This Week’s Health IT Business News
“Now is the winter of our discontent”, goes the opening line of Shakespeare’s Richard III. The last couple of weeks have brought troubling rumblings in the industry. In the first week of February, Twitter hashtag #EHRBacklash first appeared. Read Tom Sulllivan’s article, Is an EHR Backlash Brewing? for the back story on the hashtag. This week Black Book released their survey findings suggesting 2013 will be the year of the big EHR switch with 1 in 6 medical practices changing systems. Lask week the Chief Medical Officer for EHR vendor MedSphere, Edmund Billings, MD, wrote a blog post that got picked up by a number of health IT news media. Dr. Billings writes in Is HIT interoperability in the nature of healthcare? that vendors are in a “prolonged foot-dragging on interoperability and even basic data interfacing,” despite current availability of technical interfaces and open standards. And finally, our own Jim Tate pondered in a recent commentary piece if the EHR bubble has burst.
Despite the negative press, the industry is gearing up for the HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition starting next weekend. We hope to talk to a number of vendors first hand to get their take on where the industry is headed this year.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Health IT technology company iMedicor announced this week two acquisitions, acquiring New York-based consulting firm HITS Consulting Group and ClariDIS Corporation, a data mining and data aggregation business based in Massachusetts. iMedicor CEO Fred Zolla says the two new acquisitions will “significantly strengthen” the company’s Meaningful Use, IT, management, and sales/marketing capabilities, enabling it to “pursue and capture a greatly expanded range of business opportunities in the healthcare communications space.”
The Care Connectivity Consortium and Healtheway announced a new collaboration that will combine the Care Connectivity Consortium’s patient-centered care technology with Healtheway’s network services and eHealth Exchange. “Access to complete, integrated health information improves care through better informed decisions,” said Jamie Ferguson, vice president, Health IT Strategy and Policy at Kaiser Permanente, one of the Care Connectivity Consortium’s five founding organizations. Healtheway, the non-profit, public-private partnership that operationally supports the eHealth Exchange. “We’re at a pivotal moment in the progression of health information exchange,” said Mariann Yeager , Healtheway’s interim executive director. “We believe this partnership is the push we need to make interoperability work on a national scale.”
Nashville-based ICA and Futrix Health of Portland, Ore., Tuesday announced a strategic partnership that will couple the analytics strengths of both companies to improve measurement, analysis and data benchmarking capabilities for payers, ACOs and providers.Terms of the deal were not disclosed. “Futrix Health brings significant power and sophistication in analytics to the broad payer and provider market,” Gary Zegiestowsky, ICA president and CEO, said in a release. “This partnership between our two companies will bring the needed clinical data liquidity to Futrix Health’s portfolio of products and will enhance ICA’s offering to payers, ACOs and providers.
Clinical documentation and speech understanding solutions company M*Modal has announced an agreement with Intermountain Healthcare to jointly develop mobile technology application for speech-enabled Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE). The mobile app will enable physicians and hospital staff to conversationally order patient medication and other medical functions using iPhones, iPad and other mobile digital devices.
EHR vendor Henry Schein has introduced its beta version of Dentrix® Ascend, a cloud-based practice management system designed for single and multi-site dental practices. With final release expected later this year, the beta version provides dentists a preview of how the EHR will integrate into their workflow.
Healthcare mobile technology company AirStrip will implement its new product, AirStrip ONE™ , at San Franciso-based Dignity Health, a healthcare system with more than 300 facilities in 17 states. According to the company’s press release, AirStrip ONE “enables more timely and collaborative clinical decision-making, and allows health systems to better track critical quality metrics, empower a mobile workforce, expand their networks, and ultimately achieve true clinical transformation..” AirStrip ONE will first be deployed at Dignity Health, a San Francisco-based health system with more than 300 care sites in 17 states, working together to co-develop AirStrip ONE uses in the primary care setting. The first implementations in the Phoenix area including at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center where it will be integrated with Dignity Health’s house-wide Cerner system and Allscripts ambulatory system.
Speaking of Phoenix and Allscripts, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, ranked as one of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals has added Allscripts Sunrise product suites. “Allscripts open platform as a springboard for innovation will offer us the flexibility to develop the clinical initiatives that are important to our pediatric population,” said David Higginson , CIO, Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “Having a single, integrated view of every patient will enable us to provide better patient care for our community.”
The Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (MAeHC), a non-profit pioneer and leader in healthcare delivery through health information technology, announced it has been selected by the New Hampshire Health Information Organization (NHHIO) to provide Executive Director Management services for the implementation of the statewide Health Information Exchange (HIE). The NHHIO, a non-profit organization created by New Hampshire legislation in 2011 to establish a statewide electronic health network for healthcare providers, selected MAeHC to help them lead the State’s HIE initiatives. NHHIO also selected Orion Health as the technical vendor to provide the HIE technology backbone and solutions that will enable statewide clinical data sharing.
eHealth Technologies and Client Outlook Inc. announced availability of eHealthViewer® ZF, an image viewing platform giving access to any external diagnostic quality image. According to the press release the eHealthViewer® ZF is a web-based, zero footprint image viewing platform that allows any user to view diagnostic quality medical images securely, with a single click from their existing workflow.
The CHIME/HIMSS John E. Gall, Jr. CIO of the Year has been awarded to James Turnbull of the University of Utah Health Care. Turnbull’s career spans 37 years. Prior to joining UUHC, Turnbull served as senior vice president and CIO at the Children’s Hospital in Denver from 2000 to 2007, and senior vice president and CIO at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida from 1993 to 2000. CHIME and HIMSS give the award each year to honor and recognize healthcare IT executives who have made “significant contributions to their organization and demonstrated innovative leadership through effective use of technology,” The award is named after John E. Gall, Jr. who pioneered implementation of the first fully integrated medical information system in the world at California’s El Camino Hospital in the 1960s.
Cloud-based EHR Vendor Kareo has announced that Tom Giannulli, MD, MS has joined the company as Chief Medical Information Officer. As a member of the company’s executive leadership team, Dr. Giannulli oversees the company’s clinical and mobile technology strategies, including the newly launched Kareo Electronic Health Record (EHR).
Nancy Ham, former president and CEO of MedVentive, has been named CEO of Medicity, an Aetna subsidiary that provides health information exchange technology.