HHS, CMS, and ONC publish proposed rules for Meaningful Use Stage 3 and 2015 Edition EHR certification criteria. The announcement was posted as a Word document, bizarrely, and late on a Friday afternoon as is always the case. The Stage 3 rule is here and 2015 certification criteria here. Your comments are welcome, both here (any time) and at the Federal Register links (by May 29, 2015). I’ll be honest in saying that I’m so sick of the topic that I haven’t even bothered to read either document. I’m sure the many special interest groups will call out the parts they find objectionable and thus are probably the most needed. Feel free to chime in on parts you find interesting or surprising.
From Yours in Nomenclature: “Re: SNOMED-CT MOOC. It’s going to happen. I might sign up since my work bumps against it.” The College of St. Scholastica offers a free massive open online course (MOOC) called “Exploration of SNOMED-CT Basics” that starts April 20. Registration stays open until May 18 since the student just needs to finish the course by June 15. It offers 12 AHIMA CEUs. The instructor is Mike Grove, PhD of Accenture.
From Paul: “Re: Epic’s Deep Space architecture award. While I must congratulate Judy, I just left Verona with a sense of dismay at what our organization has been putting up with to build this place — north of $400 million by estimates — for a forum we’re only visiting once a year.” I think they should have concerts there. It would be fun to go to Verona for training and then walk over to see Rush or U2.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
Two-thirds of poll respondents don’t think Congress will insert another surprise ICD-10 delay into SGR legislation, a belief that seems well founded in the draft versions presented so far. New poll to your right or here: which company do you trust least to make information exchange common and inexpensive? Of course I’m fascinated to learn why you voted as you did, so click the “comments” link afterward and explain.
I’ve emailed the 13 CMIOs who expressed interest in attending my HIMSS conference lunch on Tuesday, April 14. I still have a handful of spots left. I don’t often volunteer to pick up the lunch tab, so it’s a rare opportunity.
I’m really getting annoyed at half-wits who think it’s hilarious to use “FHIR” as “fire” in creating a lame pun for a headline or tweet.
Listening, as I was taking an extended drive and used Siri’s “what is this song” option to get the titles of the radio tracks I liked best as I constantly scanned: Christian rocker Matthew West’s “The Motions,” The Smashing Pumpkins with “Today,” a forgotten classic by the indefatigable Butthole Surfers, “Pepper,” new from Incubus, and my favorite song (nearly 40 years old) of the amazing Electric Light Orchestra.
HIStalkapalooza invitations have been emailed. Spam filter problems are rampant these days, so I’ve added a second level of checking: see this page, which lists who was invited in a somewhat de-identified format (first three letters of the last name, comma, and first two letters of the first name). We cannot accommodate walk-ins or guests, so the security people will admit only those who are on their full registration list. Some sponsors didn’t submit their guest lists in time, so if you’re being invited by one of the event sponsors and aren’t on the list, you should be getting an invitation directly from that sponsor.
I’ll take a second to again thank the HIStalkapalooza sponsors that are making it possible for a large number of folks to attend the event. Several of those listed are going above and beyond, with Sagacious, for example, running guest check-in and badge printing and Elsevier managing the traditional red carpet entrance. These companies are springing for dinner, drinks, and entertainment, so it seems reasonable that you click their links in return to see what’s new with them.
Speaking of red carpet, here are skeletal details of the ever-popular HIStalkapalooza fashion awards, where your hot shoes will be burning down the avenue (Dearborn Street in this case). We’ll have four winners: best shoes male and female and then best overall appearance, also male and female, which will earn the HIStalk King and HIStalk Queen sashes, since like high school, we overly emphasize appearance because it’s all we have time to evaluate. Plan to enter early (maybe 6:45 to 7:15) via the red carpet, where our distinguished judges will cast their critical eyes feetward and then full body. Your regular host Jennifer Lyle of Software Testing Solutions serve as expert along with one of our patient scholarship winners Amanda Greene, who was involved with the red carpet at the Oscars this year and who works with fashion magazines. We’ll bring the four winners up to the stage to be sashed.
Last Week’s Most Interesting News
- A proposed Congressional SGR “doc fix” bill would make health IT interoperability a national priority to be achieved by the end of 2018 and proposes to penalize those who intentionally obstruct it.
- A contracting billing company’s employee falls victim to a phishing scam, exposing the information of 14,000 patients of Sacred Heart Health System (FL).
- Cerner and Athenahealth chide Epic via Twitter for its non-participation in CommonWell following its negative comments about the organization in congressional testimony.
- Premera Blue Cross discovers that hackers have had access to its 11 million patient records since May 2014.
- Meditech reports full-year 2014 results that include an 11 percent drop in revenue and profits that were reduced by 7 percent, although the company had previously restated its financials and that change may have affected the totals.
- CHIME offers a $1 million prize for an idea or technology that increases patient ID matching from the current 80 percent to 100 percent, although presumably members of Congress who could enact national patient identifier rules are not eligible.
- Implementation of New York’s mandatory e-prescribing law is delayed for a year, to March 27, 2016.
March 31 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Best Practices for Increasing Patient Collections.” Sponsored by MedData. Presenter: Jason Bird, director of client operations, MedData. Healthcare is perhaps the last major industry where the consumer does not generally have access to what they owe and how they can pay for their services. Collecting from patients is estimated to cost up to four times more than collecting from payers and patient pay responsibility is projected to climb to 50 percent of the healthcare dollar by the end of the decade. Learn how creating a consumer-focused culture, one that emphasizes patient satisfaction over collections, can streamline your revenue cycle process and directly impact your bottom line.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Vince Ciotti has been tracking vendor annual revenue for decades. Here’s the first installment as he introduces the episodes to follow. He confirms the feeling I’ve had that HITECH goosed company revenues for a couple of big years, but that has tailed off and left a lot of software and consulting vendors scrambling to resize themselves appropriately.
Valence Health hires Kai Tsai (PwC Consulting) as EVP of consulting services and strategic initiatives and Mary C. Anderson, MD (Rush University Medical Center) as medical director of population health.
Karen Wavra (Allscript) joins Beacon Partners as Cerner practice director.
Announcements and Implementations
The headline “El Camino says goodbye to paper medical records” wasn’t written during its TDS implementation in the 1970s – it describes El Camino Hospital’s (CA) $125 million move to Epic.
Surescripts names 24 health systems and technology vendors for its “2014 White Coat of Quality Award” for electronic prescribing.
This is a scary graph. Healthcare is the highest-employing industry in 35 states.
An editorial in the Burlington, VT paper applauds an announcement by the governor that if Optum can’t get the state’s insurance exchange working by October, he’ll shut it down and move to the federal exchange. The state will have spent $198 million in federal taxpayer dollars by the end of 2015, with unimpressive results following screw-ups by CGI that resulted in its replacement by Optum.
Acting VA CIO Stephen Warren says that even though the DoD is shopping for a commercial EHR, the VA will stick with VistA because it was developed for patient care rather than built around billing as were commercial systems.
Good Morning America goes inside Apple’s secret fitness lab, where employee volunteers tested various sensors and technologies over the past two yeas without knowing their work was for the development of Apple Watch.
A Virginia Peninsula newspaper points out that the region is one of the first in the country in which all competing health systems (Bon Secours, Riverside, Sentara, and Chesapeake Regional Medical Center) use the same EHR, Epic in their case. Like a lot of newspapers and marginally informed pundits, this article mistakes HITECH as being part of the Affordable Care Act, but this one takes it a step further in proclaiming that hospitals didn’t start testing EHRs until the 1990s and that just two major players remain (Cerner and Epic, forgetting about still-common but somewhat fading Meditech).
UnitedHealthcare runs a cute commercial that features an ICD-9 code and virtual visits.
Bob Wachter, MD, pitching his new book, writes a New York Times editorial whose content he summarizes via Twitter as “Why health IT is so bad and how to make it better.” The former was mostly anecdotes and I didn’t see much of the latter: his suggestions are: (a) train doctors to focus on the patient, not the computer; (b) create new ways to practice provider teamwork in the absence of a shared chart; (c) create federal policies that promote interoperability; (d) increase collaboration between academic researchers and software developers. Doctors may hate EHRs, but all it took was $44,000 in federal money to get them to use them. My argument would be that doctors should redesign the encounter system so they don’t need to use computers at all unless they need its help — doctors are the only professionals (accountants, lawyers, psychologists, plumbers) who key their own information into the computer instead of focusing entirely on the paying client sitting in front of them, and not only that, do most of their keystroking for the benefit of someone other than themselves. You could argue that medicine is the only profession that is practiced as a team, which might hit Bob’s second point, but I’d still say bring on the scribes and let doctors be doctors and not the medical equivalent of the grocery store checkout clerk. Everybody agrees that the information needs to be recorded, but it’s not reasonable that the highest-paid professional in the medical food chain be the one doing it.
Bob Wachter tweeted out an interesting excerpt from his book as he quoted National Coordinator David Brailer responding to the question if ONC would shrink itself as the HITECH money runs out. “Bureaucracies don’t retrench,” Brailer said. “ When a bureaucracy that starts out as the Candy Man runs out of candy, it goes dark and turns into Regulatory Man.”
Anyone who attended HIMSS09 in Chicago saw the weather change from a near-blizzard on Sunday to pretty good later in the week. Here’s what the not-so-bad weather looked like at O’Hare on April 12 of previous years (the Sunday opening day of this year’s conference):
2014: low 42, high 69, rain 0.43 inches.
2013: low 34, high 45, trace of snow.
2012: low 40, high 66, no precipitation.
2011: low 36, high 68, no precipitation.
2010: Low 48, high 63, no precipitation.
The family of a Virginia radio personality who died after routine hernia surgery is awarded around $2 million from the hospital and its PCA pump manufacturers. Nurses mis-programmed the pump and delivered five times the ordered dose of narcotic, which just about everybody agrees was because of the device’s complexity, although the manufacturer claims the nurse hadn’t been properly trained, didn’t monitor her patient, and waited eight minutes after finding the patient unresponsive before calling for help.
This photo, which a paramedic took surreptitiously as a California ED doctor grieved after his 19-year-old patient died, has received a lot of Internet attention after being posted on social media. Minutes later, the doctor had moved on to his next patient with his game face on. It’s a good reminder that a hospital is just a very clean hotel with a lot of expensive executives and non-clinical hangers-on – lives get saved, as they do on the battlefield or in an ambulance, by a well-trained fellow human who is willing and able to help.
- Shareable Ink’s ShareQuality technology is featured in Nashville Medical News.
- Voalte CEO Trey Lauderdale shares his belief that “With Apple ResearchKit, mHealth Springs Forward.”
- Zynx Health will exhibit at the 2015 Population Health Colloquium March 23-25 in Philadelphia.
- The SSI Group and ZirMed will present at the Region 4 Mid-Atlantic HFMA Education Conference March 24 in Baltimore.
- Verisk Health will exhibit at the AMGA Annual Conference March 23-26 in Las Vegas.
- Xerox Healthcare asks, “Does Better Healthcare Require Better Patients?”
- Sunquest Information Systems will exhibit at the 2015ACMG Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting March 25-27 in Salt Lake City.
- PMD offers “Telemedicine: The Work of the Gods.”
- MedAptus, PatientKeeper, and Passport Health will exhibit at the AMGA 2015 Annual Conference March 23-26 in Las Vegas.
- The local business paper interviews Quest Diagnostics CEO Steve Rusckowski about the company’s recent successes and future plans.
- MedData will exhibit at the OHIMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show March 24-25 in Columbus, Ohio.
- MEA I NEA CEO Lindy Benton discusses the importance of improving practice communications on eHealth Radio.
- Navicure posts “Price Transparency: What does it have to do with Patient Engagement?”
- NVoq offers how to “Avoid Those ‘Few Extra Clicks’ and Improve EMR Workflow.”
- Nordic releases the second episode of its HIT Breakdown podcast entitled, “What does a great population health program look like?”
- Park Place International publishes a blog on “Winders Server 2003 End of Life and Active Directory.”
- Orion Health and Sandlot Solutions will exhibit at the 12th Annual World Health Care Congress March 22-25 in Washington, D.C.
- NTT Data will exhibit at the CIO Summit March 22-24 in Chicago.
- Perceptive Software’s In Context blog addresses “Hospital IT: Beyond the EHR.”
- BBC’s Click Tech program features the Oneview Healthcare solution used by UCSF Medical Center (CA).