NantHealth acquires Harris Corporation’s healthcare business, which had been rumored to be up for grabs earlier this year as Harris focuses on its defense business. Harris’s FusionFX product line (HIE, patient and provider portals, secure messaging, single sign-on) and its analytics and middleware products came from its $155 million acquisition of Carefx in 2011. A reader tipped me off before the announcement with this comment: “Nant has been working with Allscripts/dbMotion for awhile, and with this purchase, they are essentially buying a competitor with an inferior product.”
From Juris Nurse: “Re: South Australia’s ESMI imaging system that is causing problems there. I looked it up and it’s not a specific product, but a $19 million project that involves enterprise RIS, PACS, and voice recognition provided by Carestream.” I mentioned that rollout of the system caused two-week imaging delays and a radiologist’s claim that non-clinical administrators were entering orders and deleting his critical comments about the system. Kodak sold its healthcare business to Canada-based Onex for $2.5 billion in early 2007, with Onex trying unsuccessfully to unload the renamed Carestream Health for $3.5 billion in 2013.
From Ron Mexico: “Re: Glens Fall Hospital as Epic’s first de-install, This happened last year within DaVita HealthCare Partners, which replaced the Epic system of acquired Talbert Medical Group with its standard Allscripts TouchWorks. Needless to say, things didn’t go too well. There has been a lot of turnover in leadership and clinical informatics since.” The reader’s original rumor report referenced Epic’s assertion that it has never been replaced except when a customer was acquired, although I don’t know if that comment refers only to inpatient systems. Glens Falls Hospital CIO John Kelleher saw my post and graciously reached out to say that the hospital, which I believe was using Cerner inpatient and Epic outpatient, will replace Epic ambulatory with Cerner. A key factor was Cerner’s ITWorks system management services, which might give Epic motivation to speed up its client hosting rollout. If Epic’s claim was that it has never been voluntarily de-installed in either hospital inpatient or outpatient settings, then that streak has been broken. Epic will probably also be replaced by Cerner at the former University of Arizona Health Network, acquired by Cerner client Banner Health, but that won’t count against the streak if it happens.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
It’s prime vacation season and Jenn, Lorre, Dr. Jayne, and I are unchaining ourselves from the keyboard on and off over the next few days even though we’ll still keep up with important news and emails.
Mrs. S sent photos of the iPad keyboard cases provided by the HIStalk DonorsChoose project, saying her Colorado fourth graders love them for doing research work since the class has only six laptops that 12 groups have to share. She cleverly reworked six class iPads into laptops via our $264 keyboard case donation and now everybody gets their projects done during Genius Hour, a day she sets aside each week to help students research topics they’re passionate about.
This week on HIStalk Connect: Novartis explores partnerships with remote patient monitoring providers to help insurers control costs as it prepares to launch a groundbreaking, but expensive, new heart failure medication. Renowned genetics scientist and entrepreneur Lee Hood raises a $36 million Series B round for his genetics-based personal medicine startup. GlaxoSmithKline reports that it will begin using Apple’s ResearchKit platform to support its clinical trials. A Harvard Medical School study evaluates the accuracy of online symptom checkers, finding that the correct diagnosis is only returned within the first three results 51 percent of the time.
This week on HIStalk Practice: Rhode Island Quality Institute CEO Laura Adams comes to CurrentCare’s defense. Primary care docs may be healthcare’s next hot commodity. Medfusion launches new patient payment tools. The Alliance of Specialty Medicine takes over Capitol Hill. Fitness nuts can share their wearables data for the greater good. Primary care docs bare all in their frustrations with EHR administrative tasks. UNM plans to invest heavily in EHR support for primary care practices across New Mexico. Greenway Health CEO Tee Green provides insight into the new brand.
Amy Gleason of CareSync offered an end-run to my “give me my medical records electronically” saga involving a EMRAM Stage 7, MU Stage 2-attesting medical center. CareSync provides a personalized service in which their Health Assistants do all the ugly work behind the scenes. I signed up for the service (full disclosure: Amy gave me a coupon code for free access) and it was a great experience. The user interface was easy to follow, the CareSync Health Assistant called to introduce herself and see how she could help, and I completed a very short online form that CareSync converted into a faxed hospital information request in the background. Shortly after, I received an emailed transaction report indicating that CareSync had added the individually transcribed visit-related data elements to my record along with scans of the hospital’s reports. My total time investment: maybe five minutes. I can’t think of anything negative to say about the experience (OK, one tiny thing – signing the request form with a mouse wasn’t much fun for a trackball user like me).
CareSync would be great for the average patient and/or family members since it’s a turnkey service, you get to work with a real human, and its health maintenance tools appear excellent even though I haven’t actually used them yet. Requesting electronic records is one thing, but then what do you do with them? CareSync loads everything into a very nice online record, complete with the scanned original documents, and then layers on tools you use to manage the records, add additional information, and selectively share the information with providers (down to the individual data element). The Concierge service is $199 per year and seems easily worth it since they obtain and load all of your medical records, you have unlimited access to your Health Assistant to schedule your appointments and coordinate your care, it turns dry information into actionable items (reminders, notifications, dashboards), and you can share your record with family and friends for free.
I’m generally scornful of PHRs because few people will bother to enter their information manually, leading to what I assume is a high abandonment rate. With CareSync, I did basically nothing other than request information from a single 18-hour hospital visit, but I still ended up with a perfectly usable baseline record that makes me want to go back to add my PCP’s records, especially since that involves zero effort and cost on my part since CareSync handles it as part of the yearly subscription.
Digging into the user psychology, it feels as though CareSync is the logical home for my records rather than provider portals. I feel empowered since I’m controlling my information from all sources and can share it with providers who can’t or won’t access other provider systems electronically. It’s also nice to have a real person to contact for help or requests.
I wasn’t surprised that the records CareSync obtained for me had numerous significant errors made by the hospital. The hospital flagged me as having several conditions that I don’t have, including asthma, diabetes, and myocardial infarction. They also incorrectly marked me as a smoker even though my history clearly says I’m not. Most importantly, they still haven’t given me an electronic copy of my information – CareSync did all the work in dealing with fax machines and manual transcriptions. Otherwise, I still haven’t heard back from my Office for Civil Rights complaint, the filing of which I should add was also simple and quick.
July 22 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Achieve Your Quality Objectives Before 2018.” Sponsored by CitiusTech. Presenters: Jeffrey Springer, VP of product management, CitiusTech; Dennis Swarup, VP of corporate development, CitiusTech. The presenters will address best practices for building and managing CQMs and reports, especially as their complexity increases over time. They will also cover quality improvement initiatives that can help healthcare systems simplify their journey to value-based care. The webinar will conclude with an overview of how CitiusTech’s hosted BI-Clinical analytics platform, which supports over 600 regulatory and disease-specific CQMs, supports clients in their CQM strategies.
July 29 (Wednesday) 11:30 ET. “Earning Medicare’s New Chronic Care Management Payments: Five Steps to Take Now.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenters: Robert J. Dudzinski, PharmD, EVP, West Healthcare Practice; Colin Roberts, senior director of healthcare product integration, West Healthcare Practice. Medicare’s new monthly payments for Chronic Care Management (CCM) can improve not only patient outcomes and satisfaction, but provider financial viability and competitiveness as well. Attendees will learn how to estimate their potential CCM revenue, how to use technology and clinical resources to scale up CCM to reach more patients, and how to start delivering CCM benefits to patients and providers by taking five specific steps. Don’t be caught on the sidelines as others put their CCM programs in place.
July 30 (Thursday) 3:00 ET. “De-Silo Your Disparate IT Systems Around the Patient with VNA.” Sponsored by Lexmark. Presenters: Steven W. Campbell, manager of diagnostic applications and interfaces, Piedmont Healthcare; Larry Sitka, VNA evangelist, Lexmark. The entire patient record, including both DICOM and non-DICOM data, should be available at the point of need. Disparate, aging systems that hide data inside departmental silos won’t cut it, nor will IT systems that can’t integrate medical images meaningfully. Learn how Piedmont Healthcare used a vendor-neutral archive to quickly and easily migrate its images and refocus its systems around its patients.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Robotics manufacturer Vecna Technologies acquires telepresence robotics vendor VGo. Both companies operate primarily in healthcare.
Kettering Health Network (OH) choose Phynd to manage the information of 30,000 referring and credentialed physicians in its eight hospitals.
Austria’s AUVA insurance organization chooses Cerner for its seven emergency hospitals and four rehabilitation centers that focus on occupational health and treatment.
Huntzinger Management Group names Craig Kasper (The Comfort Company) as VP of marketing.
Announcements and Implementations
A group that includes the HIMSS, WEDI, MGMA, and the Sullivan Institute releases design standards for Virtual Clipboard, which would allow providers to collect patient-entered demographic and insurance information to speed up registration.
Government and Politics
This is what makes citizens cynical about government officials: former CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner is named president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), meaning she will serve as an insurance industry lobbyist. AHIP (and former CEO Karen Ignagni) had a key role in protecting insurance company profits and influence as the Affordable Care Act Congressional sausage-making was done, while Tavenner was in charge during the ensuing Healthcare.gov debacle.
Privacy and Security
Researchers warn that new crytpographic methods allow hackers to break into wireless networks secured by WPA-TKIP as well as sites secured by HTTPS sessions.
All Blue Cross Blue Shield companies will provide free identity protection services to their customers by the end of the year, including credit monitoring, fraud detection, and fraud resolution support.
Lawrence + Memorial Hospital (CT) will join Yale New Haven Health System and implement its Epic system.
- ADP AdvancedMD adds Safari and Chrome browser support to its EHR.
- Healthgrades offers a white paper that evaluates gender-related differences, complications, and risks of obesity and bariatric surgery.
- Chartis Group publishes a white paper titled “Healthcare Providers as Information Management Companies.”
- National Billing Center partners with SyTrue in adding translation of unstructured clinical data to its hospital billing solutions.
- Holon Solutions offers “Healthcare: It’s All About Communication.”
- EClinicalWorks is named a Leader in the IDC Health Insights MarketScape Report on the HIE market.
- Galen Healthcare offers “#HIPAA: When our worlds collided.”
- Greenway Health offers “Serve. Connect. Care. The Journey of the Future of Healthcare.”
- Hayes Management Consulting provides “The Other Side of the Implementation Coin: Decommissioning Legacy Systems."
- Healthcare Data Solutions offers “Content Marketing Roundup: Video, Images & Metrics.”
- Healthwise offers “Riga, Latvia: Lessons from the Baltic.”
- Iatric Systems will exhibit at the THT Healthcare Governance Conference July 30-August 1 in Austin, TX.
- Impact Advisors offers “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Meaningful Use Stage 3: Objective 6 – Coordination of Care through Patient Engagement.”
- Influence Health offers “Patient Engagement – Less Studies, More Action.”
- InterSystems is recognized by SD Times as one of the software industry’s top 100 innovators.
- Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at the 2015 Summer Institute in Nursing Informatics July 22-24 in Baltimore.
- Leidos Health will exhibit at the NextGen Midwest User Group July 24-25 in Grand Rapids, MI.