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Podcast: HIMSS CEO Steve Lieber previews HIMSS12

I’m about to head to the airport for my flight to Las Vegas and HIMSS12. As has become customary before each year’s HIMSS conference, I sat down with H. Stephen Lieber, CEO of HIMSS, this past week to discuss the state of health IT and what to expect at the big event.

The timing of this interview was interesting. We spoke Wednesday morning at the new HIMSS office in downtown Chicago, one day after CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner told a gathering of American Medical Association leaders that federal officials were re-examining the Oct. 1, 2013, deadline for adopting ICD-10 coding, and one day before HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made it official that there would be a delay.

Also one day after this interview, HIMSS announced that it has taken over the mHealth Summit from the Foundation of the National Institutes of Health. While Lieber talked extensively about mobile healthcare, he gave no hint that this news was coming.

Meanwhile, the whole health IT universe had been expecting HHS to release its proposed rules for Stage 2 of “meaningful use” of electronic health records this past week. That didn’t happen. Monday is a federal holiday, so I don’t think we will hear anything until at least Tuesday, which, coincidentally, happens to be the first day of the HIMSS conference. As if we don’t have enough to keep us occupied in the next few days.

The recording is a little fuzzy. I’m not really sure what created the echo and the background noise, since we were in a dedicated interview room, one of the nice features at the new HIMSS digs. Radio interference perhaps? That happened to me a couple years ago in the old HIMSS office on East Ohio Street. Just pretend you’re listening on AM radio or something.

Podcast details: Interview with HIMSS CEO Steve Lieber, February 15, 2012. MP3, stereo, 128 kbps, 31.9 MB, running time 34:51.

1:00 Logistics of HIMSS12 in Las Vegas after the venue change
2:00 Why the Venetian-Palazzo-Sands might work better than the Las Vegas Convention Center
2:55 Why the conference starts on Tuesday this year
3:25 Massive scale of the conference
5:25 Return of Cerner and Meditech and some first-time exhibitors
7:45 mHIMSS and HIT X.0
10:15 Twitter co-founder Biz Stone keynoting and the state of social media in healthcare
12:00 Accountable care and realignment of incentives
14:15 What might be in proposed rule for Stage 2 of meaningful use
17:20 Preview of HIMSS survey of hospital readiness for meaningful use
20:30 ICD-10 readiness
25:00 Greater public awareness of health IT but continuing difficulties in communicating the finer points of healthcare reform
27:50 Mobile healthcare
31:25 The growing importance of clinical analytics

February 18, 2012 I Written By

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

AdvancedMD sale to ADP shows new side of EMR consolidation

Here’s an interesting one from the world of mergers and acquisitions: Human resources and payroll services and firm Automatic Data Processing (ADP) announced Tuesday that it has purchased EMR and practice management systems vendor AdvancedMD for an undisclosed sum.

I’d say this is part of the expected consolidation that federally sanctioned certification was supposed to bring to the market, except that ADP’s only experience in healthcare to date has been in providing HR, payroll and benefits management services to approximately 13,500 physician practices. Those are the same types of services ADP offers to any business, so the AdvancedMD purchase represents uncharted territory for the company. ADP now bills itself as “uniquely positioned as an integrated, single-source provider of Medical Practice Optimization,” whatever that means.

Interestingly, I learned at HIMSS last week that at least a couple of new EMR vendors had spent tens thousands of dollars developing systems then getting products certified, but still hadn’t found or even looked very far for customers. They were at HIMSS to find marketing partners.

Right now, the EMR market doesn’t seem to be consolidating into the hands of a few, large vendors, but actually branching out. As of this evening, ONC’s Certified Health IT Products List includes 298 ambulatory systems and 129 inpatient products. That’s greater than 400  total, or about a third more than the last time I looked back in December. The market may actually be expanding faster than it’s consolidating. The ADP acquisition of AdvancedMD represents a different kind of consolidation, one with a company outside healthcare repositioning itself as a health IT vendor.

March 1, 2011 I Written By

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

Welcome to Meaningful HIT News!

Welcome to the latest addition to the Healthcare Scene blog network: Meaningful HIT News with Neil Versel!!

We’re just getting everything set up and ready to go, but shortly you’ll find some of the best healthcare IT content on the web by longtime healthcare IT journalist, Neil Versel.

Check out the other members of the Healthcare Scene network of blogs:

More information coming soon and a proper introduction to the change from Neil!

February 15, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

On a totally unrelated note: Go see ‘City Island’

This post has zero to do with health IT. For that matter, it has nothing to do with any aspect of healthcare. I’m using this space to promote “City Island,” a movie that my aunt, Lauren Versel, produced.

But enough with people in my family. Try these names instead: Andy Garcia and Julianna Margulies. That’s who’s in the movie.

Here’s a description:

“City Island,” written and directed by Raymond De Felitta, stars Andy Garcia, Julianna Margulies, Emily Mortimer, Steven Strait and Alan Arkin. The film opened to rave reviews last weekend in Los Angeles and New York, and is coming to additional locations over the next few weeks.

Winner of the 2009 Heineken Audience Award at the Tribeca film Festival, “City Island” is a warm, smart and hilariously funny comedy about family, truth, lies and dreams. The film has been called a mixture between “Moonstruck” and “Little Miss Sunshine” and has touched, moved and tickled audiences in all of its pre-release screenings. We know that a large audience could enjoy the experience of seeing this movie in theaters.

But in these times of fierce competition for screen space and the country’s economic crunch, it is harder than ever for a truly independent movie like “City Island” to stay open long enough to reach the audience it so richly deserves. Attendance must be incredibly strong on our opening weekend in each of these cities for the film to gain the word-of-mouth momentum it needs to reach the widest audience.

More information, including movie clips and recent TV appearances by the stars, is at

And here’s the trailer:

Here’s where “City Island” is or will be playing at:

West Los Angeles – The Landmark – (Opens – 3/19)
San Francisco – Embarcadero Cinemas – (Opens – 4/2)
Irvine – Westpark – (Opens – 4/2)
Encino – Town Center – (Opens – 4/2)
Pasadena – Playhouse – (Opens – 4/2)
Berkeley – Shattuck Cinemas – (Opens – 4/9)

Denver – Chez Artiste – (Opens – 4/9)

Greenwich – Bow Plaza – (Opens – 4/2)

Miami Beach – South Beach – (Opens – 3/26)

Atlanta – Tara Cinemas – (Opens – 4/9)

Chicago – Century Centre – (Opens – 4/2)

Cambridge – Kendall Square Cinema – (Opens – 4/2)

Edina – Edina 4 Theatres – (Opens – 4/2)

New Jersey
Montclair – Clairidge – (Opens – 4/2)
Tenafly – Tenafly – (Opens – 4/2)
Rocky Hill – Montgomery Center – (Opens – 4/2)
Westfield – Cranford Theatre – (Opens – 4/2)

New York
New York – Angelika Film Center – (Opens – 3/19)
New York – AMC Empire 25 IMAX – (Opens – 3/26)
Bronxville – Bronxville – (Opens – 4/2)
Roslyn – Roslyn – (Opens – 4/2)
Kew Gardens – Kew Gardens Cinemas – (Opens – 4/2)
Malverne – Malverne Twin Cinema – (Opens – 4/2)

Portland – Fox Tower – (Opens – 4/9)

Philadelphia – Ritz At The Bourse – (Opens – 3/26)

Dallas – Angelika Mockingbird – (Opens – 3/26)
Plano – Angelika Film Center & Cafe – (Opens – 4/2)
Houston – Angelika Film Center – (Opens – 4/9)

Seattle – Seven Gables – (Opens – 4/9)

Washington, DC
Washington – E-Street Cinema – (Opens – 4/9)

Toronto – Cumberland 4 – (Opens – 3/26)

If you’re in Chicago, I may be able to get a group rate of $8 (reg. $11) on tickets for Opening Weekend, April 2-4, so let me know if you’re interested.

Thanks for indulging me, and I hope you get a chance to enjoy the movie.

March 23, 2010 I Written By

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

Second-annual HIMSS Blogger/Reader Meet-up

Meet and mingle with healthcare bloggers (including myself) and our readers at the second-annual Blogger/Reader Meet-up at HIMSS’07 in New Orleans. Time and location are still TBD, though I’m guessing it will be Sunday evening, Feb. 25, before the main conference begins. Register your interest and offer suggestions here.

Thanks to Shahid Shah, aka The Healthcare IT Guy, for hosting and administering that page, and for his help in organizing last year’s event.

If you didn’t make it last year, here’s what you missed.

January 30, 2007 I Written By

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

The people speak — to Hillary

There’s a wonderful social experiment happening online right now. Over at Yahoo! Answers, Sen. Hillary Clinton posted the following question yesterday: Based on your own family’s experience, what do you think we should do to improve health care in America?

So far, it’s drawn almost 34,000 responses. From looking at a small sample, cost seems to be the No. 1 issue, not surprisingly. (I’m including complaints and suggestions related to pharma profits and ER abuse in this category.) Access to care also is a popular topic. I’ve seen one person suggest that the country needs more preventive care and another one mention frivolous malpractice lawsuits, but I haven’t seen anything yet about the quality of care. That’s not to say it’s not there, just that I don’t feel like reading 34,000 postings tonight.

Yahoo! will be accepting answers for 11 more days. Check it out for yourself here and let me know your thoughts.

January 25, 2007 I Written By

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

Random thoughts

I’ve been behind the 8-ball for a couple of weeks. In addition to regular assignments, I picked up a new, temporary gig, which meant some early mornings writing the daily FierceHealthcare four times last week, as well as this week’s FierceHealthIT newsletter. If you anything about me, you know that mornings are not my friend.

For what it’s worth, here are the links to last week’s FierceHealthcare issues:
Friday, Jan. 19
Thursday, Jan. 18
Wednesday, Jan. 17
Tuesday, Jan. 16

The big news from last week was the announcement that a coalition led by Allscripts will offer free e-prescribing software to any U.S. physician through what’s being called the National E-Prescribing Patient Safety Initiative. This news caught a lot of people—notably competing e-Rx vendors and some privacy advocates—but it has the potential to light a spark under the healthcare industry. The next few weeks and months ought to be quite interesting.

This week, of course, we had the president’s annual State of the Union address. Here’s an excerpt from the official White House transcript:

My second proposal is to help the states that are coming up with innovative ways to cover the uninsured. States that make basic private health insurance available to all their citizens should receive federal funds to help them provide this coverage to the poor and the sick. I have asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services to work with Congress to take existing federal funds and use them to create “Affordable Choices” grants. These grants would give our nation’s governors more money and more flexibility to get private health insurance to those most in need.

There are many other ways that Congress can help. We need to expand Health Savings Accounts. (Applause.) We need to help small businesses through Association Health Plans. (Applause.) We need to reduce costs and medical errors with better information technology. (Applause.) We will encourage price transparency. And to protect good doctors from junk lawsuits, we passing medical liability reform. (Applause.) In all we do, we must remember that the best health care decisions are made not by government and insurance companies, but by patients and their doctors. (Applause.)

This marks the fourth year in a row that President Bush mentioned health IT in the State of the Union, but I believe this was the first time the line actually drew applause. Does that mean that the new, Democratic-controlled Congress will take action this year? I’ve learned not to hold my breath over anything discussed in Washington, particularly when there is divided government.

Since the speech last night, many a TV pundit has pointed out that Bush said nothing about reconstruction of the Gulf Coast. So I will.

We’re just about a month away from the annual HIMSS conference, and the estimated 25,000 attendees should bring a much-needed infusion of dollars to New Orleans.

This will be my second trip to the area since Hurricane Katrina. As many people know, I toured Louisiana and Mississippi last July to report on the rebuilding of healthcare there. One of the best stories I wrote was for Inside Healthcare Computing, a newsletter with tightly controlled circulation among CIOs and other hospital IT types, so it didn’t get noticed as much as I had hoped. Fortunately, I have permission to re-print the story. Click here.

And finally, A column in the Sacramento Bee by a University of California, Davis, physician questions the value of an EMR, citing lack of interoperability and the potential for fraud. On the latter point, HHS just closed a public comment period on proposed anti-fraud standards for electronic records, so that’s being addressed. As for interoperability, well…

January 24, 2007 I Written By

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

New year, new opportunities

Want to make big bucks in government? HHS still is looking for a deputy national coordinator for health information technology. The job, which pays $109,808 to $165,200 annually, is open until Jan. 22. Click here for details, and be prepared for a thorough background check.

If you do plan on applying for that job, here’s yet another reason why hospitals make mistakes: downright bone-headedness. From the site, Overheard in the Office, comes this gem:

2PM This Is an Ex-Patient!

Receptionist: So we’re going to need to reschedule his appointment, then?
Nurse: No, Mary*, this patient has passed away.
Receptionist: Okay, so then I’ll call him in the morning?
Nurse: You don’t understand. He’s dead.
Receptionist: Well, Dr. Smith* has a slot open for Monday…
Nurse: He’s dead.

Providence Hospital, 5th Street and Colby Avenue
Everett, Washington

via Overheard in the Office, Dec. 29, 2006

Happy new year. May 2007 be filled with more lucid moments than this hospital receptionist provided.

January 2, 2007 I Written By

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

Kodak news on the way

Nearly eight months after Eastman Kodak Co. said it was studying “strategic alternatives” for its Health Group, we finally get something vaguely resembling news on that topic: expect an announcement no later than Feb. 8.

From a Kodak press release:

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Dec. 27 – Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE:EK) today provided details on its previously announced annual strategy meeting with investors scheduled for February 8, 2007 in New York City, and its planned fourth quarter 2006 earnings announcement.

Kodak also indicated that it is making significant progress in completing its study of strategic alternatives for its Health Group, as well as final preparations for launch of its inkjet initiative. The company expects to make public announcements on both programs in early 2007.

“Our intention to meaningfully participate in the inkjet market and our decision to define a new strategic direction for our Health Group are understandably of interest to our investors, and I am mindful of our commitment to provide updates on both of these initiatives by the end of this year,” said Antonio M. Perez, Kodak Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We are pleased with our progress to date and we fully expect to make definitive announcements on both of these important business initiatives on or before February 8.

“As we proceed through the exploration of strategic alternatives for our Health Group, the interests of our customers and employees are of primary focus. As always, we will continue to meet the needs of our customers in the same high-quality fashion that they have come to expect from Kodak,” said Perez.

Reading through the Corporatespeak, that means roughly, “We haven’t forgotten about this.” That’s slightly hard to believe, based on Kodak’s displays at recent vendor expos, which suggested business as usual. Hardly reassuring for potential customers, which probably is why the Health Group went on the block in the first place.

December 27, 2006 I Written By

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

Cleaning out the inbox

I’ve let quite a lot of e-mails pile up the last few weeks, and a few I even had to rescue from Gmail’s spam filter.

In catching up with all the messages, I’ve learned a lot.

For one thing, payer-side software vendor MEDecison (MEDE) went public Dec. 13 at $10 a share, down from previously announced ranges of $14 to $16 and then $11.50 to $13.50. The price fluctuated between $9.04 and $10.24 on the first day of trading on the Nasdaq), but has come back either to or slightly above the $10 IPO level every day until Thursday, when it closed at $9.89 (on extremely low volume). Track the historical prices here, then check out this less-than-glowing assessment from the Motley Fool.

MEDecision certainly seems to be doing better than Merge Healthcare, which adjourned its annual shareholders’ meeting Monday in Milwaukee for lack of a quorum. The company plans on trying again on Dec. 28. I’ve been getting this company’s press releases for a long time, but have never written about Merge before. All I know is that the company was in bankruptcy, is now out, and has combined Merge eFilm, Cedara Software and eMed Technologies into two units, called Merge Healthcare and Merge eMed. They apparently are big in imaging but not in other areas of health IT, and seem to have some Canadian management because the stock is traded on both the Nasdaq (MRGE) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (MRG). Should I be paying attention or not?

Just in time for Christmas (ok, not really, it was published in September), comes a book with the cheery title, “Medicare Meets Mephistopheles,” from Cato Institute scholar David A. Hyman. The Libertarian think tank’s Web site describes the tome thusly: “Medicare’s devilish details demonstrate its success at encouraging the Seven Deadly Sins — Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Greed, Gluttony and Lust — and at undermining the virtues of thrift and honesty.” Former CMS boss Tom Scully has said Medicare is a price-fixing operation, but I don’t believe he ever went all Faustian on us. Personally, I’m curious how Medicare inspires lust. Oh wait, here it is: “Medicare makes Democrats lust for socialized medicine, while its imperviousness to reform makes Republicans angrier and angrier.”

Further to the left on the political spectrum, Joe Trippi, the brains behind the Howard Dean Internet fundraising juggernaut, has joined the Archimedes Movement , the organization founded by former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, M.D., to push progressive (but not single-payer) approaches to healthcare reform. Health IT types may remember Kitzhaber’s inspiring and highly persuasive speeches at the 2006 HIMSS conference last February and the eHealth Initiative’s Health IT Summit in September. Whether his ideas gain any traction in Washington is another story for another day.

(Notice how I avoided saying “conservative” and “liberal” in talking about Cato and Archimedes. I’d never make it as a pundit.)

Also lost in the e-mail pile was the announcement that John Menzer, U.S. vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, has been named to the American Health Information Community. And the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology, which became an independent, nonprofit organization last month, announced that it has received federal authorization and funding to expand ambulatory EHR certification into various medical specialties, as expected.

And finally, here are some results of a survey of readers of the daily e-mail “SmartBrief” from America’s Health Insurance Plans. (I had a bunch of these to catch up with in the last few days.)

In your opinion, which of the following developments was the most significant in 2006?
51% — New Medicare drug benefit program
19% — Consumer-directed plans
13% — Efforts to cover the uninsured
11% — Electronic health care initiatives
6% — Walk-in clinics in retail settings

What health care technology issue will take center stage in 2007?
55% — Electronic health records
19% — Personal health records
11% — E-prescribing
9% — Online visits
6% — Telemedicine

What will generate the most attention from policy-makers in 2007?
47% — Universal health care
24% — Medicare
17% — Health care information technology
5% — Medicaid
4% — Privacy-related legislation
3% — Other

Lastly, I’ve had the great fortune in the last week and a half to interview or chat with four giants in patient safety and/or IT, namely Drs. Don Berwick, Larry Weed, Lucian Leape and Ron Pion (and people wonder why I attend so many conferences). I’ve written a couple of stories already, here and here. Look forward to some interesting stuff in the new year.

December 21, 2006 I Written By

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