CHW to outsource IT. Catholic Healthcare West, San Francisco, has signed a preliminary agreement to turn over most of its information technology operations to Perot Systems, Dallas, according to the Sacramento Business Journal. The most recent of several major healthcare systems to outsource IT departments in the past few months, 48-hospital CHW has been unable to standardize its information network. Under the preliminary contract, the value of which was not disclosed, the bulk of the system's IT staff would become Perot employees. CHW officials could not be reached before deadline for more information. During the past few years, the system has lost a total of about $656 million, partly because of failed efforts to create a central IT operation, according to the Business Journal.
Handheld device use on the rise. Purchases of handheld computing devices for physicians will catapult to more than $830 million by 2004, from $42 million in 2000, according to a report released earlier this month by Frost & Sullivan, San Jose, Calif. The market research firm said that physicians' resistance to changing their work methods from pen and paper to personal digital assistants would fade with increasing awareness of their losses from inaccurately capturing medical charges. On average, physicians lose nearly $60,000 per year because of inaccurate charges, Frost & Sullivan said.
HCA reviews finance systems. HCA-The Healthcare Co., Nashville, said earlier this month that it's reviewing vendors to take over the company's maintenance and support of its outdated financial systems while new systems are being installed. HCA officials hope to select one of several major vendors and sign a two- to five-year contract by September, HCA spokesman Jeff Prescott said. The contract would affect about 115 HCA information technology staffers; some of those employees would move to the outsourcing company, and about a dozen likely would be terminated, Prescott said. He said an estimate of the contract's potential value was unavailable.