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News 12/22/09

December 21, 2009 News 1 Comment

MedLink International joins the ranks of EHR companies offering a guarantee that its “qualified” EHR products will meet meaningful use guidelines, even though though the final guidelines have yet to be published.

I am sure I am not the only one who is ready for the release of the final meaningful use definitions so we stop hearing everyone give an “expert” opinion of what will and won’t be included. Then we will be able to focus on hearing all the “expert” explanations on what it all means. If you are planning to attend HIMSS and aren’t already sick of the topic, there’s a one-day Physicians’ IT Symposium looks pretty good. Hopefully the individual sessions will be more inspired than the symposium’s title: “What it Means to be a Meaningful User.”

CCHIT announces that it has certified a total of 14 products under its Certified 2011 Comprehensive and Preliminary ARRA 2011 programs.


The CIO of the 300-physician Springfield Clinic (IL) claims its Allscripts EMR plus a patient kiosk system netted a $4.5 million ROI in the first year, thanks to staff reductions and reduced transcription costs.

Medical tourism numbers are down almost 30% compared to a couple of years ago. The decline is blamed on the recession, high travel costs, and overall discomfort with the idea of traveling to strange places for care that might not meet US standards.

A market research publisher says the 2009 EMR market will hit $13.8 billion, which is less the market’s full potential. To beef up adoption, vendors and health systems will need to provide additional financial incentives to financially strapped solo and small practice physicians who can’t afford the upfront costs or EMRs.


Karen Pletz, president and CEO of the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, was fired last week with no explanation from the school. During her ten-year tenure, Pletz has been credited with increasing endowments to $70 million and improving medical board passing rates to 100%.

Practice Fusion claims its user base grew 400% in 2009 and now includes more than 25,000 EHR medical professionals.

Practice EMR vendor DoctorsPartner offers the Sushoo independent HIE, free for DoctorsPartner customers or $2,500 upfront and $80 per month otherwise.

OptumHealth, a division of UnitedHealth Group, plans to offer virtual doctor visits nationwide next year. NowClinic will be available for $45, regardless of whether or not a patient is insured. The visit includes a 10-minute appointment with a physician who can file prescriptions, except for controlled substances. Providers will eventually be able to view patient medical histories.


PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute predicts healthcare cost controls as the top health industry issue for 2010. Also in the sector’s forecast: growth in technology and telecommunication; more hospital-employed physicians as providers seek greater stability and electronic connectivity; and greater emphasis on fraud and mistakes.

The Minneapolis paper highlights mPay Gateway, which offers a Web-based healthcare software credit card payment system. The four-year-old company serves 1,500 providers and predicts 2009 revenues of $300,000. mPay Gateway’s biggest distribution partner is Allscripts, which added 700 providers in 2009. We interviewed CEO Brian Beutner a few weeks ago.

practice velocity

The US Patent Office issues a patent to Practice Velocity for it PIVoT urgent care EMR. The company CEO says, “The patent recognizes the uniqueness of PiVoT and this gives the protection of the US Government for the intellectual property rights of Practice Velocity.” Sounds good, though I couldn’t comment on whether the product is truly unique or if the company is simply employing an unusual marketing ploy.

On the rise: business management programs designed specifically for physicians and other clinicians. Doctors can lug their backpacks across campus at such universities as Vanderbilt, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Harvard, and Duke.

death panel

I plan to take a bit of time off over the holiday, so maybe I’ll have time to download this new iPhone app. Death Panel tests users knowledge of healthcare reform in a quiz format. Can’t think of what would be more fun then snuggling in front of the fire with a glass of wine and musing over healthcare policy.



Comments 1
  • The vendors are claiming their EMRs meet “meaningful use” guidelines — it’s kind of funny. Someone can buy the best automobile in the world — let’s say, a Jaguar – and on the first jaunt around the block, put it right into a tree. Meaningful use has very little to do with the product, and a whole lot to do with who’s using it.

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