Last week I said “aren’t these insurance contracts a bitch” and it looks like now it’s bleeding over to sizeable medical record contracts. The Allscripts situation certainly is getting interesting and catching a lot of press coverage. It all began at the end of the first quarter when the projected sales numbers were not pleasing to shareholders and for good reason. We all read about complexities with IT infrastructure systems and Allscripts is living it. The average person has no clue today on the amount of time and code that it takes as things have changed from a few years ago when we used to be able to run out to the “code kitchen” and whip up a recipe for what someone had envisioned, not so today as there’s more code to work with other code and you have to depend on their code to be good. Everyone does their best but bugs live.
Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Allscripts For Misleading Investors With Merging Data Systems–Too Much Code and Not Enough Time – Attack of the Killer Algorithms Chapter 30
Merging and integrating the Eclipsys system is a big project even though both Allscripts and Eclipsys use Microsoft technologies. There’s a lot of neat dot net features in Eclipsys to work with and again it was not the same group of developers writing both systems, so now with a new group it’s time to take it apart and dig in to some code and you always find stuff to be rewritten, etc. which nobody’s fault, but it just needs updating sometimes to work with current day technologies. I go back a ways with some of this and Misys was around with the “My Way” system which is now part of Allscripts and users are going to be able to upgrade to the latest system from the original system which was also grown by acquisitions, which when things were simpler was not a bad way to grow…now with complexities…better look at the code first and what other technologies it needs to work with.
So one difference between Epic and Allscripts is that Epic has built their system in house and is not a combination of code technologies which does have some advantages and they are constantly updating as is every system but when it’s under one roof, well that does help a bit. Allscripts has also turned to Microsoft as what better choice than to go to the owner of the technologies that were used to build both systems. I said too that the Caradigm company, which is the combined Microsoft and GE company could be a place to go as well for help and who knows maybe they would be interested to have a medical records system to work with Amalga, which is now over there. If you have one in house it makes it easier to test and work with Amalga with integration processes and I understand Amalga may have a cloud functionality soon too.
Now we also have this Allscripts challenge in the news the last couple of days to encourage folks to write apps to integrate with the system so you do have to say there’s no stone unturned here. In addition with Citibank looking for private equity offerings for them, you can bet the PE firms are going to want to know the status of their code too..it just is what it is.
So coming back around we have this complaint filed and the folks at the New York hospital system don’t seem to feel comfortable with the pricing estimates Allscripts gave and executives from the hospital seem to indicate this claim is a stall in hoping they can get some PE money in the meantime. The Hospital corporation said the Epic contract would cost $303 million and the Allscripts was $299 million and there was no or little support figured in with Allscripts and we all know you need that. The CEO of Allscripts also pointed a finger and said that the Epic system was more expensive to maintain since it is based in a revised version of MUMPS and not Microsoft. They all need attention and support today so that part is not a real argument any more. This may very well be a stall tactic but with the way the company is currently under the magnifying glass it’s kind of hard to hide out if so.
It sounds like the hospital system is on solid ground in knowing what they need though, and was not comfortable. In the meantime we can wait and see what happens and if Allscripts gets all their code in place. Again that is a big job combining two major systems and as I sad back a few months ago there was too much code and not enough time at the end of the first quarter when sales projections were added in for value.
So hey, next time you hear some politician talking about completely repealing Obamacare think of this situation only a whole lot worse as there's not enough money, engineers or time to re-write an entire US Medicare/healthcare system from the ground up and realize you have been “algo duped” by a politician as at best such a huge project would take at least 7 years, so get in to some math here. It could be so big that the US would have to outsource the coding to both India and China <grin>. BD
One of the country’s largest providers of electronic medical records has lodged a complaint against New York City’s public hospital system for awarding a $303 million contract to a rival.
The company, Allscripts, lost its bid last month to replace the public hospital system’s fragmented and antiquated medical-records system with an integrated system that would link 11 public hospitals, 70 clinics, thousands of doctors and more than one million patients and allow them to communicate with one another.
The contract went instead to Epic Systems Corporation, Allscripts’s chief rival for the highly competitive medical-records business. The industry is getting a huge lift from billions of dollars in federal stimulus money to help health care providers share medical records.
But Alan Aviles, president of the corporation, said on Tuesday that Allscripts’s cost analysis was false and unrealistic. He said that the corporation’s choice, made after considering nine vendors over four years, had been validated in the last few months as Allscripts experienced management and financial problems.
The hospitals corporation said it would cost almost as much to upgrade its existing electronic-records system, which goes back 20 years, as it would to build a new system. The net difference, according to corporation documents, was just $157 million, which would be largely paid for by federal funds, estimated at $125 million.