GE moving out of the hospital EHR business–and healthcare lending?

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2000px-General_Electric_logo.svg_.png” thumb_width=”100″ /]Updated. Spring cleaning at GE continues that may affect healthcare more than EHRs. Neil Versel catches at HIMSS, if not an exclusive, close to it, by finally getting a GE exec to admit the awful truth–that they are phasing out their Centricity Enterprise (hospital) EHR. Versel: “It’s now helping customers with a “graceful transition over a number of years,” said Jon Zimmerman, general manager of clinical business solutions at GE Healthcare.” Even more remarkable, that decision was made three years ago. MedCityNews also updated their article to highlight some of their recent problems with Intermountain Health; we’ve also noted that UCSF converted to Epic after 12 years (see our Weekend Must Read).

The GE Capital exit may affect healthcare too. The other and more major part of the spring cleaning–their exit from GE Capital with the sale/spinoff of assets over the next two years–was announced over the weekend (Bloomberg). Their Healthcare Financial Services lends to healthcare entities including hospitals, life science and in senior housing/health facilities. It also houses the Healthymagination Fund, the capital source for GE Ventures, its early stage developmental arm for healthcare, software and energy. According to The Wall Street Journal, GE will retain healthcare financing to support what it makes in its GE Healthcare unit: ultrasound, imaging, patient monitoring and diagnostics industrial equipment, down to the Vscan (yes! it’s still there). We would bet that GE Ventures is safe. But does this mean that its healthcare real estate unit within Healthcare Financial Services, which lends to senior housing, skilled nursing and other medical properties, is on the block, especially as GE this weekend completed the sale of its real estate holdings? What else, we wonder, will GE sell at the right price to pull up share price–and in the longer term, the future of its manufacturing in areas like major healthcare equipment which have been facing a declining and heavily competitive US market?

Exiting the hospital EHR business makes sense for GE, but what else will it entail? While it retained a solid footprint of vendor loyalty and satisfaction (more…)

Ebola and health tech: where it can help, where it failed (Updated)

 [grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/keep-calm-and-enter-at-own-risk-3.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]Ignore the sign…come on in, we can be quarantined together! Everyone is on Ebola-overload, so we will keep it short and sweet. The Gimlet Eye (recovering after an argument with a box, see below) advises a calm, adult-beveraged, low-media weekend with Mantovani, Bert Kaempfert or Percy Faith on the stereo.

  • Yes, digital health is addressing the needs that Ebola screening and care are generating. MedCityNews spotlights Medizone International’s AsepticSure peroxide/ozone aerial mist sterilizer which was originally developed to kill MERS and MRSA in field hospitals, to be tested by Doctors Without Borders in a 40-bed unit. Startup AgileMD launched a free mobile app for clinicians containing the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Ebola prevention treatment guidelines (for what anything from CDC is worth….) Text message alerts used first in Sierra Leone are being expanded to seven West African nations for use by the Red Cross and Red Crescent (also BBC News). Sanomedics International has the TouchFree InfraRed Thermometer which is being used at US airports which are screening for passengers originating in West Africa, and Noninvasive Medical Technologies is promoting their ZOE fluid status monitor because it applies electrical currents externally to determine hydration levels.
  • Even crowdfunding’s getting into the act. Researcher Erica Ollmann Saphire and her colleagues at Scripps Research Institute  (more…)

Philips, Salesforce dive into health data integration

Philips Healthcare and Salesforce announced last week their partnership to construct a connected, multi-point and collaborative data platform to benefit providers, payers and patients. The initial step is the launch later this summer of the Philips eCare Coordinator app for healthcare providers and a patient-centered Philips eCare Companion app, which will uptake data from Philips Healthcare medical devices into a variation on the Salesforce1 cloud platform. What’s emphasized in the releases and information from media sources is that it will be designed as an open platform for other device and software providers. (Data security problems down the line are anyone’s guess.) While Philips’ global CEO was part of the announcement and it’s expected that Philips will be lead dog for this, the only two customers mentioned were US and Salesforce’s. There were also few details on how clinical staff would access and use the data.

Cui bono from this? Philips of course, which of late has been lagging (more…)

Doctor disciplined for using Skype for telemedicine consults

A family practice physician in eastern Oklahoma was disciplined by the state medical board for using Skype on initial mental health consults. Skype is not approved by the board for telemedicine; other factors were that the patients were not physically seen at any point and that they were prescribed controlled substances (including narcotics). Three of the patients died while under care but the deaths were not attributable to Dr. Trow. It is easy to score the doctor for what could be seen as bad practice in telemedicine, but a mitigating factor is his practice in a remote area of the state and the distance of the patients. Joseph Kvedar, MD of the Center for Connected Health/Partners HealthCare reviews the situation (more…)