria Day in Canada. Apparently, they do have the Internets (“das Internetz” in German) north of the border, so I’ll try to post while I’m up there, but I’m not going to make any promises.

May 13, 2009 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.

Live video from ambulance to ED

Attention editors of technology and general-interest publications: Hospitals & Health Networks this month has a short InBox item I wrote about live video links from ambulances to emergency departments and trauma centers. Emergency medical services in Tucson, Ariz., and, more recently, Baton Rouge, La., make use of municipal Wi-Fi networks to triage and diagnose trauma cases before patients even arrive.

This is a story I’ve known about for more than a year and a half and only recently, when Baton Rouge turned the first piece of what soon will be a parish-wide system, did any editor, HHN Senior Editor Matthew Weinstock, show interest in this story. All he had the room or budget for was this 450-word InBox item, though.

If you believe the telemedicine experts I interviewed, this kind of technology may become the norm in urban and suburban areas within a few years, and that, IMHO, makes it worth a much longer feature story in a publication that reaches beyond healthcare. There was some MSM coverage of the Baton Rouge launch, but nothing that examined the big picture.

I toured an ambulance and got a live demonstration of the technology when I was in Tucson in February, and have leads on other municipalities that are considering such a system, plus some cities that are using different technologies to achieve the same results. I’ve got photos, too.

Editors, I await your call.

May 11, 2009 I Written By

I'm a freelance healthcare journalist, specializing in health IT, mobile health, healthcare quality, hospital/physician practice management and healthcare finance.