Qualcomm acquires France-based medical device integration technology vendor Capsule Technologie, confirming the rumor from Boisterous Lad that I reported here on September 2 (he said it actually happened awhile back but wasn’t announced). Qualcomm will run Capsule as a wholly owned subsidiary under Qualcomm Life, which will extend its wireless connectivity into hospitals to create an ecosystem the company calls “the Internet of Medical Things.”
From Zaphod Beeblebrox: “Re: Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust. So much for the accepted wisdom that nobody loses their job for selecting Epic.” The CEO and finance director of the Cambridge hospitals resign following big financial losses after their Epic rollout. The resignations may also be related to a quality report that will be published on September 22. Regulation Monitor announced on July 31 that it was investigating the trust’s financial problems, including its $300 million Epic project that went live last October amidst physician complaints and a 20 percent drop in ED performance. The now-resigned CEO admitted a few weeks ago that the trust experienced “more than teething problems” with unanticipated issues that included lab problems, while the medical staff council stated that the hospital is “less safe than before the introduction of Epic.”
From Tony D’Antonio: “Re: HealthLeaders Media. Being a health leader apparently doesn’t require knowing how to spell Epic.” They already show an affinity for misspelling in making up “HealthLeaders.” It’s a mistake no matter how you look at it – not only is “EPIC” flat-out wrong, they spell it correctly as “Epic” in other articles. At least be consistently incorrect.
Speaking of magazines, this one for pharmacists uncovers the well-kept secret that Epic is actually owned by HIMSS Analytics.
From Lance Link, SC: “Re: EHR survey. Epic is #1 again.” Maybe. The HIMSS-owned magazine’s much-hyped satisfaction survey (complete with cute “report cards” and the obligatory infographic that tries to milk as much mileage from the skimpy results as possible) used questionable methodology, polling an unspecified number of its self-selected reader “users” to gather just 400 responses from a wild variety of job titles in both inpatient and outpatient settings to score nine EHRs (that’s maybe 30-40 responses per company). They also dumped all products together under each vendor, so you have no idea which McKesson, Meditech, or Allscripts products each respondent was reviewing. I suppose it’s commendable that they tried to create some faux news instead of just passing off reworded press releases as insightful journalism. It doesn’t surprise me that Epic is first and GE Healthcare, McKesson, and the former Siemens are last, but basically everybody else tied with scores separated by just 0.4 points on a 10-point scale, meaning that if you believe the survey’s validity, users of all products are equally unsatisfied and an EHR selection committee should therefore just throw a dart at the list. KLAS has obvious flaws in its methodology, but I’d still trust it a lot more than anything put out by a magazine or Black Book. The challenge is that it’s time-consuming and expensive to conduct surveys that are statistically defensible — it’s easier to shout the results while mumbling the methodology.
Since examples of well-conducted surveys are rare, here’s what I want to know before I’m willing believe that a survey’s results reflect broad beliefs (which is why you do a survey in the first place):
- How did you choose your pool of potential survey respondents? Was random sampling of a known population used?
- How did you invite participation?
- What was your survey’s sample size and response rate?
- What were the characteristics of your survey’s non-respondents?
- What is the motivation of those who responded? (unsatisfied people are more likely to respond in most cases).
- What were the demographics of your respondents?
- How did you prevent ballot box stuffing?
- What did your survey instrument look like? Were your questions clear, unbiased, and appropriate for those surveyed? Did the sponsoring organization create bias (unintentional or otherwise) in the choice and wording of questions?
- Does your survey report include raw data that prove its conclusions? What type of statistical methods did you apply in analyzing the responses?
- Do your conclusions overreach the underlying data in trying to gain publicity with catchy headlines and graphics that aren’t supported? Do your published results state the limitations of the survey?
From NotMe: “Re: Healthcare Tech Outlook. My company was also approached to be short-listed for some ranking and they tried to sell us a sponsorship. If you look up SiliconIndia’s profile on Glassdoor.com, you’ll see that many of their employees don’t have good things to say about them, including comments about ‘fake rankings.’ Yikes.”
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
A couple of generous readers have contributed to my DonorsChoose.org project, using a method devised by the DonorsChoose folks that provides them with a tax-deductible receipt. I put their donations to work immediately.
Reluctant Epic User donated $200, which was matched by my anonymous vendor executive to provide Ms. A’s Miami third grade class with five Android tablets, cases, and an electronic flash card app for her STEM and reading centers. Ms. A emailed to say, “The tools that you have funded will enable my students the opportunity to get their hands on technology and get in an even playing field with their higher income peers. In addition, students will be able to better their math and reading skills by having a tablet center where they get on helpful online math and reading programs that will enable them to become proficient readers and mathematicians. The children will LOVE this!”
Lady Pharmacist’s $100 donation was matched by both the anonymous executive and the doubled amount was matched again by The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation to provide an iPad Mini, case, and headphones for a first grade class in Atlanta.
Meanwhile, Ms. O from Fort Walton Beach, FL sent photos of her second graders using the math card centers we bought them, saying they work in small groups to work through math questions and to identify the strategies they used.
I dreamed last night that in an irreverent gesture similar to that of Howard Stern fans who scream “Baba Booey” during competing live broadcasts, HIStalk readers would post a comment simply saying “ONHART” (Old News, HIStalk Already Ran This) when news sites run less-current items or ideas that they may or may not have found by reading here.
September 22 (Tuesday) noon ET. “Just Step on the Scale: Measure Ongoing EHR Success and Focus Improvements Using Simple but Predictive Adoption Metrics.” Sponsored by The Breakaway Group. Presenters: Heather Haugen, PhD, CEO and managing director, The Breakaway Group; Gene Thomas, VP/CIO, Memorial Hospital at Gulfport. Simple performance metrics such as those measuring end-user proficiency and clinical leadership engagement can accurately assess EHR adoption. This presentation will describe how Memorial Hospital at Gulfport used an EHR adoption assessment to quickly target priorities in gaining value from its large Cerner implementation, with real-life results proving the need for a disciplined approach to set and measure key success factors. Commit to taking that scary first step and step onto the scale, knowing that it will get measurably better every day.
September 22 (Tuesday) 5 p.m. ET. “Laying the Groundwork for an Effective CDS Strategy: Prepare for CMS’s Mandate for Advanced Imaging, Reduce Costs, and Improve Care.” Sponsored by Stanson Health. Presenters: Scott Weingarten, MD, MPH, SVP and chief clinical transformation officer, Cedars-Sinai; Anne Wellington, VP of informatics, Stanson Health. Medicare will soon penalize physicians in specific settings who do not certify that they consulted "appropriate use" criteria before ordering advanced imaging services such as CT, MRI, nuclear medicine, and PET. This webinar will provide an overview of how this critical payment change is evolving, how it will likely be expanded, and how to begin preparations now. A key part of the CMS proposal is clinical decision support, which will help meet the new requirements while immediately unlocking EHR return on investment. Cedars-Sinai will discuss how they decreased inappropriate utilization of diagnostic tests and treatments, including imaging.
The Breakaway Group created a cool intro to their September 22 webinar above. They mention HIStalk at 1:12, which always catches me off guard. The acting is pretty good, especially the guy playing the CMO.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Two India-based technology executives create a $500 million fund that will acquire US digital health companies priced from $50 to $200 million. One of the founders explains, “The US healthcare industry is undergoing radical transformation with the Affordable Care Act. Evolving thought and business models have little semblance to present mechanisms. Over the next five years, SNSK aspires to be an engine of accelerating digital solutions that would make patient care more accountable, efficient, predictable, and effective.”
Persivia, formerly known as Alere Analytics until Alere sold the company back to its founders, acquires Burlington, MA-based quality reporting and analytics vendor IHM Services Company. Persivia, whose headcount increases to 50 with the acquisition, will release its first post-acquisition product next month.
Lightshed Healthcare Technologies, which offers Clockwise.MD, closes a $1 million investment round.
Baptist Health System (AL) chooses Merge Hemo.
Middlesex Hospital (CT) chooses Access electronic patient forms.
Insurer and technology vendor Cambia Health Solutions hires Laurent Rotival (GE Healthcare) as SVP of strategic technology and corporate information officer.
Announcements and Implementations
The HealthLinc FQHC (IN) goes live with Forward Health Group’s PopulationManager and The Guideline Advantage.
PeriGen, UCSF, and Kaiser Permanente North California launch a research project that will look at preventable birth-related brain injuries in newborns by studying the occurrence of neonatal encephalopathy as it relates to unusual uterine contractions and fetal heart rate.
In the Netherlands, Philips, Radboud University Medical Center, and Salesforce introduce a prototype mobile patient app and online community for type 1 diabetics. The app is based on the HealthSuite digital platform that was announced by Philips and Salesforce in June 2014.
Government and Politics
The New York Times highlights the rollout of ICD-10, noting that coders have become a hot commodity and hospitals and practices are getting lines of credit with expectations of insurance company payment delays. One hospital HIM director says ICD-10 coding will take 35 percent longer.
A jury convicts a Houston psychiatrist of defrauding Medicare of $158 million over six years by submitting false claims through Riverside General Hospital’s partial hospitalization program, whose patients not only weren’t hospitalized, they often received no treatment at all. The psychiatrist was also charged with falsifying medical records. Twelve people have already received prison sentences or are awaiting sentencing. I’m always encouraged that Medicare scammers get caught, but discouraged at how long it takes to sentence them and the fact that the majority of the fraud iceberg remains invisible.
An HHS OIG report of how CMS managed the rollout of Healthcare.gov finds that CMS didn’t follow federal requirements for managing its contractors, which allowed the companies to miss dates, bill for additional costs, and earn contracts despite poor past performance. Terremark Federal Group was supposed to provide a system security plan by early July 2011 but didn’t submit it until July 2013. Unauthorized CMS employees also tacked on additional work without the approval or knowledge of the contracting officer. The report examined only the 20 most critical Healthcare.gov contracts that were worth a combined $605 million. CMS did not dispute any of the OIG’s findings or recommendations.
Privacy and Security
A first-half 2015 breach report finds that the world’s largest was the nearly 80-million record Anthem cyberattack, which by itself accounted for a third of the total records exposed in the first half of the year. Medical Informatics Engineering was #8 on the list with 3.9 million records exposed.
The Los Angeles Fire Department finds itself in the middle of a privacy debate when its officers mistakenly tell accident bystanders that they can’t take photos or videos because that would be a HIPAA violation. The department clarifies to its officers that anyone can photograph or record fire department personnel at work as long as they are on public property or their own private property, reminding them that citizens and journalists aren’t bound by HIPAA. The fire department tells its employees to ask people not to interfere with its work and to protect the patient’s privacy by holding up sheets or other visual barriers when possible. I’m all for not claiming HIPAA applies when it really doesn’t, but the fact that idiots with cell phones or “if it bleeds, it leads” TV cameras will obstruct rescue work to take pictures of the victim is a sad state of affairs reminiscent of the movie “Nightcrawler,” with the worst part being that the aforementioned idiots are merely providing the gore supply for the even bigger idiots who demand it.
Innovation and Research
A small study of pneumonia patients questions whether hospital readmissions are usually caused by quality issues and casts doubt that commercial software such as 3M’s can accurately determine the preventable ones that trigger financial penalties. The authors say health systems are spending a lot of time questionably in trying to create “readmission risk” measures instead of focusing on broader health system quality care measures.
The local TV station covers the switch of 25-bed critical access hospital Aspirus Iron River Hospital and Clinics (MI) from Healthland to Epic. Eight-hospital Aspirus acquired the former Northstar Health System last year.
The BBC covers Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s use of an unnamed patient assessment “super computer” that BBC unfortunately concludes makes it “an especially frightening application” in that it can “predict death.” Brits seem to obsess with the idea that both computers and clinicians can fairly accurately determine the odds of survival given clinical information, so BBC couldn’t resist taking a potentially interesting story into tabloid territory.
Granted the name North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System was unwieldy, but its upcoming new name, Northwell Health, seems a bit trendy and generic. I expect more of the marketing-driven name changes, which have followed predictable cycles over the years — “Yourtown Hospital” became “Yourtown Medical Center,” then “Yourtown Regional Medical Center,” then “Yourtown Health System,” and finally “Yourtown Health” in a quest to change perception while leaving reality untouched. Now we’re in the “meaningless marketing names that just sound cool” phase as the mishmash of hospitals, practices, clinics, and related businesses defies an all-encompassing nomenclature that has any basis in reality.
Speaking of marketing people run amok with made-up words that require lame explanations, Kryptiq “rebrands” itself as Enli Health Intelligence. The CEO says the old name didn’t capture the direction of the company (unlike IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Exxon, General Electric, and a zillion other companies who let their deeds rather than their obviously dated names do the talking for them) and it spent a lot of energy on market research and “ethnographic field work” to make up the name Enli (short for “enlightened,” so they say). The marketing hired guns convinced the company that after “getting to know their purpose and values,” the Kryptiq name “was limiting their ability to connect more with their constituency.” I automatically assume that a company willing to spend a fortune to change its name (or to use the word “rebrand” in any official communication) must be trying to distance itself from the stench of past failure. “HIStalk” is an outdated name since the term Hospital Information Systems (the “HIS” in “HIStalk”) was appropriate in 2003 when I started writing it but isn’t used much these days, but I think I would be ill advised to let New Coke-type marketing geniuses convince me that I should “rebrand” it to something trendy to “connect more with my constituency” (who would, I suspect, react with eye-rolling annoyance rather than enthusiasm).
I criticized the text-heavy, endlessly scroll Meditech website last time I looked. The company let me know they’ve redesigned it and I have to say it’s very nicely done, with high-quality graphics, obvious and logical links, video, and a footer that contains links to all the less-mainstream content such as the executive team page and events list. Companies probably don’t think their website is all that important, but here’s what I look for when I’m deciding to either use or ignore a company’s press release:
- Can I tell quickly what the company’s business involves without having to decipher buzzwords?
- Is a list of available products easily accessible and plainly stated so I can tell what the products actually do and who might use them?
- Can I easily find the address of the headquarters location and regional offices?
- Is the executive page clearly marked so I can find out who runs the company?
- Is company news regularly and quickly updated so that any press release that might go out on the national wires is also on the company’s site immediately, preferably linked from the home page?
- Does the front page give me an easy way to see the most recently added information?
- Is a search box provided so I find information without having to navigate?
- Are contacts listed for sales, media, and customer support, preferably with a more accessible method than an on-screen contact form that goes to some undisclosed recipient’s inbox?
- Are links provided to the company’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube pages?
Thank goodness Uber used its mammoth war chest to squelch the protectionist Las Vegas cab driver union and their high-powered lobbyists well ahead of the HIMSS conference – Uber restarts operations in Las Vegas, giving tourists an option that they will likely exercise in great numbers. Nothing annoys me more than previously smug, now-outdated people and organizations who try to survive via intimidation and political maneuvering instead of letting the market choose what it wants. On the other hand, Uber calls the city “Vegas,” which drives me crazy (they don’t say “Angeles” or “Cruces” just to save one syllable).
Dignity Health announces plans for a year-long, $220 million “facelift” that includes refurbished patient rooms, elevator artwork, mobile device charging stations, improved signage with a wayfinding app, free WiFi, and family seating with communal spaces. I don’t know about you, but my #1 criterion for choosing a healthcare provider to keep me alive is tasteful elevator artwork.
GetWellNetwork and its “Get Involved Now” non-profit that addresses the needs of pediatric, high-risk pregnancy, and leukemia and lymphoma patients and families sponsored a “2015 Day at the Beach Special Surfers” event at La Jolla Shores in San Diego, CA. Employees provided surfing lessons for special needs kids and families and staffed a cookout for all.
- Aventura publishes a white paper, “Strategies for Driving the Use of Speech Recognition in Healthcare,” that describes its Aventura for Speech Recognition workflow optimization solution.
- AirWatch will host AirWatch Connect Atlanta September 21-24.
- Bernoulli/Cardiopulmonary Corp. is listed as a leader in the KLAS Alarm Management 2014 report.
- Billian’s HealthDATA will host “Update: The Road to Health Data Equity” September 22 in Boston.
- CitiusTech will exhibit at the BCBS Information Management Symposium September 20-23 in Amelia Island, FL.
- Inc. features CoverMyMeds in a profile of productive cities for innovative entrepreneurs.
- Direct Consulting Associates will exhibit at the Ohio MGMA Fall Conference September 18 in Akron.
- Wellcentive will exhibit at NAACOS Fall Conference October 8-9 in Washington, DC.
- Elsevier will resell HCPro’s HIPAA and corporate compliance libraries.
- Impact Advisors is named one of Consulting Magazine’s “Best Small Firms to Work For.”
- EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the 2015 APHCA Annual Conference & Tradeshow September 22-24 in Orange Beach, AL.
- FormFast showcases workflow automation for McKesson hospitals at InSight Conference 2015.
- HealthMedx will exhibit at the North Carolina Association Long-Term Care Facilities Convention & Trade Show through September 16 in Greensboro.
- Healthwise will exhibit at the World Congress Patient Engagement Summit September 17-18 in Boston.
- Iatric Systems will exhibit at the CIOhealth event September 24 in Boston.
- Ingenious Med will exhibit at Spark! Healthcare Innovation and Technology Showcase September 23 in Austin.
- Liaison Technologies will exhibit at the CIO Visions Leadership Summit September 20-22 in Baltimore.
- LiveProcess will exhibit at the Indiana Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Symposium September 17-18 in Indianapolis.
- Increase Front Desk Revenue, step 5 of 5 (AdvancedMD)
- FDA Direction on Biosimilar Naming Poses More Questions than Answers (First Databank)
- CEO Shares News: Capsule is Now a Qualcomm Company (CapsuleTech)
- Information Management #1 – Digital Empathy (Clinical Architecture)
- Patient Portals – Placing Patients in the Driver’s Seat (Culbert Healthcare Solutions)
- Smart Mobile Solutions Facilitate Safer Patient Transports (PatientSafe Solutions)
- How to Get Your EHR & Practice Through the ICD-10 Transition (E-MDs)
- Impressions and Lessons Learned from the 2015 Health Analytics Summit powered by Health Catalyst (Galen Healthcare Solutions)
- ICD-10 Survival: The Right Partners Will Help You Prepare (Greenway Health)
- Epic Implementation: Evaluate & Sustain Support Plans (The HCI Group)
- Pre-visit planning will help you shift from reactive to proactive care (Healthfinch)