A GAO report says HHS should investigate why few patients access their electronic medical information even though 90+ percent of hospitals and practices claim to offer such access.
The report suggests that patient portals are the most common method by which patients look up their information, most commonly that of the provider’s EHR vendor. The report notes the limitations of portals:
- Patients must often use multiple portals for their multiple providers, meaning they have to go through the sometimes laborious setup more than once and maintain multiple sets of login credentials.
- Longitudinal data across providers isn’t available.
- User interface design is often poor.
- Each provider’s portal may be set up to display a subset of the available information that may be inconsistent, such as one portal showing prescriptions and another not.
- New information is not always available consistently, such as recent lab results that may not be posted every time depending on which lab processed the sample.
- Portals don’t usually display historical vital signs and weights that the patient could use for trending.
The percentage of patients who review their health information varied widely depending on which EHR the organization used. Of the top 10 vendors (which were not named in the report), the percentage of patients who reviewed their information ranged from 10 percent to 48 percent.
The report suggests that providers provide portal brochures, promote the portal during each interaction, make computers available in the hospital or practice, send reminder emails, reward clinical staff, or offer patients prizes or discounts for using the portal.
From Inquiring Mind: “Re: Soffet. We’re converting to Cerner Patient Accounting and the reference site mentioned a product called Cerner Charge Integrity from Soffet. We’ve searched HIStalk and haven’t found it. Where can I find this mythical company and product?” Some pretty impressive Googling (if I do say so myself) turned up Softek Solutions, which offers EHR performance and revenue integrity solutions for Cerner sites.
From Shoulda Shorted: “Re: fitness trackers. You wrote in 2015 that fitness trackers had run their course. I sent that comment to my broker when Fitbit was trading at $35, but I should have also shorted shares – they are now at $6.” I also now see that Microsoft has killed off its poorly designed Band tracker that I had panned after trying it, with its demise going unnoticed due to indifference. My take today: the only fitness tracker that will ever be consistently used will be built into your phone, with any required sensors being effortless and invisible. Nobody wants to wander around like Dick Tracy with a big old gadget on their wrist or risk embarrassment after missing a fad shift in still wearing one of those once-ubiquitous but now-defunct Livestrong yellow rubber bands. My weekend poll might ask how many trackers you’ve owned and whether you still use one (my early 2014 survey found that 37 percent of respondents claimed to use their tracker at least five days per week, “use” being loosely defined). The early-market churn as companies rushed supposedly improved products to market and convinced consumers to change brands created the illusion of ongoing demand, but there’s only so much to be gain health-wise by counting steps and most Americans don’t really want to take a lot of steps anyway. At least you can hang clothes from unused treadmills.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
Readers funded the DonorsChoose grant request of Ms. H in Indiana, whose seventh graders are using the scientific calculators we provided to perform complex experiments in calculating the volume of cylinders using popcorn.
Lorre’s post-HIMSS specials for new sponsors of the site and of webinars ends when March does, so interested companies have a couple of weeks to speak up before we slack off during those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.
I was reading a questionably authoritative article that proclaimed that data centers will be obsolete within five years because of the cloud. I think they missed the fact that data centers aren’t going away – they’re just being centralized. What has changed is ownership and the length of the cord attaching the end user. As I often say, the cloud is just someone else’s computer, although that’s a flip response if a vendor really offers a “cloud” – a pool of interchangeable, commodity servers that are physically touched only when installed and discarded and that are managed collectively, spun up quickly via software, scalable, and are sold as a metered service. It would be interesting to know which health IT vendors are truly operating in this type of cloud vs. just parking the same old server in their own building instead of one owned by the customer. And speaking of Dilbert (which I wasn’t, except to include the strip above), Scott Adams is putting together a list of startups that could lower healthcare costs and is seeking submissions in case you work for one of those.
Listening: new from Norway-based but American-sounding Beachheads, jangly, hook-laden power pop that defies your toes to stop tapping even with a pleasant soupcon of the punkish minor chords that I require.
This week on HIStalk Practice: CaptureRx expands, relocates in San Antonio. Southwest Behavioral & Health Services implements EnSoftek IT. Compulink develops EHR for pain medicine providers. Primaria Health launches ACO in Central Indiana. Ingenious Med CEO Joe Marabito calls out lack of vendor support for physicians. Price, Verma reassure governors of their commitment to Medicaid. MGMA takes CMS to task for lack of 2017 MIPS eligibility information.
March 29 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Improving patient outcomes with smartphones: UW Medicine Valley Medical Center’s story.” Sponsored by Voalte. Presenters: James Jones, MBA, MSN, VP of patient care services and nursing operations, UW Medicine Valley Medical Center; Wayne Manuel, MBA, SVP of strategic services, UW Medicine Valley Medical Center. UW Medicine Valley Medical Center dramatically improved patient outcomes after moving to a smartphone-based platform for clinical communication and alarm and alert notification. Before-and-after analysis shows a reduction in hospital-acquired pressure ulcers and skin integrity events, fall and slip events, and medication errors. By limiting overhead paging, the medical center also created a calmer, quieter environment and improved engagement among nursing and hospitalists. Hospital executives will describe their experience and vision for the future in addressing quality, cost, and the patient-caregiver experience.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
CareDox, which offers a free EHR for K-12 public schools, raises $6.4 million in a Series A funding round, increasing its total to $13.5 million. The company is vague about how it makes money, but it appears to sell de-identified student information and to send care reminder-type advertising messages to parents.
First Databank acquires Polyglot Systems, which offers the Meducation patient medication instructions product line.
FDA-approved EKG app vendor AliveCor raises $30 million to add AI-powered EKG analysis to its service.
Livongo Health, the diabetes monitoring and coaching company led by former Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman, raises $52 million in a Series D round, increasing its total to $143 million.
McKesson is rumored to be selling its San Francisco headquarters building for $300 million. The company previously announced plans to sell and then lease back the 38-story building.
Hawaii’s leading health plan HMSA selects Sharecare’s consumer health and messaging platform for a statewide rollout and also makes an unspecified investment in the company, started in 2010 by WebMD founder Jeff Arnold and TV’s Dr. Oz. Sharecare acquired the population health business of Healthways in July 2016.
Mount Sinai Health System (NY) will use Salesforce Health Cloud to coordinate and manage care of Medicaid Performing Provider System.
Influence Health hires Dave Morgan (Recondo Technology) as CFO and Rupen Patel (NCR) as CTO.
Former Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt (and our HIStalk Industry Figure of the Year) joins the Bipartisan Policy Center as senior advisor.
Announcements and Implementations
Mayo Clinic says that its tighter margins have forced it to start giving appointment priority to privately insured patients over those covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Mayo had a $475 million profit in 2016. What’s most surprising is that Mayo announced publicly what most health systems do privately – market to those with private insurance and, all things being equal, give them smoother passage through the system without affecting clinical outcomes. Perhaps there’s a market for a targeted patient dissatisfaction program to keep the low-paying customers away without actually banning them.
IBM Watson Health licenses AI-powered medical imaging analysis software from Israel-based MedyMatch Technology, which IBM will offer to EDs for assessing patients with suspected head trauma or stroke.
Government and Politics
The White House’s budget proposal, which would cut NIH funding by 19 percent, would also move HHS’s AHRQ into the National Institutes of Health.
Privacy and Security
A phishing employee awareness test by BayCare Health System (FL) creates headaches for the tax collector’s office when appropriately wary workers call to verify the phony government-looking email. The health system expected unsuspecting employees to click on links as the email instructed, which would have automatically presented them with a lesson on why their actions were inappropriate.
A second Dallas death is attributed to a “ghost call” problem in which 911 callers can’t get through because the lines are overloaded by calls from T-Mobile cell users who didn’t actually dial 911. The Dallas-only problem seems happen when someone completes a 911 call, then sometime later the cell service thinks the call didn’t go through and tries again. The city admits that a six-month-old died while his babysitter was on hold with 911 for 30 minutes last week, with records indicating that 360 callers were waiting on hold at one point in the day.
A federal judge dismisses a lawsuit brought against Amtrak by Temple University Hospital that demanded payment of $1.63 million for treating a passenger injured in a May 2015 derailment. The passenger was covered by Medicare but the hospital didn’t submit its claim in time to collect the $269,000 that Medicare would have paid.
I mentioned last time that a new app measures the percentage of time men vs. women speak in a meeting, but here’s one I like better. Woman Interrupted allows measurement of “manterruption,” when a male interrupts a female who is speaking. I’m sympathetic since there’s nothing that drives me crazier (and often into pouty silence) than when someone of either gender repeatedly interrupts me, either in a one-to-one or group setting. It’s usually one of two extreme personality types: (a) an egotist (often the highest-ranking person in a meeting) who thinks they possess super-human insight into what needs to be said; or (b) someone so lacking in self-confidence that they have to talk over someone else to feel validated. I’m pretty sure those interrupters hate being interrupted themselves (since everybody does), so I always wonder if I should just say, “I’m going to leave now since you’ve turned our dialog into monolog and thus rendered my presence superfluous.” For the app, I suggest a Nuance-powered enterprise version that maintains speech profiles on every employee so it can provide a meeting recap indicating: (a) how much time each person talked; (b) how many times they interrupted someone or were interrupted themselves; and (c) who the primary interrupters are on the rudeness leaderboard. Perhaps it could also record which ideas each person argued for or against and then reconvene the groups six months later to see whose thoughts most closely aligned with the eventual reality and then automatically remove the chatty but wrong ones from future invitations.
- Billings Clinic Hospital (MO) goes live with Versus Wi-Fi RTLS asset tracking.
- InterSystems posts its HIMSS17 presentation by Mental Health Center of Denver VP & CIO Wesley Williams, MD.
- Intelligent Medical Objects, Kyruus, Meditech, and PerfectServe will exhibit at AMGA 2017 March 22-25 in Grapevine, TX.
- Liaison Technologies will exhibit at the SCOPE Spring Conference March 19-21 in Atlanta.
- LifeImage publishes a new primer, “Image Sharing: Is It Missing From Your Enterprise Imaging Strategy?”
- Gartner names LogicWorks a leader in its 2017 Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure Managed Services Providers.
- MedData and The SSI Group will exhibit at the HFMA Texas State Conference March 26-29 in Austin.
- Netsmart will exhibit at the NAPHS Annual Meeting March 20 in Washington, DC.
- News: NTT Data awarded contract by the CDC
- NVoq will exhibit at the ACC Annual Scientific Session & Expo March 17-19 in Washington, DC.
- Experian Health will exhibit at HFMA KY March 30-31 in Lexington.
- Reaction facilitates a study on the ways in which independent physician referrals represent millions of dollars in revenue for hospitals.
- Harris Healthcare will exhibit at the NYONEL Annual Meeting March 19-21 in Tarrytown, NY.
- Sagacious Consultants releases the latest edition of Sagacious Pulse.
- Sunquest will exhibit at ACMG 2017 March 22-24 in Phoenix.
- Surescripts will exhibit at the Patient Adherence and Engagement Summit March 21-22 in Philadelphia.
- Sutherland Healthcare Solutions releases a new case study featuring Palomar Health, “Turning ICD-10’s Transition from Anticipated Calamity into a Resounding Success.”
- How Analytics Can Help in a Value-Based World (Dimensional Insight)
- #JointheConversation on Analytics (Experian Health)
- AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin – Making a Difference in HIV Outcomes (Forward Health Group)
- Why Aren’t You Leveraging Analytics? (Optimum Healthcare IT)
- Real World Success Stories in Enterprise Imaging | Case #1: Pediatric Aneurysm (Visage Imaging)
- Technology Evaluation Tools for a Complex Hospital Acquisition Process (Sphere3)
- Epic Workqueues and Revenue Cycle (Impact Advisors)
- What’s in Your Tech Stack? (Influence Health)
- CNO conversation #1: How do you handle overtime? (Infor)
- Certificationology: The Art of Making Healthcare Payment Security Decisions as Conspicuously as You Choose Your March Madness Bracket (InstaMed)
- Key Pharma Industry Trends to Watch for in 2017 (Liaison Technologies)
- Are You Ready for the CMS Emergency Preparedness Final Rule? (Live Process)
- How to Migrate to AWS in 30 Days (Logicworks)
- The Early Bird Gets the Bundled Payment Program Worm (Medecision)
- EHR “Go Live” Isn’t the End … It’s Just the Beginning (Netsmart)
- The Benefits and Challenges of Staff Augmentation (Parallon Technology Solutions)
- Too Big to Succeed? (CloudWave)
- Is the EHR a secret weapon for success under risk? We think so. (Advisory Board)
- Putting the “Long” in Long-Term EHR Training (PatientKeeper)
- The Path Forward for Enterprise Imaging (Lexmark Healthcare)
- How Pharmaceutical Companies Could be Affected by the AMA’s Prior Authorization and Utilization Management Reform Proposal (Point-of-Care Partners)
- Marking One Year of Success in Financial Services and Healthcare (Salesforce)
- Why It’s OK to be a Dinosaur in Patient Communication (Solutionreach)
- The Growing Need for Notifications (Summit Healthcare)
- How to grow capacity and tame complexity in the genetics lab (Sunquest)
- Using Actionable Intelligence to Improve Patient Safety (Surescripts)