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Leidos, Cerner, Accenture Win $9 Billion DoD EHR Project

July 29, 2015 News 18 Comments

The Department of Defense announces that its EHR project, with an overall estimated cost of $9 billion, will be executed by the team of Leidos, Cerner, and Accenture. Leidos has been awarded a two-year, $4.3 billion renewable contract. 

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July 29, 2015 News 18 Comments

News 7/29/15

July 28, 2015 News 4 Comments

Top News

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An investment firm founded by Harvard professor and disruption author Clayton Christensen invests $8.4 million in ACT.md, a care coordination platform developed by Zak Kohane, MD, PhD and Ken Mandl, MD, MPH from the informatics department of Harvard’s Boston Children’s Hospital, both of whom are also on the company’s board. The advisory board includes Mark Frisse of Vanderbilt and John Halamka of BIDMC.


Reader Comments

From GraySky: “Re: [hospital system name omitted]. Will announce on July 30 that it will spin off several hospitals and its management and consulting company.” Unverified. I’ve left out the system’s name for reasons that will become apparent if the rumor turns out to be true.

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From WikiStiki: “Re: Wikipedia’s hot mess entry on ‘electronic health record.’ It really needs to be rewritten.” The page is pretty much a disaster, an unfocused collection of facts (and quite a few opinions) written by people who don’t understand the big picture. WikiStiki offered to rewrite it if a sponsor will help cover some of the cost of her time, so I’m wondering if anyone thinks it’s worth doing. The page is probably read only by non-industry people, but that might make it even more important that it be accurate, timely, and clear (it’s none of those things now).

From Polite Spokesperson: “Re: startups. Another responsibility of startups is to create jobs.” Not true. Companies don’t hire people just to be nice or to bolster the local economy. The last thing I want as an investor or shareholder is for a company to pad its payroll with unnecessary employees since that just makes the company non-competitive. We’re just starting to realize in America that we have more people who need jobs than we have companies who need employees given farm and manufacturing productivity increases caused by technology (not to mention citizens who have prepared themselves poorly for decent jobs). However, I’ll return to your assertion to agree that people who find themselves unemployed or underemployed need to consider an alternative to wage slavery, such as jumping on the 1099 economy by starting a small business or contracting themselves out. People gripe endlessly about their employers, but don’t position themselves to do anything more than find another job working for someone else to be unhappy about. We don’t raise entrepreneurs like they do in hungrier countries, but that seems to be slowly changing. The future of our economy is small businesses, especially those that can turn impressive per-employee revenue.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Here’s how a monopoly behaves from an example I was reading about. Electric companies whose customers install solar panels are required by law to buy back any excess energy that customer generates, allowing solar customers to lower their monthly electric bills to a very low rate that will eventually offset the high cost of the initial installation. Electric companies, alarmed at the possibility of widespread consumer choice, are now lobbying to change the laws to not only eliminate the requirement that they buy customer-generated power, but they also want to charge those customers more than their actual electricity usage because they see solar users as freeloaders who use their grid without paying their fair share (the entitlement attitude is rampant among utilities). Electric companies are worried that as more customers use less of their product in favor of cheaper alternatives, they will have to spread their high fixed costs over fewer and fewer full-paying customers, feeding the cycle all over again as solar panels become even more cost effective. That’s the same problem the post office can’t figure out. You might well find similarities in healthcare. Government and monopolistic organizations never graciously accept getting smaller and instead find more desperate ways to protect their government-granted fiefdoms against declining market demand.


My Medical Records Saga Update

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A reader asked for ideas about how hospitals and providers could respond more effectively to patient requests for electronic copies of their records. Send me your thoughts via this quick online form (it saves you from having to compose an email) and I’ll summarize them. My main takeaway is that records requests go to the hospital’s HIM department, which is usually clueless about anything electronic such as the hospital’s patient portal and not all that user friendly when it comes to patient requests. It’s also bizarre that a business case even exists for release of information companies to place themselves between patients and providers, but that’s another issue. Meanwhile, here’s what I came up with.

  1. Records requests should be automated via online form for folks who have that access and technical knowledge. PDF downloads, scanning, and faxing are not reasonable.
  2. ID verification should be by "what you know" rather than "what you have." No scanned driver license or form — just DOB, last four digits of SSN, address, etc. Or, use SMS messaging to send a text message to a mobile phone number and then use the generated coded to validate that the phone number is active and in possession of the requester.
  3. The request form (hopefully online) should be tailored specifically to patients requesting their own information, with a separate form available for other entities making similar requests.
  4. The form should not require medical record number (hospitals are ridiculous in making it the patient’s job to memorize their assigned MRN).
  5. The form should provide information for using the provider’s portal. It should offer a phone number or email address for signing up or getting a password/userID reminder (providers should like the idea of increased portal usage) and should compare paper copies, online access, and an electronic download and how to request each. It’s not reasonable that the HIM department handles medical records requests without having any knowledge or interest in their own employer’s patient portal that might be more appropriate for the patient’s needs.
  6. The request should open some sort of help desk ticket so it can be tracked by the patient. I can imagine patients giving up in frustration unless someone feels pressure to close the ticket to the patient’s satisfaction (possibly measured by a follow-up survey link).
  7. The form should include the records charges and how those are calculated. I really don’t see how a provider can justify charging for an electronic copy that surely already exists in their systems, but naturally hospitals rarely turn down the chance to create a charge.

If you want to critique your own provider, here are some ideas. Email me your experience. You don’t even need to actually make the records request – just see what’s involved.

  • Is information about record requests available online where it can be easily found by patients?
  • Is the form or process easy to understand?
  • How does the provider validate the requestor’s ID?
  • Does the request spell out what the patient will be charged for copies? Does it involve a “per page” figure that doesn’t make sense for electronic records?
  • Does the request form indicate that data can be sent electronically or does it offer only paper copies?
  • Does any step involve a physical trip, a fax machine, or information the average patient won’t have (like MRN)?
  • Does the request form indicate the existence of a patient portal, explain why that might be a better option than requesting records copies, and describe the steps needed to gain access to it?

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I decided to randomly choose a hospital and see how they handle records requests from patients. This is from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which accepts requests only via a mailed form and offers only paper copies of records, taking up to 14-21 business days (it’s odd to count business days in seven-day full-week increments) and costing the requestor around $600 (!!) for copies of a full chart. The “internal only” portion of the form suggests that the patient must produce a photo ID. I bet John Halamka’s IT group has nothing to do with this process and he’s probably not even aware of it since the chasm between HIM and IT is wide in hospitals.

I’ve noticed that other hospital sites say that HIPAA prevents them from providing records without the patient’s signature, meaning electronic requests can’t be accepted. I’m not so sure this is true, but perhaps a HIPAA expert can weigh in.

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Florida Hospital’s medical records page tells patients upfront that they can get a lot of their information from their portal, to which it provides a link. Every hospital should do this. Hospitals need to get with the 21st century and realize that the HIM department is no longer the obvious and sole gatekeeper for patient records requests. All of this presumes a patient has Internet access and capability – I can only imagine the roadblocks they would find calling the hospital switchboard.


Webinars

July 29 (Wednesday) 11:30 ET. “Earning Medicare’s New Chronic Care Management Payments: Five Steps to Take Now.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenters: Robert J. Dudzinski, PharmD, EVP, West Healthcare Practice; Colin Roberts, senior director of healthcare product integration, West Healthcare Practice. Medicare’s new monthly payments for Chronic Care Management (CCM) can improve not only patient outcomes and satisfaction, but provider financial viability and competitiveness as well. Attendees will learn how to estimate their potential CCM revenue, how to use technology and clinical resources to scale up CCM to reach more patients, and how to start delivering CCM benefits to patients and providers by taking five specific steps. Don’t be caught on the sidelines as others put their CCM programs in place.

July 30 (Thursday) 3:00 ET. “De-Silo Your Disparate IT Systems Around the Patient with VNA.” Sponsored by Lexmark. Presenters: Steven W. Campbell, manager of diagnostic applications and interfaces, Piedmont Healthcare; Larry Sitka, VNA evangelist, Lexmark. The entire patient record, including both DICOM and non-DICOM data, should be available at the point of need. Disparate, aging systems that hide data inside departmental silos won’t cut it, nor will IT systems that can’t integrate medical images meaningfully. Learn how Piedmont Healthcare used a vendor-neutral archive to quickly and easily migrate its images and refocus its systems around its patients.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by Labor Day.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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NantHealth founder Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD takes cancer drugmaker NantKwest public Tuesday in the biggest biotech IPO in several years at a $2.7 billion market cap. He bought Conkwest less than a year ago for $48 million, renamed it, and kept 60 percent of shares, valuing his newly IPO’ed holdings at $1.6 billion or 33 times what he paid for the company a few months ago.

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Small practice EHR vendor Kareo raises $55 million.

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Israel-based home telehealth sensor vendor TytoCare raises $11 million in a Series B funding round.


Sales

Prestige Emergency Room (TX) chooses Wellsoft’s EDIS.

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Covenant Health (TN) chooses Strata Decision’s StrataJazz for decision support and budgeting.

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UF Health Shands Hospital (FL) selects Lexmark’s vendor-neutral archive.

The Banner Health Network (AZ) ACO chooses eClinicalWorks EHR and population health management systems.

Abbeville Area Medical Center (SC) will implement Medhost’s EDIS.


People

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Jason Friedman (Ascension Information Services) joins Oneview Healthcare as VP of solutions.


Announcements and Implementations

Stella Technology announces Inspector of Quality Healthcare Data, developed with New York’s HealthElink HIE to evaluate the quality of HIE-collected data.


Government and Politics

ONC awards $29.6 million in grants to 12 state entities to expand adoption of HIEs, $2.2 million to Academy Health to create population health strategies, and $6.7 million to six colleges and universities to update HITECH’s workforce development curriculum.


Privacy and Security

A security researcher finds a flaw that lets hackers take over Android phones by simply sending a self-destructing text message, meaning all they need is the victim’s cell phone number to launch a Stagefright trojan attack that can’t be detected or prevented.


Other

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A new report from Peer60 finds that 20 percent of community hospitals are planning to replace their EHRs, with the major complaints being poor usability and missing functionality. Meditech is the dominant product, followed by McKesson Paragon, Cerner, and Healthland, but the hospitals are focusing on Epic, Cerner, and Meditech in considering new systems.

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Fortune magazine seems to have dumbed itself down considerably in the past few years, but it also seems to believe its readers are getting stupider along with it as it sleuths out an under-the-covers scrappy healthcare startup called McKesson (#11 on the magazine’s own list of largest US corporations). John Hammergren surely grimaced at the writer’s obvious lack of industry knowledge in trying unsuccessfully to pose insightful questions.

In Canada, Nova Scotia stops further hospital EHR rollout amidst physician complaints about inefficiency, lack of consistency between practice and hospital EHRs, and worries that practices maintain information that they don’t share. The province issued a “One Person, One Record” RFP in April 2015 with hopes of replacing the three hospital EHRs it had previously approved, use of which the government says is “beyond what we can sustain in a province the size of Nova Scotia.”

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A study finds that hospital checklists, which delivered dramatic clinical results when first introduced several years ago as described in Atul Gawande’s “The Checklist Manifesto,” often fail to deliver similar results when rolled out on a broad scale. A 101-hospital study that found no improvement after checklists were mandated suggests that the problem isn’t the concept but rather its implementation, which is dependent on rollout methods, localization, and staff resistance. In other words, as is often the case, hospitals manage to mess up projects that seem foolproof via their stubborn culture of accepted mediocrity and lack of accountability.

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The CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care (MA) says the system will spend $700 million over 10 years to implement Epic, its largest capital expense ever. He adds that Epic cost 10-20 percent more than its competitors, but 500 employees voted Epic as their top choice following demos.

QPID Health posts a pretty funny video called “Squirrelnado 2, the QPID Edition” that has some fun pop culture references that include, “You’re going to need a bigger nutcracker” and the “Nut Bucket Challenge.”

Former Stanford hospitalist turned concierge medicine provider ZDoggMD creates a superb, non-humorous (angry, in fact) video called “Ain’t the Way to Die.” It should serve as a call to action for the half of my recent poll respondents who unwisely haven’t created an advance directive. You might as well do it right now since insurance companies are increasingly requiring it since they otherwise have to eat the cost of long-term ventilator care that patients probably don’t want anyway. I keep watching it over and over. A sample of the lyrics:

Let me go, I’m leaving you—no I ain’t
Tube is out, you put it right back, here we go again
It’s so insane, ’cause though you think it’s good, I’m so in pain
I’m more machine than man now, I’m Anakin

But no advance directive, I feel so ashamed
And, crap, who’s that nurse? I don’t even know her name
You lay hands on me, to prolong my life again
I guess you must think that this is livin’…

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Weird News Andy is fascinated that new guidelines for healthcare mobile device security were published by NIST just as the DEA investigates the explosion of an apparent meth lab running inside NIST’s headquarters, leading WNA to question the security of NIST’s immobile devices. He also likes the article description of NIST as "the federal agency responsible for setting standards for precise measurement of just about everything.”


Sponsor Updates

  • An imaging site reviews the VA Midwest’s deconstructed PACS project that includes an imaging viewer from Visage Imaging, vendor-neutral archive from Lexmark, and a work list module from Medicalis.
  • Zynx Health adds Android support to its ZynxCarebook mobile care coordination solution.
  • Video clinical pathways vendor ViiMed will use InterSystems HealthShare to integrate with provider EHRs.
  • Voalte will hold its inaugural Voalte User Experience conference (VUE15) in Sarasota, FL on November 10-12.
  • AirStrip CEO Alan Portela pens “A Ray of Hope from Washington? Don’t Rush Meaningful Use.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us or send news tips online.

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July 28, 2015 News 4 Comments

Monday Morning Update 7/27/15

July 26, 2015 News 6 Comments

Top News

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NIST publishes a draft guide for securing medical information on mobile devices that includes a risk assessment. It’s pretty geeky in places, which is a good thing since the last thing anybody needs is more feel-bad security hysteria that isn’t actionable. This is a must-read for health system CISOs and network engineers and probably their vendors as well.


Reader Comments

From Jack: “Re: Meaningful Use payments to providers. Explain it like I’m five: how can I tell if mine has been paid for MU2? CMS also doesn’t seem to have a good way to see which providers have invested in their Continuity of Care bits. I’m trying to empower my community, remove hassle, and get rid of impediments to care and this seems like a major ‘all of the above.’”

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From The PACS Designer: “Re: Windows 10 readiness. With the launch of free Windows 10 sometime after July 29, it’s a good time to get existing systems ready for the 3GB install. Best thing to do before that date is to go to Control Panel and enter Defrag, and Remove in the Search Box to review what should be removed to make room for the upgrade. For Defragmentation, if percentage is more than 5 percent,  run the option. Also for Win7/8, enter ClearType to improve the crispness of text in documents.” I thought it was smart of Microsoft to drop the Windows icon in the taskbar to click for notification when Win10 is ready for download sometime after Tuesday. It’s also nice that the upgrade is free. I’ve signed up.

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From Petty Officer: “Re: Catholic Health Initiatives. Minimizing Wipro in choosing Cerner ITWorks.” CHI contracts for Cerner’s managed IT services even though it signed a $200 million IT outsourcing agreement with India-based Wipro in 2013.

From Linky: “Re: Military Health System. CIO David Bown may have spilled the beans on DoD’s EHR selection when he said they are working on EHR infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest. January news stories said that IBM/Epic are piloting their system at Tacoma, WA-based MultiCare.” It is interesting, although perhaps IBM/Epic was aware of the initial rollout plans early (maybe it was mentioned in the RFI) and smartly planned their own pilots for the same region.

From NantWhere?: “Re: NantHealth. Purchased Harris healthcare division for $50 million and agreed to keep 170 employees for at least a year in addition. Nant is clearing house to make way for a floundering organization with no sales for over a year. Where is NantHealth going and who will be left to do the work?” Unverified. Harris must have really botched its healthcare business that it bought for $155 million (in the form of Carefx) in 2011 if it really did dump it for just $50 million after deciding to remove its tentative toe from the healthcare waters and focus on big government defense contracts (I apologize for the redundancy – all government defense projects, and in fact all government projects, are “big” and usually grow a lot bigger before they’re either finished or abandoned, which happens with roughly equal frequency.)

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From Robert Lafsky, MD: “Re: New Yorker article. Somehow this made me think of you.” The article urges people to “communicate your needs and desires via email that doesn’t require the use of ‘please find.’” I like it, although “please find” irritates me less than the smarmily obsequious “please know.” I blame teachers for telling students they shouldn’t write like they talk, which results in artificially flowery and awkward phrases that are painful to read.

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From Ashley Madison: “Re: Ashley Madison breach. Lots of adulterers getting nervous out there!” The site — which proclaims itself “the most famous name in infidelity and married dating” with 38 million members — is breached, with all of its members’ records now in the hands of cyberhackers who are already spamming them and threatening to take their information public if the site isn’t shut down. The company is providing no updates to its users, most of whom are probably just curious without seriously contemplating extramarital relationships. Men, who make up most of the paying customers, spend up to $300 per year hoping to contact women that are in many cases literally unreal (one woman sued the company for wrist injuries she sustained in manually creating thousands of fake female subscriber profiles). A few users have anonymously threatened suicide on various sites. Parent company Avid Life planned an IPO following steady profits that rose to $55 million in 2014, but selectively moral potential investors steered clear.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Most poll respondents will take 10 to 19 paid days off in 2015, although a healthy number (pun intended) will be away from work for 20 to 29 days. Shockingly to some of those folks, their employer will not descend into chaos due to their absence, that same reality that sets in when your appreciative, associate-friendly employer suddenly lays you off without even a blip in corporate output as less-expensive replacement hamsters are brought in to keep the wheel turning. A couple of readers noted that despite their alleged time “off,” they are still tethered and sometimes pulled back into “I need you now” situations. Readers also suggested the follow-up poll to your right or here: how often do you check work email or voicemail on a vacation day? Thank the dearly departed Steve Jobs for inventing the iPhone and thereby eliminating the “I’m out of the office not checking email” concept that worked just fine when we all had email access only from our work desktops and we could therefore vacate the office both physically and virtually rather than only the former.

I’m back from vacation, facing thousands of emails and the infuriating “you didn’t reply within a day or two, so I’m sending it again” messages from people (all of them, not coincidentally, from PR companies) who obviously don’t read HIStalk, which is exactly why I don’t set an “out of office” message since readers and sponsors already know I’m offline, selectively responding to anything critical but otherwise not sharing anybody else’s urgency. Jenn admirably covered for me on the Tuesday and Thursday posts, which I read to make sure nothing earth-shattering occurred. I’ll be catching up this week.


A “My Medical Records Saga” Update

I still haven’t heard from the hospital or the Office for Civil Rights regarding my complaint that the hospital refused to provide electronic copy of my records. I used CareSync to request my PCP’s records and the company uploaded and transcribed the information quickly, giving me both discrete data elements and the practice’s scanned reports. CareSync also fixed the technical handshake between its system and Carebox and I was able to effortlessly shoot those records over to Carebox via a Direct message, which required only that I click CareSync’s “share” button and provide my Carebox-assigned Direct address. It was maybe two minutes later that I received Carebox’s “got it” email and was able to view a  nicely formatted record, including a beautiful BlueButton extract. The process was immensely satisfying on both ends.

CareSync is a deeper and richer application than I expected and having real humans assemble and upload the records makes it painless. They will even initiate the process of correcting information that the provider has recorded inaccurately (like the hospital flagging me as a smoker for some reason). I haven’t really explored what else CareSync does, but I see that it allows bringing in data from wearables, adding personal and insurance documents, scheduling appointments, setting medication reminders, assigning health maintenance tasks, and viewing a nicely formatted health timeline. You can add a family member as a user, allowing them to view and manage your information.

I think I read somewhere that CareSync offers a “break the glass” one-time password  option for emergencies, although I haven’t figured that out yet (it would be cool to have an emergency bracelet thingy to solve that “unconscious in the ED” problem that RHIOs failed to fix). In fact, CareSync could be an opt-in HIE if it could just solve the legal and logistical challenges of polling the user’s defined providers regularly to automatically update information from new visits — you have to request them each time.

I recall that in China, each person maintains their own paper medical records, bringing them along every time they have an encounter and then taking them back home afterward with the new information added. Most people here would think that’s a Luddite system, but I’ve always thought it’s pretty smart given the pathetic state of interoperability in this country, where your ED or hospital outcome will probably already have been decided one way or another before your medical history ever arrives (assuming that the ED or hospital even bothers to try to get it, which I seriously doubt). I would much rather give a provider access to information that  I’ve already reviewed with my own comments added, hoping they review it right then and there to avoid errors, conflicts, and expensive duplicate testing. That’s also the logical place to store an advance directive and power of medical attorney since a shocking number of those are ignored because nobody knows they exist or they can’t be found when needed.

Maybe someday we’ll figure this provider-to-provider interoperability thing out despite competing special interests, but until then, the only sure thing is for patients to collect and share their own information. CareSync happened to be the application I tried and I can see great possibilities in providers using it to provide ongoing care management and communication, but I’m sure competing products also do a good job. It has been an eye-opening experience for me to see health IT from the other side of the provider-patient relationship, to take control of my records, and to see what’s been recorded about me by providers, sometimes incorrectly.


Book Review: The Lean Startup

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I’m short on time having been away, so I will simply summarize the startup advice as suggested by “The Lean Startup,” which was recommended to me by DrLyle. Quite a bit of it is relevant to healthcare IT and software development in particular, even for large companies interested in increasing their innovation and creating new growth. It’s like an MBA program for startups in highlighting the difference between running a big business and starting a small business with big ambitions.

  • Most startups fail not because they lacked a good idea, didn’t have the right stuff, or had poor timing, but rather because they don’t follow a process that seems too much like the much-maligned “management” that the corporate world embraces.
  • The prime focus of a startup isn’t to develop or sell products – it’s to learn via validated experiments that force the entrepreneur to test individual elements of their vision, resulting the measurable discovery of truths that keep the company optimally focused and moving forward.
  • A startup’s activities should revolve around the Build-Measure-Learn cycle that tells the company whether to stick it our or to pivot (“pivot” being defined as changing direction with one foot planted in the current state, not abandoning the concept for something unrelated).
  • While management methods used by established companies – such as market research, forecasting, and accounting – don’t work for startups and result in “achieving failure,” just diving in while merrily abandoning any sort of managerial discipline is also likely to ensure failure.
  • Success results from the ongoing measuring and tuning of the “engine of growth.”
  • Products should be developed in small batches or even via continuous deployment (which is counter-intuitive in a production-oriented environment), tested with a subset of customers, and negative changes backed out or fixed quickly. Startups don’t have much of a reputation to be tarnished, so it’s OK to fail.
  • Ongoing customer contact and behavior monitoring is critical.
  • The customer will tell a company what they need or want, which might not be what the company originally thought. Assumptions are often wrong, but the time spent chasing the wrong objective still results in valuable learning.
  • Companies need to understand which activities add measurable value and eliminate those that don’t.
  • It’s paradoxically easier to raise money with zero revenue and zero customers because small numbers eliminate the possibility of overnight success.
  • The initial product release should be the minimum viable product that can be released and tested quickly even without features that may seem essential, followed by intense measurement of product use and customer response to see if the “leap of faith” assumptions on which the company was based are accurate.
  • Startups have to manage by non-vanity metrics that portray the true growth trajectory.
  • Customer behavior should be tracked by cohort rather than in aggregate to understand how each demographic group responds to product attributes and to design a sales funnel-type process.
  • The paid engine of growth is to either increase revenue from each customer or reduce the cost of getting a new customer.
  • Companies can fail by efficiently making changes that inflate vanity metrics without changing customer behavior, which then creates a crisis when the growth tapers off with no new activities underway to replace the inevitable slowdown.
  • Deciding which incremental investments to make can be done by the Five Whys, addressing a given problem by asking incremental “why” questions five times to arrive at the root cause.

Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Anthem finalizes its deal to acquire Cigna for $54 billion.
  • UCLA Health announces that a September 2014 cyberattack exposed the information of 4.5 million patients.
  • An ONC-commissioned consultant’s report outlines a five-year plan for a $20 million, 10-employee Health IT Safety Center whose focus will be “convening, researching, and disseminating.”
  • Ascension Health offers to buy revenue cycle services vendor Accretive Health — which gets half its revenue from Ascension — for half its stock market value, sending shares down 50 percent as the company rejects the uninvited offer and issues a “seek strategic alternatives” cry for help.
  • UMass Memorial Health care (MA) announces that it will replace the former Siemens (now Cerner) Soarian with Epic, abandoning a bizarre $100 million best-of-breed project announced in 2010 that had the organization trying to cobble together systems from Allscripts, Siemens, Picis, IBM, and Hyland as planned by then-CIO, now-resigned George Brenckle.

Webinars

July 29 (Wednesday) 11:30 ET. “Earning Medicare’s New Chronic Care Management Payments: Five Steps to Take Now.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenters: Robert J. Dudzinski, PharmD, EVP, West Healthcare Practice; Colin Roberts, senior director of healthcare product integration, West Healthcare Practice. Medicare’s new monthly payments for Chronic Care Management (CCM) can improve not only patient outcomes and satisfaction, but provider financial viability and competitiveness as well. Attendees will learn how to estimate their potential CCM revenue, how to use technology and clinical resources to scale up CCM to reach more patients, and how to start delivering CCM benefits to patients and providers by taking five specific steps. Don’t be caught on the sidelines as others put their CCM programs in place.

July 30 (Thursday) 3:00 ET. “De-Silo Your Disparate IT Systems Around the Patient with VNA.” Sponsored by Lexmark. Presenters: Steven W. Campbell, manager of diagnostic applications and interfaces, Piedmont Healthcare; Larry Sitka, VNA evangelist, Lexmark. The entire patient record, including both DICOM and non-DICOM data, should be available at the point of need. Disparate, aging systems that hide data inside departmental silos won’t cut it, nor will IT systems that can’t integrate medical images meaningfully. Learn how Piedmont Healthcare used a vendor-neutral archive to quickly and easily migrate its images and refocus its systems around its patients.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by Labor Day.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Marketing company Physicians Interactive acquires Qauntia, which offers the QuantiaMd collaboration platform and mobile community for physicians.

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Dermatology EHR vendor Modernizing Medicine will acquire gastroenterology EHR vendor gMed.

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Athenahealth reports Q2 results: revenue up 21 percent, adjusted EPS $0.32 vs. $0.32, falling short of revenue expectations but handily beating on earnings with shares spiking upward on the news. Above is the one-year price chart of ATHN (blue, up 2.8 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 14.5 percent).

From the Athenahealth earnings call:

  • The company is approaching $1 billion in annual revenue.
  • Athena expect to receive 75,000 applications for the 1,500 positions it will fill in 2015.
  • CEO Jonathan Bush says the under-50 bed hospitals that are prospects for the RazorInsights product it acquired don’t have a strong balance sheet or deep IT talent, which the company will approach as it did small practices originally as in, “We’re not just going to sell you a system, we’re going to give you a system and we’re going to do the crap work that you hate and struggle with that gets in the way of treating patients for you. And so, instead of charging you X hundred thousand or million dollars upfront, we won’t charge you upfront, and we’ll take over these functions, get you more cash faster. And in the course of doing so, give you the clinical and financial systems that you need and keep them current forever.”
  • Bush says value-based care is a great opportunity for the company, and while ACOs are “a really badly written risk contract,” Athenahealth can move its focus from Meaningful Use compliance towards portal adoption, care coordination, and system scheduling.
  • Bush says the expansion of AthenaCollector to the hospital market is “incredibly synergistic” since a hospital claim has “all of the information on an ambulatory claim with three times the money on it and maybe 10 percent more information” and the company’s ambulatory claims experience allows it to reduce hospital collection cost using the information hospitals already have.
  • Bush says of its Enterprise segment, “We are getting access into the Cerner and Epic systems that we’ve never had before and are able to provide an integrated view of the patient’s experience inside and outside of AthenaNet. You’ve always been able to see where a patient’s been inside of AthenaNet even if it’s a different practice, but you’ve never been able to see very cleanly and reliably stuff that’s gone on in the hospital … we’ve always had major Cerner customers, but now we’ve got major Epic customers, not just throw out all of Epic, but you deal with the 50 percent of their admissions that come from outside of that directly-employed inner circle, maybe even some of the guys in the inner circle that are enraged and frustrated and are flight risks to the hospital for being on a hospital-controlled flow-centric system.”
  • RazorInsights will disappear as a separate product by next year as it is rolled into AthenaOne, while its acquisition of BIDMC’s WebOMR was scarcely mentioned in the call.
  • Bush describes the company’s transactional revenue of 250 information exchanges per doctor per day as, “You’ve got eligibility checks, claims submissions, claim status inquiries, lab accessions, lab results, referrals, authorizations, get me another one, in-office exchanges. So, every time somebody uses an integrated blood pressure cuff, and so the thing goes off from AthenaNet to Welch Allyn and back, each one of those counts on the server. Each one of those is a tick.” The company is measuring that as its total automation rate, which it says is at 57.2 percent.

Besler Consulting acquires the transfer DRG recovery business of DRG Review.


Sales

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SCL Health (CO) chooses Phynd for profiling and credentialing its 25,000 physicians across multiple IT systems.

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Charleston Area Medical Center (WV) will convert from the former Siemens Soarian to Cerner’s other product (Millennium) by next July, saying they are “first in line” to make the move. The health system also says only 25 of its 1,200 doctors have completed ICD-10 training and those who haven’t done so my Monday will have their Soarian access removed.


People

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Dan Critchley (University of Arizona Health Network) joins Optimum Healthcare IT as CEO of managed services.

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Roy Moxam (McKesson) joins Sunquest as VP of client experience.

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Impact Advisors hires Scott Pillittere (Huron Consulting Group) as VP.

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Nick van Terheyden, MD (Nuance) joins Dell Healthcare as chief medical officer.


Announcements and Implementations

Medidata will integrate patient-generated data into its clinical trials platform using Validic’s digital health platform.

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Harvard licenses its sleep apnea monitoring software to startup MediCollector.


Government and Politics

Researchers Dean Sittig and Hardeep Singh post a Health Affairs review of ONC’s plan for a Health IT Safety Center, saying that it’s a step forward given the absence of any other form of clinical systems oversight but suggesting that a VA-type safety events analysis service is still needed. ONC’s proposal calls for the Health IT Safety Center to avoid doing such investigations, which the article says will probably have to be performed internally by individual health systems with the Center possibly aggregating and reporting their findings.

HHS’s OIG posts a job opening for CIO, with applications due today (7/27).

A San Diego newspaper article questions whether Medicare can afford personalized medicine as patients demand more expensive custom treatments and tests. However, proponents expect cost avoidance in finding drugs that work for a given patient, citing the fact that cancer drugs fail 75 percent of the time. A health policy researcher says Medicare should change its payment model so that successful treatments for a given patient carry a higher price tag than the same drug, test, or procedure that delivers a less-impressive result for another patient.


Technology

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The New York Times profiles the Lively safety watch, a stylish alternative to the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” one-push alert button that also counts steps and provides medication alerts via an in-home cellular hub with sensors for pill containers and the refrigerator. The watch costs $50 and the monitoring service is $30 per month. It looks a lot like the Apple Watch.

Nike will pay $2.4 million to purchasers of its FuelBand following a class action lawsuit claiming that the company sold the fitness trackers even though they knew its measurements were inaccurate. It appears the wearables fad is tapering off as users don’t find their habits changing and the devices capture information that is a primitive health marker at best. I have at least a couple of them tossed aside in drawers and I bet you do, too.


Other

Global Health Limited sues the government of South Australia, claiming that the state is using its Chiron patient management software despite holding an expired license. The state has been the last user of the outdated software since 2008 but had asked Global Health for permission to keep using it since its implementation of Allscripts Sunrise Clinical Manager for the new Royal Adelaide Hospital is behind schedule.

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Western Australia has IT problems of its own as the new Fiona Stanley Hospital reports problems with IT systems that include lack of integration and a 15-minute delay after a physician logs in. Clinicians and patients also report problems with the hospital’s in-room interactive patient entertainment system. The hospital, which was supposed to be paperless, is running well over budget and behind schedule on its $150 million IT project.

A group of fund managers who invest in drug companies launches a US campaign calling for clinical trials to be registered and all data published within a year of study completion. AllTrials recently sued FDA to force it to release clinical trials data for two new, expensive drugs for hepatitis C. Its call to action petition can be signed here and it seeks volunteers to post its videos, host website buttons, and distribute flyers.

Insert your own punch line here: analysis of CMS payment data finds that Dr. Oz made $1.17 million from a hemorrhoid treatment he shilled, albeit at least with disclosure that he was involved in its development, which is about as ethical as he’s ever going to get.

Weird News Andy says he knows Bay Area real estate is expensive, but $2,000 for a bag of dirt might be a bit much. A fake doctor running a fake California cancer treatment center is charged with giving patients treatments consisting of baggies of expired medications and dirt, telling his patients to mix and swallow them with any resulting burning sensation meaning his concoction was working.


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicity client Great Lakes Health Connect surpasses its goal of having 1,000 medical practices using its referral application and will soon exceed 1,000 practices that are linked to Michigan’s immunization registry.
  • Huntzinger Management Group expands its technology service offerings to include technical advisory, security, operational improvements, and end user services.
  • Forward Health Group joins CMS’s Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, charged with moving Medicare toward more value-based payments.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us or send news tips online.

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July 26, 2015 News 6 Comments

News 7/24/15

July 23, 2015 News 2 Comments

Top News

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The local business paper dives into UMass Memorial Health Care’s expensive decision to transition from Soarian to Epic. In making the announcement to employees earlier this week, CEO Eric Dickson, MD noted that his decision came down to “one thing: hundreds of our caregivers tested the options available to us and they resoundingly selected Epic as the best system. We can’t expect you to make UMass Memorial Health Care the best place to give care and the best place to get care if we don’t give you the best electronic health record system available and so you will have it — Epic is coming.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

This week on HIStalk Practice: Ancestry.com gets into the digital health record business. The Federation of State Medical Boards receives grant funding to kick start the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. Private equity firms get aggressive with Texas physicians. Ruby Raley considers solutions for physician frustration with EHRs. Dr. Gregg eavesdrops on an illuminating conversation between Dr. Happy and Dr. Mad. Bright.md raises $3.5 million. Modernizing Medicine acquires GMed. PCORnet project nets $142.5 million for patient-centered outcomes research.


Webinars

July 29 (Wednesday) 11:30 ET. “Earning Medicare’s New Chronic Care Management Payments: Five Steps to Take Now.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenters: Robert J. Dudzinski, PharmD, EVP, West Healthcare Practice; Colin Roberts, senior director of healthcare product integration, West Healthcare Practice. Medicare’s new monthly payments for Chronic Care Management (CCM) can improve not only patient outcomes and satisfaction, but provider financial viability and competitiveness as well. Attendees will learn how to estimate their potential CCM revenue, how to use technology and clinical resources to scale up CCM to reach more patients, and how to start delivering CCM benefits to patients and providers by taking five specific steps. Don’t be caught on the sidelines as others put their CCM programs in place.

July 30 (Thursday) 3:00 ET. “De-Silo Your Disparate IT Systems Around the Patient with VNA.” Sponsored by Lexmark. Presenters: Steven W. Campbell, manager of diagnostic applications and interfaces, Piedmont Healthcare; Larry Sitka, VNA evangelist, Lexmark. The entire patient record, including both DICOM and non-DICOM data, should be available at the point of need. Disparate, aging systems that hide data inside departmental silos won’t cut it, nor will IT systems that can’t integrate medical images meaningfully. Learn how Piedmont Healthcare used a vendor-neutral archive to quickly and easily migrate its images and refocus its systems around its patients.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by Labor Day.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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The Florida Partnership for TeleHealth receives a $100,000 HRSA grant to establish telemedicine programs in North Florida including rural communities surrounding Tallahassee.

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Patientco announces plans to move into larger office space at its current Atlanta headquarters and triple its workforce over the next 18 months.

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Dallas-based Anthelio Healthcare Solutions acquires HIM and RCM vendor Pyramid Healthcare Solutions for an undisclosed sum.

Noridian Healthcare Solutions agrees to pay $45 million to Maryland to avoid legal action after failing to deliver a functional state health insurance exchange.

Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering licenses its bedside data-acquisition software to MediCollector, a startup spun out of the institute last year. MediCollector plans to integrate the technology, originally developed as part of a larger infant sleep apnea prevention program, into clinical alarm systems.


Announcements and Implementations

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Hackensack University Medical Center strengthens its existing partnership with Infor, becoming a lead adopter in implementing FHIR DSTU 2 Patient Resources to communicate with mobile devices using Infor Cloverleaf technology.

NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Groups will implement Athenahealth’s EHR, PM, and patient engagement solutions via the NewYork-Presbyterian Physician Services Organization. On a related note, NewYork-Presbyterian CIO Aurelia Boyer and associate chief innovation officer and anesthesiologist Peter Fleischut, MD take to the Huffington Post to share the many ways in which healthcare IT is positively impacting the organization.

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Massena Memorial Hospital installs two telehealth units through their affiliation with the North Country Initiative, an affiliation with five local hospitals that qualifies each for state funding and group-purchasing discounts.

Envision Healthcare offers telehealth services from InTouch Health to its network of physician-led companies including American Medical Response, EmCare, and Evolution Health. 


People

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HIMSS North America nominates several new members to its Board of Directors including Dana Alexander, RN (Divurgent) who joins as chair, and Fred Rachman, MD (Alliance of Chicago Community Health Services) who joins as vice chair.


Government and Politics

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ONC’s new Clinical, Technical, Organization, and Financial Barriers to Interoperability Task Force meets for the first time to discuss organization and goals. Chaired by Paul Tang, MD from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, the 10-member task force will meet 12 times over the next several months, and is scheduled to submit final recommendations in mid October.


Technology

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ScImage adds secure image-sharing capability to its Picom365 enterprise PACS.

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RightCare Solutions introduces the RightCare Touch app for post-discharge patient communication.

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AHRQ unveils a new online tool that enables users to analyze 2014 hospital discharge information from 17 states and multiple payers, as well as the uninsured. The Fast Stats website includes data on categories of conditions such as surgical, mental health, maternal, injury, and medical.

Lexmark launches ICD-10-compliant Kofax Claims Agility software that automatically processes professional and institutional medical claims and supporting documents.

Cerner debuts an EHR-agnostic tool that, when combined with its fall-risk algorithm, improves fall-risk detection with a 90-percent accuracy rate. The news comes hot on the heels of Epic’s announcement that it is working on a clinical decision tool to help providers reduce the risk of falls in unsteady patients.


Privacy and Security

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A McAfee Labs report finds that cybersecurity executives are not optimistic when it comes to their collective ability to stem the tide of security breaches. Seventy percent noted the number of threats against their organizations are increasing, while nearly half feel a serious attack "affecting critical services and causing a loss of life" is likely within three years. It’s worth noting that respondents cited user error as the number-one reason for successful attacks on critical infrastructure.


Other

President Obama sits down with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show to discuss his time in office. Naturally, the conversation turns toward interoperability, the VA, and the government’s slow adoption of anything related to IT.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us or send news tips online.

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July 23, 2015 News 2 Comments

News 7/22/15

July 21, 2015 News 11 Comments

Top News

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Physicians converge on a town-hall meeting hosted by the AMA and Medical Association of Georgia to express their dissatisfaction with EHRs and Meaningful Use. Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and AMA President Steven Stack, MD hosted the 90-minute event, which they used to raise awareness of AMA’s Break the Red Tape campaign to delay finalization of MU Stage 3 regulations.


Webinars

July 22 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Achieve Your Quality Objectives Before 2018.” Sponsored by CitiusTech. Presenters: Jeffrey Springer, VP of product management, CitiusTech; Dennis Swarup, VP of corporate development, CitiusTech. The presenters will address best practices for building and managing CQMs and reports, especially as their complexity increases over time. They will also cover quality improvement initiatives that can help healthcare systems simplify their journey to value-based care. The webinar will conclude with an overview of how CitiusTech’s hosted BI-Clinical analytics platform, which supports over 600 regulatory and disease-specific CQMs, supports clients in their CQM strategies.

July 29 (Wednesday) 11:30 ET. “Earning Medicare’s New Chronic Care Management Payments: Five Steps to Take Now.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenters: Robert J. Dudzinski, PharmD, EVP, West Healthcare Practice; Colin Roberts, senior director of healthcare product integration, West Healthcare Practice. Medicare’s new monthly payments for Chronic Care Management (CCM) can improve not only patient outcomes and satisfaction, but provider financial viability and competitiveness as well. Attendees will learn how to estimate their potential CCM revenue, how to use technology and clinical resources to scale up CCM to reach more patients, and how to start delivering CCM benefits to patients and providers by taking five specific steps. Don’t be caught on the sidelines as others put their CCM programs in place.

July 30 (Thursday) 3:00 ET. “De-Silo Your Disparate IT Systems Around the Patient with VNA.” Sponsored by Lexmark. Presenters: Steven W. Campbell, manager of diagnostic applications and interfaces, Piedmont Healthcare; Larry Sitka, VNA evangelist, Lexmark. The entire patient record, including both DICOM and non-DICOM data, should be available at the point of need. Disparate, aging systems that hide data inside departmental silos won’t cut it, nor will IT systems that can’t integrate medical images meaningfully. Learn how Piedmont Healthcare used a vendor-neutral archive to quickly and easily migrate its images and refocus its systems around its patients.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by Labor Day.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Act.md announces an $8.4 Million Series A funding round led by Rose Park Advisors. The Boston-based startup will use the funds to continue development of its cloud-based care coordination platform.

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Baptist Health Corbin (KY) receives a $15,500 grant from AT&T that it will use to expand its mental health services to surrounding areas via the purchase of a telemedicine cart.

GE Foundation funds the Project ECHO initiative with a $14 million, three-year grant designed to help the project keep growing. Project ECHO is a Web-based forum that helps community providers address complex conditions in their local populations by connecting them with experts who provide disease management education sessions and patient-specific treatment advice.


Announcements and Implementations

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The University of California-San Diego Moores Cancer Center implements the InfuSystem Express EHR connectivity solution from InfuSystem Holdings.

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Bon Secours Richmond Health System (VA) rolls out Pro Charge Capture technology from MedAptus for adult hospitalist and pediatric hospitalist intensivist providers at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Western Colorado HIE Quality Health Network and eHealth Technologies partner to enable Aspen Valley Hospital to share diagnostic images with providers across the region.

The University of Virginia Health System partners with the nonprofit Mitre Corp. to develop improved health data analysis tools. As part of the agreement, Mitre will advise UVA on researching innovative bedside monitoring capabilities and optimizing a new computing system. UVA will in turn provide expertise on clinical analytics, complex data environments, and “smart” hospitals.

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Bassett Healthcare Network (NY) selects StrataJazz Equipment Replacement technology from Strata Decision Technology.

Rite Aid installs HealthSpot telemedicine kiosks at 25 locations in Ohio. Patients will be able to connect to providers from Cleveland Clinic, Kettering Health Network, and University Hospitals.


People

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John Glaser (Cerner) joins Aventura’s Board of Directors.

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WellSpan Health (PA) promotes Thomas McGann, MD to executive vice president for clinical practice, a role in which he will oversee the health system’s Project One evaluation of EHRs.


Government and Politics

Retired U.S. Air Force Brigadier General and former CIO Thomas Verbeck takes to the local paper to urge citizens to demand a Congressional review of the DoD’s decision to spend $11 billion on a new EHR. “[T]he DoD’s plan will fail,” Verbeck explains. “That’s because most of today’s EHR systems, including the bidder finalists, are designed only to work within their own system. That allows them to charge physicians and hospitals outside their system for access to your data. DoD can demand a system that seamlessly connects health data with civilian hospitals – or the VA – but it has failed to do so. The solution is simple: DoD must delay this award pending a congressional review. Putting soldiers at the center of care and ensuring that clinicians have all the information needed must be a minimum requirement for any future expenditures on health IT systems.”


Technology

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Healthfinch adds the Chirp automated patient communication tool to its Swoop prescription refill technology


Privacy and Security

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St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center (MA) pays out $218,400 to settle HIPAA violations stemming from 2013 allegations that employees stored the PHI of nearly 500 patients without having performed an adequate security risk analysis.


Research and Innovation

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London-based King’s College Hospital incorporate Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets and motion-tracking sensors into its VR lab to study the effects of immersing bipolar patients into certain environments like the London Underground.

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Phoebe Putney Health System (GA) kicks off a six-month pilot program to offer employees at Phoebe Worth Medical Center and Phoebe Sumter Medical Center acute care via telemedicine. Once the pilot concludes, the organization will look at establishing additional telemedicine sites at various medical specialties across the region.


Other

The Guardian provides a snapshot of a day in the life of NHS clinical coder Jordan Smith, who likens his job looking up ICD-10 and OPCS-4 codes to being a detective looking for clues in patient medical records. He also seems to be a frontline defense against potential fraud, explaining to a colleague looking for the biggest reimbursement that, “We code for information; finance is a by-product.” 

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The Connected Health Group at Partners HealthCare announces the Connected Health ‘15 Pitch Off, a contest that invites providers and those in training to submit ideas on how emotion-sensing technologies can be used to improve healthcare. The contest will run through September, and winning ideas will be showcased at the annual Connected Health Symposium October 29-30 in Boston.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us or send news tips online.

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July 21, 2015 News 11 Comments

Monday Morning Update 7/20/15

July 18, 2015 News 7 Comments

Top News

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UCLA Health announces that its systems have been breached in a criminal cyberattack, exposing the information of 4.5 million patients. UCLA contacted the FBI in October 2014 when it noticed suspicious activity, but didn’t realize the hackers had gained access to patient information until May 2015. UCLA has hired additional IT security companies and expanded its internal security team in response to the breach.

The many recent healthcare breaches suggest that basically everybody who has ever been a patient or bought medical insurance should just accept the fact that their information could be exposed, causing nothing more than embarrassment other than in the case of identity theft. That makes me wonder which data elements are required to steal someone’s identity and whether providers should be storing those elements given their substandard security. Or if we’re really paranoid about someone finding out about our blood pressure or hemorrhoids (does anyone really care?), whether pre-Internet HIPAA laws should be extended beyond just providers to everybody.


Reader Comments

From Publius: “Re: DoD EHR bid. Will announce Friday 7/17 their selection of Epic/IBM for the DHMSM project. IBM is meeting with consulting firms on Monday 7/20 to deliver Statements of Work (SOWs). Seattle/Tacoma area is the first deployment, Washington DC, Europe, then Asia. Consultant pay rates are expected to be below market initially.” Unverified. My insider says Friday at 4:00 p.m. Eastern was the deadline for the DoD folks to turn in their scoring for tabulation following a two-day extension. Unless DoD ignores their stated methodology, nobody knows the winner yet. Maybe next week, although the week after seems more likely. Another source says the announcement date will be August 14. Gossiping about the outcome is fun and I’ve heard a bunch of wild, unverified rumors, such as one of the three bidders failing to make the final cut due to licensing and offshoring issues. I’m trying to picture the reaction in the three camps when the winner is named. Maybe the winner will become so distracted by DoD’s demands that the other two will gain non-governmental market share. Remember NPfIT, where every successful and initially giddy bidder nearly went out of business after failing to meet milestones tied to payments.

From Truven Watcher: “Re: Truven. Rumors are that TriZetto is in talks with Veritas Capital to buy it.” Unverified. TriZetto was acquired last fall for $2.7 billion by Cognizant, which has expressed interest in more acquisitions.

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From Mr. Black: “Re: NantHealth acquisition of Harris Healthcare. The best part of the NantHealth purchase is Allscripts gave them $200 million, which they in turn gave them $100 million, but since Allscripts essentially gave them their money back (and then some), they went and purchased a competitor. It’s just laughable.”

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From Wintry Mix: “Re: Allscripts. Trying to convince me that they have a truly integrated, single database, single code set acute and ambulatory offering along the same lines as Cerner, Epic, and Meditech. No interfaces, one patient/one record, etc. It wasn’t long ago that Allscripts included zero dollar interfaces between the Touchworks PM and EMR components in their ambulatory contracts since they hadn’t fully integrated the A4 PM system, let alone folding in Eclipsys. Can anyone validate their claim?”

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From ThePope: “Re: Ascension Health. The largest Catholic Health System in the world is making a coercive offer to buy one of its vendors at a 50 percent discount to market value, an unprecedented move for a faith-based, not-for-profit system.” Ascension Health makes a lowball offer of half the stock market value of revenue cycle vendor Accretive Health after announcing that it won’t renew the company’s contract, which accounts for half of Accretive’s total revenue. Accretive Health rejected the offer, but its shares tanked that same 50 percent on Friday, wiping out more than $250 million in equity. The company is “seeking strategic alternatives” as shares have dropped 71 percent in the past year. Former McKesson executive Emad Rizk, MD, who took the Accretive CEO job a year ago, saw his net worth plunge $3 million between Friday’s breakfast and dinner as the stock went down in flames following Ascension’s offer/threat.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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I was surprised that more than half of poll respondents haven’t completed an Advance Directive, meaning that if they’re lying brain-dead on a ventilator in a hospital bed (after an accident or stroke or whatever tragedy can happen at any time and at any age), they’re sticking someone else with the decision of whether to pull the plug or let them lie in expensive vegetative limbo indefinitely. Take charge before it’s too late – it’s easy to create an Advance Directive and Healthcare Power of Attorney that makes your wishes clear and legally binding. New poll to your right or here, in recognition of summer vacations: how many paid days away from work will you take in 2015? 

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Thanks to TeraMedica, now part of Fujifilm, which has upgraded its HIStalk sponsorship to Platinum.

A small “my medical records saga” update: I thought I would be clever in sending my CareSync records to my Carebox account using Direct messaging, but CareSync didn’t recognize my Carebox Direct address as valid for some reason even though it allows a Direct address as a “send to” option. I’ve let them know it didn’t work. I also requested to have my PCP’s records added, which is a one-button CareSync click followed by a quick provider database lookup.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • NantHealth acquires Harris Healthcare Solutions.
  • A group that includes HIMSS and MGMA publish initial documents for their Virtual Clipboard project that will allow patient-entered demographic and insurance information to be collected electronically at registration.
  • ProPublica publishes a Surgeon Scorecard of complication rates derived from Medicare claims data.
  • AHA objects to the information blocking provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act that has cleared the House and now rests with the Senate, urging Congress to target non-cooperative vendors whose systems and fees make it impractical for providers to share data conveniently.

Webinars

July 22 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Achieve Your Quality Objectives Before 2018.” Sponsored by CitiusTech. Presenters: Jeffrey Springer, VP of product management, CitiusTech; Dennis Swarup, VP of corporate development, CitiusTech. The presenters will address best practices for building and managing CQMs and reports, especially as their complexity increases over time. They will also cover quality improvement initiatives that can help healthcare systems simplify their journey to value-based care. The webinar will conclude with an overview of how CitiusTech’s hosted BI-Clinical analytics platform, which supports over 600 regulatory and disease-specific CQMs, supports clients in their CQM strategies.

July 29 (Wednesday) 11:30 ET. “Earning Medicare’s New Chronic Care Management Payments: Five Steps to Take Now.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenters: Robert J. Dudzinski, PharmD, EVP, West Healthcare Practice; Colin Roberts, senior director of healthcare product integration, West Healthcare Practice. Medicare’s new monthly payments for Chronic Care Management (CCM) can improve not only patient outcomes and satisfaction, but provider financial viability and competitiveness as well. Attendees will learn how to estimate their potential CCM revenue, how to use technology and clinical resources to scale up CCM to reach more patients, and how to start delivering CCM benefits to patients and providers by taking five specific steps. Don’t be caught on the sidelines as others put their CCM programs in place.

July 30 (Thursday) 3:00 ET. “De-Silo Your Disparate IT Systems Around the Patient with VNA.” Sponsored by Lexmark. Presenters: Steven W. Campbell, manager of diagnostic applications and interfaces, Piedmont Healthcare; Larry Sitka, VNA evangelist, Lexmark. The entire patient record, including both DICOM and non-DICOM data, should be available at the point of need. Disparate, aging systems that hide data inside departmental silos won’t cut it, nor will IT systems that can’t integrate medical images meaningfully. Learn how Piedmont Healthcare used a vendor-neutral archive to quickly and easily migrate its images and refocus its systems around its patients.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by Labor Day.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Xerox takes a $145 million charge as it decides to cut back its Medicaid systems business within its Government Healthcare Solutions division.

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Mayo Clinic licenses its stress level software for physicians, residents, and medical students to Corporate Web Services, which developed the interactive versions of the tools and will market the products through its Med+Ed Web Solutions business.

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Consumer engagement platform vendor Accolade raises $22.5 million.

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Allscripts reports preliminary Q2 estimates that beat analyst expectations for both revenue and earnings, sending shares up 9 percent on Friday. Above is the one-year MDRX share price chart (blue, down 11 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 18 percent).


People

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Steve Wasserman (AppNeta) and Joy Schroeder (PatientKeeper) join Aventura as CFO and VP of business development, respectively.


Government and Politics

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ONC releases its consultant-developed roadmap for a Health IT Safety Center, estimating the cost of operating the public-private partnership at $20 million over five years. The safety center wouldn’t seem to do much actual work for that investment since the proposal says it won’t oversee or investigate anything, won’t collect data, and won’t serve as a Patient Safety Organization. It would mostly just try to get stakeholders together and share information within its core functions of convening, researching, and disseminating. The report suggests that initial funding could come from ONC or AHRQ (assuming the government doesn’t dissolve AHRQ, after which this report seems to suggest that the Safety Center be modeled) and the center would have to figure out how to fund itself by Year 5. It calls for at least 10 FTEs along with IT and travel costs. It’s way too touchy-feely to raise my level of interest and fails to address any pressing issues, such as the need for centralized data collection, incident investigation, and provider safety awareness. It seems like a waste of taxpayer money in the proposed form as it tries to avoid offending anyone, including those who need offending, and how it will eventually fund itself raises interesting questions. I don’t think this will help ONC’s case in trying to convince Congress to underwrite its search for post-Meaningful Use relevance.


Privacy and Security

A New York Times article notes the ongoing use of HIPAA as a healthcare provider “code of silence” in misinterpreting the law by either ignorance or indifference, such as when a woman called the ED to provide the medical history of her 85-year-old mother and was told they couldn’t take her information because of HIPAA, which led to the doctor ordering a drug to which the patient was allergic. A church stopped listing the names of ill members in its bulletin, with the minister claiming it had to stop because of HIPAA. The article also notes that patients can give consent verbally to allow their information to be shared even though hospitals often require them to sign a form.


Technology

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A rural Virginia field hospital set up by Remote Area Medical becomes the first US recipient of a package delivered by FAA-approved drone as medical supplies are flown in as a test that also involves NASA. The 10-pound drones were provided by Flirtey, which calls itself “the world’s first autonomous aerial delivery company” in offering last-mile logistics.


Other

A KQED analysis finds that the Bay area has the lowest rate of graduating medical students who continue on to residency in “Dropout Docs: Bay Area Doctors Quit Medicine to Work for Digital Health Startups.” A third of Stanford’s medical graduates effectively end their medical careers by not even applying to residency programs. The article notes that biotech and digital health companies offer opportunities that appeal to new graduates worried about excessive patient loads and lack of provider satisfaction, with one physician adding, “I loved working with patients, but I looked around me and realized that I didn’t want the jobs of anybody who had ‘succeeded’ as a clinician. Tech culture is very appealing when juxtaposed against the hierarchy and myriad hoops to be jumped through in clinical medicine.”

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Scottsdale Institute announces its Patient/Consumer Engagement Adoption Model that includes a self-administered assessment. It’s free to all US health systems and clinics.

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A new, free Peer60 report finds that two-thirds of providers consider image-sharing to be critical, with most of them a lot more interested in receiving images from outside facilities rather than sending them (obviously that’s a problem). Nuance’s PowerShare Network (the acquired Accelerad and SeeMyRadiology.com) had the top market share and market awareness.

Weird News Andy says this story is Finger Kissing Good, in which the CDC quite unnecessarily advises him to avoid kissing pet chickens due to potential salmonella infections. WNA adds some trivia in noting that Peach Melba and Melba Toast were both named in honor of Australian soprano Nellie Melba, which inspired him to christen his seafood creation in honor of his favorite singer Ella Fitzgerald as Salmon Ella.


Sponsor Updates

  • North Valley Hospital (MT) uses Summit Express Connect to consolidate 45 interfaces in its migration from Meditech to McKesson Paragon.
  • MedData offers “The Wait is Over: Welcome to ‘The Impatient Patient.’”
  • NTT Data Americas is named “Best IT Company of the Year in Services” in the 10th Annual 2015 IT World Awards sponsored by Network Products Guide.
  • NVoq offers “Your iPhone has Good Dictation. Why Doesn’t your Enterprise Application?”
  • Oneview Healthcare offers “Six Steps to Superior Patient Satisfaction.”
  • Patientco posts “Is the Location of Your ‘Pay My Bill’ Button Costing You Money? You May Be Surprised.”
  • VisionWare will exhibit at the MDM & Data Governance Summit July 22-23 in San Francisco.
  • PatientKeeper offers “Providers: Assess Your Charge Capture Needs.”
  • Paragon Development Systems (PDS) reports record monthly revenue in June 2015.
  • PerfectServe offers “Care Transitions – Tips for Bridging the Gaps.”
  • PeriGen supports the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses with a $2,500 donation to the Every Woman, Every Baby program.
  • Phynd offers “Inaccuracies move the industry toward a Unified Provider Management Platform.”
  • PMD offers “Patient Satisfaction is Physician Satisfaction.”
  • Sandlot Solutions will exhibit at the Louisiana Hospital Association Annual Meeting and Summer Conference July 20-21 in Orange Beach, AL.
  • The SSI Group will exhibit at the Adventist Health System Revenue Cycle Conference July 21-22 in Altamonte, FL.
  • Sunquest Information Systems will exhibit at AACC 2015 July 28-30 in Atlanta.
  • The Dallas Business Journal features T-System CTO Hank Hikspoors.
  • Huron Consulting and Valence Health will exhibit at the AHA Leadership Summit July 23-25 in San Francisco.
  • Verisk Health offers “VHC is Back and Better Than Ever Before.”
  • Voalte CEO Trey Lauderdale is profiled in the Florida Business Observer.
  • ZirMed offers “CMS’ new ICD-10 transition plan and newly proposed reimbursement model.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us or send news tips online.

 

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July 18, 2015 News 7 Comments

News 7/17/15

July 16, 2015 News 1 Comment

Top News

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NantHealth acquires Harris Corporation’s healthcare business, which had been rumored to be up for grabs earlier this year as Harris focuses on its defense business. Harris’s FusionFX product line (HIE, patient and provider portals, secure messaging, single sign-on) and its analytics and middleware products came from its $155 million acquisition of Carefx in 2011. A reader tipped me off before the announcement with this comment: “Nant has been working with Allscripts/dbMotion for awhile, and with this purchase, they are essentially buying a competitor with an inferior product.”


Reader Comments

From Juris Nurse: “Re: South Australia’s ESMI imaging system that is causing problems there. I looked it up and it’s not a specific product, but a $19 million project that involves enterprise RIS, PACS, and voice recognition provided by Carestream.” I mentioned that rollout of the system caused two-week imaging delays and a radiologist’s claim that non-clinical administrators were entering orders and deleting his critical comments about the system. Kodak sold its healthcare business to Canada-based Onex for $2.5 billion in early 2007, with Onex trying unsuccessfully to unload the renamed Carestream Health for $3.5 billion in 2013.

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From Ron Mexico: “Re: Glens Fall Hospital as Epic’s first de-install, This happened last year within DaVita HealthCare Partners, which replaced the Epic system of acquired Talbert Medical Group with its standard Allscripts TouchWorks. Needless to say, things didn’t go too well. There has been a lot of turnover in leadership and clinical informatics since.” The reader’s original rumor report referenced Epic’s assertion that it has never been replaced except when a customer was acquired, although I don’t know if that comment refers only to inpatient systems. Glens Falls Hospital CIO John Kelleher saw my post and graciously reached out to say that the hospital, which I believe was using Cerner inpatient and Epic outpatient, will replace Epic ambulatory with Cerner. A key factor was Cerner’s ITWorks system management services, which might give Epic motivation to speed up its client hosting rollout. If Epic’s claim was that it has never been voluntarily de-installed in either hospital inpatient or outpatient settings, then that streak has been broken. Epic will probably also be replaced by Cerner at the former University of Arizona Health Network, acquired by Cerner client Banner Health, but that won’t count against the streak if it happens.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

It’s prime vacation season and Jenn, Lorre, Dr. Jayne, and I are unchaining ourselves from the keyboard on and off over the next few days even though we’ll still keep up with important news and emails.

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Mrs. S sent photos of the iPad keyboard cases provided by the HIStalk DonorsChoose project, saying her Colorado fourth graders love them for doing research work since the class has only six laptops that 12 groups have to share. She cleverly reworked six class iPads into laptops via our $264 keyboard case donation and now everybody gets their projects done during Genius Hour, a day she sets aside each week to help students research topics they’re passionate about.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Novartis explores partnerships with remote patient monitoring providers to help insurers control costs as it prepares to launch a groundbreaking, but expensive, new heart failure medication. Renowned genetics scientist and entrepreneur Lee Hood raises a $36 million Series B round for his genetics-based personal medicine startup. GlaxoSmithKline reports that it will begin using Apple’s ResearchKit platform to support its clinical trials. A Harvard Medical School study evaluates the accuracy of online symptom checkers, finding that the correct diagnosis is only returned within the first three results 51 percent of the time.

This week on HIStalk Practice: Rhode Island Quality Institute CEO Laura Adams comes to CurrentCare’s defense. Primary care docs may be healthcare’s next hot commodity. Medfusion launches new patient payment tools. The Alliance of Specialty Medicine takes over Capitol Hill. Fitness nuts can share their wearables data for the greater good. Primary care docs bare all in their frustrations with EHR administrative tasks. UNM plans to invest heavily in EHR support for primary care practices across New Mexico. Greenway Health CEO Tee Green provides insight into the new brand.


My Records Request Saga Continues

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Amy Gleason of CareSync offered an end-run to my “give me my medical records electronically” saga involving a EMRAM Stage 7, MU Stage 2-attesting medical center. CareSync provides a personalized service in which their Health Assistants do all the ugly work behind the scenes. I signed up for the service (full disclosure: Amy gave me a coupon code for free access) and it was a great experience. The user interface was easy to follow, the CareSync Health Assistant called to introduce herself and see how she could help, and I completed a very short online form that CareSync converted into a faxed hospital information request in the background. Shortly after, I received an emailed transaction report indicating that CareSync had added the individually transcribed visit-related data elements to my record along with scans of the hospital’s reports. My total time investment: maybe five minutes. I can’t think of anything negative to say about the experience (OK, one tiny thing – signing the request form with a mouse wasn’t much fun for a trackball user like me).

CareSync would be great for the average patient and/or family members since it’s a turnkey service, you get to work with a real human, and its health maintenance tools appear excellent even though I haven’t actually used them yet. Requesting electronic records is one thing, but then what do you do with them? CareSync loads everything into a very nice online record, complete with the scanned original documents, and then layers on tools you use to manage the records, add additional information, and selectively share the information with providers (down to the individual data element). The Concierge service is $199 per year and seems easily worth it since they obtain and load all of your medical records, you have unlimited access to your Health Assistant to schedule your appointments and coordinate your care, it turns dry information into actionable items (reminders, notifications, dashboards), and you can share your record with family and friends for free.

I’m generally scornful of PHRs because few people will bother to enter their information manually, leading to what I assume is a high abandonment rate. With CareSync, I did basically nothing other than request information from a single 18-hour hospital visit, but I still ended up with a perfectly usable baseline record that makes me want to go back to add my PCP’s records, especially since that involves zero effort and cost on my part since CareSync handles it as part of the yearly subscription.

Digging into the user psychology, it feels as though CareSync is the logical home for my records rather than provider portals. I feel empowered since I’m controlling my information from all sources and can share it with providers who can’t or won’t access other provider systems electronically. It’s also nice to have a real person to contact for help or requests.

I wasn’t surprised that the records CareSync obtained for me had numerous significant errors made by the hospital. The hospital flagged me as having several conditions that I don’t have, including asthma, diabetes, and myocardial infarction. They also incorrectly marked me as a smoker even though my history clearly says I’m not. Most importantly, they still haven’t given me an electronic copy of my information – CareSync did all the work in dealing with fax machines and manual transcriptions. Otherwise, I still haven’t heard back from my Office for Civil Rights complaint, the filing of which I should add was also simple and quick.


Webinars

July 22 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Achieve Your Quality Objectives Before 2018.” Sponsored by CitiusTech. Presenters: Jeffrey Springer, VP of product management, CitiusTech; Dennis Swarup, VP of corporate development, CitiusTech. The presenters will address best practices for building and managing CQMs and reports, especially as their complexity increases over time. They will also cover quality improvement initiatives that can help healthcare systems simplify their journey to value-based care. The webinar will conclude with an overview of how CitiusTech’s hosted BI-Clinical analytics platform, which supports over 600 regulatory and disease-specific CQMs, supports clients in their CQM strategies.

July 29 (Wednesday) 11:30 ET. “Earning Medicare’s New Chronic Care Management Payments: Five Steps to Take Now.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenters: Robert J. Dudzinski, PharmD, EVP, West Healthcare Practice; Colin Roberts, senior director of healthcare product integration, West Healthcare Practice. Medicare’s new monthly payments for Chronic Care Management (CCM) can improve not only patient outcomes and satisfaction, but provider financial viability and competitiveness as well. Attendees will learn how to estimate their potential CCM revenue, how to use technology and clinical resources to scale up CCM to reach more patients, and how to start delivering CCM benefits to patients and providers by taking five specific steps. Don’t be caught on the sidelines as others put their CCM programs in place.

July 30 (Thursday) 3:00 ET. “De-Silo Your Disparate IT Systems Around the Patient with VNA.” Sponsored by Lexmark. Presenters: Steven W. Campbell, manager of diagnostic applications and interfaces, Piedmont Healthcare; Larry Sitka, VNA evangelist, Lexmark. The entire patient record, including both DICOM and non-DICOM data, should be available at the point of need. Disparate, aging systems that hide data inside departmental silos won’t cut it, nor will IT systems that can’t integrate medical images meaningfully. Learn how Piedmont Healthcare used a vendor-neutral archive to quickly and easily migrate its images and refocus its systems around its patients.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by Labor Day.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Robotics manufacturer Vecna Technologies acquires telepresence robotics vendor VGo. Both companies operate primarily in healthcare.


Sales

Kettering Health Network (OH) choose Phynd to manage the information of 30,000 referring and credentialed physicians in its eight hospitals.

Austria’s AUVA insurance organization chooses Cerner for its seven emergency hospitals and four rehabilitation centers that focus on occupational health and treatment.


People

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Huntzinger Management Group names Craig Kasper (The Comfort Company) as VP of marketing.


Announcements and Implementations

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A group that includes the HIMSS, WEDI, MGMA, and the Sullivan Institute releases design standards for Virtual Clipboard, which would allow providers to collect patient-entered demographic and insurance information to speed up registration.


Government and Politics

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This is what makes citizens cynical about government officials: former CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner is named president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), meaning she will serve as an insurance industry lobbyist. AHIP (and former CEO Karen Ignagni) had a key role in protecting insurance company profits and influence as the Affordable Care Act Congressional sausage-making was done, while Tavenner was in charge during the ensuing Healthcare.gov debacle.


Privacy and Security

Researchers warn that new crytpographic methods allow hackers to break into wireless networks secured by WPA-TKIP as well as sites secured by HTTPS sessions.

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All Blue Cross Blue Shield companies will provide free identity protection services to their customers by the end of the year, including credit monitoring, fraud detection, and fraud resolution support.


Other

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Lawrence + Memorial Hospital (CT) will join Yale New Haven Health System and implement its Epic system.


Sponsor Updates

  • ADP AdvancedMD adds Safari and Chrome browser support to its EHR.
  • Healthgrades offers a white paper that evaluates gender-related differences, complications, and risks of obesity and bariatric surgery.
  • Chartis Group publishes a white paper titled “Healthcare Providers as Information Management Companies.”
  • National Billing Center partners with SyTrue in adding translation of unstructured clinical data to its hospital billing solutions.
  • Holon Solutions offers “Healthcare: It’s All About Communication.”
  • EClinicalWorks is named a Leader in the IDC Health Insights MarketScape Report on the HIE market.
  • Galen Healthcare offers “#HIPAA: When our worlds collided.”
  • Greenway Health offers “Serve. Connect. Care. The Journey of the Future of Healthcare.”
  • Hayes Management Consulting provides “The Other Side of the Implementation Coin: Decommissioning Legacy Systems."
  • Healthcare Data Solutions offers “Content Marketing Roundup: Video, Images & Metrics.”
  • Healthwise offers “Riga, Latvia: Lessons from the Baltic.”
  • Iatric Systems will exhibit at the THT Healthcare Governance Conference July 30-August 1 in Austin, TX.
  • Impact Advisors offers “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Meaningful Use Stage 3: Objective 6 – Coordination of Care through Patient Engagement.”
  • Influence Health offers “Patient Engagement – Less Studies, More Action.”
  • InterSystems is recognized by SD Times as one of the software industry’s top 100 innovators.
  • Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at the 2015 Summer Institute in Nursing Informatics July 22-24 in Baltimore.
  • Leidos Health will exhibit at the NextGen Midwest User Group July 24-25 in Grand Rapids, MI.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us or send news tips online.

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July 16, 2015 News 1 Comment

News 7/15/15

July 14, 2015 News 7 Comments

Top News

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ProPublica publishes its Surgeon Scorecard of Medicare complication rates for eight elective procedures. It suggests that choosing the right surgeon is more important than choosing the right hospital, adding that hospitals are lax in monitoring surgeon performance. Low-performing surgeons gave the expected counter-arguments: (a) using only Medicare data is not statistically valid; (b) readmissions don’t necessarily indicate complications; (c) Medicare gets a lot of incorrect and therefore unreliable information from providers; and (d) doctors who take on high-risk patients or treat patients aggressively are overly penalized.

However, a surgeon with one of the lowest complication rates in the country – who had to shut down his practice because producing better results required too much of his time to make a living – concludes, “My results were very good. Other orthopedists in the Twin Cities had horse shit results and made more money. The general public never knew what the results were.”


Reader Comments

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From Gene Gene: “Re: CoPath. Sunquest sells CoPath and PowerPath, each created outside of Sunquest and each with its own build and guts. Cerner also sells two anatomic pathology systems, CoPathPlus and a product called Millennium that they had before swallowing CoPath from DHTI. Both are sold and supported today.”

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From DrLyle: “Re: startup advice. I saw your comments, and by weird coincidence, I had posted my thoughts early on the same topic (after reading yet another blog post earlier).” DrLyle’s “Advice to Healthcare Startups” is a succinct, meaty list that includes strong endorsement of Lean Startup methods, which intrigued me enough that I bought the Kindle version of the book describing them. I’ll report back if it looks interesting.

From Sonny Bunz: “Re: HIStalk sponsors. You list the new and renewing ones, and in the interest of transparency, you should also list those who do not renew their annual sponsorship. People should know if their vendor is not continuing their participation for whatever reason and it would be nice to thank them for their previous support.” I’m somewhat uncomfortable with this since I’m not sure the average reader should even care, but the non-anonymous reader (someone you would likely know) convinced me in a telephone call that it would be a nice gesture to say goodbye to companies that have supported me while also being fully transparent about who is sponsoring. Priorities and budgets change, companies refocus or get acquired, my primary contact moves on and we get handed off to a marketing associate who has never heard of HIStalk, or they’re unhappy that I wrote something negative or declined to fawn over a fluffy press release – it happens. Regardless, I appreciate their support, especially those who had sponsored for several years. These go back to the beginning of 2015.

3M
AT&T
AtHoc
CommVault
Connance
Cornerstone Advisors
Deloitte
DocuSign
EnovateIT
Harris Corporation
Infor
Intelligent InSites
Juniper Networks
Levi, Ray & Shoup
Lincor
Logicworks
McKesson
MedAssets
Medfusion
MediQuant
NextGen
Optum
Predixion
Quantros
RelayHealth
SCI Solutions
ScImage
Sentry Data Systems
Shareable Ink
SRSsoft
Symantec Healthcare
TrainingWheel Learning Solutions
Truven Health Analytics

From Blue Coupe: “Re: Anthem breach. I got a letter today that it doesn’t involve only Anthem plan holders, but also people who worked at companies who contracted with Anthem even if that person didn’t choose Anthem’s coverage.” I don’t know why companies would give Anthem the records of employees who didn’t buy its insurance, but I suspect it will get those companies and maybe justifiably so.

From Capisco: “Re: PHR use agreements. MedStar’s says the user is responsible if malware uses my credentials to get into their system. I would have to trust their forensics that blamed the breach on me since I couldn’t validate that. It also says the patient is responsible for all attorney fees. The agreement doesn’t list a MedStar contact for questions and the folks I reached there don’t seem to know or care.”

From Banished from Topeka: “Re: readmissions. Humana’s chief medical officer said in a conference this morning that the most relevant predictor of a hip replacement readmission for an older woman is whether she has food in the refrigerator.” I don’t doubt it a bit – the more we try to understand and manage healthcare costs, the more we have to delve into how social services are delivered as well since the two can’t be separated. Poor nutrition, loneliness, sanitation problems, physical inactivity, educational deficiencies, and lack of reproductive knowledge are all health problems that eventually cause an immense expense, but don’t get much attention or funding in this country for a variety of reasons. Health systems who go at risk will have no choice but to get off their high horse and coordinate with social services agencies.

From Captain Phasma: “Re: Sheltering Arms Rehab Hospital. Looks like they’ve gone with Cerner. Curious who competed.” The announcement doesn’t say.

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From HITrainer: “Re: Glens Falls Hospital, NY. Heard from someone who works there that they are uninstalling Epic, which would be a first for Epic. Can you verify? This would be huge.” Unverified since I couldn’t locate an email address for CIO John Kelleher, but maybe someone will step up.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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It’s hard to believe that the HIMSS conference is just seven months away. We are already planning HIStalkapalooza and have signed contracts for the facility and band. Companies interested in sponsoring can contact Lorre, which would be comforting to me since I’m on a very large financial hook in providing a free party for close to 1,000 people. We have several levels of sponsorship available, but I’ve dubbed the biggest one “Rock Star CEO,” which includes:

  • 100 invitations.
  • A private lounge (capacity 100) with its own bar and food plus two VIP boxes for entertaining prospects, partners, and company executives.
  • The company CEO introduces the band, gets four all-access passes, and enjoys a meet-and-greet with the band back stage after their performance.
  • An on-stage banner.
  • Special recognition from the stage.

Webinars

July 14 (Tuesday) noon ET. “What Health Care Can Learn from Silicon Valley.” Sponsored by Athenahealth. Presenter: Ed Park, EVP/COO, Athenahealth. Ed will discuss how an open business structure and strong customer focus have helped fuel success among the most prominent tech companies and what health care can learn from their strategies.

July 22 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Achieve Your Quality Objectives Before 2018.” Sponsored by CitiusTech. Presenters: Jeffrey Springer, VP of product management, CitiusTech; Dennis Swarup, VP of corporate development, CitiusTech. The presenters will address best practices for building and managing CQMs and reports, especially as their complexity increases over time. They will also cover quality improvement initiatives that can help healthcare systems simplify their journey to value-based care. The webinar will conclude with an overview of how CitiusTech’s hosted BI-Clinical analytics platform, which supports over 600 regulatory and disease-specific CQMs, supports clients in their CQM strategies.

July 29 (Wednesday) 11:30 ET. “Earning Medicare’s New Chronic Care Management Payments: Five Steps to Take Now.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenters: Robert J. Dudzinski, PharmD, EVP, West Healthcare Practice; Colin Roberts, senior director of healthcare product integration, West Healthcare Practice. Medicare’s new monthly payments for Chronic Care Management (CCM) can improve not only patient outcomes and satisfaction, but provider financial viability and competitiveness as well. Attendees will learn how to estimate their potential CCM revenue, how to use technology and clinical resources to scale up CCM to reach more patients, and how to start delivering CCM benefits to patients and providers by taking five specific steps. Don’t be caught on the sidelines as others put their CCM programs in place.

July 30 (Thursday) 3:00 ET. “De-Silo Your Disparate IT Systems Around the Patient with VNA.” Sponsored by Lexmark. Presenters: Steven W. Campbell, manager of diagnostic applications and interfaces, Piedmont Healthcare; Larry Sitka, VNA evangelist, Lexmark. The entire patient record, including both DICOM and non-DICOM data, should be available at the point of need. Disparate, aging systems that hide data inside departmental silos won’t cut it, nor will IT systems that can’t integrate medical images meaningfully. Learn how Piedmont Healthcare used a vendor-neutral archive to quickly and easily migrate its images and refocus its systems around its patients.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by July 31.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Nineteen-employee, Seattle-based Arivale, which will offer genetic analysis and coaching, raises $36 million. The company’s co-founder and CEO says that its personal coaches are “our secret sauce. They take this very complex data set with the support of a physician and scientists, come up with three or four actionable recommendations, and then help you succeed in achieving those recommendations.”

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MedCPU raises $8 million in funding to expand its clinical decision support business.

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New York-based doctor house call provider Pager, founded in 2014 by Uber’s CTO,  raises $14 million and announces plans to expand to San Francisco. The company, which has 40 doctors, has added insurance acceptance and EHR data sharing. One of the investors says connecting to the EHRs of health systems will be hard, but he’s encouraged that some of those organizations are willing to work with the company.

The Teamsters try again to convince McKesson shareholders to limit executive payouts that would be triggered by a change in control, a proposal that earned 44 percent approval at last year’s annual meeting. Five McKesson executives would automatically collect $283 million if the company changes hands, $142 million of that due CEO John Hammergren alone.

Medtronic will acquire RF Surgical Systems, which offers RF-powered surgical sponge counting, for $235 million.

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In New Jersey, Barnabas Health and Robert Wood Johnson Health System will merge to create RWJ Barnabas Health, the state’s largest health system with $4.5 billion in revenue and 30,000 employees.


Sales

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Piedmont Healthcare (GA) chooses Health Catalyst’s data warehouse and analytics.

The Indiana HIE selects Clinical Architecture’s Symedical terminology management software suite for interoperability.

Express Medical Billing will implement CompuGroup Medical US’s CGM DAQbilling practice management solution.


People

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Ivo Nelson (Next Wave Health) joins the board of revenue cycle vendor Global Healthcare Alliance.


Announcements and Implementations

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The cancer center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (NH) goes live on RTLS patient status tracking from Versus Technology.

Mike “PACSMan” Cannavo, whose occasional HIStalk service has included writing guest articles and manning my HIMSS booth, is offering PACS arbitration services and PACS replacement cost assessment.

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Sunquest Information Systems will partner with TriCore Reference Laboratories to develop diagnostic laboratory software to support population health, precision health, and integration pathology.

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PerfectServe announces that its unified clinical communications and collaboration system reaches 50,000 physician users, a 51 percent increase in 18 months.

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Adena Health System (OH) will go live August 1 on its $15 million Meditech 6.15 conversion.


Government and Politics

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The American Hospital Association objects to the information blocking provisions of the 21 Century Cures Act that was just approved by the House and has moved on to the Senate, saying its definition is too broad and the OIG has an incentive to levy fines since it gets to keep the money (that’s an interesting conclusion). AHA says the government should make EHR vendors prove that their products don’t block information sharing, while providers should be required to share patient information only if they are capable of doing so. AHA specifically says providers should not be held liable for information blocking because of technical limitations or “high costs or fees imposed by certified EHR technology vendors for such electronic sharing or access,” or in other words, provider inconvenience is a valid excuse. AHA also objects to the bill’s elimination of the Health IT Standards Committee.

In India, the state of Haryana will connect 75 hospitals and three medical colleges via a statewide network, also announcing plans to issue a unique patient identifier to allow accurate record sharing.


Privacy and Security

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The ESPN reporter who tweeted a photo of an NFL player’s medical record says he could have done more (he didn’t explain what “more” means) due to the sensitivity of the situation, adding, “It didn’t look to me as if there was anything else in there that could be considered sensitive. NFL reporters report on all kinds of medical information on a daily basis. That’s part of the job. The only difference here was that there was a photo.” The reporter says the photo (which also included the information of a second patient) was sent to him unsolicited, which may mean it came from someone who knows the reporter rather than from a hospital employee, which Jackson Memorial Hospital is desperately hoping is true. The reporter also said that his high journalistic standards required the “ultimate supporting proof,” a claim that NBC Sports brilliantly dismisses as, “The ‘ultimate supporting proof’ wouldn’t have been a medical record containing sensitive and private information about Pierre-Paul and another patient, but the fact that Pierre-Paul eventually would have been seen in public with four fingers on his right hand.” 


Innovation and Research

NIH awards a $3.1 million grant to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research to developed web-based clinical decision support system for assessing acute abdominal pain in children, hoping to improve the diagnosis of acute appendicitis without the use of CT scans. A pilot study reduced CT usage by 25 percent.

A study finds that the caregivers want access to the medical information of their elderly patients to make it easier for them to coordinate care, but the patients themselves don’t want to give unlimited access because they don’t want to worry their loved ones or give up control.

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A study finds that hospital placeholders for unnamed newborns (such as Babygirl Smith) cause wrong-patient ordering errors, suggesting as an alternative using the mother’s first name in the form of Judysgirl Smith, which reduced errors by 36 percent.


Technology

A Washington Post article says it’s obvious that OR personnel shouldn’t be checking Facebook or email during a case, but adds that most hospitals don’t prohibit smartphone use during surgery since that would preclude the use of clinical apps as well.

A Delaware newspaper profiles the use of iPad-powered telemedicine in the Nemours Care Connect program, in which doctors in 40 regional EDs can collaborate via video with Nemours specialists. Nemours is also testing Google Glass for live streaming video from critical care transport nurses back to the hospital, although they’ve struggled with reliability and say that patients “look at me like I have three heads.”


Other

In Australia, SA Health is investigating the deletion of a radiologist’s comments from a patient’s electronic medical record. An ED doctor ordered a CT scan that a radiologist argued was not needed. The radiologist later found that a non-clinician hospital executive had entered the computer system as a superuser and ordered the scan against the stern warnings of the radiology manager. The angry radiologist recorded a patient note that criticized the executive “who stuck her nose in” and criticized the imaging system whose rollout had caused a two-week imaging backlog, which he speculated may have caused the death of another patient. The radiologist later found that his comments had been deleted, which he calls “very dangerous and very sinister.”

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I don’t like surveys that don’t state their methodology, especially if the survey questions appear to be poorly designed, but I’ll pull out a few slightly interesting findings from this new Kareo-sponsored survey of physician practices.

  • Two-thirds believe that EHR use improved patient documentation.
  • Two-thirds say the EHR hasn’t paid for itself.
  • One-third see fewer patients because of the EHR.
  • Just over half of respondents are satisfied with their EHR vendor (although the question confused “vendor” and “product.”)
  • Less than 10 percent will accept the Medicare penalty instead of trying to achieve Meaningful Use Stage 2.
  • Just over half offer a patient portal. 
  • Sixty percent say they aren’t ready for ICD-10, while 40 percent of respondents haven’t even asked their software vendors if they’ll be ready. 
  • Only 12 percent offer virtual visits.

KQED highlights the perinatal depression detection app of Ginger.io, which captures a baseline profile of user activity and notifies the provider of significant changes. It’s being piloted at Novant, Penn, and an unnamed California health system. The article’s headline says the app “harnesses big data” when that hardly seems the case, and while some experts say the app can help compensate for overly busy OB-GYNs who forget to ask about emotional status, the downside is that OB-GYNs might not participate and the patient might not feel comfortable disclosing the information.

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TriHealth spent $9.5 million to implement Epic at its new affiliate, 45-bed McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital (OH), which went live in a July 1 conversion. 

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A White House fact sheet from its Conference on Aging notes that Epic will release a patient falls assessment tool based on CDC’s STEADI guidelines by the end of 2015.

Weird News Andy titles this “Smooth Operator.” A man walks into Morton Plant Hospital (FL), rolls a $48,000 surgery table to the loading dock in broad daylight, and hauls it off in his van. The suspect, who was captured on video and arrested, is a medical device technician with a few prior arrests.


Sponsor Updates

  • HealthLoop posts “CMS is asking doctors to put a warranty on their services.”
  • First Databank will participate in Athenahealth’s “More Disruption Please” hackathon July 24-26 in Austin, TX, providing attendees with access to its FDB Cloud Connector web API.
  • Nuance joins Athenahealth’s “More Disruption Please” program, adding its Dragon Medical 360 to the Athenahealth Marketplace.
  • ZeOmega Chief Strategy Officer Nandini Rangaswamy is named to the Dallas Business Journal’s “Who’s Who in Healthcare.” 
  • ADP Advanced MD offers “New ICD-10 transition period, a little breathing room.”
  • Aventura will exhibit at the Healthcare Finance Institute July 26-28 in Chicago.
  • Awarepoint announces updates to its awareAssets asset tracking and workflow optimization tool.
  • Caradigm offers “Moving Healthcare Analytics from Measurement to Management.”
  • PatientSafe Solutions posts “Achieving Mobile Care Orchestration: How One Hospital Uses Smartphones.”
  • CareSync COO Amy Gleason offers “Remember the ME in Medicine” at the White House blog.
  • CareTech Solutions will exhibit at the AHA and Health Forum Leadership Summit July 23-25 in Troy, MI.
  • CompuGroup Medical will exhibit at the AACC 2015 Annual Meeting July 28-30 in Atlanta.
  • Practice Unite offers “Changing Chronic Care Management Services Reimbursement.”


Sponsors on the 2015 HCI 100

Allscripts
Anthelio Healthcare Solutions
Beacon Partners/KPMG
Burwood Group
Capsule Tech
Caradigm
CareTech Solutions
CTG
EClinicalWorks
Elsevier
Encore Health Resources
Evolent Health
Experian/Passport Health
GE Healthcare
Greenway Health
Imprivata
InterSystems
Leidos Health
Lexmark Healthcare
Medecision
Medhost
Merge Healthcare
MModal
Navicure
Netsmart
Nordic
NTT Data
Nuance
Orion Health
Premier
Sunquest Information Systems
Surgical Information Systems
T-System
TeleTracking Technologies
The Advisory Board Company
The HCI Group
The SSI Group
Verisk Analytics
Wolters Kluwer Health
Xerox
ZirMed
Zynx Health


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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July 14, 2015 News 7 Comments

Monday Morning Update 7/13/15

July 12, 2015 News 5 Comments

Top News

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St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center (MA) will pay $218,400 to settle federal charges that it violated HIPAA when employees stored patient information in an unnamed Internet file-sharing application.


Reader Comments

From Dirk Diggler: “Re: startups. I wondered what your number one piece of advice for them would be.” I could make a long list of the potholes that have consumed a bunch of companies, but I think my top item would be to understand that you can start a business without hanging the limiting “startup” label on yourself. Startups refer to companies that accept a bunch of investor money (or would like to) and therefore are wed to the concept of growing fast and big by solving a big problem before their corporate clock runs out, which requires many simultaneous talents. The risks are extensive and the chances for success are small, sort of like swinging wildly for the fences with every at bat hoping for a miracle. You can create a perfectly nice and solid business with less risk and potentially better return by just finding your niche and working it well, avoiding the temptation of giving away equity (and thus control) to investors who see things differently and who just might fire you down the road. Small business skills are very different than startup-to-IPO skills and people aren’t always good at judging which (if either) they possess. Companies should stop using the “startup” label once the initial inflated optimism has been tempered by the passage of time or the lack of traction that suggests it’s just a business, not really a startup. It’s also true that while a few companies have made it big because they had a fresh idea, it’s mostly solid execution and perseverance that trumps brilliance.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Sixty percent of poll respondents say they’ve user a provider’s portal in the past 90 days. HIS Junkie added comment, “And it was in error and was virtually useless.” New poll to your right or here: have you completed an Advance Directive?

Grammar and usage gripe: people who pronounce “chipotle” as “chipolte” even when seeing it in writing.

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A note to sites that shove annoying survey pop-ups in the faces of people who might otherwise have been interested in what the site offers: my feedback is that I leave the site immediately. It’s like entering a business and being intercepted by a survey-taker even before you can get in the door to see what they’re selling. Girl Scouts know you sell cookies to people leaving the store, not those going in.


A reader asked me to describe the steps I took in trying (unsuccessfully, as it turned out) to get an electronic copy of my medical record from a hospital that should be able to provide it (EMRAM Stage 7, Epic, MU Stage 2). Here you go.

Day 1

The records request page on the hospital’s website offers two options: dropping by personally to the hospital’s HIM department (which was clearly their preference) or downloading, completing, and faxing a form (which could have been easily converted to an online form to eliminate the ridiculous faxing step). The form was complicated since it was primarily designed for patients who want to give someone else access to their records, such as for a workers compensation claim – they really should create separate forms to avoid awkward references to “the patient” when it’s the patient making the request. It also asked for the medical record number, which hospitals frustratingly expect patients to learn and remember. The form also didn’t give an option for paper vs. electronic records. It mentioned that unstated fees would be charged (hospitals are always terrible at price transparency) and that the hospital uses an outside release of information vendor that would be following up. It didn’t ask how I would like to be contacted.

Day 11

I called HIM since I had heard nothing about my request. They said they hadn’t done anything because I hadn’t provided dates of service for my one and only encounter with the health system (since I couldn’t remember the date). They looked it up and said they would mail the records. I told them I wanted them in electronic form. The HIM person said they don’t provide electronic information to patients, only to physicians. I said they were obligated to do so and she said she would get back with me after talking to her supervisor.

I called the hospital’s Epic MyChart support to see if I could download my records. They created an account for me, but it did not show any hospital admissions even though the labs from my very short stay were listed. A couple of issues might have caused the average patient to stumble – the support page wasn’t consistent in terminology (“activation code” vs. “access code”) and MyChart was fragmented between inpatient and outpatient visits with links to jump from one to the other (“visit” versus “inpatient admission.” The login page also didn’t render correctly in Firefox.

I entered a MyChart system message asking the hospital to check on why my admission wasn’t visible. It promised a response within two business days. I still haven’t received one.

Day 13

I called the hospital’s MyChart support number again. The tech was clearly not even seeing the same screens I was since she tried to walk me through finding my admission. None of the tabs or menu options she asked me to click were present. She mentioned a link she was seeing called “MyChart Administration” and I asked if perhaps she wasn’t logged in correctly since that didn’t seem like an option a patient would see. She was confused and could not understand why her screens didn’t match mine. We gave up at that point and she offered no alternative.

I hadn’t heard back from HIM, so I called them again. The supervisor repeated that they are not obligated to give patients electronic copies of their records and would provide only mailed paper copies. I repeated that they are obligated to do so and she got kind of snotty in telling me I was wrong. I filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights.

Day 17

I haven’t heard anything from the health system or OCR. I’m glad I didn’t need the records urgently.

My conclusions so far:

  • Hospitals are not good at consumer-facing interactions. HIM people speak their own language and the records request process was developed for their convenience, not that of the patient. It’s inconceivable that hospitals expect patients to drive to their location, find a parking spot and pay for it, navigate their way through the inevitable wayfinding maze to find the HIM department, fill out a form in person, and then leave having accomplished nothing more than dropping off a paper form since the records have to be mailed later anyway.
  • Hospitals seem really puzzled that the average patient doesn’t have a fax machine since they have them everywhere (hospitals are the last holdout for antique technologies such as numeric pagers and tube TVs).
  • MyChart is really cool. I had another health system’s version of it and this one had a lot more functionality and was very slick. That wasn’t much help since my admission wasn’t listed and the hospital support people didn’t respond to my MyChart message.
  • It was odd to me that as I was demanding electronic copies of my records, the HIM person didn’t mention MyChart at all. The hospital’s HIM and IT people should get together and make sure patients know their options either way – why wouldn’t the poorly designed HIM web page and request form tell patients that MyChart access might be all they need instead of paying for paper copies and waiting for them to be delivered?
  • The HIM people don’t know much about the health system’s obligations to provide electronic copies, having rather smugly told me I was incorrect in believing they are required to do so.
  • Perhaps other providers could get copies of my records quickly in an emergency, but I wouldn’t count on it. I’m not even sure they would bother trying because they know what a pain it is – they would simply carry out their treatment without any knowledge about me that exists elsewhere. During that very short admission, which included a couple of hours in the ED, I mentioned that my records were in my out-of-state hospital’s Epic system and as far as I know they didn’t try to get them.

Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • CMS announces that its latest round of testing produced zero ICD-10 errors from test claims submitted by volunteers, concluding that it will be ready for the October 1 switchover.
  • An investigation of CMS’s National Provider Identifier finds many errors, some of them suggesting that providers with a checkered medical past intentionally used the NPIs of other providers to avoid being exposed on consumer doctor rating sites.
  • CMS agrees to the AMA’s demand for a year-long ICD-10 transition period for physician practices in which it will accept less-specific ICD-10 codes and provide advance payments its systems malfunction.
  • Aetna announces that it will acquire Humana for $34.1 billion pending FTC approval, a deal that carries technology implications since both companies have health IT offerings.

Webinars

July 14 (Tuesday) noon ET. “What Health Care Can Learn from Silicon Valley.” Sponsored by Athenahealth. Presenter: Ed Park, EVP/COO, Athenahealth. Ed will discuss how an open business structure and strong customer focus have helped fuel success among the most prominent tech companies and what health care can learn from their strategies.

July 22 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Achieve Your Quality Objectives Before 2018.” Sponsored by CitiusTech. Presenters: Jeffrey Springer, VP of product management, CitiusTech; Dennis Swarup, VP of corporate development, CitiusTech. The presenters will address best practices for building and managing CQMs and reports, especially as their complexity increases over time. They will also cover quality improvement initiatives that can help healthcare systems simplify their journey to value-based care. The webinar will conclude with an overview of how CitiusTech’s hosted BI-Clinical analytics platform, which supports over 600 regulatory and disease-specific CQMs, supports clients in their CQM strategies.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by July 31.


People

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Patrick Swindle, manager of IT systems support at East Texas Medical Center, is promoted to administrator of ETMC Quitman.


Innovation and Research

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The Seattle business paper profiles University of Washington spinoff C-SATS (which stands for crowd-sourced assessment of technical skills), which evaluates surgeons by having videos of their procedures reviewed by experts. Some of the executive team members came from Classmates.com. The company just raised $2.5 million. 


Technology

A site claiming to have inside information about the next version of Google Glass – marketed to enterprises, not consumers – says it will include a larger prism, more processing power, better battery life, and support for 5 GHz band video streaming. The move to enterprise is smart since Glass was never going to be socially acceptable in public, but that shouldn’t be a problem where the role of its user is known, such as a patient seeing a doctor wearing Glass. It will still be geeky, but at least less creepy.


Other

Cerner responded to my question about the DoD’s CoPathPlus award that was announced last week. It was a new procurement outside of the DHMSM award, which was obvious, but more importantly it was not a renewal of DoD’s previous CoPath contract or an upgrade to that product. It still seems odd that both Cerner and Sunquest sell CoPathPlus and that Sunquest sells two anatomic pathology products.

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A Caribbean newspaper profiles Modernizing Medicine software consultant Chantel Kelly, who was so moved by pleas for supplies in Jamaica’s hospitals that she personally bought bed linen for all of Kingston Public Hospital. Surgeons say they’re operating wearing plastic bags instead of surgical aprons because it’s all they have, so Kelly says she will buy them surgical and patient gowns next.

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A front-page New York Times article reviews virtual visits and the increasing number of insurers willing to pay for them, noting that they cost a lot less than in-person visits but adding that they may drive up overall healthcare costs since the patients might just have stayed home untreated with self-limiting conditions otherwise (an excellent point). A first-time virtual visit patient with a toothache reports her experience as, “I was in so much pain, I didn’t care that it was weird. He got right to the point, which was what I wanted. He prescribed antibiotics and called them into an all-night pharmacy about 20 minutes away.” The article uses the term “virtualist” to describe physicians who provide video visits.

In England, NHS warns ambulance trusts to keep their GPS map software updated after two patients died when drivers couldn’t find their home addresses, with at least nine reports of patient safety issues related to outdated map files.

Non-profit investigative journalism organization ProPublica announces that it will release a “Surgeon Scorecard” next week based in its analysis of Medicare complication rates.

The Detroit oncologist who admitted giving chemotherapy to more than 500 cancer-free patients to defraud Medicare and insurance companies of dozens of millions of dollars is sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Lee Memorial Health System (FL), whose certificate of need request to build a new hospital was turned down by the state after a competitor’s complaint, will instead spend up to $140 million to build a hospital without beds. The campus will include a freestanding ED, outpatient surgery center, an imaging center, lab, and medical office space, all tied together by its Epic system and centralized scheduling.


Sponsor Updates

  • Sunquest Information Systems will hold its Executive Summit and UGM July 13-17 in Scottsdale, AZ.
  • TeleTracking offers “Patient Discharges – a Stumbling Block to Patient Access.”
  • Zynx Health posts “Improving Quality and Reducing Disparities in Care Coordination.”
  • Surescripts offers “FHIR: A SMART Solution for Interoperability?”
  • Surgical Information Systems offers “Why Should you GO to GO!2015? The NEW SIS User Meeting.”
  • T-System posts “Leading with Passion: Hope is Not a Strategy.”
  • Verisk Health publishes “Calculating Risk Scores for Dual Eligibles Under the Medicare Risk Adjustment Model.”
  • Versus Tech client EMMC Cancer Care wins an ACCC Innovator Award for its use of RTLS technology.
  • VisionWare will exhibit at the Healthcare Analytics Symposium July 13-15 in Chicago.
  • Xerox Healthcare will host a Google+ Hangout on population health management July 16.
  • ZirMed offers “An ICD-10 Code List Just for You, America.”clip_image002

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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July 12, 2015 News 5 Comments

News 7/10/15

July 9, 2015 News 5 Comments

Top News

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CMS reports zero ICD-10-related errors in its latest round of testing that was conducted June 1-5 using claims from volunteer submitters. The 10 percent of rejected ICD-10 claims had unrelated errors that wouldn’t have made it even with ICD-9, such as missing or invalid provider information. CMS concludes that it will be fully prepared for the October 1, 2015 switchover, 12 weeks from now. However, they said the same thing about Healthcare.gov’s go-live.


Reader Comments

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From Jo Momma: “Re: ESPN. Tweeted an image of Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul’s OR schedule, which shows his medical info.” The tweet – which elicited a barrage of “breaching his privacy isn’t cool” Twitter responses – is still up, so ESPN must feel that it is legally safe, although it should be wondering why its jock journalist couldn’t just cite the usual “sources say” without putting up a screen shot. ESPN isn’t covered by HIPAA, but they could be sued by the patient, but probably has First Amendment protection. Pierre-Paul’s injury came from shooting off a U-Haul full of illegal fireworks in Florida on July 4, the second NFL’er who blew off  a finger with fireworks over the weekend, setting off panic among fans, coaches, and bookies whose identity hinges on the health of 20-somethings who play games while they watch from afar. Jackson Memorial Hospital, whose surgery schedule photo was featured, is likely to earn a HIPAA fine, probably because the reporter convinced a gullible employee or star-struck doctor to give him a quick peek. The hospital CEO has launched an investigation. 


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

My attempts to get an electronic copy of my medical record finally failed (maybe I should ask ESPN for help). The hospital’s HIM supervisor repeated that they aren’t required to give patients electronic copies. I filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights. I then talked to the hospital’s Epic MyChart support tech to see why my visit isn’t listed and she couldn’t figure it out. A reader asked me to provide a chronology, so I’ll do that in this weekend’s post. Government and hospitals tend to be equally bureaucratic, so I’m not holding my breath for a quick or satisfying response from either.

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Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor Point-of-Care Partners. The Coral Springs, FL management consulting firm helps healthcare organizations (life sciences, payers, health IT vendors, accountable care, HIEs) evaluate, develop, and implement health information strategies, specializing in e-prescribing and electronic prior authorization. Clients include the AMA, AHRQ, the Department of Defense, Merck, Athenahealth, and Cigna. The company produces a nicely polished newsletter edited by CEO Tony Schueth, who I interviewed last month. Thanks to Point-of-Care Partners for supporting HIStalk.

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The software I used to love that I now hate: WinZip, which I’ve used since it was just a graphical front end for the DOS-based PK-Zip. It has turned from polished little utility into a cumbersome piece of upgrade-bugging nagware. It always had a ton of free competitors, but it must be a tough business now that cheap disk and fast broadband makes zipping files mostly unnecessary and Windows has built-in unzip support anyway. WinZip is owned by Corel, where mediocre me-too products (WordPerfect, CorelDRAW) go to die slowly.

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Also bugging me: barely literate celebrities and athletes who say or do something stupid, then issue a self-serving apology statement clearly written by a paid hack, as though nobody would notice the jarring difference in eloquence.

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I love reading John Halamka’s farming blog posts as guilty escapism, including his latest agrarian strategic plan. Only a MD/engineer/CIO would refer to household pets in the form of, “Recognizing that their lifespan may not exceed 10 years, we’ll have to plan for replacement/possible overlap of young/old but will only keep two dogs at steady state.”

Listening: Close to the Edge, honoring Yes co-founder, bassist, singer, songwriter, and now Starship Trooper Chris Squire, who died last week of leukemia at 67. His thundering Rickenbacker made him the lead instrumentalist even among the stellar talents that were his Yes bandmates.

This week on HIStalk Practice: AOA Chief Public Health Officer Michael Dueñas, OD outlines the benefits of the new MORE registry for optometrists. EVisit wins the Arizona Innovation Challenge. Fajardo Imaging selects new healthcare IT from IDS. Renal Ventures Management implements remote patient monitoring tech from Authentidate. Agapé Physical Therapy implements Clinicient technology. The Medical Memory raises $2.1 million. MeMD CEO John Shufeldt, MD details the telemedicine company’s plans to advance care in Indiana.

This week on HIStalk Connect: digital health startup funding tops $2.1 billion during the first half of the year. Silicon Valley-based lab test vendor Theranos receives FDA approval of its specimen collection and analysis process. Representative Mike Thompson introduces the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2015, legislation aimed at expanding access to telehealth and remote patient monitoring services for Medicare patients. Direct-to-consumer genetics testing vendor 23andMe raises $79 million of a planned $150 million funding round, its first since 2012.


Webinars

July 14 (Tuesday) noon ET. “What Health Care Can Learn from Silicon Valley.” Sponsored by Athenahealth. Presenter: Ed Park, EVP/COO, Athenahealth. Ed will discuss how an open business structure and strong customer focus have helped fuel success among the most prominent tech companies and what health care can learn from their strategies.

July 22 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Achieve Your Quality Objectives Before 2018.” Sponsored by CitiusTech. Presenters: Jeffrey Springer, VP of product management, CitiusTech; Dennis Swarup, VP of corporate development, CitiusTech. The presenters will address best practices for building and managing CQMs and reports, especially as their complexity increases over time. They will also cover quality improvement initiatives that can help healthcare systems simplify their journey to value-based care. The webinar will conclude with an overview of how CitiusTech’s hosted BI-Clinical analytics platform, which supports over 600 regulatory and disease-specific CQMs, supports clients in their CQM strategies.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by July 31.


Sales

Catholic Health Initiatives chooses the One by Ingenious Med patient encounter platform (care plan sharing, identifying and tracking high-risk patients, charge capture, and analytics).

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Lenoir Memorial Hospital (NC) will use Access for integrating electronic patient signature into Meditech.

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Summa Health (OH) chooses Merge Healthcare’s cardiology and hemodynamic solutions.

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Carilion Clinic (VA) selects Sectra PACS.

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UNC Health Care (NC) chooses the Infor Cloverleaf Integration Suite.

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The Defense Health Agency chooses Cerner CoPathPlus over an unnamed single competitor for anatomic pathology in a $16 million deal, which I think is an upgrade since DoD has been using Cerner CoPath for 20 years (CoPath, as I reported recently, has a messy family tree, having changed hands via acquisition from CoMed to Dynamic Healthcare Technologies to Cerner while being sold simultaneously by Sunquest). I doubt this is an early indication that Cerner is the DoD EHR front-runner since DoD’s motivation is probably that it’s already using Cerner Millennium PathNet, although that 10-year deal was signed in 2005 and the LIS may be rolled into the EHR bid (I’m trying to find out). Epic developed its own LIS and AP systems (Beaker), while the other DoD candidate Allscripts does not offer either product.


People

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The local paper profiles the retiring William Davis, MD, family medicine practitioner and CMIO of Winona Health (MN), who was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Cerner Physician Conference a few weeks ago.

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Leidos Health hires Michele Behme, RN (Clinovations) as managing director of its Epic practice.

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T-System promotes Hank Hikspoors to CTO.

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West Health CEO Nick Valeriani will retire in September, to be replaced by the promoted Shelley Lyford. I haven’t seen the well-funded organization do a whole lot despite its occasional projects in aging, home monitoring, and price transparency.


Announcements and Implementations

InterSystems will resell Capsule Technologie’s SmartLinx Medical Device Information System.

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Capital BlueCross of Pennsylvania will roll out low-cost laboratory services from Silicon Valley vendor Theranos. Theranos offers great pricing, but its billions of dollars of valuation presumes it can climb the steep scalability hill while stepping over LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, which are huge companies with a presence, contracts, and influence everywhere. Theranos needs to grow quickly beyond California and Arizona and its best bet is probably chain drugstores, which have no particular loyalty to either of the big lab dogs.

Park Place International’s OpSusLive – a cloud-based Infrastructure-as-a-Service for Meditech and enterprise applications — earns a “Best Practice” five-start rating.

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Akron General Hospital (OH) will implement Epic as part of its recent affiliation with Cleveland Clinic.

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FDA gives 510(k) Class II marketing approval to Lexmark’s NilRead zero-footprint diagnostic viewer, which the company acquired along with Claron Technology in January 2015.


Government and Politics

CMS proposes to pay providers for talking to Medicare patients about end-of-life care, reviving a 2009 proposal that became the centerpiece of anti-Obamacare “death panel” political mudslinging. It’s probably a big money-saver since a huge portion of Medicare spending happens in the last few weeks of life when patients and family are confused and default to the “do everything humanly possible” option that often doesn’t change the quality-of-life outcome positively.

The draft of Spain’s healthcare strategic plan calls for doctors throughout the country to be able to view a given patient’s medical history regardless of their treatment location.

An analysis by Jamie Stockton of Wells Fargo Securities finds that only 27 percent of EPs who needed to achieve MU Stage 2 in 2014 actually did so, with Athenahealth and Epic leading the pack in overall percentage. Or as their conclusion states, “If you take out Athena, Epic, and eCW, the rest of the market was in the ballpark of a 10 percent success rate (including vendors like Allscripts, Cerner, and Quality Systems).”


Technology

Startups are offering technology that provides smartphone-controlled puffs of scent, such as issuing the smell of a particular perfume when an email arrives. I was disappointed since I thought they might have the capability to analyze a scent on one smartphone, then re-create it on the recipient’s end, as in, “Smell this oyster bar on the wharf.” I suppose the technology is lacking, especially since smells aren’t as simple as mixing a few basic colors to create an exact match of a given shade.


Other

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I griped last time that CoverMyMeds blew a great PR opportunity by not including a photo of the huge “A Better Cup of Coffee”  banner that its press release touted as the Columbus, OH company recruits web developers willing to learn Ruby on Rails. They sent this one over.

Industry long-timer Justin Barnes explains to Metro Atlanta CEO why the city is known as the “Healthcare Capital of America.”

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Gary Fingerhut, executive director of Cleveland Clinic Innovations, quits after the FBI implicates him in financial irregularities involving one of Cleveland Clinic’s spinoffs.

A London newspaper points out that striking subway drivers, who make up $76,000 per year for a 36-hour work week and get 43 paid days off, earn much more than many doctors.


Sponsor Updates

  • ESD offers a free demo of its automated testing solution and testing script services.
  • Anthelio Healthcare Solutions will provide coders to MModal and use its products for customer documentation needs. 
  • GE Healthcare partners with the NBA to promote orthopedic and sports medicine research.
  • Medicomp Systems offers “Addiction vs. Innovation.”
  • Navicure VP of Product Marketing Jim Wharton is recognized as a Product Launch Champion during the 2015 TAG Product Management Awards.
  • The New York eHealth Collaborative offers “Streamlined Access Among Benefits of New SHIN-NY Network.”
  • Nordic offers the latest episode of its “Making the Cut” video series on Epic conversion planning.
  • PatientSafe Solutions offers “4 Ways Clinical Mobility Protects Patients at Your Hospital.”
  • Hayes Management Consulting posts “Understanding Referral Leakage: Identifying Preventable versus Expected.”
  • PatientKeeper offers “ICD-10 ‘Floaties’.”
  • PDS IT posts “Components of Software-Defined Data Center: Compute Virtualization.”
  • PMD offers an “ICD-10 Preparation Countdown.”
  • Qpid Health publishes “Are quality reporting requirements turning clinicians into clerks?”
  • Sagacious Consultants previews its events at the Epic UGM August 30-31 in Madison, WI.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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July 9, 2015 News 5 Comments

News 7/8/15

July 7, 2015 News 7 Comments

Top News

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CMS caves to the AMA’s withering and never-ending criticism of ICD-10 by agreeing, in a joint announcement, to create a year-long transition period in which CMS will: (a) pay claims even when their ICD-10 codes aren’t specific enough; (b) allow non-specific ICD-10 codes to be used for PQRS reporting; (c) provide advance payments to physicians if CMS has ICD-10-related problems that cause a claims backlog; and (d) assign an ICD-10 ombudsman and communication center for triaging physician-reported ICD-10 problems. Hospitals should take note: it was AMA rather than AHA pulling CMS’s strings, so hospitals (rather surprisingly) get nothing from the new uneasy detente. That also means that ICD-10 information will be of marginal value for the first year given that full specificity is optional (I assume that was done to allow ICD-9 to ICD-10 crosswalks). On the bright side, AMA is now on board with the ICD-10 transition that takes effect October 1 and hopefully most EHR vendors won’t need to resort to a crude compliance crosswalk anyway. It’s not really a full grace period as some sites have suggested – submitted claims must still use valid ICD-10 codes starting October 1.


Reader Comments

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From HIT Wannabe: “Re: getting electronic copies of your medical records. Isn’t this required by Meaningful Use as a core objective? Let me get this straight. The former leader of ONC, who personally oversaw payments to providers when he knew they weren’t in compliance, now asks the public to bring their non-compliance to light. If a hospital can’t provide electronic copes, they should be audited immediately and taxpayer funding should be returned with a penalty.” MU is by attestation, not investigation. It also doesn’t take into account how hard it is to actually get records regardless of the MU technology. Farzad’s idea is that we all become mystery shoppers to see what it’s like for a non-IT savvy patient, which is really the only way to do it since you can’t request record copies from providers you haven’t actually seen. The remaining question is, assuming the process is a disaster for a given provider (which is nearly certain), who do the mystery shoppers report to? Maybe ONC should have an anonymous MU compliance line or online form.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Evolent Health. The 750-employee, Arlington, VA-based value based care services company — co-founded by UPMC Health Plan and The Advisory Board Company — works with health systems and physician organizations in 25 markets to implement tailored clinical programs, patient engagement tools, specialized care teams, network optimization, back-office infrastructure and analytics, organizational governance, and EHR optimization. Its Identifi solution coordinates and measures value-based care in providing data integration, clinical and business content, EHR optimization, and specific end user applications. It offers a free population health technology requirements checklist gleaned from its experience working with providers across the country as well as a Medicare ACO Cheat Sheet. CEO of the newly IPO’ed company is Frank Williams, previously chairman and CEO of The Advisory Board Company. Thanks to Evolent Health for supporting HIStalk.

I found this Evolent Health testimonial by James Porter, MD, SVP/chief medical officer of Deaconess Health System, on YouTube.

My saga to obtain an electronic copy of my records from a Stage 7, MU2-attesting medical center continues 10 days after my initial (mandatorily faxed) request. It’s the usual hospital lack of follow-through and understanding of policy, as the HIM person I called after not hearing back said the hospital sends only paper records to patients – only physician practices can get an electronic copy. I politely mentioned that the hospital happily took Meaningful Use money and therefore should be able to send me an electronic version, so I’ve been escalated to her supervisor who will supposedly be in touch. Meanwhile, I realized that since they’re an Epic-using facility, I should be able to create a MyChart account and download the records myself, but for some reason my visit isn’t showing up even though the labs and charges from it are there. I sent a MyChart secure message that the hospital claims will elicit their reply within two business days, of which one has gone by without a peep. I’ve worked in health systems most of my life and this experience confirms my overall insider assessment of that experience: most everybody in big hospitals and practices is polite, but often uninformed, hampered by the invisible bureaucracy, or incompetent.

Health IT investments seem to be tapering off, which is perfectly logical given that some pretty lame companies nobody’s heard of took in a bunch of questionable investor money. It’s kind of a shame that the sites and groups got so pee-your-pants excited over the big money rolling in and used that as a success metric rather than actual company accomplishments or patient benefit. However, I am a devout disciple of the Gartner Hype Cycle and we’re probably entering the Trough of Disillusionment overall as we bottom out on the slope of Peak of Inflated Expectations, I’m ready to start seeing the success (the Slope of Enlightenment) that some small percentage of them will have in moving the healthcare needle somewhere down the road.


Webinars

July 14 (Tuesday) noon ET. “What Health Care Can Learn from Silicon Valley.” Sponsored by Athenahealth. Presenter: Ed Park, EVP/COO, Athenahealth. Ed will discuss how an open business structure and strong customer focus have helped fuel success among the most prominent tech companies and what health care can learn from their strategies.

July 22 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Achieve Your Quality Objectives Before 2018.” Sponsored by CitiusTech. Presenters: Jeffrey Springer, VP of product management, CitiusTech; Dennis Swarup, VP of corporate development, CitiusTech. The presenters will address best practices for building and managing CQMs and reports, especially as their complexity increases over time. They will also cover quality improvement initiatives that can help healthcare systems simplify their journey to value-based care. The webinar will conclude with an overview of how CitiusTech’s hosted BI-Clinical analytics platform, which supports over 600 regulatory and disease-specific CQMs, supports clients in their CQM strategies.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by July 31.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Emdeon will acquire health plan payment analytics vendor Altegra Health for $910 million. It was one of several health IT companies being rumored a few weeks ago as seeking buyers, along with Precyse Solutions, Mediware, Edifecs, and Caradigm.

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Accretive Health CEO Emad Rizk had $20.5 million in compensation for his first year on the job, nearly all of it in the form of stock and options. The CFO of the struggling and NYSE-delisted company made $3.1 million, while the COO was paid $6.1 million. The company lost $80 million in 2014 after Minnesota’s attorney general went after it for predatory patient collection practices that included sending people into ED treatment rooms to get credit card swipes and interrupting surgeries to pester patients for payment.

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PipelineRX raises $9.1 milliion in funding to expand its telepharmacy services, where its employee pharmacists remotely process medication orders for hospitals that need coverage or help reducing medication turnaround time.


Sales

OCHIN chooses CareAccord, the state of Oregon’s HIE and HISP, for Direct messaging.

The Indiana State Department of Health selects LiveProcess as its emergency management platform for 144 hospitals.


People

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Arcadia Healthcare Solutions names Richard Parker (Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization) as chief medical officer.

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The White House recognizes patient advocate and CareSync COO Amy Gleason, RN as one of nine “Champions of Change” for precision medicine in a Wednesday ceremony.


Announcements and Implementations

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Cerner and University of Missouri extend their healthcare collaboration, which includes the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation, for another 10 years. They will add the Tiger Institute Leadership Academy to host industry peers and place new emphasis on mobile healthcare and population health.

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Cleveland Clinic’s Lutheran Hospital (OH) pilots Uniphy Health’s physician engagement and secure communication platform.

CoverMyMeds launches a paid training program for 20 .NET and Java web developers who want to learn the Ruby on Rails programming language in taking jobs at its Columbus, OH location. The company commissioned a 9,000 square foot, 160-foot tall roadside display inviting Java developers to “find a better cup of coffee,” of which I could unfortunately find no photo (a big PR opportunity missed for the company that would have required only a snapshot).

DataMotion launches API access to its Direct Secure Messaging and SecureMail services for third-party developers.


Government and Politics

ONC posts an invitation for developers and vendors to submit health IT certification testing procedures, tools, and data that ONC will consider as alternatives to existing certification criteria.

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The Cincinnati newspaper finds that CMS’s National Provider Identifier (NPI) database of physicians — and the many third-party systems that use it — is a mess, with tens of thousands of keystroke errors, and more alarmingly, an abundance of apparently intentional changes that hide the checkered past of some of the physician registrants since doctors can change any of their information CMS has on file. The paper reported the problems it found to CMS, who blew it off by telling them to contact individual physicians to correct any errors they noticed (of which there are 35,000 for New York alone). Mistakes are important because consumer information sites like Healthgrades and Vitals.com use the number to display information about a given physician. The paper found that of 100 mismatched NPIs in Florida, 30 percent belonged to doctors who had been disciplined or criminally convicted, with their incorrect license numbers conveniently pointing in every case to a blemish-free doctor.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) proposes an amendment to the 21st Century Cures bill that would delay Meaningful Use penalties and rebate EPs for any penalties already levied.


Privacy and Security

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A Italy-based security software company that counts the FBI among the customers of its snooping software tells users to stop using its product after its own systems are hacked, with all of the company’s files leaked to the Internet. The hacker tweeted, “I’ll write up how Hacking Team got hacked once they’ve had some time to fail at figuring out what happened and go out of business.” Experts suspect that the company’s system administrators used weak passwords, some of them variants of the word “password.” The leaked files, which were not encrypted, revealed that the company’s software has an undocumented “back door” that would let it enter customer systems and, most interestingly, the published information shows who uses its software and exactly who they’re using it to spy on.


Innovation and Research

A California Healthline report highlights Way to Wellville,  a year-old health technology project run by technology investor Esther Dyson that will try to address the public health problems in a rural California county and four other US locations. They’re using IBM Watson to target more Medicaid signups and hope to use iPhone collaboration and Fitbit monitoring. The county’s public health officer seems skeptical in how Silicon Valley types can parachute in and change the county’s culture.


Technology

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BBC News covers hospital-focused mobile apps Medxnote (secure messaging), Imprivata Cortext (secure messaging), Sensium Healthcare (wireless patient monitoring patches), Gauss Surgical Triton (estimates blood loss from photos of surgical swabs), and a Sarasota Memorial Hospital beacon-based wayfinding app.

Microsoft will award five, $100,000 grants to university and non-profit researchers to develop uses for its HoloLens mixed reality computer. Submissions are due September 5, 2015.

A tiny study by direct-to-consumer genetics testing company 23andMe finds that patients whose genetic tests suggest a possibility of Parkinson’s disease who also report symptoms of the disease can be accurately diagnosed via a video visit with a neurologist, also noting that all of the 50 patients were correct in their self-diagnosis of having the condition. The company also announced $79 million in new funding (of $150 million sought) as it moves toward drug development.


Other

I updated Monday’s post with a response from Cerner about a reader question about Meaningful Use support for the former Siemens legacy products, but here it is again for those who didn’t happen to re-read the original:

Before the acquisition, Siemens Health Services communicated to its clients in person that they would continue to support MedSeries4 and Invision for clinicals and financials, as well as Eagle, but wouldn’t support the clinical components of Invision or MedSeries4 for Meaningful Use 3. Cerner affirms that communication. Additionally, we are providing new regulatory enhancements and other operational excellence improvements for MedSeries4, Invision and Eagle financials, and we have existing client support commitments on all three solutions that extend into the next decade that we will continue to honor.

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The PBX of the Grand Junction, CO VA hospital goes down for several days, losing voice mail messages and leading the hospital to suggest that patients use myHealtheVet secure messaging instead.

A Bloomberg report finds that the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation charity, which funded a drug company’s research in return for royalties the drug generated, eventually earned $3.3 billion by selling the drug’s rights to an investment company, providing the charity with more research money than the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association combined. Now the issue is whether patients can actually afford the two drugs it funded given that each costs around $300,000 per year. The foundation’s CEO says the drugs are overpriced, but he doesn’t think drug companies would be developing comparable drugs if they generated only $10,000 per patient per year.

A report commissioned by the World Health Organization finds that the organization lacks the capacity and culture to deal with global health emergencies such as Ebola, where it failed to raise awareness until nine months after initial reports. The report also suggests that WHO members pitch in to create a $100 million disease outbreak fund.

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Here’s the best deal of any conference I’ve seen lately: Valence Health will hold its Further 2015 value-based care conference (for its clients and providers in general) in Chicago, September 30 – October 2. Attendees get two nights at the Loews Chicago downtown (the Expedia price for those nights is $389 per), meals, the conference, and entertainment. I enjoyed Chicago enough during HIMSS to think that sounds like a pretty good trip with an easily added weekend for those looking for an early fall break.

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CVS Health, which stopped selling tobacco products in its stores last year, resigns from the US Chamber of Commerce after reports surface indicating that the organization was trying to squelch anti-smoking laws all over the world. The Chamber responded by saying it doesn’t support singling out individual industries even though it does not support smoking.

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Weird News Andy hopes that an especially hot corner of hell is reserved for Detroit-area oncologist Farid Fata, MD, who admits that he intentionally treated several hundred patients for cancer they didn’t really have so he could bill Medicare for $34 million in unneeded treatments. The doctors, whose practice was the state’s largest cancer practice with offices in seven cities, faces up to 175 years in prison during sentencing hearings this week


Sponsor Updates

  • ADP AdvancedMD offers “Become much more productive and profitable with AdvancedInsight” and recognizes winners of its AdvancedBiller awards.
  • AirStrip wins San Diego’s MetroConnect Prize, a program that helps businesses pursue foreign markets.
  • Aprima will exhibit at the Michigan MGMA Summer Conference July 16 in Boyne Falls.
  • Besler Consulting offers a “Bringing Clinical & Finance Together” podcast.
  • HCI Group posts “Healthcare 2025: Improving Care by Embracing Risk and Accepting Change.”
  • Clockwise.MD graduates from the Atlanta Tech Village.
  • CoverMyMeds offers “Maryland Prescribers: What You Need to Know About the Electronic Prior Authorization Mandate.” 
  • Galen Healthcare offers “Interface Engine Migration Success Story: JCAPS to Orion Rhapsody.”
  • The HCI Group asks “Are you ‘Ready’ to Go-Live? 5 Key questions to ask prior to Go-Live.”
  • Healthfinch offers “Adherence to Care Plans Remains Challenge for Practices.”
  • Impact Advisors offers “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Meaningful Use Stage 3: Objective 5 – Patient Electronic Access to Health Information.”
  • InterSystems publishes “Urban Rabbits: Why Context Matters in Analytics.”
  • Lifepoint Informatics will exhibit at the Sunquest User Group Meeting July 13-17 in Scottsdale, AZ.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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July 7, 2015 News 7 Comments

Monday Morning Update 7/6/15

July 4, 2015 News 8 Comments

Top News

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Lab testing upstart Theranos earns FDA approval for its herpes simplex test, the importance of which isn’t the test itself, but rather the fact that the company sought and earned FDA’s stamp of approval for its overall technology that had been labeled by some scientists as secretive and clinically suspect.


Reader Comments

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From Pithy Mood: “Re: Quality Systems, Inc. The company just issued a proud announcement that its management team and CEO won a bunch of awards, including CEO of the Year. Why are there rumors that he was pushed out?” It’s not as though some prestigious, metrics-driven, non-profit organization of executive peers chose the just-retired, 63-year-old Steven Plochocki as the best CEO in the country given that QSII shares sell today for the same price now that they did when he took the job in 2008. The “CEO World Awards” are run by a public relations firm – companies pay to apply to a seemingly endless list of categories, with the winners then earning the opportunity to buy advertising, banquet tickets, memorabilia books, trophies, and other vanity junk. The troubling aspect is that a company would even bother to apply knowing how little any resulting award would mean. Plochocki was one of 13 “CEO of the Year” winners. Even his admin got in on the act by being the only announced winner in the “Admin Assistant to the CEO” category. Maybe she’ll replace him.

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From X-Industry Consultant: “Re: Leah Binder’s WJS column. I’m tired of the ‘health system CIOs are idiots – why can’t you be like other industries?’ narratives. How many IT implementations from other industries has she studied? I’ve worked on dozens and huge failures abound – the FBI abandoned a $170 million system, Pfizer a $100 million clinical trials system. Give me an industry or government agency and I’ll give you a failure that dwarfs anything in health systems. The industry difference is that health system CIOs manage dozens of business models and hundreds of applications. Not many industry or government CIOs have the political, workflow, technology, and public policy skills to manage IT in a large IDN or AMC. I applaud Leapfrog’s constant pushing for better IT, but this column isn’t helpful.” The opinion piece titled “The Fatal Cost of Hospitals’ IT Ignorance” is naive about how healthcare IT works, where “ignorance” isn’t the cause of many or most problems. Binder says few IT leaders can make technology work culturally, conveniently absolving the non-IT operational leadership of responsibility in hanging the “responsibility without authority” albatross around the CIO’s neck. Mostly she’s griping that not every hospital chooses to run Leapfrog’s medication warning system checks, which as useful as it might be, is hardly the best measure of IT competence. Many hospitals are averse to standardization, transparency, and practicing evidence-based medicine, so it’s no wonder plugging in a new IT system (even successfully) doesn’t change anything. While I’m amazed and awed at how Amazon’s site works, I don’t necessarily assume they could do a better job of developing hospital systems than the vendors and provider IT leadership we already have. We’ve built an illogical, consumer-indifferent, paternalistic, billing-intensive, and political healthcare system that defies efforts to make it better that involve simply automating the underlying mess.

From Pickleballer: “Re: Cerner’s support of the former Siemens applications. Zane Burke originally said Cerner would support Invision, MedSeries4, and Eagle for 3-5 years, but a CIO friend says contract language obligates Cerner to provide updates for bug fixes and HIPAA only, not Meaningful Use Stages 2 and 3. If true, that’s a nasty clause that could hospitals many millions of HITECH dollars when had Cerner just said so upfront clients could have planned ahead.” I have an inquiry in with Cerner and will let you know if they respond. UPDATE: Cerner provided the following response:

Before the acquisition, Siemens Health Services communicated to its clients in person that they would continue to support MedSeries4 and Invision for clinicals and financials, as well as Eagle, but wouldn’t support the clinical components of Invision or MedSeries4 for Meaningful Use 3. Cerner affirms that communication. Additionally, we are providing new regulatory enhancements and other operational excellence improvements for MedSeries4, Invision and Eagle financials, and we have existing client support commitments on all three solutions that extend into the next decade that we will continue to honor.

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From Bella: “Re: bachelor’s degree in HIM through UIC online. I’m interested but don’t know how hard it will be. Has anyone completed it? I could do a post-baccalaureate certificate or the degree to earn RHIA certification – which route is better?”

From Blue Canoe: “Re: VA suicide risk EHR algorithm. I read that Cerner presented the same concept on the Hill earlier this year. Do you think something like this would be a factor in the DoD’s decision?” I doubt it will be a primary consideration, especially since the concept hasn’t been fully proven at scale and both Allscripts and Epic collect the same patient information and could run the same algorithm against it. The idea probably impresses IT-naive politicians, so it really depends on how much they influence the DoD’s decision.

From Pure Shortening: “Re: McKesson Connected Care & Analytics. Reorganized, including subsidiary RelayHealth.” Unverified. I’m not really sure what’s going on there if anything, other than McKesson sold its care management business out of that division a few weeks ago. RelayHealth, which always seemed to be the darling of McKesson CEO John Hammergren, hasn’t put out many press releases lately and the folks I knew there are gone. That whole product area would seem to be the most promising to McKesson, which is slowly backing away from some of its other health IT businesses such as the decision to retire Horizon, which gave competitors some nice new sales. RelayHealth still seems like the company jewel to me.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Seventy percent of poll respondents think that HIPAA has had a positive impact on privacy. Reader Michael says small practices don’t understand it and doubt that HHS actually enforces it, while Mak likes the concept of snooping penalties and ensuring that patients can get their own records but he’s not a fan of the Washington “forever” jobs it created or penalties for looking at information that is widely available everywhere, including in the government’s own insecure systems. New poll to your right or here:  have you as a patient used a provider’s portal within the past 90 days?

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Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor LiveProcess. The Burlington, MA-based company offers HealthCORe, a team communication and collaboration solution that is used for emergency incident response, coordinating severe weather events, managing staff callouts, monitoring ED capacity and mobilizing staff as needed, coordinating hospital-to-hospital patient transfers, and managing care transitions. They have a lot of industry long-timers involved, including Sentillion co-founder Rob Seliger as executive chairman, Terry Zysk (MedVentive) as CEO, and Kelly Flood (Perceptive Informatics) as VP of client services. Thanks to LiveProcess for supporting HIStalk.

I found this LiveProcess HealthCORe overview on YouTube.

I still have matching money available for DonorsChoose donations. A company’s $1,000 will not only magically turn into $2,000 worth of funded teacher projects, it will also earn the donating company a mention right here on HIStalk for helping kids who need it.

Thanks to the following sponsors, new and renewing, that recently supported HIStalk, HIStalk Practice, or HIStalk Connect. Click a logo for more information.

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My grammar (and related) gripes for this week include use of overly casual contractions (such as “it’ll” and “it’d) when writing; calling any sort of lame and usually obvious tips “hacks” to make them sound more edgy; writing “would of” instead of “would have;” incorrectly saying “literally” for emphasis when “figuratively” is obviously correct; redundantly writing a currency figure in the form of “$1 billion dollars;” and the name of a restaurant chain I just noticed, LYFE Kitchen, in which LYFE stands for “Love Your Food Everyday,” whose misspelling suggests food that is mundane rather than enjoyed frequently unless they correctly change their name to the admittedly less-clever LYFED. I’ll also bring up an Independence Day special in differentiating between “grilling” (cooking over high heat) and “barbequing” (smoking over low heat), with the large number of folks who proclaim they’re doing the latter actually doing the former. 


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Allscripts spends $200 million to buy 10 percent of NantHealth, whose chairman Patrick Soon-Shiong invested $100 million of personal funds in Allscripts as his company prepares for an IPO.
  • An AHRQ-funded study finds that use of patient portals and secure messaging create problems for both patients and providers, concluding that they don’t affect outcomes unless rolled out as part of a comprehensive program.
  • A CVS study of chronic disease patients finds that patients prefer using online portals to communicate with their physicians, slightly more than those who like email or mobile apps.
  • A federal grand jury indicted a citizen of an unnamed country outside the US for using information stolen in a UPMC breach to file fraudulent tax returns.

Webinars

July 14 (Tuesday) noon ET. “What Health Care Can Learn from Silicon Valley.” Sponsored by Athenahealth. Presenter: Ed Park, EVP/COO, Athenahealth. Ed will discuss how an open business structure and strong customer focus have helped fuel success among the most prominent tech companies and what health care can learn from their strategies.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by July 31.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Elsevier acquires London-based clinical decision support vendor InferMed.

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Aetna will buy Humana for $34 billion, paying a share price premium of 23 percent. I can’t imagine the FTC will find the idea of bigger, fewer insurance companies to be good for consumers, but Aetna seems to be confident they’ll get approval to close the deal. The Affordable Care Act has been very good for insurance company shares.

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Shares of video visit provider Teladoc began trading Wednesday, with shares jumping 50 percent on IPO day in raising $270 million for the company, which lost $17 million on $43 million in revenue for 2014.


Sales

Encompass Home Health & Hospice chooses HealthMEDX Vision as the EMR for its private duty pediatric services.


People

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Medical second opinion vendor 2nd.MD names Patrick McGinnis, MD, MS, MBA (Memorial Hermann Healthcare System) as chief medical officer. He’s also a flight surgeon in the US Air Force Reserve.

Consumer engagement platform vendor Datu Health hires Jeff Johnson (Intermountain Healthcare) as SVP of strategy.


Announcements and Implementations

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ADP AdvancedMD announces its Patient Relationship Management suite that includes patient forms, a check-in kiosk, and a patient portal.


Government and Politics

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An interesting requirement of the Affordable Care Act is that insurers pay for obesity screening, which has for-profit diet clinics (including some run by hospitals) salivating at the prospect of earning up to $3,000 per patient per year for overseeing questionably effective weight loss programs.


Privacy and Security

A USA Today article urges people who drive rental cars to clear their personal data from the Bluetooth-paired entertainment system, which stores their phone number, contacts, and call logs for the next renter to find. It also points out that navigation systems retain addresses and the rental company’s black box tracks a lot of undisclosed information.

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The Guardian profiles Deanna Fei, one of two AOL employees whose premature babies cost the company $1 million, causing the company’s $12 million salary CEO to publicly blame Obamacare and the cost of “two distressed babies” as the reason he cut the company’s 401(k) plan for everyone. Deborah Peel of Patient Privacy Rights told Fei that CEO Tim Armstrong had violated HIPAA in referring to her daughter in a way that made it obvious who he was talking about. Peel says, “I saw her story when the idiot CEO of AOL was stupid enough to take action with the 5,000 employees and tell them he was changing their 401(k) benefits because of $2m premature babies. You’d think that somebody who runs a technology company would understand privacy, but no.” I’m not sure the CEO really violated HIPAA since he’s not a health plan, provider, or clearinghouse, but I’ll agree on the “idiot” part – he also fired the company’s creative director in front of 1,000 co-workers for shooting video during an internal conference call about layoffs and reorganizations.


Other

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The management of South Australia’s Royal Adelaide Hospital is struggling to get its new clinical system ready for the January 17, 2016 opening of its replacement hospital after confusion over the go-live date, which the hospital’s management thought was mid-April 2016 until early last year. The auditor’s report also notes that South Australia Health had “lodged a formal claim” against Allscripts to recoup project delays after Allscripts failed to deliver critical parts of the billing system, with Allscripts agreeing to pay $10 million in November 2014. SA Health named Allscripts as vendor of choice for the 80-hospital, $225 million project in November 2010 and signed the contract a year later, with the last cost update coming in at $317 million over 10 years, which SA Health expecting that “the approved EPAS rollout would result in an overall favourable position of $11 million over 10 years to 2020-21.” The government had to put the stalled rollout on hold last year following physician complaints about poor usability and claims that it was causing medication errors.

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HealthStream co-founder and CEO Bobby Frist gives $1.5 million worth of his personal company shares to 600 non-management employees, which he announced in a video phone message to each employee by saying, “This stock grant is being personally funded from me, so this is from me to you. Thank you again and enjoy being an owner of the company.” He holds shares worth $154 million and lives in a pretty grand Nashville estate judging from photos I found by Googling.

Several readers sent a link to ZDoggMD’s R. Kelly remix of “Ignition” called “Readmission.” ZDoggMD, who is actually Zubin Damania, MD, founded Las Vegas primary care clinic Turntable Health. He says his “medical humor & dope rhymes” are “slightly funnier than placebo.”

Weird News Andy ponders, “What’s a Grecian Urn?” and concludes that it’s a lot more in Germany than in Greece, whose self-created and ever-worsening financial mess has caused a brain drain that includes 5,000 emigrated doctors since 2010, 3,500 of which have relocated to Germany, Greece’s largest lender.


Sponsor Updates

  • Orion Health is named to “2015 Careerbuilder Top Companies to Work For in Arizona.”
  • Hayes Management Consulting posts “System Implementation: 4 Stumbling Blocks to Avoid.”
  • Paula Gwyn of CareTech Solutions is appointed to the HIMSS Innovation Committee.
  • Extension Healthcare offers “Caregiver Alarm Crisis – What is Your Story?”
  • Galen Healthcare Solutions posts “For the Users, By the Users: ERUG 2015.”
  • Greenway Health offers “Improving medication adherence through education, communication.”
  • Madison Regional Economic Development visits Healthfinch on its Innovation Location tour.
  • Holon Solutions offers “Incentives are Good, but Tobacco Cessation App Can Improve Patient Success.”
  • Impact Advisors offers “LEADing Your LEADers!”
  • Influence Health offers “Why Mobile Should be a Top Priority in Your Online Marketing Strategy, Part II.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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July 4, 2015 News 8 Comments

News 7/1/15

June 30, 2015 News No Comments

Top News

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Allscripts takes a 10 percent equity position in NantHealth for $200 million in cash, while NanthHealth billionaire founder Patrick Soon-Shiong personally invests $100 million in Allscripts. Co-development plans include product integration and work on personalized medicine. NantHealth is rumored to be mulling IPO plans, while Allscripts shares have dropped 16 percent in the past year.


Reader Comments

From Dr. N: “Re: EHRs. EHRs were developed out of coding and billing frameworks. This does not relate to MDs and patients. SOAP still remains the most efficient and meaningful format. However, click boxes, no doubt, would be helpful for meta data, also important. Software has the ability to pull down from the SOAP narrative format data to the click boxes. Minimal new language may need to be used by the MD in the narrative. I personally retired rather than using the completely useless EHR formats available. The current EHRs are subtly and obtusely changing MD thinking processes and predominately to the negative.”

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From Libby Litigator: “Re: Blue Shield of California. You mentioned that a former executive claims he was fired for trying to reduce the company’s outsourcing payments to Cognizant. BSCA’s former CTO also filed a lawsuit claiming he was fired for pointing out issues with Cognizant. His new employer CEO also worked for Blue Shield as a policy guy and got tired of trying to defend its non-profit status after he saw how it operated. Has anyone ever done that on the hospital side?” That is indeed a fascinating story, as former BSCA CTO Aaron Kaufman says his CIO boss fired him the day before he was due his $450K bonus for 2014 after Kaufman questioned selection of a particular vendor. BSCA countersued Kaufman in claiming that he charged $100,000 in personal expenses to his company credit card. Some of those charges involved a bowling party night out Kaufman spent with his girlfriend, “Sharknado” and “American Pie” actress Tara Reid, which made BSCA doubly unhappy because “inappropriate” photos like the one above made their way into the public eye. Kaufman said he had to use his company credit card because the wife he was divorcing had locked up his accounts. Most interesting (other than a healthcare CTO successfully wooing a Hollywood actress, even a minor and fading one like Reid) is how a supposedly non-profit insurer can justify paying a CTO an annual bonus of $450K. Kaufman is now EVP/chief product officer of SocialWellth, which earns top buzzword scores in unintelligibly describing its app certification business that it bought from the defunct Happtique as, “a digital health company that enables payers, providers, and employers to prescribe curated digital health assets and services to their end consumers at relevant touch points in their health journey, and in turn, receive actionable data to deliver value based care. Our profile-driven mobile computing platform integrates and aggregates mobile health apps, devices, and content while leveraging activation currency and social engagement to deliver personalized well-being experiences for consumers.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

It’s been four days since I faxed a form requesting my electronic records from a hospital and they haven’t responded. The only other method of contact listed is to call the HIM department, so I’ll do that next. I’m feeling the presence of an increasingly non-electronic bureaucratic wall.


Webinars

July 14 (Tuesday) noon ET. “What Health Care Can Learn from Silicon Valley.” Sponsored by Athenahealth. Presenter: Ed Park, EVP/COO, Athenahealth. Ed will discuss how an open business structure and strong customer focus have helped fuel success among the most prominent tech companies and what health care can learn from their strategies.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by July 31.


Sales

PremierMD (FL) chooses the eClinicalWorks EHR and population health management suite.

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UC Irvine Health (CA) chooses Epic.

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UAB Medicine (AL) selects Athenahealth’s AthenaCoordinator Enterprise for patient access, referrals, and care transitions.


People

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Verisk Health hires Sean Creighton (CMS) as VP of risk adjustment solutions.

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A North Carolina newspaper’s review of 2014 CEO compensation of the state’s largest companies places Premier CEO Susan DeVore highest at $24.9 million, the first time a woman has topped the list. PINC share price is up 32 percent in the past year, valuing the company at $1.4 billion, of which DeVore holds around $8 million worth.

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Alternate site billing systems vendor Brightree hires Lori Jones (AirStrip) and Shaw Rietkerk (MModal) as EVPs.


Announcements and Implementations

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Wellcentive awards a $5,000 Medical Scholarship for Veterans to former Marine Captain Anthony DeSantis, a fourth-year medical student and Tillman Military Scholar at University of South Florida who was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq in 2007-2008.


Innovation and Research

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A seventh-grade student in Vietnam creates Health for Everyone, prize-winning software that contains clinical information, treatment plans, a drug-drug interaction checker, and a weekly medical quiz. The local hospital’s internal medicine department is using it,  proclaiming it to be “a wondrous, time-saving device which also updates doctors’ and nurses’ medical knowledge and expertise.”


Other

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A Wall Street Journal article called “How to Take Charge of Your Medical Records” urges patients to serve as their own data hub instead of relying on providers and their incompatible systems to send information back and forth. The reporter got a bit confused in thinking that the Blue Button website contains actual Medicare and VA patient information and the article takes a puzzling turn into the privacy of wearable device data, but it was otherwise a pretty good consumer-focused overview. I was interested that the ICEBlueButton app from Humetrix displays a QR code on a smartphone’s lock screen that paramedics can scan to display emergency medical information, with a $20 per year option to also immediately alert their emergency contacts.

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An AHRQ-funded study finds that providers like the convenience of allowing patients to upload information via their patient portal, but patients themselves struggle with usability issues and rarely upload anything. Secure messaging was accepted by both groups but sometimes caused provider workflow and workload problems. The study concludes that health IT improves outcomes only if used as part of more comprehensive programs and poor application usability impedes workflow.

Analysts from Goldman Sachs estimate that digital technology (in the form of the Internet of Things) will save $300 billion in annual US healthcare costs and generate $32 billion in revenue. My cynical experience is that the latter is much more likely to be realized than the former. One person’s excess costs is another person’s income and that other person often hires lobbyists, lawyers, and trade groups to keep the excess costs flowing into their pockets. 

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Eaze, the California company whose fast-track marijuana delivery service is known as “the Uber of pot,” jumps into telemedicine with with EazeMD, which consumers can use to obtain a medical marijuana card following a $25 video visit with a physician.

Tuesday night (June 30) is Leap Second, where the world’s clocks adjust for the slowing in the Earth’s rotation by adding an extra second to the day. Amazon had problems the last time it happened (in 2012) but has since changed its systems to add a tiny bit of time to each day rather than all at once.

A New Zealand doctor whose patient died after he unknowingly prescribed an inappropriate drug says he will no longer rely on his EHR’s automatic warnings and will instead review the records himself. The doctor says he doesn’t remember receiving a computer warning. The local hospital was also blamed for failing to integrate its systems after acquiring another practice.

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A decently designed survey of CVS pharmacy customers with at least one chronic condition finds that 37 percent have communicated with their physician by email. Around half are interested in tracking health, refilling prescriptions, and looking up information, with their preferred method being via online portals, which finished slightly ahead of email or mobile apps. Oddly, the study commentary opines that patients prefer email and Facebook to physician portals even though its results indicate otherwise. Nearly 20 percent of respondents said they have contacted their physicians on Facebook, which will surely alarm hospital risk managers everywhere. The study is disappointing only in that it took two years for it to wind its way through the bowels of journal publishing – the survey was performed in May and June of 2013, a decade ago in social media time.

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Unrelated but bizarre: two airline pilots from Argentina are fired for posting a YouTube video in which they turn over the controls of their plane during takeoff to a model who has been featured in Playboy. The passengers are filing suit against the airline, while the model says she will sue the pilot and co-pilot for sexual harassment in claiming they fondled her while fastening her seat belt.

Weird News Andy titles this story “Child to Be Raised By Wolves” in expressing relief that mom and baby Romulus are fine. A pregnant woman gets lost in a national forest while driving to her parents’ house and is stranded for three days when she runs out of gas and her cell phone battery dies. She gives birth and is finally rescued by Forest Service rangers responding to the forest fire she accidentally started.


Sponsor Updates

  • John Moore, managing partner of Chilmark Research, will deliver the keynote address at Galen Healthcare’s Galen Partner Advisory Council in Boston August 3-4.
  • ADP AdvancedMD offers “Flag these ICD-10 codes for the Fourth of July.”
  • Team AirStrip wins the San Diego International Triathlon Mixed Relay.
  • AirWatch offers “IDC confirms: AirWatch by VMware holds largest EMM market share.”
  • Besler Consulting posts “Making the Case for Dedicated Observation Units.”
  • CapsuleTech offers “AMIA Task Force Calls for Simplification and Speed in EHR Use.”
  • Caradigm offers “Super Clinically Integrated Networks will Lead the Way to Population Health.”
  • CareSync publishes “Project Manager Field Research.”
  • CitiusTech celebrates its 10th anniversary.
  • CoverMyMeds offers “CoverMyMeds – As Secure as Ever.”
  • CTG participates in the 20th annual Ride for Roswell to raise funds for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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June 30, 2015 News No Comments

Monday Morning Update 6/29/15

June 27, 2015 News 2 Comments

Top News

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A federal grand jury indicts a foreign suspect for using employee information obtained in the 2014 hacking of UPMC’s computer systems to file 900 fraudulent federal tax returns that netted a group of conspirators $1.5 million.


Reader Comments

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From FM: “Re: Brian Weiss’s article. Great article, Brian. The ‘HIE of one’ is the most simple, and most disruptive, way to achieve interoperability, and all enabled by simple technical building blocks (Direct, C-CDA) plus our inalienable civil rights. All we have to do now is ask. #GetMyHealthData.” I’m doing my own HIE of one, as you’ll read in the next paragraph. I invite readers to do the same and report their results. We keep talking about information blocking, so let’s name names in trying to wrest an electronically transmitted C-CDA from providers who have eagerly lapped from the Meaningful Use trough and therefore should be able to provide one.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I am accepting Brian Weiss’s suggestion that we all become Open Provider Authorized Testing Bodies in requesting an electronic copy of my discharge summary from my one and only hospital admission, which lasted less than a day. It’s an EMRAM Stage 7, Epic-using, MU2-attesting medical center that should be able to send a C-CDA to my newly created Direct address (via Carebox, signup for which took 10 seconds). I suspect clashes with a clueless bureaucracy are in my future as I’ve already had to print a confusing HIM-centric paper form, fill it out (minus my medical record number, since it’s ridiculous that they expect patients to know that), and fax it back (using a free Internet fax service since I don’t even have a landline, much less a fax machine). I’ll be interested to see how they verify my identity and respond to my request for an electronic copy, which could be either easier or harder since they use an outsourced release of information company. The form didn’t even ask what method of delivery I preferred, so if it weren’t for the fact that they’ll probably call up wanting a per-page fee paid before sending me my records, I would probably get a package of paper in the mail by default.

Speaking of Brian’s article, I’ll offer a counterpoint to his suggestion that getting a copy of your own C-CDA means the sender’s EHR is open. That’s a great start, but it doesn’t do a whole lot for interoperability with other providers. It’s annoying for health systems and practices to send out C-CDAs to patients, but it’s downright threatening for them to open up their full patient information to competitors, which is what you would want as the subject of the overused “unconscious in the ED” scenario.

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Poll respondents are split as to whether the EXTREME criteria adequately define open, interoperable EHRs. The no-voters unfortunately didn’t tell us what the authors missed. IP address analysis showed no evidence of ballot box stuffing, but I noticed that most of the Epic-based respondents chose “no.” New poll to your right or here, as suggested by a reader’s comment: is HIPAA’s impact on privacy positive or negative? It seems like an obvious “positive” on first glance, but as the reader points out, HHS gave providers complete control to use patient information without consent and with minimal disclosure requirements, pretty much killing the idea that patients own their data (not to mention that the full law failed to accomplish the “P” of insurance portability that didn’t happen until ACA). Rampant misinterpretation of HIPAA, where providers conveniently claim that anything they don’t want to do is prohibited by HIPAA, is a different issue.

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Need consulting help? Consider using the RFI Blaster, which lets you send a brief description of your project to one or several consulting firms via one simple online form, also allowing you to choose your desired method of contact (phone number is optional, in other words). The CIO of a large health system suggested I create it and he’s had success using it since it puts him in control while requiring little of his time or energy.

I’m on a pet peeve streak, apparently. For those who latched onto the trite phrase “not so much,” it’s as eye-rollingly out of touch as a leisure suit. I’m also annoyed at the traffic-desperate “news” sites that repeatedly tweet out old stories like “Epic CEO to donate 99 percent of fortune” over and over again for many days (the actual story was published 12 days ago and they’re still tweeting about it, while another just-tweeted story was posted 22 days ago) hoping to eventually con followers into clicking. It’s also like CNN, which keeps old stories high on the page hoping bored passers-by will click out of instinct, which at least isn’t as bad as milking minimal impact stories (still-missing flights or still-fleeing prisoners) while ignoring less entertaining but far more important topics, such as whether Greece will default or the impact of terrorist attacks in Tunisia.

It’s going to be an easy read today because nearly nothing is happening in healthcare IT this holiday week. I won’t waste your time passing off junk as news.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • The Supreme Court upholds the legality of the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies for residents of states that don’t run their own health insurance exchanges, leaving ACA intact and sending shares of insurance companies and for-profit hospital companies soaring.
  • Google confirms that it is developing an industrial-grade, prescription-only wristband that will collect patient and environmental information for clinical studies.
  • Aurora Health Care (WI) takes a lead investor role in StartUp Health.
  • A Federal Aviation Administration RFI discloses its intentions to connect its pilot medical exam system to government EHRs, hoping to detect safety-endangering medical conditions such as depression.
  • Video visit provider MDLive raises $50 million in funding.

Webinars

June 30 (Tuesday) 11:00 ET. “Value Based Reimbursement – Leveraging Data to Build a Successful Risk-based Strategy.” Sponsored by McKesson. Presenters: Michael Udwin, MD, executive director of physician engagement, McKesson; Jeb Dunkelberger, executive director of corporate partnerships, McKesson. Healthcare organizations are using empowered physician leadership and credible performance analysis to identify populations, stratify risk, drive physician engagement, and expose opportunities for optimized care. Attendees will learn best practices in laying a foundation for developing a successful risk-based strategy.

July 14 (Tuesday) noon ET. “What Health Care Can Learn from Silicon Valley.” Sponsored by Athenahealth. Presenter: Ed Park, EVP/COO, Athenahealth. Ed will discuss how an open business structure and strong customer focus have helped fuel success among the most prominent tech companies and what health care can learn from their strategies.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by July 31.


Announcements and Implementations

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Private equity firm co-founder Joshua Harris donates $5 million to create a precision wellness center at Mount Sinai Hospital (NY).


Privacy and Security

Google is caught secretly installing audio listening software as part of its Chrome browser extension that allows it to respond to audio commands.

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A Veracode report finds that healthcare implements security poorly, with 80 percent of applications having cryptographic issues such as weak algorithms and  only 43 percent of known vulnerabilities being fixed. Still, healthcare scored much higher than the bottom-dwelling government. The numbers aren’t necessarily relevant, however, since they include only those self-selected organizations that engaged Veracode to assess their software risk.


Other

A grand jury finds that Ventura County, CA prepared poorly for its $50 million Cerner implementation, with frequent downtime causing care delays. The agency defended itself by questioning why their project required a third review, with the jury foreman explaining, “We had complaints from the public concerning what happened after the system was live. There were still an awful lot of complaints.”

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Bristol Hospital (CT) lays off 5 percent of its workforce in four areas, one of them the IT department.

The City of Pittsburgh drops its lawsuit challenging UPMC’s tax-exempt status and UPMC does the same with its countersuit, with the cash-strapped city hoping that more cordial relations will save legal costs and possibly convince UPMC (as well as Highmark, the University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University) to chip in some of the $20 million the city wants non-profits to pay toward their consumption of city services.

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A former executive of Blue Shield of California files a wrongful termination lawsuit claiming that he was fired for trying to reduce its use of outsourcer Cognizant. He claims that a Cognizant VP tried to bribe him by offering, “You can join me for a party at a sex club in Sacramento. We have some very beautiful women there.” The company fired him for sexual harassment of women, saying his homosexuality was irrelevant.

Weird News Andy says this was an easily made termination, although firing isn’t enough. The Detroit Fire Department terminates an EMT who refused to respond to the house of an eight-month-old baby whose mother called 911 to report that she wasn’t breathing, with the EMT providing as an excuse to the dispatcher, “I’m not about to be on no scene 10 minutes doing CPR. You know how these families get.”


Sponsor Updates

  • Valence Health announces Penn professor and author Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD a keynote speaker for its value-based care conference in Chicago September 30 – October 2.
  • Aventura describes implementation of its Roaming Aware Desktop at Republic County Hospital (KS).
  • Surgical Information Systems announces that motivational speaker Denise Ryan will keynote its Go!2015 User Meeting August 23-26 in Atlanta.
  • T-System will exhibit at TxHIMA June 28-30 in San Marcos, TX.
  • Zynx Health posts “Going Beyond the Web and Mobile Tech: Enhancing the Patient Experience Through the Next Wave of Digital Innovation.”
  • Valence Health will exhibit at the Health Technology Research Alliance & Council Summit June 28-30 in Gettysburg, PA.
  • ZirMed offers “How to reduce time spent working denials by 66%, streamlining front-end tasks to spend more time on patient care, and ANI news.”
  • Voalte offers “With Humility Comes Many Blessings.”
  • West Corp.’s Laura Bramschreiber offers “Helping patients graduate to good health” on the HIMSS Future Care blog.
  • ZeOmega offers “Payer/Provider Collaboration: What Works?”
  • Xerox Healthcare offers “Data Science That Simplifies Healthcare Delivery Analytics.”
  • Verisk Health partners with the Association for Community Affiliated Plans to provide its members with healthcare analytics education and results-driven programs.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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June 27, 2015 News 2 Comments

News 6/26/15

June 25, 2015 News 3 Comments

Top News

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The Supreme Court upholds the legality of  federal medical insurance subsidies for consumers in all states — including those 34 that don’t run their own health insurance exchanges — in a 6-3 decision that preserves the Affordable Care Act.  Shares of publicly traded insurance companies and for-profit hospital operators jumped sharply on news of the decision.


Reader Comments

From Blue Eyes: “Re: 12 years of HIStalk. Seriously? I often think of what it would be like without HIStalk.” I calculate that since I started writing HIStalk in 2003, I’ve posted maybe 5,000 times and done around 500 interviews in writing many millions of words each year. I still can’t wait to start filling the blank screen every day.

From LaToya: “Re: [vendor name omitted.] Aren’t they HIStalk sponsors any more?” I sometimes get remarkably frank comments from company employees who explain why they aren’t continuing their sponsorship, most often: (a) we don’t have money in the budget since we’re cutting back all over the place; (b) we are thinking about pulling out of healthcare; (c) we have changed focus to work through resellers or partnerships instead of trying to sell directly to hospitals; and (d) the only person who knew anything about marketing quit, nobody’s really in charge, and we don’t know what HIStalk is. Some of the statements would make juicy gossip items were I inclined to kiss and tell, which I am not.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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My latest annoyance: people who email me and then email again when I don’t respond quickly enough to suit them. Nothing is more vexing than a company’s PR person emailing everybody they can think of demanding to know why I haven’t run their news item when (a) they didn’t read HIStalk to see that I already mentioned the item since I’m perfectly capable of finding my own news, or (b) they’re unfamiliar with HIStalk and don’t know that I write news posts only on Tuesday and Thursday nights and over the weekend, so it stands to reason that their Monday announcement won’t have run here by Tuesday morning no matter how newsworthy. I’ll also observe that companies invariably think that all their announcements are stop-the-presses critical when 99 percent of them aren’t even close.

A note to the industry: “population health” isn’t the same as “population health management” which isn’t the same as “population health management technology.”

This week on HIStalk Practice: AMA President Steven Stack, MD shares his healthcare IT goals for the coming year. Physician willingness to offer telemedicine reflects an untapped market. Atlantic Dialysis Management Services goes with BridgeFront Web resources. Community Health Partnership joins the CORHIO HIE. CVS Health announces new clinical affiliations with emphasis on EHRs. Zen Charts zeroes in on addiction treatment centers.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Telehealth vendor MDLive continues the telehealth funding spree with a $50 million private equity investment. The FDA approves a new medical device that helps the blind "see" by delivering information about their surroundings through a vibrating array held in the mouth. Sano Intelligence raises a $10 million seed round to launch its non-invasive glucose monitoring wearable device. Engineering students at Johns Hopkins invent a tamper-proof pill bottle that it hopes will help curb the rise in prescription-related drug overdoses.


Webinars

June 30 (Tuesday) 11:00 ET. “Value Based Reimbursement – Leveraging Data to Build a Successful Risk-based Strategy.” Sponsored by McKesson. Presenters: Michael Udwin, MD, executive director of physician engagement, McKesson; Jeb Dunkelberger, executive director of corporate partnerships, McKesson. Healthcare organizations are using empowered physician leadership and credible performance analysis to identify populations, stratify risk, drive physician engagement, and expose opportunities for optimized care. Attendees will learn best practices in laying a foundation for developing a successful risk-based strategy.

Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by July 31.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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EHR data aggregation and analytics vendor Arcadia Healthcare Solutions acquires Sage Technologies, which offers services to providers transitioning to value-based care.

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Mobile care coordination solutions vendor Cureatr raises $13 million in a Series B funding round, which the company will use to expand its Care Transition Notification network. 

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Video visit provider MDLive raises $50 million, increasing its total to $74 million.

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Non-profit Healtheway, which operates the eHealth Exchange and Carequality interoperability initiatives, renames itself The Sequoia Project. The announcement includes a convoluted, marketing-created rationale for the “rebranding process” and “new tagline” that were apparently vital for future success in choosing a name that sounds like a tree-hugging protest group instead of the perfectly good (and easier to spell) name it was already using. Founding members are AMA, Epic, ICA, Kaiser Permanente, MedVirginia, MiHIN, Mirth, New York eHealth Collaborative, Orion Health, and WEDI.

Castlight Health invests $3.1 million in new startup Lyra Health — which offers screening tools, patient-provider matching, and care navigators for behavioral health – and will sell its products with its own. 


Sales

OSS Health (PA) chooses Strata Decision’s StrataJazz for decision support and financial planning.


People

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Alex Popowycz (Fidelity Investments) joins Health First (FL) as SVP/CIO. At least one site reported that he’s Health First’s first CIO, somehow forgetting Rich Rogers and then Lori DeLone, which takes us all the way back to 1995.

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Huron Healthcare hires managing directors Linda Generotti (Siemens Healthcare) and Lynn Grennan (University of Arizona Health Network), focused respectively on clinical operations and physician organizations.

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Greencastle Senior Management Consultant Troy Beane is promoted to Major in the Army National Guard. He earned the Bronze Star in 2009 as commander of Delta Company, 112th Infantry Division, while deployed in Iraq.


Announcements and Implementations

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Philips announces a tablet-based, subscription-priced ultrasound solution called Lumify, although its transducer isn’t available in the US yet.

CVS announces affiliations with Sutter Health and three physician groups that will receive patient visit and prescription information from CVS’s Epic EHR.

In Scotland, three life sciences companies – including revenue cycle solutions vendor Craneware – sign the Scottish Business Pledge partnership between government and business.

Health-related companies making Computerworld’s “Best Places to Work in IT” for 2015 are Lafayette General Health, Sharp HealthCare, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, CHG Healthcare Services, Halifax Health, Kaiser Permanente, Medtronic, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Genesis HealthCare, Humana, Adventist Health System, Cerner, OhioHealth, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Palmetto Health, Intermountain Healthcare, McKesson, Carolinas HealthCare, and Cook Children’s Health Care System.

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Patient satisfaction scores at HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley (NY) rose after its implementation of CipherHealth’s Orchid tablet-based nurse rounding application.

GetWellNetwork names the first two family engagement nurse scholar fellows supported by its O’Neil Center at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.


Government and Politics

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Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration will host a half-day symposium on healthcare IT on Friday, June 26, at 8 a.m. in Tallahassee. Speakers include folks from Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, Baptist Healthcare, the Department of Health, and HIMSS. The organizers tell me that interest is good (90 registrations vs. the original 75 cap) so it may turn into a full HIT Summit later this year.

The Department of Justice sues four Michigan hospitals (Hillsdale, Branch, ProMedica, and Allegiance) for illegally agreeing not to compete in each other’s territories.


Privacy and Security

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US healthcare organizations seem to be hardest hit by the password-stealing, difficult-to-detect Stegoloader trojan, which embeds much of its execution code inside photos. Security experts think hackers may be targeting healthcare, but my suspicion is that health systems just have a lot more people with limited technology skills using computers (and inadvertently launching malware) than do other industries.


Technology

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The New York Times ponders the questionable business motivation behind precision medicine and gene testing, highlighting a company that paid doctors $75 for each patient they enrolled and took in $130 million in Medicare money before CMS launched a review of the company’s billing practices, effectively shutting down the 800-employee Renaissance RX. The founders ran an earlier company that also earned Medicare’s death penalty for fraud. Critics say “enthusiasm outpaces evidence” as Medicare was paying for experiments rather than proven treatments. Healthcare wouldn’t get such a bad fraud rap if Medicare was better at performing due diligence before mailing out big checks – couldn’t they have figured out that the people already accused of fraud were involved in the new company?


Other

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Jenn interviewed newly installed AMA President Steven Stack, MD on HIStalk Practice. A snip:

Physicians are very frustrated with these systems, and then we’re very frustrated that the Meaningful Use program that we’re all subject to is overly prescriptive. It lacks flexibility where needed and has compelled us to purchase non-functioning tools to use them in ways that degrade our practice. Let’s not forget that more than half of Medicare physicians are being penalized by Medicare with a one-percent reduction in  compensation because the tools that we are given are so poor and the program the government created so rigid. Now we’re being punished for our inability to achieve what I think, if we really discuss it very openly, is a program that isn’t well designed and sets us up for failure. Needless to say, EHRs continue to be a challenge, and physicians are very frustrated that their input has been disregarded in ways that are injurious to the work we’re trying to do …  Health IT has been helpful and will be far more helpful when these records are actually interoperable. We’ve created digital silos that don’t share information any better than the old system where we had to have people send information via fax machine. If the federal government and software vendors would work much more attentively on making these things interoperable for those things that are of high use to us, I think that physicians would find a lot more joy from the tool than just the current reality where they contribute more misery than joy.

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Radiologist Dr. Dalai says radiologist leadership shouldn’t be pushing them to get closer to patients “as part of the team” in order to prove their value, adding that he’s not comfortable in showing up out of the blue to explain his findings when the patient expects to receive that news from their own doctor. He also wonders whether radiologists will “be told we killed Grandma” in trying to serve as gatekeepers in restricting medically questionable exams. He adds,

When a study comes through on my PACS, I could come running out of the reading room; seek out the patient; act like I’m his or her new best friend, playing a warm, fuzzy Marcus Welby (a TV doc from way back, sort of the opposite of House); and discuss the results of the test. Instant gratification! If you knew me personally, you would realize that I really am a warm, fuzzy, caring kind of guy. But when those radiographs come though on my PACS screen, I don’t know anything about the patient other than the two- or three-word history the physician has lowered himself to give me. If I should happen to have a functioning electronic medical record (a contradiction in terms), I might be able to get some lab values and maybe some additional history. But … I still don’t know the patients like the clinical doctors do. I haven’t talked to them, I haven’t touched them, and I haven’t examined them. So would I be doing them a favor by indulging the itch for an immediate answer? … My solution probably comes too late: Avoid joining anything resembling an ACO. You see, we radiologists do add value — with every single exam. Even a normal chest radiograph adds value, but it isn’t "sexy" and doesn’t increase our self-aggrandizement.

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Weird News Andy labels this widely reported story as “Smart Phone, Dumb Doctor.” A man hits “record” on his smart phone just before his colonoscopy begins so he can capture his doctor’s instructions. The playback reveals a “while you were sleeping” view of what anesthesiologist Tiffany Ingham, MD really thinks as she tells her sleeping patient, “I wanted to punch you in the face and man you up a little bit;” calls him a “retard;”makes fun of a rash on his penis; agrees to falsify the medical record in claiming the team provided post-procedure instructions; speculates whether the man is gay because he attended a previously all-women’s school; and tells staff she’s adding a diagnosis of hemorrhoids even though she saw no evidence of them. She suggests to the gastroenterologist that he pretend to receive an urgent page to avoid having to speak to the patient after the procedure, saying that she has done it before herself and adding, “Round and round we go, wheel of annoying patients we go, where it will land, nobody knows.” The man sued the anesthesiologist for defamation and malpractice and won, with the jury ordering her and her practice to pay $500,000. It wasn’t her lack of credentials – she is dual boarded (anesthesiology and internal medicine) and is a major in the Air Force Reserve, having been deployed short term to Afghanistan as a flight surgeon.


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicity offers “New survey identifies the state of cost control in hospitals, health systems and physician organizations.”
  • DocuSign offers “Yes, this crazy scribble is my signature. And I’m proud of it!”
  • Extension Healthcare offers “Market Trends: Survey Examines Nurse Call Communication Preferences.”
  • Galen Healthcare publishes “ICD-10 Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI) – Now is the Time!”
  • Greenway Health offers a transparent and collective approach to politics.
  • Healthcare Data Solutions offers “Email Marketing Roundup: Which Metrics Should You Use?”
  • Healthfinch posts “AMA STEPS Forward to Address Provider Burnout.”
  • Impact Advisors offers “Healthcare CIOs Discuss Top Healthcare IT Optimization Strategies.”
  • HealthMedx will exhibit at the New York State Health Facilities Association Conference June 28-July 1 in Saratoga Springs.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the NATA 2015 66th Clinical Symposia & AT Expo June 24-26 in St. Louis.
  • Healthwise offers “Helping our employees be ‘healthy, happy, and wise.’”
  • Holon Solutions will exhibit at the TORCH Critical Access Hospital Conference & Tradeshow June 25-26 in San Antonio.
  • Iatric Solutions offers “Making Your EMPI solution work for you.”
  • MedData is named a 2015 Top Workplace by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  • NextGen parent company Quality Systems Inc. is recognized in eight categories of the 13th Annual American Business Awards program.
  • Navicure offers “How Can You Collect More From Your Patients?”
  • New York eHealth Collaborative will exhibit at Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 June 30 in New York City.
  • Oneview Healthcare offers “Digital health revolution? Perhaps evolution better describes what’s actually going on.”
  • Experian/Passport Health will exhibit at the HIMSS Privacy & Security Forum June 30-July 1 in Chicago.
  • PDS IT offers “A Roles-Based Approach to Epic Security.”
  • PeriGen offers slides and materials from its AWOHNN presentation on “A New Way to Handle Checklists.”
  • PMD offers “Health Exchange Video: Style Boards.”
  • Qpid Health posts “Is NLP-Enabled Data Mining the Digital Breakthrough We’ve Been Waiting For?”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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June 25, 2015 News 3 Comments

News 6/24/15

June 23, 2015 News 4 Comments

Top News

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Google’s research division creates a prescription-only vital signs tracking wristband that will provide research-quality data for clinical trials. Testing of the device — which monitors heart rhythm, skin temperature, and environmental factors — will begin this summer and the company hopes to earn FDA approval.


Reader Comments

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From The PACS Designer: “Re: USB computer. The Intel Compute Stick can be used anywhere with a wireless keyboard and could be used in wireless more via the HDTV USB port.” The $150 USB gadget turns an HDMI-ready TV or monitor into a computer, with the Atom-powered Windows 8.1 version including 2 GB of memory and 32 GB of storage. Intel suggests such use as digital signage, home entertainment, or as a thin client. User reviews on Amazon are mixed, mostly complaining about slow performance, iffy Wi-Fi, the single USB port, and the limited storage capacity. You could get a Chromebook, Android tablet, or almost a low-end laptop (certainly a refurb) for about the same money and then you’d have the keyboard, monitor, and USB ports.

From Graham: “Re: your comment about the healthcare status quo stifling innovation with political influence and financial clout. Regulatory capture will deepen for the next five years. It’s going to be a very rough ride, particularly in the USA where money is so influential in government. But eventually the stink will become too great for the treasure to ignore and change will happen.” My theory is that no matter what change begrudgingly occurs, the same companies and people will end up with all the money, just like that economic theory that you redistribute the wealth of the world’s 100 richest people and they would have it back within 10 years. That’s OK as long as overall healthcare cost and quality is improved – we’re wasting untold fortunes on US healthcare,  so at least we should perform better or spend less.

From James: “Re: Cache database. InterSystems claims it’s the fastest object database. I’d like to substantiate that claim by trying out their benchmark, but have made an inquiry with no response. Do your readers have insights?”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I always forgot to observe HIStalk’s birthday, which I believe was June 6. I started writing it in 2003, so that makes it 12 years old.

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The folks at FormFast made a generous $1,000 donation to my DonorsChoose project, which was even more effective because of the matching funds provided by an anonymous health IT vendor executive (your company’s donation is welcome as well). I put the total $2,000 donation on the educational street quickly, as follows:

  • iPad Minis, math manipulatives, and write and wipe boards for a K-2 class in Lake Charles, LA.
  • Two Kindle Fires for small group math exercises in a Grades 5-6 class in New York, NY
  • A STEM bundle for a Grade 4-5 class in Glasford, IL.
  • A STEM bundle for a Grade 2-3 class in Knoxville, TN.
  • Electronics kits for STEM lessons for Grade 6-8 intellectually disabled and autistic students in New York, NY.
  • Wireless math manipulatives for a Grades 6-8 class in Shreveport, LA.
  • A STEM bundle for a Grade 5 class in Little Falls, MN.
  • Math games for an 8th grade class in Niagara Falls, NY.

Webinars

June 30 (Tuesday) 11:00 ET. “Value Based Reimbursement – Leveraging Data to Build a Successful Risk-based Strategy.” Sponsored by McKesson. Presenters: Michael Udwin, MD, executive director of physician engagement, McKesson; Jeb Dunkelberger, executive director of corporate partnerships, McKesson. Healthcare organizations are using empowered physician leadership and credible performance analysis to identify populations, stratify risk, drive physician engagement, and expose opportunities for optimized care. Attendees will learn best practices in laying a foundation for developing a successful risk-based strategy.

I’m running a summer special on both produced and promoted webinars since the industry is like a snoozing man in hammock for the next few weeks and I get antsy when it’s quiet. Sign up by July 31 and get a sizeable discount. Contact Lorre. We get good turnout — especially when companies take our advice about content, title, and presentation – and the ones we produce keep getting hundreds of views well after the fact from our YouTube channel. The record is held by the one Vince and Frank did on the Cerner takeover of Siemens, which has been viewed over 5,000 times.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Fantastically named Myelin Communications acquires Dodge Communications, which does quite a bit of public relations work for health IT vendors. That also pairs Dodge with an odd sibling – Duet Health, which sells patient engagement technology.

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Accretive Health, which has been on a financial rollercoaster and executive merry-go-round since its strong-arm patient collection techniques got the attention of Minnesota’s attorney general in 2011, lost $80 million in 2014 as net services revenue dropped nearly 60 percent.

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Aurora Health Care (W) takes a lead investor role in StartUp Health, giving it early access to digital health investment opportunities and technologies.

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Heal, which desperately wants to be Uber in offering $99 doctor house calls in Los Angeles in San Francisco, raises $5 million in funding for expansion. The company uses technology such as AliveCor ECG, CellScope otoscope, and electronic medical records.


Sales

St. Barnabas Hospital (NY) chooses Strata Decision’s StrataJazz for decision support.

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Dublin-based Beacon Hospital signs for Slainte Healthcare’s EHR, hoping to become Ireland’s first digital, paperless hospital. Hint: as in US “paperless” hospitals, the folks making the proclamation aren’t watching the pallets of paper coming in via the loading dock, the elimination of which would send the hospital into immediate chaos.


People

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McKesson names Kathy McElligott (Emerson) as CIO/CTO.

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Ed Kopetsky, CIO of Stanford Children’s Health, is presented with a lifetime achievement award from a Bay Area business publication group.

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Staff scheduling system vendor OpenTempo names Andy Comeau (Cerner) as CEO, with former President, CEO, and Co-Founder Rich Miller moving to chief strategy officer. Andy’s LinkedIn profile has an artistic but news-worthless long shot of him standing unrecognizably in front of a mountain (which I’m using above anyway to make a point), so perhaps it’s a good time to recite the LinkedIn photo rules: (a) use a professional head shot only, not one cropped out of a frat party group photo or police lineup; (b) post the photo in large size and high resolution so that news sites can use it without excessive graininess – LinkedIn will automatically thumbnail it so that clicking brings up the high-res version; (c) don’t get artsy-craftsy with a picture taken at a weird angle, with head or chin cropped out, or with a mountain in the background. LinkedIn is for business and profiles should include an appropriate photo, although mine doesn’t because the LinkedIn police made me take by Carl Spackler photo down (kudos to them for recognizing it, though).

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EXL names Scott McFarland (McFarland & Associates) as SVP/GM of its healthcare business.


Announcements and Implementations

McKesson releases Paragon Clinician Hub, a Web-based navigation and workflow tool, as part of Release 13.0. Also included in Release 13.0 is integration with Zynx Health’s ZynxOrder order set management.

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Peer60’s revenue cycle management report finds that CFOs are worried about value-based payment models and are anxious to reduce capital spending and IT costs. A pessimistic 14 percent of respondents say value-based payments will “bankrupt us,” while the roll-up-our-sleeves types are focusing on ICD-10 migration, improving the patient experience, and improving point-of-sale collection.

ZirMed announces a Denial and Appeals Management solution.

Nuance will include data analytics from Jvion in its Advance Practice Clinical Documentation Improvement to compare clinical documentation to payments and quality scores.

T-System joins the CommonWell Health Alliance.

A statistically lacking HIMSS survey of health information organizations (75 responses) finds that Direct messaging is popular for care coordination, but connectivity to EHRs isn’t great.


Other

Orange County (CA) Health Care Agency requests double its original estimate of $796,000 to complete the second phase of its Cerner behavioral EHR project for mental health patients, with the total project cost increased to $8.8 million.

The Providence, RI newspaper observes that less than 15 percent of the state’s physicians use the state’s HIE, which cost $25 million in federal money plus the state’s cost. A representative from the state medical society says, “It will make docs’ lives easier eventually, but so far, it’s only made insurance companies and EHR companies happy.”

The American Society of Clinical Oncology publishes a formula to assess the cost vs. benefit of new cancer drugs, the first step in developing software that can be used by oncologists at the point of care. One drug that costs nearly $10,000 per month in generating $2.8 billion per year for its manufacturer scored a zero in net health benefit.

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Weird News Andy says, “You CAN handle the truth” in describing the $13 bacteria-killing door handle invented by two Hong Kong high school students. WNA also proclaims “strangling her legs” in describing a case study of a woman with temporary leg nerve and tissue damage caused by squatting too much in her skinny jeans, which were so tight doctors had to cut them off.


Sponsor Updates

  • ZeOmega posts “Payer/Provider Collaboration: What Works?”
  • Coalfire Systems analyzes the security of InstaMed’s healthcare payment solutions and concludes that they “have the most effective data security controls available in healthcare today.”
  • Experian Health partners with two companies to offer healthcare organizations a credit card processing device that meets the October 1 deadline for implementing EMV chip-authenticated credit card standards.
  • AirStrip offers “Shifting Our Thinking to Prepare for the Future.”
  • Besler Consulting offers a podcast on the “QualityNet Hospital-Specific Report.”
  • Clinical Architecture offers “Understanding ICD-10-CM – Part III – A Terminology by the Book.”
  • Atlanta public radio highlights Clockwise.MD in “Local App Reduces Time Spent in Urgent Care Waiting Rooms.”
  • Gartner positions Commvault in the Leaders quadrant of the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup Software and Integrated Appliances.
  • CoverMyMeds offers “Proactive, Analytical and Interoperable Trends Affecting Today’s EHR Systems.”
  • Culbert Healthcare Solutions offers tips for “Allscripts Upgrade Services.”
  • AirWatch offers “Virtual Training Experience available with AirWatch Labs.”
  • Burwood Group is named one of “Chicago’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For.”
  • Anthelio Healthcare Solutions will exhibit at the 2015 TxHIMA Convention June 28-30 in San Marcos, TX.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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June 23, 2015 News 4 Comments

Monday Morning Update 6/22/15

June 21, 2015 News 5 Comments

Top News

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The Federal Aviation Administration wants to connect its Amsis pilot medical certification tracking system to government EHRs via NHIN and HIE connectivity, hoping to detect safety-endangering medical conditions such as the depression of the Germanwings pilot who deliberately crashed his plane into the French Alps. The privacy considerations would be extensive.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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More than half of poll respondents don’t use any smartphone health apps other than fitness trackers, although 17 percent say they use five or more. New poll to your right or here: do Sittig and Wright’s EXTREME criteria (defined here) accurately define EHR openness and interoperability? If you vote no, it’s only fair that you click the poll’s Comments link to describe what they missed.

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Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor Dbtech. The Edison, NJ based document management, electronic forms, and document imaging company offers solutions for document and data archive, paperless registration, patient portal, reporting standardization, and no-silo storage of images. Dbtech’s Ras document management is installed in 350 community hospitals and works with all applications (Cerner, Epic, Meditech, etc.) regardless of hardware, OS, or database and contains workflow automation for SmartLinks, data extraction, AutoPrint, forms, email workflow, and HL7 and other integration standards. Case studies include Saint Michael’s Medical Center, Greenwood Leflore Hospital, Palisades Medical Center, and Mount St. Mary’s & Evangelical. Thanks to Dbtech for supporting HIStalk.

Listening: The Struts, British 1970s-style hard rockers that sound to me like Queen genetically spliced to The Hives and Quiet Riot.

My latest grammar gripes: Yelp restaurant reviewers who talk about their “palette” when referring to their “palate,” almost as annoying as those who didn’t realize the 15-minute shelf life of the trite phrase “to die for” ended years ago. People who needlessly insert “very” in front of words or phrases. Unskilled writers who ask their imaginary readers questions and then answer them instead of just making an authoritative statement in the first place, such as “Do we need ICD-10? Yes.” instead of saying “We need ICD-10.” Starting a sentence with “know,” in a pompous attempt at conveying sincerity, as in “Know that we will support our employees” instead of simply saying, “We will support our employees.” It also bugs me that people still think “the reason why” is somehow better than the correct “the reason.”


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • England’s NHS announces ambitious health IT plans that include making real-time medical records available to patients by 2018 and issuing wearables for inpatient monitoring. NHS also goes live on its new e-referral service and then shuts it down almost immediately for an undetermined time due to known problems.
  • Dean Sittig and Adam Wright propose EXTREME, five criteria that define whether a given EHR is open and interoperable.
  • The draft budget submitted by the House Appropriations Committee holds ONC’s funding flat, does not include money for ONC’s proposed Patient Safety Center, and calls for AHRQ to be shut down immediately.
  • CVS opens a Boston digital innovation center that will eventually house 100 employees, while the company also announces that it will acquire Target’s pharmacy business for $1.9 billion.
  • HHS OIG finds that the federal government is paying many billions of dollars in insurance subsidies based purely on estimates since CMS still hasn’t finished the software modules that are needed to calculate the amounts correctly.
  • The VA announces a three-hospital pilot of its open source, open system eHMP integration tool that allows VA clinicians to view context-aware information from non-VA systems such as the DoD’s EHR. Meanwhile, a GAO report that details the delays and cost overruns of high-risk federal government IT projects points out the repeated, expensive failure of the VA and DoD to integrate their EHRs.
  • CHIME co-founder Rich Correll announces his retirement.

Webinars

June 30 (Tuesday) 11:00 ET. “Value Based Reimbursement – Leveraging Data to Build a Successful Risk-based Strategy.” Sponsored by McKesson. Presenters: Michael Udwin, MD, executive director of physician engagement, McKesson; Jeb Dunkelberger, executive director of corporate partnerships, McKesson. Healthcare organizations are using empowered physician leadership and credible performance analysis to identify populations, stratify risk, drive physician engagement, and expose opportunities for optimized care. Attendees will learn best practices in laying a foundation for developing a successful risk-based strategy.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Virtual nurse technology vendor Sense.ly raises $2.2 million in a Series A funding round.

Investors who invested $50 million in preferred shares of Merge Healthcare to finance its February 2015 acquisition of DR Systems waive their right to have Merge redeem their shares by August 25, 2015, a vote of confidence that their hastily made investment is still attractive post-acquisition.


Sales

Fairview Health Services (MN) chooses Paragon Development Systems (PDS) for IT end user device asset management.

HealthShare Exchange of Southeastern Pennsylvania chooses Mirth solutions for Direct messaging, integration, MPI, and CDR.


Announcements and Implementations

SSI Group will resell Recondo Technology’s automated claims status solution as part of its revenue cycle solution suite.


Government and Politics

The State of Virginia notifies providers that not only must they be ready for the October 1, 2015 switchover to ICD-10, but also that the state will simultaneously stop using of the similar but separate DSM codes for mental disorders.

CMS awards Data Computer Corporation of America a $24 million contract to support the IT system that supports payout of Meaningful Use money.

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A union representing the Pittsburgh VA, trying to gain bargaining power, says implementation of an inventory management system from Shipcom Wireless is stressing out its members. The system, which is being rolled out to all 152 VA hospitals in a contract worth up to $275 million signed in September 2013, is already live in 12 VA hospitals.


Privacy and Security

A clerk at Montefiore Medical Center (NY) is charged with selling 12,000 patient records for $3 each to co-conspirators who used the information printouts to go on luxury shopping sprees. It’s interesting that hospitals always seem to be involved in this kind of breach while retailers aren’t – maybe hospitals are different in their security precautions, hiring practices, breadth of information collected, or employee oversight.


Technology

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NTT Data not only sponsors Chip Ganassi’s IndyCar racing team, but provides it with technology ranging from inventory tracking to a wearables device being created by the company’s healthcare division that will monitor the driver’s physiology. I’m suddenly struck by yet another fantastic business idea, of which surely one of mine will pan out one day: sell ad space on the white coats of doctors like NASCAR does its driver fire suits, where every available inch features the emblem of a paying sponsor. Uber could do the same, paying contract drivers to turn their cars into rolling ad space.

Mechanical engineering students at Johns Hopkins University develop a tamper-resistant, biometric-secured, one-at-a-time pill dispenser, which assures that pharmacy-dispensed drugs like oxycodone are used only by the intended patient.


Other

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Nebraska Medicine announces its use of Epic’s MyChart on Apple Watch, allow its patients to receive provider messages, appointment reminders, medication information, new results availability, and notification that earlier appointments are available so the patient can accept the proposed time directly from the watch.

I think Vince Ciotti misses writing his HIS-tory series that I ran for a couple of years, as evidenced by this new episode that looks back on the buyer seminars his company has been putting on since the good old days.

A Harvard Business Review article says personalized technology such as wearables and apps that provide continuous monitoring will transform healthcare in the next 10 years, with help from telemedicine, home diagnostics, and retail clinics. The authors say the two business models will be (a) gold miners (insurers, and health systems) that will dig deep in successfully managing patients with expensive chronic conditions via care coordination and monitoring, and (b) bartenders (new healthcare entrants) that will empower consumers with advice and information that bypasses the doctor-patient relationship. Goldminers might approach an atrial fibrillation patient with an app-driven monitoring program administered by a clinical care team, while Bartenders would sell tracking apps that suggest interventions, provide reminders, and let the user retain and interpret their own data.

I’m not sure I see things quite that way since app-empowered healthcare consumers will still make up a tiny percentage as quantified selfers. I expect health systems to use their market share and profits to chase away nimbler competitors and steer consumers away from them in creating fear, uncertainty, and doubt that those upstarts aren’t proven or local like the impressive, comfortingly bureaucratic edifice down the street. Consumers will exercise choice only where they discern little differentiation,using convenient retail clinics and video visits for obvious and self-limiting conditions where all that’s really needed is reassurance and possibly a prescription. Health systems will create narrow networks and manipulate quality and satisfaction metrics so that confused, low-expectation consumers will simply keep going to whatever provider they’re told. Chronic conditions will be much better managed by technology because providers will be paid specifically for outcomes, which is one bright spot, and while companies may well do an end-run around the doctor-patient relationship (which is rapidly eroding anyway), they won’t be able to crack the health system-patient relationship. Any effort to upend the status quo will be squelched via lobbyist influence and deep war chests unless health systems, doctors, drug companies, insurers, and device manufacturers are somehow turned on each other, which is less likely now that employers are bowing out of the healthcare war and leaving their employees to fend for themselves. There’s no equivalent to “changing healthcare” except perhaps “changing government” and the folks running both aren’t going to just step aside.

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The San Diego paper profiles 20-employee Humetrix, which along with iBlueButton has developed Tensio, a blood pressure management app that uses information from Apple HealthKit-attached devices.

A New York Times article examines more rapid treatment of heart attacks, with technology earning modest credit: ambulances that can send EKGs to hospital EDs and hospitals using paging systems to assemble response teams quickly. The article seems to confuse heart attack deaths with deaths from heart diseases, however.

The local paper, skeptical of Hartford HealthCare’s (CT) claim of financial distress that requires it to eliminate over 300 positions, notes that the health system paid it top 18 executives $12.8 million in 2013, with bonuses averaging $135K each. The CEO made $2.1 million, while the CIO took home $630K.

Bizarre: Chinese citizens anxious to unload shares as the country’s stock market plunged last week include a woman who crashed her car while executing trades on her smartphone and another who sold her portfolio from her iPad while medicated and laboring in a hospital’s delivery room.

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Weird News Andy is happy to hear that AIDS, SARS, MERS, and Ebola have been cured thanks to North Korea’s Great Leader Kim Jong-un, who claims to have created a miracle drug from ginseng and other ingredients he declines to name, to which WNA adds, “It’s a floor wax AND a dessert topping!”


Sponsor Updates

  • Experian posts “Using Data to Manage the Cost of Healthcare” and a video titled “Healthcare Data Diagnosis: Using Data to Manage the Cost of Healthcare.”
  • Nordic offers a new episode focusing on technical cutover in its “Making the Cut” video series.
  • Orion Health publishes an “AHIP 2015 Recap: It’s all about the Consumer, Transparency, Interoperability and Data Exchange.”
  • Experian / Passport Health offers “Using Data to Manage the Cost of Healthcare.”
  • Patientco explains “Where to Find Patientco at HFMA ANI 2015.”
  • PatientPay offers “How Many More Reasons Do You Need?”
  • Washington Hospital Services will offer ZeOmega’s Jiva HIE-enabled population health management solution to its members.
  • NVoq offers “The EMR Journey to Optimization and Innovation.”
  • Phynd will exhibit at the 2015 Annual Physician-Computer Connection Symposium June 23-25 in Ojai, CA.
  • PMD offers “Three Lessons Your Baby Will Teach You About Software Implementations.”
  • Streamline Health will exhibit at the 2015 AMDIS Physician-Computer Connection Symposium June 24-26 in Ojai, CA.
  • Greenway Health highlights its partnership with Talksoft.
  • TeleTracking offers “From Patient Flow to Real-Time Operational Management.”
  • Verisk Health publishes “Gearing Up for VHC2015.”
  • Voalte discusses digital health and wearables in “Let’s pick up the pace.”
  • Huron Consulting posts pictures of its work with Sea Island Habitat for Humanity.
  • Xerox Healthcare offers “Three Ideas That Will Make Healthcare Work Better.”
  • Zynx Health comments on the Medicare Shared Savings Plan ACO final rule.

The following HIStalk sponsors are exhibiting at HFMA ANI June 22-25 in Orlando:

  • ADP AdvancedMD
  • Allscripts
  • Besler Consulting
  • Billian’s HealthDATA
  • Craneware
  • Experian/Passport Health
  • GE Healthcare
  • Greenway Health
  • Health Catalyst
  • Ingenious Med
  • InstaMed
  • Legacy Data Access
  • Leidos Health
  • MModal
  • McKesson
  • Medecision
  • Medhost
  • Navicure
  • NextGen
  • NTT Data
  • Nuance
  • Patientco
  • Peer60
  • Recondo Technology
  • Relay Health
  • Sagacious Consultants
  • SSI Group
  • Strata Decision Technology
  • TransUnion
  • TriZetto
  • T-System
  • Valence Health
  • VitalWare
  • Wellcentive
  • Xerox
  • ZeOmega
  • Zynx Health

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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June 21, 2015 News 5 Comments

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Reader Comments

  • J. Smith (retired HIS guy): Congratulations to the winners, Now the very big question is who will DOD select to do and assist in the implementation ...
  • agree with AC: concur with the last post. I haven't worked at a Cerner organization, so I can't comment on their functionality. I've al...
  • Steve Simpson: Ed's message in this article is spot on. I've worked with and for organizations on both sides of the coin. No matter wha...
  • HISTalk big fan: Really informative article and appreciate your candor....
  • AC: As one of the organization using Epic, I'm glad to see them not dragged into this. We need them to focus on their existi...

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