More details on GE Healthcare’s EHR adoption scheme
GE Healthcare could wind up spending more than the $100 million it said it would drop to get doctors to use its digital medical records software.
In an interview with GE Healthcare IT president Vishal Wanchoo, Health Business Blog reports that the company’s planned $100 million loan program to accelerate adoption of its electronic health records products could actually exceed that number:
“‘It’s an initial amount we put out there that we think is appropriate,’ Wanchoo said. ‘It’s quite possible that it could be bigger over time.'”
Wanchoo also added that the loans to doctors’ offices and hospitals are to “defray all capital costs” until money earmarked in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for EHR adoption becomes available in a few years:
“‘The entire amount of the up-front cost of hardware, software, training and integration services,’ will be covered, according to Wanchoo.”
Device makers gird for healthcare cuts
Plans to shave $100 billion from the nation’s healthcare spend over the next 10 years have medical device makers tightening their belts, according to a report over at DOTmed.com.
Quoting several device execs, the website said many are developing their strategeries for dealing with the once-unthinkable prospect that the economy is hitting the healthcare industry:
“‘This is the first time in my 25 years in the industry that I am seeing the economy have more of an effect on health care,’ Robert Broschart, director of sales and marketing for Axess Ultrasound told DOTmed. ‘We just never noticed past recession and past downturns. This time around, we are noticing it. Our end-user customers are really being forced to watch every dime they spend.'”
With the capital equipment market in the toilet and sales of refurbished equipment on the rise, the squeeze is on. But for third-party vendors, that’s a boon. DOTmed reports that more healthcare systems are looking to consolidate their spends under fewer vendors to save time and money.
Medical device makers and the military
Amid all the foofaraw over gift bans of industry payments to physicians, a little-known subset of the practice is begininning to gain attention.
BNET Pharma reports that large medical companies, including several device makers, paid big bucks to Pentagon medical officials for boondoggle junkets:
“Drug and device companies spent $10 million sending Pentagon medical officials on free trips, according to a review of travel expense claims by the Center for Public Integrity.
The trips were taken by Department of Defense doctors, medical researchers, pharmacists, and other health care employees, between 1998 and 2007. They pose a conflict of interest, as many of these officials are the same people making decisions about which drugs should be on formulary lists for defense employees.”
According to the CPI report, the top five spenders were Johnson & Johnson (187 trips, $215,000), GlaxoSmithKline (95 trips, $120,000), Hologic Corp. (37 trips, $102,000), Medtronic (86 trips, $93,000) and Smith & Nephew (81 trips, $90,000). The Pentagon has since put the kaibosh on company-paid trips.
For Minneapolis monolith Medtronic, the news gets worse (subscription): It paid more than $800,000 for other services to one of the doctors who received free trips, Timothy Kuklo — who allegedly faked data in a British medical journal.
New England service provider news
DeviceLink reports on its medtech Pulse blog that a trio of New England firms are initiating or expanding their service offerings to the medical device industry:
• Mack Molding of Arlington, Vt., launched a medical products group, MackMedical, offering engineering, manufacturing and distribution support including design, prototyping, molding, metal fabrication, and assembly operations. The company aims to grow the unit to encompass 50 percent of its total sales.
• Newton-based switch maker C&K Components created a line of connectors designed to operate in temperatures ranging from –270°C — 200°C in applications including cryogenic processes, CT scanners and MRI and ultrasound machines.