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GE Announces $250 Million Healthcare VC Fund

GE has announced a new VC fund for healthcare to the tune of $250 million. They’re calling it the GE Healthymagination Fund. I wonder how long it took them to come up with that name. Here’s some more details on what areas the VC fund will target:

The formation of the fund is part of GE’s $6 billion Healthymagination initiative, a global commitment to deliver better healthcare to more people at lower cost. The fund will target three broad areas for investment:

-Broad-based Diagnostics, including imaging, home health, patient monitoring, molecular diagnostics, pathology, novel imaging agents and other technologies for disease diagnosis.
-Healthcare Information Technology, including electronic medical records, clinical information systems, healthcare information exchanges and value-added data services.
-Life Sciences, including tools for research and development in biopharmaceuticals and stem cells, and technologies for manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals and vaccines.

The fund will draw on capabilities from across GE Healthcare, GE Capital and GE Global Research, and will have a global footprint.

No doubt GE has a ton of capital available to them. One thing that I find interesting is how GE will balance the funds goals of investing in high quality products and the challenge of funding something that might compete with an existing GE product. I think the EMR example is a simple and good one. Will GE fund an EMR that competes with Centricity EMR. This is nothing new for large corporations, but is definitely a challenge they’ll face.

One thing is certain. There are a lot of really great opportunities to invest in the healthcare space right now.

Thanks to Shahid for pointing this out.

October 29, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

HIT Policy Committee Confronts Meaningful Use and Specialists

Goverment Health IT summarized some of the discussion that happened today at the HIT policy committee meeting which focused on the challenge of applying meaningful use across all of the various specialty groups in healthcare. Here’s some excerpts from the article:

The Health IT Policy Committee today confronted the problem of how to craft a manageable set of requirements for the “meaningful use” of health IT across an industry where specialties and new practice variations are common – and where one policy may not fit all.

Those measures were geared for what is normally a patient’s first encounter with the health system: the primary care physician. But many specialists – who do not treat a wide range of diseases and conditions – may not be able to comply with all the current 2011 [meaningful use] requirements.

“Not all objectives and measures are appropriate for all eligible professionals,” said Paul Tang, vice chairman of the Committee and chief medical information officer at Palo Alto Foundation.

As a result, the committee must decide which of the 25 meaningful use measures should apply to specialists so they still can qualify for 2011 incentive payments – and which requirements to delay introducing til 2013 and 2015.

“I don’t think it was understood that we weren’t intending to have all the measures apply to all specialists,” said Dr. David Blumenthal, the national health IT coordinator.

Unfortunately, I think this discussion has just begun and is going to get more complicated as we go. I know of a number of cases where the MU requirements just don’t make sense to a specialist. However, the challenge will be to have a set of requirements that aren’t so complex that it takes a specialist to be able to understand how the meaningful use requirements apply across the spectrum of doctors in healthcare.

What are your thoughts on how they should apply meaningful use effectively?

October 27, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

The ARRA EMR Staffing Challenge

I came across a really interesting take on the challenge of ensuring that there are enough qualified EMR staff. Here’s a portion of the blog post:

What happens to you when you call asking to buy an EMR, and have it implemented by 2010?

-Will you be told that the vendor doesn’t have the resources, and that you’ll have to wait?
-Or will the vendor sell the EMR, and worry about the implementation later?
-And if the latter is the case, what will that vendor do to get you implemented?

Most vendors know they will have to hire new employees to fill the need for this bolus of implementations that they know is coming–and they also know that these employees will be new, green and inexperienced. Perhaps yours might even be their first implementation. Yes, they may have “supervision” from a more experienced implementer in the organization, but the bottom line is that they will de facto have less experience than they might otherwise.

Not a good thing…but it gets worse.

Now ask yourself where will these new EMR implementation experts come from?

Some will be young staff, perhaps fresh from college looking for their first job. Others may be transitioning from other industries (perhaps even with some implementation experience outside of healthcare). Others might be clinicians looking to transition to IT.

But all of these folks lack the healthcare IT expertise that will be critical to a successful EMR implementation.

It would be ideal if a vendor could hire experienced EMR implementation folks, but where would such individuals be found?

Hospitals, physician groups & practices – why, perhaps even your staff!

You should go and read the rest of the blog post for an interesting discussion of how you can retain your qualified EMR and HIT staff despite the high demand for such qualified people.

If you find this subject interesting, you should also go and check out this take on the regional extension centers timeframes to support EMR implementations and also this really interesting take on the EMR training backlog.

October 26, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Impact of HIPAA 5010 and ICD-10 Data Conversions

Today’s guest post is from Tony Lavinio, the principle software architect behind Progress DataDirect’s XML Converters and an expert on data exchange. Understanding the integration and data compliance pains experienced by healthcare organizations, Tony and DataDirect have developed a HIPAA toolkit to help Healthcare IT developers alleviate some of the challenges they’re facing with HIPAA 4010 and 5010 and ICD-10 projects.

The government has allocated healthcare providers over $36 billion of ARRA stimulus money to help the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and in support of Health Information Exchanges (HIEs). Healthcare providers that coordinate EHR clinical information with administrative data will streamline their health records administration. Those organizations that implement a single, unified IT infrastructure to handle both EHR and administrative data will gain a significant cost saving and, ultimately, improve the quality of patient care.

However, to unify IT infrastructure healthcare providers face the estimated $14 billion challenge of complying with new coding standards. These standards set forth by the United States Department of Health and Human Services on Jan. 15, 2009 specify that X12 Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) transaction definitions for version 5010 – used in conjunction with HIPAA transactions, which are exclusively administrative data transactions – must be completed by January 2013. The new standards also require healthcare providers to comply with an International Classification of Diseases (ICD) standard update, from ICD-9 to ICD-10 by October 2013. The close relationship between HIPAA transaction sets that can directly refer to ICD-9 or ICD-10 codes have health industry IT professionals on the ropes.

The HIPAA 4010 to 5010 upgrade is a positive evolutionary change, improving the efficiency of healthcare data transactions. The ICD-9 to ICD-10 change is much more radical. ICD-9 list was first developed over 30 years ago and over that time has become deeply embedded into systems. Making the ICD-9 to ICD-10 transitions even more difficult is that the list for ICD-10 code updates is approximately 10× the length as ICD-9, with generally no 1:1 mappings between them. Sometimes there are a series of codes, sometimes there are alternatives that will take external information, and sometimes there are no direct alternatives. Healthcare IT professionals must figure out a way to accommodate changes in data when it has been moved, and overcome the fact that new data must be extracted from new sources to augment the legacy data.

With so much data to convert, Healthcare IT professionals struggle to find a logical starting place. Progress DataDirect has given Healthcare IT professionals a way to jump-start their EDI transaction definitions version 5010 and ICD-9 to ICD-10 data conversion projects with the company’s HIPAA/ICD Upgrade Toolkit.  Though each healthcare application is different and will need tweaking, using the examples provided in the Toolkit will make it far easier than starting from scratch. Some of what you’ll find in the starter-kit includes:

  • XQuery source for upgrading each of the 10 transaction sets from the HIPAA 4010 to equivalent 5010 version
  • 50 sample 4010 files to use with the above
  • ICD-9 to ICD-10 maps
  • A sample tool to compare the changes between ICD-9 codes and their closest ICD-10 analogs with HTML output
  • An XQuery program which will read a HIPAA file containing ICD-9 codes and report on any potential conversion troubles with ICD-10
  • An XQuery program to read a HIPAA EDI file and covert it from 4010 to 5010 and from ICD-9 to ICD-10  simultaneously

How it works is DataDirect XML Converters make EDI behave like XML. Then a small XQuery program, which is really good at rearranging XML, is able to transform thousands of EDI and flat-file formats to XML and back with little or no development time or expense or major re-architecting. For more information on transforming data in HIPAA 4010 X12 files and translating ICD-9 codes visit DataDirect’s Blog.

October 23, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

EMR Selection Services

It seems like everyone is trying to get in on the EMR selection game. At the end of the game, I think this is actually a really good thing. I’m all about lots of competition which drives people to provide better service and quality at a lower cost.

The latest entrant I’ve seen to this arena seems to be basically an EHR Selection Consultant group. It’s being run through the wholly-owned subsidiary of the American Academy of Family Physicians, TransforMED.

There are three consulting paths that they offer as follows:

EHR Prep-Select is a 10-step project that is further broken down into nearly 40 individual assignments. The program includes four hours of consulting with an experienced industry expert and provides access to a Web portal that contains electronic worksheets, templates, surveys and tables designed to streamline the process of capturing, analyzing and disseminating EHR project data between internal staff and EHR vendors.

EHR Prep-Select “Plus” provides additional consulting time to help supplement the internal resources required to complete a full EHR selection project, and the Prep-Select “Premier” offers consulting from start to finish.

No doubt there’s a need for doctors to have some help in selecting from the 300+ EMR vendors that exist out there. The problem today is that doctors need to hire a consultant to tell them which EMR consultants are good and which ones are smoke and mirrors. For example, I find the above program interesting, but I have no clue how good it really is.

If I were starting the EMR selection process today, I’d go and check out EMR Consultant first. Hard to get better than a free service.

October 21, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Cerner and CDW Join Forces to Sell EHR

The things going on in the EMR industry right now are really quite amazing. First, we hear about the Walmart EMR and then Dell comes out with a Dell EMR. Then, Dell acquires Perot Systems to add to their portfolio of services and software. That’s a lot of big name companies joining in on the EMR fun.

Now it’s been announced that Cerner and CDW are joining forces to Sell EHR and “offer a single touchpoint for EHR adoption.” Here’s a portion of the email I received:

Beginning November 1, CDW Healthcare will offer Cerner Corporation’s ambulatory EHR solutions to physician practices. The collaboration, which marks the first time the complete suite of Cerner ambulatory solutions for physician practices will be available through a national channel partner, will provide practice managers with a single touchpoint for hardware and software procurement, technology expertise, solutions guidance, and deployment services.

It’s an interesting partnership to have a hardware vendor join with a software vendor like this. I guess CDW also sells software, but usually it’s off the shelf mass market software. At the end of the day this is all about more sales channels for Cerner.

The most important question is which big company will be the next one trying to cash in on EMR software?

October 20, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

EMR Consultants – Tell Us Your Story

It seems like the more people that I talk to, the more I realize that everyone seems to have a story about EMR consultants. So, let’s hear all of your stories good and bad with EMR consultants. Is there a reason you’ve chosen not to use an EMR consultant? Are you considering using one in the future? Do you pay your consultant or does the EMR company pay for them? Let us know your thoughts.

October 16, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

iPhone and iTouch Front End for Hospital EMR Systems

I recently got a note from someone who is working on a rather interesting project. They’re basically creating a standard front end for a hospital’s EMR systems. I think the concept is really interesting and could be really cool to see put in practice. Here’s a note from one of the company founders about what they’re doing.

Contineo (Latin meaning “To bring together”) — is designed to be a back-end agnostic client. Our goal is to wrap all medical information systems into a single client. This means providing access to Nurse Call, Patient Monitoring, Results and even EVS (Environmental) and ordering systems (Such as food ordering).

Additionally, we have integrated messaging features (IM) that allow for staff to communicate with one-another and are working on a range of other elements that really focus on providing the best tool of a clinician to access and interact with medical systems and data.

We do this through our client server architecture where the server is integrated with the varied medical systems through standard APIs. We are working to identify key systems that are standards based and develop modules to connect to them.

Any HL7 or XML based backend can be integrated with.

Currently, we have a proof of concept with a major hospital in Silicon Valley, where we are connecting to a Microsoft Amalga system – and providing the same front-end client that is seen in this Medsphere post.

We are working with clinicians to define workflows that are of value to them – this includes things such as medication administration. The client has an integrated barcode scanner which allows for med/patient verification and the logging of the actual admin of a drug. This encounter scenario can be used in a number of workflows; e.g. Verify order, take action, confirm action completed.

This can be pushed back into the EHR via a standard HL-7 message. In the case of an Amalga implementation – the data could be pushed to both the EMR and Amalga

We are seeking input and feedback and are really looking for more hospitals that would be interested in a POC and potential Pilot.

As you can see they’re looking for hospitals to pilot their product. You can contact Contineo on the Contact page of their website. Otherwise, leave a comment and I’m sure they’ll be watching there as well.

I told them they needed to do the same type of interface for ambulatory EMR. Could be really interesting to see that type of integration with the iPhone.

October 13, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs Deadlines for Interoperability

Government Health IT ran an interesting article talking about the Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs deadline for interoperability of electronic health records. Here’s a short section of the article:

For Navy Capt. Michael Weiner, acting deputy program officer of the Defense Health Information Management System, the two departments have met the relevant interoperability criteria, which were set by the Interagency Clinical Informatics Board, he said.

These included making DoD inpatient discharge notes available to the VA; increasing the number of electronic gateways deployed between the two systems; enhancing the sharing of social history; creating the ability to view scanned documents between systems; and making available DoD periodic health assessments and separation physicals to the VA.

“These were the agreed upon metrics and measures of success and we have achieved them all,” Weiner, told Government Health IT.

However, Rear Adm. Gregory Timberlake, the now retired head of the IPO, committed earlier this year to the complete and computable interoperability of six categories of data by September 30. Not all of these are now shareable in computable form, Weiner acknowledged.

Those six classes of data–for prescriptions, laboratory results, radiology results, and physician, nursing, and therapist notes–were to augment the exchange of drug interaction and allergy information for shared DoD/VA patients previously available. Lab results and radiology results are still not shareable in computable format, according to Weiner.

Of course, we should applaud those who are working on interoperability of EHR software. However, this is a small example of the complexity that’s involved in trying to make healthcare data interoperable. If two organizations that are so closely tied as the DoD and VA are having a challenge sharing their EHR records, imagine what it’s going to be like in the private sector.

October 9, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.

850,000 Doctors Possibly Hit By Data Breach from a BlueCross BlueShield’s Stolen Laptop

Another example of a lost laptop storing sensitive information:

A file containing identifying information for every physician in the country contracted with a Blues-affiliated insurance plan was on a laptop computer stolen from a BlueCross BlueShield Assn. employee. It is not yet known whether any identity theft has resulted from the data breach.

The file included the name, address, tax identification number and national provider identifier number for about 850,000 doctors, Jeff Smokler, spokesman for the Chicago-based Blues association, said Oct. 6. That number represents every physician who is part of the BlueCard network, which allows Blues members to access networks in other states, Smokler said.

Some 16% to 22% of those physicians listed — as many as 187,000 — used their Social Security numbers as a tax ID or NPI number, Smokler said.

The association updates its file of BlueCard network physicians weekly, Smokler said. An unidentified employee downloaded the unencrypted file onto his personal computer to work on it at home, a practice that is against company policy, he said.

“We are re-evaluating that protocol and how we prevent this from happening again,” Smokler said.

This is why we’ve required and checked that our EMR software doesn’t store any PHI on our computers. It’s all stored on the server.

October 8, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus. Healthcare Scene can be found on Google+ as well.