Day: November 16, 2005

Survey Reveals Hospital CEO Concerns and Priorities

The technology wish lists included in the HIMSS Leadership Survey is a vendor's wet dream - so many things, and so many CIOs want to buy them! Of course reality strikes back by figure 12, "barriers to adoption." Here we learn the biggest barrier is a "lack of financial support" - insufficient funds. To better learn what's top of mind for hospital CEOs, check out Deloitte's Outlook from the Perspective of Hospital CEO's (press release, study highlights). Here are some choice excerpts: Reluctance to Close Unprofitable Product Lines: Hospital bottom lines are being helped by some product lines and hurt by others, yet there is a tremendous gap between the percentage of CEOs who report a product line as unprofitable and the percentage willing to close it. Radiology services, laboratory testing, ambulatory surgery, outpatient therapy, orthopedics, cardiac care, and rehabilitation were cited by a majority of CEOs as being profitable. By contrast, some services, such as emergency room care, pediatrics, and obstetrics, were largely reported as unprofitable, but the CEOs are reluctant to close these service lines. For example, while 73 percent of CEOs report that emergency room (ER) services are unprofitable, only one percent would be willing to close their ERs. The same is true for pediatrics (78 percent find it unprofitable but only four percent would close) and obstetrics (64 percent unprofitable, seven percent willing to close)....

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New Medical Device Software Platform

What's in your fantasy medical device operating system? Here's mine: Royalty free A true real time OS Connectivity support on par with Windows CE (TCP/IP, wireless, USB, etc.) Royalty free Something without the hacker appeal of Microsoft Windows (is easy to lock down, and isn't patched every week) Approval-ready for up to FDA Class III medical devices A full set of developer tools on par with Windows and beyond Did I mention royalty free? An outfit called Green Hills Software announced the introduction of a new software platform optimized for medical devices. Microsoft's strengths have always been the built in connectivity support, development tools, and a ready source of Windows-experienced engineers. The weaknesses have included royalty cost, overhead, and the fact that it's not a true real time embedded operating system. Green Hills cut their teeth on the "other" high reliability embedded device market, aerospace, and have extended their products to meet medical market requirements. From the press release: Significantly reduced product approval cost and risk with faster time-to-market. Medical device manufacturers can take advantage of an RTOS that is approval-ready to minimize the quantity of software and documentation that they must develop for product approval. In addition, by utilizing the available Rhapsody Model Driven Development environment, it is possible to link requirements to model elements and to generated code, facilitating the process of proving that all requirements are...

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New FDA Risk Notification on Medical Telemetry

The FDA issued a public health notification on the risk of electromagnetic interference (EMI) with medical telemetry systems still operating in the 460-470 Mhz frequency bands. This is to notify you that after December 31, 2005, any medical telemetry systems operating in the 460-470 MHz frequency bands will be at increased risk for interference, which could compromise patient safety. In January 2006 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will begin issuing new licenses for mobile radio transmitters to operate in the 460-470 MHz band. The feds have delayed the issuance of new land mobile licenses a number of times since 2000 when WMTS was created and the 460-470 MHz band was designated for commercial use in dispatch and field service applications. Based on recent posts to the Biomed Listserv, there's still plenty of hospitals out there running on the old frequency - some of them appear (from their posts) to be seriously considering delaying their move off 460-470 until some time after the FCC lifts their freeze. Here's my take on the FDA recommendations: Identify if your telemetry is on the old frequencies (you know who you are) Move off the 460-470 MHz band by December 31, 2005 - either get your system re crystaled to WMTS (the quickest and cheapest, although I believe that Philips - and maybe others - have discontinued selling upgrades) or get a completely new...

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New Report on Clinical IT Market

The latest study from Kalorama Information pegs health care IT market growth at about 11 percent over the next 5 years. They estimate the market for clinical IT to exceed $25 billion by 2009. The current clinical IT market is estimated at $23 billion, with about $15.4 billion being spent on hospital systems. A surprising "feature" of the market research study appears to include some political perspective: The government can have a major influence in encouraging or discouraging investment in health IT, the report states. Despite the federal government spending more than $900 million on health IT in fiscal 2004, it describes government programs as too diffuse. A “true leadership role requires that federal efforts be brought together into a coherent program of support,” the report states. The report also questions the often-touted links between the use of health IT and improvements in health care quality. “Further research is needed to better document and understand the link between IT and quality,” the report states. Describing actual and potential federal programs to promote health IT use, the report says federal actions can also discourage implementation. One example is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which is a set of rules to be followed by health plans, doctors, hospitals and other healthcare...

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