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Morning Headlines 4/24/15

April 23, 2015 Headlines 2 Comments

U.S. cancer institute, software firm reach deals in Cuba

Two New York-based healthcare companies are among the first to sign commercial agreements in Cuba. The Roswell Park Cancer Institute of Buffalo, New York will work on lung cancer vaccinations with Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology, and Infor has found a partner that will resell its integration engine software in Cuba.

Few People Lost Jobs With V.A. in Scandal

A New York Times investigation finds that only three VA employees lost their jobs over the VA wait-time scandal, far less than the 60 people that VA Secretary Robert McDonald reported during a NBC television interview he did in February. Additionally, only eight of the VA’s 280,000 other employees were punished in some way for their involvement in the scandal.

WebMD Deserves Fees In Failed Patent Case, Judge Says

MMRGlobal, which sued both WebMD and Allscripts over frivolous patent infringements claims, has lost both claims and will now have to pay each company’s legal fees.

Oxycodone overdose deaths drop 25 percent after launch of Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Oxycodone-related deaths dropped 25 percent after Florida implemented a controlled prescriptions database. However, the project went live in tandem with state-wide efforts to shut down prescription mills posing as pain clinics, which likely also contributed to the reduced deaths.

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April 23, 2015 Headlines 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 4/22/15

April 21, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Lawsuit: Long delay in getting VA medical records could be affecting crucial benefits

Seven disabled veterans have filed a lawsuit against the VA, claiming that they have waited between 10 and 24 months for copies of their medical records, and that the wait is causing delays in the veterans’ ongoing benefits applications. The suit asks that the VA produce the records within 20 days.

Judge issues temporary restraining order in Ebola nurse Nina Pham’s lawsuit

A Texas judge has halted efforts by Texas Health Resources to file a workers’ compensation claim on behalf of Nina Pham, the nurse that contracted Ebola while treating a patient at one of THR’s hospitals. The health system, which is being sued by Pham, claimed that a workers compensation claim would resolve many of the issues outlined in Pham’s lawsuit.

Color Genomics Sells $249 Breast Cancer Gene Test to Masses

Silicon Valley startup Color Genomics announces a $259 genetic screening test that evaluates a patient’s risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer by testing for 19 pertinent genetic mutations. The company is bypassing the FDA requirements that hindered 23andMe by requiring that a doctor order the tests and that results be explained by a trained genetic councilor.

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April 21, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 4/21/15

April 20, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Health insurance startup Oscar gets unicorn valuation with $145 million in new funding

Oscar Health, a tech-focused health insurer in New York that offers free telehealth visits and free activity trackers to its customers, raises a $145 million funding round on a $1.5  billion valuation in only its second year of operation.

Fiscal Year 2016 proposed Inpatient and Long-term Care Hospital policy and payment changes (CMS-1632-P)

CMS publishes its proposed 2016 policy and payment changes, which includes a 1.35 percent penalty for hospitals that have yet to attest under the Meaningful Use program, and new reporting requirements that will help align MU’s clinical quality measures reporting with the Inpatient Quality Reporting program, in an effort to ease the administrative burden on hospitals.

CMS commits $3 billion to modernize Medicaid-enrollment systems

CMS will spend $3 billion to make permanently adopt changes introduced in 2011 that established a 90 percent reimbursement rate for costs expenses associated with building state Medicaid eligibility and enrollment systems, and 75 percent reimbursement rates for ongoing costs associated with maintaining the systems.

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April 20, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 4/20/15

April 19, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Kaiser Permanente to put IT campus in Midtown Atlanta; create 900 jobs

Kaiser Permanente will build a $20 million medical information technology campus in Midtown Atlanta, spanning 150,000 square feet and resulting in 900 new jobs.

The Problem With Satisfied Patients

The Atlantic takes the ACA’s patient satisfaction mandate to task, suggesting that if hospitals and providers are overly concerned with patient satisfaction, they might avoid having unpleasant but necessary conversations about weight loss and smoking status, and instead spend money on flashy satisfaction wins like valet parking and VIP programs.

CPSI Announces Formation of Evident, LLC

CPSI rebrands itself as Evident, and rebrands its EHR as Thrive EHR, which it says will scale to meet the needs of the 100-300 bed hospitals and help it penetrate that market.

EY Telemedicine Adoption Model Unveiled at HIMSS Conference

Ernst & Young creates a Telemedicine Adoption Model that establishes seven stages of telemedicine maturity based on technology used, integration with core IT systems, and specialty services included.

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April 19, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 4/17/15

April 16, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Jonathan Bush on MU: A big joke that is actively unproductive

Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush calls the Meaningful Use program a big, fat joke and says of interoperability that the word has bee “beat up so bad, I don’t know if anyone knows what it means anymore. “ He goes on,, “preventing patients from getting their information is borderline immoral.”

Telehealth dropped from 21st Century Cures bill, sources say

The House committee responsible for drafting the 21st Century Cures bill has reportedly removed language that would have mandated that Medicare pay for telehealth services.

Healthcare Data Breaches Increasing, Require Action

Researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research say that 29 million medical records were exposed in data breaches between 2010-2013, and given the rapid expansion of EHRs in healthcare, the incidents were likely to increase.  

The Combined Effect of the Electronic Health Record and Hospitalist Care on Length of Stay

Researchers find that the the increase in hospitalist programs has had a more significant effect on reducing length of stay for patients than the increased use of EHRs, but that the combined effect of the two were also substantial.

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April 16, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 4/16/15

April 15, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Bipartisan Senate ends flawed Medicare payment formula

On Tuesday, Senate passed the SRG replacement bill that cleared the House last week, winning 92 – 8 bipartisan support.

GE Healthcare: We’re leaving the hospital EMR business

At HIMSS, GE Healthcare reportedly confirms rumors that it will phase out its Centricity EHR business line, but then later this week introduces a new financial management  product under the Centricity line.

Health IT chief DeSalvo urges more patients to seek access to electronic records

ONC chief Karen DeSalvo, MD spends part of her week at HIMSS defending her recent decision to remove the minimum 5 percent threshold for patients who view, download, or transmit their medical record.

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April 15, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 4/15/15

April 14, 2015 Headlines No Comments

IBM Creates Watson Health to Analyze Medical Data

IBM’s Watson team announces Watson Health, a partnership with Apple, Johnson & Johnson, and Medtronic as well as the acquisitions of Explorys, a data analytics startup and Cleveland Clinic spinoff focused on spotting patterns in diseases, and Phytel, a software vendor focused on reducing readmissions.

Surescripts Advances Nationwide Healthcare Interoperability with Broad Implementation of National Record Locator Service

Surescripts leads a coalition of EHR vendors that includes Epic, eClinicalWorks, and Greenway Health on an initiative to create a national record locator service.

InterSystems Announces HealthShare Personal Community, a Comprehensive Patient Engagement Solution

InterSystems launches an MU2 certified vendor agnostic patient portal.

KPMG To Acquire Healthcare Consulting Firm Beacon Partners, Inc.

As was rumored on HIStalk last week, KPMG will acquire health IT consulting firm Beacon Partners for an undisclosed sum.

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April 14, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 4/14/15

April 13, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Former ONC chief opposes CMS rule weakening patient access to records

Former ONC lead Farzad Mostashari, MD spoke out against CMS’s recent decision to strip MU2 of its five percent view/transmit/download requirement, saying “If this proposed rule stands, it would roll back a lot of progress that’s been made incorporating patient engagement into workflows. To meet even a low threshold, providers have had to change their processes to engage patients.”

athenahealth Announces athenaText App for Apple Watch

AthenaHealth follows in Cerner’s footsteps in announcing an Apple Watch app. Unlike Cerner, Athena’s app is aimed at providers, while Cerner’s will be marketed directly to patients. 

An ACT Relating to telemedicine

Washington state becomes the 23rd state to pass a bill requiring private insurers to cover telehealth services.

Practice Fusion and AstraZeneca Partner on Population Health Management Initiative for Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Freeware EHR vendor Practice Fusion announces a program sponsored by AstraZeneca in which COPD and Asthma patients in Practice Fusion’s system whose care does not meet evidence-based clinical guidelines will be identified and their care providers alerted.

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April 13, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 4/12/15

April 12, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Electronic Health Record Incentive Program– Modifications to Meaningful Use in 2015 through 2017

HHS publishes a revision to the Meaningful Use program that shortens the 2015 reporting period to just 90 days and reduces the requirement that five percent threshold for view/download/transmit to just a single patient.

Report To Congress, April 2015:  Report on Health Information Blocking

ONC submits its congressionally-mandated report on EHR vendor information blocking, acknowledging that there is only anecdotal evidence of information blocking practices, but also establishing a list of behaviors it would interpret to be detrimental to national information exchange efforts, including charging for information exchanges and developing systems in non-standard ways. In its conclusion, ONC  recommends field-based certification requirements and mandated data exchange features.

PatientBond Acquires c2b Horizons, Forming First Patient Engagement Technology Company with Embedded Consumer Psychographic Profiling

PatientBond, a patient engagement solutions vendor, has acquired c2b Horizons which makes embedded consumer profiling tools. Financial details were not disclosed.

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April 12, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 4/10/15

April 10, 2015 Headlines No Comments

FTC: Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap DRAFT Version 1.0

The FTC sends a 14-page letter to national coordinator for health IT  Karen DeSalvo, MD commenting on its interoperability roadmap, agreeing that its full implementation has the potential to benefit patients and providers, but also warns that both health systems and vendors may resist.

HIStalk Practice Interviews Farzad Mostashari, MD CEO, Aledade

Former national coordinator for health IT Farzad Mostashari sits down with our own HIStalk Practice to talk about life since leaving ONC and his new role as the CEO of Aledale.

Cerner Announces Apple Watch App

Cerner unveils an app for the yet-to-be-released Apple Watch. The app is designed for patients and will capture biometric and activity data and integrate it into their patient portal and EHR. It will also send health-related reminders and support disease management.

New Law Allows Arizonans To Get Lab Tests Without Doctor Order

Arizona passes a law that will allow patients to order lab tests without going through a doctor, crediting Silicon Valley lab vendor Theranos for making it possible.

Doctors Make House Calls On Tablets Carried By Houston Firefighters

In Houston, firefighters are turning to tablets and telehealth to connect non-emergency patients with doctors, rather than driving them to the hospital and driving up the cost of care.

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April 10, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 4/9/15

April 8, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Cleveland Clinic Innovations launches digital health care products e-commerce company

Cleveland Clinic’s business development unit has launched a new company called ADEO that will resell digital health products to hospitals, practices, and directly to consumers.

Data Analytics Update: Health IT Policy Committee Meeting

ONC publishes new MU numbers during its April 7 policy committee meeting, noting that Medicaid EP registrations have surpassed 2012 projections.

High Hopes, Unfulfilled Promise: Healthcare Organizations Looking Beyond Portals for True Patient Engagement, HIMSS Analytics Survey Finds

A HIMSS Analytics survey of 119 healthcare executives finds that patient portals are not delivering on the patient engagement needs of customers. Still, a majority of respondents report that the driver for implementing a patient portals was to meet MU requirements, and not necessarily to improve patient services or quality of care. The full study will be published at the HIMSS conference next week.

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April 8, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 4/8/15

April 7, 2015 Headlines No Comments

A study of the role of communications in population health management

PerfectServe publishes findings from a study on communication tools used by providers and health systems, finding that most rely on follow up phone calls and patient portals to communicate with patients, and that less than 25 percent use their EHR to communicate with each other. 81 percent report being frustrated with having to use multiple, disconnected communication systems.

Banner Health, Cerner form multi-year strategic partnership

Cerner announces a partnership with Banner Health (AZ) that will include development efforts centered around patient engagement, population health, and financial management. Banner runs Cerner across 26 of its facilities, with 21 of them being HIMSS Stage 7 sites.

MEDITECH Selects Validic For Digital Health Platform

MEDITECH will connect with Validic’s interface engine to integrate consumer health and wellness data into its patient portal and EHR systems.

Kleiner Perkins Leads $20M Round in Livongo for Cloud-Enabled Glucose Meter

Livongo Health, the diabetes management startup of former Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman, has raised $20 million in venture capital financing from KPCB.

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April 7, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 4/7/15

April 6, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Alarms, Health IT, and Patient Violence Lead ECRI Institute’s 2015 List of Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns

Health IT is heavily represented on ECRI’s annual Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns list, with alarm fatigue and poor alarm configuration taking first place, incorrect or missing data in EHRs taking second place. Poor medication reconciliation procedures, something surprisingly absent from all MU stages, also made the list.

HITRUST to sponsor study on healthcare breaches

The Health Information Trust Alliance announces that it will sponsor a broad, empirical study of health IT security threats aimed at analyzing “the methods, severity and pervasiveness of cyber threats targeting a variety of healthcare organizations.”

Doctors in Kearney, GI frustrated over CHI Health leadership

Doctors at CHI Health Good Samaritan (NE) have issued a vote of no confidence in the leadership of CHI. An ongoing dispute between CHI and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska is at the heart of the problem, with a small faction of local doctors leaving to build a new hospital rather than stay and work under CHI.

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April 6, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 4/6/15

April 5, 2015 Headlines 2 Comments

Allscripts To Pay $10M To End Investor Suit Over Merger Woes

Allscripts will pay $10 million to settle a class action lawsuit with its shareholders stemming from its 2010 Eclipsys acquisition, which shareholders say was presented with overly optimistic integration plans and revenue projections.

Premier comments on ONC Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap

Premier comments on ONC’s interoperability roadmap, suggesting that ONC develop comprehensive interoperability standards and mandate EHR vendor compliance through its EHR certification criteria.

Forbes Hospital prepares for digital transformation

Forbes Hospital (PA), which was acquired by Highmark in 2013, will go live with Epic on April 11, moving off paper and onto its first full EHR.

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April 5, 2015 Headlines 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 4/3/15

April 2, 2015 Headlines No Comments

CVS Health Announces New Clinical Affiliations with Leading Medical Centers in Arizona and Illinois

CVS continues its expansion into primary care through a new partnership with Rush University Medical Center (IL)  and Tucson Medical Center (AZ), where it will provide medication counseling, chronic disease management, and health services through its MinuteClinics. CVS will also begin integrating its MinuteClinic visit notes with the health system’s EHR,

Medsphere Systems and Phoenix Health Systems Complete Merger

VistA-reseller Medsphere merges with IT consulting firm Phoenix Health Systems. The new company will retain the Medsphere name and will expand its service offerings beyond VistA implementation services to now include hosting, help desk support, and project management consulting. 

Help lower treatment costs for your patients

Practice Fusion begins embedding coupons from pharmaceutical companies directly into its e-Prescribing system so that doctors can print them out and give them to their patients. The goal, according to Practice Fusion, is to reduce the cost of prescriptions and thus improve medication adherence.

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April 2, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 4/2/15

April 1, 2015 Headlines No Comments

How Medical Tech Gave a Patient a Massive Overdose

UCSF doctor and professor Bob Watcher, MD candidly tells the story of a recent EHR-related overdose that took place at UCSF’s Benioff Children’s Hospital in which a 16-year-old patient was given a dose of antibiotics 38 times larger than his doctor had intended. The ordering provider believed she was ordering a single 160 mg pill of Septra, but inadvertently ordered 160mg/kg, which resulted in a child being given 6,160 mg of the drug. The EHR, Epic, presented the doctor with an overdose warning but the order was placed anyway, pharmacists verified the order and filled it, and the floor nurse dutifully gave the patient 38.5 Septra pills. Fortunately the patient fully recovered.

Groundbreaking ways to deliver great healthcare.

Apple and IBM introduce four enterprise apps that they co-developed to support nurses, nurse managers, home health nurses, and technicians.

The Healing Power of Your Own Medical Records

The New York Times publishes a piece highlighting the OpenNotes movement and calling for broader patient access to medical records data.

CommonWell Health Alliance Welcomes New Members Across the Health Care Continuum

Meditech, Merge, Kareo, Surgical Information Systems, and PointClickCare have all joined the CommonWell health information exchange platform. With the new partners, CommonWell reports that its platform covers 70 percent of the acute care market and 20 percent of the ambulatory market.

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April 1, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 4/1/15

March 31, 2015 Headlines 3 Comments

e-MDs Merges with MDeverywhere; Creates Market-Leading Provider of Clinical and RCM Software Solutions

Ambulatory EHR and practice management vendor e-MDs has been acquired by Martin Equity Partners and merged with existing Martin portfolio company MDeverywhere, a revenue cycle management and physician credentialing system.

Sentinel Event Alert 54: Safe use of health information technology

The Joint Commission issues a Sentinel Event Alert on the safe use of health IT, focusing on process improvement, leadership, and developing an internal culture focused on safety.

Doctor exodus over new e-health system rocks Defence

In Australia, 30 doctors resign from the Department of Defence over fears that its newly implemented EHR compromises patient safety.

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March 31, 2015 Headlines 3 Comments

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