ONC reports that RECs have “far exceeded” their goal to support the adoption and use of HIT by 100,000 small practices, CHCs, and rural and public hospitals, while continuing to support providers to reach MU. The “exceeded” goal must involve something other than the 100,000 figure since only 85,000 PCPs had met the MU milestone by the end of November.
From No Love: “Re: vendor management organizations. I would be interested in hearing feedback from healthcare organizations that contract with them to manage their consulting needs. Our consulting firm spends endless hours meeting client needs. Through vendor management groups, sometimes months go by before we hear anything about the candidates presented if we get a response at all. I’m amazed at the lack of management, coordination, communication, and relevant industry knowledge that the representatives of some of these firms possess. The only thing we are doing is populating the databases of these vendor management groups with contact information for great consultants.”
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
A few things on HIStalk Practice this week that you may love: ICD-10 implementation costs for physician practices could be almost three times higher than estimates from 2008. Fifty-one Northeast Georgia Physicians Group clinics win Stage 7 Ambulatory awards from HIMSS Analytics. HealthPoint Medical Group becomes the first practice to earn NCQA Patient-Centered Specialty Practice Recognition. Proposed legislation repealing the SGR formula eliminates future MU and PQRS penalties, provide technical assistance for small practices, and require EHR interoperability. Its the season for love, so show me some by signing up for email updates when checking out these stories. Thanks for reading.
Listening: Year of the Rabbit, a one-album (2003) band formed by Ken Andrews, a former member of my current favorite band, Failure (which reunited after a 16-year absence for a live show Thursday night in LA).
Those who are new to healthcare IT may wonder why significant news (which is only about 2 percent of total even in a good week) is so scarce this week. Reason: companies save up their big announcements until the HIMSS conference, which starts next weekend, hoping to draw traffic to their expensive booths. What nearly always happens instead is that their announcements get lost because every vendor is equally unimaginative. For me, the newsworthiness bar is raised a lot during the conference because I’m busier, meaning I won’t mention announcements that I might have this week or next because I don’t have time. Less-earthshattering announcements have a better chance of getting exposure if held until the week after the conference, when there’s nothing left to write about.
Just a reminder: we’ll have our first-ever HIStalk booth (#1995) at the HIMSS conference. Our price range and lack of HIMSS clout means it will be a microscopic, sparsely furnished patch of rental carpet in Booth Siberia near the restrooms, but for intrepid seekers, Lorre will be dispensing trinkets and the occasional visiting celebrity will be on hand to say hello. Lorre will also be tweeting out reports from Inga, Dr. Jayne, and me about who has cool giveaways and which booths are interesting, so follow her if you want to know who is giving chair massages or serving margaritas at 10 in the morning.
I’ll have more information about the HIStalkapalooza schedule, entertainment, food, and co-sponsors next week. The basics are that buses will run a circuit between the convention center’s Hall F and the House of Blues from 6:30 until 11:30 p.m. We’ll have a full dinner buffet and open bar. Entertainment will include music outside, a live band, our usual red-carpet entrance with video and still photographers, and several activities inside the HOB. There will be IngaTinis and spiffed up ladies wearing hot shoes. Beauty queen sashes will be donned. Handling the HISsies awards will be Ross Martin, MD of AMIA and Missy Krasner of Box. We’ll have the winners of three big categories on hand to accept their awards in person – Most Effective Provider HIT Executive, HIT Lifetime Achievement Award, and HIT Industry Figure of the Year. The long-range weather forecast is looking good so far with highs around 80 degrees. Stay tuned and use hashtag #histalkapalooza if your level of anticipation warrants tweeting.
People who apparently don’t read HIStalk keep emailing to ask if they can bring guests. Answer: no, unfortunately, but we turned down 900 people and it wouldn’t have been fair to hold spots for an undetermined number of guests. Print your invitation and bring it along since the nice registration folks will let you in only if you were invited.
In case you’re wondering what HIStalkapalooza is all about, here’s the official Medicomp video from last year’s event in New Orleans. That’s Jennifer Lyle from Software Testing Solutions deftly handling the red carpet interviews, a role she will reprise this time.
HIMSS Conference Social Events
Send us your event details if it’s a good one (i.e., free food and drinks at minimum) and you promise that all HIStalk readers are welcome to attend, even if they work for your most hated competitor as a given reader might well do.
EHealth Initiative will host a Mardi Gras cocktail reception sponsored by Elsevier Clinical Solutions Monday, February 24 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Rosen Centre Hotel. Register here.
February 18 (Tuesday), 1:00 p.m. ET. Epic 2012 Training and Support: Building Your Team. Sponsored by MBA HealthGroup. The webinar will present a case study of creative staffing solutions for an Epic 2012 upgrade at an academic medical center, describing the institution’s challenge, its out-of-the-box solution, and the results it obtained working with a consulting firm.
February 19 (Wednesday), 1:00 p.m. ET. What is the Best Healthcare Data Warehouse Model for Your Organization? Choosing the right data model for your healthcare enterprise data warehouse (EDW) can be one of the most significant decisions you make in establishing your data warehousing and foundational analytics strategy for the future. The strengths and weaknesses of three primary data models will be discussed: enterprise data model, independent data marts, and late-binding solutions.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Welltok, developer of the CaféWell Health Optimization platform, raises $22.1 million in Series C funding. IBM was an investor and and will work with Welltok to build a Watson-powered application that will guide consumers through health questions.
Specialists on Call, a provider of specialty physician teleconsult services, closes $32 million in financing.
GetWellNetwork reports 86 percent revenue growth in 2013, as well as the addition of 50 new client facilities and a 60 percent increase in employees.
The Seniors Wellness Group of Michigan selects WRS Health to provide EMR and PM solutions for its 170 skilled nursing facilities.
Meritage ACO (CA) will implement CareInSync’s Carebook evidence-based mobile care coordination platform and expand its use of the Mobile Care Navigation Network.
Philips Healthcare will provide home monitoring technology to the home care program of Partners HealthCare (MA), including alert and medication dispensing systems.
Catholic Health Initiatives names Rand Strobel (UW Medicine Valley Medical Center) CIO of its Franciscan Health System region.
LDM Group hires David Green (Eli Lilly) as VP of payer market solutions, Wes Galbo (A&K Global Health) as VP of product management, and Jim Rockel (The Breakaway Group) as senior director of business development.
Consultant and former Cerner EVP Jack Newman is appointed to the University of Kansas Hospital Authority.
MedHOK appoints Troy Smith (Computer Science Corporation) COO.
Announcements and Implementations
Memorial Medical Center (IL) upgrades to the Carestream Vue PACS and Vue for VNA.
Hilo Medical Center (HI) and its outpatient clinics launch the East Hawaii Patient Portal.
The Tiger Institute Health Alliance (MO) and Lewis and Clark Information Exchange (MO) begin sharing patient information.
Scribes STAT, which offers scribe programs and EMR implementation services, rebrands as Essia Health and appoints Matthew J. Kirchner (Medtronic) president and CEO.
University of Michigan startup AlertWatch earns FDA marketing clearance for its anesthesia monitoring system.
AirStrip launches an Innovation Marketplace program to push evidence-based research results into clinical practice, extending its initial partnership with Palomar Health that resulted in the development of AirStrip ONE.
Box says healthcare was its fastest-growing sector of 2013, up 400 percent.
Government and Politics
A group of 111 lawmakers urges HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to reform the auditing system for Medicare claims, citing a massive backlog of more than 460,00 claims and an audit system that gives contractors an inventive to deny claims.
A Congressional panel investigates how the government is safeguarding MU funds following the recent indictment of Shelby Regional Medical Center’s (TX) former CFO for falsely attesting to MU.
Epic ranks number five on Glassdoor’s annual report on the “25 Highest Rated Companies Hiring Interns.”
John Lynn did a Google+ Video Hangout with Elsevier CMIO Jonathan Teich, MD, PhD this week on the topic of clinical decision support.
— Farzad Mostashari (@Farzad_MD) February 12, 2014
Farzad Mostashari gives HIStalk and HIStalk Practice kudos (a Farzie, actually) because on both sites we questioned the validity of a physician EMR survey performed by MPI Group and Medical Economics. The magazine loaded up the hype machine in screaming out its questionably obtained conclusions, calling it “physician outcry” that will “shake the health information technology sector.” However, the survey’s methodology was this: “Physicians were invited to respond to an online questionnaire.” Who was invited and from what information sources were there names obtained? How were the questions worded? Was participation limited to those invited or were haters emailing each other the link to pile on? Did anyone follow up with respondents to verify their identities? What was the response rate? What was the spread by geography, practice setting, and specialty? Online surveys are self-selecting and therefore are close to worthless, which is why I almost never run their results. The same publication did a “Top 100 EHRs” report a few weeks ago in which they contacted 549 vendors to ask them to self-report their annual revenue, received only 56 responses back, and then just winged it with phone calls and Web searches to finally SWAG it to the magic number of 100 EHRs (since Americans only like round numbers.) Plenty of sites and publications jumped all over both “studies” with their own catchy and uncritical headlines, desperate for eyeballs and hoping readers won’t question the value or validity of their story.
Pittsburgh-based hospital and insurance operator Highmark lays off 132 employees, 120 of them from its insurance business’s IT department, but says it will add 96 IT jobs in the next few months. Highmark acquired West Penn Allegheny Health System in April 2013 for $604 million, but that system is losing ground to UPMC, which says its hospitals won’t accept Highmark’s members after their contract runs out at the end of this year.
Weird News Andy opines that this pharmacist put the “harm” in “pharmacist.” A Tennessee pharmacist is charged with attempted murder after visiting his wife’s hospital room and injecting her with an unknown substance.
- HMFA extends the “Peer Reviewed by HFMA” standard to The SSI Group’s billing product.
- ICSA Labs extends 2014 Edition Modular EHR ONC Health IT Certification to ChartMaxx, the enterprise content management solution from Quest Diagnostics.
- RelayHealth Financial achieves full EHNAC HNAC accreditation for the 14th consecutive year.
- Four Ellis Medicine (NY) primary care locations deploy PCMH transformation management and analytics tools from Arcadia Healthcare Solutions to earn Level 3 NCQA PCMH recognition.
- The Drummond Group certifies Merge Healthcare’s Merge PACS, iConnect Access, and Merge RIS for MU under the 2014 criteria.
- Consulting magazine recognizes Aspen Advisors with its 2014 Small Jewel award based on the company’s growth, culture, and accomplishments
- Accreon partners with LCN Services to deliver technical integration services to hospitals and healthcare providers.
- Predixion Software releases Predixion Insight 3.2.
- SimplifyMD offers up to $5,000 for customer referrals.
- Virtelligence posts its list of 2014 events.
- Medhost officially adopts the EHR Developer Code of Conduct.
- Truven Health Analytics announces the global availability of its Micromedex Pharmaceutical Knowledge solution to improve research for non-hospital environments.
- Optum Labs, the healthcare research initiative created by Optum and the Mayo Clinic, adds seven new partners with interests in public health, pharma, and the biosciences.
EPtalk by Dr. Jayne
Saturday was National Girl Scout Cookie day. I admit I look forward to the time every year when the cookie order forms go up on the sides of people’s cubes or on the doors of those lucky enough to have doors. Office policy prohibits solicitation for fundraisers other than United Way, but employees can hang them as “decorations” in their personal work spaces as long as they don’t talk about them. Most of our readers know that Inga and I enjoy a nice glass of wine, so I was thrilled when I came across this article about pairing wine and Girl Scout cookies. I’m definitely going to try some port with my Samoas this year. Another site recommended Madeira to go with Tagalongs – another option to consider.
Speaking of my BFF, we’ve been working hard to put together our HIStalk Ladies’ Social Schedule for HIMSS. On Monday, we hope to hit an event or two prior to HIStalkapalooza. For those of you who didn’t receive invitations this year, there are a couple of other good events, including the Perceptive party at Margaritaville that is open to readers. Tuesday night is extremely packed, so we can’t promise that we’ll make it to every event we have on the schedule. If you attend any evening vendor events, feel free to be our roving reporters and share your opinion of the social scene.
I wanted to attend the IBM SmarterCare lunch on Monday, but it’s apparently full. Sunday is looking pretty light as well, so if you have an event where sassy bloggers are welcome, please let us know. On the other hand, it might be a good thing that Sunday is low key since I’ll be running the Disney Princess Half Marathon in the morning. I’m raising funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and have an outstanding princess costume, so it should be a lot of fun. It starts bright and early at 5:30 (possibly dark and early depending on how you look at it) so I might be dragging later in the day. It’s also influencing my choice of hot shoes since I know I want something comfortable — suggestions are welcome.
Now that I have the fun social items out of the way, I’ll share a bit about my week as an end user. In two words, not great. I do beta testing for our EHR vendor, so I keep a local install of the application on my laptop. I ran into some issues applying a recent patch and needed some assistance. You know it’s bad when they ask, “Do you have any patient data in here that you really need?” I actually didn’t since it was full of test patients, but forgot to specify that indeed I did have a lot of provider-specific macros, defaults, and short cuts saved. That little tidbit would come back to haunt me later.
The analyst who was helping me out seemed very thorough and eager. He camped out in my office trying to fix it. Unfortunately, since it wasn’t an actual laptop problem, I wasn’t eligible for a loaner. I made do with my iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard. Although it’s a great setup for taking notes in meetings, I missed the full functionality of a laptop as well as all my files and data.
After nearly two full days’ of work, he had the database back up and running. I was ready to log in and get back to work since I owed the vendor some quick feedback on a new feature.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t log in. The analyst had changed my password to “something easier” but didn’t tell me what it was. After tracking him down and finding out it was changed to “password,” I changed it back and started testing. That’s when I found my macros and defaults were gone.
I called him on it and was informed that he had to do a “clean install” and it was all removed. It would have been nice to have that discussion while he was working on it rather than being surprised. I could have exported them somewhere that would be easy for me to pull them back in, but wasn’t given that chance. It felt like a patient must feel when they wake up from surgery to find that a slightly different procedure was performed than the one discussed.
I finished up my testing despite the challenges and got ready to email our vendor. The Desktop looked strange, but couldn’t put my finger on what it was. Not resolution, not font. After 15 minutes of digging, I figured out that the ClearType text settings had been manipulated. Why in the world would an analyst need to change my font appearance?
That was only the tip of the iceberg, however. Everywhere I turned I found something that was altered – window layout, window organization properties, default folders for searching, and more. He even renamed my C: drive. It took another 20 to 30 minutes to get everything back just the way I like it.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had an analyst adjust settings while they were working on my machine. Sometimes it makes sense, like when they extend the screensaver lockout interval so they don’t have to keep logging back in while they’re watching an upgrade). That’s OK as long as they change it back. This guy was all over the place however.
I asked our IT department if there is any policy on analysts adjusting end user settings. The answer was no. I would add creating such a polity to my to-do list if it wasn’t already so full that I’ll never complete it.
Does this happen at other places? Do you have a policy or is everyone kept on an institutional standard? Email me.