Virtual Radiologic announces plans to pay $170 million cash for its top competitor, NightHawk Radiology. Both companies offer remote radiology services for radiology groups and hospitals. Nighthawk holds 22% of the market and Virtual 15%; the combined entity will have 325 radiologists serving 2,700 healthcare facilities.
ONC publishes a list of 20 FAQs to help providers and vendors understand and meet Meaningful Use requirements. Most of the questions address the certification process.
Meanwhile, CMS says it will correct a few inconsistencies in the Meaningful Use final rules and publish more detailed guidance for providers on how to meet quality measures.
Here’s a clinic I’d like to check out. When the Imed Center of Danbury (CT) opens its doors this week, there will be no chart room. Patients will check in and input their medical histories using kiosks in the waiting room. The practice will issue each patient a USB drive that includes his/her personalized information on prescriptions, allergies, and other clinical data. If a patient needs to talk to a doctor after hours, texting or Skype will be among the communication options. And, each exam room includes a flat screen TV so physicians can view scans and other images.
I can’t figure out if this is a good deal or not. ClickFreeMD introduces an “unlimited use, all-inclusive” billing, PM, and EHR software (Ingenix) service and support for a flat monthly fee. Most billing services bill based on a percentage of collections, which definitely motivates the billing company to bring in as much money as possible. However, ClickFreeMD claims their model is simpler and less expensive. I guess I am of the mindset that less expensive is not always “better.”
In case you missed it, we’ve set up HIStalkTV, which features HIT-related videos. We’re still figuring out where to go with the site, but if you have any content that you think readers might enjoy, send it my way.
I had an interesting conversation with a CIO type today. He contends that the only enterprise HIS vendors with solid ambulatory solutions are Epic and Allscripts/Eclipsys. Anyone care to counter his claim? Certainly those two have more ambulatory practice installations than any of the other enterprise vendors.
Practice managers’ salaries are on the rise, at least in the UK. The average income is now about $50,000, or about $55,000 in greater London. Still not quite as good as earnings for US practice managers, where in a small group practice, the median salary is $56,000 and in practices over six physicians, the average is $77,000.
The use of new personal technologies such as cell phones and BlackBerrys is forcing doctors to ask patients new questions about their technology habits. I suppose physicians now have fields in their EMRs for BlackBerry thumb, cell phone elbow, and computer vision syndrome. Here’s a new ailment I had not heard of before: Facebook depression, which results when people replace face-to-face interaction with online friends.
To cure any blogger depression I might have, I’m heading to New Orleans for the MGMA conference next month. Today I took a quick peek at the agenda and noted a few familiar names on the featured speakers list: Malcolm Gladwell, Microsoft’s Bill Crounse, David Blumenthal, and AMA President James Rohack. MGMA has quite a few sessions on information management (where you’ll likely find me), as well as tracks covering practice revenue and cost issues, practice performance, and government affairs. I’m also scheduling time for some of that great New Orleans grub.