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Why Are So Many Big Health IT Companies from Small Cities?

Posted on February 23, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com 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 InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I was reading over something on HIStalk the other day that talked about how many major healthcare IT and EHR companies have come out of small cities. In fact, when you think about the EHR world, there are only a handful of EHR companies that have come out of the tech hub of the world, Silicon Valley, and they’ve all been started within the past 10 years.

In the article HIStalk mentioned the town Malvern, Pennsylvania. I hadn’t even heard of the town, but a look at Wikipedia has Siemens Healthcare, Ricoh Americas, and Cerner as among the companies based in Malvern. I think the Cerner mention in the list must be because Cerner just purchases Siemens Healthcare, so they are now claiming them. However, Cerner is definitely a Kansas City based company. Either way though, Kansas City is not a HUGE city either and certainly hasn’t been the hub of technology (although, I know they have some cool tech things happening now, like most cities).

The healthcare IT behemoth, Epic was founded in Madison, Wisconsin and now has headquarters in Verona, Wisconsin. If you aren’t in healthcare IT, my guess is that you’ve probably never even heard of Verona.

Those are just a few examples and I’m sure there are many more. Why is it that so many of the large healthcare IT companies have come from small cities? Will that trend continue or will large cities like San Francisco, Boston, New York, and LA start to dominate?

I’m a bit of a young buck in this regard. So, I don’t have the answer. Hopefully some of my readers do. I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Is there an advantage to being from a small town when going into healthcare? It’s exciting to me that healthcare innovation can come from anywhere. I hope that trend continues.

Health IT Gets Into the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Posted on August 22, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com 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 InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The ALS ice bucket challenge has finally made its way to heatlhcare IT companies. I’m sure at some point I’ll get tired of seeing these videos, but it hasn’t happened yet. There’s something really enjoyable about watching someone get a bucket of ice water dumped on them. Especially people you wouldn’t expect to do it.

Here are two of the latest Health IT people to take part in the challenge.

Neal Patterson, CEO of Cerner accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Neal challenges John Glaser, CEO of Siemens Health Services, and he accepted

John Glaser has nominated the whole Simens Health Services employees to take the challenge. So, there are more videos to come. What could bring a company together more than all dumping a bucket of ice on each other?

What an amazing effort for ALS too. The ALS site just noted that donations have reached $53 million. I want to see Judy Faulkner take part.

Finding #BlueButton at #HIMSS14

Posted on February 18, 2014 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

I am having trouble believing HIMSS 14 is just a few days away. I am really looking forward to getting out of Georgia’s erratic weather and into Florida’s warmer temps. At least Orlando weather isn’t erratic. Check out the forecast:

weather

While I don’t think I’ll have time to lounge by the pool, I do anticipate having some fun playing tennis with a few #HITchicks early Monday morning. I hope Orlando’s daily rain shower holds off until later that afternoon.

I’m also looking forward to the Siemens Media Breakfast, a Lunch and Learn with ePatient Dave, HISTalkapalooza, the #HITsm tweetup, a session on health information and the Disney experience, the Georgia HIMSS networking reception, and of course the New Media Meetup (where you can meet many of your favorite Healthcarescene.com bloggers).

As I’ve been so focused on Blue Button news lately, I thought I’d see how many HIMSS sessions will be devoted to the topic. A quick search at HIMSSConference.org yields three:

sessions

The last session seems the most consumer-friendly, and right up my alley based on its objective of covering the current state of Blue Button, and its general description:

“Join experts from the from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) in an interactive session to learn more about several major developments in the world of consumer and patient engagement enabled by technology, and how you can participate. This session will cover policy initiatives, standards development, and resources available to members of the private and public sectors from ONC and our many collaborators.”

In other Blue Button news, it appears that “Blue Button healthcare technologies [are] primed to explode in [the] private sector,” according to a brief article at FederalNewsRadio.com. This is basically a rehash of last week’s news that several pharmacy associations and large retailers like Kroger, Walgreens and CVS are working to “standardize their prescription data based on Blue Button policies,” but it serves as a good reminder that Blue Button started out as a VA initiative. Is it just me or does it seem that much of today’s healthcare IT started out via government development or government mandate/incentive?

Feel free to drop me a line if you know of more Blue Button-related activities at HIMSS, or have other interesting events you think I (and my readers) should check out next week.

Highlights from the HFMA #ANI2013 Show Floor

Posted on June 27, 2013 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’ll share a few highlights from the HFMA ANI 2013 exhibit hall this time around. The show floor was fairly busy over the three days it was open to attendees. I do believe this is the first event I’ve attended where the convention center shut the lights off right at the end of exhibit hours on the last day. Talk about a clear message to vacate the premises!

I’ve captured most of my experience via pictures and captions below.

coniferband

Conifer played host to the opening night reception, welcoming attendees with some island tunes that made me want to grab the next flight to Tortola. At their booth, the company once again offered attendees a chance to donate money to select charities. I had fun playing plinko and making a donation to the Red Cross.

siemens

Siemens offered attendees a chance to help make a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project.

relayhealth

RelayHealth was of a similar, charitable mind. I lent my chips to the Giving Comfort cause this time around.

zirmed

The ZirMed team was actively tweeting during the event, so I used that as an excuse to find out more about their recent rebranding. It seems they offer a little bit of everything, “connecting providers, payers and patients to make the business of healthcare faster, clearer and more efficient for everyone,” according to the flyer I picked up.

torture

I forget the name of the company that likened going through a RAC audit to literally being on the rack. This was definitely stop-you-in-your-tracks marketing.

stilts

I just couldn’t resist capturing this conversation for posterity’s sake. Oh, the things you see at trade shows.

racecars

I’m pretty certain this was part of the MedeAnalytics booth, whose team was fitted out in some pretty snazzy racing gear/booth attire.

m2sys

The friendly folks at M2SYS

kforce

Speaking of friendly, the folks at Kforce are always ready to chat about IT staffing solutions, though when I snapped this pic they did look a bit lonesome for their colleagues @Brad_Justus and @BocaHudson.

jvion

The jvion team knows how to have a good time on the show floor. Enticing me with a wig and mic offered the perfect excuse to tell me more about their solutions that focus on “reducing the financial impact and burden of converting to ICD-10, and helping providers protect their revenues from increased financial waste associated with mandated changes and increased payor scrutiny,” according to their website.

ipadrace

I’m sad to say I didn’t take down the name of this company, but I did play the game you see above. Needless to say, I’m sure my four-year-old could probably have done a better job than I did of getting the iPad controlled ball through the maze.

healthport

You can’t go wrong with sweets, and HealthPort took things a step above the typical candy in a bowl. I had the chance to meet with Dawn Crump, HealthPort’s new Vice President of Audit Management Solutions. She seems to really know her stuff, having moved over from the provider world quite recently. She is the first super user HealthPort has ever hired, and it seems as if she has big plans for their products.

cognizant

Cognizant’s booth says it all. Many attendees were looking for ICD-10 and ACO solutions, though as I mentioned last week, value-based care seems to be the next iteration of accountable care.

allscripts

I didn’t make it to the Allscripts booth, but did make a point to visit their coffee stand. If there’s a quick way to my heart, it’s through coffee.

I did make it to the athenahealth booth, and chatted with John Lewis about the company’s ICD-10 conversion guarantee. The company has gotten a fair amount of traction with the offer, and, as Lewis explained to me, it has definitely helped start meaningful conversations with providers.

I also had the opportunity to meet with Mel Tully and Ann Joyal at the Nuance/J.A. Thomas booth. They caught me up on what the companies are doing in the areas of intelligent systems for clinical documentation.

Other exhibitors of note included Health Business Solutions, which showed me their latest patient-facing product. Revel is a mobile application that facilitates patient after-care payment via smart phone.  I would definitely have appreciated something like this right after both of my daughters were born. I was in no mood to take a phone call from the hospital wanting their balance due. I would have much rather received a call or text on my phone that I then could have handled at my convenience.

Healthcare management information systems provider Ormed had some pretty compelling customer testimonials rolling at their booth. It seemed to have a steady stream of folks sit down for their brief presentations throughout each day. Kudos to the presenter who kept each one moving along.

AMN Healthcare caught my eye with its “Use of Social Media and Mobile by Healthcare Professionals” report. Though it’s from 2011, I think many of the statistics are still relevant. I hope to see the third version of this come out in time for ANI 2014.

Will Big EMR Vendors Use Healthcare Standards As A Weapon?

Posted on October 9, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

Standards are a tricky thing. Some times, they bring a technical niche to its senses and promote innovation, and others, they’re well-intentioned academic efforts which gain no ground.  From what I’ve seen over the years, the difference between which standards gain acceptance and which end up in trash bin of history has more to do with politics than technical merit.

But what the EMR industry did neither? From the mind of my crafty colleague John, here’s a scenario to consider.  What if rather than going with an industry-wide standard for interoperability, the big EMR vendors agreed on a standard they’d share and more or less shut out the smaller players?

Yeah, I already hear you asking: “Wouldn’t that be an antitrust violation?”  While I am not and probably never will be a lawyer, my guess is if a bunch of big vendors deliberately, obviously shut the smaller players out, it would be. But standards are so slippery that I bet it’d be a while before anyone outside of our industry saw something funny going on.

Besides, the government is doing everything in its power to get EMR vendors to help providers achieve interoperability. Right now ONC is not getting much cooperation — in fact, I’d characterize the big vendors’ stance as ‘passive aggressive’ at best.  So if Epic, Cerner, Siemens, MEDITECH and their brethren found a way to make their products work together, they might get a gold star rather then an FTC/DoJ slap on the wrist.

Besides, it would be in the interests of the bigger firms to include a few smaller players in their interoperability effort, the ones in the big boys’ sweet spots, and then “oops,” the smaller companies would get acquired and the knowledge would stay home.

Right now, as far as I can tell, it’s Epic versus the rest of the world, and that rest of the EMR world is not minded to play nicely with anyone else either. But if John can imagine a big-EMR-company standards-based coup d’etat happening, rest assured they have as well.

John’s Comment: Since Anne mentions this as my idea, I thought I’d weight in a little bit on the subject. While it’s possible that the big EHR vendors could adopt a different standard and shut out the small EHR vendors, I don’t think that’s likely. Instead of adopting a different standard, I could see the large EHR vendors basically prioritizing the interfaces with the small EHR vendors into oblivion.

In fact, in many ways the big EHR vendors could use the standard as a shield for what they’re doing. They’ll say that they can interface with any EHR vendor because they’re using the widely adopted standard. However, it’s one thing to have the technical capability to exchange healthcare information and a very different thing to actually create the trust relationship between EHR vendors to make the data sharing possible.

Think about it from a large EHR vendor perspective. Why do they want to be bothered with interoperability with 600+ EHR vendors? That’s a lot of work and is something that could actually hurt their business more than it helps.

My hope is that I’m completely wrong with this, but I’ve already seen the large EHR vendors getting together to make data sharing possible. The question is whether they’re sincerely doing this out of a desire to connect as many health records as quickly as possible or whether it is good strategy. My gut feeling is that it’s probably both. It just works out that the first is better to say in public and the second is just a nice result of doing the first.

EMR Job Seekers Get Their Big Break

Posted on January 11, 2012 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

I’m not a big fan of reality shows, especially those that involve contestants singing, telling jokes, dancing, or anything else that could potentially result in public humiliation. I’m in the minority, of course, as this style of television programming shows no sign of abating anytime soon. It’s a worldwide epidemic, in my opinion.

I am a fan of creative marketing – applying concepts traditionally associated with one particular medium (like television) to something entirely different (like healthcare). Needless to say, the Big Break job recruitment program – you could also call them auditions – intrigued me.

In a nutshell, pre-screened candidates take part in a one-day audition process put on by recruitment firm Intellect Resources and participating hospitals. Candidates then compete to become trainers and instruct staff on the use of the sponsoring hospital’s electronic medical record system or related healthcare IT system.

Seems like a slam-dunk concept, in my opinion. Those who are unemployed get a job within their community, and also get a taste of what that popular 15 minutes of fame is like. Did I mention that candidates go through video interviews and public presentations during the daylong process?

I recently chatted with Tiffany Crenshaw, President and CEO of sponsoring organization Intellect Resources, about how the program came about and the impact it has had on its participants’ lives (and go-lives).

How did the Big Break come about?
Tiffany Crenshaw: The Big Break spawned out of a project we were working on at Mt. Sinai Hospital last year. Last fall, they were getting ready for their Epic training and called me in a panic. They were expecting to get 90 to 100 trainers, and were going to use nurses, but realized at the last minute that wasn’t a viable idea. So they called us and said, “We have to do something now – we have no budget and we have no time. And we want to do some sort of done-in-a-day type audition. What can you do?”

So we said this is right up our alley. We created a really cool event – it was at the big Marriott Marquis in Times Square. We had around 500 contestants, and they all went through a timed audition process – stressful for them, but it was still fun.

They had to go through seed interviews and get in front of cameras. They had to get in front of a boardroom of judges and do presentations. At the end of the day, we ended up with 100 trainers that worked at Mt. Sinai to help roll out the hospital’s Epic training and go-live.

So that’s really the model of Big Break. We created it as a solution for Mt. Sinai, and now other folks are getting the word about it. Ochsner Health System is our next one. We’ve got the Big Break event for them in just a couple of weeks (January 21).

Did they reach out to you?
A consultant and dear friend of mine that was actually helping them with their system selection and project planning for their Epic implementation recommended this business model, and brought us in as the vendor to run this product for them. So yes, they did reach out to us, but it was really a consultant that made it happen.

Are you an all-Epic recruiting firm?
At the moment, that’s just about all we’re doing. Through the years, we’ve worked with many other products – with McKesson, Cerner, Siemens. The demand right now is Epic, so by default we’re doing all Epic. That’s just where the demand is, and so that’s where we’re spending our time.

How have you seen this type of program impact sponsoring hospitals and surrounding communities?
We think it’s a business model that works very well for hospitals. It’s a very low-cost way to get good resources. It’s also a good marketing opportunity for them to promote the fact they’re installing an electronic health record to the benefit of their patients, and it’s a great way for them to reinvest in their own community.

At Ochsner, the idea is that this is really for the New Orleans community. They don’t like to hire outside consultants. They really want to empower and revitalize their own community.

Many of the folks that we worked with at Mt. Sinai have gone on to work at other places. Big Break was really their footprint in the door. The end result is that the consultants that come through with really good experiences.  Over 50 percent of them are now working in the industry. Mt. Sinai actually hired four full-time employees. There was a big project up in Rochester, N.Y., that a lot of the people went to after that first project. We redeployed probably 20 of them on several go-lives.

Is there an opportunity for this to work in other cities?
At our very first meeting with Ochsner’s project executive, we talked about the fact that there are several area hospitals in and around New Orleans gearing up for Epic implementations. Our original thought was, let’s do this together, but the go-live timeframes didn’t work.

It would make perfect sense if there were multiple hospitals that could do the event together, do the credentialing together, and then take people from a generic credentialing and deploy them to the individual hospitals to learn the individual builds. I think it’s a model that could be a really good collaboration.

I think one of the neatest things about Big Break is that this industry is so thin on the amount of really good resources that are out there. It’s a great way to breed new talent

Epic, Cerner Best For ACOs? Say What?

Posted on September 29, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not exactly sure what an Accountable Care Organization is. In fact, I’m betting nobody is — there’s a bunch of harrumphing and throat clearing out there, but I haven’t seen any crystal-clear descriptions out there.  Shall we say that ACOs are more honored in the breach than in the observance and leave it at that?

Now, we come to the puzzling part of this piece. If nobody’s managed to define an ACO clearly, how can any particular EMR be a better ACO tool than another?  We’ll have to ask KLAS about this one, since they’re the ones that discovered this “fact.”

Today, KLAS announced that it had interviewed 197 providers at 187 organizations to see how ACOs are forming up. A third of the respondents said that they were pursuing a formal Medicare ACO designation, and the majority were felt ACOs were the future, KLAS reported.

Sure, considering that ACOs are just risk-taking organizations with a capitated feel, some people already have a sense of what to expect. But throw an EMR into the mix and we’re in new territory — hopefully good territory, but new nonetheless.

So, tell me how providers know that Epic and Cerner are the most ACO-ready? Apparently, respondents believe that Cerner already has many of the IT pieces needed to run ACOs; moreover, they say Cerner is working closely with providers interested in the ACO model.

Survey takers also gave a nod to Epic, which they see as being close to ready (though behind in analyics and ability to share data with non-Epic users).

Wait a minute — let me get this straight.  Respondents know Cerner has the right pieces, even though the ACO doesn’t exist yet?  They like Epic, even though it doesn’t share data outside of its walled garden?  KLAS is kidding, right?

At this point, I’ll be kind and say that Epic and Cerner users are a bit brainwashed, which I too might be if I’d spent the kind of money those folks have on an EMR.

But the voice in my suggests that KLAS might have had its finger on the scales just a little bit. I will not publicly state that Allscripts, CPSI, GE Healthcare, McKesson, MEDITECH, QuadraMed and Siemens scored worse because they didn’t pay for play…but something sure isn’t right here.

 

 

 

Late EHR buyers focused on vendor customer service

Posted on February 14, 2011 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

A new user poll suggests that vendor support is more important than ever to providers  searching for EHRs.  New research from the Black Book Rankings concludes that late adopters of EHRs  are especially concerned about finding vendors who will support their products  through implementation.

Researchers surveyed roughly  30,000 medical  records professionals, hospital execs and medical practice administrators, asking them how vendors rated on 18 performance indicators useful  in comparing customer experience.

The study found that:

* CPSI, Healthland Clinicals  and HMS were rated as offering the best customer  experience for hospitals under 100 beds

* Cerner, Dell and Quadramed  got top rankings for community hospitals  of 101-249 beds

* Dell, Epic  and Siemens were rated best  among major medical centers of 250+ beds and academic medical centers

EHR vendors, are you ready to do a  lot of handholding?  If not, it seems you may get edged out by EHR developers who are. Consider yourself warned.

ONC-ATCB Certified EHR Breakdown by EHR Vendor

Posted on December 4, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com 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 InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This is the third post in the series of posts(see the previous ONC-ATCB Certified EHR Breakdown and ONC-ATCB Certified EHR Breakdown by Certifying Body) looking at the EHR certification numbers put together by HITECH Answers. The following is a list of Certified EHR products by vendor:

Top 3 Vendors by number of Products Certified
– Cerner Corporation – 13 products
– Siemens Medical Solutions USA Inc – 9 products
– Epic Systems Corporation – 4 products

I guess these are the EHR software you want to avoid. Ok, that’s partially facetious. Just, can you imagine trying to battle the other 12 certified EHR to get support. Granted, most of them are likely hospital EHR and so there are usually support contracts in place to deal with this kind of thing. Don’t worry though, Allscripts should be on this list soon. I think they have something like 7 EHR software for just ambulatory right now. I guess that’s the nature of acquisitions.

It will be interesting to continue to see this evolve.