Merge Healthcare discovers in an internal review that a former sales employee falsified the existence or amount of certain customer contracts. Merge had not invoiced any of the customers or recognized revenues, meaning previously reported results are not affected. However, the company reduced its non-GAAP subscription backlog totals over 25 percent from prior statements. The sales rep, who had been paid about $250,000 in commissions on the invalid contracts, has admitted to falsifying the orders and has offered to pay restitution. Merge has referred the matter to the US Attorney’s Office. While the rep’s actions are reprehensible, I am sure that plenty of sales veterans (me included) in HIT and other industries are aware of other instances of “creative accounting” in order to hit quotas.
From Politico: “Re: Greenway. Major layoffs this week.” Unverified, but reported by several readers, one of whom gave a number of 80 affected employees.
From Nasty Parts: “Re: Carrollton is cratered. Rumor is 150 people downsized at Greenway’s former HQ, including the VP of HR. This comes on top of an exodus of sales executives, including two VP. Approximately 10 of the top reps have left, many because they did not want to sign the feared Vista non-compete. Also, word is that the HQ of SuccessEHS, another Vista acquisition, was also cleaned out today.” Unverified, but Nasty Parts has been right several times in the past. We didn’t receive a response to our inquiry.
From Xflo-Bee: “Re: Cerner. I’m hearing a lot of buzz on the wire about Cerner being the focus of a big lawsuit over a state reporting SNAFU. Can anyone verify?”
From Bob A. Booey: “Re: MU attestation. We’re having an awful time trying to attest for 2013 MU on the CMS website. Here is the response from CMS. ‘We have been notified that the Registration and Attestation Application is experiencing technical difficulties. This is currently being investigated. At this time, we do not have an estimated time for resolution. Please try again later. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.’”
From MT Hammer: “Emdat. A new banner on Emdat’s website points to another Nuance acquisition.”
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
Here’s some HIStalk Practice highlights from the first week of 2014: doctors who Google patients. CMS wants to ban abusive prescribers from government programs. Free app Figure1 allows physicians to share de-identified photos of medical conditions. Patients from practices affiliated with University Hospital (GA) embrace the health system’s Epic portal. Montana requires insurers to reimburse telehealth visits at the same rate as in-person visits. Brightree and athenahealth will share patient referral data. Dr. Gregg provides insight on why some physicians choose to remain independent. While you are stopping by, sign up for the email updates so you don’t miss a post. Thanks for reading.
We sent our sponsors an email earlier this week about our activities at the HIMSS conference, so if you should have seen this and didn’t, email me.
Speaking of HIMSS, I ran across this infographic depicting the importance of social media during HIMSS14. Mr. H, Dr. Jayne, and I will be providing occasional updates on Twitter, but you’ll also want to make sure you are following Lorre (@Lorre_HIStalk). She’ll be manning our HIStalk booth (#1995) and passing along our impressions of the exhibit hall’s best and worst booths, as well as tips for finding the coolest swag, free cocktails, and good coffee.
Last chance: HISsies nominations will close shortly, so nominate your choice for Best Vendor, Best CIO, etc. ASAP.
HIStalkapalooza details and registration will be available next Wednesday, January 15. We’re getting a bunch of emails every day asking about it, so please save us some time by hanging in there until next week. Our primary sponsor still has spots for two more co-sponsors who will be recognized in a variety of ways, so email me if your company is interested.
Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor Wide River Consulting. The Lincoln, NE-based company offers healthcare IT consulting services with an emphasis on serving hospitals in rural and underserved communities. Wide River has helped 50 Critical Access and Rural Hospitals that were struggling to keep up under the weight of ICD-10, MU, EHR upgrades, and PQRS reporting, often with vendors that find it challenging to send people to their locations. The company offers a wide range of technical and engineering services through a partnership with Sterling. Executive Director Todd Searls tells me that with the REC grants ending, PPCPs and CAHs need a low-cost way to keep forging ahead with Meaningful Use and Wide River can help. The company’s ICD-10 services are a big hit as well. CAHs can get a one-year subscription to Wide River’s Meaningful Use Help Desk for $175 per month and providers can sign up for $60 per month, gaining access to experts who can help with MU-related questions ranging from patient portals to exclusions. The company’s goal is to help teach small and rural hospitals to succeed with the resources they have, even helping them form mini-HIT co-ops. Thanks to Wide River Consulting for supporting HIStalk.
January 16 (Thursday), 1:00 p.m. Advanced Efforts to Identify and Eliminate Waste from Healthcare. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: David Burton, MD, executive chairman, Health Catalyst. Based on a breakthrough analyses using several large healthcare data sets as representative samples, Dr. Burton and team will present insights designed to help executives struggling to identify, quantify, and extract waste from their systems.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Shareholders of Health Management Associates approve the previously announced $3.9 billion sale of the hospital chain to Community Health Associates.
Endo Health Solutions will sell its HealthTronics business to Altaris Capital Partners for total consideration of up to $130 million, including $85 million in cash upfront. HealthTronics is a provider of urological products and services, including the UroChart EHR and meridianEMR systems.
Lumiata, formerly known as MEDgle and the developer of a predictive analytics platform for healthcare, closes a $4 million Series A round led by Khosla Ventures.
Dameron Hospital Association (CA) selects Allscripts Sunrise clinical products suite.
Presbyterian Senior Living (PA) will implement AOD Software’s long-term care EHR across its 23 locations.
VMware promotes Ben Fathi from SVP to CTO.
Telehealth solution provider AMC Health names John Larus (Clinipace) SVP of solutions development for the clinical trials division.
RCM provider Encoda names Michael Kallish (RemitDATA) CEO, replacing co-founder William Cox, who will assume the role of president and CTO.
Impact Advisors appoints Steven Schlossberg, MD (Yale School of Medicine) VP/CMO.
Surescripts announces that CEO Harry Totonis will step down effective March 2014 and that it has hired an executive search firm to find his successor.
AHIMA members elect Angela Kennedy (Louisiana Tech University) as president/chair of the board of directors, a role she has held since June following the death of Kathleen A. Frawley. Members also elected Cassi Birnbaum (Peak Health Solutions) president/chair elect; Jennifer McManis (Crowley Fleck Attorneys) speaker of the house; and Zenethia Clemmons (HHS OCR), Virginia Evans (Emory Healthcare), and Colleen Goethals (Midwest Medical Records Association) directors.
Southcoast Health System (MA) hires Greg Robinson (AltaMed Health Services) as executive director of enterprise informatics.
Announcements and Implementations
ICUcare and IEEE will collaborate to develop a universal industry standard/specification and a free web-based middleware API to help healthcare providers map data from medical devices to EHRs and other health information systems.
Advocate Eureka Hospital (IL) implements electronic patient and e-forms technology from Access.
The Institute of Medicine proposes a standard framework to help providers identify and quantify the costs and benefits of EHR implementations.
Non-profit hospitals paid their CEOs a mean compensation of $594,781 in 2009, according to a JAMA Internal Medicine-published report. Hospitals with high levels of advanced technologic capabilities compensated their CEOs $135,862 more than hospitals with low levels of technology.
A Reuters article says that drug companies, with newly limited access to doctors per PPACA requirements, are moving their sales efforts to EHRs. It mentions Practice Fusion, which sells EHR pop-up ads, and EHRs that email refill and vaccine reminders that don’t clearly state if the message is sponsored by a drug company.
Weird News Andy says the appropriate ICD-10 code is “X59.9 or X12 or combination thereof.” At least 50 people are scalded from emulating TV weather people who tossed boiling water into cold Midwestern air to watch it freeze.
- AirWatch wins three 2014 Compass Intelligence Awards in the enterprise mobility category, while AT&T was named the best service provider in the health and wellness category, as well as a winner in multiple non-healthcare related categories.
- Lexmark’s Perceptive Software launches Perceptive Media Connector, which enables the cloud-based capture, management, and access of video content with the Perceptive Content client interface.
- Ping Identity opens registration for Cloud Identity Summit 2014, scheduled for July 19-22 in Monterey, CA.
- KLAS extends a high early-performance score to Health Catalyst for its healthcare-specific analytics platform.
- ChartWise Medical Systems and TrustHCS partner to offer ChartWise’s CDI software with TrustHCS’s coding services and ICD-10 education.
- Ellis Medicine (NY) cut overtime costs by $721,000 during the first six months after deploying API Healthcare’s workforce management technology.
EPtalk by Dr. Jayne
After several extremely slow news weeks, I’m glad to see things are starting to heat up. I’ve heard a lot of buzz about the Consumer Electronics Show, which is taking place this week in Las Vegas. Several readers have sent me blurbs about wearable tech. I’m not nearly as much of a fashionista as Inga, but I do like to keep an eye on the trends, especially when they’re related to health IT.
The first product I looked at was the wearable ambulatory blood pressure monitor from iHealth. It’s both USB- and Bluetooth-enabled and allows for blood pressure readings at intervals of 15-120 minutes. Most home blood pressure monitoring units are bulky and patients are not as compliant as they might be. It is compatible with both iOS and Android and can store up to 200 measurements. It reminds me a bit of a futuristic version of the shoulder holsters worn by 1980s television cops, but with a touch of neoprene.
The company also has a wireless ambulatory ECG device that looks pretty cool. Instead of having multiple sticky leads attached to the patient, it has a single unit that is worn under clothing. In keeping with the throwback 80s vibe, it reminds me of the handset of a vintage rotary phone, although it doesn’t appear to come in avocado green or harvest gold. Bluetooth connectivity to iOS allows for real-time transmission of readings. Both it and the blood pressure monitor are still awaiting FDA clearance and pricing isn’t yet available, so put your credit cards away.
Another reader sent me an article about the need to design tech wearables for women. I was excited to read about Ringly, which is creating jewelry and accessories that receive notifications from the wearer’s mobile phone. Being alerted by jewelry would be much nicer than the incessant phone checking I see. After recently working in an office where the front desk staff notified the back office of patient readiness using an extremely loud intercom (“patient for Dr. Jayne!”) I wonder if we could tie it to the EHR patient tracker. Ringly’s goal is to create jewelry that looks like jewelry rather than gadgets and also to allow users to leverage its app to prioritize the alerts they receive.
Don’t get me wrong, gadgets can be cool. I wear a Garmin when I run that screams, “Hey, I’m a GPS! No way you’re mistaking me for a watch!” I’m not crazy about how it looks, but its function makes it tolerable. On the flip side, there’s Everpurse, which can charge a cell phone on the go and looks nice as well. Although they’re sold out of virtually everything except the persimmon leather clutch, I might have to keep an eye on the site for new offerings.
Looking back at some of the promotions from the Consumer Electronics Show, Intel has launched its Make it Wearable contest to help identify the next generation of accessories. Maybe someone will develop a white lab coat with a sensor to track the level of dirt on the cuffs or the time since it was last laundered. I can think of a couple of physicians who would benefit from that functionality.
How about a patient hospital gown that alerts you when your backside is flapping in the breeze or one that self-adjusts to prevent unintended exposure? The video clip on the Intel website showed a dress that appeared to be zipping itself, so it might just be in the realm of possibility. Maybe next year Inga and I should include the Consumer Electronics Show in our meeting and convention plans. Have a connection that can help us register? Email me.