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January 7, 2009 News 1 Comment


Doctors in Hawaii will soon be making virtual house calls to patients via America Well’s Web service. Hawaii Medical Service Association, the state’s BCBS provider, will make the service available to everyone in the state. Members pay $10; non-members $45. That’s a good deal for the uninsured, impatient, or busy patient. Not so helpful for the poor and/or elderly who don’t have ready access to a computer and Internet access.

Alabama Medicaid tests a Web-based EMR that gives physicians access to a patient’s prescription information and past doctor visits. So far, 59 sites are using the free service that is part of a $7.6 million project funded with federal dollars.

A California doctor finds a profitable business niche by helping immigrants from India and China give birth to sons, which are culturally preferred over daughters. Instead of the female infanticide sometimes used in those countries, the doctor employs "pre-implantation genetic diagnosis," identifying the sex of fertilized embryos before implanting them. Couples pay up to $18,000 to make sure their child isn’t a girl, which the doctor says is ethical since Canadians prefer girls.

INTEGRIS Health extends its deployment of Allscripts Care Management from two hospitals and 74 physicians to all 13 of its Oklahoma facilities. Allscripts also announces the sale of its Enterprise EHR to the 85 physicians at Medical Specialists of Palm Beaches. Medical Specialists is a longtime user of the Misys Tiger program, which will be integrated with the EHR.

Healthcare IT stocks fell Tuesday after a stock analyst’s prediction that any vendor benefit from the proposed Obama economic stimulus plan won’t show up on their bottom lines for at least 12-18 months. He downgraded shares of Cerner, athenahealth, Allscripts, and Quality Systems. The analyst believes that healthcare IT funding will not exceed $10 billion and much of that will be used for non-EMR purposes, such as infrastructure and a national health network.


Robert Sexton MD, a neonatologist and Vietnam veteran in his 50s, rejoins the Army and heads off to Iraq after a 38-year break, following his sons into the military as a major. "I figured we have less than 1 percent of the American people in the service, and some of those people are going to need a break sometime – and that’s what I aim to do. I’m still physically fit. I thought I could make a contribution."

Children’s National Medical Center (DC) selects eClinicalWorks EMR/PM solution to connect its employed pediatricians to the medical center. Children’s is also implementing eClinicalWorks Electronic Health eXchange to create a community health record. The eCW software will interface with the hospital’s Cerner applications, as well as the Sage Intergy EMR application used at other sites.

The 12 physicians at Horizon Gynecology & Obstetric Associates (GA) choose Sage Intergy PM/EHR. The group has been a Sage client for more than 20 years.

Summa Health Network (OH) offers free software to help physicians participate in P4P programs. Using MDdatacor’s CareInformatix technology, physicians will have access to Web-based software to collect clinical data from various information systems. Clinical data will then be compared with claims-based data. The clinical data will be used to support P4P initiatives.

Whitney M. Young Jr. Health Services (NY) commits to the purchase of a Cerner system following the receipt of a NY Department of Health grant. The community health center is receiving $897,000 from the state.

PracticeOne hires Scott Lentz as CFO. He was previously CFO of Picis.


Physicians at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (Germany) military hospital master Dragon Medical speech recognition software to document patient medical records. The champion physicians claim the software is faster, more detailed, and more accurate than transcribing. Because of the success, the surgeon general’s office has purchased 10,000 copies of the Dragon Medical software and is distributing it across 42 facilities worldwide.


A Stanford attending physician pushes students and residents to spend less time in front of the monitor charting and examining test results and more time refining their beside, hands-on patient skills. "In short, bedside skills have plummeted in inverse proportion to the available technology," claims Dr. Abraham Verghese.

Physicians are adopting smartphones at a faster rate than the general public, according to a Manhattan Research study. Doctors are incorporating smartphones into their care routines to access drug information, medical calendars, and EMRs. Currently 54% of physicians own a PDA or smartphone, compared to about 20% of physicians using EMRs. Mr. H uses a BlackBerry Bold and Inga an iPhone. As smartphone experts (ahem), we predict the EMR market will boom when applications work as easily as the ones on our phones.

The University of Kentucky’s faculty practice plan implements a charge capture solution from MedAptus.

The Australian Medical Association opposes a physician code of conduct that would prohibit having sex with patients, writing phony sick notes for patients, and turning in incompetent peers, saying it would be a "lawyers’ picnic."

Inga has been a fan of Dr. Sanjay Gupta for awhile, so she is happy to see he is getting a promotion to U.S. surgeon general. Who else recalls that he was once featured as one of People magazine’s “Sexiest Men Alive”?

Is this a sign of the times? A 13-physician cardiology group sells its practice to Concord Hospital (NH,) making it the fifth practice to sell to the hospital in the last two years. The practice’s managing partner said the practice needed to buy an EMR to stay current and the hospital is covering the $250,000 cost. Economic pressures also influenced the transaction.

Earlier this week we published an "HIT Moment" with Mark Anderson, HIT futurist and CEO of AC Group, Inc. If you have suggestions for future interviews, drop us a note. Self-nominations will be accepted.


A retired Washington physician publishes a new book entitled, “The Best of Wits End: Medical Humor at its Brainiest.” The 81-year old Dr. Harold Ellner compiled 450 pages’ worth of jokes that he collected over the years wile writing a medical humor column for a national physician magazine. Available at Amazon.

E-mail Mr. HIStalk.
E-mail Inga.

Comments 1
  • Re: Sanjay Gupta—although I don’t think it’s official yet, I, too, hope he gets and takes the job AND keeps his beautiful face and demeanor on tv. He can make the most complicated story easily understood.

    Re: HISTalk Practice–here, here! It’s high time there was more focus on ambulatory settings. However, rather than see who bought what (although that can be interesting) EMR software, I think I’ll lose interest afterwhile if it’s not intermingled with some good “how to”, best practices, how we tackled the latest CMS or other health plan nonsense mandate, etc. Practices have precious little time to have meetings which discuss and plan how to become a PCMH designated home, or qualify for PQRI so any help will be appreciated.

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