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Extormity backs down

After posting Extormity’s challenge to Dr. David Blumenthal a couple of weeks ago, I neglected to post this follow-up message from the fictional vendor:

Extormity Issues Hasty Retraction

Just 48 hours after challenging National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal to a rumble, behemoth EMR vendor Extormity has issued a retraction.

“It seems that provoking a federal official, even to a thumb wrestling match, is frowned upon by the secret service,” said Extormity CEO Brantley Whittington from his winter retreat in Aspen. “While Extormity is a fictional organization, the threats from the secret service were very real. I was reminded that while the white house crashing Selahis have already enjoyed their fifteen minutes of fame, they and their heirs are now subject to a lifetime of scrutiny from the IRS.”

While Blumenthal should no longer be concerned about a physical confrontation, Extormity is not backing away from its efforts to water down meaningful use criteria.

“I have been informed that challenging Mr. Blumenthal to a dance-off is well within my constitutional rights,” added Whittington. “Tom DeLay has already established precedent here, and both current and former government employees are obligated by federal statute to accept a dancing challenge proffered by natural born United States citizens. Therefore, I am asking Mr. Blumenthal to square off in the salsa, the cha-cha and a traditional waltz – best score gets to make the final call on meaningful use.”

About Extormity

Extormity is an electronic health records mega-corporation dedicated to offering highly proprietary, difficult to customize and prohibitively expensive healthcare IT solutions. Our flagship product, the Extormity EMR Software Suite, was recently voted “Most Complex” by readers of a leading healthcare industry publication.

Learn more at www.extormity.com

Well, the proposed meaningful-use regs came out on Wednesday, and my first impression is that they don’t seem terribly watered-down. I wrote a story for FierceHealthIT earlier today.

December 30, 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.

Here’s the rule for meaningful use

Here’s the CMS proposal for meaningful use: http://www.federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2009-31217_PI.pdf

There is a companion interim final rule related to standards and certification: http://www.federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2009-31216_PI.pdf

There’s a public conference call at 5:15 p.m. EST.
From ONC:

On Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) will announce two regulations that lay a foundation for improving quality, efficiency, and safety through meaningful use of electronic health record (EHR) technology.

The regulations will help implement the EHR incentive programs enacted under the Health Information Technology for Clinical and Economic Health (HITECH) Act, which was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Public comments on both regulations are encouraged.

WHO: David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., national coordinator for health information technology
Jonathan Blum, director, Center for Medicare Management
Cindy Mann, director, Center for Medicaid and State Operations

WHAT: Briefing for HITECH Partners and Stakeholders – Providers, HIT Industry Organizations

WHEN: Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009
5:15 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time

WHERE: Toll-Free Dial: (800) 837-1935
Conference ID: 49047605
Pass Code: HITECH

I Written By

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

ONC, CMS to announce regs this afternoon

I just got word that CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology will announce two regulations on meaningful use in a press briefing to begin at 4:30 p.m. EST. That’s 15 minutes from now.

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 little humor at ONC

While many of us take time off or catch up on work (I’m in the latter category) during this traditionally slow week, people in Washington are putting in long hours to get a definition of “meaningful use” out before the end of the year. I now hear that weary staffers are saying ONC stands for the Office of No Christmas.

December 29, 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.

Extormity throws down

I just received the following e-mail from Extormity:

Electronic health records vendor Extormity, dismayed at the ambitious scope of ARRA meaningful use criteria, is challenging National Coordinator for Health Information Technology David Blumenthal to a “rumble.”

“This call for physical confrontation is an extension of our ‘Whine into Water’ lobbying initiative, where we have joined with other large and inflexible EMR vendors to raise concerns about the difficulty of achieving meaningful use as currently defined,” said Extormity CEO Brantley Whittington. “If enough of us bellyache about these aggressive criteria, we are hoping they will be watered down such that meaningful use is effectively rendered meaningless.”

“However, in the event our campaign is unsuccessful, I would like to engage David Blumenthal in hand-to-hand combat at an upcoming HIT conference,” added Whittington. “Can you imagine what a mano y mano cage match would do for HIMSS attendance? I’m not proposing actual fisticuffs, rather, I suggest we thumb wrestle — best two out of three and the victor gets to set final meaningful use criteria.”

While other EMR vendors are refraining from public comment, an officer at another large HIT organization expressed tacit approval. Speaking on condition of anonymity, this executive was supportive of Extormity’s efforts. “Current criteria will reward nimble, flexible, innovative vendors who are focused on affordable, interoperable, web-based solutions designed to improve patient care. We question the audacity of the government in setting criteria designed to improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs — this callous irresponsibility will punish those of us with expensive client-server solutions that require physicians to abandon established workflows as they implement our hard-to-use applications. The trickle down effect would have a disastrous impact on our economy — if our profits fall, our lavish executive bonuses will be eviscerated and we will have less to spend in the Hamptons.”

Asked if Mr. Blumenthal should be concerned about a potential threat to his physical safety, Whittington was nonplussed. “Since Extormity is a fictional organization developed as a parody of lumbering, expensive and ineffective EHR vendors, and I don’t actually exist, there is no actual hazard. With that said, I know jujitsu.”

I’m not aware of a response by Blumenthal.

December 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.

Bellagio follow-up in ‘Health Affairs’

There’s been a lot of work done in the field of global e-health since the Rockefeller Foundation‘s series of conferences in Bellagio, Italy, in July and August 2008. I had the distinct honor of attending for the third of four weeks, which focused on electronic health records and on mobile healthcare, two subjects that even more up my alley now then they were a year and a half ago.

I’ve had intermittent contact with some of the participants in those conferences since then, most recently at the AMIA annual symposium last month, and I’ve tried to report on progress from those meetings toward applying information technology to addressing health issues in developing countries. A wider audience will get a chance to read more about some of the projects in an upcoming issue of Health Affairs.

From what I understand, in mid-February, Health Affairs will publish nine papers on global e-health issues related to the work done at and as a result of Bellagio. I’m not privy to any further details, though.

December 6, 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.