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News 8/4/09

August 3, 2009 News No Comments

Todd Park, co-founder and board member of athenahealth, is named CTO of HHS. He will resign from athenahealth’s board on August 10 and will divest his ATHN stock position to meet government service requirements. Park will report to Deputy HHS Secretary William Corr and will start on the job later this month. An athenahealth press release quoted him as saying, “My entire professional career has focused on developing technologies and services that can help our health care system work the way it should. I am extremely excited about the opportunity to help the Administration explore and catalyze new ways to improve the health status of the United States through the power of data, technology, and innovation.”

PracticeOne partners with the Connecticut State Medical Society-IPA to provide e-prescribing solutions to its members with no up-front costs.


Family practice physician Sterling Ransone testifies before the House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Finance and Tax, asking them to consider legislation that would provide loan guarantees for physicians purchasing HIT systems. HR 3014 would guarantee 90% of loans up to $350,000 for individuals and $2 million for group practices, plus allow for a loan repayment deferral period of one to three years. Ransone, who was speaking on behalf of the AAFP, told committee members that without such a program, many family practice physicians would be unable to afford the upfront cost of EHRs.

Allscripts hosted its user conference last week in Orlando. The Allscripts Client Experience (ACE) brought in a  record 2,700 registrants for the event, which combined Allscripts clients and former Misys clients.

Speaking of Allscripts, Merge Healthcare announces that Allscripts has selected its Cedara WebAccess software application to “image enhance” Allscripts EHR solutions. The Cedara WebAccess portal will provide users a zero-footprint method of distributing medical images and reports.

Meanwhile, Merge Healthcare announces net income for $400,000 for the quarter ending June 30th. This compares to a $18.2 million loss during the same period last year. Second quarter 2009 revenues rose more than 15% to $15.4 million.

NextGen’s parent company QSI releases its earnings, which were below analysts’ expectations. The company reported a 21% increase in quarterly revenues compared to the same quarter last year, but net income declined 7%. Quarterly revenues were $66.6 million. Like other companies in this space, QSI says their sales have been impacted by delays in purchase decisions related to ARRA uncertainties.

I bet all these HIT companies are wishing they had some sort of cash for clunkers program that would spur providers to drop billions of dollars in less than a week.


Memphis Health Center and Church Health Center (TN) receive a $290,000 donation for telehealth equipment. The funds come from AmeriChoice, the TennCare branch of United Healthcare Services. Both clinics serve the under- and uninsured.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announces that the Office of Civil Rights is now in charge of the enforcement and administration of HIPAA. Previously HIPAA oversight has been the duty of CMS, but Sebelius believes the change eliminates duplications and increases efficiencies in how privacy is protected.  Remains to be seen if the change will affect much of anything.

Officials from Medicare admit that Arizona senior citizens have been slow to enroll in a federal program that encourages them to store their medical histories on Google, Healthvault, or similar websites. Medicare and the Arizona Health-e connection say that adoption has been less than the estimated three to six percent of consumers nationwide using some type of PHR. Now officials are wondering whether or not to extend the $2.5 million project. One problem seems to be lack of EMR adoption by physicians: if the doctors aren’t using them, why should patients?

Larsen Billing Service, the country’s largest midwifery billing service, selects CollaborateMD to provide its hybrid SaaS practice management and billing software.

MD-IT cements its position as the largest company providing transcription services to physician offices with its acquisition of Transcription Prescription. MD-IT provides medical documentation services and software to 5,500 physicians nationwide.


The Boston Business Journal profiles the open business approach of eClinicalWorks founder and CEO Girish Navani. Long before social networking was hip, Navani encouraged an open and uncensored Internet site for users, which is now used by 5,000 doctors. My favorite quote, “You can go on our social network and write, ‘eClinicalWorks is terrible, the CEO is a moron’ and we say, ‘Thank you very much!’”  Gosh, I’m not nearly that tough, so please don’t post any comments like that on our sites. The article also notes Navani vowed six months ago to add 500 jobs over the next two years, although the company has only added 100 so far.


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