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News 3/1/17

February 28, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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Mayo Clinic’s annual report says it will spend more than $1 billion for its five-year Epic implementation.


Reader Comments

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From Craptastic: “Re: McKesson’s EIS division. The likely buyer is India-based Tata Consultancy Services. They are conducting web-based video sessions between Charlotte and Mumbai. The EIS division contains dead or dying products like Star, Series, and HealthQuest, so the main target is Paragon, which was hot in small hospitals years ago, chilled down by trying to replace Horizon, then cold as hell once the divestiture rumors started.” Unverified. Publicly traded Tata Consultancy Services, part of the Tata Group conglomerate that manufactures everything from Tetley tea to Jaguars, is perhaps best known in health IT circles for being hit with a $940 million judgment in a trade secrets lawsuit brought against it by Epic.

From Quirky Queen: “Re: HIMSS17. This website lists what people thought were the dominant themes.” The website asked a bunch of people, most of them vendors, which topics dominated the conference. Not surprisingly, vendors donned their tunnel vision glasses to declare that whatever they sell (cloud computing, cybersecurity, or population health management tools, for example) is the Next Big Thing that attracted massive HIMSS17 interest. Beyond the obviously self-serving answers, even the question itself encourages bias – what if there was no big thing, or what if that person missed it? I’ll go to with the former and I’m happy that nobody waved yet another shiny object that does little to improve outcomes or cost. Cybersecurity got more attention mostly because HIMSS pushed that topic as a business opportunity, but nobody I saw had a lot of big developments or compelling case studies for population health management technology, precision medicine, and analytics. The mode seems to be more optimization than acquisition. I consider that positive – hopefully we’ve outgrown the days of providers creating their IT strategies around vendor brochures.

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From UMMC IT: “Re: University of Mississippi Medical Center. Looks like staff reductions will happen and IT may get hit hardest with the largest budget on campus and staff.” The hospital says that an unexpected $35 million Medicaid funding cut will require layoffs and elimination of programs. 

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From Salty Dog: “Re: marketing conference. I remember seeing that you had a discount registration code for John Lynn’s marketing conference. Do you still have that available? Also, thanks for HIStalkapalooza – I got my annual fix of dancing and enjoyable conversations with both acquaintances and strangers.” Registration for the Healthcare IT Marketing & PR Conference is open through March 6, for which using promo code “histalk” saves you $300 on the $1,395 general registration. Nearly all attendees of last year’s conference gave it at least an 8 on a 10-point scale. I’m glad you enjoyed HIStalkapalooza, where dancing is always a highlight thanks to the incredible Party on the Moon.

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From WK Fan: “Re: HIStalkapalooza. I appreciate the broad coverage of HIStalk and thank you for hosting the event. Invitations and HOB being a pain to work with stinks, but the party and vibrations were positive. Band was upbeat, food not so much, but wait staff and bar was inviting. The negatives will sting and linger, but don’t forget to pat yourself and your party planners on the back since it delivered a great time.” Thanks. We did the best we could, anyway. I’m sorry the food didn’t live up to its price tag. I only had chicken, salad, and spinach-artichoke dip and it was pretty good for what it was.

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From Darren Dworkin: “Re: HIMSS17. Many of us come back from HIMSS with all sorts of reflections on the industry, the show, the crowds, and of course our share of suggested improvements. But I thought I would take a minute to give a well-deserved shout-out to out going president of HIMSS, Steve Lieber. As you shared in HIStalk a while back, after almost 20 years and navigating some amazing growth, Steve is leaving an organization he did not create but that he certainly helped propel to be a foundational piece of our industry. A friend shared with me recently that building and running an organization can often look glamorous from the outside, but inside it is more akin to the work of picking up tin cans one at a time. Building and running big things is hard  since everyone has an idea how to do it better. Steve, thank you for doing the hard things for our industry and growing HIMSS to what it is today.” I agree. I struggle with the unbridled, sometimes seemingly patient-indifferent ambition of HIMSS that is fueled by a business model of selling vendors access to providers, sometimes veering into purely commercial territory (HIMSS Media, HIMSS Analytics) and orchestrating self-serving advocacy efforts, but Steve skillfully moved the organization to where he thought it needed to go and sometimes dragged the industry along with it.

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From Bonny Roberts: “Re: HIStalkapalooza red carpet. Your #1 fan was a retired woman who came to Orlando only to attend the event – she didn’t even register for the HIMSS conference.” That’s pretty cool. Hopefully she found it worth whatever degree of travel was required. Bonny, in the red dress above, was our red carpet host. I don’t know the identity of the person to whom she’s referring.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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We readers funded Ms. A’s DonorsChoose grant request in buying 30 calculators for her sixth grade math class in South Carolina. She moved me with her report about the impact of the $5 calculators: “My classroom is a much better place because of your willingness to help them in a time of need. These calculators have enhanced our classroom and my students so much … The calculators prior to these new ones were very old, and honestly, they came from the local Dollar Tree store. In the school district that I am teaching at, our salaries are below average and we extend our finances to help our students as much as possible. The need for calculators was extreme, so I purchased my own class set. While they lasted for a short amount of time, they were great for my students … They deserve the best, and they definitely got that from your donation. Again, thank you so much for these beautiful calculators! They do not seem like much, but they will impact my students and classroom so much!”

Our post-HIMSS17 cupboard is a bit bare since everybody wrapped up most things before the conference, so potential new sponsors and webinar promoters can contact me for the specials I always trot out right about now.

I’ve heard from several folks that, like me, they are a bit under the weather post-HIMSS from some combination of stress; sore throats and runny noses (maybe from rebreathed air or exhibit hall glad-handing); and possibly some element of food poisoning.

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As a healthcare guy, the first things I thought of upon reading about the Oscars “wrong envelope” fiasco were the following:

  • Surely just like in healthcare there was a Swiss cheese effect of multiple exceptions that lined up to allow the usually reliable system to fail. As it turns out, the PwC envelope guy above was screwing around on Twitter in a celebrity-fawning haze instead of paying attention to the job he was being paid to do. Then, a justifiably puzzled 79-year-old Warren Beatty showed Faye Dunaway the card he had been handed to see what she made of it, but then she misunderstood his intention and blurted out the name she saw. That’s pretty Swiss cheesy.
  • A human factors expert would have paid close attention to the envelope’s color and labeling, which is no different than redesigning an IV label or patient wristband to prevent mistakes.
  • Technology might have helped, such as discretely barcode checking the envelope before handing it over. In fact, the entire process of relying on duplicate stacks of paper (one on each side of the stage) seems dramatic but ripe for technology improvements, such as having the complete narrative to be read – including the winner’s name – from a teleprompter whose contents are secured until the big reveal.
  • Bonnie and Clyde should have taken a time-out before forging ahead with a situation that was obviously puzzling to them.
  • The Oscar producers seemed afraid to speak up before the non-winners began their acceptance speeches. It was apparently a stagehand who figured out the problem and stepped in a couple of minutes later, no different than when a cranky surgeon forges ahead into blunder-dom because everybody is reluctant to challenge them.
  • The brand damage to PwC (which wags are calling “Probably Wrong Card”) is incalculable.
  • Unlike an actual healthcare snafu, nobody was harmed, social media were entertained, everybody was a good sport, and all who were involved lived to tell about it.
  • Notwithstanding proclamations of a non-punitive culture, the two on-stage consultants will be thrown under the bus and either demoted or fired and PwC will lose its most visible client.

I strung together a sampling of HIStalkapalooza photos into a YouTube video. This is the last party-related deliverable on my list, except I think the videographer has a final video cut on its way. Here’s a fun fashion footnote: three women told me they ordered fancy dresses from the once-fabulous Rent the Runway, but all three received garments that were obviously ripped. Two spent time trying to patch them up, while the other just gave up and went back to conference wear. Perhaps the company is a victim of its own success and is wearing out its means of production. 


Webinars

March 9 (Thursday) 1:00 ET. “PAMA: The 2017 MPFS Final Rule.” Sponsored by National Decision Support Company. Presenter: Erin Lane, senior analyst, The Advisory Board Company. The Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 instructed CMS to require physicians to consult with a qualified clinical decision support (CDS) mechanism that relies on established appropriate use criteria (AUC) when ordering certain imaging exams. Providers must report AUC interactions beginning January 1, 2018 to receive payment for Medicare Advanced Imaging studies, with the CDS recording a unique number. Outliers will be measured against a set of Priority Clinical Areas and interaction with the AUC. This webinar will review the requirements for Medicare Advanced Imaging compliance and will review how to ensure that CDS tools submit the information needed for reimbursement. 

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services. 


Sales

A cross-border radiotherapy project in Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland chooses Agfa HealthCare’s health management platform, including its universal viewer.


People

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Consumer health website Sharecare — founded by WebMD founder Jeff Arnold and TV huckster Dr. Oz — hires John Solomon (Apple) as strategic advisor and Dale Rayman (Zipongo) as SVP of actuarial consulting and business development.

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CompuGroup Medical promotes Benedikt Brueckle to CEO of its US division. He replaces Werner Rodorff, who will return to his previous role as CTO.


Announcements and Implementations

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For-profit, five-hospital Cancer Treatment Centers of America Global will integrate NantHealth’s oncology clinical decision support with Allscripts Sunrise.

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MModal launches Scribing Services, which provides medical scribes who review audio from encounters – either in real time or afterward – and document directly into the EHR.


Government and Politics

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VA Secretary David Shulkin, in his first public address, outlines his priorities, which include improving access to non-VA providers when a veteran can’t get a timely VA appointment, making it easier to fire bad employees, creating new suicide prevention programs, improving coordination with the DoD, and enhancing the VA’s IT.

Meanwhile, the VA says it will increase employee drug testing and drug inspections following government reports of sloppy drug tracking, large numbers of drug diversion investigations of which few resulted in disciplinary action, and lack of consistent drug testing of new hires.

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An HHS GAO report recommends that HHS encourage improved information exchange as patients leave hospitals for post-acute care settings.

A Black Book survey of 35,000 consumers who are covered by exchange-sold health plans finds a strong drop in satisfaction in the past year, with the biggest gripes being poor customer service, premium hikes, narrowing networks, reduced benefits, and too-few participating insurers to choose from. Time to resolve member complaints jumped from 12.5 days to 31 days in 2016. Overall satisfaction dropped from 77 percent to 22 percent, wile 58 percent of those surveyed said plan services declined significantly. More than two-thirds of US counties had only one or two insurers to choose from. 

HIMSS declares health IT to be “a bright spot for the US economy,” somehow missing the economic point that a swollen healthcare industry and its supporting services are mostly a drain on the economy and international competitiveness rather than something to brag about.


Privacy and Security

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A patient sues New York Presbyterian / Columbia University Medical Center for charging her $1.50 per page plus an administrative fee to provide copies of her medical records, presenting her with a bill for $3,000. State law limits costs to 75 cents per page. Also named in the suit is IOD Inc., to which the hospital outsourced its release-of-information management.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission subpoenas TriHealth (OH), demanding that it turn over the medical records of the employees of an unnamed company that is being investigated for making unjustified disability-related medical inquiries. The company says TriHealth doesn’t give it access to the records, while TriHealth says it doesn’t own the records of the approximately 2,000 patients involved and thus can’t turn them over to EEOC.


Other

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Amazon Web Services went down in the eastern US Tuesday afternoon, causing problems for websites, apps, and services that rely on its cloud computing services. Explaining to a hospital CEO that their outage was caused by someone else’s data center problems must be tough. I’m not sure which cloud-based vendors went down, but Practice Fusion was one of them.

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Tech-powered home caregiver matching company HomeHero, the #1 home care provider in California, finally shuts down after an October 2015 Department of Labor ruling that home care workers must be hired as W-2 employees rather than 1099 contractors, a change advocated by labor unions and California $15 per hour minimum wage advocates. That ruling also required paying overtime rates that doubled the cost of live-in care that made it more expensive than sending a patient to a skilled nursing facility. The now-defunct company pivoted to an enterprise model to work with hospitals, signed up with the Cedars-Sinai digital health accelerator, and developed a CareKit-integrated health app, but then found that large health systems would launch pilot projects strictly for case studies with no intention of buying anything because they had no financial incentive to pay for home care (“being dragged out in the middle of an ocean and abandoned”).

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In Australia, merged medical device manufacturers Medtronic and Covidien implement new supply chain systems, with conversion hiccups interrupting the flow of orders for surgical instruments, respiratory products, and sutures for six weeks, causing hospital surgery backlogs and apparently some incidents of patient harm from the use of replacement products.

Laid-off IT workers at UCSF were planning to demonstrate on campus Tuesday to protest the university’s decision to outsource their jobs to India.

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A reader sent over an interesting 2015 Health Affairs article about healthcare costs that I had missed. It opines that conservatives blame patients for making bad health choices and paying too little of their healthcare costs to have adequate skin in the game; liberals blame doctors and hospitals for gaming the system to protect their incomes; while both sides ignore the comparative US under-investment in public health and social spending. It concludes, “Improving health requires changing the society itself, not merely changing individual behaviors.” 

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A new Health Affairs article describes the quality improvement efforts of Intermountain Healthcare, with the organization noting that its two previous failed efforts because its information systems could not track up to 50 percent of the data needed, such as details about antibiotic use. The article drily notes that “healthcare providers today are paid for precisely those care delivery episodes that quality improvement seeks to reduce,” as evidenced by its $9 million bottom-line loss caused by doing the right thing instead of the profitable one.

A study finds that even though EDs are the source of a lot of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing, most pediatric EDs say they aren’t invited to the table when antimicrobial stewardship programs are being created or managed.

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Former CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt notes that only 2.1 percent of HIMSS17 attendees were identified as non-management clinicians and 60 percent came from non-provider settings. That’s based on job title and employer, though, and sometimes clinicians still see patients while working in IT or at a C-level job. The other slice and dice I’d like to see is how many CIOs, IT directors, CMIOs, and VPs came from provider organizations since those are the decision-makers that vendors swear are in short supply in the exhibit hall.


Sponsor Updates

  • Medhost’s inpatient, ED, BI, and YourCareUniverse portal earn Meaningful Use Stage 3 certification.
  • AdvancedMD will introduce a new dermatology practice model, Practice 2.0, at the ADAM/AAD meetings in Orlando this week and next.
  • Sutherland Healthcare Solutions publishes a case study of its ICD-10 transition work with Palomar Health.
  • CommonWell TV interviews Aprima COO Neil Simon at HIMSS17.
  • The Breaking Health Podcast interviews Arcadia Healthcare Solutions CEO Sean Carroll.
  • CRISP publishes a case study about PROMPT, a care coordination platform developed by Audacious Inquiry.
  • Palmetto Health Quality Collaborative goes live on Caradigm’s population health management solutions.
  • Casenet integrates its TruCare population health and care management solutions with MCG Health’s evidence-based guidelines to improve the prior authorization process.
  • CoverMyMeds expands its RxChangeRequest Service at no cost and commits to interoperate with willing trade organizations.
  • Cumberland Consulting Group CEO Brian Cahill contributes to Consulting Magazine’s cover story on “The Trump Effect.”
  • Elsevier CMO Peter Edelstein shares precision medicine insights from the HIMSS17 show floor.
  • EClinicalWorks successfully deploys CommonWell services.
  • FormFast will provide forms automation and electronic signature technologies for the Meditech implementations of health IT service provider Engage.
  • Healthcare Growth Partners publishes “Health IT Valuation Trends by HIT Subsector.”
  • Two studies presented at ATTD 2017 showcase the dramatic improvements in diabetic control and patient outcomes enabled by Glytec’s personalized therapy management and clinical decision support.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
Get HIStalk updates. Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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Monday Morning Update 2/27/17

February 25, 2017 News 6 Comments

Top News

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Six-hospital Memorial Healthcare System (FL) pays $5.5 million to settle HIPAA charges after notifying HHS that two of its employees — as well as 12 employees of affiliated physician practices — inappropriately accessed patient information that was either sold or used to file fraudulent tax returns.

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An investigation found that the health system failed to review audit logs and did not properly maintain access authorization despite having noted those deficiencies in its own risk analyses for several years before the incident occurred.

The information of 115,000 patients was exposed, most of it to someone using the login credentials of a former employee of an affiliated physician practice over a one-year period. 


Reader Comments

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From Pittsburgh HIT Minion: “Re: HIStalkapalooza. I just wanted to reach out and thank you for hosting a wonderful HIStalkapalooza at HIMSS. I’ve been honored to receive an invite for the past couple years, and it is without a doubt the highlight of my time at the conference. So many of us are faced daily with the challenges of delivering high-quality care to patients who are scared, confused, and just want our help navigating a difficult and expensive health system. The upbeat crowd, the humor of the awards, and the always incredible Party on the Moon are a welcome respite from the cares that our chosen career path brings. Again, thank you.” You are welcome. It’s a pain dealing with no-shows and an endless parade of self-entitled folks that drain our time and energy right when need it most (boy, could I tell you stories), but it’s nice that attendees enjoy the evening even if I don’t. The only way I would do it again is if I could figure out venue in which I’m not at financial risk (due to high buy-out costs) and if I could just open the doors to anyone with a HIMSS badge without dealing with the whole invitation process that brings out the worst in people. I will also say that I would never do another one at House of Blues Orlando – their only strong competency seems to be nickel-and-diming and saying “no” to even modest requests, which is especially galling given that I was about to write them a check for $99,000 and I couldn’t even get someone to bring me a plate of food backstage.

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From Cathy’s Clown: “Re: HIMSS selling booths by volume instead of area. If that’s the case, can one company buy the space above its competitor and advertise against it?” HIMSS should sell the air rights competitively, encouraging companies to lock in the space above them to avoid being trumped by a competitor whose sign there contains a downward-pointing arrow with a legend of “I’m with stupid.” I don’t see a height surcharge listed on the price sheet, but it doesn’t contain a great deal of detail. Based on the information above, however, the largest booths such as those of Epic and Cerner cost in the $400,000 to $500,000 range for floor space alone.

From Dickie Doo: “Re: your HIMSS booth. What was the total cost for your tiny space?” Ouch, that “tiny” part stung a little, as the truth often does. I gulped hard in paying $5,300 for our booth, but I magnanimously sprang $130 for two chairs so Lorre and the 18th US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin wouldn’t have to stand all week. Then it was another $18 for a cardboard trash can, $182 for a standard conference table, and $167 for the cheapest available carpet (and if you noticed the hideous color, you’ll understand the low price, especially since I refused to pay Freeman to run the sweeper over it). We don’t ever even buy a power strip ($150 per day or something like that) or Internet access, so we’re as barebones as it gets. Our location for HIMS18 is horrible, down in the Siberian basement, so I’ll really question the value then. I should instead hit up a big-boothed vendor to donate a free corner of their space in return for a fairly regular inflow of the interesting characters we apparently draw (it’s hearsay to me since I’m not actually there to see it). 


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Three-fourths of poll respondents think the VA will replace VistA with a commercial solution, with Cerner edging Epic as the most likely product.

New poll to your right or here: For HIMSS attendees: did you discover a product or service that you will follow up on?

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Ms. W checked in from her high-poverty South Carolina school to describe how funding her DonorsChoose grant request worked out: “Thank you so much for the STEM materials. When the package arrived, my students were so excited. They felt like it was Christmas all over again. My students love building and creating with the objects, not only for projects, but also during free time. My students will sometimes choose to read or work with a STEM bin once their station is completed. They love getting to use these new materials to help them stretch their minds and build with these materials. Their creativity is really growing. I love watching them love learning!”

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Fun stuff from the back of the tee shirt that Eclipse gave me at their booth.

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Thanks to Jenny and Valerie from Optimum Healthcare IT for spending at least an hour assembling our step-and-repeat background for the red carpet entrance. That’s another saga in itself. House of Blues wanted $1,250 plus labor to put up a step-and-repeat, so we bought one online for $250, hauled it over to HOB, and then had to figure out how to assemble it right before the doors opened. HOB did stick us for the red carpet itself since we didn’t have an alternative – that chunk of ratty red rug cost me $1,200 to use for the evening even though they surely didn’t pay more than $500 for it and it looked like it had been used at least 1,000 times since.

I’m running my annual post-HIMSS webinar special to rebuild the freshly eliminated backlog. Contact Lorre for a deal.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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ConsejoSano, which offers digital health tools to help Spanish speakers navigate the US health system, raises $4.9 million in a Series A funding round.


Decisions

  • Watauga Medical Center (NC) and Soin Medical Center (OH) will switch from BD Pyxis MedStation to an Omnicell automated dispensing cabinet (ADC) system.
  • University of Maryland Rehabilitation and Orthopaedic Institute (MD) will replace its Omnicell ADC with BD Pyxis MedStation.

People

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Lucia Savage, JD (ONC) joins Amada Health as chief privacy and regulatory officer. 


Announcements and Implementations

CMS adds Audacious Inquiry to its SPARC contract.


Other

Drug seekers are arriving — sometimes by the carload — in Missouri, the only US state that hasn’t implemented a prescription drug monitoring (doctor-shopper) database that would otherwise thwart their drug-seeking ambitions. Physician and Republican Senator Rob Schaaf, who has led opposition to the database and who says he will filibuster in trying to stop any new bills that would support its creation, explains, “I have always been opposed to having our private medical data on a government database.”

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In Canada, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital temporarily shuts down CPOE and goes back to paper ordering as the latest in a series of problems in its IHealth rollout of Cerner.

Healthgrades names its best hospitals for 2017, with 22 states and DC having none of them.

A small observational study finds that ICU doctors and nurses spend an average of 49 percent of their time working on the computer, with some of them hitting 90 percent of their working hours at a keyboard. The authors warn that team communication and interaction with patients and family may suffer, adding, “The job really isn’t fixing bodies and interacting with them. It’s just managing streams of data.”

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The Raleigh, NC newspaper profiles Woodrow Batten, MD, a hospital doctor who has retired just months after earning Epic certification. The 95-year-old doctor co-founded the hospital 60 years ago.


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
Get HIStalk updates. Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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Jenn’s HIMSS Report – Wednesday

February 24, 2017 News 2 Comments

My last full day at the conference started off cloudy and cool, which made for a comfortable, early-morning walk to the convention center. I have really enjoyed not having to rely on the shuttle this time around. I think I’ll look into booking my room for HIMSS18 within the next month. I must add, though, that I am not looking forward to heading back to Las Vegas. It’s one of the few cities I’ve visited around the world that just doesn’t agree with me (or perhaps it’s the other way around).

After catching up on email and other tasks in the press room, I sat down with Quest Diagnostics SVP and CIO Lidia Fonseca to get a feel for what the company has been up to. I’ve been keeping an eye on their patient-initiated testing pilots (check out my latest coverage at HIStalk Practice), and was eager to learn if the high-profile rise and fall of Theranos had offered any lessons learned. She was quick to tell me they don’t comment on the strategies of competitors, but did add that Theranos had “certainly created a heightened awareness of diagnostics.” It seems reasonable to assume that consumers might trust a company like Quest over a startup like Theranos, given that Quest has been very intentional about playing by the regulatory rules, and seems to be rolling out consumer-directed testing methodically.

After hanging out at our booth for a bit, I trekked over to the Nuance to meet with Ehab Hanna, MD, CMIO at  hospital management company United Health Services of Delaware. He took me through his organization’s roll out of several Nuance transcription technologies, the most recent of which includes PowerMic Mobile, and Cerner’s Document Quality Review, which includes Nuance’s CDI tech. He pointed out that the majority of his physicians (there are still a few holdouts who employ scribes at their own expense) are beginning to see the impact transcription can have on quality scores now that everyone is preparing for MACRA. Hanna added that he would spend some time in the exhibit hall looking at analytics and data warehousing for population health management initiatives, and mobility tools for providers and patients.

Walking to interviews certainly works up an appetite, and so Lorre was kind enough to hand me a HIMSS Bistro ticket left over from the HIStalk CMIO lunch. I set off on quite the adventure to find the place, which ended up being on the lower level of Hall A, tucked away in an inconspicuous wing. It was a nice excuse to get away from the multitudes and enjoy a meal that was a few steps above press room fare. I have a huge sweet tooth and was quick to take advantage of the dessert bar. I’ve tried to eat well while I’ve been here. Any slip ups have been justified by the reality that the miles I’ll walk afterward will surely burn everything off.

I found a much quicker way back to our booth, where I spent some time chatting with readers, many of whom stopped by to ask, “Was that really the last HIStalkapalooza?” Most everyone had an idea of how to save it. I found the notion of charging for tickets interesting, though I’m not sure that would actually cut down on the hassle Lorre suffers through every year. A Swiss provider on the prowl for new ideas said HIStalk could donate anything above and beyond breaking even to Donors Choose, which sounds good in theory. I was happy that everyone was so excited about the event, but I’m not sure that enthusiasm will be there seven months from now when we’d typically start canvassing for sponsors.

My last chat of the day was with CommonWell Health Alliance Executive Director Jitin Asnaani. Their booth, much smaller than in years past, was crawling with reps from their member companies. The organization now has 5,100 sites live, an exponentially huge jump from the 700 sites it was touting at HIMSS in 2015. Asnaani has been pleased by the expansion of membership beyond traditional EHR vendors. Representatives from the long-term and post-acute care worlds – long overlooked by programs like Meaningful Use – have expressed interest in connecting to the CommonWell network. Even ONC has approached the alliance about the ways in which those sectors of healthcare can tap into the care coordination benefits offered by the interoperability it affords.

When I asked what had stood out to him at HIMSS thus far, Asnaani was quick to say the lack of buzz around interoperability, which everyone seemed to be touting the last time around. He’s hopeful that providers are starting to think of interoperability as par for the course. He also noted that attendees and exhibitors seemed to be a bit subdued given the uncertainty surrounding the new administration’s ACA plans. “ONC’s sessions have never been so popular,” he joked.

Exhibit hall closing time was looming, so I took a quick walk through the exhibit hall to see if there was anything left worth seeing.

Quite a crowd had gathered to watch GE Healthcare’s "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" game.

The Nordic team was fun to chat with. They were in full unload mode, and are sending me home with quite a treasure trove of goodies.

The Bottomline Technologies team was happy to pose for a picture. I was pleased to see they had prominently displayed their HIStalk sign.

Conduent Health’s booth was booming.

I noticed quite a few exhibitors with arcade-like grabbing games. I’m not sure I’d stand in a line to try and win a T-shirt. The men at ExtraHop’s booth had no such qualms.

The Access booth seemed busy. I had a nice chat with one of their writers earlier that morning. It’s always nice to compare tips, tricks, and quirks with fellow scribes.

I had to stop by LogicStream Health’s booth to express my regret at not being able to attend their party Tuesday night, which I heard was a blast. They’ve kindly invited me several years in a row, and every year I RSVP with the best of intentions. But then #HIMSSanity overwhelms me …

The closing bell finally rang, at which point all of the remaining exhibitors cheered and clapped loudly. That didn’t stop attendees from continuing to wander the hall as sales teams boxed everything up. I finally got a chance to wander towards the Interoperability Showcase, where I passed this eye-catching setup.

The Showcase still seemed to be hopping; a presentation was even about to get underway, which surprised me. This marked the first time I’ve ever stayed until the bitter end of exhibit hall hours, and I was surprised to see so many folks still around. I did later hear that the conference center taxi queue and airport check-in lines were insane, making me love my decision to depart Thursday even more.

I began the packing process back at my hotel rather than tackling my inbox, which I don’t think I can bear to attempt until I’m back home. Two of my favorite giveaways include a full bag of coffee beans from Nordic and this messenger bag from Chilmark Research, both in the same color scheme of my favorite college football team. I would have included Arcadia’s Survival Kits, but I either used everything in mine or gave it away to friends suffering from blisters or impending colds. Note to just about everyone: Band-Aids and Emergen-C are must haves at HIMSS.

I’m going to take a few days to decompress and then get back into the swing of things over at HIStalk Practice on Monday. Thanks to everyone who took the time to chat with me, invite me to parties, and stop by our booth to tell me how much they enjoy reading. HIMSS may be crazy, but it’s definitely one of the professional highlights of my year. See you in Las Vegas!

Dr. Jayne’s HIMSS Report – Wednesday

February 23, 2017 News 1 Comment

I have to say, after two days of walking the halls at HIMSS and attending social functions in the evening, my feet were tired this morning. Nevertheless, I took my cocktail of four ibuprofen, two Tylenol, and a Pepcid and headed back to do it all again.

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I spotted this sweet ride in the parking lot behind the Hyatt.

Today’s schedule included a couple of meetings with vendors who attend HIMSS but don’t have booths. It’s always a challenge to find quiet meeting space. We used the meeting area outside the HIMSS Bistro, which was nearly empty at 11 a.m. Speaking of HIMSS Bistro, I can’t wait to hear Lorre’s recap of the CMIO luncheon yesterday. She always takes good notes on the discussion so we can share what CMIOs and clinical informatics folks are thinking as they attend HIMSS.

I noticed lots of vendors sporting their HIStalk sponsor signs today. Thanks to all of you, especially HBI Solutions, Harris Healthcare, Wellsoft, Nordic Consulting, Kyruus, Datica, and Medicity. DrFirst also had their sign out and I stopped in to see their secure texting solution, which is configured as a patient-centered chat.

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My booth crawl BFF this afternoon said she thought this giveaway pen looked like me until I pointed out that the physician doesn’t appear to be wearing a shirt.

I took a deeper look at several vendors, including Jellyfish Health, which has solutions to make anywhere the waiting room. My urgent care practice has an online registration and queuing system, but it’s not entirely reliable. I was impressed by what I saw at Jellyfish Health, but we’ll have to see what the COO thinks.

LogicStream Health was showing demos and data from their solutions, which really caught my interest since driving clinician behavior is going to be a big part of organizational success under healthcare reform.

One of my booth crawling pals today is attending her first HIMSS, and was dedicated to seeking out the wildest swag to take home to her granddaughters. She scored at CompliancePoint, who was giving out flashing LED eyeglasses.

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We were more impressed by the shirt that Bonny Roberts picked up at Banyan. I wish I had seen it before the hall closed so I could snag one myself.

I also spent a bit of time cruising the hall with @techguy John Lynn. I’m sorry I missed out on the salsa dancing at the New Media Meetup last night, but I learned he knows a thing or two about country western dancing, so I’m hoping a country-themed meetup is in the works. I’ll break out my boots for sure.

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He was able to talk me off the ledge when I saw this rounding cart from Omnimed, which caused some bad flashbacks to medical school. I haven’t seen paper charts in a hospital in years, but the rep told us people are still buying them, although with a better top surface to hold a laptop. They also have an IV pole that holds an iPad.

We stopped to talk to Travis Good, MD at Datica, particularly about the company’s rebranding from Catalyze. It takes quite a bit of effort to research potential names, investigate securing web domains, and starting the process for trademark protection. Travis mentioned he thought warm cookies would be a great addition to the booth, and then the discussion turned to pizza. Vendors, take note for next year — you can’t underestimate the power of pizza.

As far as other booth draws, Mimecast had Nerf guns where you could take aim at ransomware, but the line to take a turn was long, which is an interesting commentary. SecureIdeas had a great tagline about being “professionally evil” to protect systems from real evil. Quite a few vendor people were heads-down on their phones and others were just throwing their giveaways at passersby so they didn’t have to ship it home. The rep at Retarus global messaging told us to take what we wanted because “everything must go” and didn’t even ask us what we do or what we’re looking for at the show.

I traded booth crawl partners and spotted some more people in white coats at Marco Inc. and Carepoynt. Why, oh why, does that continue? On the positive fashion side, booth staff at Cerner were wearing the most beautiful orchid-colored sweaters.

The interesting giveaway of the day was at MAD Security, whose offering was a bottle of Macallan 12 scotch. Several vendors were giving out insect repellent this year, including Healthcare Informatics (lemon/rosemary oil) and Battelle with what they were calling their “Zika Pen.” They engaged us by saying, “We’re the biggest company you’ve never heard of,” and after checking out their website, I have to say they’re quite the interesting vendor.

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We spotted more funny name badge ribbons at AbbaDox and I snagged a couple for next year.

As the show wound down, many vendors began tearing down their booths while people were still walking through. I headed out for a quick drink with some old friends and we ran into Nick van Terheyden @drnic1, who asked if we were headed to the Harry Potter event. Although it was pouring rain at the time, he said he really wanted to go so he could get a wand – because that’s the only thing that will fix healthcare.

On that note, I closed out HIMSS17. Back to the hotel for packing, blogging, catching up on 200+ emails, and getting a little rest before Disney’s Magical Express whisks me back to the airport.

From HIMSS 2/22/17

February 22, 2017 News 6 Comments

From Spitfire: “Re: being anonymous. Why would you want to be anonymous and miss the exposure and benefits?” Being anonymous means I can do exactly what I want. No boss, no ability to be threatened or bribed, and no having people bug me because they know who I am. I can roam the HIMSS floor just like anyone else since I always make up a non-descript employer and title. I don’t want attention and I’m more effective by far without it. More power to those folks who try to milk their tepid fame by taking speaking engagements, accepting vendor-written puff pieces for cash, or  wangling invitations to parties or events, but that’s just not me. I’d rather work alone and without a master.

The final HIStalkapalooza count, at least what House of Blues billed me for, was 693. That’s pretty much perfect since it was right at the minimum headcount I had to pay for without going over. I broke even financially thanks to the participation of some last-minute sponsors, so I’m happy about that since it looked like I was going to lose dozens of thousands of dollars. We invited 1,576 people and got RSVPs back from 974. Even after letting in anyone with a HIMSS badge in later in the evening — once we realized that the usual no-shows would preclude us from hitting our HOB minimum, so we might as well at least get something for the money that was going to be spent no matter what — we only got to 693 attendees. You can see why trying to budget for an event this size is full of risk and uncertainty – the no-show rate is frustratingly massive. Everybody lusts to attend, but at least 70 percent of those we invited didn’t actually show up. Which is a good thing, because if they had, since we built in a big (but not big enough) no-show factor, I would be bankrupt right about now.

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I’ll declare the most interesting product I saw at HIMSS as Salesforce. Here’s why I think so:

  • Existing EHRs and other healthcare software products are way behind the times in meeting new requirements for health systems to treat patients and doctors as customers and to build relationships with them, including patient engagement.
  • It lets health systems that are willing to change their relationships with patients and doctors to do so effectively, with strong analytics and communications.
  • It’s cloud-based and is purchased on a relatively inexpensive per-user, per-month price with no capital outlay.
  • It’s built on the standard Salesforce CRM that has been battle-tested for years, with just those customizations needed to make it work for healthcare.
  • It integrates with the EHR and other patient and provider data sources.
  • The Salesforce open ecosystem allows using third-party apps when needed.
  • It Includes tools that allow users to build their own rules and apps.
  • Salesforce is a juggernaut that can force EHR vendors to open up their systems to obtain the data it needs.
  • Salesforce isn’t Oracle or Microsoft – they didn’t create a healthcare-specific product from scratch or acquire a questionable one, so they have no incentive to rebalance their product portfolio and walk away from healthcare and leave users hanging as big healthcare toe-dippers tend to do.

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Bistro HIMSS looks like this. It’s down on the 100 level on the end of the concourse. Anyone can wander in and buy a $25 lunch that includes one trip through the buffet (which includes a decent salad bar), fruit, desserts, and coffee and tea. You can buy a table for the price of 10 tickets and use it for the whole day, which is what we did for the CMIO lunch.

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People on phones — at least those who are courteous enough to not stumble slowly through the main aisles and risk getting rear-ended while yapping publicly — love spots like this where they are shielded from passers-by. It’s like police officers trained to park their cars a couple of feet to the left of one they’ve stopped to give themselves a protected channel for walking to the driver’s-side window of the stopped car without getting mowed down by a careless driver.

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Something was going on here, but I’m not sure what. Does anyone really listen to recorded audio like HIMSS radio and podcasts? I never have.

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The concession stand’s Mexican food is apparently so authentic that the employees arriving for work placed their commuting sombreros right on the counter. I also saw attendees eating food from the “Asian” restaurant with chopsticks, which seems odd when the exotic cuisine of the Far East that required authentic tableware is Americanized crap that that no actual Asian would recognize, like orange chicken (Happy Meal-style fried chicken nuggets smothered in marmalade to deliver a megadose of fat, sugar, and salt).

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I hope this ill yet resolutely attractive woman recovers to the point that she can be transferred from the HIMSS exhibit hall to Orlando Regional Medical Center. Perhaps someone should start an IV.

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The non-profit WGU (Western Governors University) was boldly touting its low-priced yet accredited degrees vs. those of for-profit competitors like Capella, Kaplan, and University of Phoenix. They offer degrees like an RN-to-BSN, MSN, MBA in healthcare management, and  MSN in nursing informatics.

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I continue to seek examples where the word “currently” adds value.

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Someone had an operation game going. Maybe these white-coated folks are actual surgeons to compete against.

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This is one of the more elegant spreads offered. I’m not sure if the sparkling drink was real or fake champagne. I think the vendor was Mozaic Medical.

Random booth observations:

  • The magnificent magician / psychic / comedian Bob Garner made someone cry at every one of the several performances I watched at the NTT Data booth today. For example, he asked an attendee to write down the name of a deceased loved one, and with nothing more than that to go on than that, described her father in precise detail right down to his description, name, military service, cause of death, and the exact layout of the military group photo of him that she keeps. I can’t do it justice with any description that I can conjure, but it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen no matter how skeptical I might be of the whole concept. He sought Lorre and me out as the show closed to say hello and to describe his message and purpose as one of hope. I’m jaded, cynical, and a scientifically driven debunker and yet I found myself feeling like I was watching something unknown and yet comforting. Bob has retired, but NTT Data convinced him to return to HIMSS17 and he seemed begrudgingly willing to consider returning to HIMSS18. He’s a nice guy besides. 
  • First Databank offered a five-question patient safety quiz kiosk and donated $10 for each correct answer to the National Patient Safety Foundation.
  • I said hello to Teresa from Eclipse because she was fully alert and engaging passers-by from the company’s tiny and bare booth. They offer project management tools, and to me at least, a free tee shirt.
  • The trend I saw this year was tilted, large touch-screen monitors for doing demos without a mouse or keyboard, also playing video as needed. They are effective.
  • I remarked to one vendor that it seemed like there were fewer multi-level booths this year. He said HIMSS started charging by volume rather than just area, so taller booths now require paying more.
  • I proposed to one vendor that HIMSS fund a free B2B mixer Wednesday as the show closes to allow exhibitors to strike up conversations that could lead to partnerships or even acquisitions, but then when I saw the huge, snaking line of sales reps towing wheeled bags to the free HIMSS airport shuttle bus within minutes of the exhibit hall’s 4:00 closing, rethought whether anyone would bother sticking around.

Predictive analytics vendor Inovalon reports Q4 results: revenue down 20 percent, adjusted EPS $0.05 vs. $0.13, beating expectations for both.

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EMDs hires Eric Weidmann, MD (South Austin Medical Clinic) as chief medical officer.

Arnot Health (NY) selects Harris Healthcare’s ED PulseCheck  ED information system.

That’s all for me from HIMSS17. I’m spending a few more days in Florida, but will keep working from the beach.

Jenn’s HIMSS Report – Tuesday

February 22, 2017 News 2 Comments

I think it goes without saying that after Monday night’s dancing I was fairly wiped out Tuesday morning. I really enjoyed looking at everyone’s pictures from the event via Twitter. The above is one of my favorites. Power health IT couple Ross and Kym Martin make it look so easy, don’t they?

But, as HIMSS-goers know, you find a way to power through, buoyed by the knowledge that throughout the day you’ll run into friends you haven’t seen since the last conference, have promising conversations with potential business partners and prospects, and, hopefully, learn a little something about an industry that paradoxically strives for moonshots but implements them at a glacial pace.

And speaking of glaciers, Tuesday was unbearably cold. I was glad I packed a shawl, because I stayed wrapped up in it the entire day.

My morning officially kicked off with a HIMSS-hosted roundtable focused on women in health IT. It was an amazing table to sit at. I was surrounded by judges and winners of this year’s inaugural Most Influential Women in Health IT Award, who talked about what receiving the award meant to them, advice they might offer to younger women looking to move further up the corporate ladder, and how to make the awards program more actionable throughout the year. I was pleased to hear that HIMSS is looking into building out a mentoring program, and pulling its state chapters more into the overall effort.

Nuggets of wisdom included:

  • Nursing informatics pioneer and IBM’s Senior Advisor of Healthcare Informatics Marion Ball: "Help promote your fellow female colleagues." As the admittedly most senior woman in the room, Ball emphasized that this wasn’t a common occurrence in her day, and thus is more important than ever.
  • Former National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD: "Enjoy the journey. Be open to new opportunities. Focus on what you want to do, not necessarily what you want to be."
  • DoD Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Karen Guice, MD: "Step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to fail. Even your failures can be some of your life’s greatest moments."
  • CHIME VP of Education Adrienne Edens: "It’s important to realize just how influential women are. We can make such a huge difference if we are intent about spreading that influence."
  • Verizon ED of Enterprise Solutions Helen Donnelly: "Never stop learning. Be the person you needed when you were younger."

It was so gratifying to be in a room full of accomplished women, each of whom mentioned her desire to ultimately make the world a better place by giving back.

After that, I spent some time with the ladies above talking about mental health tech. It’s definitely a growing space. Consumers are already paying attention and providers are catching on as the industry attempts to better integrate primary and behavioral healthcare.

I had the opportunity to chat with Christine Moberg, head of psychology at startup Pacifica Labs, which has developed a consumer-facing app to help patients cope with anxiety and depression. The company announced an early-stage funding round alongside a measurements-based, provider-facing version earlier this week, as well as an impending teletherapy feature.

My walk around the exhibit hall included a stop at the Georgia Pavilion, where I chatted with the folks at RightPatient about the current state of biometric patient identification technology.

Dimensional Insight had a nice set up.

Coding services company PJ&A had a prime booth location. The friendly rep and I chatted about our similar experiences of having a small booth in a high-traffic location. I wonder if they spent as little as we did?

I snapped this pic of @innonurse trying out McKesson’s virtual reality surgery demo. You can see what she’s seeing on the screen behind her. It was pretty cool, though I didn’t stay to try it out because the idea of putting on a device that’s been worn by dozens of others grossed me out a bit.

PokitDok’s booth looked busy. I wonder if they’re getting a lot of questions about their blockchain technology? It’s a buzzword/hot topic that seems to be coming up quite a bit this year, along with security, AI, and telemedicine. I’m bummed I won’t make the concurrent blockchain conference going on Wednesday.

Greenway seems to have a much smaller booth in year’s past. The company has been very quiet over the last 12 months in terms of news, though they did announce new care coordination services from Orlando. I’d love to tell you more about them, but my WiFi connection is so atrociously slow that I can’t access the release in a timely manner.

Stoltenburg Consulting had a cool space theme. I’ve been in their dome before. I seem to remember it having a jungle theme several years ago. I always like to see how marketing folks repurpose their spaces year after year.

I may have found MedData’s rival in baked goods. Black Box had tasty, fresh-baked M&M-filled cookies at its booth. I was happy to taste test.

Hunger pains now at bay, I headed over to the Athenahealth booth (one of two) to chat with New Jersey-based Summit Medical Group CIO Paul Shenenberger. Part of Summit Health Management’s MSO, the 700 hundred-plus-physician medical group has seen explosive growth over the last several years thanks to integration (he wouldn’t use the word "acquisition") and organic growth. "We’re the anti-hospital," he said, "perfect for physicians who don’t to move over to the dark side of hospital employment."

Aside from communing with the Athenahealth team, Shenenberger hoped to hit the show floor looking for security solutions and telemedicine offerings, though he was quick to add that Summit is currently looking at telemed startups that are already part of Athenahealth’s More Disruption Please program, including Hale Health, Chiron Health, and SnapMD. "We’re not looking at big telemedicine vendors," he explained, no doubt referring to American Well, Teladoc, and the like. "They want to use me to eliminate me," he added, explaining that, "the primary care physician is a commodity and the price is going down."

My next stop was a pleasant chat at Meditech’s booth with Beaufort Memorial Hospital (SC) CMIO Stacey Johnston, MD, a Meditech super user since her residency days. Johnston regaled me with the trials and tribulations of a rolling go live ("They never seem to end.") and the benefits of a big-bang strategy, which she led her team through last year when the hospital went to Meditech 6.1. Her non-Meditech-related HIMSS priorities include conversations with MModal and Nuance, both of which are interested in helping the hospital bring down its transcription costs. Though the organization is in the middle of an IT buying freeze, Johnston is already looking to free up funds for an integrated patient portal and better sepsis surveillance technology.

My last stop of the day was back at the HIStalk booth to spend time with WebPT CEO Nancy Ham, who kindly doled out career advice to several folks that stopped by. The conversation at one point veered into the challenges women in the investment world have historically faced in light of many veering onto the "mommy track," the differences between mentoring men and women, and the need for salary negotiation training — a topic that has come up in every women-centric event I have attended at HIMSS thus far.

After a quick shoe change at the hotel, I walked across the street to Pointe Orlando and detoured into the shopping area. I had to snap a pic of this pedicab storefront, given that I have never seen anything like it. They seemed to be a popular form of transportation for those leaving the area to head to condo rentals a mile or so away. Every time I see a pedicab, I think of this Portlandia skit.

The area was hopping with parties. Meditech obviously invested in a nice ice sculpture.

The New Media Meetup had a nice crowd. There seemed to be far more social media enthusiasts than influencers, which made me wonder what type of ROI sponsor Stericycle Communications hoped to get from the event.

First Databank looked prepped to show customers a good time. I had hoped to make it to Imprivata’s party, but decided to head for the hotel when I found out it was not within walking distance. It was nice to turn in somewhat early and get a solid seven hours of sleep. I know it’s not the norm at HIMSS.

Here’s hoping tomorrow’s a little warmer …

Dr. Jayne’s HIMSS Report – Tuesday

February 22, 2017 News No Comments

Today brought a less-stressful commute to HIMSS and easier parking. I started the day at Medicomp Systems (Booth 2303) playing their Quippe Virtual Experience game. Players use Quippe Clinical Solutions to solve a variety of problems. Responses are timed and high scorers receive prizes. They’re giving away Apple watches, so worth checking it out.

From there, it was over to CoverMyMeds (Booth 1214), whose business must be booming based on the size of their booth. They had mailed a scratch-off game card to my house and I left with a lovely parting gift – a beach ball, which was thankfully deflated. Normally I’m not into swag, but I’m thinking about bouncing it around the crowd at the next hospital medical staff meeting.

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After that, I headed to the Interoperability Showcase, stopping by the MedData booth for a scone. Today’s flavors: lemon and blueberry. I spoke with a sales rep who was very engaging and it turns out he grew up just a few miles from where I live. We had a nice chat and I realized I’ve done some work for a couple of their clients, so it was nice to make a connection.

The Interoperability Showcase was buzzing with lots of demos. I spoke with Apex Data Solutions about some work they’re doing with the VA regarding data reconciliation. The reps were engaging and knowledgeable. The Showcase had some areas with clinical vignettes demonstrated by various vendor partners, so I checked out this one illustrating asthma care from telemedicine through hospitalization to discharge and outpatient management of complications. The reps did a great job, but I was a bit annoyed by the guy live-casting the entire thing, including the attendees. It’s one thing to catch people in the background of a photo, but it’s another thing to pan your phone around on a selfie stick getting close-ups of unwitting people who happen to be standing next to you and broadcasting them to the universe.

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Jenn already scooped me with a picture of the giant Connect Four game at the PEPID booth, but I did stop by for a match. I liked this artwork at the Q-nomy booth.

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I’m not sure what happened to the picture I took on the show floor, but I fell in love with the Ballo chair at Humanscale (Booth 1513). I’ve tried the exercise ball chairs and found them to be uncomfortable, but this one was very different. I’m seriously thinking about tracking one down when I get home. They also have wheeled workstations that adjust to a user’s height electronically, which makes users more likely to adjust them, therefore preventing ergonomic problems.

Vendors use a variety of gimmicks to get people into their booths – pens, stress balls, hot/cold packs, hand sanitizer, lip balm, candy, and more. DSS Document Storage Systems was screen-printing tee shirts in their booth, where eSolutions was holding a drawing for a Coach bag. NextGen has a giant Plinko game in their booth, while IBM Watson has live moss and some kind of fuzzy ground cover plants growing on displays in their booth. I haven’t seen too many people in costumes like we used to see on the show floor. Although it’s more professional now, I miss it.

I overheard two women speaking about the Disruptive Women luncheon, which they felt was well worth attending. I also overheard someone talking about vendor reps being rude on the shuttle bus, and naming them specifically. Apparently on yesterday’s morning shuttle, two of them refused to hold their laptop bags on their laps, placing them in seats next to them, which meant people who were trying to board the bus had to be turned away. If you’re wearing a vendor shirt and a name tag, don’t forget that makes you “on stage” in Disney terms. People notice when you’re doing things that aren’t courteous and kind and it might just cost your company business.

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Liaison had some sweet badge ribbons at booth 5570. I’ll let you guess which one I chose.

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Bottomline Technologies had their sponsor sign on display.

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From the exhibit hall, I headed straight to Nordic’s HIMSS reception at Del Frisco’s Steak House. We had a lovely outdoor balcony and I made some new friends, including marketing guru John Pollard and data analytics expert Tim Grilley. They were great to talk with and Tim certainly impressed with the best bowtie and shoes of the day (although his wife apparently thinks the shoes would be more appropriate on a sixth grade girl with pigtails). His suit brought the accessories together nicely.

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From there it was off to the New Media Meetup where I spied Jenn and some other social media glitterati. I always feel like the odd man out at events like that since I’m anonymous. I brought a friend with me who didn’t really understand the depth of what is going on with social media and healthcare IT, and by the end of the night, I think she was ready to start her own blog about dysfunctional vendors she works with.

After the Meetup, we headed to meet some friends for one last drink before crashing for the night. I’m averaging more than 10 miles of walking a day, so it’s definitely time for a break.

From HIMSS 2/21/17

February 21, 2017 News 12 Comments

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From Hooligan: “Re: hot Epic news. They just quietly brought their App Orchard live. It was announced years ago, but it really only applied to customers that wanted to build their own app. This is Epic’s latest thinking on allowing third parties.”

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From Skippy Snodgrass: “Re: Epic. They’ve upped their claims about clients making more money and seem to have found a way to involve either Allscripts or Cerner in almost every piece of booth décor. It’s one thing to have some fun in your booth, but I was surprised to see that messaging show up in the Interoperability Showcase… After a great presentation on the VA’s joint viewer project, I visited a demo that featured Epic, Cerner, and Siemens Healthineers. The Epic presenter’s monitor was set to a slide show that replayed the same competitive messaging from their booth on a loop. Maybe I’m naive, but it seemed to be in poor taste given the showcase is built for vendors to demonstrate their collaboration and commitment to bettering our industry. For their end of it, the Cerner and Siemens reps were unarmed – no fancy screensavers – you only saw a HIE diagram and a patient portal UI.”

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From Flinty White: “Re: HIMSS. Spotted today at 2:30 pm near the I Drive entrance. Sometimes those feet need a little rest and a post-lunch nap is in order!” I agree. It’s nice to get out in the sun and take a break from the noise, glad-handing, and merchandising.

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From HIT Girl: “Re: Mt. Auburn Hospital satellite clinic. Makes EHR training look like a bumpin’ party.” To which I would also reply, in my best J. Walter Weatherman (“Arrested Development”) voice, “And THAT’s why you use punctuation, like hyphens.”

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It was a beautiful sunrise over Orlando this morning, although I didn’t fully appreciate it after the two hours of sleep I got.

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Edifecs had a “What I Run” campaign that supports women, including offering a female-only event going on tonight.

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It is comforting to know that should one of us attendees or exhibitors be stricken, there’s a clinician-staffed hospital right there on the show floor. Either that or we could get a makeover while awaiting the arrival of actual clinicians.

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Intelligent Medical Objects has this cool coding timeline thing going on, where visitors were invited to record a notable health IT event on a sticky note and place it in its proper time location. People were really getting into it.

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Then there’s this, wherein I reward slightly off-color behavior by unavoidably providing a link to those exhibiting it (pun intended).

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The HipLink people were fun, as evidenced by the one on the right who used a stack of flashing pens to create a runway-like arrow leading into their booth. Her self-satisfaction is evident.

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The trouble with spell-check is that any version of a word’s correct spelling gets the green light, even when (as in this case) it is spelled very, very wrong for the context in which it was used. This is a big mistake (literally, since it is looming large over the exhibit hall floor).

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This is a smart giveaway from PerfectServe.

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I asked the personable Zebu rep if I could take a photo of his cool, color-coordinated shoes. He obliged by slipping one off to give me a better angle.

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Industry long-timer and WebPT CEO Nancy Ham held court in our booth, offering advice to women interested in career development or mentoring.

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Strata Decision Technology is giving away this book, which looks very good. I’ll read it after the conference,

I bought some extra tickets to Bistro HIMSS, so I had lunch there today. It was pretty good and it was nice to escape the chaos, choose fresh food from a decent buffet, and enjoy a semi-quiet moment at a table and chair without being stink-eyed by would-be diners who can’t find anywhere to sit and silently implore you to get up and eat your dessert on the way out the door so they can slide in. Today it was cowboy steak, yellow rice, fresh vegetables, tortellini, rolls, and a few dessert items. Even the iced tea was pretty good.

I should mention that my frequent gripes about HIMSS that usually involve their juggernaut-like domination, cozy vendor financial relationships, and vendor-shilling and questionably knowledgeable media group, they really know how to make a conference run like a Swiss watch.

Random booth observations:

  • I saw a quick, over-the-shoulder demo of Meditech’s Web EHR. Apparently they re-built the LSS ambulatory product into an entirely new Web Ambulatory, while other 6.1 modules got a high-tech facelift to give a consistent presentation. I had to circle their booth three times each during three separate visits to finally get someone to make eye contact, but the guy who finally greeted me was friendly even though my enthusiasm had diminished considerably by then.
  • I had a fun talk with someone at the InstaMed booth about patient payments in the era of high-deductible plans that push more of the payment burden on them (and more of the collection burden on providers).
  • Arcadia Healthcare Solutions gave me an overview of their data aggregation, transformation, and analytics.
  • I saw a demo of Spok Care Connect, which greatly broadens the old Amcom Smart Web paging console product into a complete solution for secure communications, alarm notifications, critical lab value alerts, etc.
  • I saw a short overview of the Qvera visual interface engine, which is free to use on a limited scale.
  • I talked to a rep who predicted that Wednesday morning will be quieter and more deliberate as decision-makers emerge from the shadows to take a deeper look into products that they or their underlings have seen. The rep also said that Wednesday afternoon will be crazy since that’s like a vendor version of “Supermarket Sweep” as they all run around chucking cards at each other in hoping to explore partnerships or other B2B opportunities.

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Vince Ciotti chose an interesting HIMSS badge.

Epic will enhance its MASS patient scheduling system, being tested by the VA in a $624 million contract, to allow disabled veterans to schedule appointments using Nuance-powered speech instructions.

Salesforce will integrate patient-generated data into its CRM and Health Cloud using Validic-powered integration.

Jvion, which offers a predictive engine, acquires the healthcare practice of competitor Predixion.


HIStalkapalooza

I heard the event was pretty fun, although I didn’t see most of it other than the band (which was as amazing as I expected). I had a little plate of food and that was fine, especially since the HOB’s house salad is one of my favorite things ever. I enjoyed spending private time backstage with Judy Faulkner and Andy Slavitt.

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The House of Blues people said they were getting calls all week from people hoping to score a ticket to the event, which is funny since HOB had nothing to do with ticketing. We also had a few folks (tourists, I assume) who heard Party on the Moon rocking it out and tried unsuccessfully to sweet talk their way in. HOB said it had to be the hottest ticket in Orlando this week based on the constant inquiries they were receiving.

I hope to have photos and videos from our photographers soon. Meanwhile, here are a few shots sent over by attendees.

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Nordic quickly put together a great teaser video of the event, to be followed shortly by a longer and more fully edited one. This one is really good, and it’s fun to hear Party on the Moon playing live from last night. Note in the video the Nordic-emblazoned ties they had made for the House of Blues Servers. I talked to two of the females who were wearing jauntily them around their heads “Karate Kid” style as their own form of flair, while I overheard one of the guys telling his co-worker (not sarcastically) that he loves his tie and wishes he could wear it to work at HOB every day.

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Here’s how the finale looked from the stage, as captured by the band at 11 p.m. I expect there were some aching heads and feet in the convention center today. A lot of the behind-the-scenes HIStalkapalooza work is frustrating, annoying, and demanding, but I absolutely love watching people dancing joyfully and interacting with the band. My view of HIStalk is sitting alone in an empty room filling up an empty screen every day, so seeing people come together is the best part of the year. I’m most overjoyed when I see someone who is tentatively lingering just off the dance floor for the first few songs trying to overcome their fears, then tentatively yielding to POTM’s exhortations to get out there with the group and move in whatever way feels good to them. I see that moment of child-like rapture and human connection from a normally restrained healthcare IT person and it is magical. It’s hokey, but I feel like I helped them, in some small way, regain the freedom and lack of self-consciousness that they might have otherwise forgotten they ever had. I was proud of every dancer out there.

These photos just started arriving from our photographer:

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Thanks to our hosts Barry Wightman, Julie Yoo, and Bonny Roberts. A couple of folks from Optimum Health IT spent forever getting the red carpet background assembled, then joined their co-workers in managing the check-in process. Brianne, Aly, Heidi, and Camille were all over the venue putting out fires. Lorre arranged the entire event and managed a maddening onslaught of issues that didn’t stop until about the time Party on the Moon started playing – I could see her glazing over from mental and physical exhaustion as well as hypoglycemia after a super-long day in which she had eaten only one early-morning banana due to lack of time.

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Thanks to our special guests Judy Faulkner, Andy Slavitt, and John Halamka.

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And of course, thanks to the sponsors who made this tenth and final HIStalkapalooza possible. Some of them are pledging their support and encouraging me to do it again at HIMSS18, but I’m not enthusiastic about it. It’s a lot of work, involves huge financial risk, and carries high opportunity cost without any real benefit except to attendees. Maybe I will re-engineer it into a different format that I can manage more easily.

Here are the HISsies winners as shown on stage Monday evening. I was sorry that Neal Patterson of Cerner declined to attend, but he’s not big on lifetime achievement awards, he said, since his work is a long way from complete.

Dr. Jayne’s HIMSS Report – Monday

February 21, 2017 News No Comments

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Monday at HIMSS was a blur of activity – it’s a good thing I make notes as I go. Due to traffic and parking issues, I didn’t quite make it to the keynote, but all was not lost since it put me in the right place at the right time to spot these Valentino boots.

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As the hall opened, I spotted Judy Faulkner in the Epic booth doing what looked like a final walk-through. The HIStalk crew hit the floor handing out sponsor signs. I spotted the team at Orchestrate Healthcare admiring theirs. Healthfinch also had their sign prominently on display, right next to the fascinator hat created by Karen Hitchcock to wear to HIStalkapalooza.

The morning’s booth crawl revealed several vendors with people in white coats – will they never learn? One group of booth attendants looked like they were ready to work the Clinique counter at Nordstrom as opposed to telling us about hot new healthcare technology. I met up with HIStalk reader Evan Frankel and we stopped by the Hyland OnBase booth to see their magician, who continues to impress. After the usual card tricks and coin tricks, he did one with books and having the audience pick words from the pages, that left me speechless. It was probably in the top 10 of magic tricks I have seen.

Several vendors have downsized their booths (or at least it feels that way), including Greenway and Athenahealth. Hopefully they’re spending more dollars on research and development instead because the industry certainly needs it. The industry might also want to take a cue from the AMIA meeting and offer HIMSS-related childcare. We came around a corner and saw a young boy sitting curled up under the counter of the Meehealth booth. Even more unnerving than that was the hospital beds with patients in them at Masimo and the woman on the table at Novarad. It might be good for building your performance art or modeling resume, but it just seems weird.

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I had a nice chat with the gentlemen at Ascent Testing Group, which hails from Fort Worth. They offer assistance to physicians in brokering genetic testing and provide easily interpreted reports. They were also engaging, easy to talk to, and a great example of what booth staff should be. We also passed the HP Enterprise booth (1979) with its charity cash grab chamber, but I wasn’t lured into being blasted with swirling money, even for charity. As the day wore on, I was wishing I had a pair of these nifty shoes spotted in the healthfinch booth because my feet were getting tired.

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The HIStalk booth is amazingly located this year. I had a chance to stop by to chat with former Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD.

I ran into lots of people I knew in the hall, including informaticist extraordinaire Bill Hersh, but missed some old friends that have moved on from the industry. The happy hour at Orion Health featured New Zealand wines, which gave us a boost to head back to get ready for HIStalkapalooza. The party had a bit of a slow start due to traffic, but once Party on the Moon hit the stage, things picked up. It’s always great seeing readers having a good time and catching up with the people who keep me sane in this topsy-turvy industry. Of course, no HIStalkapalooza would be complete without my annual Matthew Holt dance party. As things wound down I headed out to get some much-needed rest.

Jenn’s HIMSS Report – Monday

February 21, 2017 News 1 Comment

My second day at HIMSS started off with the morning keynote from IBM CEO Ginny Rometty. I could have watched it from the comfort of the caffeine-fueled press room, but instead decided to join the masses in the Chapin Theater for overflow viewing. Rometty spent a good bit of time talking about IBM Watson and the work it is doing in major health systems and community hospitals alike, in the areas of both oncology and genomics. It seems to have come a long way from its “Jeopardy” roots.

It was a vendor speech at the end of the day, and so Rometty didn’t shy away from touting the "moonshot" ideas she and the company have for the technology. She also touched on AI, which I’m thinking might become a HIMSS17 buzzword over the next several days. She also mentioned blockchain and its potential, referencing the company’s internal work with the ledger tech and suggesting everyone take a look at the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project. (Check out HIStalk’s "Breaking Down Blockchain’s Potential" for a deeper dive into its implications for healthcare.)

Attendees wasted no time in queuing up for the exhibit hall just before its doors opened at 10 a.m. HIStalk somehow scored prime booth placement this year. Our booth, 4845, is just inside of the doors above, which has been such a blessing in terms of telling people how to find us and sneaking away for a few minutes to grab a bite to eat or use the restroom.

HIMSS has a DJ this year, which I find to be a lot of fun. I hear he takes requests, and so I’m trying to come up with health IT-related songs to ask for. Feel free to weigh in with suggestions in the comments. I’d love to create a playlist to share with readers.

My next stop, back in the Chapin Theater, featured a panel discussion on the challenges female executives face. HIMSS EVP Carla Smith, who is a great moderator, led a very conversational discussion on what it means to be the only woman in the room, how men can support a gender-diverse workforce, and the need for women to take a more proactive (or even aggressive) role in salary negotiations. It was a great session, and I was happy to see Ruben Amarasingham, MD represent the male perspective. He earned a round of applause when he told the audience that his physician-led company, Pieces Technologies, had achieved gender wage parity. (You could devote an entire session to how they achieved that, I’m sure.)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that EHealth Services Group CEO and chair-elect of HIMSS Denise Hines also offered many words of wisdom related to being a minority female CEO and business owner and the mother of seven kids. Her work-life balance advice was VERY strategic.

After that, I headed over the HIStalk booth to meet and greet readers and passers-by. It’s so nice to connect with the loyal folks that visit HIStalk on a daily basis. I only wish Mr. H could have been around to hear the many kudos he received. It seems that folks in this industry are really appreciative of the non-biased, tell-it-like-it-is voice he brings to this industry.

I attribute much of our booth’s activity to the Survival Kits the Arcadia Healthcare Solutions team shared with us. I wonder if they’re prepared to share more, because we’ve already gone through a few hundred.

The provider readers I had a chance to chat with — who included clinicians from the Netherlands, China, and Argentina — didn’t have any particular IT items on their exhibit hall shopping lists. Many seemed to be walking the floor to get a feel for what was out there. One gentleman explained that, unlike last year’s itemized list, his hospital is now more in the market for optimization services.

I had an hour and a half to spare, so I headed over to Pivot Point Consulting booth’s (723) for a foot massage and refreshments. It was the nicest break I’ve had at HIMSS in several years. I will definitely visit again today. Plus, I love the fact that they are donating to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as part of their HIMSS17 #GoesBeyond campaign.

Massages are apparently a thing this year, as I saw them at multiple booths on the show floor as well as outside of the exhibit hall. I may expand my horizons tomorrow and seek out a neck and/or back massage.

I ran into the folks at Pepid, whose booth was a ton of fun with oversize games like Connect Four, Jenga, and cornhole.

My brief exhibit hall walkabout included a quick pass around the Google booth. I don’t recall them having exhibited before. I managed to spy Karen DeSalvo, MD walking the floor by herself. I wonder if she was looking for the latest in population health tools?

It was nice to see the Aprima team proudly showing off their HIStalk sign. I hope to get by their booth tomorrow to find out how their solutions fit in with the HIMSS hospital crowd.

And then it was on to …

HIStalkapalooza

The Optimum Healthcare IT team did a great job of moving people through our check-in line. It was only after the party that I realized their lanyards included helpful skin cancer screening tips.

Our hosts, Bonny, Barry, and Julie did a fantastic job of greeting guests on the red carpet.

All of our guests seemed to have a great time. Health IT luminaries seen amongst the crowd included Judy Faulkner and Carl Dvorak from Epic, John Halamka from BIDMC, and Any Slavitt, formerly of CMS and now of Twitter. I was bummed I missed meeting him. He seemed to disappear after receiving his HISsies award (Hi, Jenn, Mr H here … Judy and Andy came backstage to hang out with me a little during and after the HISsies, so I apologize for stealing them from you since I know you were dying to meet them).

Speaking of awards, I had the privilege of running the slide deck while they were being given out. Above is my view from stage right.

I had the pleasure of meeting and dancing with the HIStalk Queen, a fresh-faced Allscripts rep who wowed the crowd at her first HIStalkapalooza. I hope she takes me up on my advice to wear her sash throughout the rest of the conference. It’s the best conversation-starter you could ask for, especially if you’re working a booth.

More to come tomorrow.

From HIMSS 2/20/17

February 20, 2017 News 6 Comments

Happy Presidents’ Day (or “Not My President’s Day” for protestors in some cities). George Washington has to share his Monday-convenient birthday celebration with those who followed him, but then again he probably doesn’t care since he’s dead.

I’ll have HIStalkapalooza items and the HISsies slides up tomorrow. It’s a bit late to finish up tonight.

I feel like trying to read the educational session descriptions in the The HIMSS Resource Guide is an eye test that I failed. The font size is as tiny as the lengthy disclaimers at the end of a credit card pitch.

Stymied about which companies are doing something interesting? It’s not too late to check out my HIMSS guide of HIStalk sponsors.

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I was skeptical when someone told me that I should apply the Band-Aid-like product called moleskin to the pressure points of my feet to prevent HIMSS-induced blisters and chafing (of special interest to me since I made the tactical error of bringing a new pair of shoes). Darned if it didn’t work like magic – I just cut it to fit a couple of potential trouble areas and today’s endless walking didn’t bother me at all.

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MedData’s scones were outstanding as usual, both the pumpkin and cranberry-orange ones they baked today.

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InTouch Health had an actual pastry case filled with stuff, although I didn’t sample any.

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Cerner was doing a podcast with HL7’s Chuck Jaffe when I walked by. The studio was pretty cool, with what looked like live TV news streaming on the monitors (not that we need more of that).

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Access brought a huge well to its book to show support for its project to provide drinking water for a Liberian village, which as it notes is a lot more directly life-saving than most of what we do in healthcare iT. Stop by Booth #1778 and you’ll be supporting their cause.

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CMS had a big booth.

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Epic’s art is always whimsical, but this piece had steps that I assume were for photo ops.

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Lifepoint Informatics was giving away energy drinks that were lined up like hyper little soldiers right in front of their HIStalk sign.

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The magnificent psychic, magician, and comic Bob Garner was as entertaining and amazing as always in the NTT Data both. I will definitely see him at least a couple of more times this week. His patter is a bit darker and more daring than that of his contemporaries – I thought the guy beside me was going to bust a gut laughing.

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Dear HIMSS-owned publication, John Halamka is one of the most recognizable figures and names in the industry you cover. How did this misspelling not raise an alarm somewhere in the editorial food chain? Yours in news accuracy, Mr. H.

Every year I have to peeve out about this – if you don’t have a clinical degree and an active license, you have no business wearing scrubs in your booth. You’re just annoying people who earned the right to wear them.

I’ve noticed that companies increasing mistakenly refer to “digitize” by saying “digitalize.” While the former is specific to computers (finger jokes aside), the latter’s primary definition involves titrating a person on the heart drug digoxin, another of those things that passes marketing muster while eliciting clinician eye-rolling.

A fun part of the conference is watching the small-booth vendors getting to know their booth neighbors. Provider attendees don’t realize how actively some companies seek out partnerships during the conference. A vendor told me today that they miss the days when the exhibit hall closed for lunch since that’s when a lot of the vendor-vendor networking took place and now it happens in full view of attendees.

Some booth notes. Just to recap my method, I travel the hall alone and casually dressed, with a badge title that does not represent me a decision-maker. I also don’t usually engage booth reps since I want to see how they react when I stand expectantly and make eye contact (since not all prospects are going to make the first move).

  • IBM Watson Health had a huge booth and presence at the conference, including giving IBM’s CEO the opening keynote slot (which I refused to attend on principle – vendor executives, especially those with zero healthcare background, don’t inspire me). It must have caused some panicky huddles when the story broke hours before her keynote that MD Anderson’s ambitious and expensive Watson project is in the toilet, at least temporarily. 
  • I was interested in Best Care, a Korea-based inpatient EHR whose monitors showed a cool-looking product that they are apparently trying to market to US hospitals. I tried to strike up a conversion with the stern guy standing there and he wouldn’t really talk to me. I tried again with another guy and all he said was that company is “from Korea, like K-pop” and then didn’t say anything else. I tried a third time in asking a different person on the other side of the booth if it was OK if a snapped a photo of the screen and they shooed me away. I think the company had best hire some US sales talent if they want to sell here.
  • Cerner had a monster of a booth.
  • I was thinking as I passed the Nuance booth that with all the hype about artificial intelligence, it’s now a given that computers can understand what we say with a high degree of accuracy. Imagine how Dragon would look to someone from the 1970s.
  • A vendor told me that just the light box for their modest-sized booth (the big rectangular sign that hangs above in their air space) costs $20,000. Their three-day exhibit expenses will be $200,000. They estimated that Cerner and the other big-booth vendors must be laying out $3-5 million to exhibit considering all the people they bring.
  • Georgia from Salesforce gave me a quick overview of the physician relationship part of Health Cloud.
  • I pledged to walk away from any vendor whose signs or patter include making a FHIR-related pun.
  • The exhibit hall appears to end in the 6700 block, but it actually keeps going into the 9000 range, with various non-vendor exhibits mixed in. HIMSS is so big that some exhibitors get stuck in no-man’s land where foot traffic is sparse and I’m afraid some of the vendors on that side are feeling left out of the action.
  • Some nice Healthwise folks said it’s different working with clients in Canada because they are more focused on social determinants of health and other factors that impact public health beyond just doctoring people up in the Jiffy Lube model of US healthcare.

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SPH Analytics hires Amy Amick (nThrive) as CEO.

Jenn’s HIMSS Report – Sunday

February 20, 2017 News No Comments

My journey to HIMSS started early this morning. I am the type of traveler who likes to arrive at the airport hours in advance so as to avoid the stress of last-minute traffic, parking delays, and check-in and security lines. I also enjoy taking the time to walk through the airport concourses to my gate. I reason that the exercise will do me good before I spend several hours sitting down. I was pleasantly surprised to find the ceiling of one concourse transformed into a rainforest-like canopy. The leafy, backlit branches of green and blue were accompanied by piped in birdsong and patches of ceiling monitors that resembled the sky. I imagine such an environment may have calmed my nerves if I had been nervous about flying.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find this private pod set up for nursing and pumping moms. I’m not sure how many are scattered throughout the airport, but I’m sure it beats trying to perform either task in a crowded public space. I’ll never forget watching a mother try to find an outlet and pump in the bathroom at the St. Thomas airport in the US Virgin Islands. Privacy was nowhere to be found. I’ve heard from more than one female colleague that such spaces should be made available at conferences like HIMSS. I’m not sure if there are any laws regulating this sort of thing, but I’d give big kudos to conference organizers that consider it.

My flight was full, which wasn’t surprising given that most of metro Atlanta’s school systems are out for winter break. As such, many families are making their way to Disney for the week. My flight was surprisingly free of HIMSS vendors, which has been the case in years past. I snapped this pick while boarding; I thought it was interesting that they promote being among the “Best Places to Work.” I wonder if any HIMSS exhibitors will have similar signage. If I were a prospect, that would certainly boost any confidence I might have in the company’s products and corporate culture.

HIMSS signage was everywhere. I was disappointed, though, in the lack of little ones already dressed up as their favorite Disney characters.

I had a fairly typical wait in the taxi queue, and a delightful ride to my hotel with Viviana of Quick Cab. It seems the taxi drivers are taking a cue from Uber when it comes to customer service. She was quick to offer me refreshments when I got in, and – thank goodness – swiped my card using Square rather than the more traditional card readers that never seem to work.

I’m staying in a modest, family-friendly hotel just a few minutes’ walk from the convention center, and an even shorter distance to the Pointe Orlando nightlife area. It has several dining options, all of which are very affordable, and the staff has so far been eager to please.

Flowers like these haven’t yet bloomed in my neck of the woods. They are certainly a nice contrast to the seedier, concrete and neon jungle that typically greets me when I travel to HIMSS in Las Vegas. Orlando’s weather definitely has me ready for spring!

Like Mr. H mentioned in his Sunday, update, the conference center was fairly quiet. There were a number of pre-conference symposia going on, but it looked as if they had all wrapped up by the time I walked over to pick up my press credentials.

It took me all of five minutes to run into a familiar face. It was great to catch up with Amanda Greene, one of HIStalk’s HIMSS patient advocate scholarship winners from a few years back. She has returned to represent the patient in that oft-used healthcare buzz phrase – “patient-centered healthcare.” I know it’s a growing (but still very much grassroots) movement aided in part by organizations like The Walking Gallery, the Society for Participatory Medicine, and the Personal Connected Health Alliance. Amanda recommended that I check out one such title on the subject, “Participatory Healthcare.” And so I headed over to the HIMSS bookstore …

I don’t know if this was the main bookstore or a smaller, satellite location. As readers of HIStalk Practice already know, I am a big bibliophile.

I came across the recommendation, plus a few others I might have to check out in the near future.

I have always envied Dr. Jayne for her HIMSS routine of checking out the conference with long-time friends and colleagues. It always sounded like such fun to hike around HIMSS with a buddy, and this year, I’m happy to say I got that chance for a few hours with my former college roommate and colleague Jessica Clifton. The day got even better when we ran into Ross Martin, MD a former HIStalkapalooza host who is now a program director at the CRISP (Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients) regional HIE in Maryland. He was kind enough to bestow upon Jess an honorary membership to the American College of Medical Informatimusicology.

And speaking of music … The night was still young, and so I hopped into a cab and scooted over to the Doyenne Connections meetup at the Caribe Royale. Not only were we serenaded by this female saxophonist, which I assume is a rarity, but we were sent home with Girl Scout Cookies – my new favorite HIMSS giveaway.

Though not quite as young, the night still had some life in it, and so I made my way back over to the Pointe Orlando area for Divurgent’s networking event at the Funky Monkey.

I’ve been to several Divurgent events over the last several years, and the team knows how to throw a good party. This year was no different, except for the fact that Amos the monkey held court in one corner of the restaurant. Where else but HIMSS?

After chatting with indie HIT consultant, freelance CIO, and HIMSS Social Media Ambassador Drex DeFord and friends, I decided to call the #HIMSSanity a night. (And I couldn’t resist the siren call of HGTV beckoning me back to my hotel room.) Plus, I need to rest up for tomorrow morning’s keynote and, of course, tomorrow night’s HIStalkapalooza festivities.

Dr. Jayne’s HIMSS Report – Sunday

February 19, 2017 News No Comments

I arrived in Orlando last night, allowing time to get together with some friends for a nice dinner before the craziness of HIMSS begins. We were happy to discover that we can walk back to our hotel from HIStalkapalooza Monday night, no designated driver or surge-priced Uber needed. After a nice walk around the Disney grounds this morning, we headed to the convention center for registration.

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Most people enter the convention center from the International Drive side, which means they miss out on some of the things you can see coming in from the car park in back. The registration lines there were short (although the parking was pricey and hard to find – I hope it’s not a total gong show tomorrow.) In the registration lobby, they have a hydroponic garden growing a variety of lettuce, basil, kale, Swiss chard, and more.

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From there, it’s up the escalators to the pedestrian bridge, where you can see the massive loading docks that facilitate arrival of the booths and equipment.

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Parts of the exhibit hall were still wall-to-wall crates, even after 1 p.m. Sunday.

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I’m traveling with a friend this year who has never been to a HIMSS in Orlando, so we went walkabout so she could get the overall layout of the convention center. It’s definitely got a more streamlined floor plan compared to Las Vegas with its basement booths. We came across the Wellness Pavilion, which consists of a handful of treadmills and elliptical machines. Because nothing says professional like hopping onto a piece of exercise equipment while you’re business casual with your HIMSS tote bag.

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We came across this sculpture outside Hall F, right near the Wellness Pavilion. For those of you with clinical backgrounds, doesn’t it remind you of trabecular bone?

Just about the time I told my friend we’d have to lay bets on how long it would be before I ran into someone I knew, we ran across a friend of mine who built the first clinical data repository at the medical center where I did most of my training. It was good to catch up, but HIMSS is such a busy week that it’s difficult to get more than a couple of minutes with people sometimes.

From there, we headed up I-Drive to grab lunch at the Shake Shack, because sometimes you just need comfort food after you’ve already walked seven miles by mid-day. From there it was a quick swing over to the outlet malls, which were absolutely packed, then back for the HIMSS opening reception.

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Usually the reception has some themed performers outside to welcome attendees – showgirls in Las Vegas, and last year flappers and gangsters in Chicago. This year there was a performer in the lobby that defies description – or at least defied description until we heard two attendees chatting on the way to the parking garage. One mentioned it was “A woman in a flowy dress on a stick flying through the air.” The other pondered, “Why am I not there?” I don’t know how else to describe it other than what they said, so I’ll let a picture be a thousand words.

The reception seemed to be a step up from previous years, with short drink lines and a good number of food stations. Choices included pad Thai, mini Caesar salads, antipasto cups, paella, and fish tacos. Dessert options included chocolate covered marshmallows and “Dragon’s Breath” popcorn chilled with liquid nitrogen and then served with your choice of toppings. Entertainment included a band with a woman playing some kind of virtual harp instrument that was strung from the stage above the audience, but I couldn’t get a good picture of it.

There were plenty of opportunities to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. The only downsides were the dimness of some parts of the room and there not being enough places to set your drink while you nibbled, but that’s par for the course for events like this. We did work our way into a table of clinical informaticists and met one who works at a hospital in Grand Cayman, so if you’re going to make new friends, that’s the kind of friend to make.

Over the course of the day I walked more than nine miles, so turning in relatively early seemed like a good idea. I definitely need to rest up for HIStalkapalooza.

From HIMSS 2/19/17

February 19, 2017 News 7 Comments

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It was pretty dead in the convention center today, which I assume means that those who paid for pre-conference sessions were dutifully and (hopefully enjoyably) attending them. Attire ranged from shorts to suits, reminding me that one of these days I’m going to show up wearing a tuxedo, which might be fun since I’ve never worn one (or perhaps the white dinner jacket variety would be cooler). I wasn’t interested enough to head back to the opening reception, so I have nothing to report about that. I’ve always found it to be a waste of time except as a convenient location to try to meet up with people for a dinner outing, which I’ve never done either.

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There’s free WiFi in the convention center, named OCCC_Free or something like that. I Speedtested it and it was pretty good with low latency and a 5 mbps download speed, although that will likely degrade to a standstill when the place fills up. 

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This is Paul, the friendliest and most efficient registration person I’ve seen. I wish Paul could be cloned and assigned to moving people through lines everywhere (like in airports). He greeted me like a long-lost relative and steered me to the kiosk, where a quick barcode scan from my phone’s copy of the registration email triggered printing of my badge. Then all I needed to do was pick up the pre-loaded backpack and it was done – no longer do you have to slide through the line stuffing your new bag with various publications, handouts, and addenda. HIMSS improves the process every year. Paul was the first person I encountered and he made me feel valued and welcome. He was working the entrance by the parking lot.

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Caradigm always does great backpacks and the one’s the best. I’ll actually take this home for later use instead of stuffing it into a trash can somewhere between leaving the hall for the last time Wednesday afternoon and arriving at the airport. I like everything about it, including the color.

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The exhibit hall is shaping up, although it was hot as blazes in there Sunday afternoon when we were setting up our microscopic booth (#4845). Luckily, it took us about five minutes. The HIMSS exhibit person helped us choose a great location even though we don’t have any HIMSS points and we always get the smallest, cheapest available booth. We’re on a corner near some far more impressive neighbors, although I guess it really doesn’t matter since we’re not selling or demonstrating anything.

I see the exhibit hall opens at 10 Monday morning and at 9:30 the next two days. Is it my imagination that it gets earlier every year, not to mention that it now doesn’t close for lunch like it used to? I say HIMSS should just ring the cash registers even harder by running the exhibits 24×7 during conference week – they are almost there already. HIMSS18 would be ideal since it’s in Las Vegas, where the casinos never close so that neon-stupored gamblers irrationally feed the profit engine all night long.

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Here is our magnificently furnished HIMSS edifice, a study in cost-effective restraint. The back banner cost $30. The two pull-up signs were $79 each. The table drape was $40. The smokin’ doc standee was $80. Total cost: around $300, and all of it is reusable if I decide it’s worth packing and shipping back home (it all fits into two fairly small and light boxes that we just carry into the exhibit hall). Recall the results of my just-completed reader survey, which found that the most important reason people stop at booths is because of friendly, alert reps. That was a relief since that’s all we really have. Still, it’s fun when executives timidly inquire if it’s OK to take a selfie with the smokin’ doc, then beam proudly with their arm slung over the standee’s shoulder as we snap a picture for them and wonder exactly what they’re going to do with it.

A great thing about our booth location is that we’re just down from NTT Data, which will apparently again feature the amazing magician-psychic Bob. I watched jaws drop, tears flow, and people abruptly walk away in confused disbelief as last year as Bob told attendees things there’s no way he should know, such as, “Your mother died recently and was buried in a purple choir robe.”

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We’re giving away those fantastic conference first aid kits from Arcadia Healthcare Solutions again to help attendees deal with the inevitable aches, blisters, and gastric upset that the conference creates. The box of them was sitting on our little table with this cute note.

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Thirst-slaking isn’t cheap at the Orange County Convention Center. At least it was a 20-ounce soda and it was ice cold.

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Remember the old days when badge ribbons were rare and those who had them were envied as movers and shakers? No longer – HIMSS puts out a rack full of them for anyone who wants one and vendors give them away, too. I think HIStalk may have been an innovator since I think I did this in around 2006 with some kind of snarky, long-forgotten saying that I was afraid would get me in trouble. I think it was the same year I was snapping a photo in the exhibit hall and someone from HIMSS scolded me.

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I’m puzzled by this restroom sign. Are there times when the floor is wet and yet it isn’t slippery?

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A reader tipped me off to an Orlando tourist area scam that’s been written up in the local papers. You come back to your hotel room and find pizza delivery flyers that have been flung under the door. Hungry and tired, you call in your order, which never arrives. The reason: there’s no such place – it’s just a thief’s phone to which you’ve just provided your credit card number. Google the restaurant name before ordering, like the non-existent La Boheme Pizza above. The second clue is that the number is often a mobile voicemail box that’s full, probably with messages from angry customers demanding to know why their imaginary pizza is taking so long. The reader is staying in a HIMSS hotel and has received two fake ads so far, while I have received one. Perhaps they should have just replicated a Domino’s or Papa John’s flyer and used their own telephone number to suppress suspicion, although maybe those places aren’t as appealing. The flyer also offers dine-in and carry out where the fraud wouldn’t work, but without an address, those are probably seldom chosen by hotel guests with cranky children wearing Disney ears or who are happily shedding their HIMSS badges for the day.

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Akron Children’s Hospital (OH) hires Harun Rashid (Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh) as VP/CIO.

A reader tipped me off that five bidders are in the hunt to supply Nova Scotia with a provincial clinical information system: Allscripts, Evident, Meditech, Cerner, and Harris Healthcare.

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A University of Texas System audit finds spending irregularities in the money-losing MD Anderson Cancer Center’s now-stalled $62 million IBM Watson-powered Expert Oncology Advisor project. The audit found that the system hasn’t even been piloted anywhere and contains outdated drug and clinical trials information, while on the financial side, MDACC  didn’t run a competitive bidding process, paid fees that were set just below the amounts that would have required board-level approval, and spent donated funds before they were received. 

We spent a chunk of time today hauling HIStalkapalooza stuff (banners,signs, etc.) to the House of Blues. It’s looking good for Monday evening. HOB is a pretty cheap Uber ride for those planning to imbibe. Doors open at 6:30, dinner and music start at 7:00, the HISsies will kick off at 7:45, and Party on the Moon will play from around 8:15 or 8:30 until 11:00. We usually don’t open the bar first thing because of the cost when most people are still filing in, but I’m going to bump up against the HOB minimum and figured I might as well start the drinks earlier and fancy up the menu at little. Please take a moment to thank the companies sponsoring the event – it’s pretty generous of them knowing they are funding the attendance of their competitors and non-decision-makers whose only common attribute is that they are fellow HIStalk readers.

Here’s an important note. As usual, we’ll lock the HIStalkapalooza doors no later than 8:30 and nobody (even invitees) will be allowed in afterward. Reason: each person who passes the HOB clicker guy costs me about $200, and I don’t like paying for someone to drop my for a quick drink on the way to somewhere else. I’ll be lucky to break even on the event and latecomers could push me into the red with little benefit to anyone.

I don’t have many Orlando recommendations, but I can say that I’ve been happy with these modestly priced restaurants where I had dinner the last three nights, all a short drive from the convention center: Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse, Ciao Italia, and Bahama Breeze.

From HIMSS 2/17/17

February 17, 2017 News 1 Comment

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Orlando weather is perfect, with lots of 80-degree sunshine and comfortably cool mornings at around 60. I took a long walk today around the North, South, and West parts of the convention center. HIMSS is in the oldest (West) part on the other side of International Drive from the others, opposite the Hyatt (formerly known as the Peabody, where the first HIStalkapalooza was held in 2008). Every HIMSS conference that I’ve attended in Orlando was on the West side except one, which I seem to remember moved across the street for just that one time right after the new part opened.

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A vendor reader sent me an email that HIMSS unintentionally sent him that apparently acknowledges that the entire HIMSS membership database – not just those who registered for HIMSS17 – is being spammed with conference-related, paid vendor promotional emails (do you see the theme with HIMSS misdirecting emails?) The reader’s concern is that potential prospects might get alienated right before the conference, while mine is that an adult would write the term “btdubs” in referring to the shorter and more obvious (but less cutesy) “BTW.”

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The convention center was close to empty today, with just a few casually dressed boothers eating lunch in the vast open spaces they shared with setup people and equipment operators, the harmony of which for some reason made me happy.

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You must arrive to the HIMSS conference days early if you want to spot this rare phenomenon – empty chairs and tables. These will soon be coveted by well-dressed IT nerds desperate to sit to gulp down their high-cost, low-quality, precariously-balanced salads or sandwiches, but who find themselves blocked by non-eaters camped out with their laptops, phones, and papers. I was speculating on this and arrived at the conclusion that conferences don’t want you sitting comfortably since that doesn’t pay the bills like forced marches through the exhibit hall.

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Here’s what’s happening Sunday. The opening reception is right in the convention center this time instead of across the street at the Hyatt, which is nice because people were always getting lost trying to find it.

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I don’t think the fire-breathing “Epic” on this convention center sign refers to the red-lettered one, but you never know given its penchant for whimsicality.

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Perhaps it’s a testament to the inherent good-naturedness of humans that this unsecured but apparently important switch is placed right on the I-Drive sidewalk in front of the convention center. I pictured flipping it and watching the entire facility go dark.

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Getting passers-by into your HIMSS booth requires having friendly, alert booth reps, according to the nearly half of poll respondents who said it’s the most important factor. You will see endless examples next week where companies have invested heavily in the low-percentage items, but failed to pay adequate attention to this most important one.

I always wonder what’s going on when I see an empty exhibit hall booth where a company didn’t show up. Did they change their mind, go out of business, get stuck somewhere snowy, or run out of money to send employees? Maybe I’ll keep a list and follow up afterward.

New poll to your right or here: what do you think the VA will do with regard to its EHR?

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Welcome new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Ilum Health Solutions. The company, just launched by drug maker Merck, helps hospital improve infectious disease outcomes and antimicrobial stewardship via technology that helps clinicians stay connected to real-time health system patient data. It offers clinical decision support to maintain treatment pathway adherence, a Command Center Dashboard for case browsing and prioritization, and automatic creation of CLSI-standard antibiograms. It reports key measures from cases to cohorts, giving hospital leaders the ability to track performance such as patient outcomes, clinical pathway adherence, prescriber-level resource utilization, clinical outcomes from stewardship programs, rates of disease, antibiotic use trends, and automated NHSN AUR reporting. Hospitals benefit from reduced inappropriate antibiotic use and and variability in care that can lead to sepsis. Thanks to Ilum Health Solutions for supporting HIStalk.  

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The Wall Street Journal says Theranos was down to $200 million in cash at the end of 2016, having burned through $700 million of investor money. The company had no revenue in 2015 or 2016, has no funds set aside for any lawsuit liability (at least $240 million in suits have been filed against it), and has yet to earn FDA approval to sell its only remaining product, the MiniLab testing machine. Imagine valuing a company with zero revenue at $9 billion before its bubble burst.

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Connectivity vendor Ellkay acquires the assets of CareEvolve, which include its lab outreach portal and connectivity.

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I will assume that Party on the Moon meant “can’t wait” in their Facebook update and are actually happy to see us all again. They’re going to be amazing.

News 2/17/17

February 16, 2017 News 7 Comments

Top News

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Financially struggling NYC Health + Hospitals pushes back its Epic project “a few months” with just two of 11 hospitals live.

A health system spokesperson refused to answer a reporter’s question about its original project deadlines and budget and completion estimates.

NYCHHC’s annual budget deficit is running at $800 million and is expected to swell to a nearly $2 billion annual shortfall by 2020.


Reader Comments

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From Sporadic Emission: “Re: HIMSS. Just announced a new health IT dictionary. Perhaps it contains a definition for ‘interoperability,’ but it’s only available as a $43 paperback – not even as a PDF.” I wonder if it provides the definition of “HIMSS?”  

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From Phinneas: “Re: Aventura. Shut its doors Wednesday with no employee severance.” Not true, the company says, although they did make some changes that  they will describe in more detail later. 

From Caughtinatrap: “Re: Curaspan, now Navihealth. Layoffs in Newton, MA with at least four executives let go.” Unverified. I couldn’t find a cached copy of the executive page to compare.

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From Six Degrees of Wayne: “Re: Epic. Lars-Oluf Nielsen (who HIStalk had published a couple years ago left Epic to become CEO of iMDsoft) recently returned to Epic without much advance notice to lead the Implementation Division. Tina Perkins is apparently out of that role without much warning. Lots of drama. A quick check of the news seems to show that iMDsoft was acquired by another company not long after Lars started there. Sounds like an interesting dodge, and probably an even more interesting payday for the House of Nielsen.” IMDsoft was acquired by Harris Computer in December 2016, while the LinkedIn of Lars shows he left in November 2016 and rejoined Epic in January 2017 as SVP/chief implementation officer.


HIStalkapalooza Sponsor Profiles

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Optimum Healthcare IT is a leading healthcare IT staffing and consulting services company based in Jacksonville Beach, FL. Recently named the Best in KLAS Overall IT Services Firm, Optimum Healthcare IT provides world-class consulting services in advisory, implementation, training and activation, Community Connect, analytics, security, and managed services – supporting our client’s needs through the continuum of care. Our excellence in service is driven by a leadership team with more than 100 years of experience in providing expert healthcare staffing and consulting solutions to all types of organizations.

At Optimum Healthcare IT, we are committed to helping our clients improve healthcare delivery. By bringing the most proficient and experienced consultants in the industry together to identify our clients’ issues, we work to explore the right solutions to fit their organization’s goals. Together, we identify and implement the best people, processes, and technology to ensure our client’s success.

By listening, we understand our clients’ unique needs and then select only the most qualified candidates for your organization – and then we constantly follow-up to make sure the consultants remain a perfect fit. Our team brings years of healthcare clinical, operational, and IT knowledge and takes the time to understand the uniqueness of your organization, working collaboratively with your staff to customize solutions that are specific and targeted to your needs. Without sacrificing quality, we are committed to providing world-class consulting services, at a reasonable cost. Our role is to act as trusted advisors to our clients – your success is our success.

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Since 2005, Philips Wellcentive has driven quality improvement, revenue growth and business transformation for providers, health systems, employers, and payers transitioning to value-based care. Our highly scalable, cloud-based, and value-driven population health management solution provides long-term partnership services to impact clinical, financial, and human outcomes. Recognized as a leader in population health management in reports by IDC Health, KLAS, and Chilmark, Philips Wellcentive helps customers provide care management for more than 30 million patients and achieve more than $500 million annually in value-based revenue. Stop by booth 2105 at HIMSS; visit www.wellcentive.com; and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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Validic provides the industry’s leading digital health platform connecting providers, pharmaceutical companies, payers, wellness companies, and healthcare IT vendors to health data gathered from hundreds of in-home clinical devices, wearables, and consumer healthcare applications. Reaching more than 223 million lives in 47 countries, its scalable, cloud-based solution offers one connection to a continuously-expanding ecosystem of consumer and clinical health data, delivering the standardized and actionable insight needed to drive better health outcomes and power improved population health, care coordination, and patient engagement initiatives. To learn more visit www.validic.com, connect with us on Twitter @Validic, or stop by Booth #7281-33 at HIMSS.

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Versus not only provides a multi-platform, scalable approach to RTLS, we have the software solutions, expert consulting and implementation services to ensure your project’s success. We are your partner for process improvement. Visit booth 1723 for a live demonstration of how we combine our KLAS-leading location accuracy with your existing Wi-Fi locating for enterprise visibility into your operations. And, see how our analytics drive process improvements that ultimately increase access and enhance the patient experience.

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Clearsense is a data science company that offers a cloud-based analytics solution that works with any data source and can be rolled out in a fraction of the time required for a traditional data warehouse. Its real-time, cloud-based, subscription-priced, scalable system helps healthcare organizations respond to the pressure to use data to make better and faster decisions. Examples: reducing adverse events, improving patient flow, hitting quality and patient satisfaction targets, driving research, and managing cost and payment.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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I traveled to Orlando today. The airport was mobbed (only one shuttle is running between the terminal and gates as the other is being replaced in a months-long project) and baggage claim was a bit of a mess, but otherwise the weather is good and the condo I rented via VRBO is fabulous, maybe 1,500 square feet overlooking a lake with everything you could possible want (including a pool table) for far less money than a hotel. It’s supposedly within a half-mile or so walk to the convention center, although I got in late and haven’t ventured out yet. No offense to my fellow HIMSS attendees, but I’m happy to be able to escape the maelstrom, pop open a beer from the refrigerator after a long day, and either make an easy dinner or have it delivered without queueing up at the tourist trap restaurants where all the other badge-wearers expensively and loudly graze. Life is too short to start the day waiting in a breakfast or coffee line that’s moving slower than the new LinkedIn user interface.

I haven’t even looked at the conference schedule yet, so I guess that’s on the agenda sometime in the next day or two. I have scheduled no appointments, made no commitments to visit particular booths, or done anything else that would impede my ability to – like a child – wander around stopping to look at whatever catches my eye. On my must-do list, though, is the triumphant return of the world-class scones baked on site by MedData that I noticed in my HIMSS guide, truly the best giveaway I have ever witnessed (and eaten). It’s always a toss-up among their rotating flavors – is passion fruit better than orange? I shall be happy to weigh the evidence and report.

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With the HIMSS conference, I’ll be skipping the usual news format and will instead tell you what I’m seeing and hearing, ignoring all but the most significant vendor announcements (which is probably 1 percent of them, the remainder just being a pointless PR stake in the ground). You can read or download/print my HIMSS guide, which tells you what my sponsors will be doing, including presentations, swell giveaways, and fun social events.

This week on HIStalk Practice: Metropolitan Center for Mental Health replaces paper with TenEleven Group tech. New York physicians begin to see the benefits of e-prescribing. CareSync prepares to launch new CPC+ protocols. Furhmann Health Center implements InboundMD. Answer Health on Demand joins Great Lakes Health Connect. Mental Health Center of Denver selects RxRevu e-prescribing software. Liberty HealthShare rolls out Salus Telehealth.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Allscripts announces Q4 results: revenue up 23 percent, adjusted EPS $0.14 vs. $0.13, beating revenue expectations but falling short on earnings. Shares dropped slightly in after-hours trading Thursday following the announcement. The company said in the earnings call that it sold one domestic Sunrise account in the quarter and another two in the UK. It has doubled annual bookings since the current executive team joined the company in 2012 even as the market changed from selling regulatory compliance to selling ROI. 

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Market research firm Peer60 renames itself to Reaction, saying the old name was too confusing. I’ve seen “Peer360” countless times, so I get it. Plus it’s one fewer “small first letter” company to conform to my HIStalk journalistic style sheet that requires a capital first letter (except when I forget). I like Reaction, although Peer60 would provide more fruitful Google searches.

MIT and Harvard’s Broad Institute wins its patent battle over CRISPR genome editing technology, likely the most valuable biotechnology patent ever filed.

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After Cigna terminates its planned merger with Anthem and instead sues Anthem for nearly $15 billion, Anthem responds by filing its own lawsuit seeking a restraining order to prevent Cigna from terminating the merger.


Sales

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NHS National Services Scotland signs a multi-year contract with NextGate to replace its Community Health Index with a more up-to-date EMPI solution.

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Hospital Sisters Health System (IL) signs a three-year contract with LogicStream Health for its clinical process measurement tools.

Maine’s HealthInfoNet HIE selects Orion Health’s Amadeus precision medicine and analytics software.


Announcements and Implementations

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Nemours Children’s Health System (FL) integrates e-prescribing software for controlled substances from HID Global with Epic.

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Health Catalyst develops the MACRA Measures & Insights resource application to help providers track and measure MACRA measures across the enterprise.

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MCG Health will share its care guidelines and analytics with payers and providers via the InterSystems HealthShare data-sharing tool.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (MA) rolls out Data Diagnostics analytics software from Quest Diagnostics and Inovalon.

Aprima, EClinicalWorks, and NextGen Healthcare join the Surescripts National Record Locator Service.


Government and Politics

CMS publishes a proposed rule aimed at stabilizing the individual and small group markets that would cut the open enrollment period in half.

Meanwhile, House Republican leaders and new HHS Secretary Tom Price provide some details about their proposed ACA replacement that includes replacing subsidies with tax credits, reducing payments by 50 percent to the 31 states that expanded Medicaid to eliminate an open-ended federal entitlement in favor of a fixed grant, and encouraging insurance sales across state lines. They did not offer a side-by-side comparison, a breakdown of costs, or the number of ACA-insured people they estimate will continue to have coverage. Here is my bellwether – an HSA is not insurance, and neither is any plan whose maximum payout is capped. You buy insurance to prevent catastrophes, so I think by definition any plan that allows or requires someone to file bankruptcy because their insurance has been exhausted after receiving medically necessary care isn’t really insurance – it’s just premium payment assistance.

A federal appeals court strikes down a Florida law that prohibits doctors from asking patients if they own guns. Doctors opposed the law in considering gun safety questions an important part of public health screening. The court preserved one part of the law that bars doctors from discriminating against gun-owning patients.


Technology

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CloudWave adds managed backup and security services to its OpSus Healthcare Cloud service line.

Epic will add care management technology from XG Health Solutions to its Healthy Planet population health management software later this year.


Other

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CommonWell wraps up integration of The Argonaut Project’s latest FHIR specifications with its data-exchange services, giving members the ability to use FHIR-based capabilities when accessing data across the network.

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Japanese tea ceremony aficionado John Halamka will conduct “The Way of Tea” Monday from 3:00 until 4:00 in the Vital Images booth. It’s cool that Vital is honoring the Japanese roots of parent company Toshiba Medical in presenting a ritual that includes “a series of precise hand movements and graceful choreography, in a serene ‘Tatami Room’ within the Vital exhibit on the conference floor.” John will speak about Japanese culture and health IT afterward.

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Interesting: 20th Century Fox created fake news sites to promote its new drama about a wellness spa that offers a phony disease cure, creating sites such as the “Indianapolis Gazette,” “NY Morning Post,” and even “HealthCureGov.com” that offered clickbait fake stories such as “Utah Senator Introduces Bill to Jail, Publicly Shame Women Who Receive Abortions” and “BOMBSHELL: Trump and Putin Spotted at Swiss Resort Prior to Election.” Other stories claimed that the new administration had banned MMR vaccine and that the AMA had recognized that a third of the country is suffering from “Trump depression disorder,” intentionally phony and sensationalistic stories that were dutifully repeated on Facebook by clueless dolts and hyper-partisan groups (was that redundant?).


Sponsor Updates

  • Nordic releases a new podcast, “The importance of mentoring in healthcare IT.”
  • The Technology Association of Georgia includes Ingenious Med in its list of the Top 40 Most Innovative Technology Companies in Georgia.
  • LogicStream Health releases version 6.0 of its Clinical Process Measurement platform.
  • LogicWorks releases a new eBook, “Continuous Compliance on AWS.”
  • Orion Health announces that its Rhapsody Integration Engine is now in use at more than 640 healthcare organizations in 36 countries.
  • Gartner includes PerfectServe in its Market Guide for Clinical Communication and Collaboration.
  • Lexmark wins the healthcare market leadership award from Buyers Lab.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
Get HIStalk updates. Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

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News 2/15/17

February 14, 2017 News 9 Comments

Top News

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The VA will continue its planned tests of a homegrown patient scheduling system, but will hedge its bets by resuming testing of the Epic-developed, $624 million Medical Appointment Scheduling System (MASS) that had been put on hold in April 2016 pending a decision on which system to use.

The VA issued a scheduling system RFP in late 2014 following the wait time scandal that had nothing to do with technology. I wrote in mid-2015 in responding to a reader rumor that the Lockheed/Epic MASS project might be in jeopardy as a bolt-on solution,

The VA neatly sidestepped Congressional demands for firings, reorganization, and funding decreases by simply throwing its scheduling system under the bus and signing up for Epic. I don’t know what it will take to compartmentalize Cadence to run without any other Epic apps and then integrate it with the VA’s systems, but I do know that standalone healthcare scheduling systems have fallen by the wayside given the need for integration. It also seems that $624 million is a lot to spend for automating a single function, but then again both the VA and DoD are used to squandering mountains of taxpayer money on systems that are often failures in every way except as never-ending revenue streams for the chosen contractor.

A 2010 GAO report found that the VA had spent $127 million in trying to develop an outpatient scheduling system but hadn’t implemented anything, with the unnamed contractor that developed the defective system walking away with $65 million.


Reader Comments

From Tyga Choonz: “Re: Epic 2016 release. Being renamed to Epic 2017 after it was  released in late November and no customers upgraded to it. The name change is to help ensure that ‘customers don’t feel behind.’” Unverified, but reported by several readers.

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From Neon Cowboy: “Re: HIMSS. Will you be looking for booth reps on their phones again?” Of course, with my phone camera at the ready to document their inattentiveness for posterity (the above photo was posed by the Epic people at HIMSS14 as their homage to my never-ending phone rants). It’s moot, however, since past conferences have fulfilled my trifecta: (a) finding reps already staring at their phones within the first few seconds of the exhibit hall’s opening; (b) for booths that have at least three reps working, catching all of them immersed into their imaginary phone worlds simultaneously; and (c) watching a rep ignore someone standing right in front of him or her in favor of screwing around with their phone and then watching the potential prospect walk away in frustration. As I always say, vendors are spending fortunes to staff the world’s most expensive phone booths. Preliminary results in this week’s poll make “friendly, alert reps” easily the #1 draw for HIMSS attendees, with games, fancy booths, and refreshments finishing last in attracting passers-by into booths. Here’s the simple advice I gave to exhibitors back in 2015 to encourage their reps to seek out interaction with those whose appearance suggests at least mild interest:

  • Confiscate the phones of people assigned to booth duty.
  • Make it clear that booth reps shouldn’t be talking to each other unless they are with a booth visitor.

HIStalkapalooza Sponsor Profile

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CareSync is the leading provider of software and services for chronic disease management, combining technology, data, and 24/7 nursing services to facilitate care coordination among patients, family and caregivers, and all healthcare providers. Founded in 2011, CareSync exceeds Medicare’s requirements for Chronic Care Management (CPT code 99490, 99487, 99489), and also offers care coordination services and technology for Annual Wellness Visits, Transitional Care Management, and CPC+. Additionally, CareSync clients are well positioned for positive payment adjustments with support for measures in all of the performance categories under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), and the CareSync consulting team helps healthcare organizations of all sizes prepare for the shift from fee-for-service to value-based healthcare. CareSync nurses serve as an advocate for the patient to turn doctor’s instructions into action, remove the barriers to care plan adherence, and ensure that information is shared with the right people at the right time. For more information about CareSync, visit www.caresync.com/ccm.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Here’s an interesting fact about upcoming HIMSS conferences. After HIMSS18 in Las Vegas, it’s then two straight years in Orlando for 2019/2020 since HIMSS pulled the 2019 conference from Chicago in a “two strikes and you’re out” hotel room pricing spat, with Chicago’s loss being Orlando’s gain. The Orlando dates are a bit screwy – February 11-15 in 2019 and March 9-13 in 2020, a full month’s difference.

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We funded the DonorsChoose grant request of Ms. K in New York, who asked for SmartBoard replacement bulbs for her seventh grade special education and English language class since her school can no longer afford technology resources. She says the newly reactivated projectors have “awakened her students,” adding that they marveled that her project was chosen among all the others on DonorsChoose.

I have seats left for my CMIO lunch at the HIMSS conference next Tuesday at noon. It’s a no-agenda social get-together (provider CMIOs only). I’m buying a great buffet at a private table and it’s right off the exhibit hall, guaranteeing a return to the hubbub both physically and mentally nourished. Everybody seemed to enjoy it last time. Apparently the term “CMIO lunch” is confusing since vendor VPs keep signing up, but I will clarify by not sending them an invitation.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Aetna decides not to follow through on its vow to appeal a federal judge’s decision that blocked its $34 billion merger with Humana, instead opting to pay Humana the $1 billion breakup fee and move on. Humana also announces that it will exit the ACA insurance marketplace in 2018, the first insurer to pull out after President Trump’s first steps to repeal Obamacare.

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In a related story, Cigna terminates its planned $54 billion merger with Anthem and sues Anthem for a $1.85 billion termination fee plus $13 billion in damages. Anthem, meanwhile, says Cigna doesn’t have the right to cancel the deal.


Sales

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Hanover Hospital (PA) chooses QuadraMed’s enterprise master patient index.

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Hospital for Special Surgery (NY) will implement PerfectServe’s Synchrony care team collaboration platform.

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In England, Great Ormond Street NHS Foundation Trust chooses Epic, the fourth UK trust to do so.

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Novant Health selects Voalte Platform for care team collaboration in its 14 hospitals.

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BJC Healthcare will deploy Oneview Healthcare’s interactive patient care solution at its Barnes-Jewish Hospital Tower and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, committing to 2,000 devices. 


People

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Chadron Community Hospital (NE) names CIO/COO Anna Turman as interim CEO, where she will transition to permanent CEO in six months.

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Jennifer Haas (Aventura) joins TriNetX as marketing VP.

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Skilled nursing facility operator National HealthCare Corporation hires Andy Flatt (Corizon Health) as SVP/CIO.

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Healthwise Chief Science Officer Michael Barry, MD is appointed to the US Preventive Services Task Force.


Announcements and Implementations

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First Databank launches its Prizm medical device knowledge platform that helps providers make supply chain and clinical decisions.


Government and Politics

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The Senate confirms David Shulkin, MD as Veterans Affairs secretary in a rare 100-0 vote and as the first non-veteran to run the agency. Among other accomplishments, he founded DoctorQuality, a safety reporting vendor that was acquired by Quantros in 2004.

Politico reports that Congress originally considered shutting down ONC as part of 21st Century Cures to reduce EHR frustration, but ended up giving the office even more responsibility, although potentially with more focus on coordinating rather than administering.

The US Supreme Court pushes back its review of whether employee class action lawsuits are valid if the employees are covered by arbitration clauses — which includes Epic as one of three cases to be argued — until the fall term that begins in October 2017, presumably when all nine judges will be in place.

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In England, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says his 2013 goal of a paperless NHS by 2018 won’t be achieved, with hospital IT systems being a weak link. He’s now hoping for 2022. He replied to a question about using patient data to drive NHS strategy:

This is an area in which we have been behind but we are hoping to leapfrog the rest of the world due to a very remarkable thing that our GPs did about 10 years ago. They decided to ignore the Government’s plans for a national IT program in the NHS and exercise their right to go their own way. The government program collapsed, but they set up fantastic electronic health records, some of the best primary health records anywhere in the world … they have digitized people’s lifetime records … What we do not do at the moment, but it is starting to happen, is allow those records to flow around the NHS … If you are trying to set up electronic health records in America, you simply do not have that asset to use, because they have very good electronic hospital records, but those are episodic records, not people’s lifetime records … next year we will go a step further and introduce what we are calling the Blue Button scheme.


Privacy and Security

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The Protenus Breach Barometer lists 31 reported incidents for January, with 58 percent of them attributable to insiders. HHS wasn’t notified until an average of 174 days after the breach, exposing those organizations to heavy fines for missing the 60-day reporting window.


Other

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A STAT investigation finds that billionaire doctor Patrick Soon-Shiong’s “Cancer Moonshot 2020” has made little scientific progress, proclaiming it to instead be an “elaborate marketing tool” for his money-bleeding publicly traded companies. An independent scientist reviewer described the progress as only “the most miniscule and vague findings,” with some of the claimed success involving old research done elsewhere. The article also quotes MD Anderson’s lawsuit over the “moonshot” name (which it trademarked for its fundraising projects) in which it describes Soon-Shiong as “a greedy, if not shady, billionaire businessman who oversells his ideas and falsely takes credit for other’s work.” HIMSS is giving him stage time, which he will use to pitch NantDaVinci, a medical reasoning engine. A snippet from the STAT article, of which NantHealth and NantKwest investors were apparently either indifferent or unaware based on minimal share price reaction:

Soon-Shiong’s moonshot initiative looks less like a diverse coalition than a roll call of his tangled web of business interests. For starters, it’s not a separate legal entity; it appears to be housed within Soon-Shiong’s cluster of companies. The five biotech companies that are participating in the moonshot are the only ones sponsoring registered QUILT trials. And they are all closely tied to Soon-Shiong: He is either the CEO, a board member, or the controlling owner in each of them. Though Soon-Shiong has talked for a year about bringing major drug companies into the coalition, so far, just two have joined: Amgen and Celgene. He is a shareholder in both. And both are investors in Soon-Shiong’s companies … The moonshot website also touts a “historic alliance” with companies … The role of both appears to be simply that they cover doctors’ use of the GPS Cancer diagnostic for patients on their insurance plans. (Other corporate partners, BlackBerry and Allscripts, have invested in Soon-Shiong’s NantHealth.)

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Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta will spend more than $1 billion to build a new pediatric hospital at North Druid Hills Road and I-85.

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Pope Francis says in an address that when healthcare delivery models emphasize money, “there can be a temptation to lose the protections to the right to healthcare” for the poor and elderly. He adds that communities should reach out to those who live alone and not just the tiny fraction of people who are hospital inpatients.

Researchers find that the number of Americans over age 65 who are prescribed at least three psychiatric drugs has tripled in the past 10 years, with nearly half of those patients having no recorded diagnosis of mood, chronic pain, or sleep problems. The paper observes that the jump was highest in rural areas, leading them to speculate that the lack of availability of talk therapy, massage, or relaxation techniques may cause excessive reliance on drugs (they didn’t note that much of rural America is zonked out on narcotics, which might cause an increased demand for other drugs).

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A fascinating Wall Street Journal story describes Evan Morris, a drug company lobbyist who oversaw a $50 million budget in running a “black ops” program to influence lawmakers. He wined and dined elected officials in convincing the Bush administration to stockpile $1 billion worth of Roche’s Tamiflu to prepare for an bird flu/H5N1 outbreak that never happened. He then launched a grassroots campaign to promote the use of Avastatin — a $90,000-per-patient breast cancer drug whose use the FDA wanted to ban given low effectiveness and significant side effects – planting articles on conservative websites describing women who said it gave them their only chance, with the resulting consumer and political pressure buying the company another year of sales and another $1 billion in revenue before the FDA finally cracked down. He raised money for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in hoping to land an ambassadorship. Upon hearing that his drug company employer was investigating his unusual expenses in suspecting embezzlement, he played a round of golf, ate a steak dinner while buying the whole restaurant a round of drinks, then took a $2,000 bottle of wine into the woods and killed himself.

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Bizarre: in Ghana, a family reneges on paying an undertaker who had prepared the body of an elderly relative for burial and instead steals the body to bury it themselves. The undertaker crashes the funeral with an assistant, opens up the casket, and starts carrying the decedent away until the family hurriedly pays up. Some attendees ran away in horror, while others whipped out their phones to record video in making their own “Grim Repo Man.”


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Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
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