10.29.09

Interesting Survey Results

Posted in Brenda at 10:40 am by livefood

Her’s a link to a very intersting blog posting to ERE.net. The news is good. While not all of the suggested actions will take place imeeidately and certainly will not affect everyone, it’s still very promising.

Good News…It’s Going To Get Better

The promise of full employment is not looking as good. The government has long had a percentage of unemloyment that was aceptable, years ago it was 3%, last I heard it was 6%. It’s the number of people that are inbetween jobs or available for work. The way the government thinks, if you have nobody available you can not grow the economy at a healthy clip. Their way of thinking is that you need a certain number of unemployed folks to grow the economy. If you think about it a bit, if you can not hire you can not grow. The thinking gets dicey when you look at temporary unemployment numbers and the chronically unemployed. We’re quite sure the 3 and 6 number factored in the chronic number (we can hope anyway).

When people don’t want to change jobs (as cn be found in the current climate) and when salaries and benefits are not attracting, it’s pretty hard to grow a business. Set aside the issues of the demand side of the chain.

The recovery from the recession looks to be slow and painful for lots of people. The percentage that the government will settle for in unemployment may be somewhat higher than in the past. I wouldn’t be surprised. I just hope that the 9.5% number that we’re hearing as a number that we will get back too in 2010 is not the number we settle down with.

But, with all the negative we hear on the news, for us to see good short term and hopeful numbers such as in the report is good. We’ll take good.

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10.22.09

Good News for HIT

Posted in Brenda at 8:39 am by livefood

This article in InformationWeek just about lays it out there for all to see:

Why Your Next IT Job Will Be In Healthcare

No doubt that HIT will be a centerpiece for new, and higher paying, jobs in the economic recovery. The question about the source of the employees is still up in the air. We seriously doubt if all of the positions that will be opened can be filled by available US workers. Do we see a clamoring of people trying to retool themsleves for fill future jobs?

Eli Lilly has recently announced their plans to cut back their workforce. If you follow this kind of news very closely, you would also find that althought the plan is to trim their workforce, they are still hiring several thousand people “off shore” in places that they feel are developing markets. They are cutting jobs primarily in developed markets.

Jobs in some sectors are becoming more global in nature and we think we see that very clearly in IT. We suspect we’ll be seeing that even more clearly in HIT soon.

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10.20.09

Too Cheap To Be True?

Posted in Brenda at 10:17 am by livefood

It’s always been a bit hard to swallow the $19 or $20 Billion dollars that was allocated for government backed HIT stimulation. Just a tad too low. The HIT lobby was pushing for something in the order of $75B, so what made folks think it could be had for less than a third of the estimates? So the report comes out from the U.S. Dpeartment of Health and Human Services talking about a number closer to $50B, should we be surprized?

the STORY

It wouldn’t surprise us too much if the number that finally gets spent would be closer to what the industry experts were lobbying for in the first place. For whatever reqson the government has been trying to hunt elephants with a BB gun evidenced by the recent clunker car buy-back program, the payments for which are still not completely paid to the dealerships.

In other unrelated areas, we are seeing a substantially smaller number of third party/H1B shops soliciting our business. While we can’t be sure that it’s not “just us” that is releaved of the email, we are seeing fewer postings on blogs about the irritation of the calls and email from the third party folks, indicating to us that others may be experiencing the same relief as we are. We were getting 30+ calls and emails per day at the beginning of the recession and now only suffer 10 or so.

Like we had suspected we might see, candidates are seeing more “multiple offer” situations now than a year ago, well even a couple of months ago. It’s not quite a candidates market, and even equilibrium is a ways down the road, but at least we’re seeing more movement.

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10.19.09

Funny Stuff

Posted in Brenda at 10:29 am by livefood

This came in through one of the blogs we follow:

BOSS: Are you planning to resign today?

CANDIDATE: Who me (as he tries to figure out who blew the whistle)? NO - Who told you that?

BOSS: You did.

CANDIDATE: What (his face started to heat up) NO I did not!

BOSS: Yes, you did. You called my cell phone over the weekend while you were eating out Saturday and talking to your wife about resigning. It was a 10 minute call - I heard everything.

CANDIDATE: No way!

BOSS: Way. I even heard you when you placed your order.

CANDIDATE: You did not!

BOSS: Yes, I did. You dined at 5 Guys on Saturday about 1:15pm - ordered 2 burgers (one with cheese and one without), 2 Diet Cokes, and you shared an order of fries. I heard the entire conversation (in detail) about how you were planning to resign today.

CANDIDATE: (face glowing red by now) Wow - I guess I did not lock the keyboard on my phone and accidentally dialed your number. Well, ummm I was going to tell you later today.

BOSS: I know - after work was what you said.

GAME OVER. SMOKED!

Luckily, the resignation was the last step in the process. He had recently been interviewing and had a new position, thus the plans to resign.

Around the house, we call the technique which got the gentleman in the embarrassing situation “butt calling” as it frequently occurs when the kids sit on their cell phones they keep in their back pockets.

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10.12.09

Low Profile and Under the Radar

Posted in Brenda at 12:33 pm by livefood

Have you noticed that the talk in the news has shifted to insurance reform and away from access to care issues. Rarely does anyone talk about quality of care issues. For the past few weeks, less and less is mentioned about technology issues as it related to healtcare.

Sometimes flying under the radar is a good thing. So perhaps, that little about HIT is in the news is a good thing. Right about now, Sen. Baucus (D-MT) is probably a bit tired of his name being in lights and he just might wish he was under the radar too.

We’ll know soon enough if there will be the much ballyhooed vote on the Senate healthcare plan and then we’ll see if more information about HIT will start to circulate.

In any event, hiring seems to be picking up. It’s the third quarter and that always helps. We’re seeing a few more poeple throw their hats into the ring. It’s not a circus ring by any stretch, but there is strong hiring going on in the HIT sector. The need for implementation managers has increased. There has been less demand for software specific implementation background and more emphasis placed on project management skills.

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10.08.09

New News From Washington

Posted in Brenda at 11:41 am by livefood

Three related articles that were in the inbox this morning and yesterday. I share them with you without my normal comments.

Health bill would cost $829B, help cover 94 pct

Health Costs: Steeper Still

Wanted: Cash for Hires

*****

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10.05.09

Folks Are Still Worried, But It’s Better

Posted in Brenda at 8:24 am by livefood

On October 2, in her show on Fox News called, “On The Record,” Grenta Van Susteren asked Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) some questions. Now it’s Fox News, it’s television and a Republican is answering the question, but could he be saying what a large silent number of Americans are worried about?

“VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, let me bring you the other question. Taxes for people who make less than $250,000, will they go up with the health care reform bills that are currently proposed?

PENCE: Well, it’s hard to see otherwise. I mean, the House bill, for instance, includes some $800 billion in new taxes, and $500 billion of that represents a surcharge on upper-income Americans, but the remainder of those taxes are taxes on small business owners, fees and fines, and — you know, and that’s obviously going to be passed along to working families.”

There was more to the interview but most of it was so slanted I just couldn’t buy into it, but the segment above rings too true to the worried people be have been listening too. Businesses are afraid of more taxes. Middle cleass Americans are either afraid of new taxes or so confused they are staying silent.

How does this effect HIT? Are you wondering why the government is still trying to define “meaningful use?” If you are still wondering, think politically and the answer is in the question/answers of Ms. Van Susteren. Nobody wants to stick their political necks out there and so they don’t (typically). Until there is some firm decisions that won’t be changed after the money is received by healthcare insititutions (like the rules for the banks changing after the money was sent to them), I think we can all understand why healthcare is hesitant to rush forward into the uncharted waters.

Luckily, we still have a good feeling on employment within the HIT arena. Jobs are beginning to open up in non-EMR types of companies. Of course we are into the third quarter which is typically a busy one, but typical in this year and this economy is anything but typical. Typical or not, I’ll take it.

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10.02.09

Wal-Mart…A HIT Player

Posted in Brenda at 9:36 am by livefood

From HIStalk:

“Here’s a keynote address I would have loved to hear. Ron Galloway spoke at the Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo this week and said that the Wal-Mart’s distribution of eClinicalWorks “is the biggest thing going on in healthcare right now.” Galloway also predicts that between the company’s plan to get its 1.4 million employees’ health record formatted electronically and the projected 22 million patients visiting its EHR-equipped clinics by 2014, Wal-Mart is positioned to be a major force in HIT.”

That’s just a scary proposition. Not only is Wal-Mart crushing the Feds with their “get ur done” mentality, WM is also showing us that when they want to flex their sizable biceps, they can crush more than beer cans. WM is a powerful company. Love them or hate them, one would have to at least give them a nod on this project. I just wish they could see their way to not send their IT off-shore.

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09.28.09

Another Super Commentary

Posted in Brenda at 8:48 am by livefood

I’ve posted here on several occasion that I’m a big fan of HIStalk. I continue to be a fan and read the blog several times a week.

I also read FierceHealthIT. Sometimes I get something from it and sometimes I don’t. When I do get a gem, it’s the “Hope Diamond” of concepts. Today was one of the diamonds, particularly this paragraph:

“All the noise over the summer–and I mean all the noise–has been about the role of government in moving toward the universal insurance coverage. While I certainly believe universal coverage is an admirable goal, the problem with viewing coverage in isolation is that having insurance with fewer exclusions and less chance of rescission just means someone else will pay when you get care, subject, of course, to deductibles and co-payments. It does not mean you will get good care, nor does it mean you will get the appropriate services. It also perpetuates a convoluted system of reactive, sick care rather than promoting a culture of proactive prevention. It may not even change the habits of those who have become conditioned to going to an ER every time their children get a runny nose.” full post

I have not read many of Neil Versel’s pieces before, but found this particular post to be hitting the nuts and bolts of improved healthcare, not just insurance availability (let alone reform) or IT implementation (into an ailing health system) . His poke at preemptive health initiatives is subtle but an important topic that is passed over in the politically charged debate on insurance availability.

Whatever the direction taken in the “big debate,” HIT continues to be a side show in the big tent. But IT is and will continue to be an important component to any solution that the government will come up with. Whether they know it or not, well that’s another story. But they have put up money and the funding has stimulated activity in the HIT sector.

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09.23.09

People Fear This Sort of Thing

Posted in Brenda at 9:57 am by livefood

Every so often one reads about some object being left in a patient during surgery or a person ingests something than is over looked during physicals, but nothing compates to the follow story. The patient in this case was a trained medical professional and had personal experiences regarding his condition from previous situations. For some reason I am reminded of the old adage, “Garbage In - Garbage Out.”

‘A VA inspector’s report finds that the Hampton VA Medical Center misdiagnosed a man’s stroke that left him permanently disabled. The former paramedic told the ED clerk that he was having a stroke and presented with classic symptoms, but was sent home. Also noted was that another patient’s lab result had been posted to his EMR, leading to the incorrect assessment that his labs were OK. The doctor, whose contract was not renewed, had copied and pasted results from another patient. The whole story…

VA hospital ignored vet’s stroke, report finds

I am amazed at how far medical records have come. I’m think that the human error)s_ made in this case should cause some alarms to sound in the EMR world. It is obviously an unusual case, but never the less, it happened and could happen again unless EMR input is correct.

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