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Morning Headlines 2/12/16

February 12, 2016 Headlines No Comments

CommonWell Health Alliance Membership Continues to Expand Across the Care Continuum

CommonWell Health Alliance announces seven new members:eClinicalWorks, HIMSS, ImageTrend, lifeIMAGE, Mana Health, MediPortal, and Modernizing Medicine.

Electronic Health Record Adoption and Rates of In-hospital Adverse Events

A retrospective study analyzing 2012-2013 patient visits finds that “fully electronic EHR” use is associated with a 17 to 30 percent decrease in adverse events for patients with cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, or for surgical patients.

Insurer Centene ends search for missing hard drives

Insurer Centene announces that it found the six missing hard drives containing PHI from 950,000 patients that went missing last month.

US News Withdraws Rankings of 2 Children’s Hospitals

US News has removed Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital (TX) and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital (NY) from its annual ranking of children’s hospitals after discovering significant errors in the data submitted by the hospitals.

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February 12, 2016 Headlines No Comments

News 2/12/16

February 11, 2016 News 5 Comments

Top News

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CommonWell Health Alliance announces new members EClinicalWorks, HIMSS, ImageTrend, LifeImage, Mana Health, MediPortal, and Modernizing Medicine. I’m not clear why HIMSS joined or how some of its own high-paying members who haven’t joined CommonWell (like Epic) will feel about its implicit endorsement.


Reader Comments

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From Skinny Little B-Word: “Re: Grey Bruce Health Services in Canada. CIO Rob Croft and Manager Peggy Millar are gone.” Unverified. There’s nothing new on their LinkedIn or on Grey Bruce’s executive page.

From Dy-No-Mite: “Re: Mr. H. I don’t understand that name.” I needed an anonymous email address when I first started writing HIStalk in 2003 since my employer at that time was threatening me for writing ill of a vendor who richly deserved it (we were their customer, although I wasn’t writing anything I had learned from that experience). My creativity was limited, as it often is, so I chose mr_histalk@yahoo.com, attaching no particular significance to it. Readers started calling me Mr. HIStalk and that got shortened to Mr. H over the years. I never call myself “Mr.” anything in real life, so the reference was really more like someone who is privately dubbed “Mr. Happy Meal” for frequenting McDonald’s or “Mr. Upbeat” for exuding perpetual grumpiness.

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From Identity Thief: “Re: FL Senate bill 1299. It says hospitals must confirm Medicaid patient identities using both biometrics and a positive match with the DMV’s database. Does that mean beneficiaries must have a driver’s license? I also don’t see where funds have been set aside to cover the cost.” The idea probably taps into annoyance taxpayers feel for those who take advantage of Medicaid, a situation that bugs me as well, but medical and insurance fraud isn’t limited to Medicaid patients. Biometrics aren’t perfect and pose security risks of their own (the “stolen electronic fingerprint” scenario) and I don’t get the DMV connection, which must require Medicaid patients who don’t drive to obtain a Florida DMV-issued state ID card. I’m sure this will raise some red-faced debate among people with strong opinions about illegal immigrants and discrimination. It’s a nice idea to positively ID patients for even better reasons (like patient safety) but our lack of political will for something as simple as a national patient identifier makes it unlikely that this bill will withstand the inevitable legal challenges even if it beats the odds of getting that far. 

From Bernie: “Re: Jonathan Bush. It’s ironic that Bush talks down Epic. Try being a vendor that wants to integrate with Athena. They make it very difficult, even when there is customer demand. Bush is no knight in shining armor and their MDP program is a sham.” Unverified.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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We funded the DonorsChoose grant request from Mrs. Heinrich from California, who asked for headphones, lapboards, privacy petitions, paper, and glue.

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Also checking in was Mrs. Sutton from Illinois, who says her fourth grade students had been making their own  fraction strips from paper and colored pencils before receiving the 25 sets of fraction, decimal, and percent tiles we provided. She’s now having the students teach fraction concepts to second graders to “encourage my fourth grade students to be peer leaders as well as master fraction builders.”

Listening: new from Nothing But Thieves, hard-rocking Brit pop that sounds a bit like Muse with guitars instead of keyboards. They’re on a US tour now with upcoming stops in the southern US, including gigs at legendary clubs like Cat’s Cradle, 40 Watt Club, even the Orlando House of Blues where we had HIStalkapalooza not long ago. It’s a refreshing blast of melodic rock surrounded by a sea of formulaic hip-hop, emotive singer-songwriter warblings, and heavily technically augmented songs better suited for dancing than listening.

This week on HIStalk Practice: Some physicians didn’t get the memo about ICD-10. Washington State Medical Association Executive Director and CEO Jennifer Hanscom shares the successes – and frustrations – members have had with health IT. First Stop Health raises $2.1 million. HIEs invest in new patient-matching technology, plus there’s FINALLY a way to summon your Tesla from your Apple Watch. Navicure CEO Jim Denny advises physicians to use ICD-10 momentum to meet 2016 revenue cycle goals. The California Health Care Foundation highlights digital health technologies making a difference in safety net populations. Escape from paperwork and Big Brother become big drivers of direct care.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Concierge provider group One Medical acquires digital health startup Rise for $20 million. Researchers in the UK are  approved to study human embryo genome editing. With a variety of virtual reality devices scheduled to arrive on the market in 2016, VR fitness applications begin to emerge. Withings unveils a new blood pressure tracking feature that it will sell as an in-app purchase to its users. 23andMe partners with fertility startup Celmatix to develop precision medicine fertility treatments and infertility tests.


HIStalkapalooza

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I created this page so you can check to see if you should have received an emailed HIStalkapalooza invitation but didn’t because of spam filters. My interest in doing so is self-serving since I’m getting an absurd number of party-related emails that I really don’t have the time to mess with. Please don’t email me or Lorre if you weren’t invited or you’ve decided you want to bring a guest you didn’t previously register – we aren’t inviting anyone else and there’s no wait list. Every year otherwise smart people express righteous indignation that we didn’t invite them even though they didn’t even bother to sign up, apparently relying on our staff psychic to detect their interest (and email address).

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Use Twitter hashtag #HIStalkapalooza if you want to get fired up pre-party in the remaining couple of weeks. 


Webinars

February 17 (Wednesday) noon ET. “Take Me To Your Leader: Catholic Health Initiatives on Executive Buy-In for Enterprise Analytics.” Sponsored by Premier. Presenters: Jim Reichert, MD, PhD, VP of analytics, Catholic Health Initiatives; Rush Shah, product manager analytics factory, Premier. Catholic Health Initiatives, the nation’s second-largest non-profit health system, knew that in order to build an enterprise analytics strategy, they needed a vision, prioritization, and most importantly buy-in from their executives. Dr. Jim Reichert will walk through their approach.

February 23 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Completing your EMR with a Medical Image Sharing Strategy.” Sponsored by LifeImage. Presenters: Don K. Dennison, consultant; Jim Forrester, director of imaging informatics, UR Medicine. Care coordination can suffer without an effective, cost-efficient way to share images across provider networks. Consolidating image management systems into a single platform such as VNA or PACS doesn’t address the need to exchange images with external organizations. This webinar will address incorporating the right image sharing methods into your health IT strategy.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Wipro will acquire Tampa-based insurance company BPO and exchange services vendor HealthPlan Services for $460 million in cash.

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The founder of Pristine, which initially offered a healthcare Google Glass app and then changed business models at some point into visual collaboration for field inspectors, sues an Austin-based venture capital firm for stealing his business. Kyle Samani’s suit claims the real goal of S3 Ventures LLC is “to invest in newly formed companies in order to ultimately take the companies from their founders just as the company becomes successful.” He alleges that Pristine, which raised $6.2 million but has not received funding since September 2014, sold 700,000 of his unvested shares. The real lesson learned might be to avoid creating an enterprise-focused business whose platform is a beta-status consumer gadget.


Sales

Health Partners New England chooses Medsphere’s OpenVista EHR.

Cormac contracts with Premier to provide a cloud-based registry to support CMS’s Oncology Care Model.

The American College of Radiology and the University of Florida choose the Visage 7 Enterprise Imaging Platform as enterprise diagnostic viewer for training diagnostic radiology residents.


Announcements and Implementations

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McKesson partners with HealthQX, which offers a claims analysis system, to offer software to help payers design and run bundled payment programs.

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Bottomline Technologies announces that its Healthcare Privacy and Data Security solution learns normal user behavior and reports exceptions.

First Databank releases OrderKnowledge Canada, a pre-built CPOE drug knowledge base.

A tiny study finds that use of Glytec’s Glucommander IV glycemic control system reduced diabetic ketoacidosis admissions by 45 percent.


Government and Politics

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The President’s $4.1 trillion budget, already rejected by Congress, would have boosted ONC’s budget by $22 million for interoperability work. HHS would have received a mind-boggling $1.14 trillion, up 11 percent since 2015, also increasing its FTE headcount to nearly 80,000.


Privacy and Security

The CPA firm of a Nebraska hospital warns it that a laptop stolen from one of its employees had encryption software installed that wasn’t working, exposing the information of 4,200 of the hospital’s patients.

Magazine publisher Time Inc. buys the faded Internet star MySpace to get data on its 1 billion registered users, with Time’s CEO saying the deal “is all about the marriage of first-party data and premium content.” The seller was Viant, which has gone through three names since it bought Myspace in 2011 for $35 million with Justin Timberlake as a partner, hoping to make it a music hub.

Insurance company Centene says it found the six PHI-containing hard drives it reported losing a few weeks ago. They had been placed in a locked storage box awaiting destruction. It’s puzzling why they wouldn’t have looked there first, or why their employee wouldn’t have logged them as being held for disposal. I would bet at least one person will be fired because of the embarrassment caused and cost expended.


Innovation and Research

An AHRQ-funded study finds that higher levels of hospital EHR usage is associated with a lower rate of adverse events for patients with cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, or conditions requiring surgery.


Other

US News withdraws its Best Children’s Hospitals specialty rankings for two hospitals that had submitted erroneous survey data, adding that it “will implement additional data integrity processes to help identify potentially inaccurate data prior to publication.”

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University of North Carolina Health Care signs a partnership agreement with Mercy in which Mercy Virtual Care Center will monitor patients in a 28-bed UNCHC ICU.

The Chicago Tribune proudly describes its collaboration with scientists to mine data from the FDA’s adverse event reporting system and Columbia University Medical Center’s EHR to find four new drug-drug interactions that can prolong cardiac QT interval and potentially cause arrhythmias. Thank goodness the actual journal article is concise and factual rather than a crappy Trib attempt at long-form journalism, meaning it’s do long and hammily dramatic that you just want to wring the writer’s neck to make them get to the point. Obviously the study found apparent correlation with one hospital’s information – the real work now begins in proving causation, a challenging project that drug companies aren’t likely to underwrite since the result could reduce sales.

ZDoggMD might be venturing into Weird Al territory with a never-ending barrage of parody videos that threaten overexposure, but here’s his latest that lab people will enjoy, “In Da Lab.”  Watch for the Theranos reference. Pop red tops, homeys.


Sponsor Updates

  • Marketing firm Image.works will offer its healthcare clients CRM capabilities from Influence health.
  • Rep. Bob Dold (R-IL) visits Intelligent Medical Objects to learn about IMO Terminology.
  • The local paper covers LifeImage’s acquisition of Mammosphere.
  • Netsmart will exhibit at the MHCA Winter Conference and Annual Meeting February 16 in Clearwater Beach, FL.
  • EClinicalWorks releases a new podcast, “What’s Ahead for 2016.”
  • Healthfinch co-founder Lyle Berkowitz, MD keynotes the AMA/MGMA Collaborate in Practice Conference March 20-22 in Colorado Springs, CO.
  • Park Place International’s Erick Marshall is named a VMware 2016 Vexpert.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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February 11, 2016 News 5 Comments

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 2/11/16

February 11, 2016 Dr. Jayne No Comments

It’s been a great week here. First, my trusty IT guy was able to resurrect my PC and we bartered for its safe return. I got off fairly cheap, but I’m sure he’ll need a supplemental favor down the line. I was also able to catch up with a good friend of mine, although I was sad that he was lounging at Pebble Beach while I was watching the snow fall. And finally, I finished an enormous consulting engagement, so it’s officially time to celebrate with a glass of wine and some invoice generation.

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Now that the big project is off my plate, my HIMSS planning is officially in high gear. I looked at the options for focus groups and can validate what Mr. H said previously about the HIMSS websites still displaying HIMSS14 or HIMSS15 labels. Certainly there is an intern who can take care of that for you? I declared my interest in several different options and hope I’ll get to attend at least one of them.

Some of the options were thinly-veiled marketing opportunities, but several looked to be educational as well as a way to share experiences with other CMIOs. Although some focus group sponsors are transparent, others aren’t quite so obvious and it was fun trying to read between the lines and figure out who was paying for breakfast.

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I’ve also started receiving an uptick in HIMSS-related mailings. Some are engaging and others are pretty dry. My favorite this week is from PC Connection. They’re mailing playing cards for you to bring to their booth and use to play blackjack. Mine was an ace, so we’ll have to see how it goes.

HIStalk sponsor Imprivata is encouraging attendees to “Get Charged Up for HIMSS” by sending Starbucks gift cards along with an offer to receive an engraved portable charger by scheduling a meeting in the booth. Too bad I’m registered for HIMSS as my real self, because having one that says “Dr. Jayne” would be too funny. One of my dear friends, Bianca Biller, gave me an engraved box for storing my pearls. Fortunately, she warned me to open it under the table at my hospital “send-off” party.

I’m also happy to announce that I’ve selected my first two “Team HIMSS” contestants to play with me on Tuesday at 11 in the Medicomp Quipstar game show. One is a true competitor whose leadership mantra of “get on board or get out of my way” inspired me. If nothing else, she’ll be able to wrangle the rest of the team while I’m donning my disguise. The other won me over by not only supplying me with a brilliant “Top Ten Reasons to Pick Me” list that included a full 37 reasons. Many of them mentioned various HIStalk moments over the last five years, confirming he is a true reader and fan. Some highlights:

  • I have a photo of Jonathan Bush and Judy Faulkner talking to John Glaser at HIStalkapalooza.
  • I won a giant three-foot-tall chocolate bunny from Medicomp, and yes, even though we needed to freeze a majority of it, had an unsuccessful fondue night with some of it, and tried to give it away, we finished the giant bunny.
  • I once conspired to take over an empty HIMSS booth and re-brand the company when their booth sat empty.
  • Matt Holt doesn’t know if I am friend or foe. I like it that way. I think he does, too.

Incidentally, the reader sent me real-time photos of the giant bunny when he decapitated it with a large kitchen knife, so I know he’s a contender.

I’m not sure who we’ll be competing against yet. We still need two more team members. A couple of potential candidates weren’t willing to commit to the time slot (Tuesday at 11), so I’ll have to put them in alternate status. You still have time to send me your top reasons for why you want to be on Team HIStalk.

Several readers have already started sending me pictures of their #HIMSShoes and this will be a great opportunity to show them off. If you can’t make that time slot but want to play Quipstar, you can register for other show times.

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In other news, CMS is extending the submission window for 2015 QRDA data submission for the EHR reporting mechanism. Eligible professionals, PQRS group practices, qualified data registries, and data submission vendors now have until March 11, 2016 to submit 2015 EHR data. A complete list of time frames is below and all times end at 8 p.m. ET, so mark your calendars now:

  • EHR Direct or Data Submission Vendor (QRDA I or III) – 1/1/16 – 3/11/16
  • Qualified Clinical Data Registries (QRDA III) – 1/1/16 – 3/11/16
  • Group Practice Reporting Option (GPRO) Web Interface – 1/18/16 – 3/11/16
  • Qualified Registries (Registry XML)  – 1/1/16 – 3/31/16
  • QCDRs (QCDR XML) – 1/1/16 – 3/31/16

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ONC launched a new blog series about permitted uses of Health Information under HIPAA. The first one is titled “The Real HIPAA Supports Interoperability” and should be required reading for all the hospitals blocking release of information where it is clearly permitted. The series runs every Thursday through February 25.

Are you getting ready for HIMSS? What are you most looking forward to? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

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Morning Headlines 2/11/16

February 10, 2016 News No Comments

Obama budget would lift HHS spending to $1.1 trillion, entice Medicaid expansion

The President’s 2017 budget includes $82 million for ONC with $5 million earmarked for use on interoperability efforts.

Walgreens Threatens to End Theranos Agreement

As lab vendor Theranos works to resolve inspection issues discovered by CMS auditors, its primary customer, Walgreens, threatens to end the business relationship altogether.

What’s a $4.5B campus look like? Get a sneak peek

Cerner streams a live tour of the Kansas City campus is its currently constructing.  The project will add 4.7 million square feet of new office space at a cost of $4.5 billion.

HIMSS Submits Comments on NIST Cybersecurity Framework RFI

HIMSS responds to NIST’s recently published cybersecurity framework FRI, in which it applauds the effort, but calls for the framework to be a voluntary, private-sector led initiative that could be used as a tool to develop best practices around cybersecurity.

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February 10, 2016 News No Comments

HIStalk Interviews John Marron, CEO, InMediata

February 10, 2016 Interviews No Comments

John Marron is president and CEO of InMediata of Charlotte, NC.

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Tell me about yourself and the company.

I’m president and CEO of InMediata. I’m a health IT veteran, for lack of better words. I have 20+ years of experience in what’s called provider connectivity, EDI, some of those similar terms.

I’m very fortunate to have worked both on the payer side — for a large, national healthcare company here on the East Coast — and on the provider side as well. I’ve worked for software and services vendors.

The company has two divisions. One is in Puerto Rico. I won’t talk much about that today, but InMediata’s division there that serves a little bit of everything — clearinghouse, practice management system, and EHR.

For the US business, we’re focused on payments and payment analytics. We’re positioning our company for today’s real-world problems of fee-for-service payments and helping providers who are moving claims and remits electronically who are having a terrible time reconciling payments, having a challenge on patient responsibility, and are trying to understand where their money is.

This is a new business. There’s nobody out there doing exactly what we’re doing. Lot of clearinghouses out there, a lot of practice management systems, probably a lot of EMR vendors. Most of them become partners for us. We think we are one of the innovative companies who are looking at the payment side of it and focusing on how to reconcile payments, remits, and deposits, which are the banking side of the business.

More than anything else, we’re trying to bridge the gap between healthcare payments from payers, healthcare payments from patients, and the banking side of it in bringing deposits to the equation.

Is it unusual for a revenue cycle management services firm to go all the way to the bank?

Most of them go almost all the way to the bank. Revenue cycle is a pretty broad term. Banking is, as the old expression says, the last mile of cable. They’ll deal with the deposit side of it solely. They’ll deal with the insurance company payment side of it solely. But there are not  many people bringing it all together.

You’ll see on our website that there are a lot of large provider groups. That’s our target audience here, groups who look at their back office process and find that they have accountants and CPAs going to banking portals and websites to try to help their organization reconcile where the money is at a certain point in time. I got a check, I got remit from a payer, I have to make sure that the money I was expecting is reconciled in the bank and I’m ready to run my business. 

A lot of companies are going around it, but not a lot are tying it all together. We think that innovation in integration is one of the key points for us.

How much inefficiency is left in provider’s revenue cycle management?

We think it’s largely automated on the front end. By that, I mean things like eligibility verification and claims submission. If you view that piece, and it’s an important part of the revenue cycle, it’s largely automated. A lot of the people who work with us at InMediata have spent their careers chasing that part of the business.

It’s largely manual and inefficient on the back end — payments, reconciliation, and payment analytics. Just truly understanding where the money is. We think there’s a lot of room left in that business.

How is the market changing with high-deductible insurance plans increasing the need to collect patient responsibility upfront?

We’ve heard about that coming for a lot of years. I would say we’re probably about three-fourths of the way down that path as well. More patients that are walking into the doctor’s office have some form of high-deductible plans. MGMA published really astounding numbers about how much money is left on the table if you don’t collect while the patient is in the office.

That tells a part of what we’re trying to to bring to the table. We are looking for reconciling payments from payers and some patients — anything the doctor’s office has to handle. We think those challenges are all workflow related. We’re trying to design our solutions around clicks matter, quick information, quick access to still-multiple disparate systems, and tying it to integration and workflow.

The challenge for a provider is knowing that a patient is likely coming in with a high-deductible plan, but not knowing much more about it. Trying to fit that into the workflow of seeing a patient, getting them through the healthcare system, and dealing with billing on the back end. It’s increasing, it’s problematic, and the things that solve it are workflow and integration.

What are the challenges involved with integrating those disparate systems?

They just don’t talk to each other. We’ve gone a long way of tying front-end processing standards. HIPAA did a great job bringing standards to the transactional flow. But when you get into the back office, you’re dealing with completely different systems that just don’t have the knowledge on how to talk to each other.

A lot of the payment people in the provider’s office are real good about accounts receivable, real good at managing what’s going on within the office. Of course, payers have their own adjudication systems — they can manage what’s going on in their own house. Banking has its own systems.

When that payment is made, that’s when they stop talking to each other. It sounds archaic, but we see situations where back office people are still going across multiple systems, entering data by hand manually in an attempt to reconcile an electronic payment, to an electronic remittance from a large insurance company, to maybe even an electronic payment from a patient site. That’s a lot of good digital information, but at that last end, that that last mile of cable, payment and banking are still not talking to each other.

Banks are heavy technology users. Have they made an effort to offer similar services from their end?

They have. Some banks, with what we’re doing, are becoming partners of ours. Our niche, something that we do really, really well, is that we think this business is about relationships and partners. A lot of what we’re trying to do it partner with the key companies that are involved. We know them. InMediata has had great relationships through the people that are here with us, with the practice management systems and billing companies within healthcare, and with the banks.

The challenge is the banks don’t always know the healthcare processing, and the healthcare software and vendors don’t always know the banking processing. That’s why I talked about that bridge earlier. Someone’s got to sit between the two and make that connection.

Banks are involved. They’re good partners with us. We can’t do anything without the transactions that are moving through the system. We think someone needs to be the conduit between the two and we think — it’s an old expression – that all healthcare is local. I’ll tell you, I’ve take it further and tell you that all healthcare is about relationships, and it’s about building trusted relationships.

That’s what our team brings. We understand the vendors involved in the healthcare side and now we’re getting an understanding of the banking transaction sets. We serve as that conduit between the two.

What business lessons did you learn in watching Gateway EDI sell itself to TriZetto, which was then acquired by Cognizant for $2.7 billion?

Culture matters. Gateway EDI is where I came from and is part of the equation. It was a company that talked every day about culture, about its people, about treating people well. An old expression says, “Happy employees will create happy customers and create a happy, healthy, and successful business.”

We’ve taken that to InMediata — that culture, believing in people, empowering your people, and creating accountability. Transparency of communication across your environment creates a really strong culture. We’re working on building that as well.

You heard me talk earlier about relationships. We think the culture of the employees that you have transcends to the customers that you’re serving and to the partners that you’re going to bring into the game. We think culture matters. We had a expression when I was there that says, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” That’s what Gateway EDI was about. That’s what we helped merge into TriZetto. Of course, as you mentioned, Cognizant came in at the end.

We’re trying to rebuild that same culture at InMediata. We’re doing it people first. Happy employees making happy customers. We’re going to look for the same kind of partners, people that believe in employee-centric organizations, people that believe in innovation, and people that believe in satisfying and delighting the customer.

Where do you see the company in five years?

I’d like to be the Gateway EDI of healthcare payments and revenue cycle. We think we’re at the beginning of something that’s going to take us to an interesting place.

I’d like to see us helping move from fee-for-service to fee-for-value. We think that’s an obvious place the industry’s going. We’re trying to focus on what exists today and help us get to tomorrow. As payment models change, as quality initiatives continue to get pushed, as the payment landscape finally makes that change from fee-for-service to fee-for-value, we’d like to see InMediata right smack in the middle of all that.

For us, today’s challenges and opportunities exist around the fee-for-service model, around using those administrative transactions to help fuel the innovation for payment and payment reconciliation, and take that up to and past the fee-for-value model when quality really takes hold of the payment system and be there to help our customers get through what is, at this point, a rather intimidating change in the coming landscape.

Do you have any final thoughts?

We have a lot of experience in our company. If I had to give you an expression we use a lot, we’d say, "Words matter."

I was thinking about this interview and thinking to myself, "I want to make sure Tim knows about our company and about me and about our people." A series of words I jotted down on paper tells you about our company and our business. It’s people. It’s experience. It’s relationships. It’s innovation. It’s integration. It’s information. Just a set of words that I think are important. If  I had to describe ourselves in just a few key words, that would be them.

We hear about another word called commodity. The old EDI clearinghouse business you mentioned, Gateway EDI — people will talk about how that business has become commoditized. We view it completely differently. We view it as opportunity. We view it as value. We think there’s plenty of areas to help, plenty other places to go. 

InMediata thinks more about, why not? Why can’t we further that industry? Why can’t we find value where people see commodity? Why can’t we find opportunity vs. people see crisis? That all comes from a few words. People, experience, and relationships are key to the culture side, then innovation, integration, and information are the three I’s that we think are key to our business.

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February 10, 2016 Interviews No Comments

Epic’s Remote Hosting Resurgence

February 10, 2016 News No Comments

Epic gets back to its roots – and attempts to keep up with the competition – with another foray into remote hosting services.
By @JennHIStalk

Rumors began swirling earlier this year when Epic purchased Mayo Clinic’s data center in Rochester, MN. The reportedly $46 million deal will see Mayo, which is scheduled to go live on Epic in 2017, lease back the 62,000 square-foot facility to Epic for at least the next four years. It’s a somewhat unconventional arrangement that signals that the company is ready to take hold of the remote hosting market.

It’s Identical to Self-Hosting

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Epic Senior Vice President Stirling Martin explains that, “In terms of the capability of the hosted systems, it’s identical to what a self-hosted organization would have. Our mission in hosting is to allow organizations to retain all of the same flexibility and configuration they would have if they were running the systems themselves. They still have a highly open platform for interfacing and integrating with third-party systems that they’re running in their own data centers or in third-party data centers.”

Remote hosting is not a new endeavor for Epic, which started out in that very field back in 1979. “About four years ago,” Martin explains, “we embarked on building a data center both for our own purposes and with an eye towards eventually doing hosting. We made the decision about 18 months ago to move forward and get back into remote hosting. Since that point, we’ve been building up infrastructure and working with early customers to get them onto the platform.”

Understanding the Options

Epic offers two hosting options. Full hosting — which includes the production systems, training, testing, and a disaster recovery copy in a geographically separate data center –  has so far been the most common request.

Standalone disaster recovery is another option. Martin notes that, “This is a great opportunity for organizations that may not have a second data center and yet want to ensure that they have a copy of their system up and running in a data center that’s geographically separate enough to be away from a natural disaster.”

He declined to give specific pricing numbers, though he did stress that pricing ultimately comes down to the size of the organization. “The number of concurrent users is the metric we talk about most,” he explains. “We factor lots of data points into the overall sizing equation – the different products they’re going to be using, if they have one hospital and a very large ambulatory practice or many hospitals and a smaller ambulatory practice.”

Clarifying the Customer Base

In making the initial announcement about its re-entry into remote hosting, the company said it would first offer the service to its medical group and small-hospital clients, potentially opening it up to large-hospital users later.

Martin says that the remote hosting service is open to all “members” of the Epic community. “Our mission in doing this was to provide our members with an additional hosting option,” he says. “We’ve probably got a little over 250,000 end users that will be hosted by Epic as these organizations roll out their systems. We have three healthcare organizations that are live in production with a couple more lined up in the coming months. All of the members that had signed up for Epic hosting are live in a non-production way, in that they’re building up the systems as part of their implementation activities. We’re preparing them for go-lives over the next six to 12 months.”

Martin adds that no customer is too small, at least from an Epic hosting standpoint. “The mission here is to provide a very scalable infrastructure that has both the capability to flex up to the very large organizations that we work with, as well as the ability to flex down to the very smaller organizations that we work with.”

He couldn’t comment as to the number of customers that will ultimately switch to Epic for their hosting services, though he did stress that, “feedback from sites that are live on it today is very positive.”

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Data Center Details

The data center’s infrastructure includes 100,000 square feet of space, buried under a nondescript hill above the floodplain on Epic’s campus and ready to accommodate added capacity as the need arises. Power generation capabilities are also underground, as is the infrastructure necessary to run critical systems.

The company is currently using a co-location facility as its secondary site until the Mayo data center can be brought up to speed. “With the purchase of that state-of-the-art data center,” says Martin, “we will migrate the existing disaster recovery systems up to the Rochester data center and then start using that as our secondary facility going forward.”

He adds that there is “tremendous redundancy falls in terms of the connectivity in the data centers to the Internet, as well as tremendous redundancy in the connections that we provision from the primary and secondary data centers to an individual health organization. We provision two diverse paths for the connectivity to ensure that there’s redundancy from each of the data centers to the health organization to make sure that no single fiber caught or telecom outage can take out all of the links at once.”

Catching Up with the Competition

Some industry insiders see Epic’s remote hosting resurgence as an attempt to keep up with Cerner, which has offered those services since 1999. Its winning DHMSM bid (with primary contractor Leidos) and the DoD’s $51 million decision to move the project’s hosting to Cerner headquarters makes the notion seem that much more valid.

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“Both vendors are investing heavily in this capability,” says Impact Advisors Vice President Lydon Neumann, “which will be difficult for other competitors to match in performance and breadth of service offerings. As for Cerner, they will continue to be a strong competitor and Epic’s entry into this market segment validates Cerner’s value proposition for this increasingly attractive hosting option. Epic and Cerner are creating a significant barrier for the other vendors in the market.”

Neumann adds that remote hosting is already bolstering Epic’s long-term prospects. “The market appears to be responding favorably to Epic’s entry into this segment. As a result, more customers and a broader segment of the market are now likely to consider Epic in order to leverage external capabilities and expertise, while gaining access to more technical services to properly maintain and enhance Epic’s enterprise solutions. Customers and prospects will also be increasingly proactive in aggressively reducing costs and will look to remote hosting to solve long-term challenges of managing and sustaining their technology infrastructure.”

The Customer Perspective

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FirstHealth of the Carolinas Vice President of Information Systems David Dillehunt took a look at Epic’s remote hosting service as part of the health system’s overall evaluation of replacement vendors. (The North Carolina-based health system is scheduled to go live on Epic on July 1, 2017.) “It didn’t impact our decision to leave McKesson. We were forced to make a change when McKesson decided to sunset the Horizon platform. Epic had not yet gone live with their first remote-hosting customer, so we elected to do the traditional on premise implementation. However, I would bet that, like most things Epic chooses to do, it will do this well and be able to deliver a solid, reliable hosting platform,” Dillehunt explains.

“I do think this will be very interesting to many potential new clients, and possibly to some older clients as well,” he adds, “particularly where there may be issues with space, power, off-site backup availability, etc. I for one do not feel that remote hosting is the magic answer, but I do believe it is one of many and should be evaluated just like any other major choice.”

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February 10, 2016 News No Comments

Morning Headlines 2/10/16

February 10, 2016 Headlines 2 Comments

Justification For Other Than Full and Open Competition

Leidos is awarded a $51 million contract to host its recently purchased Cerner EHR system.

Senate Health Committee Unanimously Passes Alexander, Murray Legislation to Improve Health Information Technology for Patients, Doctors, Hospitals

The Senate passes the Improving Health Information Technology Act, a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.). Alexander explains, “Our goal is to make our country’s electronic health record system something that helps patients rather than something that doctors and hospitals dread so much that patients are not helped”

Cerner Launches Developer Experience For SMART on FHIR Applications

Cerner launches a developer platform that will give third-party developers an opportunity to code with its SMART on FHIR API within a sandbox environment.

Skagit Regional Health approves $316 million budget; adds jobs

Skagit Regional Health (WA) will spend $72 million implementing Epic over the next 10 years.

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News 2/10/16

February 9, 2016 News 4 Comments

Top News

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The Navy awards Leidos an additional $50.7 million for Cerner-provided hosting services for the DoD’s EHR as I reported here earlier, overriding the objections of IBM, CSC, Amazon, and General Dynamics. The announcement says the Cerner system can operate regardless of who hosts it, but its functionality would have been limited “to utilizing only DoD data, which greatly impacts the accuracy of analytics given the  much smaller population of data which, in turn, could negatively impact patient outcomes” and that Cerner refused to allow connection to its managed services. The document adds that third-party hosting “could adversely impact Cerner’s financial viability and competitive market advantage.” The DoD says the new award won’t increase the overall contract spending limit of $4.3 billion.


Reader Comments

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From Ickey Shuffle: “Re: Sandlot Solutions. Massive layoffs and the entire sales team was fired. They barely made payroll. Rumor is that ICW may buy the customer base.” Unverified. I reached out to board chair Rich Helppie but haven’t heard back.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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We funded Mr. Beeler’s DonorsChoose grant request for 13 environmental and science books for his high school class. He says many of the students at his Texas school go to work immediately after school and don’t get home until their work’s closing time, with only 14 percent of graduates going on to college, so he’s trying to motivate them. Mr. Chen’s class from Massachusetts also checked in to say they’re using the digital drawing tablet we provided to do sketches in Photoshop, then convert their ideas to CAD and then print them using donated 3D printers.

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Iatric Systems included a question about my HIMSS exhibit hall pet peeve (booth people playing with their phones) in their employee role-playing training for the upcoming conference In return, they donated $500 to my DonorsChoose project, which funded these requests:

  • 3D history and engineering puzzles for the STEM-focused high school class of Ms. Hayes in Charlotte, NC.
  • 26 sets of headphones for the elementary school computer lab of Mrs. Schmidt in Vero Beach, FL.
  • Three Kindle Fires and cases for the elementary school class of Mrs. Jones in Knoxville, TN.
  • Math manipulatives for Ms. VanZanten’s elementary school class in W. Valley City, UT.
  • Light experiment kits for Ms. Feeley’s elementary school class in Flushing, NY.

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I have zero interest in sports but had the Super Bowl turned on for background noise. It caught my attention when I heard an ad pitching a prescription drug for treating opioid-induced constipation. We must have one heck of a doped-up population if the constipation of long-term narcotics users justifies running a multi-million dollar 60-second Super Bowl ad. The drug industry estimates that it’s a $2 billion market as Americans seek a second pill to fix the problems caused by the first. The commercial didn’t mention the drug Movantik at all, probably to avoid the FDA’s requirements that it rattle off a long list of side effects (third pill, anyone?) Movantik costs $300 for a month’s supply. I wonder how many patients will seek a prescription for it because they’re having side effects from illegally obtained narcotics? A lot of what you need to know about what’s wrong with American healthcare is contained in this one paragraph.

On the jobs board: clinical software project manager, sales executive, interface engineer.

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The celebrity guest in our microscopic HIMSS conference booth Tuesday afternoon March 1 will be David Schoolcraft, an attorney with Ogden Murphy Wallace PLLC of Seattle, WA. Our “HIT Lawyer in the House” will be happy to say hello, talk about lawyerly HIT issues, or “just chat about how great HIStalkapalooza was.” Email Lorre if you are unnaturally funny, smart, or famous and want to prove it at our booth — it’s not like we’re drawing for Vespas or running a golf simulator on our $5,000 little patch of carpet, so about all we’ll have is a table to stand behind.


HIStalkapalooza

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HIStalkapalooza invitation emails have gone out from Eventbrite. That service provides some nice benefits: you’ll be able to check in quickly via a barcode scan, it will send reminders that you signed up, and it will allow those whose plans change to let me know so I can give House of Blues a better estimated headcount. I’ll also know who took up a spot without attending so I can invite someone else in their place next year (the no-show rate is always at least 40 percent).

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I wasn’t able to invite everyone to attend HIStalkapalooza since we needed one more sponsor to cover the cost for all the 1,700 or so people who wanted to come. I’m sorry if you didn’t receive an invitation. As usual, I invited all providers who expressed interest, then did the best I could with the people left on the list.

I had a mini-brainstorm this afternoon – since Eventbrite supports collecting online payment for tickets, next year I should simply charge the incremental price of attendance instead of just shutting down invitations once I hit the number covered by sponsors. Anyone who didn’t bother to sign up themselves or their guest who desperately wants to attend could buy a ticket for $150 or something like that instead of just being told they can’t come. My constraint is sponsor funding, not capacity, so we could handle a lot more people who are willing to pay their own way. I’ll consider that for next time.

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Just as a reminder:

  • Each attendee must have an emailed ticket to get through security. Walk-up registration will not be available (that’s a screen shot of my own ticket, which I signed up for just like everyone else).
  • Attendees cannot bring guests. I explained clearly that any guests needed to be signed up individually, just like when you buy any other kind of ticket.
  • I’m not keeping a waitlist since no-show rates were already built into attendance estimates. No additional invitations will be sent.
  • I can’t control your company’s spam filters or do the legwork to tell you while your email system didn’t allow the invitation to pass through. I’ll put up a page shortly that works like an airline’s standby list –  the truncated first and last names of each invitee will appears so you’ll know you were invited even though you won’t be easily identifiable to anyone else.

Like last year, the House of Blues doors will open at 6:30 and we’ll close the check-in table by 8:30. The event costs about $200 for each attendee who passes the House of Blues guy with the people-clicker, so swinging by after someone else’s party for a quick beer can wreck the already-stretched budget. Be there on time and you won’t have to listen to a muffled Party on the Moon from the casino outside the HOB’s walls.

You can follow along with whatever it is that people will tweet about the event using #HIStalkapalooza. I’m surprised that nobody has Twitter-bragged about getting an invitation.

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Several readers emailed to ask if we’ll have Longo Lemonade at HIStalkapalooza. I hadn’t heard of it, but figured industry long-timer Peter Longo would know (duh) so I asked him. It’s a game where you ask for a Longo Lemonade and then show the bartender how to make it if they’re stumped – apparently word has spread and many will need no further instruction. But for those bartenders who haven’t heard of it, here’s the recipe that will probably result in sugar-sticky bar surfaces all over the House of Blues:

Shake straight vodka with ice and pour into a shot class. Sprinkle a packet of sugar onto a napkin and dip a slice of lemon in the sugar to cover each side. Drink the shot and then eat the lemon slice.


Webinars

February 17 (Wednesday) noon ET. “Take Me To Your Leader: Catholic Health Initiatives on Executive Buy-In for Enterprise Analytics.” Sponsored by Premier. Presenters: Jim Reichert, MD, PhD, VP of analytics, Catholic Health Initiatives; Rush Shah, product manager analytics factory, Premier. Catholic Health Initiatives, the nation’s second-largest non-profit health system, knew that in order to build an enterprise analytics strategy, they needed a vision, prioritization, and most importantly buy-in from their executives. Dr. Jim Reichert will walk through their approach.

February 23 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Completing your EMR with a Medical Image Sharing Strategy.” Sponsored by LifeImage. Presenters: Don K. Dennison, consultant; Jim Forrester, director of imaging informatics, UR Medicine. Care coordination can suffer without an effective, cost-efficient way to share images across provider networks. Consolidating image management systems into a single platform such as VNA or PACS doesn’t address the need to exchange images with external organizations. This webinar will address incorporating the right image sharing methods into your health IT strategy.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Premier reports Q2 results: revenue up 17 percent, adjusted EPS $0.42 vs. $0.36, beating expectations for both but recording a GAAP loss of $54 million for the quarter.

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Mobile consumer payments vendor SwervePay raises $10 million in funding, increasing its total to $11.6 million. The company focuses on healthcare and auto-related services, which for appointment-setting and payments are not all that different now that I think of it.

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Cognizant announces Q4 results: revenue up 18 percent, EPS $0.69 vs. $0.59, falling short of revenue expectations but beating on earnings. Shares dropped on lower revenue guidance due to expected reduced technology spending. The company’s healthcare division, its second-largest in contributing 30 percent of total revenue, had a 23 percent revenue increase, still a slowdown from previous quarters. Cognizant acquired TriZetto for $2.7 billion in 2014.

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Human resources software vendor Zenefits fires founder and CEO Parker Conrad, informing employees that, “Many of our internal processes, controls, and actions around compliance have been inadequate, and some decisions have just been plain wrong.” Forbes estimates the net worth of 35-year-old Conrad at $900 million. The company, valued at $4.5 billion, has been accused of allowing unlicensed salespeople to sell medical insurance. Zenefits hired as its new CEO David Sacks, who co-founded Yammer (purchased by Microsoft for $1.2 billion) and who used the fortune he made as pre-IPO COO of PayPal to produce the movie “Thank You For Smoking.”


Sales

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Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System selects Strata Decision’s StrataJazz financial system.


People

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Leidos Health names Chris Freer (SPH Analytics) as sales VP.


Announcements and Implementations

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Skagit Regional Health (WA) posts 53 new IT positions with up 20 more coming in 2016 as it implements Epic, on which it expects to spend $72 million over the next five years.

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Phynd CEO Tom White attended a recent White House roundtable on technology jobs in rural America, including Phynd’s “Silicon Prairie” home of Kearney, NE. The session with 10 business leaders was hosted by Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.


Government and Politics

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The Senate health committee unanimously passes S.2511, the Improving Health Information Technology Act. Some of what the bill contains:

  • Reduce documentation burdens and allow non-physicians to document on their behalf.
  • Encourage EHR certification for technology used by specialty providers.
  • Create a health IT rating system reflecting security, usability, interoperability, and certification testing results that also incorporates user feedback.
  • Empower HHS OIG to investigate and punish data blocking.
  • Enlist data sharing networks to develop a voluntary model framework and agreement for information exchange.
  • Create a digital provider directory.
  • Require certified software to exchange information with registries that follow standards.
  • Directs the GAO to conduct a patient matching study within one year.
  • Require HHS to defer to standards created by Standards Development Organizations and consensus-based bodies.
  • Require HHS OCR to clarify provider misunderstanding about giving patients access to their own information and to publish best practices for patients to request the information. 

More details: the HELP committee’s revised summary and the Senate’s bill.

The President sends Congress a $4.1 trillion 2017 budget that would raise taxes by $2.6 trillion in the next 10 years. It includes HHS funding for the “cancer moonshot” and programs to address opioid addiction, but the big jump in federal red ink would come from Medicare and Social Security entitlement programs that are being overwhelmed with retiring Baby Boomers. The budget includes $19 billion for improving the cybersecurity of government IT systems. It doesn’t address the economic elephant in the room: that even a tiny increase in increase rates could add $1 trillion in annual costs just to service the cost of the existing massive federal debt.


Privacy and Security

A medical school professor says doctors need to stop complaining about EHRs patients shouldn’t obsess over medical records confidentiality because EHR-created databases will change the way medicine is practiced and lead to new cures. He says that simple data mining can find information “lying in plain sight, no invasive procedures or testing required. We could have found it years earlier if we had had the date.”


Technology

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Cerner launches the Cerner Open Developer Experience to allow developers to work with Cerner’s sandbox using SMART on FHIR.


Other

The British government will give NHS $6 billion to fund technology projects that will eliminate fax machines and paper, improve cyber security, create a new NHS website, and provide free wi-fi. Patients will gain online tools to schedule appointments, request prescription refills, and communicate electronically with their physicians. NHS hopes to monitor 25 percent of patients with chronic conditions remotely by 2020.

A tiny study finds that pediatricians who remotely evaluate children with fever or respiratory distress using FaceTime on an iPad perform just as well as those who conduct their examination in person.

A well-designed study of discharged heart failure patients finds that telemonitoring combined with health coaching didn’t reduce 180-day readmissions.

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Athenahealth’s Jonathan Bush, in a short interview, says that his aunt, Barbara Bush, donated $4 million in Athenahealth profits to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center. He says:

The irony is the Barbara Bush Hospital just bought Epic with that money and is building a monopoly to capture referrals that they don’t have the volume to do well. A lot of the stuff they do probably should be done somewhere else. I didn’t say all this to Bar. I said, “That’s just great,” pinching my fingernails under the table.

Weird News Andy says, “I expect it to be in ICD-11” after failing to find an ICD-10 code for the claim that a man in India was killed by a meteorite. WNA codes the encounter as, “W20.8XXA Other cause of strike by thrown, projected or falling object, initial encounter.”


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD makes its patient engagement solution available to users of its AdvancedPM technology.
  • The Nashville Post covers Cumberland Consulting Group’s move into performance improvement and revenue cycle.
  • Bernoulli participated in the IHE North American Connectathon Week in Cleveland.
  • ZeOmega launches a series of whiteboard videos about its population health management software.
  • Vital Images offers a zero-cost data migration service.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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February 9, 2016 News 4 Comments

Morning Headlines 2/9/16

February 8, 2016 News No Comments

£4.2 billion investment to bring the NHS into the digital age

NHS Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announces a new $6 billion initiative to fund the health system’s push toward a paperless care delivery environment.

Theranos has a week to respond to the searing report about its business

Theranos is granted a one week extension to address inspection deficiencies found by CMS auditors during a routine inspection of its California lab.

Give Up Your Data to Cure Disease

A New York Times opinion piece weighs the trade off between patient privacy and  the research value that EHR data sets offer, arguing “We need to get over it. These digital databases offer an incredible opportunity to examine trends that will fundamentally change how doctors treat patients.”

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February 8, 2016 News No Comments

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 2/8/16

February 8, 2016 Dr. Jayne 3 Comments

Last week I talked about physician understanding of the economics involved with a transition to value-based care. This week I’d like to entertain the idea of opportunity cost, which is the loss of potential benefit from alternatives not selected when a choice is made. In explaining it to my niece, it’s missing out on buying a cool pair of boots in three months because you’re buying too many lattes and not saving anything from your part-time job.

I’ve had a series of events lately that make me think that healthcare leaders don’t understand the concept of opportunity cost. I know I have a penchant for working with organizations that tend to be fairly troubled, but this is a pretty basic concept. Let’s take a look at a few of those scenarios:

Hospital A had a very strong IT analyst who had been working in a physician liaison role, meeting with new hires and personally setting them up with various credentials, their VPN tokens, etc. She would meet them either at their offices or in the physician lounge and do whatever it took to get them activated and make sure they felt supported for the first few months of employment. She was dearly loved by everyone. 

When her husband developed an ongoing medical issue and she asked to reduce her hours, it seemed like a done deal. Instead, the IT department informed her that they had no part-time positions available. She was forced to take early retirement in order to care for her family.

Subsequently, they contracted out the position to a third-party desktop support group, who immediately hired the staffer part time. She earned close to her previous full-time salary as a part-time contractor while the hospital ended up paying more than her full-time salary.

It’s bad enough to not do the right thing for an employee who has been with you for 30 years, which is unheard of in the working world today. To make such a poor business decision on top of it, though, is just mind-boggling. They’re now essentially paying twice as much for her services. Making it even more bittersweet, her husband’s condition turned out to be not as dire as predicted. She’s now back in a full-time position, performing project management services in addition to the desktop support.

Hospital B had been trying to hire a CMIO for some time. They engaged me to help put together the job description and evaluate candidates since they had never had a CMIO and wanted someone to help sort the wheat from the chaff.

We first ran into trouble when they created the job posting and its accompanying salary range, which was less than what most physicians make fresh out of training. Yet they expected to hire a board-certified clinical informaticist who had been working in the field at least five years with their specific platform.

They were surprised that no one was interested in the job. Only a handful of folks who had lost their licenses or had other suspicious gaps in their employment history had applied in several months. None of them were board certified. They changed the salary range, but by then the organization had lost momentum. After engaging an external recruiter, they were able to finally get some good candidates. 

The human resources department processes of running the background checks and making the offer sent the first-choice candidate running for the hills. Why would someone want to work for an organization who can’t even get the hiring process right? I’m not sure, and neither was he, apparently.

As time elapsed, their second-choice candidate had already accepted another position. Their third choice turned them down with inadequate compensation as the reason. They were unwilling to respond to a counter-offer. 

The newly-created position has now been vacant for six months. Had they been able to get themselves in order, how much could a new CMIO have accomplished over the last several months? How many opportunities for improvement were missed? How much money have they lost in recruiting after trying to “save” it on salary?

They’re now back at square one, cobbling the role together with a host of physician champions who are trying to fill in on top of their regular jobs and hiring me to do tasks that are beyond their capacity or skills.

Hospital C had an employed physician group that was preparing to change EHRs. They hired me to shepherd their data migration. After looking at the quality and quantity of the data (which was really pretty appalling), I recommended against trying to extract the data to to seed their new system.

As an example, most of their blood pressure values were unusable since their previous vendor didn’t have adequate control of data fields. Nonsense characters and inappropriate abbreviations filled tables where only numbers should have been.

In looking at the overall poor quality of the data, the specialty mix, the volume of truly “repeat” patients vs. those that were episodic, I recommended they use a third party to abstract and load the data so they could have a clean start. It looked costly on paper, but I thought I made an adequate argument for the return on investment given the risk to patient safety of poor data quality.

The IT team felt my concerns were “ridiculous” despite my experience and decided to go it on their own. They now have spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars trying to get the data to a point where the incoming vendor will accept it. They’re paying their own physicians (who aren’t informatics trained) to work on the data. They have done so much manipulation that now they’re questioning the data integrity themselves.

I was asked if I am willing to come back and help. Of course there is no way I’m touching it at this point. I referred them to the abstraction firm and hope they can take a rush job. Their go-live is in a few weeks and the physicians are at risk of starting on the new system with nothing.

Figuring out the money wasted is easy. But how do you put a value on all the stress that has been generated and the growing negative feelings about the transition?

I have friends that work in all kinds of industries and we always swap war stories. It seems like mine are always the most outrageous as well as being most plentiful. It’s like no one is watching the store. Healthcare organizations hire someone to give them advice, then ignore it, then act surprised when things turn out badly. I’m very much concerned that the move to value-based care will only make a broken system more dysfunctional.

Where do we go from here? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

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February 8, 2016 Dr. Jayne 3 Comments

HIStalk Interviews Kevin Johnson, MD, Chief Informatics Officer, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

February 8, 2016 Interviews 3 Comments

Kevin Johnson, MD is chief informatics officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (TN), professor and chair of biomedical informatics and professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University, and a filmmaker.

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Why is VUMC moving from McKesson Horizon to Epic instead of to McKesson Paragon?

We have enjoyed a long history with Epic as one of their first revenue cycle clients dating back to 1995. We had made a decision to upgrade our revenue cycle and billing system to a more recent Epic version for inpatient and outpatient billing. We also have Cerner’s lab system.

Our decision, therefore, was to migrate our revenue cycle, clinical, and lab environment to Epic/Epic/Cerner or Epic/Cerner/Cerner. Paragon is a system constructed with a different size and complexity health system in mind. Both Cerner and Epic were good choices for us, and after a thorough evaluation, we chose Epic for our clinical system.

What is your Epic implementation timeline?

One of Epic’s strengths is that they provide a timeline and coaching to help our team configure, test, train, and go live. We are following that timeline with a plan to go live with Epic in a big bang fashion in November 2017.

We are fortunate to have a large and talented IT group, of whom about 50 percent are migrating to the Epic project. We think that their knowledge about Vanderbilt systems and infrastructure, coupled with their knowledge about our leadership and their relationships with customers, will help us deliver this system on time.

How will the Epic system help VUMC with its current and future patient care initiatives?

We have big plans for this. I will say right off the bat that Vanderbilt is a lot like other organizations that have constructed a leading IT infrastructure. We have areas with better adoption and areas that still have unmet needs. We have dependencies on individuals, rather than teams, that put some of our best innovations at risk. And we have workflow challenges related to the need to interface, rather than integrate, some of our system components.

Going live with Epic will usher in an era with a more unified patient bill, better access to mobile tools for patients and providers, and point-of-care access to reports and other aggregate data. Epic will be a high-reliability transaction processing and core clinical system for us.

Vanderbilt has always had a distinctive strategy for IT. We are retaining our vendor-neutral operational record, so that we will have three ways to potentially extend our infrastructure.

First, we plan to work with Epic to solve new problems and to innovate when possible. Second, we are capable of adding onto Epic through the use of SMART/FHIR apps and anticipate doing so. For example, to pilot student and trainee projects. Third, we will use our vendor-neutral record, if need be, to bring up specific complex functionality not yet supported by Epic.

Our plan, though, is to use this to free up our most talented developers to innovate on unsolved challenges rather than using their expertise to keep up with regulatory or reporting demands.

Is Vanderbilt still doing work to match genetic and EHR information?

Very much so. We are actively involved with the EMERGE (electronic medical records and genomics) Consortium, as are a number of academic centers around the country. Probably the biggest innovation we’ve been able to demonstrate is how to weave drug-genome interactions into the point of care through a project called PREDICT that was internally funded.

We were incredibly honored to host the second of the Precision Medicine Initiative workshops last spring and to push on the agenda of interoperability while also considering numerous approaches to abstracting EHR information for this program. Through the efforts of Josh Denny, MD, the PheWAS method, where we use NLP on clinical documents — in addition to using structured data in the EHR — to figure out phenotypes and then scan for variants associated these phenotypes we have convincingly demonstrated the power of combining genomic and EHR data.

The world of developing predictive models for disease is literally exploding, as we know, and will continue to evolve as new and more relevant data types, such as images and sensor data, are added to the analytic ecosystem.

What is VUMC doing with population health management?

Like almost everyone, we’re learning how best to do anything in population health management. I think the key point we all must address is how little technology really does to improve population health management. What technology does well, so far, is help with the aggregation and communication of data and knowledge around performance.

What we need to do is move from communication to active decision support at the point of care, better involvement of patients in their health management, and hardwired processes to act on information being distributed that requires manual interventions. The people and process parts of managing health are simply underappreciated.  

What we’re doing at this point is building that infrastructure, in addition to scaling work people have done with diseases like ventilator-associated pneumonia and asthma across the enterprise. We are excited about working with Epic users who have done a lot with that environment and population health, such as the work Geisinger has led for years. We have a few innovative ideas that may or may not pan out.  

I do have to share with you one story. When I got my Apple Watch, the first thing I imagined is how we could push reminders to clinical providers of care, using an in-room beacon to know which patient and which provider were engaged in the encounter. Very cool, until I first looked at my watch in front of a patient, who said, “I’ll only be a minute. Sorry to keep you.” The watch, unfortunately, has a lot of baggage we would have to overcome.

It’s clear that there are some great opportunities afforded by technology, but that in the era of widespread EHR adoption and dissatisfaction, we need to be very careful.

What innovative products or companies have you seen lately that excite you?

Other than my fascination with the Watch? Along the same vein, I have great expectations for the Amazon Echo. It just feels like the right interface to do what I described above  — real-time reminders and query/response decision support — in a way that could be easily integrated into the encounter.

I’m also very intrigued by work being done to demonstrate SMART and FHIR’s potential. There are a ton of startups creating wonderful apps and data visualizations. I hope we can harness some of this energy to impact the provider- and patient-facing health information technology systems.

Another thing that really excites and scares me is the phenomenon of big data. There’s a great little video from the ACLU called “Scary Pizza.” It shows one side of a very interesting issue, which is how simple systems can evolve using data from a number of sources. The goal of the ACLU piece is to scare us into fear about a loss of privacy. That’s one angle.

Another angle is to view it as an informatics challenge. How can we provide this level of decision support in a more acceptable fashion? For example, what if there was a way to use data about a house configuration to decide that the house might be difficult for rehab after a stroke? What if there was a way to know that the home’s electricity had been off on a few occasions, thereby changing the suitability for a home ventilator? I imagine that these types of data will truly transform the patient-provider interaction in the next decade.

What has been the response to your movie "No Matter Where?"

The movie tries to help lay audiences understand the issues surrounding information sharing. It’s been a very successful run so far. We had showings in Ann Arbor, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and San Francisco as a part of the AMIA meeting last fall. We have screenings being planned now in Indiana, Oregon, and Oklahoma. We have sold more than 100 copies of the DVD and are working on getting the film shown on public television. I’ve been pleased by the response so far.  We’ll see how 2016 treats us.

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February 8, 2016 Interviews 3 Comments

Morning Headlines 2/8/16

February 7, 2016 News 2 Comments

One Medical Buys Virtual Nutritionist App Rise

Concierge medicine provider One Medical acquires digital health startup Rise for $20 million. Rise markets an app that provides one-on-one nutrition and diet coaching, and has raised $4 million since its 2013 launch.

Obamacare’s Low Enrollment Numbers Also Show Why Exchange Coverage Will Get Worse

A Forbes opinion piece argues that public insurance exchange coverage options will continue to get worse.

JHU launches new healthcare engineering center

Johns Hopkins University launches The Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare, a research center focused on data analytics, system design and analysis, and technology and devices.

athenahealth Jonathan S. Bush on Q4 2015 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

On its quarterly earnings call, Athenahealth CEO Jon Bush noted that its recently announced partnership with University of Toledo will help it develop a system suitable for larger academic health systems.

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February 7, 2016 News 2 Comments

Monday Morning Update 2/8/16

February 7, 2016 News 7 Comments

Top News

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National medical practice operator One Medical Group pays $20 million to acquire nine-employee Rise, whose app connects users with nutritionists for meal planning and diet advice. The company had raised $4 million. One founder was previously with Groupon while the other worked for Mozilla.

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San Francisco-based One Medical Group, which has raised $182 million and runs practices in seven cities, was founded by former Epocrates CMO Tom X. Lee, MD.


Reader Comments

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From Lib B Z: “Re: NYU’s Langone Medical Center. Doctors are unhappy with the new EMR added because the changes are confusing and time wasting. The new system supplied by Optum is supposed to work alongside Epic. Langone is reportedly looking at dismantling the recent additions that were hurriedly bolted on.” Unverified.

From Curly Endive: “Re: Epic hosting. We’re also concerned about scanning with McKesson. There seem to be mixed opinions among us whether Epic really gets what a big problem this is. I understand keeping a competitor’s product off their hardware, but my sense is they got caught with their pants down in anticipating that hosting customers would need a solution. They don’t seem to have a fast solution in the works.” Unverified.

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From Ex-Epic: “Re: Epic customers in Canada. Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario: Beaker (I think), MyChart, Ambulatory and I think inpatient as well.  Women’s College Hospital: scheduling/registration, Ambulatory only. Alberta Health Services: Mychart/Amb and there was rumor when I was at Epic that they were expanding to enterprise (they already have the license). Mackenzie is full enterprise. I think you covered this in the past, but Epic lost out on University Health Network in Toronto, which is the largest hospital network in Canada.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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More than 80 percent of poll respondents say their reaction to recent CMS statements about Meaningful Use is negative. New poll to your right or here: if you’re going to the HIMSS conference, what is your primary reason for attending?

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Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor Carevive Systems. The Philadelphia-based company offers an oncology care planning system that combines electronic patient-reported outcomes with clinical data and evidence-based content authored by thousands of oncologists to generate initial, supportive, and survivorship care patient care plans and to link patients to clinical trials. Its rules engine auto-populates the 13 elements of the IOM care management plan required for the Oncology Care Model. As a client reports, “What I really like about the platform is the patient’s ability to report his or her own symptoms, and then we can generate evidence-based practice data to manage those symptoms. Subsequently, we provide an intensive care plan for them … we’re able to see what patients are truly experiencing and help them manage their symptoms more effectively.” Thanks to Carevive Systems for supporting HIStalk.

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Mrs. Brunetti says her rural Arkansas students are able to remember math concepts better by using the books and manipulatives we provided in funding her DonorsChoose grant request.

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Also checking in is Mr. Garcia, who needed speakers for the six computer workstations he built himself for students of his inner city Dallas school (he’s an Army veteran and computer engineering graduate). We also provided a weatherproof Bluetooth speaker whose use he describes as, “The portable speaker was a hit. We took it to the hallway for the Sphero robotic ball to draw 2D figures. Every time there was a sound it was deep, loud and catchy — our principal came to see us and was very impressed with my students listening to instructions from Sphero. Teaching coordinates X and Y for ordered pairs was very memorable for them. My plan is now to take Sphero, the tablet, and the portable speaker to the basketball court and teach angles, time to distance ratio, problem solving, and critical thinking.”

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I’ve been surprised at the number of people who are shocked and indignant at Martin Shkreli’s 50-fold price increase for Daraprim, sputtering that his company should behave “fairly.” That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard lately, that anyone would expect a former hedge fund trader and drug company CEO to take any action that doesn’t best serve him or his shareholders, or for that matter that less-annoying healthcare overlords are working selflessly for the good of their customers in some manner everybody else might consider “fair.” Shkreli is working the system that we all created where we made healthcare a capitalistic, obscenely profitable business, no different than everybody else lapping at the sick people’s trough (McKesson doesn’t pay John Hammergren $150 million per year for being “fair.”) The politicians he refused to answer last week seem to think it’s Shkreli’s job and not their own to fix our healthcare mess. As the New Yorker observes with apparent tongue in cheek,

Nancy Retzlaff, Turing’s chief commercial officer, told the committee about her company’s efforts to get the drug to people who can’t afford it. The arrangement she described sounded like a hodge-podge, an ungainly combination of dizzyingly high prices, mysterious corporate bargaining, and occasional charitable acts—which is to say, it sounded not so much different from the rest of our medical system … True, he has those indictments to worry about. But he is also a self-made celebrity, thanks to a business plan that makes it harder for us to ignore the incoherence and inefficiency of our medical industry. He rolls his eyes at members of Congress, he carries on thoughtful conversations with random Internet commenters, and, unlike most of our public figures, he may never learn the arts of pandering and grovelling. He is the American Dream, a rude reminder of the spirit that makes this country great, or at any rate exceptional.

Meanwhile, a fascinating video interview shows Shkreli casually slurping from a $5,000 bottle of wine while playing chess with the interviewer, describing that he’s a hero among dishonorable drug companies and explaining why hospitals and doctors are healthcare’s real cost problem. We’re still trying to convince him to hang out at our HIMSS booth. I told Lorre to bribe him by offering to buy one full-priced Daraprim tablet.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Practice Fusion lays off 74 employees as it struggles to reach profitability.
  • The White House asks Congress to fund a $1 billion “cancer moonshot.”
  • Theranos declines to fulfill its promise to allow partner Cleveland Clinic to verify its technology and says it won’t publish FDA testing data until all of its tests are approved.
  • A Surescripts survey finds that few New York doctors have the technology required to send all prescriptions electronically by March 27, 2016 as state law requires.
  • The Hurley Medical Center pediatrician credits her use of EHR-mined data in proving Flint, Michigan’s water crisis to skeptical state officials.
  • A bipartisan Senate bill calls for expanding Medicare coverage of telemedicine.

Webinars

February 23 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Completing your EMR with a Medical Image Sharing Strategy.” Sponsored by LifeImage. Presenters: Don K. Dennison, consultant; Jim Forrester, director of imaging informatics, UR Medicine. Care coordination can suffer without an effective, cost-efficient way to share images across provider networks. Consolidating image management systems into a single platform such as VNA or PACS doesn’t address the need to exchange images with external organizations. This webinar will address incorporating the right image sharing methods into your health IT strategy.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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From Friday’s Athenahealth earnings call:

  • The company has 4,600 employees.
  • The recently announced development partnership with University of Toledo Medical center will help the company move from its “sub-50 bed hospitals” to larger facilities that need “chemotherapy or more advanced pharmacy and lab or surgery, pre-op, post-op, more sophisticated discharge planning.”
  • When pressed on University of Toledo’s  timeline to replace its sunsetting systems, Bush said, “There are a very large number of older inpatient systems that are turning into a pumpkin in 2018. And, yes, we would like to be able to gobble up as much of that as possible. The number one feedback that we get in focus groups with health system executives around Athena is, they don’t do inpatient … they think they need that one throat to choke. So, we’ve got to be there with inpatient and outpatient. And it’s true — 2018 is a bellwether year for us if we’re ready.”
  • Jonathan Bush says of practices taking risk, “The awkward truth is that not many doctors, not many lives are truly, truly at risk. They are part of ACOs and other things where the government takes the first two cents and then they spend the year figuring out what the savings might be and then they give you half the savings. Then if you created savings in past years, they rebate you at a later year.”
  • The company is working on mapping all providers and AthenaNet patients individually into master directories in creating an instant-on experience so that new clients can instantly receive information about their patients and referral patterns.
  • Bush describes the company’s horizontal expansion as, “If you just imagine that the doctor is the guy who launches that pinball up into the pinball machine, the most important guy to get is that ball launcher at the bottom … We are loved more than anyone else. We are the only likeable cafeteria food in all of undergraduate education. That ball is the patient. They shoot up and bounce against labs, pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, surgery centers. We’ve been starting with the most frequent bumpers.”
  • Bush says of McKesson Horizon customers who will be forced to make a replacement system decision soon, “We don’t want these beautiful animals to bolt off the cliff in panic and go enter themselves into another 10-year amortization and another nightmare of capital encumberment for their balance sheet and a nightmare of administrative complexity for their IT teams. We want them to believe. Some will bolt, but the partnership with Toledo, the partnership with Beth Israel, the progress through larger and larger hospitals, and the fact that we have a pretty darned good reputation as an entity that delivers in this space, we’re hoping will save some people from unfortunate decisions.”

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Above is the one-year share price of ATHN ((blue, down 9 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, down 7.7 percent). The company is worth nearly $5 billion.

Meanwhile, Bush weighs in on Turing Pharmaceuticals Founder Martin Shkreli, saying he would “fight and die for Shkreli’s right to be a douche,” adding that drug companies should be able to charge whatever they want for drugs that keep people out of expensive hospitals. 

MMRGlobal, the purported personal health record vendor whose real focus is shaking down EHR vendors by filing nuisance patent infringement lawsuits against them in forcing licensing agreements, conducts a reverse stock split. The company’s one billion plus shares were worth less than a fifth of a penny, valuing it at $2.5 million. The company lost $490,000 on sales of $80,000 in the most recent quarter.


Sales

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In Australia, Bendigo Health chooses InterSystems TrakCare as the EHR for its new hospital that opens next year.


Announcements and Implementations

The Ann Arbor, MI VA hospital goes live on LiveData PeriOp Manager in its operating rooms, where it will synchronize perioperative workflow.


Government and Politics

A Forbes editorial says exchange-sold medical insurance will get worse, evidenced not only by enrollment numbers that are 40 percent less than originally estimated, but also by the “adverse selection” of high plan-switching rates indicating that healthy enrollees are trying to minimize the implicit tax in subsidizing sick enrollees who are seeking out the most comprehensive coverage. It concludes that insurance companies that offer the best coverage will be forced out of the marketplaces as federal subsidies run out for their overly sick risk pool.

A proposed Florida bill would require hospitals to verify the identity of Medicaid recipients using biometrics and a link to the state’s driver’s license database.


Privacy and Security

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Above is a nice quote from Ministry Health Care CIO Will Weider.

Jackson Memorial Hospital (FL) fires two employees who provided an ESPN reporter with photos of the medical information of NFL player Jason Pierre-Paul, who blew off his right index finger in a July 4 fireworks accident.


Technology

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Pebble releases its first health-related smartwatch updates, including a Pebble Health watch face. It’s seems to be purely a step counter and sleep tracker so far. The company’s Valentine’s Day special offers two of its Pebble Time Round Black and Silver for $360, much cheaper than the Apple Watch but equally pointless for me personally. 


Other

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Johns Hopkins University launches the Malone Center for Engineering in Healthcare, which will link engineers with clinicians to focus on data analytics, systems design and analysis, and technology and devices. It is funded by cable TV billionaire John Malone, who earned a MS and PhD from Hopkins.

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Actress Selma Hayek posts a photo of her posing with the ED doctors who were treating her after an on-set head injury, apologizing for her interesting shirt in saying, “Unfortunately, my wardrobe for the scene was completely inappropriate for the hospital.” She didn’t name the facility, but the doctors appear to work for Northwell Health (the former North Shore-LIJ). I found the Halloween costume shirt she’s wearing for sale here, although I’m torn between that and the company’s mullet wig for my HIMSS attire.

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The CEO of Union General Hospital (GA) and four members of his family are arrested for distributing narcotics after an investigation finds that a local doctor had written him 15,000 painkiller prescriptions in three years. The CEO’s brother, who is an ED doctor and former hospital board member, was also arrested, as was their sister, a nurse practitioner. The private practice doctor, who is also a board member of the hospital, was arrested and charged with 41 counts of unauthorized distribution of a controlled substance. It’s fascinating that America’s profitable self-doping has reached such epidemic levels that a hospital’s board apparently conspired to cash in on it. That doesn’t even count the cost of locking up our prisoners of war (on drugs) that has long since been lost in trying to limit supply rather than demand and driving up prices, crime, and overdose deaths as a result.

Yet another study finds that high-deductible medical insurance doesn’t encourage Americans to seek better healthcare services deals – it just causes them to skip getting the care they need. I bet there’s a newly occurring “seasonality” in doctor visits during the first half of the year when patients are paying out of their own pockets again, followed by a surge later once they have – expectedly or unexpectedly – met their deductibles that run nearly $7,000 on exchange-sold plans.

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A reader dug up a copy of Epic’s comic book from HIMSS 2000 as produced by “editor in chief Judith R. Faulkner.” The page on the right describes the “unsupported hyperbole decoder ring” that has translated the competitor’s sales pitch as, “We will go public, make gazillions, and retire to an island paradise.” Another page references publicly traded health IT vendors with, “You know what people are saying about the whole Internet stock craze.” That was the year the HIMSS conference in Dallas was pushed back to April to give hospital IT people time to fix unexpected Y2K problems, rocketing attendance to a then-lofty 17,000 (it was 43,000 last year).

Weird News Andy calls the story of the doctor convicted of murder for overprescribing drugs “Rx Wrecks,” with his favorite line being that the perp “sometimes made up medical records” of patients that she described as “druggies.”


Sponsor Updates

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  • Vital Images employees wear red for National Wear Red Day in support of heart health.
  • Reminder and patient engagement service vendor Talksoft announces integration with Greenway Intergy.
  • Versus Technology becomes a founding member of the Electronic Hand Hygiene Compliance Organization.
  • VitalWare publishes a client success interview with Liz Knisel from ProMedica.
  • Huron Consulting Group will exhibit at the Annual AHA Rural Healthcare Leadership Conference February 7-10 in Phoenix.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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February 7, 2016 News 7 Comments

Morning Headlines 2/5/16

February 4, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Health IT & Health Information Services: 2015 Year-End Market Review

Healthcare Growth Partners publishes its annual market review, noting that “at this point in the market cycle, health IT behaves more like a policy-based economy than a market-based economy.”

Athenahealth, Inc. Q4 Earnings Retreat 21 percent

Athenahealth reports Q4 results: revenue of $257 million compared to $213 million during the same quarter last year, adjusted EPS $0.45 vs. $0.58, missing analyst estimates on revenue but beating on earnings.

Head Of California Exchange Scolds UnitedHealth For Blaming Woes On Obamacare

California health insurance exchange executive director Peter Lee criticizes UnitedHealth for blaming Obamacare exchanges for its financial losses, explaining “Instead of saying we screwed up, they said Obamacare is the problem and we may not play any more. It was giving an excuse to Wall Street and throwing the Affordable Care Act under the bus.”

Top 20 Employee Benefits & Perks

Glassdoor ranks Epic 16th on its list of Top 20 Employee Benefits and Perks, citing the company’s policy of granting a paid four-week sabbatical to employees after five years of employment.

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News 2/5/16

February 4, 2016 News No Comments

Top News

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Free practice EHR vendor Practice Fusion lays off 74 employees – around 25 percent of its workforce – in the face of ongoing losses.


Reader Comments

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From Bottled Lightning: “Re: Practice Fusion layoffs. Its IPO has been off the table since Ryan Howard left. I’m not sure why the press keeps propagating that fantasy when the company hasn’t been pitching IPO. They’ve been trying to find a buyer with no luck. Now they’re hunkering down and will try to survive with a much smaller team, filling functionality gaps in the product and trying to make it viable in a real market. You get what you pay for, and since most of its customers pay nothing, the product has some pretty deep gaps.” Unverified. Other readers have said the IPO story was floated as an excuse for dismissing founder and CEO Ryan Howard in August 2015. Investors have poured $155 million into the free EHR vendor in the past seven years. Companies yearning to IPO don’t usually fire the CEO, replace him with someone with no CEO experience, and conduct mass layoffs. It’s a tough time to be in the post-Meaningful Use EHR business.

From Boom Goes the Dynamite: “Re: Practice Fusion layoffs. The CEO is nice but unqualified – the board seems to think he can sell the company so they can get their $300 million (or more) back. Steve Filler quit his Oliver Wyman consulting job to become PF’s COO with much internal fanfare in November 2015 and he’s already gone. The CFO was let go and the chief marketing guy from Google didn’t take long to run away. The company’s 2015 revenue was $15 million, all of it from pharma, and its burn rate is $3 million per month. The board just forked over another $30 million to keep the lights on. Tom the new CEO predicts that they will become revenue positive by Q3 2017, but I don’t see a path to the top of that mountain.” Of the 13 executives listed on Practice Fusion’s website a year ago, only six are still there. If that $15 million annual revenue estimate is accurate, then Practice Fusion is a tiny, struggling company in a shrinking market segment in which it’s not among the top 10 companies (based on Meaningful Use attestation numbers). I don’t see even one attribute that would make me want to buy shares if indeed the company survives long enough to do a Hail Mary IPO.

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From Karen Green: “Re: lack of technology vs. lack of adoption. We have plenty of technologies that have begun to interoperate – DSM and HIE messages from acute care partners to post-acute specialists. MU attestation? Check! Not so on the continuum of care, where we are getting care summaries 1-3 days after discharge, rendering them useless for transitions of care. Why? Because the discharge and admissions planners on the front line are still using phone calls and fax to refer the patient. We have to enable the ‘intoperators’ on the front line and within the clinical practice so they can be informed about their patients in a timely way. Gartner suggests that CIOs have to be ‘digital humanists’ to lead the design of systems and technology to ‘enable people to achieve things they never thought possible.’ We must provide solutions that make it easy to give up proven convention for something that goes beyond the automation of processes.” Karen is CIO at Brooks Rehabilitation (FL).

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From Brass Ones: “Re: Mackenzie Health in Ontario. Going Epic.” Verified from their job postings. I don’t know of any other hospitals in Canada that run Epic inpatient.

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From The PACS Designer: “Re: augmented reality in healthcare. There’s a new term that created a buzz at the recent Consumer Electronics Show and that’s augmented reality. AR works differently than virtual reality (VR) in that the viewing device can be worn while doing other activities like walking or at work.” The mock-up above is from Microsoft’s HoloLens, which will start shipping soon. The company offers a $3,000 developer edition.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Ms. Johnson from Oklahoma says her students, many of whom begin school speaking only Spanish, are using the five MP3 players we provided via DonorsChoose to listen to the recordings of books she creates. Meanwhile, Ms. Johnson from Pennsylvania reports that her inner-city third graders are using their new Chromebook and accessories to access online reading and math interventions as well as to perform research – they previously had computer access in just one class three times per week.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Doctor on Demand announces that it will offer psychiatry sessions over its telehealth platform, expanding nationwide by mid-year. Pear Therapeutics raises $20 million in funding to roll out its substance abuse recovery support app. The University of Southern California announces eight strategic partners that will support its Virtual Care Clinic initiative.


HIStalkapalooza

HIStalkapalooza Featured Sponsor – NextGen Healthcare

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Visit NextGen Healthcare at HIMSS16 Booth #4421. See for yourself how we help ambulatory organizations achieve real interoperability, improve population health, and transition to value-based care. By focusing less on IT and more on care, our clients are driving the changes you hear about in healthcare. Of course, we’re not all work and no play! We’ll also be taking professional headshot photos in the booth; not to mention Happy Hour the last hour of each day at our booth, #4421!  Stop by after a long day pounding the convention floor for a pick-me-up.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Houston-based Decisio Health raises $2 million as it starts marketing its FDA-approved patient dashboard that uses technology licensed from University of Texas Health Science Center of Houston.

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Health information vendor IMS Health acquires AlphaImpactRx, which apparently pays doctors to provide feedback about drug salespeople via a mobile app and then sells that information to drug companies. The company also surveys oncologists and pathologists about oncology molecular diagnostic testing, pitching itself to drug companies by, “It’s important to understand how testing is impacting the oncologist’s choice of brand.” I like that doctors want consumer drug advertising to stop, but I also wish they would stop giving or selling their own information to companies like IMS that help drug companies sell drugs that might not be the best option. Drug companies target those doctors using the information they themselves provided.

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Athenahealth announces Q4 results: revenue up 21 percent, adjusted EPS $0.45 vs. $0.58, missing revenue estimates but beating on earnings. 


People

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David Crutchfield (Maestro Strategies) joins Conway Medical Center (SC) in the newly created position of VP/CIO.

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Don Soucy (Orion Health) joins Spok as EVP of global sales.

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Leidos names Donald Kosiak, Jr., MD, MBA (Avera Health) as chief medical officer. I’m not sure if he’s trying appear edgy or to hide a bald spot with his head-cropping LinkedIn photo, but kudos for his 18 years of service in the Army National Guard with deployments to Iraq.

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E-MDs names Derek Pickell (Convergent Healthcare) as CEO and board director. He replaces David Winn, who retired with the March 2015 announcement of the company’s acquisition by Marlin Equity Partners.

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Vocera hires Kathy English, RN (Cisco) as VP of marketing.


Announcements and Implementations

Orchestrate Healthcare launches an information security practice.

KLAS announces members of its Interoperability Measurement Advisory Team. The press release’s headline mentions an inaugural meeting that someone forgot to include in the release itself. 

Philips will use Validic’s technology to integrate consumer health data with its HealthSuite connected health products.

CCSI Distributors, a subsidiary of Clinical Computer Systems, Inc., obtains exclusive US distribution rights to the OB-Tools TrueLabor Maternal Fetal Monitor.

VCU Health (VA) used its Spok communications technology to manage its medical coverage of the nine-day UCI Road World Cycling Championships, which attracted 1,000 cyclists and 640,000 spectators to Richmond, VA.

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Healthcare Growth Partners publishes its “2015 Year-End Market Review.” HGP’s reports are brilliant and eloquent and I savor every one of them. Even folks who aren’t interested in business or investing will find them to be concise and insightful, with passages like this:

We urge innovators to approach the market pragmatically and not get carried away by idealism during this transitionary time of policy-based innovation. In health IT, disruption seems to come in increments versus all at once. We find that when health IT companies fail to achieve objectives (or founders get significantly diluted), it’s most often because the product or strategy arrives on the scene too early versus too late.


Government and Politics

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A group of senators and representatives introduces the CONNECT for Health Act, which would promote expanded use of telemedicine in Medicare by removing existing restrictions.

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Pharma bad boy Martin Shkreli pleads the Fifth Amendment in refusing to answer questions posed to him during a House committee hearing on drug pricing.

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A VA care alert warns that its CPRS system rejected an large number of consult/procedure orders, which it discovered while reviewing the system after the October 1, 2015 ICD-10 switch. Clicking the warning’s OK button cancelled the order. The VA says it fixed the problem in a December 29 patch, adding that a few examples were found to have occurred before October 1.

Federal judges reverse the VA’s demotion of two executives who had schemed to force their subordinates to transfer jobs so they could take those lower-level jobs themselves while keeping their executive pay. The judges ruled that the pair’s bosses knew what they were doing and did nothing to stop them. The same two VA executives are being investigated for being reimbursed $400,000 for questionable moving expenses.

The head of California’s insurance marketplace says UnitedHealth Group is “driving me bonkers” for blaming the Affordable Care Act for its losses from selling individual policies. He says the company’s competitors participated and learned from the beginning while UHG initially stayed on the sidelines, then set its rates higher than everyone else and offered broad networks that attract sicker people to sign up.


Privacy and Security

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A second former Tampa General Hospital (FL) employee is charged with stealing patient information used to file fraudulent tax forms.


Other

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Melissa Memorial Hospital (CO) brings self-pay billing back in house and goes back to separate inpatient and ambulatory statements following problems with First Party Receivable Solutions and its “OK, but not stellar” NextGen billing system.

Glassdoor places Epic as #16 on its list of “Top 20 Employee Benefits & Perks,” scoring the company four spots ahead of Google for offering a paid four-week sabbatical after five years.

The Charlotte newspaper notes that Carolinas HealthCare paid its retiring CEO $6.6 million in 2015, with all of the health system’s top 10 executives earning more than $1 million in total compensation. Even the chief HR officer made $1.3 million.

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I like this graphic, available here. The only problem I see is that it seems to be aimed at providers who probably either won’t see it or will ignore what it says. A patient-focused version would be nice if there was a way to blast it to the masses.

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OpenNotes sponsor Robert Wood Johnson Foundation lists its three-year goals for the project: (a) expand OpenNotes to 50 million people; (b) conduct pilot projects to see how clinical notes are being used to engage patients and families; and (c) measure the value of sharing notes.


Sponsor Updates

  • PharmaPoint incorporates the Surescripts Medication History for Panel Management solution into Xchange Point 5.0.
  • InterSystems is listed among the top 25 privately held companies in Massachusetts in the 2016 Boston Business Journal Book of Lists.
  • Premier awards Versus Technology a group purchasing agreement for its RTLS/RFID products.
  • Leidos Health will exhibit at McKesson Southeast February 10-11 in Charlotte, NC.
  • Outsourcing Gazette names MedData one of its Top 25 Most Promising Healthcare Services Providers of 2016.
  • Medicomp Systems will host Quipstar at HIMSS16.
  • Orion Health will present with CAL Index on March 1 at HIMSS16.
  • Sunquest announces UPMC, BSA Health Systems, and Carolinas HealthCare as winners of its client innovation awards.
  • PeriGen announces a new online training tool for its Patterns systems.
  • Red Hat releases a now viral employee rap video paying homage to its hometown of Raleigh, NC.
  • RelayHealth shares a video interview with VP Arien Malec.
  • The SSI Group opens registration for its 2016 user group events.
  • Streamline Health will exhibit at the 2016 Florida HFMA Regional – Space Coast event on February 5 in Titusville.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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February 4, 2016 News No Comments

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 2/4/16

February 4, 2016 Dr. Jayne No Comments

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This week we celebrated the creation of National Women Physicians Day on the birthday of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell. As the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, she helped pave the way for many of our careers.

There has been some backlash about adding another recognition “day” and jokes about whether we’re going to also have National Men Physicians Day. For those of us who trained and continue to work in environments that can range from covertly sexist to outright discriminatory, it’s nice to be recognized. In some areas, girls are still discouraged from pursuing science and technical careers.

I vividly remember my oh-so-Southern college roommate being told by her parents to just “paint your nails and do your hair and find a good husband and let daddy and me worry about the rest.” She was shocked to have been paired with a roommate who actually planned to be “pre-med” and not just use biology 101 to be “pre-wed.”

My medical school class at Prestigious University was the first to be more than half women. We crammed more than 60 women into a locker room designed for 20 as we changed for gross anatomy. The school refused to provide any other accommodation. Some of my gutsier classmates protested by changing in the hallway. You’d have thought they’d seen the admissions trends and made some preparations, but apparently it didn’t occur to the administration.

Despite having trained in the last two decades (when we should have known better), I’ve been sexually harassed more times than I can remember and have had to watch male residents harass a female faculty surgeon without repercussions. The joke was on them, however, because in their refusal to staff her cases they left the door open for the rest of us to actually perform procedures while they were three-deep holding retractors for a male surgeon.

Although we’ve come a long way, subtle sexism still exists. I look forward to the day where our children and grandchildren can choose whatever career suits them without sex- or gender-based comments. I’ve never heard anyone ask a male executive how he balances his family and career, but I hear it asked of women all the time.

It goes both ways, though, and I sympathize with men who have chosen careers that have been historically “female.” No one should ever have to justify their vocation based on chromosomes. If people take issue with that, I have a Marine Corps pastry chef I’d be delighted to introduce.

In other news, this week has been chock-full of things that are almost too ridiculous to put into words. Unfortunately, most of them involved fairly specific situations with vendors and hospital executives that I can’t write about without risking my anonymity.

That’s one of the hardest things about being on the HIStalk team – not being able to share the best stories because they would out us. Often I go ahead and write things up but let them sit for a couple of months until memories fade, but several of these were so over the top I don’t think I’ll ever be able to use them. A couple of them though were general enough to have occurred anywhere, so I’ll offer some pro tips.

If you are creating recorded training materials that are going to be viewed by not only your internal staff but also by your strategic partners, you might want to have some “webinar hygiene” requirements for the staff conducting the sessions. First, address the barking dogs before they bark or figure out how to pause the recording while you do it. I now know the names of your dogs and the fact that they don’t listen to you at all. BTW, the kissing noises were cute.

Second (and I thought this went without saying), use a headset and not your speakerphone. Make sure your microphone gain is adjusted properly. Otherwise, you end up yelling at your audience or being nearly inaudible.

Third, close your Outlook or hide your alerts.

Finally, for the love of all things, please turn off your instant messenger. I saw some things pop up during one session that were completely NSFW. Since it was a recording, they’re preserved for posterity.

Whether you’re recording content or just presenting, it might be a good idea to ask someone to peer-review your slide deck. Typos are embarrassing in front of hundreds of people. Also, when introducing a guest speaker or secondary presenter, make sure you’ve vetted the introduction with them first. I was completely embarrassed when I was recently introduced as “the CMIO of Big Medical Center” when in fact I haven’t been there for months.

I’m not ashamed of being without a title other than “independent consultant” and provided a bio prior to the session that was essentially a three-line introduction suitable for the call and edited for the audience. Apparently the moderator missed it, however.

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Adding to the ridiculousness of the week was the arrival of some malware on my laptop. Thank goodness it was my older one that I’m only using for music, movies, and browsing. Its arrival was suspiciously timed with a visit from my nephew who spent quite a bit of time on it, showing off his skills with Scratch and Python. I fought with it for several hours and finally gave up, having tried most of my own tricks and several from friends. I’m taking it tomorrow to my favorite “will trade Jameson for IT support” guy and hopefully we’ll get it back on its feet.

Regardless of his contribution to my stress level, my nephew is a great kid and I’m impressed by his technology skills. In his school district, they offer a program where students can sign up to spend a day at work with alumni in various fields. He was disappointed that they don’t have anyone who writes code for a living, but his eyes lit up when I suggested that I might just know some people who build EHRs every day. Looks like we’ll be cashing in some frequent flyer points for a spring break adventure of the health IT kind.

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I spent some time away from the craziness working on my HIMSS schedule. I already have lunch scheduled with one of my favorite start-ups and am eager to hear about what they’ve been doing. We spend some time catching up at Midway after HIMSS last year and have checked in once since then, but I’m sure their product has grown in leaps and bounds. I also tracked down the truth behind the rumor that Medicomp was planning something different for their Quipstar game show this year. Indeed they are!

This year will feature teams (!) competing using their new Quippe Clinical Lens product. I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be captaining “Team HIStalk” on March 1 (Tuesday) at 11 a.m. We need four readers to join me in kicking off the week’s game show play at booth 1354. If you’re interested, email me with your credentials, witty comments, outright bribery, or a photo of your favorite shoes and tell me why you want to play on Team HIStalk. I can’t promise much more than the opportunity to meet me and have some fun, but you never know what you’ll see at their booth.

Last year’s appearance by Jonathan Bush was one for the highlight reel. I’m looking forward to having some team backup to make up for my appearance a few years ago when I blanked on David Brailer’s name even though I could see his picture in my head.

I don’t know who we will be competing against, but I hope it’s someone fun. Could it be Karen DeSalvo? Perennial contestant Jacob Reider? John Halamka? My not-so-secret crush Farzad Mostashari? Or the dashingly hilarious Matthew Holt?

Are you ready to get your game show on? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

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February 4, 2016 Dr. Jayne No Comments

Morning Headlines 2/4/16

February 3, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Practice Fusion Lays Off 25% Of Workers To Create Positive Cash Flow

Practice Fusion confirms that it has laid of 25 percent of its workforce, across all divisions, in an effort to become cash positive.

Bipartisan Senate bill seeks to expand telemedicine services

A group of bipartisan senators introduce the CONNECT for Health Act, a bill aimed at expanding telemedicine services through expanded Medicare benefits.

2016 Clinical Analytics for Population Health Management Market Trends Report

A Chilmark report predicts that the data analytics market will grow as more health systems shift to value-based reimbursement models.

Healthcare: For here or to go?

An Accenture report predicts that startups working in the on-demand healthcare market will see investment levels quadruple by 2017, growing to nearly a billion dollars in annual investment.

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February 3, 2016 Headlines No Comments

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