A House panel, obviously fed up by the DoD’s cavalier attitude toward the VA’s VistA system compared to its own AHLTA EHR, demands to know why DoD won’t adopt the highly successful VistA. DoD says it’s looking at VistA yet again, but says it will evaluate it against commercial systems in attempting to “skate where the puck will be” and is concerned about multiple VistA versions and lack of conversion documentation. Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL), as puzzled as the rest of us about whether VA-DoD will adopt a single EHR or try to cobble their respective systems to merely look like one, summarized as, “It sounds to me like we’re doing a U-turn and going back to the exact same thing again.” Outgoing VA CIO Roger Baker says estimates to develop the integrated system had doubled to $12 billion. One might assume that given Epic’s previous rumored involvement, its Coast Guard EHR experience, and its track record in large and diverse organizations, it might enter the picture in some fashion as the words “commercial systems” are uttered in polite company.
From Jardone: “Re: Jardogs. A sale to Allscripts is imminent. Layoffs began yesterday, which appear to be across the board. Since Jardogs is owned by Springfield Clinic, no severance will be paid. Today is the last day for many, including myself.” Unverified. I e-mailed our contact at Jardogs inviting a response, but haven’t heard back. Jardogs, which offers patient engagement and health management solutions, is an Allscripts partner.
From Looking Deeper: “Re: MU Stage 2 requirements. Do your readers have tips for getting clarification for questions that aren’t resolved in the documentation? We would like to contact CMS. It’s a shame they don’t have an e-mail address or form.” A reader reports having successfully used this form, selecting “EHR Incentive Program” as the topic. She got a response in three weeks.
From Festus: “Re: coding issues. Jail time?” A 63-year-old cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon is serving a 10-month sentence for Medicare fraud, convicted for upcoding his cases. The US Attorney says his case sends a message to doctors, while professional organizations say that message is that doctors shouldn’t accept Medicare payment because nobody can comply with its complex requirements and now they could be imprisoned for making mistakes. According to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, “This precedent criminalizes false statements in a private setting without any proof of billing fraud and a greater interference with the day to day practice of medicine is difficult to imagine.” The doctor’s dictated reports from 10 years ago were found to have specified the wrong kind of graft in two of 2,400 operative reports. He says he was too busy to keep up with the reports and had been told to use a code that was similar if he couldn’t find the right one. AAPS says the irony is that he could have justifiably billed a lot more than he actually did even with the mistake. The charges say the surgeon did more than just choose the wrong CPT code – they say he also falsified his progress notes. It would be interesting to see if those were generated with computer assistance since that’s the only reasonable excuse.
From CEO: “Re: HIStalk. I start every day by catching up and reading HIStalk. It really is a wonderful source of content that helps me keep a good pulse on the industry. Thank you for serving so many of us!!!” Inga was happy to read this CEO’s e-mail in response to receiving his HIStalkapalooza invitation as one of few positive comments we’ve received lately, as most of our recent e-mails are from people complaining about not being invited to HIStalkapalooza because they didn’t register. I suppose I should be flattered that people care that much about attending.
From CatsEyes: “Re: three tidbits. Did you mention that Dr. Tonya Hongsermeier (above) left Partners CIRD to become CMIO of Lahey? Lovely and very smart person. And with Partners, Boston Medical Center, Lahey, and Lifespan all going to Epic. From New Haven to Mid coast Maine – Epic rules.” I left out Tidbit #1 since it involved a sales VP whose new job I couldn’t immediately confirm. I’m dating myself by admitting that when I hear Tonya’s name I still think of her being at Cerner, which she hasn’t been forever.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
I took an unplanned three-hour field trip to the ER on Wednesday. Of course I asked the staff all sorts of questions about what technology they had in place (and why they were using so much paper.) Turns out I am just fine and my stress over selecting the perfect pair of shoes for HIStalkapalooza does not seem to be a contributing factor. Mr. H, however, thinks all the e-mails begging for last-minute HIStalkapalooza invites may have put me over the edge.
Have you stayed current with HIStalk Practice? If not, some of this week’s highlights include: only 60 percent of physicians are interested in participating in ACOs. ISALUS Healthcare introduces a new version of its OfficeEMR. Memphis Obstetrics & Gynecology Association goes live on MED3OOO’s InteGreat EHR. Practices have an increased need for population patient health tools. I love new e-mail subscribers, so take a moment to register for updates when checking out these stories. Thanks for reading.
Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Forward Health Group, located on Capitol Square in Madison, WI. The orange above looks juicy and that’s no coincidence – the company’s PopulationManager tool serves up QI and outcomes data to health systems that’s fresh, never frozen, squeezing it from your current systems, claims data, or administrative data. It’s accurate, actionable, complete, and timely, not to mention physician accepted at the individual patient level. The founders started out working in public health reporting back in 2004, meaning they had to figure out early on how to extract and aggregate data from a veritable science fair of disparate IT systems to create apple-to-apples measurements (that’s my second fruit analogy if you’re scoring at home.) It’s a fruit punch (fruit reference #3) of advanced informatics, population health best practices, and elegant visual explanations. They’ll set up a meeting or come to you at HIMSS or at HIStalkapalooza to tell you more – just e-mail them. Thanks to Forward Health Group for their berry (#4) much appreciated support of HIStalk. I have a feeling they’re a lot of fun, so you might be on the lookout for CEO Michael Barbouche or docs John Studebaker, MD and Sean Thomas, MD Monday night at Rock ‘n’ Bowl.
I found this Forward Health Group video that talks more about Fresh Data.
Thanks to Levi, Ray & Shoup, which not only issued a press release calling out my recent interview with SVP John Howerter, but used most of it to say nice things about HIStalk. I enjoyed talking with John because I consider myself something of an expert on print spooling-related problems in hospitals (having gotten myself hopelessly stuck in the middle of those problems many times over the years, unfortunately) so I was asking questions from my own experience.
Verisk Health is supporting HIStalk as a Platinum Sponsor. The company builds solutions for every payer type, including medical cost management, government reporting, payment accuracy, and revenue compliance. They can help identify risk, save money, and improve care. Providers interested in accountable care programs need tools for cost control, quality improvement, and population health management, and that also means you would probably benefit from getting a free copy of Verisk’s provider toolkit. Edward Hospital (IL), for example, is using PopulationAdvisor (through Premier) to monitor its clinical and financial performance, combining Premier’s comparative provider database with Verisk Health’s risk-based payer analytics to gain a better understanding of outcomes and cost of care provided both inside and outside the hospital. Verisk Health President Joel Portice has been around the industry for a long time, holding executive roles with Intelimedix, HCI, Enclarity, and Fair Isaac (not to mention that he’s also a novelist). Thanks to Verisk Health for its support of HIStalk.
HIMSS Conference and Social Events
Wen Dombrowski, MD, who tweets under @healthcareWenF, forwarded me this list she compiled of socials, Tweetups, and physician exec events. She is doing a Segway tour Saturday afternoon that sounds particularly fun.
I’m posting this shoe porn for Inga and Dr. Jayne, sent in by the (male) president of a new sponsor who clearly understands their fixation. Very hot.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Practice Fusion buys 100Plus, a startup co-founded by Practice Fusion CEO Ryan Howard that provides analytics-drive personalized health predictions.
Health Catalyst increases its Series B round by $8 million with participation from Kaiser Permanente Ventures and CHV Capital.
Revenue cycle solutions vendor Cymetrix Corp. acquires analytics vendor CareClarity.
Resolute Health (TX) selects Allscripts Sunrise Clinical Manager EHR and Allscripts Community Record for HIE and analytics.
Physician-hospital organization St. Vincent’s Health Partners (CT) chooses McKesson Population Manager and McKesson Risk Manager to manage the health of high-risk populations.
PeaceHealth will integrate Streamline Health’s AccessAnyWare enterprise content management solution with Epic ambulatory.
Evolution Health will deploy Greenway Medical’s PrimeSUITE across its national network of house call providers.
Northeast Georgia Health System (GA) will implement McKesson Paragon.
Daughters of Charity Health System will implement CliniComp’s Essentris Fetal mobile EMR in all of its hospitals.
API Healthcare names Daryl Joslin (Defran Systems) chief marketing officer.
WorldOne, the parent company of Sermo, names Kerry Hicks (HealthGrades) chairman.
Press Ganey Associates adds Ralph Snyderman, MD (Duke University Health) to its board.
Beverly Bell (CSC) joins Health Care DataWorks as chief nursing officer and VP of implementation services and business performance management.
Announcements and Implementations
City of Hope (CA) implements Harris Corporation’s BI Practice Variation dashboards to identify opportunities for improving clinical outcomes, safety, and documentation.
Awarepoint makes its aware360 Suite for Workflow Automation services available on a cloud-based platform.
Wolters Kluwer Health introduces ProVation Care Plans powered by Lippincott’s Nursing Solutions, which provides tools for maintaining evidence-based interdisciplinary care plans.
First Databank announces new medication decision support tools that include interoperability mappings (linking RxNorm to FDB data, for example), enhanced AlertSpace functionality to reduce alert fatigue, and state and federal controlled substances information.
EHR vendor Practice Fusion announces that it has discontinued its relationship with billing system vendor Kareo due to “due to Kareo’s recent price hikes” while also acknowledging that “billing has not been our strongest feature.” The Practice Fusion announcement did not mention that Kareo announced its own free EHR last week. We invited both companies to respond and received this from Kareo:
Kareo is committed to delivering an open platform and supporting multiple EHR options driven by customer requirements, including partner-based solutions and Kareo EHR. Kareo will continue to work closely with our EHR partners to enhance and support our existing integrated solutions while adding new options over time. We believe this approach provides our current and future customers with the greatest flexibility to choose the best EHR for their specific needs. Kareo is proud of our reputation as a provider of intuitive and affordable solutions, and we are committed to delivering the highest value to our customers. The pricing plans for our customer base remain in place and have not changed in any way.
The iPad-powered Sparrow EDIS from Montrue Technologies becomes the first ED system to earn certification under the 2014 Meaningful Use criteria.
Allscripts will demonstrate award winners of its Allscripts Open App Challenge at the HIMSS conference, presenting $150,000 in prizes to 15 winners at Booth #3441 on Monday at 3:00 p.m. The company will also donate $5 to one of three charities (#AHA, #ACCS, or #JDRF) for tweets to @Allscripts answering the question, “What does Open mean to you” or “How have you benefitted by using Allscripts?”
Surescripts will announce Friday that electronic prescribing service NewCrop will connect to The Surescripts Network for Clinical Interoperability, which allows providers to securely share clinical information.
QuadraMed announces that Shands HealthCare (FL) will integrate the company’s AcuityPlus nurse resource management system with the Epic system that Shands is implementing.
VMware announces vCloud for Healthcare, which will allow healthcare IT customers to use a common cloud infrastructure inside and outside hospitals.
Sharp HealthCare (CA) and the Foundation for Health Coverage Education launch the for-profit PointCare Web-based eligibility software vendor, saying it will “change the tone of financial conversations with their uninsured patients.” Uninsured patients take a short quiz that identify the government programs that 80 percent of them are eligible for.
Athenahealth will invest up to $10 million and lease up to 60,000 square feet of office space in Midtown Atlanta for more than 700 employees.
A CHIME survey finds that the average base salary for healthcare CIOs in 2012 was $208,417, with respondents holding the EVP/CIO title averaging 50 percent more. More than half held a master’s degree, earning 10 percent more than those with a bachelor’s degree. Three-quarters of the CIOs reported receiving a raise of less than five percent in 2012.
The Nashville business paper profiles Shareable Ink President and CEO Stephen Hau. The 50-employee, 82-hospital software company relocated there from Boston in 2010.
Security researchers using CyberCity, a military-developed model city used to study cyberattacks, find that the city’s electronic medical records system is full of security holes. “OpenEMR from a security perspective is a disaster,” overlooking the fact that few if any US hospitals use that particular open source system.
I’ve gotten wind of an upcoming announcement from Michelle Obama’s Partnership for a Healthier America in which several EHR vendors that I won’t name (mostly the usual suspects, with some surprises) will pledge to add five anti-obesity features to their products at the March 6-8 PHA summit in Washington, DC. The features are BMI and weight classification percentiles, activity and dietary assessments, weight goal monitoring, referral to providers and community resources, and the ability to create a Healthy Weight Plan.
In Australia, Canberra Hospital will upgrade its ED system security after several employees were found to be altering patient data to make wait time statistics look more favorable. Most of the employees could not be identified because the EDIS was set up with generic user IDs like “nurse” and “doctor,” with managers claiming that the department could not function if users had to sign on and off individually. The upgrade will include quick logon/logoff. A server crash of the same EDIS caused the hospital to go on diversion Wednesday as the ED went back to paper.
In Canada, doctors in Nova Scotia complain of system crashes and response time problems with their $4 million Nightingale Informatix EMR, for which they were paid $10,000 each in government incentives to use. The company acknowledges software problems.
Cerner is among four dozen medical device and supply vendors that will pass along the new PPACA-mandated 2.3 percent medical device excise tax directly to their hospital customers.
Weird News Andy wonders if Meaningful Use statistics could be similarly fudged. The acting CEO of an English hospital resigns after an investigation finds that Royal Bolton Hospital coded its patient deaths due to septicemia at quadruple the expected rate, with interim findings indicating “cause for concern.” Hospitals get paid more for treating septicemia.
Researchers find that drinking red wine may protect against noise-induced hearing loss. When not drinking Hurricane Ingas, I will make a point of sticking to red wine when club hopping in the Big Easy.
- PatientKeeper will feature a number of hospital executives in Booth #2210 at HIMSS.
- Wellcentive will join the Accountable Care Community of Practice.
- Santa Rosa Consulting will feature The Honorable Tommy Thompson and Fred L. Brown at its customer and industry appreciation event at HIMSS next Tuesday.
- Gates Hospitalists (MO) secures Medicare reimbursement using Ingenious Med’s PQRS Registry.
- Nuance leases an additional 28,000 square fee of office space in Cambridge, MA to accommodate about 175 employees.
- A local paper profiles Lyster Army Health Clinic (AL) and its use of RelayHealth’s secure messaging solution.
- Iatric Systems adds CynergisTek as a reseller of its Security Audit Manager and Medical Records Release Manager solutions.
- Lifepoint Informatics will sponsor the G2 Pathology Institute Conference February 28 – March 1 in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
- CSI Healthcare IT spotlights Evan Ritter, its top sales performer of 2012.
- University Health System (TX) reports a cost savings of over $13 million within a year of contracting with MedAssets for consulting, analytics, and process improvement services.
- Covisint will integrate Milliman’s opportunity-based population analytics capabilities into its healthcare platform.
- AT&T lists six questions to ask healthcare cloud vendors to ensure data security.
- eClinicalWorks shares details of how Coastal Medical (RI) achieved a 200 percent return on its original investment and improved care coordination utilizing the company’s EHR.
- A Nuance Communications’ survey finds that 80 percent of US doctors believe virtual assistants will change how they interact and use EHRs and will benefit patients by making them more engaged in their own healthcare.
- McKesson names the Bread of Healing Clinic (WI) the company’s first recipient of its Practice Choice EHR software as part of the McKesson Give Back initiative.
- Impact Advisors Principal Rob Faix is featured in a podcast discussing PHI data breaches.
- St. Luke’s Cornwall Medical Group (NY) shares how it increased cash collections by 17 percent utilizing Greenway’s PrimeRCM.
- Mitochon Systems will integrate drug safety information from PDR Network into its Electronic Medical Office platform.
- Merge Healthcare will bundle MModal Fluency for Imaging and MModal Catalyst for Radiology with its Merge PACS portfolio.
- Signature Sleep Services, dba Sleep360, will market and integrate ZirMed’s RCM solutions with its platform of sleep medicine tools.
- Georgia-Pacific Professional introduces the SafeHaven monitoring system, which combines Versus RTLS technology with Georgia-Pacific’s dispensers and skin care products.
EPtalk by Dr. Jayne
Several readers have asked Inga and me for HIStalkapalooza fashion advice. DO wear sassy bowling shoes or a cool retro bowling shirt. DON’T wear anything from MSN’s list of ugliest shoes of all time.
With HIMSS starting in a few days, my inbox is really filling up. If you’re exhibiting, that means you are a technology company of some kind or at least peripherally in the technology sphere. Up your game (and the chances that your message will actually be read) by proofreading your content and removing tags like that in the e-mail above prior to sending.
Even with a relatively full inbox, it’s a slow news week as everyone saves up their big news to announce at the show. You don’t have to make a big splash at HIMSS to be a success. Vendors are quietly certifying their products for Meaningful Use 2014 and I salute them.
I’ve had a lot of questions about what I’ll be looking at during the show. Rest assured I’m making my list and checking it twice. I plan to spend plenty of time in the far reaches of the exhibit hall looking for the next big thing, so stay sharp because you never know when we might come by your booth.
I’m off to the Crescent City tomorrow and will bring you the news and happenings of HIMSS. For those of you unable to attend, thank you for keeping the availability high, the loads balanced, and the issue resolution times low. We’ll raise a glass in your honor at HIStalkapalooza. Laissez les bons temps rouler!