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ONC Releases HIE Toolkit For Rural Healthcare

Posted on March 18, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

The ONC has released a new toolkit designed to help rural healthcare players such as rural hospitals, critical access hospitals, clinics and state offices of rural health to participate in HIEs, iHealthBeat reports.

Here’s a summary of what the toolkit contains, courtesy of iHealthBeat:

The toolkit release follows on ONC head Farzad Mostashari’s announcement that this will be the year providers are pushed hard to go for interoperability.

Expect to see more efforts of this kind as ONC nobly soldiers along, suffering from a trimmed budget due to sequestration, attempting to close the gaps vendors seem loathe to close.

Yes, as Mostashari notes in an interview with HealthcareITNews, Meaningful Use Stage 2 pushes the vendors a long way toward interoperability:

Vendors are really going to have to step up to the plate in terms of being able to achieve the Stage 2 expectations for true vendor-to-vendor coded, clinical structured, documents being able to have kind of ubiquitous protocols with security in place. That’s a big step for the industry and meaningful use Stage 2 sets the tempo and expectations for that.

But vendors have proved amazingly agile at wiggling out of interoperability promises to date. Let’s see if MU Stage 2 finally breaks the deadlock.

Top HIS Vendors By 2011 Revenue: Cerner Corp. (CERN)

Posted on April 23, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Today it’s back to our countdown of the top five HIS vendors, with data courtesy of HealthDataManagement magazine. Today we’re focusing on Cerner, which according to the magazine’s calculations ranks second for HIS sales, edged out only by McKesson.

Cerner claims to be the top EMR vendor in the U.S., despite competitor McKesson’s much larger size, since McKesson is in so many other lines of business. As with McKesson, we’re going to share a very quick overview of Cerner’s position in the overall HIS market, which as noted previously embraces not only clinical tools like EMRs, but also HIM, revenue cycle and access tools.

Cerner holds a very tasty 18 percent of the HIS market, by HDM consultants’ calculations. More interesting, to this audience at least, is that it’s gotten there with a big helping hand from its suite of EMR products. Here’s more to chew on, below.

-Anne

Cerner Corp. (CERN)
2800 Rockcreek Parkway
North Kansas City, MO 64117
Phone: 816-221-1024

Products:  For the purposes of this discussion, let’s just be cute and say “everything HIT.”  That includes its popular Millennium suite of EMR products which are really seeing a big uptake in community hospitals, especially its remote hosted solutions.

2011 HIS Revenue: $2.2 billion

2010 Revenue: $1.85 billion

Summary:  From 2010 to 2011, Cerner’s  HIS revenue grew by 20 percent as Millenium sales yielded annual revenues of $2.2 billion.  Cerner’s overall profit margin for last year was, wait for it, just about 14 percent — and over the last 52 weeks its stock is up 34.3 percent. Yeah, yeah, I’ve been an editor for 20 years but now I know I’m in the wrong business.

Interesting facts:  Cerner has a strong international presence, from Belgium to Bangladesh, the Middle East and South America. Also, it now is offering “Community Works” to Critical Access Hospitals under 25 beds (a move your editor wouldn’t have expected given the predictably high cost of solutions from a company that size).

Hospitals Slowly Moving Toward Stage 1 of Meaningful Use

Posted on February 18, 2012 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

A new report from HIMSS Analytics concludes that the inevitable is happening, but slowly. According to researchers, who reported their findings in December 2011, virtually all categories of hospitals are showing greater ability to achieve Meaningful Use Stage 1, including:

*  Academic medical centers

*  General med/surg hospitals

*  Hospitals with 400 to 499 licensed beds

*  Hospitals with 500+ licensed beds

*  Urban  hospitals

*  Multi-hospitals

*  Hospitals already at Stage 5, 6 and 7 on the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model (EMRAM)

According to HIMSS researchers, hospitals in the seven categories above are moving faster than their peers when it comes to IT adoption.  Hospitals at the high end of EMRAM are moving up more quickly, as well.  As hospitals geared up to meet Stage 1, researchers say, the number of hospitals at stages 6 and 7 of EMRAM is growing as well.

As we’ve previously noted here, however, calling this a success would be looking at the nearly empty glass as half-full.  Even HIMSS admits that only five percent of hospitals have achieved Stage 6 of the EMRAM model (give or take) and just 1.2 percent are at EMRAM Stage 7.

There is at least a little bit of good news.  Of the 585 hospitals surveyed by HIMSS,  about half are ready, most likely to be ready or somewhat likely to be ready to collect incentive payments this year.

The hospitals that reported being “somewhat likely” had achieved at least two menu items, and between five and nine of the core items needed to qualify for incentives.

But  hospitals with less than 100 beds — generally rural, critical access hospitals — are not doing even as well as their peers. Only 20 percent told HIMSS that they were ready or most likely to meet Stage One goals.

By the way, the HIMSS research included one discomfiting side note, on security. Of the 585 hospitals that weighed in, just 25 percent said that they protected EHR data by conducting and reviewing a security risk analysis, doing needed suricty updfates and correcting security deficiencies. Oops — there goes compliance witih 45 CFT 164.308 (a) (1), the relevant HIPAA security rule. But that’s a tale for a different blog item, isn’t it, folks?

Which Health IT and EHR Vendors Should Critical Access Hospitals Consider?

Posted on September 27, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The number of health IT and EHR enterprise options available to critical access hospitals is increasing as competition for new hospital contracts moves downstream to smaller facilities. The following is a brief (not all-inclusive) list of health IT and EHR vendors that could be ideal fits for critical access and small, rural hospitals:

  • CPSI: Has done a good job of proving clinical adoption and leads with the most critical access hospital clients doing CPOE.
  • Healthland: Solid system with proven operational capability. Clients give the EMR high marks for usability.
  • HMS: Reinvesting heavily in improving clinical functionality and UI, including a partnership with MEDHOST for strong ED capability.
  • McKesson: Paragon is being considered more often in the critical access space. Has significant sales momentum in larger community hospitals, with some IDN wins.
  • Meditech: Already has a huge client base in larger community hospitals. Small organizations with resources are considering v.6.
  • NextGen: Gets little notice despite having an inpatient offering that is completely integrated with their successful outpatient EMR. Already have a number of clients. Has solid functionality.
  • Prognosis: Exciting new entrant. Applies remote-hosting technology to a single-database inpatient solution for small, rural facilities and critical access hospitals. Already has several clients.

These health IT and EMR vendors represent a mix of those who have caught the attention of smaller facilities, those who represent a new and intriguing competitive advantage, and those who have proven able to deliver products in a small hospital environment.

See also our list of hospital EMR and EHR vendors.

Chris O’Neal is Managing Partner at KATALUS Advisors. KATALUS Advisors is a strategic consulting firm focused on the healthcare vertical. We serve healthcare technology vendors, hospitals, and private equity groups in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Our services span growth strategies in new and existing markets, M&A due diligence, market analysis, and advisory services. www.KATALUSadvisors.com

Small HIT Grant May Make Big Difference For Rural Hospitals

Posted on September 12, 2011 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

Really, what can you do with a $12 million dollars IT budget? Perhaps it could launch one solid EMR at a mid-sized hospital, but it’s not likely to stretch much beyond that in suburbia.

Fortunately, the economics of IT are different in the hinterland. It looks like the $12 million HHS plans to dole out to rural hospitals may have a real impact on their efforts to adopt EMRs and meet Stage 1 Meaningful Use requirements.

Under the HHS program, which was developed as part of the president’s Rural Health Initiative, about 40 organizations will get about $300,000 each in health IT funding. The grants will help rural hospitals to buy technology, install broadband networks and pay for training.

The Obama administration is also offering loans to more than 1,300 rural, critical access hospitals to buy health IT, notably systems designed to raise the quality of care, according to Information Week.

OK, now you’re going to see my prejudices on display. So here goes.

Everything I read and see suggests that rural hospitals can make great use of EMRs and other forms of high-level health IT. So, if it were up to me, the feds would spend far more helping critical access hospitals get up to speed than paying off community hospitals to do what they have to do anyway.

Not only does health IT help rural systematize care, it also lays the foundation for creating effective HIEs.

And in my book, rural facilities need help with HIEs far more than suburban hospitals. After all, if anything, rural hospitals operate on even slimmer margins than their urban/suburban peers.

I’d like to see more projects like this one, in which two rural hospitals got together to share the costs of their Meditech EMR launch. But that kind of partnership is something that won’t happen every day, as such a match requires a unique level of compatibility.

If they invest in rural hospitals, though, the feds could do much to foster such partnerships. I hope to see them do so!