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News 4/28/09

April 27, 2009 News 1 Comment

From Practice management guy: "Re: pitching products in the age of ARRA. While it’s true that providers are heavily focused on EMR right now, they are also more worried than ever with declining reimbursements and the growing trend for higher deductibles and bigger co-pays. As a practice management vendor, we are seeing practices ask for for more tools to manage the patient A/R, especially on the front end. To be competitive, vendors need to have an option to verify insurance up front and on the fly. The tools must also calculate the expected patient responsible portion. Welcome to the world of consumer-driven healthcare!"

From Eve: "Re: Medzio. It’s actually A.D.A.M., Inc. (www.adam.com) who launched the Medzio Health Network and Medzio iPhone application. A.D.A.M.’s development team developed the application, built the partner network, and submitted the app for approval in App Store. The participating partners – LIVESTRONG.com, Health 2.0, HelloHealth, etc. were recruited by A.D.A.M. to build out the Medzio Health Network." Got it.

Hopefully Fujitsu’s new EMR is more user-friendly than its name. Fujitsu’s new HOPE/EGMAIN-GX V2 is the company’s latest EMR software release, presumably designed to run on Fujitsu’s mobile devices. Good luck trying to find out more information on the software because we couldn’t find any details on Fujitsu’s website, nor anywhere else (at least any places that were written in English).


In an article highlighting the use of EMR in Tennessee’s Tri-city region, the president and founder of Holston Medical Group claims EMR saves his practice saves over $800,000 a year in transcription costs. Dr. Jerry Miller led the transition to EMR 13 years ago and claims the conversion took a lot of work and expense, but was worth it.

The burnout rate among surgeons ranges from 30 to 38% and stems from such factors as enormous workloads, family life stress, and grief over unsatisfactory outcomes. Younger surgeons and female surgeons are especially at risk.


Thanks to the Internet, information on swine flu is spreading faster than the actual disease.The CDC is tweeting updates (twitter.com/cdcemergency) and posting podcasts. The WHO and HHS are also providing regular updates that include the number of confirmed cases by state. If you are a visual  person, try the Google Maps site that displays confirmed outbreaks by location. Or, if you prefer your data aggregated from multiple sources, Healthmap is your best bet.

Clearinghouse vendor Navicure releases a new software version that includes such features as denials management, aging analysis, and interactive graphs.

Forbes profiles Steve Schelhammer, a former teacher and yearbook salesman who formed disease management company Accordant Health Services, sold it for $100 million, and is now CEO of Phytel, which analyzes EMR data to find non-compliant patients and sends them messages asking them to schedule a visit. Practices pay for the service, but benefit from increased visits.

The AHRQ contracts with Rand Corporation to develop a toolset for implementing e-prescribing. The goal is to boost e-prescribing adoption rates by providing physicians a how-to guide, including advice on the most appropriate workflows.The estimated cost of the project is $120,000.

Scriptnetics, the makers of Medscribbler Open Source EMR software, has met the Microsoft Platform Test requirements for SQL Server 2005. Scriptnetics claims that Medscribbler Open Source was the first EMR to be designed for the handwriting capabilities of the Tablet PC. The software looks to be a "lite" EMR; that is, it doesn’t have all the features of a full EMR and is limited to two clinicians and two administrative people in a single practice. However, Scriptnetics also offers a "Pro" and "Enterprise" version of the software, which presumably you can upgrade to if you outgrow the free version. It’s probably not a bad model for Scriptnetics, assuming the free version is decent enough to earn a doctor’s loyalty. And, it’s likely an attractive alternative for clinicians on a shoe-string budget, especially if the top concern is automation and not necessarily qualifying for ARRA funds.


Thinking of Miami brings up images of beautiful beaches, cool architecture, exotic foods, and Medicare fraud. Case in point: a recent HHS study finds that south Florida is home to only 2% of the the nation’s Medicare beneficiaries, yet accounts for 17% of the Medicare’s total spending on inhalation drugs. The government blames fraud. Also noted in this article from the local paper is the story of a dermatologist who wrote $620,000 in false prescriptions for expensive inhalation drugs. A local pharmacy paid the doctor a $100 kickback per prescription. These are probably not the kind of things the visitor’s bureau talks much about.

SRSsoft announces that the 23-provider group OrthoNeuro (OH) is installing the SRS hybrid EMR solution. OrthoNeuro’s CEO is quoted as saying that a "CCHIT-certified EMR would drastically interfere" with their high-volume practice. SRS is taking a strong anti-CCHIT stance and it will be interesting to see how their strategy plays out. Also interesting: Evan Steele, the company’s CEO (and occasional poster to HIStalk and HIStalkPractice) recently mentioned on his blog that he has been nominated to the HIT Standards Committee, the group charged with defining the EHR certification criteria. Hope he makes it because it would be fun to see if he is able to mix things up a bit.

E-mail Inga.

Comments 1
  • Regarding Evan Steele’s blog, he said he was NOMINATED to the Health IT Standards Committee, not that he was named to it! Anyone could nominate anyone during the nomination period. The members of the HITSC have not yet been announced.

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