The Social Security Administration connects to the VA’s IT systems via the eHealthExchange, allowing it to retrieve the VA’s medical records of veterans applying for Social Security disability. It went live nationally on Friday, Veterans Day.
From Nasty Parts: “Re: NextGen. Rumor here at UGM is that IKS Health is a potential suitor. Former NextGen and Quality Systems President Pat Cline sits on their advisory board and is CEO of Lightbeam Health Solutions. Maybe they are bringing the band back together – IKS, NextGen, and Lightbeam.” Unverified. UPDATE: Pat Cline’s passed along this comment: ““I am proud to be a member of the IKS Advisory Board but I am fully committed to and focused on Lightbeam Health Solutions and the continued growth of our company and the population health solutions we deliver to healthcare providers. While I believe that QSI/NextGen is a fine company, I am not involved in any acquisition discussions nor am I trying to open any such discussion. I’m squarely focused on the growth and success of Lightbeam so that we continue to deliver the value that our customers, investors, partners and employees expect.”
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
Most poll respondents think the medical practice of their most recent doctor is pretty well run. I asked for details and received these:
- Health IT Chic Extraordinaire says her Epic-using doctor at Palo Alto Medical Foundation and the Cerner-using hospital he sent her (it’s one of five hospitals in which he practices) had mismatched records due to lack of interoperability. She had to fill out the same medical history and medication questions at both, but the hospital’s discharge instructions missed a drug he prescribed immediately before on Epic. She also notes that on the day of surgery, all the information of her tests and other information had been repackaged into a three-ring binder, leading her to ponder if we’ve really come as far as we think.
- Betsy says her OB-GYN was clearly not interested in using practice’s EHR, and during her first visit, his tablet batteries ran out and he called in a MA to take sparse notes. She also observes that she always waited at least an hour (even if she was the second appointment of the day), the practice forgot prescriptions, and their phone tree was dysfunctional. They also collect all payments upfront but failed to return any excess after insurance paid.
- Susan is a big fan of her PCP’s office, which communicates well internally and externally and offers prompt appointments and walk-in sick hours.
- PatientX entered questions before the visit on the practice’s portal that the doctor brought up on his own, making the visit feel more like an ongoing health conversation rather than just a metrics-driven checklist.
- PharmarH had a tracheostomy and even though it’s documented, they always ask him or her to call them.
- Jill loves that the pediatric office where she takes her kids has transformed into a patient-centered medical home that offers same-day appointments and makes it a point to obtain the hospital’s infant records before the first visit.
- My recent experience with the front-office staff of my single-doc PCP (my first visit with her) was unimpressive with their indifference paired with inefficiency, both plainly obvious, and I questioned the choice of playing country music in the waiting room. I was herded off to the exam room a few minutes behind schedule and was told I was the next patient, but I still waited 75 minutes. I was about ready to walk out when the doctor wheeled in a mobile cart running Practice Fusion, apologized for the wait, cheerily introduced herself by first name with a big smile, and asked for and told stories (“I love stories,” she said) in wanting to hear my medical history as a narrative to which she listened intently without focusing on the laptop and she related the experience of other patients. It was a “getting to know you” session that was probably 10 percent relevant to my immediate medical needs (getting routine annual lab tests), but I left a big fan without feeling like a patient widget in her medical factory. It was almost like corralling a doctor at a party who actually wanted to chat about my medical needs. I suspect her documentation of my encounter (which lasted nearly an hour) was skimpy, but I have no doubt she will remember all the important parts regardless.
New poll to your right or here: do you expect the business if your employer under a Trump presidency to be better or worse? Click Comments after voting to explain.
The Greatest Generation of World War II is mostly gone now, but taking its place at the head of the next-to-die line is the ever-dwindling roster of the Greatest Entertainment Generation of the 1960s, as evidenced by last week’s death of poet-musician Leonard Cohen and “Man from UNCLE” Robert Vaughn, PhD. The cool thing about 1960s TV stars is that they hustled on whatever shows hired them for next to nothing, so you can spot them as small players on shows ranging from “The Twilight Zone” to “Wagon Train.” Unlike the rest of us, their digitally preserved work lives on forever and earns news fans daily, allowing people to feel irrationally but happily connected to an impossibly youthful Napoleon Solo forever fighting THRUSH and charming mini-skirted mods with suave indifference.
Last Week’s Most Interesting News
- Siemens announces plans to take its Healthineers medical business public.
- Experts and amateurs alike try to forecast the healthcare impact of the presidential election win of Donald Trump.
- McKesson confirms the layoff of 60 employees of its Charlotte, NC-based Enterprise Information Solutions business that includes Paragon, for which it previously took a $290 million write-down and expressed hopes of selling the business.
- Walgreens files a $140 million breach of contract lawsuit against lab company Theranos.
- ECRI Institute get a $3 million, three-year to study optimization of EHRs and avoidance of patient harm.
Here’s the video of one of our webinars from last week, “CMIO Perspective on Successful 25-Hospital Rollout of Electronic Physician Documentation.”
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Patient education vendor PatientPoint acquires MedCenterDisplay, which offers digital signage, apps, and marketing solutions.
- Ellenville Regional Hospital (NY) will switch supply chain software from Medhost to Jump Technologies in February 2017.
- Cameron Memorial Community Hospital (IN) went live on Infor supply chain management in October 2016.
These provider-reported updates are provided by Definitive Healthcare, which offers powerful intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and healthcare providers.
Virtual doctor visit provider MDLIVE hires Scott Decker (HealthSparq) as CEO, replacing demoted founder Randy Parker.
Government and Politics
President-Elect Trump moderates his previously scathing opinions of the Affordable Care Act, which he had promised to scuttle on his first day in office, and says he wants to keep the elimination of pre-existing conditions and the ability for parents to leave their children on their policies for extra years. He (hopefully) appears to be moderating his over-the-top and ultimately successful election hyperbole with more thoughtful actions. A Washington Post opinion piece describes the problems involved with replacing Obamacare:
To guarantee that people with pre-existing conditions can get affordable health insurance, you need to have rules requiring guaranteed issue and community rating. To keep insurance companies in business because of guaranteed issue and community rating, you need to have an individual mandate. And because poor people can’t afford health insurance, you need subsidies. Combine all three, and what you have, in a nutshell, is … Obamacare … Of course, if you want to scrap guaranteed issue, scrap community rating, scrap the individual mandate, and scrap the subsidies, as Republicans, propose, then you end up where the country was in 2008—with a market system that inevitably gives way to an insurance spiral in which steadily rising premiums cause a steadily rising percentage of Americans without health insurance … you can’t have all the good parts of a socialized system (universal coverage at affordable prices) without freedom-reducing mandates and regulations and large doses of subsidies from some people to other people. Anyone who says otherwise – anyone promising better quality health care at lower cost with fewer regulations and lower taxes—is peddling hokum.
President-Elect Trump announces that his HHS transition advisor will be Andrew Bremberg, JD, who served as HHS special assistant and chief of staff from 2001 to 2007.
A Washington Post opinion piece explains why the author will never join AARP – the organization is a powerful Washington lobbyist that claims to protect Medicare and Social Security while it actually “prevents any serious discussion of meaningfully reforming these programs, which are in great danger of becoming insolvent.”
Privacy and Security
- An IT recruitment site announces that an unnamed person accessed one of its development servers that it later determined had not been properly secured by its contractor Capgemini, exposing the information of its job seekers to the Internet. The UK file alone contained the information of 780,000 people, with the possible total exposure being in the millions or tens of millions.
- An encrypted laptop containing the information of over 1,200 members of the Indiana Health Coverage program is stolen from the car of an HP Enterprise Services employee, but HPE disabled it remotely.
- Vanderbilt University’s counseling center exposes the contact information of 468 of its clients to each other when an employee emails a survey using :CC rather than :BCC.
- Kaiser Permanente notifies 8,000 members that a website upgrade’s new caching mechanism could have exposed their information to other people visiting the website at the same time.
- A Texas dermatology practice is hit with ransomware that the practice says it was able to remove.
The local paper features a fun look back at Atomedic Hospital, the 1950s “futuristic hospital for the atomic age” for which prototypes were installed at demonstration sites, most notably the 1964 World’s Fair. The windowless, round, nuclear powered, and modularly constructed 28-bed hospital had an outer corridor for visitors, an inner circle for patient rooms, and a central core for services such as the OR, with patient rooms having doors at either end to allow moving them to the ICU within the central core. The low-cost, pre-packaged hospital was designed to make healthcare affordable. Patients would be served warmed frozen dinners with disposable dinnerware and disposable linen eliminated the need for a laundry. I Googled and found the Atomedic Foundation, which seeks to preserve the idea of quickly constructed, low-cost hospital buildings as envisioned by the original concept. Kaiser Permanente ran a history of the Atomedic Hospital idea last year even though it passed on the idea in 1961, mostly likely because of its high expense at $19,000 per bed and, perhaps most importantly, the fact that the federal government’s Hill-Burton program wouldn’t pay for it as they did for most of the hospital buildings that were erected in the 1960s.
Cerner participates in a study of 82 employee volunteers who turned over their DNA sequencing to the company, signaling Cerner’s continued interest in broadening its reach to healthcare service delivery.
In England, a doctor is jailed for possession of child pornography, which he attempted to hide by occasionally throwing his computers into a river.
Netsmart honors its veteran employees on Veterans Day with a nicely done video.