Home » News » Recent Articles:

Monday Morning Update 1/26/15

January 25, 2015 News 2 Comments

Top News

image

Private equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson completes the sale of Strata Decision Technology to Roper Industries. Strata’s StrataJazz financial planning and analytics software is used by 1,000 hospitals. Roper’s other healthcare IT-related acquisitions include Sunquest Information Systems, SHP, and CBORD.


Reader Comments

From Kim Jong-un: “Re: HIStalk. The CMIO of a large Midwest health system told me that the IT department has blocked web access to HIStalk. Now I am wondering if HIStalk was responsible for the Sony hacking.” I like when an organization blocks access to HIStalk since that means I’m providing accurate and potentially disruptive information. It’s always been vendors doing the blocking, though. Email me your employer’s name if they’ve blocked HIStalk so I can give them a mention.

image

From Harold Reems: “Re: Bayhealth. Looks like they’re going Epic.” Apparently so – they’re running Epic job listings.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

image

Two-thirds of respondents say that technology hasn’t significantly empowered patients. AlmostAdjusted commented that we’re getting there, but “technology has brought complexity to the patients and our patients are spastically grasping at a number of hyped solutions that for now are causing more disillusionment than empowerment,” while Mak says providers need to trust patients and put all of their information on their portal. New poll to your right or here:  will you in the next 6-12 months buy an Apple Watch, a different smart watch, or neither?

image

Speaking of empowering patients, I’m paying for five, $1,000 travel scholarships for real patients to attend the HIMSS conference, following through on an idea that patient advocate Regina Holliday and I had when I interviewed her last March. We’re accepting applications through February 9 and will choose the five based on their patient stories and their writing ability (since I want them to document their experience afterward). Those chosen  will wear a special tee shirt with a picture Regina painted just for that purpose (above is an example, but she’ll paint a new one specific for this project) as they attend sessions and visit the exhibit hall to represent the patient’s point of view. See Regina’s description and send entries to Lorre.

More on the patient travel scholarships: HIMSS declined to participate (like by comping their registration fees), so I could use some help. Exhibitor badges will work fine for the scholarship winners since they provide full conference access, but I only get five for my tiny HIStalk booth and I’ll use at least 2-3 of those. If anybody has extras, that would save me a bunch of money. UPDATE: Thanks to the several companies that offered to help out … CTG Health Solutions was quick to respond with an offer to provide badges to our patient representatives. Thanks to Amanda at CTG for supporting our project.

I learned a new, made-up word: “listicle,” a combination of the words “list” and “article” that refers to those lazy, click-baiting online pieces that start with a number, such as “10 EHR Vendors to Know” or “6 Cool Health Startups.” I like that it sounds like “Popsicle,’ a nutritionally devoid diversion that delivers little beyond the initial impulse to give it a quick lick (or “click” in this case).


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • A group of medical associations urges ONC to refocus EHR certification on usability, interoperability, and safety.
  • Industry groups ask that Meaningful Use and EHR certification require EHRs to accept the scanned barcodes of implanted medical devices.
  • ONC hires Michael McCoy, MD to the newly created position of chief health information officer, where he will oversee interoperability efforts.
  • Mayo Clinic selects Epic.
  • CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner resigns.
  • Harvard Medical School launches the Department of Biomedical Informatics, to be led by Isaac Kohane, MD, PhD.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Emdeon is considering an IPO, sources say. The earnings multiples of recent sector deals suggest a valuation of $5.4 to $6.6 billion, which would create huge profits for the two private equity firms that took Emdeon private in 2011 for $3 billion.

California Healthcare Foundation invests in Seamless Medical Systems to develop and pilot patient engagement software for safety net providers and patients.


People

image

Nursing informatics pioneer Carol A. Romano, PhD, RN, who was chief nurse officer of the Public Health Service, is named dean of nursing school of Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.


Announcements and Implementations

Wolters Kluwer Health releases an eBook describing how health systems can create an antimicrobial stewardship program.


Government and Politics

ONC’s annual meeting will be held February 2-3 at the Washington Hilton. Karen DeSalvo will deliver opening remarks, describe the nationwide interoperability roadmap, lead a fireside chat with Tom Daschle and Bill Frist, and join a panel discussion with all four former National Coordinators (Brailer, Kolodner, Blumenthal, and Mostashari). The meeting will be streamed via webcast as well. It will be interesting now that HITECH is winding down if attendance at this meeting and Health Datapalooza will suffer.


Other

image

OpenNotes co-founder Jan Walker, RN says the next project phase, OurNotes, will allow patients to add their own notes to their electronic chart. It will be piloted at Beth Israel Deaconess, Geisinger, Harborview and Group Health in Seattle, and Heartland Health. Above is a screen shot from Joe Boyce, MD, CIO/CMIO of Heartland Health, which is using Cerner to collect information from patients (visit goals, meds, problems, care preferences) ahead of their scheduled appointments. This is brilliant – there’s no reason to waste precious appointment time collecting routine information, plus patients get flustered and forget important facts when forced to recite them on demand.

A study of New York nursing homes finds that EHR adoption increased 7.7 percent from 2012 to 2013, but HIE participation remains minimal. Those using EHRs had no specific characteristics different from those that didn’t, but HIE participation was related to being associated with a hospital and not being run as a for-profit business.

image

University of Virginia Health system announces that it is one of five academic medical centers that will use a $7 million CMS grant to pilot an eConsults/eReferrals model. PCPs can use Epic to send a quick question to a specialist who can then review the patient’s electronic chart to provide an answer. The goal is to free up specialists to see patients who really need a face-to-face appointment vs. PCPs looking for a curbside consult.

image

Weird News Andy says this story is untitleable: an Australian woman chooses a “maternal-assisted C-section” for her 10th and 11th children, meaning she removed the babies herself during the otherwise normal procedure.


Sponsor Updates

image

  • Surgical Information Systems team members make over 50 blankets for Project Linus at its SIS Cares event.
  • ZirMed announces results of the end-to-end ICD-10 testing of its customers.
  • Huron Consulting releases its Healthcare CEO Forum report.
  • Trey Lauderdale writes about the interconnected nature of physician messaging and alarm management in a new Voalte blog.
  • Versus Technology updates the agenda for its 2015 User Group Meeting, taking place May 11-13 in Chicago.
  • Verisk Health SVP of Population Health and Risk Adjustment Matt Siegel pens an article titled “Risk-Adjusted Base Payments can Support the Move to Value.”
  • HHS CTO Bryan Spivak visits Validic’s Durham, NC headquarters and poses for a photo.
  • Valence Health will participate in HFMA’s first Illinois Managed Care Meeting in Chicago on January 29.
  • Qpid Health releases the latest podcast in its “Intrepid Healthcare” series.
  • Thomas White at Phynd Technologies blogs about “Why a Single Provider Profile Matters.”
  • Patientco CEO Bird Blitch blogs about “Why 2015 is the Year Providers Will Embrace Cloud Technology.”
  • PatientSafe Solutions CNIO Cheryl Parker writes on the topic of supporting the cognitive workload of clinicians with mobile technology.
  • Nordic releases the fourth installment of its video series on Epic’s Cupid application.
  • Navicure’s Amanda Brown posts a new blog on “The New Normal for Revenue Cycle Management in 2015.”
  • NVoq’s Debbi Gillotti writes a new blog post on how to “Drive Even More Value from Your EMR with SayIt 9.3.N
  • TT Data’s Phil Thames provides his executive viewpoint on industry predictions for 2015.
  • In a new white paper, Perceptive Software Principal Solution Architect Larry Sitka writes about vendor neutral archiving as more than just a place to store images.
  • MBA HealthGroup publishes a new blog on “Security Risk Assessment – Balancing Data Protection & Efficient Workflows.”
  • Medicity offers a new blog on “The 10-Year Interoperability Roadmap: How do We Get There from Here?”
  • Sean Biehle writes about “Extending Patient Engagement Beyond the Point of Care” in a new MedData blog.
  • MedAptus takes an Austin Powers tone in its latest blog, entitled “$375 Billion Dollars … mwwahahahahahaha.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 25, 2015 News 2 Comments

News 1/23/15

January 22, 2015 News 2 Comments

Top News

image

A group of medical associations that curiously includes CHIME but not HIMSS urges ONC to refocus EHR certification on usability, interoperability, and safety and to disconnect EHR certification from the Meaningful Use program. They add concerns that ONC isn’t paying enough attention to how ATCBs certify EHRs for privacy and security, such as not requiring complex passwords or insufficiently logging user privilege changes. Apparently the groups don’t think the free market is working since the implication is that the EHR vendors they keep buying from are ignoring their customers and won’t change without government intervention. Vendor priorities were so much more straightforward before Meaningful Use. 


Reader Comments

From JustAsking: “Re: Allina-Health Catalyst deal. Lots of headlines about a $100 million ‘valuation’ but no mention of additional equity, yet Allina now owns a piece of the company that investors sunk $40 million into last year. Was the customer unhappy? The Allina CEO took pains to say that it’s not an exclusive arrangement.” Unverified. I agree that the highly touted $100 million figure is meaningless since no details were provided about what that number represents, so I think the company overemphasized that just to add some sizzle (although the press seems to have accepted it without question). I don’t get the sense that Allina is unhappy with Health Catalyst at all – they seem to be thrilled with the information they’re getting. Most of Health Catalyst’s board members are from investment firms who would make sure to protect shareholder value, so I’m assuming the deal makes good business sense. The only downside for the company is that whatever impressive results Allina announces won’t be entirely credible given that they’re now a part owner.

From Hawaiian Charlie: “Re: Scripps. I heard Cerner dropped out before demos start next week.” Unverified. The semi-insider I know wasn’t aware of anything new.

From Just a CEO: “Re: our national user conference. I’m looking for a speaker and one name came to mind – Mr. HIStalk! We can give you a mask or burka.” I’ll pass, but I will instead ask readers: have you heard a really good keynote-type speaker lately, especially one with credibility in the ambulatory world? Let me know and I’ll pass it along.

From Pure Power: “Re: fitness trackers. Their allure is fading fast.” As it should. It’s fun for a couple of days to count steps, but the novelty fades fast as most people don’t really want to be reminded to do something they don’t enjoy (and whether fitness trackers change long-term exercise patterns is questionable). Wearables that can make a different in healthcare will need to: (a) measure something medically actionable; (b) contain enough smarts to figure out when data patterns – rather than a single reading – are meaningful, customized down to the individual patient; and (c) communicate those results quickly and perhaps silently to clinicians who are committed to act on them (probably without much hope of getting paid). Infrastructure will also need to be in place for clinicians to monitor what’s coming in, like those people who sit in burglar alarm monitoring centers who decide whether to dispatch police. Wearables won’t do much for healthy people, but with adequate sensors could help with chronic disease management, provided that those sensors aren’t unpleasant to wear. From a business perspective, steer clear of wearables that diagnose new conditions since nobody wants to pay for new medical problems – focus instead on reducing the costs of managing existing, expensive conditions. We diagnose people pretty well – it’s their care management that’s killing us (and them).


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

image

Teach for America teacher Mrs. DiPaula sent over photos of her low-income Idaho first graders using the math games we HIStalk readers bought them a few months back via DonorsChoose.org. She adds, “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!” I funded a bunch of grant requests using the proceeds from the top-of-page ads that I ran right before the HIMSS conference last year and I’ll do the same this year if companies buy those spots.

This week on HIStalk Practice: Auburn University Medical Clinic rolls out new electronic immunization record-keeping system. Wake Emergency Physicians launches RelyMD telemedicine business. Security divas scrutinize the current state of cyber threats. ARcare selects new pop health tech. Ringly raises a new round. Kaiser makes it official with the NBA.

This week on HIStalk Connect: the FDA issues clarifying guidance on general wellness apps. Stride Health raises $2.4 million to scale up its Healthcare.gov-like insurance shopping app. A team of Harvard and MIT scientists launch InnerAge, a mail-away blood test used to predict lifespan and provide personalized nutritional recommendations to extend life. 

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Anthelio. The Dallas-based company has been a single-source provider of healthcare-only technology solutions for 15 years, offering a long list of services (outsourcing, application hosting and management, data protection, data warehouse and analytics, service desk, EHR implementation and optimization, HIM outsourcing, revenue cycle optimization, clinical documentation improvement, population health management, legacy system archiving, and ICD-10, among many others). Products include a population health management platform, patient portal, patient-facing mobile app, and a physician coding improvement collaboration tool. You probably know industry long-timers CEO Asif Ahmad (formerly of Duke and McKesson) and SVP Gary Trickett. Thanks to Anthelio for supporting HIStalk.

I always head over to YouTube to look for videos about new sponsors, so here’s an intro to Anthelio I found there.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Quality Systems (NextGen) reports Q3 results: revenue up 13 percent, adjusted EPS $0.16 vs. $0.11, beating estimates for both.

image

Private investment firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson gets FTC approval to sell Strata Decision Technology to Roper Industries, which owns Sunquest. Stratus founders Catherine Kleinmuntz, PhD and Don Kleinmuntz, PhD moved on not long after selling the company to VSS in 2011. Roper also acquired post-acute care analytics vendor Strategic Healthcare Programs in August 2014 and already owned hospital dietary software vendor CBORD, so it’s liking the healthcare software business.

image

Device and wearables Integration technology vendor Human API raises $6.6 million in venture funding.

image

The Advisory Board Company announces a $200 million add-on public offering. Above is the one-year share price of ABCO (blue, down 29 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 15 percent). The company’s market cap is $1.6 billion.


Sales

image

Sixteen-bed Jerold Phelps Community Hospital (CA) chooses Healthland Centriq for clinical and financial systems.

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center selects Capsule Tech’s SmartLinx to integrate information from 2,000 medical devices with Epic.


Government and Politics

image

Several industry groups request that Meaningful Use and EHR certification require that EHRs be capable of electronically tracking implanted medical devices. They want EHR users to be able to scan the device’s bar code (which contains an FDA-assigned unique identifier) to update the patient’s record for outcomes tracking, adverse event reporting, and recall management. They add that the information could also be used by the EHR to trigger patient-specific device warnings.

image

ONC hires Michael McCoy, MD for the newly created position of chief health information officer. He’ll report to Karen DeSalvo and will lead ONC’s interoperability efforts. He ran a two-person consulting firm (Physician Technology Services) and has spent time as a CMIO and working for vendors such as DigiChart and Allscripts.


Privacy and Security

In England, NHS admits that it has ignored all of the thousands of requests it received from patients who don’t want their records shared, saying that those who opted out may not have understood that they wouldn’t have been notified of preventive services such as cancer screening.

SplashData studies 3.3 million leaked passwords from 2014, with the top 10 most used (and thus the worst ones to choose) being:

  1. 123456
  2. password
  3. 12345
  4. 12345678
  5. qwerty
  6. 124567890
  7. 1234
  8. baseball
  9. dragon
  10. football

Innovation and Research

The Center for Integrated Diagnostics at Massachusetts General Hospital (MA) is performing genomics research using InterSystems HealthShare, using the population information it collects for personalizing treatments.


Technology

Microsoft announces the HoloLens, an eye-worn appliance that blends holograms with vision. If nothing else, it should nudge Facebook to bear down harder on its Oculis Rift virtual reality headset. The company also announced that Windows 10 will be released later this year as a free upgrade for users of Windows 7 or 8 if they upgrade in the first year. I like Windows 8 just fine, but a free upgrade offer means plenty of users don’t.


Other

image

It’s interesting to read Mayo Clinic’s history as it prepares to implement Epic and its “one patient, one record” philosophy. Henry Plummer, MD created the concept of a centralized medical record at Mayo in 1907, replacing ledger books kept by each of its clinics. Mayo built a pneumatic tube system to move records from location to another. It looks a lot like the ones still used by bank drive-through tellers. Most of the hospitals I’ve worked in considered the tube system or dumbwaiter to be their central nervous system – computers work fine for information, but not for objects. I once convinced one of my tiny co-workers to climb into the dumbwaiter so I could send her up to third floor, where she popped out and terrified a nurse who was waiting for something to be sent other than a mischievous, perky blonde.

New York gun rights activists file an injunction to strike down the state’s two-year-old SAFE Act, saying that it gives authorities access to protected health information that is used to confiscate the firearms of people who seek mental health treatment. The tough gun control law was passed a month after the Sandy Hook shootings of December 2012.

Early bird pricing for HIMSS15 ends January 26, so members will save $100 by registering now instead of later (or even more for the real procrastinators who’ll pay $1,145 if they wait until March 17). Attendees also get free online access to the session recordings, which is a nice benefit  — I used to always buy the CDs to review later.

I was reading an interesting legal case that involved an EHR. A patient being treated by a physician practice for insomnia found that his wife was having an affair and then killed her and then himself. The man’s estate sued the practice, claiming that the doctor failed to diagnose his depression and should have referred him to psychiatric help. The doctor testified that he asked the patient about suicide even though the pre-populated EHR checkbox didn’t say so. The plaintiff’s attorney used that discrepancy as an argument that the physician was practicing “point and click medicine” and wasn’t listening to the patient, arguing that the EHR interfered with the physician’s thought process. The jury found the practice liable for $8 million. The interesting aspect is that the jury’s deciding factor was conflicting, auto-generated EHR entries.

Hospitals in Vietnam report that thieves are posing as the family members of patients in order to steal jewelry or money (inpatients usually have cash because hospitals there require upfront payment for each service). In one case, a guy posing as a doctor convinced a woman in the OR waiting room to pay him for her husband’s perioperative blood transfusion, after which he he printed her a receipt from his iPad then took off with her money.

Weird News Andy says he could understand if it were pediatrics, but OB/GYN? Police responding to a hospital’s call about a “young black male who appeared to be a child was dressed as a doctor” find find a fully garbed 17-year-old in an exam room with a doctor and a patient. The teen, who had been hanging around the hospital for weeks, wasn’t charged since his mom says he’s under unspecified medical treatment and refuses to take his meds.


Sponsor Updates

  • The Sandlot Connect clinical interoperability platform from Sandlot Solutions earns ONC-ACB certification.
  • T-System announces the five winners of its client excellence awards and will make a charitable donation on behalf of each.
  • Pat Adamiak of Liaison Technologies writes a new blog on “Making Your Big Data Project Successful.”
  • Influence Health opens registration and speaker abstract applications for its Influence 2015 Client Congress, taking place in St. Louis May 3-6.
  • Impact Advisors post two new blogs: “When an IT Project Isn’t an IT Project” and “Meaningful Use 2014: Lessons Learned and Looking Ahead.”
  • Hayes Management Consulting Director of Informatics Pete Rivera offers insight into “What You Need to Know About Hiring Veterans.”
  • Healthwise wins gold and silver Web Health Awards for its health education videos.
  • HealthMEDX participates in the Georgia Health Care Association 2015 Winter Convention taking place today in Atlanta.
  • Amanda Randall blogs about the “5 Benefits of Working at Healthgrades.”
  • Healthfinch posts a new blog entitled, “A Nod to Nature: Building a Balanced Healthcare Ecosystem.”
  • E-MDs CEO David Winn pens a new article entitled, “Time to Let the Air Out of the Tires on ICD-10.”
  • Healthcare Data Solutions offers a new blog on content-marketing strategy.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 22, 2015 News 2 Comments

News 1/21/15

January 20, 2015 News 6 Comments

Top News

image 

Mayo Clinic chooses Epic, as I mentioned a few days ago from a reader’s rumor report. Cerner gets a double whammy – not only do they lose the Mayo bid, some of their systems will be displaced as they (along with GE Healthcare) are the Mayo incumbent. Actually, there’s one more Cerner insult: former Mayo CEO Denis Cortese, MD sits on Cerner’s board.


Reader Comments

image 

From Banned in Boston: “Re: McKesson Horizon. The attached letter verifies its sunsetting on March 31, 2018. The event has passed with little fanfare since Horizon has become increasingly obsolete.” The letter, signed by McKesson EVP Pat Blake and President Jim Pesce, says the company will issue a Meaningful Use Stage 3 update and thanks Horizon users for their “partnership,” a trite, vendor-created synonym for “sending checks as a customer.”

image

From Jose Francisco: “Re: Scripps Health. Will be moving to Epic. Impact Advisors led the system selection – Cerner never had a real shot. Decision will become public in 30-60 days.” Unverified. Scripps chose GE Healthcare’s Centricity Enterprise in 2007 and Allscripts Enterprise for its outpatient clinics in 2009. Assuming the rumor is true, EMR critic and Scripps cardiologist and author Eric Topol, MD will become an Epic user – it will be interesting to see what he says about it among all of his smartphone infatuation. Update: I reached a non-anonymous source who says that Scripps hasn’t yet made a decision as far as he or she knows.

From Lips Pursed: “Re: HISsies voting. It’s just a popularity contest and the ballot choices are stupid.” Of course it’s a popularity contest, just like the Presidential election – what did you think it was? Readers (few of whom are stupid) make the nominations and vote for their choices as they’ve done since 2008, with the most-nominated entries appearing on the ballot. Having people who didn’t nominate anyone complain now is like moaning about the Presidential candidate chosen by your more responsible peers in that primary election voting you skipped.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

The results of my reader survey are always interesting and useful. Thanks to those who responded.

Some nice point-counterpoint commentary was generated by CommonWell’s answers to HIStalk reader questions and a reaction article by Brian Weiss of Carebox. The comments are getting interesting as Brian suggests that (a) HIStalk readers vote as consumers on the approaches of the respective organizations, and (b) that the organizations consider developing a prototype for exchanging information securely and under the control of patients, driven only by their email address. They are also discussing patient-controlled health record banks.

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Oneview Healthcare. The Dublin, Ireland-based company (with US offices in San Francisco and Pittsburgh) offers a Microsoft-powered customizable interactive patient care system that’s accessible by smartphone, tablet, or in-room TV. Patients get education, entertainment, communications services, messaging, scheduling, way-finding, meal ordering, nurse rounding, and remote consultation, while clinicians use it to access electronic medical records and other point-of-care applications. Two big reference clients are the newly built Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in Sydney, Australia (they have a patient experience focus and every patient interacts with the Oneview system) and UCSF Mission Bay (a three-hospital campus opening in a couple of weeks). Maimonides Medical Center (NY) SVP/CIO Walter Fahey says, “The capability that the Oneview solution can deliver is second to none and it will transform the healthcare experience, not only for our patients, but for our healthcare teams and hospital managers.” Thanks to Oneview Healthcare for supporting HIStalk.

I found this overview video of Oneview Healthcare on Vimeo.

Listening: Gary Lewis and the Playboys. Like most of America, I can’t understand how the unattractive, minimally talented son of the annoying Jerry Lewis could have become a 1960s pop star, at least until his career was waylaid when he was drafted and shipped off to Vietnam in 1967. I’ve seen him live a couple of times –he’s good natured (he’s 68 now) and he had some massive songwriting and production firepower behind his records. I have a strong need to hear “This Diamond Ring,” “Palisades Park,” “Everybody Loves a Clown,” “Save Your Heart for Me,” and “Little Miss Go Go “ every few years. Trivia: there were no actual Playboys on the records – it was all Gary and some studio musicians, heavily overdubbed and recorded using the opportunity created by his mom’s money and his dad’s name.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Xconomy profiles nonprofit Wisconsin investor BrightStar, which funnels charitable donations of around $200,000 to complete funding rounds for early-stage companies that are creating state jobs. It quotes Forward Health Group CEO Michael Barbouche, who says working with BrightStar is painless and easy.

image

Patent troll MMRGlobal challenges recent court rulings in which its infringement lawsuits against Allscripts, WebMD, and others were rejected. Above is an illustration from one of its 13 patent applications from its 300 open lawsuits. MMRGlobal’s penny stock shares (literally: its shares are listed at $0.01 on the pink sheets) have dropped 59 percent of their value in the past year. Founder Bob Lorsch and his spokesperson/president wife were featured in a 2012 TV show called “Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis” in which they are portrayed as emotional hoarders of a crammed houseful of stuff. I interviewed him a couple of year ago and found him charming and his product interesting, although the endless lawsuits overshadow all of that. He made one of his fortunes selling 976 telephone services in the 1980s, including a Santa Claus hotline (he sued a phone sex company for using a number similar to his) and running a children’s 976 phone service as a fundraiser for museums in which he kept $1.75 from each $2 call.

image

The Washington Post profiles hCentive, a software development company started by a guy who in 2009 downloaded a copy of the Obamacare bill the Senate was then debating and saw opportunity. The Affordable Care Act was signed into law nine months later and the three-person company now has 700 employees and $50 million in annual revenue after building four state exchanges and being signed by the federal government to build a small business site after it fired CGI for the failed Healthcare.gov rollout.


Sales

image

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare (WI) chooses Epic in a $54 million, five-year project.  

image

Southeastern Health (NC) chooses eClinicalWorks Care Coordination Medical Record.

Aetna selects HealthEdge’s rules-powered health management system for payors.


People

image

Randy Carpenter (Omnicare) joins Stoltenberg Consulting as SVP of strategic services.

image

Xerox Government Healthcare names Scott Bennett (Siemens Healthcare) as SVP of sales.


Announcements and Implementations

PeriGen announces a doubling of its customer base in 2014, with 140,000 births to date supported by its PerCALM Tracings electronic fetal monitoring system.

image

St. Maarten Medical Center says it will be the first hospital in the Caribbean to use a fully electronic system when it completes its implementation of CPSI, which replaces a Siemens MedSeries4 system that was “no longer reliable and nearing a system failure.”

GE Healthcare and NextGen earn EHNAC’s first practice management system accreditation.


Government and Politics

image

Computer scientist Kathy Pham, a new employee of the United States Digital Service, attended Tuesday night’s State of the Union address as one of 22 guests invited by the White House. She has been a healthcare informatics researcher, a software engineer for Harris Healthcare Solutions, and a healthcare consultant with IBM. She also serves as a patient advocate for her mother, who has acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

image

A report by HHS’s Office of Inspector General finds that CMS’s work on Healthcare.gov was sloppy, hurried, and poorly overseen, awarding no-bid contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars without reviewing past company performance or having firm requirements defined. As has been widely reported, CMS hired 33 companies to work on the site, but didn’t name any one of them to be in charge, although they just assumed that CGI Federal was running the project. The agreements also didn’t cap payments and allowed overbilling with minimal documentation, so some companies were paid up to three times their bid amount. CMS originally estimated the value of six key contracts at $464 million, but has paid $824 million so far.


Privacy and Security 

A security company finds that Healthcare.gov connects in the background to dozens of private websites, including Facebook, Google, and Twitter, raising concerns about cybersecurity exposure and whether user information is really private.


Innovation and Research

image

A new research article describes how Kaiser Permanente analyzed its EHR information to identify neighborhoods with a low rate of childhood vaccinations, allowing it to mount outreach efforts to five areas. One private school had a 50 percent rate of “personal belief exemption.”


Technology

in England, the medical director of NHS says wearables will play a vital part in future health in allowing people to be monitored at home for irregularities in heart rhythm, breathing, and edema. He adds that NHS will push a “huge rollout” of those technologies.

image

Bizarre: Airbnb-inspired Airpnp lets app users in need of a bio break rent bathrooms in private homes. The founders were inspired by a New Orleans decision to ban street-located Porta-Potties during Mardi Gras. It’s hard to fathom that sellers would allow a stranger into their homes (and bathrooms) for a dollar or two. It sounds like a spoof to me, but then again it’s sometimes hard to tell if a startup is serious. Perhaps the same skepticism applied early on to Uber, however, which just announced that its San Francisco revenue alone is $500 million per year – nearly four times the entire taxi market there — and is growing 200 percent per year.  

Microsoft patents user-configurable technology that can automatically dim and silence a smartphone when the phone’s GPS detects that the user has entered a theater, when it senses darkness and quiet, or when so instructed by the Wi-Fi system being used.


Other

image

An epidemiologist with New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene tells the Health IT Policy Committee that fast outbreak identification and control requires better integration between EHRs and its disease surveillance system. She envisions EHRs sending real-time data for surveillance and then receiving back prompts for additional information, such as patient demographics.

A North Carolina OB-GYN says doctors should use computers and not vice-versa, urging his peers to look at the patient instead of the screen. “The folks who sold us these systems talked about all the wonderful things EMR can do … One might assume the EMR would excise the tumor, lower the blood glucose and stop the hallucinations. The problem is that the EMR really should not ‘do’ anything. Patients tell us their concerns. Practitioners do their best to listen and perform the appropriate evaluation, with or without technology … everything we need to know about our patients is in their face, in their voice, and in their eyes.”

image

Forbes India profiles India-based Narayana Health, whose first non-India hospital opened in the Cayman Islands a year ago in a partnership with Ascension Health. Founder and cardiac surgeon Devi Shetty got the idea for his medical tourism hospital from a friend who mused, “The most profitable hospital in the world is the one which is built on a ship and parked outside US waters because it gets to serve American patients and yet stays away from its jurisdiction.” The hospital has implanted an artificial heart for what Shetty says is less than half of the $1.2 million US hospital price. He’s working with two US-based health systems on new hospital software (I’d be curious to learn more about that) and is talking about starting a Caymans medical school.

image image

Weird News Andy likes the glucose-monitoring temporary tattoo on the left better than the diabetes-hating one on the right, although I’ll add that both might illustrate diabetic monitoring assuming there’s a Diastix right above the word “diabetes.”  


Sponsor Updates

  • Zynx Health VP Guillermo Ramas writes about attaining the impossible in the company’s latest blog.
  • Frank Myeroff of Direct Consulting Associates interviews Denver Health CIO Jeff Pelot.
  • Huron Consulting Group will exhibit at the AHLA 2015 Legal Issues Affecting Academic Medical Centers and Other Teaching Institutions conference in Washington, DC from January 22-23.
  • Voalte Product Manager Anthony Mitchell blogs about the smart use of smartphones in the latest company post.
  • ExitEvent highlights Validic and its relationship with digital health startup Qardio.
  • T-System Clinical Systems Engineer Deon Melton, RN shares “Life Lessons Learned in the ER” in a new blog.
  • Caradigm Director of Product Marketing Scott McLeod pens a new blog, “All Signs Point to Population Health Management.”
  • AtHoc President and CEO Guy Miasnik writes about the role AtHoc technology played in protecting Gritman Medical Center from an active shooter.
  • The local business paper highlights the venture capital funding raised by CareSync in Q4 2014.
  • CareTech will attend the January 28 MCACHE event on “Building a Leadership Team for the Healthcare Organization of the Future.”
  • AirWatch’s Noah Wasmer offers five end-user computing technology predictions for 2015 in a new blog.
  • ADP AdvancedMD offers tips on leveraging practice data to view key performance indicators in a new blog.
  • Besler Consulting offers advice on how to increase Medicare EHR incentive payments.
  • Aventura will exhibit at the IMN Health Impact Conference of the Southeast in Tampa on January 23.
  • CitiusTech achieves the ISO 13485 quality management system standard for medical devices.
  • CoverMyMeds shares a moment with Account Coordinator Josh Campanella in the latest installment of its “Hey, You!” blog series.
  • ABCNews.com lists Clockwise.md amongst other companies making a name for themselves developing online booking software.
  • CommVault launches new endpoint data protection to secure, support, and back up mobile enterprises.
  • Craneware lists its goals for 2015 in a new blog post.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 20, 2015 News 6 Comments

Monday Morning Update 1/19/15

January 18, 2015 News 5 Comments

Top News

image

CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, most known for her key role in the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov and for miscounting its enrollees to the White House’s embarrassment, resigns. Former Optum executive Andy Slavitt will take the role as interim. Trivia: Tavenner worked her way up from staff nurse at an HCA hospital to president of a 20-hospital HCA division. 


Reader Comments

From VeeDub: “Re: McKesson. Our system uses Horizon Clinicals at several of our hospitals and is just beginning the conversion to a new EMR. McKesson has told us that the last day of support for Horizon Clinicals will be March 31, 2018. I don’t know if this also applies to the rest of the Horizon product line.” Unverified, but McKesson has sent strong signals that sunset is on the Horizon.

SNAGHTML8b38de

From Dollar Short: “Re: CIO salaries. You used to run these. Bring it back!” Since I’m a pleaser, I put together a few for you. I used to calculate the CIO’s salary vs. the non-profit organization’s revenue, but big health systems started gaming that number by setting up management corporations to hide executive salaries and reporting revenue in not very digestible ways. I chose a few big-name CIOs. Who’s up for names and pictures of the million-dollar club? (probably not members of the million-dollar club)

TX: $689,993
MA: $702,153
FL: $616,330
VA: $965,552
FL: $415,676
MA: $812,817
NY: $922,942
NY: $1,206,457
VA: $470,783
TX: $817,753
NC: $674,896
CA: $1,527,838
MA: $415,172
WI: $330,573
AZ: $1,084,140
FL: $1,091,266

From Hold the Mayo: “Re: Mayo Clinic. Will announce its EMR selection (Cerner or Epic) on Tuesday.” Unverified. One of the companies will get a lot of mileage out of that decision, and not long before the Department of Defense is making its choice besides.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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

image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image

image

My most recent poll  responses can be sliced and diced in a few ways. Forty-six percent of respondents overall will attend HIMSS15, while 22 percent who went to HIMSS14 aren’t coming this year (but those are outnumbered by readers who didn’t go last year but will this year). Based on that I would ordinarily project a slightly higher attendance for HIMSS15, but I’m not so sure the industry isn’t contracting a bit overall and attendance may not get that boost. New poll to your right or here: has technology significantly empowered patients? I would enjoy hearing your comments – click the link after voting and share your thoughts.

Listening: The Subways, a hard-rocking British three-piece band that puts on a hyper-energy live show (the bravest crowd surf ever is at 45:00 in the video). They’ll be touring to support their new album starting in a couple of weeks, but only in Europe. I’m rehearsing now for my US-based desk-drumming and air-guitaring support.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Google joins the Department of Defense EHR bid team of PwC, General Dynamics, Medsphere, and DSS.
  • A whistleblower lawsuit brought by two former NantHealth executives claims the company is “engaged in a multitude of fraudulent activities.”
  • Athenahealth acquires small hospital EHR vendor RazorInsights.
  • ONC’s numbers show that 77 percent of Meaningful Use Stage 2 eligible hospitals have attested along with 60 percent of eligible practices.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

I’m fascinated by the continued share price decline of former high-flyer Castlight Health, which closed on its first day of trading last March at nearly $40, took a sharp slide immediately afterward, and now sits at less than $9, down nearly 80 percent. The company will announce full-year and Q4 results on February 18, which will be interesting.


Sales

In the UK, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust selects HP Enterprise Services UK to implement Orion Health’s clinical portal with Imprivata’s single sign-on.


People

image

The SSI Group names Jay Colfer (Surgical Information Systems) as EVP of sales.

image

Atul Butte, MD, PhD (Stanford University School of Medicine) will join UCSF to run its new Institute for Computational Health Sciences.


Announcements and Implementations

image

Practice Fusion adds an online check-in module that collects patient information via practice-customizable online forms, then sends it to its EHR.

Wolters Kluwer Health enhances its Sentri7 surveillance system to support creation of antimicrobial stewardship programs.


Government and Politics

image

FDA releases draft guidance for “General Wellness: Policy for Low Risk Devices.” FDA says it isn’t interested in treating low-risk wellness products as medical devices. Apps and devices are fine as long as they (a) address general wellness such as weight management, mental acuity, physical fitness, or sleep management without claiming to treat a specific disease or condition, or (b) use accepted medical knowledge to promote lifestyle management to reduce the risk of specific diseases or conditions.  


Privacy and Security

image

Sensato announces its Hacking Healthcare 2015 cybersecurity conference, March 24-26, 2015 at Ocean Place Spa & Resort in Long Branch, NJ for health systems, payers, technology vendors, and physician practices. It will cover top healthcare security threats (including those involving biomedical devices), dealing with business associates, and developing strategies for addressing current threats. 

A New Jersey goes into effect that requires insurance companies to encrypt patient information on both desktops and laptops.


Innovation and Research

image

Massively overexposed Mark Cuban, mostly known for being irreverently obnoxious before and after he made a ton of money, will emcee the Impact Pediatric Pitch Competition for pediatric digital technologies on March 16 at SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX. The event will be hosted by Boston Children’s, Cincinnati Children’s, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Texas Children’s.


Technology

image

Fascinating: an astronaut needed a wrench, so NASA emailed up a CAD drawing and he 3D printed the tool on the International Space Station.

Samsung offers software developers and researchers a free prototype and development kit of its Simband wrist-based sensor. A tutorial steps through the writing of a heart rate variability algorithm in C, while the company also offers de-identified vital signs test data it will be collecting from research participants. 

image

Berkeley, CA-based startup Eko Devices announces the $200 Core 1, which clips onto a standard stethoscope to record its sounds to any smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, allowing doctors to share the sound file in consulting with a remote specialist.

image

Stride Health launches a Healthcare.gov type medical insurance app that targets 1099 workers, claiming its app is easier to use and suggests insurance options that are more tailored to the user. The app is free since the company gets a commission on the insurance users buy. Mayo Clinic is an investor.


Other

image

The Seattle paper covers what it calls the “OpenTable for medical appointments” patient scheduling apps, mentioning ZocDoc for medical appointment scheduling and InQuicker for ED scheduling. It quotes a New York dermatologist who says he couldn’t compete without ZocDoc, which sends him 15 patients per week, which seems unnecessary given the stats I’ve seen on long waits to get a new patient derm appointment, but he knows better than me. An ED patient who used InQuicker reports, “There must have been 50 people there, and they took me in 10 minutes,” which surely delighted those other folks who actually showed up and waited as the happy InQuicker user skipped the line for her “emergency.”

Speaking of EDs, Modern Healthcare reports that annual visits keep rising sharply despite the Affordable Care Act, with one ED doc saying, “We’re seeing a failure of access to care” as primary care practices close or stop accepting Medicare. Others say the newly insured just haven’t gotten used to the idea that they can be seen in places other than the ED.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock (NH) uses an EHR best practice alert to improve its blood transfusion practices, reducing the number of questionable two-unit transfusion orders from 47 percent to 15 percent.

image

Harvard Medical School announces the formation of the Department of Biomedical Informatics, to be led by Isaac Kohane, MD, PhD of Boston Children’s Hospital who co-founded the predecessor organization, HMS Center for Biomedical Informatics. The department will have five core faculty members.

image

Weird News Andy nominates this as his quote of the year: “Being a corpse was the most bizarre experience, but I’m so glad I managed to get out alive.” An Alabama teen with the rare mental illness Cotard’s Syndrome, in which those afflicted believe that they are literally dead, recovers three years later after psychiatric help and watching Disney movies (insert commercial skepticism or promotional opportunities here, especially since she says she and her boyfriend now want to work for Disney World). Those with the condition believe they are dead and/or immortal, that their body parts are missing or decomposed, or that they can relax only in cemeteries.


Sponsor Updates

  • Liaison Technologies CEO Bob Renner dives into five micro trends that will define big data over the coming year.
  • Versus client Dan Chambers, MBA, COE, of Key-Whitman Eye Center writes in the January issue of Ophthalmic Professional magazine about RTLS and how the technology improves patient flow.
  • Healthwise SVP Molly Mettler reflects on the opening of Healthwise 40 years ago in a new blog.
  • The local Fox News affiliate mentions Healthgrades in a story on keeping New Year’s resolutions.
  • Healthfinch makes “Another Case for Strategy, Not Just Tactics” in its latest blog.
  • Harris Corp. will exhibit at the iHT2 conference in San Diego January 20-21.
  • Impact Advisors publishes a white paper, “Optimization: The Next Frontier.”
  • Healthcare Data Solutions lists five things to love about pharmacists in celebration of National Pharmacists Day.
  • Extension Healthcare blogs about channeling change and your inner Florence Nightingale in 2015.
  • Health Care Software Inc. will exhibit at the LeadingAge California meeting in San Diego on January 23.
  • DocuSign shares tips on enhancing employee productivity in its latest blog post.
  • Hayes Management Consulting shares “Everything You’ve Wanted to Know About Keeping Employees Happy During System Implementations But Were Afraid to Ask” in a new blog.
  • SCI Solutions offers a new blog on “Eliminating the Blind Side in Care Coordination.”
  • Sagacious Consultants offers insight into improving sepsis detection using Epic in its latest blog.
  • PMD’s Siavosh Bahrami offers a new blog on “Mediums of Thought and How I Approach Problems.”
  • Phynd CEO Thomas White offers insight into the company’s ROI model in a new blog post.
  • PeriGen doubles its PeriCALM customer based in 2014, bringing total estimated number of births supported to 140,032.
  • The local paper profiles Perceptive Software’s office in a roundup of Johnson County’s coolest offices. (nice pic, too)
  • Nordic releases the third episode in its series on Epic’s Cupid application, covering differentiators and implementation stumbling blocks.
  • NVoq shares the top three providers should know about its SayIt speech-recognition technology.
  • Netsmart releases two new white papers: ”The Recovery Movement” and ”In Transition: How Electronic Data Sharing Enables Improved Health Outcomes and Reduced Costs.”
  • MEA I NEA publishes a new blog entitled, “Connected practices may be hindered by lack of a website; yes, a website.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

 

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 18, 2015 News 5 Comments

Reader Survey Results 2015

January 18, 2015 News 5 Comments

Thanks to everyone who completed my reader survey. Congratulations to the three winners of $50 Amazon gift cards I’ve sent (I had fun writing an Excel randomization routine to make sure I wasn’t biased in any way in choosing the winners).

I run the survey once per year. It helps me plan going forward. I always like to share some of the interesting feedback I get from it.

I’ll chime in on a few of the comments and suggestions. I should mention that the most common recommendation was, “Don’t change anything.” I appreciate that.

I have a diverse readership, and while it might seem obvious that I should make a given change, that’s from one person’s viewpoint. People have different motivations for reading HIStalk – some want just the top news boiled down, some are scouring for competitive intelligence, and many want to be entertained along with their news. I don’t want to get in the trap of writing by committee no matter how well intentioned the advice, where I please nobody in trying to please everybody. My audience is self-selecting – you either like what I write or you don’t, and I have to make you want to come back every day. It’s harder than it looks sometimes given all the distraction that’s out there.

Some major points from the survey:

  • Readers mostly work for hardware or software vendors (47 percent); hospitals, health systems, and practices (27 percent), and 68 percent have at least 11 years of experience in healthcare IT and healthcare.
  • The most common job function is IT or vendor staff or management, nine percent are clinicians, and about six percent of readers are CEOs and the same percentage are CIOs.
  • The most-appreciated elements of HIStalk are (in order) news, morning headlines, rumors, humor, and Dr. Jayne. The least-liked element is Readers Write.
  • Eight-five percent of respondents say they have a higher interest in companies when they read about them in HIStalk.
  • The most important survey result is this one: 91 percent of readers said reading HIStalk helped them perform their job better last year.
  • More than a third of readers recommended HIStalk to a peer in the past month.

Here are some of the recommendations.

Separate out Dr. Jayne’s Thursday night contribution into its own post for easier reference.

Good idea. That’s easily done. Long-time readers may remember that when Dr. Jayne started five years ago, I ran her post at the end of Tuesday night’s news. Then I had the brilliant idea (that’s not exactly true – a reader suggested it in the reader survey five years ago) of moving her post to Monday nights on its own. Dr. Jayne is a busy lady, so I’ll have to coordinate with her schedule.

Don’t write so much about startup funding.

More people said I should write more about it. I haven’t changed my threshold for what seems interesting or newsworthy about funding — there’s just more of it to cover these days as investors chum the waters. Clinical readers sometimes yawn at the business news and vice versa, but at least the business section is easily skipped (the idea of breaking out posts with subheadings also came from a long-ago reader survey, in fact).

Stop putting so much emphasis on the HIMSS conference and the events you have there.

I agree, although many readers follow that closely. I’ll try to find more substance at the conference to write about, but it seems to be in short supply.

Don’t be so snarky.

The “be more snarky” camp has you outnumbered in their responses, I’m afraid.

Stop promoting Epic so much.

I’ve analyzed my mentions of Epic and they are balanced. Most of the time I’m reporting something newsworthy or that would interest my Epic-using provider readers (of where there are many), and in those cases where I editorialized, it was a pretty even split between positive and negative. Writing about Epic is a challenge because any time I mention them, people who (a) compete with them; (b) aren’t Epic users; or (c) tried to get a job there and failed scream “favoritism.” I write about Cerner’s new campus and nobody says a word, but I mention Epic’s new campus and smoke starts coming out of the ears of some readers who react to the word “Epic” as a bull does to a matador’s red cape. If you think something I say is biased toward Epic, say so in the comments and see if others agree. I do pay attention.

Stop calling Epic’s Judy Faulkner “Judy.” It’s demeaning because you don’t do that with males.

Sure I do. I write about Neal, Farzad, Vince, Ed, and JB (for Jonathan Bush) using only their first names for the same reason – just about everybody knows who I’m talking about because their names are uncommon, unlike Paul, Robert, or John. When I hear people talking about Judy Faulkner, 90 percent of the time they just say “Judy.” I’ve never heard anyone respond with, “Judy who?”

Expand the contributor group – not everybody seeks the spotlight.

The problem is that many people shun the spotlight. I’d greatly appreciate more contributors with different viewpoints, but the single best lesson I’ve learned in 12 years of writing HIStalk is that everybody likes to read, but almost nobody likes to write. I’m always encouraging different people to write Reader’s Write articles, submit their own series of articles, or be interviewed — what you see on the page is what I get (usually vendor people interested in the exposure, which is why people don’t like Reader’s Write). Non-vendors and lesser-knowns, get in touch if you are willing and able to contribute because I’m up for it.

Start a column with new perspective from a pharmacist, lab director, nurse, and others on the front lines.

See above. I’ve asked before, especially for a nurse who writes well and has interesting points to make, but nobody has volunteered and I can’t force them to do it.

Get the contributions of government contractors since they know what’s going on.

Dim-Sum’s contributions about the Department of Defense EHR have been outstanding. I would be thrilled to run more government-oriented pieces, even anonymously, if someone is willing.

Get the contributions of patients and consumers.

I’ve tried getting people for that too with no luck, but at least I’ll have something from HIMSS since I’m providing several scholarships to patients who will attend and write about their experience on HIStalk (more details to follow).

Offer a column, interview, or other collaboration with HIMSS.

We each tend to do our own thing, but I’m willing if they are, assuming it’s interesting to my readers and not just promoting HIMSS.

Offer a column to incubators like Rock Health.

I’ve started with startup CEOs and investors and an incubator or accelerator column would be fun, limited again by the willingness of someone to actually do it. And the complaints of those HIStalk readers who say they’re tired of hearing about startups.

Put on more non-commercial webinars like the Dim-Sum and Vince ones.

The rate-limiting factor is presenter willingness, not mine. All the presenter needs is a bit of time and expertise – we lead them through the process from abstract to delivery and of course I bear the expense gladly. Dim-Sum’s webinar on the DoD EHR has had 1,531 views on YouTube and Vince’s Siemens-Cerner presentation has been viewed 1,807 times, so demand exists for webinars that are more educational than commercial, which I had in mind from the start. I have the forum and platform if you have something educational to offer readers.

Perform more analysis of informatics literature.

I love doing that myself when I have the time and have the full-text of an interesting article. I’ve asked before for an academic type to be a “literature scout” to find good journal articles and summarize them, but I haven’t had any takers. I’m feeling like a looping recording in saying repeatedly that I don’t get volunteers, but I’m just explaining why it’s not quite like the engaged community anxious to contribute that you might envision.

Stop using blue font for the reader quotes.

I’ll have to think about how to best indicate that I’m quoting a reader.

Improve the search function.

That comes up in every year’s survey, but I don’t have a solution. It’s already a Google search that works well, but what some folks want is to be able to click on a word like “Cerner” or “genomics” and have a perfectly sorted list of articles by date pop up. It just doesn’t work that way with the format I use, which is intended for an easy summary read rather than to support discrete searches. HIStalk, technologically, is just a bunch of web pages with one per post, not a massively indexed database (it’s kind of like a free-text chart entry vs. individual EHR data fields). I’m open to technology suggestions if anyone has some. Lots of  health IT vendors offer tools that convert free-text documentation to structured and searchable, so maybe this is their test case.

Spell Meditech as MEDITECH.

No. There’s just no reason to make it all capital letters. I go by the AP Stylebook, as does the Boston Globe, which spells it Meditech. Companies can go marketing crazy with cute capitalizations and symbols within their names, but that doesn’t mean publications have to buy into it. Hospitals are getting into the act, such as NewYork-Presbyterian (no space) and Partners HealthCare. Apparently spelling a word correctly following civilized rules doesn’t sizzle enough to stand out.

Stop being so picky about grammar.

No. I hate it when people make up their own rules because following society’s rules is inconvenient. Many people worked hard to teach me English, so I feel no shame in using it correctly. Americans are bizarre in passing along to their children their bemused indifference to competence in English and math, so we’ll see where that gets us in a competitive world market.

Some of the interviews feel scripted – mark those that are done live.

I do every interview live by telephone. Also, the subject hasn’t heard the questions until I ask them and doesn’t get to approve the final transcription. Two exceptions: (a) the “HIT Moment With …” where five-question interviews are done by email, and (b) a couple of times over many years, my interview subject did not speak easily understood English and I knew both the subject and I would have to work a lot harder to complete the interview, so I begrudgingly allowed email answers. I’ve done many hundreds of interviews and all but a handful were me talking on the phone asking off-the-cuff questions (I do edit out the many times the subject says, having become accustomed to low-quality reporter interviews, “What a great question …”). It would probably be fun to listen to the actual recording that gets transcribed – I interviewed Premier CEO Susan DeVore while having fajitas and a Tecate in a Mexican restaurant since I was super busy that day. I started off by telling her that she was hearing my private mariachi band serenading me in the background, which she found amusing.

Respond when someone leaves a stupid comment on a post.

I don’t want to talk over a reader who leaves a comment, even one I don’t agree with or that is factually incorrect. I let other readers correct them as they see fit. If they don’t, then I assume the comment is at least somewhat justified even if it stings a bit (my skin’s not as thick as it might seem).

I would like to have a quick way to see quickly the comments left on a post and then jump to them.

I will look into commenting options. I had a good cloud-based tool that seemed perfect, but it didn’t work for reasons I never could figure out in multiple attempts.

Send the email blast in the middle of the night instead of at around 8 p.m. EST. It creates pressure to read and I’d rather have it pop up in the morning with the other news I read.

Readers in Pacific times zones jump on HIStalk as soon as the email goes out, so I would hate to hold it until the next morning, plus some people want to see the news as soon as they can. I remember clearly when Todd Cozzens ask for a show of hands from the stage of HIStalkapalooza in Chicago how many people drop everything when the HIStalk email arrives – a frightening number of them went up.

Develop a mobile app.

I’ve been looking into that, although the existing mobile format works OK. Real-time notifications might be useful, though.

Ed Marx never did write anything about the Ebola debacle. The omission makes me think that maybe HIStalk is not as impartial as it says it is.

Let’s be realistic: would your employer give you permission to speak off the cuff to a media outlet about an issue of great human, corporate, and legal sensitivity? Or if your spouse died of Ebola, would you want to see the hospital CIO prattling on about that tiny piece of the case that he knows something about? Ed contributes articles, but he’s not free to talk casually about his employer or the patients they see, no different than when nearly got fired by my hospital when I started writing HIStalk and a loser vendor complained to my boss that I was saying bad things about them (leading to my immediate interest in anonymity).

Keep up the music recommendations.

I’m heartened by several such comments since usually someone complains about anything even slightly off topic, always in the form of, “I don’t read HIStalk for …” as though I’m an HIT-posting robot banned from going off script. Sometimes I fantasize about starting a new, unrelated site about some topic I know next to nothing about just to see if I could make it interesting while learning about the topic.

Write shorter posts or write news daily to shorten the individual posts.

Both are tough for me. I only include items I think are interesting and I cover a lot of ground succinctly, so I’d have to cut something I think is worth reading. I used to write news daily, but readers observed that HIStalk wasn’t particularly special any more when it hit their inbox every workday. Lt. Dan posts morning headlines each weekday if you just want a quick skim to see the major news items without the usual commentary and snark.

It sounds like you think you need to change something. Whatever you do, keep the news, juicy gossip, and sly, somewhat jaundiced humor.

I’ve been writing HIStalk for 12 years, so sometimes I get the urge to try something different. Occasionally I see all of the movers and shakers out there doing cool stuff (starting companies, developing products, running think tanks, etc.) and feel a pang of regret that I’m a sideline reporter rather than a full-contact participant in those high-profile or society-benefitting activities. That usually passes quickly, though, and every day when I face that blank screen yet again with excitement and hopefully some creativity, I realize I how lucky I am to be able to something I enjoy in whatever way I want. I’ve learned to be happy with my place in the world.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 18, 2015 News 5 Comments

CommonWell Answers HIStalk Reader Questions

January 16, 2015 News 15 Comments

image image image image image

David McCallie, Jr., MD, SVP of medical informatics for Cerner and co-founder of CommonWell Health Alliance, invited HIStalk readers to submit their questions about CommonWell. He obtained answers from the most appropriate CommonWell resource. These replies were provided by David along with Dan Schipfer (VP/GM of government for Cerner and CommonWell operating committee chair); Nick Knowlton (VP of business development for Brightree and CommonWell membership chair); Bob Robke (VP for Cerner and CommonWell treasurer); and Jitin Asnaani (director for Athenahealth and CommonWell operating committee co-chair).

How do organizations like CommonWell promote interoperable transfer of health information to non-members? If our goal is a national infrastructure for transfer of PHI, don’t these aggregations of health partners create barriers to a national solution?

From a strategic point of view, CommonWell’s founders created the network because they did not believe that any of the existing approaches met the need for national-scale federated query based on robust identity management and record locator services. CommonWell’s founders believe that regional and vendor-proprietary networks won’t meet the demand for universal query connectivity. In contrast, CommonWell membership is open to all HIT suppliers and their customers, nationwide. However, if other networks emerge that cover substantial portions of consumers, CommonWell is open to creation of bridging services that could interconnect with other networks.

More tactically today, we feel that CommonWell has already promoted interoperable transfer of health information by publicly calling out the important issue of the lack of a common patient identifier in US health care. Second, to advance the state of the art, CommonWell members have designed and published specifications that address the problem of the missing patient identifier. These specifications are available for any and all (i.e. members and non-members) to evaluate, improve, implement, and use under common open source licensing. 

 

Does CommonWell have any plans for taking the initiative outside of the US?

We’re taking it one step at a time. Currently, CommonWell’s focus is to deliver real-world interoperability services across the US.

 

Why did some folks refer to CommonWell (in its early days) as the "HIE killer" and is that still a valid point? Accordingly, do entities like Aetna (who has invested in Medicity) and Optum (with their Axolotl acquisition) consider CommonWell to be a threat?

It is difficult to speculate on behalf of “some folks,” but CommonWell is not attempting to “kill” any type of exchange. CommonWell is designed to offer a national-scale service because we believe that a patient’s provider should have access to that patient’s information regardless of where the information lives. Through this approach to “universal plumbing,” members can expect an increase in the access to health information for their providers and a decrease in the cost and time for providers and their patients to gain access to their health information.

By addressing shortcomings in existing exchange models (such as imprecise standards that inhibit vendor to vendor connectivity), CommonWell is drastically reducing time and associated expense to achieving health information exchange. Furthermore, in a world driving towards the triple aim, interoperability initiatives such as CommonWell are aligned with goals common to payers, patients, provider networks, and national healthcare delivery objectives.

 

How does CommonWell relate to the Argonaut project?

There is no formal relationship. The Argonaut Project is an industry-funded initiative to accelerate the development of technical standards (FHIR and OAuth) in conjunction with HL7. On the other hand, CommonWell is a trade association that is deploying a national network. The results of the Argonaut Project should complement CommonWell’s existing use of standards, which are partially based on FHIR, as well as on standard IHE profiles like XCA (for document-based exchange). The standards work stimulated by the Argonaut Project will be important to HIT in general. CommonWell hopes to leverage these new standards to provide enhanced services as they become formalized.

 

What fees will be collected for using CommonWell’s system, who pays those fees, and where does the money go?

CommonWell is a non-profit trade association that relies on two different fee sources to operate.

One is membership dues, as are common to most not-for-profit trade associations. The dues schedule is based upon an organization’s annual US HIT revenue and provides for the organizational expenses of running the Alliance. A more detailed breakdown of the membership fees is available on our website.

The second fee, a Service Fee, covers the cost of the core services provided by CommonWell to its members to facilitate data exchange and includes the identity management and record locator services. By doing this at the vendor level, CommonWell is able to achieve unprecedented economy of scale gains for streamlining connectivity. Members who provide access to CommonWell to their customers are free to charge (or not charge) for those services as they see fit. As a non-profit trade association, CommonWell has chosen not to mark up these costs to membership.

CommonWell cannot set the fees charged by member companies to their customers. However, our expectation is that those fees will be modest compared to the value of the services delivered and will be assessed in the “commodity service” philosophy espoused in our founding principles. As noted in CommonWell Board Chairman Jeremy Delinsky’s recent blog, athenahealth’s service fee equals about one-tenth of one-percent of their annual revenue.

What’s costly for everyone is the need to build numerous point-to-point interfaces and reinvent the wheel of patient identity management for every exchange scenario. Connecting once to a nationwide network, as the health care industry has done in other instances, has proven to be a better model for widespread data exchange.

 

Will EHR vendors pay a competitor (McKesson and CommonWell’s IT provider RelayHealth) to exchange information with other systems?

CommonWell Health Alliance delivers the services to the HIT members. RelayHealth is CommonWell’s initial contracted network service provider. As with any service offering that requires hardware and software, the services fees paid by the member to the Alliance help to offset the Alliance’s network service provider investment and compensate them for the costs of providing that service.

 

I heard it costs $2 million to become a member of CommonWell. What is the ROI for those members?

As noted above, if a vendor chooses to offer CommonWell Services to its clients, the vendor is charged a Service Fee in addition to the Membership dues. The Alliance currently charges an annual Service Fee to cover the cost of the core services. The Service Fee is based upon the Member’s annual HIT revenue. This annual fee allows the Member to onboard an unlimited number of clients onto the CommonWell Network.

CommonWell plans to publically post the Service Fee schedule on our website later this year, but for the vast majority of members, the costs will be far below that amount.

 

If I’m an Epic shop, what can CommonWell do that I can’t already do through Epic? What are the cost comparisons?

CommonWell provides a national-scale identity management service, nationwide record locator service, and universal connectivity to any vendor that offers the service. A single connection to the CommonWell network will enable providers and the patients they serve to access to their health information at all those various systems and organizations and won’t require peer-to-peer contracting for each provider you need to reach. The identity management and record locator services reduce matching errors and make it seamless for the provider since the patient does not have to remember the places where they have records. We don’t know of any single vendor network that can enable access to a patient’s health data regardless of where they have been seen.

 

Why would providers want a few publicly traded vendors running a fee-based backbone instead of pushing the government to create freely usable standards available to all vendors?

CommonWell’s founders believed that identity management and record locator services were necessary for effective national-scale query connectivity. Those services have to be organized and paid for by someone and the existing government-related approaches were not committed to delivering those services. Additionally, the founders believed that the vendor community was in the best position to “build in” support for efficient, seamless connectivity. The standards on which CommonWell is based are indeed freely available, but the national scale services that make those standards useful require an organization and appropriate organizational governance.

 

How are health plans and payers represented in the CommonWell alliance? Medicare’s risk adjustment have always demanded better access to and merging of administrative and clinical data. Now that the ACA demands risk adjustment for commercial population the need for this marriage is even greater. The ability for health plans to better assign risk to their members and the ability for providers to help close care gaps and meet their CMS-mandated obligations for data exchange can be greatly facilitated by providing improved attribution mechanisms for identifying members, providers, and specific encounters. And there should be a common means for plans to provide care gap info.

Right now, CommonWell is made up of 17 health IT vendor organizations, but we encourage membership to any organizations, including payors, that share the association’s values and vision for interoperability. In the early days of the Alliance, we had to remain focused on designing, building, and deploying our core services. These existing services offered by the Alliance are well aligned with offering improved delivery of healthcare for the nation, and that inherently provides benefits for all stakeholders – including patients, providers, and payors.

While this is a great start, we recognize that there are other opportunities to provide value for how healthcare is delivered and CommonWell certainly has an opportunity to build upon the established model to provide additional value. The Alliance welcomes participation from and conversations with payors and other healthcare stakeholders outside of the core EHR community. We have engaged early conversations with several payors that share our vision and understand how crucial interoperability and data liquidity are to improving care.

To complement this, the Alliance has established a process for reviewing member-proposed potential service line extensions and welcomes payors to help determine if the identity management and record locator services offered could add additional value to the patient populations represented by the members in the Alliance, through examples such as care gap closure, without compromising any of our core principles.

 

What factors convinced Cerner to join the CommonWell and what is Cerner’s play after the three years of free services?

The early days of CommonWell have been focused on getting the network deployed as widely as possible to ensure that meaningful health information is delivered. We understand that the value of the network depends upon how widespread the usage is. Cerner wants to remove as many barriers as possible to help speed deployment. Removing financial barriers to early adoption was a straightforward decision for us. After the initial three years, we expect that the costs associated with the services will be in line with other EDI like transactions and will be considered minimal in comparison to the value a client receives.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 16, 2015 News 15 Comments

News 1/16/15

January 15, 2015 News 5 Comments

Top News

image

PwC adds Google to its Department of Defense EHR bidding consortium that is pitching the VA’s VistA. Google joins, PwC, General Dynamics IT, DSS, and Medsphere. Google’s contribution would be collaboration and search tools, which seems to be more sizzle than steak as PwC tries to make VistA sound sexier to the DoD, whose contempt for that system is legendary. The group has also put up a web page to make its case.


Reader Comments

image

From Weird News Andy: “Re: Iowa health insurance startup, the second-largest co-op in the country and heavily funded by the federal government, fails. The key is in this quote: ‘CoOportunity Health’s pool of people was larger than expected, was sicker than expected, so their risk became much greater than the funds that were available.’ That’s an economics lesson. Sicker people spend more and choose the one that saves them the most money, so you end up with a pool of sicker, more expensive members. If the founders of the organization did not see this going in and did not charge enough for their service, the fault is theirs. But then if they charged more, fewer people would select them and …” That’s a big problem with medical insurance. The fingers of insurance company actuaries fly over their Excel worksheets in their attempt to assemble a customer base that includes lower-risk, healthier patients to offset the expensive ones so they can bid competitively. However, individual patients sign up expecting to use more services than they’re paying for, to the point of not even buying insurance until they’ve accumulated enough problems to make it worth their while. It’s like a buffet restaurant eyeballing prospective diners at the door in trying to choose a profitable mix of picky eaters and starving chowhounds for a predetermined price, but their downfall is that few picky eaters will pay for an all-you-can-eat buffet knowing they’re subsidizing those who inhale everything in sight.

From RVA: “Re: concierge medicine. My PCP is moving to concierge practice, saying he doesn’t want to use Epic and that he can’t provide good care because his face is always in the computer ((FYI, he cashed his MU check). The concierge company touts their USB chart that allows you to take your important clinical information anywhere — apparently MyChart was not good enough (the guy sitting next to me joked that when they run out of USB drives, they’ll switch to 8-track tapes). He has approximately 1,200 patients (mostly Medicare) and a poorly-managed practice. They showed a scary video about how doctors are ‘forced’ to give up their practices and referenced the use of ‘mid-level providers’ in a negative way. A lot of people ate it up and started pulling out their checkbooks – oh, he has limited capacity, so it’s first-come, first-served at $2,500 per year. I’m worried that we’re creating a class system where those who can’t afford the fee get less than premium care.” It’s tough to ignore economics by suggesting that those who pay less should receive equally generous, excellent, and responsive healthcare services, even though we as decent people wish that were possible. All of us working in healthcare expect to be paid, so unless we turn it back over to the nuns and counties that ran hospitals as true non-profits using cheap and volunteer labor, those days are likely gone. The ED is the last foothold of healthcare democracy, where everybody is treated the same based on need, but then again, it’s a cost cesspool for that reason and hardly a poster child for open access to all. Healthcare economics is like a balloon – squeeze it in one place to cut costs and another part bulges out as providers who are understandably unwilling to reduce their personal standard of living figure out new ways to charge for their services. We’re at three tiers now: (a) those who use ED and public clinics or who don’t buy insurance because they don’t see the immediate value; (b) the large middle class who have insurance but are getting hit hard by out-of-pocket costs and sometimes facing bankruptcy because of huge and often questionable bills, with that group subsidizing the first one by paying excessive charges and taxes; and (c) those whose assets are adequate to self-insure and whose time is valuable enough to make it worth finding the best and most customer-friendly providers who don’t take insurance. It’s unrealistic to expect the care and outcomes to be identical across all three groups. It’s also reasonable to expect people in the middle group to move down rather than up, and it’s the loss of that group that threatens to implode the system. It’s just like the tax system: some percentage of people pay nothing, the wealthy pay a low overall percentage because of their small numbers and large accounting tricks, and those in the middle foot most of the bill.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Last year right before the HIMSS conference I supported Donors Choose by offering companies a large, short-term banner that appears beside the HIStalk title on every page, using the proceeds to fund a bunch of projects for classrooms in need. It felt good and it was fun, so I’m doing it again this year. Contact Lorre if you’d like to book the most prominent ad on the page and help needy students in the process. Like last year, I’ll write up the projects we funded and share the student comments and photos that result.

image

I followed through on a reader’s suggestion of an HIStalk Book Club sort of thing where I review an HIT-related book and invite readers to share their thoughts. I reviewed Eric Topol’s “The Patient Will See You Now” and next up is “America’s Bitter Pill.” Read along, add your thoughts, and suggest what book I should read next. I have a copy of John Halamka’s “GeekDoctor: Life as a Healthcare CIO” that HIMSS sent me in return for completing a survey, so maybe that should be next.

image

I’m sure we’ll see this at the HIMSS conference: every hip meeting now includes a “graphics facilitator” who documents everything on a flipboard, compelling attendees to proudly tweet out photos of the drawing afterward. I don’t want to attend a conference where a cartoonist understands the presenter better than I do.

Here’s one last appeal for you to complete my once-per-year HIStalk reader survey, which takes just a couple of minutes but helps me immensely.

image

This is a fond farewell to Agilum Healthcare Intelligence, whose marketing person told us, “I’ve never even heard of HIStalk” in declining to renew their sponsorship after many years. They’ve been supporters for a long time and I appreciate it. I also appreciate the service of the marketing guy, who though he has zero health IT experience, is a former Army infantry captain who led a field artillery battery in Iraq, according to his LinkedIn profile.

This week on HIStalk Practice: Telehealth reimbursements are set to go live in New York. Tulane University Medical Group implements eCW’s CCMR. Etherapi takes advantage of the Kaiser strike in California. HHS breaks down its own silos, and enjoys flying first class. Dr. Gregg looks into the future of healthcare IT, circa 2037. Third-party patient portals go head to head with vendor-specific options. Thanks for reading.

This week on HIStalk Connect: 23andMe finds a new source of revenue as it closes a $60 million deal with Genetech in which it will use its dataset to support Parkinson’s disease research. Athenahealth acquires cloud-based inpatient EHR vendor RazorInsights, and confirms that it will move into the hospital space. Augmedix raises $16 million to scale a promising Google Glass-based telecharting business. 


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Todd Cozzens of Sequoia Capital is featured on Fox Business’s “Opening Bell” live from the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference. He mentions his firm’s investment in Health Catalyst (analytics) and MedExpress (retail clinics). A Forbes profile of Sequoia Capital mentions its 40-plus year history, including its 1980 investment in Apple’s IPO (the founder thought the 22-year-old Steve Jobs “looked like Ho Chi Minh”) and its recent gains from Airbnb, Dropbox, and WhatsApp. The firm’s partners make a fortune, apparently, as the article mentions a 2003 fund that returned gains of 41 percent per year for 11 years, with the firm’s partners pocketing $1.1 billion as “Sequoia is turning its own partners into billionaires while keeping outside investors purring.”

image

I mentioned that Athenahealth has acquired small-hospital EHR vendor RazorInsights for a rumored $40 million to give it an inpatient foothold. I really like what RazorInsights is doing in giving small hospitals an inexpensive, cloud-based system that covers both clinicals and financials, but I don’t see the benefit to Athenahealth in buying a four-year-old company with only a couple of dozen small customers. RazorInsights has much larger competitors (Meditech, CPSI, Medhost, NTT DATA, McKesson Paragon, etc.) with established infrastructure and most hospitals have already spent their money on a Meaningful Use dance partner, some of them even choosing to run Epic or Cerner as provided by another hospital (or to be acquired by those hospitals). Athenahealth has choked on its previous acquisition Epocrates, which is highly regarded but is stumbling even more than before under Athenahealth’s ownership. I think Athenahealth wants desperately to crack the inpatient market (after insulting that market for years), realizes it doesn’t have the expertise to build a new hospital system from scratch, and decided to spend money instead of time to get a name-plated product quickly to market and then ramp it up. The challenges are many:

  • RazorInsights is small for a reason and not being owned by Athenahealth may not be it.
  • Both product and company scalability are unknown.
  • Few big companies have low-enough overhead to profitably roll out products to cash-strapped 25-bed hospitals.
  • Expected synergies may (as they often do) prove to be elusive.
  • Companies have been historically lured into unwise acquisitions because the product aroused them technically and filled a perceived immediate need at high expense (Allscripts buying Eclipsys).

I think Jonathan Bush will talk this up as though Athenahealth is the next Epic (or Salesforce or whatever high-flying comparison comes to mind), but the acquisition is just another distraction as the company tries desperately to keep its Wall Street plates spinning in the air despite concerning profits and a year-long share price stall.

image

Aetna announces that it will raise its minimum wage to $16 per hour in April and will offer an enhanced insurance plan for employees who participate in wellness programs starting in 2016.

image

image

Two former NantHealth executives file a whisteblower lawsuit against billionaire doctor Patrick Soon-Shiong’s company, claiming that NantHealth is “engaged in a multitude of fraudulent activities,” violates HIPAA requirements, has failed mock FDA audits, and offers products that harm patients. Stephanie Davidson (former SVP of professional services) and William Lynch (former senior director of marketing) also claim that several customers were prepared to stop using the company’s Clinical Operating System, citing an internal report that characterized that product as “10 years behind in technology capability” that “runs on LUCK.” The pair claims that NantHealth’s marketing material is misleading and that Soon-Shiong’s charitable foundation defrauded Medicare by donating millions to a hospital that would then use CMS matching funds to buy NantHealth’s products. NantHealth’s responds that the employees, who are in a romantic relationship and had worked for the company for only a few months, demanded that NantHealth pay them $2 million to prevent them from launching a pre-IPO smear campaign after NantHealth fired Davidson. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that the lawsuit was filed just as Soon-Shiong gave the company’s investor pitch at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference.

image

Craneware says second-half sales for 2014 increased 10 percent and its board is confident of meeting 2015 expectations.


Sales

image

Good Shepherd Health System (TX) chooses Strata Decision’s StrataJazz for decision support and cost accounting.

Healthfirst (NY) selects InterSystems HealthShare as its HIE and clinical portal.

Providence Health & Services expands its relationship with Kyruus, which offers a doctor web search tool. That’s how I would describe their business, anyway, but if you don’t get enough buzzwords, here’s theirs: “Kyruus is an enterprise healthcare provider solutions company that helps health systems optimize their Patient Access, Referral Management and Care Coordination operations. Leveraging the cloud and a proprietary Big Data approach, the company enables the integration of massive amounts of information to create a single source of truth of providers. Kyruus helps health systems create customizable protocols for referral and scheduling across all channels of patient engagement to improve patient access and patient experience.”


People

image

Ralph Keiser (Deloitte) joins Recondo Technology as chief growth officer.

image

John Glaser (Siemens Healthcare) joins the board of the American Telemedicine Association.

image

Hayes Management Consulting hires Gay Fright (Coastal Healthcare Consulting) as VP of strategic services.

image

Huntzinger Management Group promotes David DiChiara to CFO.

image

Sachin Jain, MD, MBA (Merck) joins care plan CareMore as chief medical officer. He worked for ONC for a short time a few years ago. He said in a talk last week that most health IT startups offer products that are interesting but not really useful because (a) they’re trying to make a quick buck, and (b) they are mostly run by young, prosperous, healthy people and develop products in the context of their peers rather than for the sick, expensive patients that need help. He also said HITECH came about because everybody knew EHRs were good for patients, but hospitals put the interest of their resistant doctors first because they’re the ones who admit patients.

image

Ken Pool, MD, co-founder of OZ Systems and co-chair of the HL7 Public Health and Emergency Response Work Group, has died, according to a posting on the group’s listserv.


Announcements and Implementations

An article by Brad Swenson of Winthrop Resources Corporation suggests that the total cost of ownership of hospital EHRs should use a 10-year forecast rather than the more common five or seven years. It quotes The Valley Hospital (NJ) VP/CIO Eric Carey, who used a 10-year timeframe to make an upgrade-or-buy decision: “We felt no one should be replacing an EHR platform in less than 10 years unless a catastrophe happens. Also, probably the most expensive part of an EHR project is the army of consultants, staff, and project managers you need to have to pull everything together. Our implementation has involved 20 FTE over at least one year. Most organizations can’t afford to do that more than once.”

McKesson announces Paragon Community Plus, a package that includes its Paragon system, implementation, training, and remote hosting.


Government and Politics

image

A House Committee on Energy and Commerce work group creates a draft policy that would require HHS to pay for telehealth services at the same rate as in-person visits within four years.


Innovation and Research

Philips gives MIT researchers access to the de-identified records of 100,000 ICU patients who were monitored via its eICU program. The records, which represent about 10 percent of all US adult ICU beds, include vital signs, medication orders, lab results, and severity of illness scores.


Technology

image

Google stops public sales of Google Glass and moves the product from its research lab to a separate business unit led by former fashion and eyewear designer Ivy Ross. Companies and developers will still be able to buy Glass units after the January 19 cutoff date. Google was supposed to release a new version of Glass in 2015 but hasn’t provided specifics. People seem to think this is the beginning of the end for Glass, but I’m not so sure: it desperately needed a reboot, graduation from beta status, and design help for its ugly form factor (which is true of most things Google), so perhaps this is its graduation into the real world, or even away from the consumer market and into the enterprise one.

A guest newspaper article by the CEO of a Missouri public policy organization says the state is still #49 in economic growth despite being one of nine labeled as “the corporate welfare kings of America.” He says of the Missouri’s $1.6 billion subsidy of Cerner’s $4.3 billion new campus, “If Cerner needs a corporate pleasure dome, it should pay for it on its own nickel.”

image

I thought sure this was a spoof since it was heavy with Star Trek puns and one of the pictures features a nurse wearing a 1970s-style cap, but apparently the just-started IndieGoGo campaign for the $3,500 Warp 3 Medical Tricorder is for real. It’s not the X-Prize, Scanadu-type consumer Tricorder, though – this China-based one will be just for doctors and will provide vital sign, ultrasound, and EHR functions.


Other

image

The local paper says that MultiCare Health System (WA) is not only represented on the advisory group IBM and Epic put together to help make their case to the Department of Defense as it selects its $11 billion EHR, but MultiCare will also serve as the pilot site should the IBM-Epic bid be chosen.

image

A physician’s New York Times editorial observes that 24 of the 141 medical schools in America are now named after big donors, causing graduates to be “embarrassed that there was a rich person’s name on their diploma, with the university name tucked below in small print.” Naming rights cost from $8 million (East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine) to $200 million (UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, above). 


Sponsor Updates

  • Imprivata integrates its Cortext secure communications platform with the Citrix XenMobile enterprise mobility management solution.
  • HealthTronics selects AirWatch for enterprise mobility for its 500 employees.
  • ZeOmega is named as one of the 100 fastest-growing Dallas companies.
  • John Stanley of Impact Advisors is quoted in a San Diego newspaper’s article on the pros and cons of EMRs.
  • Divurgent will participate in the HIMSS East Tennessee Summit in Knoxville on January 22.
  • DataMotion covers the important role e-mail plays in file sharing in its latest blog.
  • CompuGroup Medical will participate in the Critical Care Congress in Phoenix, AZ from January 17-21.
  • CommVault expands its relationship with NetApp to offer integrated data protection solutions.
  • TechGig outlines CitiusTech CEO Rizwan Koita’s predictions for 2015 healthcare technology trends.
  • CareSync publishes a new blog on the importance of taking charge of a family’s health records.
  • Dignity Health VP/CMIO David Lundquist, MD offers insight into how to keep patients in mind when discussing the future of healthcare at AirStrip’s Mobile Health Matters blog.
  • ADP AdvancedMD offers “4 surefire signs you need a new EHR for MU2 and beyond” in its latest blog.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

clip_image002

It’s been a strange couple of weeks for me. We’re getting ready to go through some major changes at our hospital and everyone is on edge. Teams are being consolidated and it feels like the directors and VPs are playing a giant game of “Go Fish” only instead of cards, they’re playing with people. This comes right on the heels of our hospital’s push to reduce the number of accrued vacation days on the books, which had almost half of our employees taking significant time off during the last month or so.

Everyone is overworked and cranky as we try to make decisions based on forecast scenarios and half-developed plans. Sometimes we start to feel not only like the sky is falling, but that the world is burning down around us. We imagine it can’t possibly be this bad in other places. It’s difficult to reach out to colleagues at other organizations because we don’t want to admit that our own organizations are in frantic disarray.

It was in that frame of mind yesterday that I was trying to catch up on the ridiculous thing that is my inbox. I’m on staff at another hospital that’s not part of my health system. I almost got whiplash doing a double take at one of the emails I received. It was discussing the final steps of a system conversion they’ve been working on for years. They’ve been running dual platforms for the last six months during the transition and are finally pulling the plug on the legacy application.

Despite the robust features of the new system, the email wording left something to be desired. “Many fixes and enhancements have been done to NewApp to make it usable.” The email was sent out under the CMIO’s banner. Knowing him as I do, I’m pretty sure that’s not what he intended. I forwarded it to one of my colleagues – not as a way to humor ourselves at someone else’s expense, but as a confirmation that the people at our competitor across town are likely under the same pressures as we are. No matter how hard and how many long hours we work, things are falling through the cracks.

I thought about how fortunate I’ve been that during most of my time as a CMIO I’ve been surrounded by colleagues who are competent, confident, and motivated. I’ve always felt like they have my back and in turn I’ve had theirs. Over the last year and a half, however, it seems that everyone has been stretched thinner and thinner. We’re to the point where we can barely support ourselves, let alone each other. Although we’re certainly experienced in delivering the impossible, it’s become harder and harder to make it a reality.

Looking at the last few months in particular, not only has our energy been sapped, but we’ve lost some of our support structures. Our standing team meetings have been fragmented as we’re pulled in countless directions by competing demands. Those were our opportunity to update each other on our projects, potential risks, and needs. We received feedback and encouragement as well as ideas to remove blockers or handle difficult situations. Colleagues who had been in similar situations provided pointers and tips and lists of “gotchas” to look for.

I should have taken that email as a warning to stay vigilant. By the end of the day today, I watched one of my key projects go off the rails. In hindsight, I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t. Although ultimately it’s no one’s responsibility but mine, I can’t help but think that if we weren’t all so scattered and overwhelmed that someone else might have picked up on subtle signs that I missed. I spent most of the day with an impending feeling of doom and heartburn that made me want to eat a box of chalk.

I realized that given our current state of being overextended, under-resourced, and fatigued that it’s likely this isn’t going to be the last time something like this happens. This is an uncharted place that I’ve never had to operate in before. I’m officially working without a net and it doesn’t feel very good. But given the state of our industry today, I’m sure I’m not alone.

Do you have tips for how to work without backup? Email me.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

 

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 15, 2015 News 5 Comments

Athenahealth Acquires RazorInsights

January 14, 2015 News 3 Comments

image

Athenahealth announced this morning that it has acquired inpatient EHR vendor RazorInsights, which primarily serves rural, critical access, and small community hospitals. Terms were not disclosed, but an HIStalk reader who tipped me off early to the announcement says the acquisition price was $40 million.

Athenahealth says it will “leverage RazorInsights’ inpatient expertise and award-winning technology to extend its presence into the 50-bed-and-under inpatient care environment, which accounts for approximately one-third of the US hospital market.”

The announcement cites the RazorInsights customer base of 25 hospitals, the success of some of its customers in attesting for Meaningful Use Stage 2, and its cloud-based delivery model.

Athenahealth Chairman and CEO Jonathan Bush said in the announcement, “Today’s hospital market is woefully underserved when it comes to IT systems and IT partners that are accountable for reducing costs, increasing quality, and enabling a better patient experience. With RazorInsights, athenahealth will immediately be injected into the inpatient care environment; this is a natural extension for our cloud-based services, will tremendously grow our network knowledge, and will accelerate our introduction of results-oriented, inpatient solutions that hospitals can confidently invest in and demand accountability from.”

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 14, 2015 News 3 Comments

News 1/14/15

January 13, 2015 News 2 Comments

Top News

image

Pundits and associations won’t stop banging the “Meaningful Use is a failure” drum in pointing out low participation numbers, but ONC partially contradicts their grim calculations in reporting that 77 percent of MUS2-eligible hospitals have attested, as have 60 percent of MUS2-eligible practices. Those providers still have another one month and three months left, respectively, to attest. Those aren’t great numbers, but they’re a heck of a lot better than you might think, and as a taxpayer it’s nice to know that my money at least has minimal strings attached.


Reader Comments

From Poignant Moment: “Re: non-disclosure agreement. If a vendor requires a hospital to sign one for beta testing, how long does the vendor have to keep the NDA after testing is complete?” I’ll ask knowledgeable readers to help out, but I would say the signed copy should be retained at least until it expires since an NDA should cover a stated time period. That’s for making sure the agreement is followed – I doubt there’s any legal requirement to keep a copy at all.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I’m enjoying the articles written by startup CEOs and investors (Brian Weiss of Carebox, Bruce Brandes of Martin Ventures, and Marty Felsenthal.) Those authors and others will contribute ongoing articles on their experiences and lessons learned when working directly with startups. I appreciate their contribution. I’m learning from them since I’ve mostly only worked for non-profit hospitals and theirs is a foreign land to me.

Please take a couple of minutes to complete my once-yearly reader survey. I plan my entire year around the responses, so your time will be not only appreciated, but also well spent in my never-ending quest to reduce my level of suckitude.


Webinars

John Olmstead, RN, MBA, director of surgical and emergency services at The Community Hospital of Munster, IN delivered an absolutely perfect HIStalk webinar on Tuesday, “The Bug Stops Here: How Our Hospital Used its EHR and RTLS Systems to Contain a Deadly New Virus.” He was interesting, informative, and funny in describing technology used in his ED, including RTLS from Versus (who sponsored the webinar without turning it into a sales pitch), Epic EHR, Ascom phones, and Rauland nurse call. It did something that few webinars do in holding my rapt attention throughout and it wasn’t just me – the webinar’s control panel showed that 98 percent of attendees were hanging on to his words instead of checking email or web browsing. The average is more like 60 percent of people paying attention (and for companies that decline our webinar improvement suggestions, it’s as low as 15 percent). I’m confident that anyone with the slightest interest in ED challenges, quality improvement, and what happens when CDC shows up to investigate an infectious outbreak will enjoy this one a lot.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Athenahealth adds two companies to its More Disruption Please Boston-based accelerator program: CredSimple (credentialing) and RubiconMD (referred remote consults). Athenahealth also announced that the accelerator will open a San Francisco office.

image

Augmedix, which offers Google Glass-powered physician documentation system, raises $16 million in Series A venture capital.

image

Kit Check, whose OR medication kit tracking system is live in 144 hospitals, raises $12 million in a Series B round led by Kaiser Permanente Ventures, increasing its total to $22 million.

image

Digital mental health solutions vendor Ginger.io raises $20 million in a Series B round.

image

Cary, NC-based SmartLink Mobile, a spinoff of referral coordination software vendor Infina Connect,  raises $2.5 million in funding for its secure patient-doctor texting platform.

image

Israel-based startup MediSafe, which offers a medication reminder app, raises $6 million and opens a Boston office. One of its new investors is 7wire Ventures, run by former Allscripts executives Glen Tullman and Lee Shapiro.

image

IT services provider Syntel sues Cognizant and TriZetto over the former’s acquisition of the latter for $2.7 billion last year, with a Syntel business unit saying TriZetto refuses to pay rebates to which it is entitled because of the acquisition. Syntel claims contract interference and misappropriation of confidential information and wants $3.4 million plus $6.1 billion (with a “b”) in punitive damages.

Alere completes the sale of its Alere Health business to Optum for $600 million in cash, announced in October.

image

Madison, WI-based population health software vendor Forward Health Group raises $5.7 million in funding.

AARP issues a call for startups with apps targeting the “50 and over” market for its May 14 pitch meeting in Miami. Applications are due by February 20, 2015 with no fee required. Companies will deliver a four-minute pitch, answer six minutes of questions from judges, and then have their idea voted on by consumers in attendance based on need, marketing, usage, and value.


Sales

image

Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology (NY) chooses the Visage 7 Enterprise Imaging Platform for its 58 Long Island radiologists, integrated with the practice’s vendor-neutral archive and enterprise workflow engine.

image

Eisenhower Medical Center (CA) chooses Mobile Heartbeat’s CURE clinical communications platform following its pilot project.

Good Samaritan Hospital-Southwest (CA) chooses Medhost’s remotely hosted clinical and financial solutions.

Mercy Health (OH) selects ProVation Care Plans from Wolters Kluwer Health for evidence-based care plan management.


People

image

Jamie Coffin, PhD (Clarify Healthcare) joins SourceMedical as CEO.


Announcements and Implementations

Wellcentive releases an analytics and reporting solution for providers participating in CMS’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program for Medicaid population care improvement.

HealthLoop releases an iPhone app that sends push notifications to a physician when a patient triggers a clinical alert or when another physician sends a triage handoff. It’s part of the company’s package that costs $199 per physician per month.

image

Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital (VA) goes live on Vox Telehealth’s OrthoCare program, which sends hip and knee replacement patients daily pre-op education and reminders and allows them to relay questions or concerns afterward.

Iatric Systems announces Auditor’s Desktop, which performs a daily risk analysis of potential privacy violations across multiple IT system audits.

Surgical Information System’s  anesthesia information management system is ranked #1 in a new KLAS report.


Government and Politics 

image

Congresswoman (and nurse) Renee Elmers (R-NC) reintroduces the Flex-IT act that would reduce the 2015 Meaningful Use reporting period from 365 days to 90.

A Washington Examiner investigative report finds that HHS spent $31 million on first-class flights between 2009 and 2013, including 253 trips that cost more than $15,000 each way. HHS executives taking the first-class flights claimed 70 percent of the time that it was necessary because of a medical disability. CMS officials paid $1,000 each for first-class tickets to fly from Charlotte, NC to Charleston, SC, which is a three-hour drive.


Other

image

Odd: Sentara Healthcare (VA) launches a web shop selling books, vitamins, exercise equipment, and non-prescription drugs, explaining it as “a branded option that offers a higher trust factor and unique patient experience.” A 200-tablet bottle of Advil is $27.99 vs. Walgreens online at $16.49; an Omron 5 blood pressure monitor is $95.99 vs. $45.95 on Amazon; and the book “Yoga Heals Your Back” is $19.99 vs.  $11.69 on Amazon (or $2.99 for the Kindle edition). Anyone smart enough to find and use Sentara’s site will also be web-competent enough to check prices elsewhere, so the site’s success will depend on how highly those people value the “unique patient experience” of clicking the “buy” button there vs. mainstream sites they’re already using. The underlying technology is from Paquin Healthcare, which also offers a system that integrates with EHRs to generate “lucrative new revenue streams” to “monetize major investments made in mandated EMR systems” by using the patient’s information to suggest that the doctor upsell items such as vitamins, wearables, and books. As the company explains, “If a patient’s medical record shows they have had heart disease, Embrace automatically recommends vitamins, pedometers, weight management tools, blood pressure monitors, and other such products suitable specifically for patients with that condition. When a patient purchases the recommended products or services, revenue from the sale is paid to the care provider.” 

Alibaba Health Information Technology settles its licensing dispute with Oracle. NYSE-traded, China-based e-commerce vendor Alibaba Group, whose shares are worth $255 billion and which has been predicted to be the world’s most valuable company in the next few years, bought and renamed the former Citic 21CN drug information business in early 2014.

image

A clinical documentation position paper from the American College of Physicians published in Annals of Internal Medicine says that EHRs provide minimal improvement over paper records because they were designed around billing and regulatory requirements and the practice of defensive medicine rather than improving patient care. It warns that the EHR is as overloaded with useless information as its predecessor paper chart (and will get worse with data from patient wearables) and that narrative entries are being unjustly devalued in favor of discrete data entry. The authors add that E&M guidelines forced data formatting rules that caused “coding and compliance trumping clarity and conciseness, as well as a harshly negative ‘gotcha’ mentality that saps the professionalism out of physicians.” The position paper says CMS overreacted in its condemnation of copied-pasted information, explaining that while copy-paste causes documentation bloat and perpetuation of originally incorrect information, physicians should not necessarily be required to create every new EHR entry manually – in other words, it’s the user and not the EHR function that should be of concern. The paper expresses tepid support for the Open Notes concept of letting patients review clinical documentation, saying it’s too early for a big rollout and that providers should be able to hide individual notes that could cause patient harm.

image

Huffington Post covers the growth of retail clinics. CVS alone plans to have as many MinuteClinics in operation by 2017 as exist overall today. Meanwhile, mall operators expect to fill empty spaces left by dying retailer chains such as Sears and RadioShack with walk-in clinics, of which more than a third of the 9,400 total are located in shopping centers.

I enjoyed these tips for making meetings more productive:

  1. Don’t invite more than 10 people.
  2. Schedule meetings for only 15 minutes, set a timer, and stop the meeting when the timer goes off.
  3. Take away the chairs to encourage creativity instead of passivity.
  4. Don’t allow laptops or phones – studies show taking notes by hand leads to greater understanding.
  5. Assign every task to a directly responsible individual.
  6. Take a two-minute silence break to think about a decision or issue.
  7. Ask each attendee to answer the “why are we meeting” question in five words or fewer to make sure everyone expects the same outcome.

image

Weird News Andy understands that, “It’s hard to re-member.” A woman in China cuts off her husband’s penis after catching him sexting with his lover, but surgeons successfully reattach his manhood. The wife, obviously still unhappy, sneaks back into her recuperating husband’s hospital room and cuts his penis off again, this time throwing it out the window of his hospital room. The couple was caught on camera fighting in the street outside as the man was naked and bleeding, but he won’t be reorganized a second time – the hospital says a dog or cat must have run off with his severed penis because they couldn’t find it. However, he may yet have a happy ending since his lover says she will marry him anyway.


Sponsor Updates

image

  • TransUnion unveils a new brand identity platform and logo.
  • MedAptus joins Athenahealth’s More Disruption Please program.
  • Forbes profiles the use of Strata Decision’s StrataJazz to reduce hospital costs.
  • Zynx Health will exhibit at the HealthIMPACT Southeast event on January 23 in Tampa.
  • Huron Consulting Group’s efacs software is selected as University Business Readers Choice Top Product.
  • Voalte offers advice for setting goals in 2015 in its latest blog post.
  • Verisk Health blogs about why value-based care will work.
  • T-System Director of Documentation Solutions Robin Shannon, RN offers tips on how to maintain efficiency and throughput during high patient volumes in flu season.
  • CEO/CFO Magazine interviews SyTrue CEO Kyle Silvestro on transforming medical data into refined smart data.
  • Surgical Information Systems will participate in the MUSE Executive Institute in Amelia Island, FL on January 19-20.
  • Summit Healthcare blogs about its preparations for the IHE North American Connectathon, taking place January 28 at the HIMSS Innovation Center in Cleveland.
  • SRSsoft offers four key ways to make and keep resolutions in the new year.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

 

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 13, 2015 News 2 Comments

Monday Morning Update 1/12/15

January 9, 2015 News 12 Comments

Top News

image

HLM Venture Partners, which made several health IT investments in its first three funds, is raising up to $150 million to launch a fourth fund. Its portfolio companies include Nordic Consulting, Aventura, Medicalis, Phreesia, and Teladoc.

The investment challenge, it seems to me, is that in the frenzy to throw money at unproven healthcare IT startups, we’re well past the wheat and deep into the chaff. It’s good that demand for new technologies seems strong, but too many no-name companies confuse the market and many of them will fizzle out quickly. Companies that are thrown together purely to chase money usually don’t find it and there’s only so much proven management talent to go around. Incubators and accelerators are encouraging a lot of shaky startups that will experience the inevitable Darwinism. Still, a few of them will avoid enough minefields to get market traction or sell out to a bigger player.


Reader Comments

From Frustrated Surgeon and Developer: “Re: big health IT. Epic and Cerner are using strong-arm techniques to counter any move to interoperability. Congressman Dave Camp (MI) testified before Congress that he was being pressured by lobbyists paid for by Epic to remove interoperability from MU 2 ( and now 3) to secure their business position. Cerner said they weren’t interested in interoperating with my cloud-based system that several hospitals are using. APIs and licensing fees never came up — they just won’t do it. Cerner’s representative to ONC’s Jason Task Force is pushing hard to stop MU 3 interoperability requirements. We should not look to Epic and Cerner to open the doors. We need a HIE which Epic, Cerner, and all other permitted applications should use. It’s the data, not the application.” Unverified. I searched the Congressional Record for Epic-related comments by Dave Camp (who is now retired) but didn’t see anything relevant, although the search isn’t exactly Google quality.

From Jack Gutenberg: “Re: HIStalk book club. You should invite readers to read along and add their comments to yours.” I like the idea. I’m just starting Eric Topol’s “The Patient Will See You Now” in case anyone wants to start it along with me and then add their comments once I’ve posted mine. I’m not only interested in critiquing the book itself, but also discussing the interesting ideas inside. Books I’ve summarized here previously include “Connected for Health,” “Your Medical Mind,” “Safe Patients, Smart Hospitals,” and “Where Does It Hurt?

From The PACS Designer: “Re: Windows 10 browser. Rumors have been swirling for months about the next version of Windows 10 and its browser style since Internet Explorer and Bing have such a small market share compared to Firefox. The leaked browser is called Microsoft Spartan.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

image

More than three-fourths of poll respondents agree with a popular stock expert’s characterization of the Athenahealth as a “bubble stock” that won’t be “the backbone of anything” rather than the company’s stated high-flying ambition to be the Salesforce of healthcare. New poll to your right or here since I ask every year: what are your HIMSS15 attendance plans compared to HIMSS14?  

Ready for your input: the HIStalk reader survey and HISsies nominations. Thanks for participating. I’ll also randomly draw three reader survey responses for a $50 Amazon gift certificate.

I was thinking about Uber’s surge pricing model, where the app tells you in real time that local demand is high and you’ll have to pay more. I’m frustrated when I get that message, but it makes perfect sense from a supply and demand point of view. When cars are in short supply, the higher price does two things: (a) it allows price-sensitive consumers to seek alternatives to Uber such as taking a cab or walking, increasing Uber car availability for those willing to pay more; and (b) it encourages more Uber drivers to get out on the road and start picking up fares. (obviously it does a third thing: it raises Uber’s profits, so you have to trust them to proclaim surge pricing only when they really are swamped). An Uber model would work in medicine if it were a pure science instead of an art and if people actually paid cash for their services – you could have doctors willing to provide telemedicine consults at a given time and price via an Uber-type service and let patients decide what it’s worth to them, with an app setting the intersection of supply and demand. That leaves those unable to pay out of the picture, but medicine is already heading toward a two-tier system where cash-paying patients have better options anyway.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • IBM and Epic enhance their DoD EHR bid pitch by announcing that they’ve already installed an Epic model instance in a DoD-hardened environment for testing and also formed an advisory committee.
  • Walgreens adds health management, real-time health coaching, and wearables connectivity to its website and mobile app, offering users reward card points for using the tools to meet their health goals.
  • The AMA says EHRs, ICD-10, prior authorization, and Medicare fraud detection are barriers to care that it will target in 2015.
  • Sue Schade of University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers wins the Gall CIO of the Year award.
  • Analytics vendor Inovalon files for a $500 million IPO.
  • Allina Health and Health Catalyst announced an analytics technology and quality improvement partnership, explained by Allina President and CEO Penny Wheeler, MD in my interview.
  • Only 24 percent of respondents to my poll said their impression of HIMSS is positive.

Webinars

January 13 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “The Bug Stops Here: How Our Hospital Used its EHR and RTLS Systems to Contain a Deadly New Virus.” Sponsored by Versus Technology. Presenter: John Olmstead, RN, MBA, FACHE, director of surgical and emergency services, The Community Hospital, Munster, Indiana. Community Hospital was the first US hospital to treat a patient with MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). It used clinical data from its EHR and staff contact information from a real-time locating system to provide on-site CDC staff with the information they needed to contain the virus and to study how it spreads. Employees who were identified as being exposed were quickly tested, avoiding a hospital shutdown.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Francisco Partners makes an unspecified investment in Olathe, KS-based revenue cycle solutions vendor eSolutions.

image

The Columbus paper profiles Lyntek Medical Technologies, whose PatientStorm Tracker software provides a weather radar-like display of an inpatient’s overall condition. It’s being beta tested by OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. Founder and pulmonologist Lawrence Lynn, DO says the outdated fire alarm model of medical monitoring systems doesn’t provide useful information until vital signs hit specific limits. He adds, “You can be in the hospital dying of sepsis with a smartphone in your pocket that can detect the pattern of a song just by listening to it, but this sophisticated-looking monitor above you can’t detect a single pattern of evolving death.”


Sales

Atlantis Health Group chooses Influence Health’s Navigate population health management solution.


People

image

UMass Memorial Medical Center (MA) appoints Pam Manor, RN, MSN, DNP (St. Francis Hospital) as chief nursing informatics officer. 

image

William Hersh, MD (Oregon Health & Science University) is named the winner of the 2014 HIMSS Physician IT Leadership Award.

image image

Streamline Health promotes David Sides, who has been with the company for five months,  to president and CEO. Sides, on the left above, replaces Bob Watson, who will leave the company to become president of NantHealth but will remain on Streamline Health’s board. NantHealth announced in November that it will use Streamline Health’s analytics product in its system.


Government and Politics

The American College of Physicians urges Congress to: (a) repeal Medicare’s SGR formula; (b) continue Medicare’s 10 percent bonus for primary care; (c) restore the Medicaid program that pays primary care physicians no less than Medicare rates; and (d) provide relief from “burdensome and unrealistic” Meaningful Use requirements and “other excessive regulatory burdens.”


Other

image

An opinion piece slated for publication in Academic Medicine examines whether it’s ethical for medical students to use an organization’s EHR to track their former patients so they can match outcomes to the students’ original diagnosis and treatment. The authors conclude that the benefits outweigh the harms. I couldn’t agree more – it’s hard to believe that an intelligent argument could be made otherwise. The opportunity would only arise in teaching hospitals and I see no potential ethical or HIPAA conflicts since patients understand that their treatment has an educational component. The practice should not only be allowed, it should be mandatory, and perhaps not just for medical students. Medicine (and ancillary fields) are literature-based and that always involves aggregated, de-identified research, but what could be more educational than seeing how your care decisions impacted a particular patient’s life and whether your actions were ultimately right or wrong? The patient has to live with the impact, so  why shouldn’t the professionals who made those decisions? It would also be interesting to look at a patient’s overall perception of health and well-being (perhaps via a self-survey with results trended over time) instead of just a problem list if we’re really interested in improving their lives and not just their medical conditions. We have to leave the “treat ‘em and street ‘em” mindset behind.

The Wall Street Journal runs an essay by Eric Topol, MD titled “The Future of Medicine Is In Your Smartphone” in which he again predicts that technology will alter the patient-physician relationship, reduce costs, and empower patients. He thinks that doctors will still have a role, just not as today’s paternalistic “priestly class.” He has vested interests, however, even going beyond pitching his new book: he lists consulting engagements with Google, AT&T, Walgreens, Quanttus, and Sotera Wireless. A skeptical WSJ commenter weighs in: “I am in atrial fibrillation, now what? That is the rub. All these carnival barkers for the utopian vision of the smartphone/connected world are simply exhausting. For all its many benefits, the Internet is rife with misinformation when it comes to healthcare and the burden is now shifting to the consumer to sort out what is real and what is bogus.”

Ebola vaccine researchers face a surprising challenge: a sharp drop-off in the outbreak could make it hard to find enough victims to test new vaccines.


Sponsor Updates

  • HCI Group CMIO William Bria, MD will present at IMN’s HealthIMPACT Southeast on January 23 in Tampa.
  • Passport/Experian Health will exhibit and present at the HFMA Region 11 Healthcare Symposium January 11-14 in San Diego.
  • nVoq releases a case study on the success Teleradiology Specialists (AZ) experienced with its SayIt cloud-based speech recognition technology.
  • SCI Solutions VP of Business Development Bill Reid shares his thoughts on price transparency and how to equip patients with the right tools to understand the financial consequences of care.
  • Netsmart will participate in the New York Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies conference on January 27.
  • Patientco outlines three healthcare finance game-changers for 2015 in a new blog.
  • MedData will participate in the ACEP Reimbursement Trends and Strategies in Emergency Medicine Conference in Las Vegas from January 13-15.
  • RazorInsights will exhibit at the Texas Hospital Association Annual Convention in Austin January 22-23.
  • PMD recaps the previous week in healthcare in a new blog post.
  • Nordic Consulting offers a new white paper, “Beaker Lab: Planning for Meaningful Use Stage 3.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

 

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 9, 2015 News 12 Comments

News 1/9/15

January 8, 2015 News 2 Comments

Top News 

image image
IBM and Epic start background work on the $11 billion Department of Defense EHR project for which they are bidding even though the award won’t go out until summer, saying they need a head start to meet the DoD’s aggressive timelines. IBM has installed an Epic model system in one of its government-level security data centers so that it can test an integrated in a DoD-like environment. The companies also announce that they have formed a 17-member advisory group that includes former Kaiser Permanente CIO Bruce Turkstra and military patient advocate Major William Lyles.


Reader Comments

image

From Dan Nigrin: “Re: wayfinding apps. We’ve had Meridian’s technology in place for years at Boston Children’s.” Dan is the CIO at Boston Children’s, whose MyWay app offers a nice package of services for visitors and patients. I think hospitals that offer way-finding apps assume that everybody uses them, I bet the penetration is tiny. It would be nice as a patient to be able to get turn-by-turn instructions from the parking garage to a particular hospital department or physician office. Hospitals have the most consumer-unfriendly access that I’ve seen in any industry, starting with dreary pay parking garages and inadequate spaces for their huge numbers of employees. Tip: if you’re a vendor trying to get a meeting with a mid-level hospital IT executive whose non-CIO status doesn’t come with a reserved parking spot, offer to pick them up and drop them off curbside at their location – they’ll accept since they otherwise rarely leave campus for lunch because of the trek to get their car followed by endless cruising for an open space upon returning.

From Fracker: “Re: Meditech. Terminated its distribution agreement with Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based National Technology Group.” Unverified.

From Vegas Baby: “Re: conferences CMIOs attend. Which ones are popular other than AMDIS?” The HIMSS conference probably has more CMIOs attending than any other conference, although obviously they make up a small percentage of attendees overall. AMIA would have a higher percentage but lower number, I’m guessing. Anyone have insight?

From Malice Cooper: “Re: HIStalkapalooza. Are you taking requests? I am sure demand is high, but I would love to be part of the event.” I haven’t yet put up the “I want to come” page. I need to finalize who’s sponsoring the event to figure out how many people I can afford to invite. That will tell me when I’ll have to cut off requests, assuming that demand exceeds supply, which has happened every year since the first (tiny) event in 2008. I’ll also have a great HIStalk sponsor networking event the Sunday of HIMSS week and will send details about that shortly for those looking to swap war stories or strike deals.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

image

It’s time for my once-yearly HIStalk Reader Survey, which helps me picture who’s reading and to get your advice. I would really appreciate your participation since, as usual, I’ll plan everything I do this year based on the results. I’ll also randomly choose three respondents to win a $50 Amazon gift certificate. Thanks for taking a handful of minutes to help me out.

Early January also means its time for your HISsies nominations. Tell me the worst vendor, the smartest vendor action taken in 2014, the industry figure of the year, and the all-important “Industry figure in whose face you’d most like to throw a pie.” The final ballot will contain the most-nominated entries, so think of this as the primary election that precedes the general one by a couple of weeks.

This week on HIStalk Practice: New Hampshire pediatricians sound off on the state’s non-existent vaccine registry. HealthTap CEO brings telemedicine back down to Earth. HHS looks for vendors to run its National Data Warehouse. Healthcare gets New Jersey physicians down in the dumps. EHRs create threats to confidentiality. 23andMe sees investment revival. Thanks for reading.

This week on HIStalk Connect: The year’s biggest digital health stories are recapped, including: unprecedented VC funding levels for digital health startups; Apple, Samsung, and Google all expanding their presence in the digital health sector; 3D printing finding more uses in healthcare, DNA sequencing breaking through the long-awaited $1,000 price barrier, and IBM doubling-down on its Watson supercomputer despite a slower than expected road to profitability. During this week’s CES conference in Las Vegas, Withings unveils its newest fitness tracker, Alterica introduces a smartphone-connected EpiPen case, and Cambridge Consultants shows of breakthrough technology in sensor-laden sportswear.


Webinars

January 13 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “The Bug Stops Here: How Our Hospital Used its EHR and RTLS Systems to Contain a Deadly New Virus.” Sponsored by Versus Technology. Presenter: John Olmstead, RN, MBA, FACHE, director of surgical and emergency services, The Community Hospital, Munster, Indiana. Community Hospital was the first US hospital to treat a patient with MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). It used clinical data from its EHR and staff contact information from a real-time locating system to provide on-site CDC staff with the information they needed to contain the virus and to study how it spreads. Employees who were identified as being exposed were quickly tested, avoiding a hospital shutdown.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Par8o, which grandly styles itself as “Healthcare’s Operating System,” raises $10.5 million in Series A funding. The referral management software company, whose name is a play on the word “Pareto,” was co-founded by Sermo co-founders Daniel Palestrant, MD and Adam Sharp, MD. Customers include hospitals that are part of the Harvard and Mount Sinai health systems.

image

Entrepreneur and author Sramana Mitra profiles for her upcoming book those “Unicorn” companies that generate their initial funding from sales rather than from financing, listing among them eClinicalWorks, which she says has $300 million in annual sales and, “If it were valued, it would easily be a multi-billion dollar company.” ECW’s Girish Kumar is among the most astute, genuine, and interesting people I’ve ever talked to.

image

HCS announces record sales in 2014 with 19 percent revenue growth and the addition of 30 employees.

image

McKesson shares hit a 52-week high Thursday, valuing the company at $50 billion. Above is the one-year share price of MCK (blue, up 24 percent) vs. the Dow (up 9 percent).

image

A venture capital firm increases its stake in Etransmedia with an unspecified investment that will support the company’s merger with physician practice services vendor DoctorsXL.

image

Chicago-based health analytics and algorithm sharing marketplace vendor Apervita, known until last week as Pervasive Health, completes an $18 million Series A funding round. It’s an interesting concept – allowing people to buy and sell health-related databases, algorithms, and measures.


Sales

image

Rush University Medical Center (IL) chooses Merge Cardiology PACS. MRGE shares have jumped 71 percent in the past 90 days vs. the Nasdaq’s gain of 8 percent.

Health Information Network of Arizona selects Quality Systems subsidiary Mirth to provide patient information exchange.


People

image

GetWellNetwork hires John George (StayWell) as chief growth officer.

3-28-2011 7-44-12 PM

Tom Stampiglia (Origin Healthcare Solutions) joins Surgical Information Systems as president and CEO.


Announcements and Implementations

image

Walgreens adds Your Digital Health Advisor, a virtual coaching program developed by WebMD, to its website and mobile app. The app includes programs for smoking cessation, weight management, nutrition, exercise, and emotional health and also offers real-time 24×7 coaching via Walgreens Pharmacy Chat. It will connect to WebMD’s iPhone app Health Target, which lets users upload their data from connected devices to receive physician-reviewed advice and tips. Users who meet their health goals earn Walgreens Balance Reward points.

Walgreens also announces that it will use Qualcomm’s medical device connectivity for remote patient monitoring and chronic care management, initially offering integration with Walgreens blood pressure cuffs and glucose meters. A new line of Qualcomm-branded devices will be announced in the next few months. This, too, will reward members with Walgreens Balance Rewards points for their participation. Walgreens is unbelievably ahead of just about everybody in healthcare in terms of technology use, consumer connection, and industry partnerships. Their technology creates revenue instead of just expense. I tried to connect with the company to interview its CIO, but they didn’t respond to my inquiry.

image

Capsule announces GA of its SmartLinx medical device information system that includes patient surveillance, clinical decision support, alarm interpretation and alerting, and asset tracking.

InterSystems HealthShare is certified as an eHealth Exchange Validated Product.

BD Medical gets FDA clearance for its Intelliport Medication Management System, which provides real-time drug identification, dose checking, and allergy detection at the point of IV bolus injection and then wirelessly documents the drug’s administration in the EHR. The system, which includes an IV access site sensor, wireless base, and table software, will reach the market in spring 2015. It will be marketed for use in perioperative areas to reduce syringe swap, dosing errors, and manual documentation requirements. This looks like a very cool product, even smarter in some ways than IV infusion pumps, and bolus dose errors cause patient problems much faster than an IV.

image image

O’Reilly releases a freely downloadable e-book, “Data Driven: Creating a Data Culture,” that contains interesting business examples including a cool one that studied why people who had tried Twitter stopped using it. It’s a straightforward, hype-free overview of the possibilities of using data to do good work. I ran across it by accident – I like it a lot.

A DrFirst market share analysis of EHRs used in New York finds that 80 percent of the ambulatory EHRs and 85 percent of the hospital EHRs are ready for the state’s I-STOP law that takes effect March 27, 2015. The law requires that all prescriptions be sent electronically from prescribers to pharmacies. New York pharmacies aren’t as well prepared as prescribers, however, with only 58 percent of them ready to accept electronic prescriptions for controlled drugs.

image

NantHealth announces a new version of its HBox medical device that collects and transmits real-time information from blood pressure cuffs, scales, and other personal devices using technology from BlackBerry.

Skylight Healthcare announces a secure videoconferencing solution that connects hospitalized patients with up to four other people simultaneously via the company’s interactive patient engagement technology.

image

Erlanger Health System (TN) becomes the first US hospital to roll out AlarmNavigator from Excel Medical Electronics, which helps users analyze alarms from GE patient monitoring systems to support customizing settings to reduce alarm fatigue.

image

The Michigan Department of Community Health launches a mobile app and portal so that Medicaid patients can access their medical information remotely.


Government and Politics

The FCC proposes updating its 2010 definition that said “broadband” has a minimum speed of 4 Mbps down/1 Mbps up to instead require 25/3 Mbps. The agency says rural and Tribal lands are underserved, with the proposed definition change upping the requirements for broadband providers that requesting federal grant money to add services. Both AT&T and Verizon had already objected to a previously proposed 10/1 Mbps minimum speed requirement, saying 4 Mbps is plenty for consumers.


Innovation and Research

image

The Economist corrects yet another example of attention-seeking publications that create inaccurate headlines and stories hoping for salacious clicks. It turns out that despite the recent hype, getting cancer isn’t only due to bad luck. The original research paper said that two-thirds of the variation in cancer risk is caused by chance mutations, which is not the same thing as saying that two-thirds of the chance of getting cancer is due to luck (since not every mutation causes cancer in the given tissue). The authors explain that cancer is “a combination of bad luck, bad environment, and bad inherited genes” and people control 40 percent of the risk via their lifestyle decisions about smoking, diet, sunlight exposure, exposure to papilloma virus, obesity, exercise, and alcohol intake.


Technology

image

A survey finds that while fitness tracker companies desperately try to outdo each other with added features and higher prices, 85 percent of consumers have no plans to buy one.


Other

Athenahealth says its network and previous years’ data suggest that the flu season has peaked, although CDC’s just-updated report says 29 states have high flu intensity. February is usually the worst flu month.

A new survey finds that nearly two-thirds of Americans couldn’t afford to write a $1,000 check for an unplanned ED visit. More than one-third of them would dip into savings, 26 percent would have to cut back elsewhere, 16 percent would borrow the money from family or friends, and 12 percent would charge the amount to their credit card.


Sponsor Updates

  • Allscripts will integrate Perceptive Software’s enterprise content management into its EHRs, giving customers a common infrastructure for storing and sharing patient content. 
  • Medicity publishes case studies on Trinity Health’s use of Medicity HISP to transmit information and Intermountain Healthcare’s lab results notification and public health reporting via Medicity Exchange. Brian Ahier, Medicity’s director of standards and government affairs, publishes an article with Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network COO Jean Doeringsfeld titled “FHIR and the Future of Interoperability.”
  • Teramedica-sponsored Vendor-Neutral Archive Institute of Technology offers free online courses that include CPHIMS and CPHIMA credit.
  • Direct Consulting Associates will sponsor “Becoming a Game Changer in the World of Healthcare Technology” on January 29, 2015 in Scottsdale, AZ. Texas Health Resources SVP/CIO Ed Marx will deliver the keynote address.
  • Logicworks publishes a blog on healthcare security, highlighting three reasons why hackers target healthcare clouds.
  • Liaison Technologies publishes a new blog on next-gen data integration and management by Chief Marketing Officer Manish Gupta.
  • Local papers profile Ingenious Med President and CEO S. Hart Williford’s work with startups; and COO Mike Pickering’s work with the Atlanta All Stars Talent Show Network, a non-profit community outreach program he founded in 2004.
  • Impact Advisors offers a snapshot of its latest white paper, on population health management, in a new blog.
  • Huntzinger Management Group Client Executive Rob Tashiro will speak during a CHIME webinar on January 28 covering lessons learned from big bang implementations.
  • Optum’s latest blog looks at how providers use analytics to better manage their populations and reduce costs.
  • Healthfinch sets intentions for the new year in a new blog post.
  • Healthcare Data Solutions shares insight into the Walgreens-Qualcomm partnership in a new blog post.
  • HCI Group’s SVP of Delivery Operations Robert “Bob” Steele receives his HIMSS senior member certification.
  • Hayes Management Consulting posts a new blog on the advantageous countdown to ICD-10.
  • DocuSign will host the Tech Founders Forum in San Francisco on January 13.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

clip_image002

While I share many of Mr. H’s pet peeves with regards to grammar, my top peeve at the moment is misleading headlines. It was bad enough when it was just Yahoo and MSN, but now the sensationalism is rampant in various physician publications. Medical Economics screams “Meaningful use penalties sear more than half of EPs in 2015.” Personally, “sear” wouldn’t be the verb I would choose for a 1 percent Medicare penalty. Tintoretto’s “The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence” illustrates what it would really look like to be seared.

Massachusetts physicians will need to update their own pet peeve lists with this one. The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine recently adopted a regulation that requires demonstration of Meaningful Use as a condition of licensure. It went into effect last week. Fortunately, they’ve built some flexibility into the final requirement. Beyond successful attestation as an Eligible Provider, other options include:

  • Completing continuing medical education that discusses EHRs and the MU programs objectives and quality measures.
  • Employment, contracting, or credentialing by a hospital that is participating in MU.
  • Participating in the Massachusetts Health Information Highway.

Physicians renewing their licenses prior to March 31 can receive a single-use “get out of jail free” exemption. If you’re due for renewal within 60 days of the end of March, you can take advantage of it as well by applying early, so get those checkbooks ready.

clip_image004

For those of us who wear many different hats (CMIO, practicing physician, anonymous blogger) time management is a constant challenge. If you’re as compulsive as me about it, you’ll want to consider blocking time on your schedule to peruse the proposed rule for Meaningful Use Stage 3. I highly recommend slotting a weekend evening with a roaring fire and a nice bottle of wine, as that worked well for me when Stage 2 was released. Given the state of my average work week, there’s no way it’s going to happen during normal business hours.

If you’re new to the game, the proposed rule currently sits at the Office of Management and Budget. It will be published in the Federal Register once the OMB review is complete. Stage 3 is supposed to focus on using the work done in previous stages to actually drive improvements in patient outcomes. According to statements from HHS, there will also be changes in the reporting period and program structure.

They also hope to clarify the definition of Meaningful Use (given confusion about requirements from multiple stages and multiple revisions) and to make sure the program is sustainable. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I hope there’s a 90-day reporting period involved and that they give vendors at least a year after finalization of the Rule to write code and physicians a year to install and upgrade.

Earlier this year, the Health IT Policy Committee recommended that HHS incorporate fewer objectives and reduce the burden on providers. Various other constituencies have pushed for further narrowing of the requirements. I’d bet we have the NPRM in the Federal Register within the next few weeks, so get your wine selections ready.

clip_image005

HIMSS is releasing more information about the conference and several new offerings including a Cybersecurity Command Center, Disaster Preparedness Knowledge Center, and the HIMSS Health IT Value Suite. Another new offering is HX360 , a joint effort of HIMSS and AVIA to look at non-EHR technology that can benefit health systems and provider organizations. I was initially drawn to it, but seeing that they’re charging an additional fee to attend the “Venture+ Forum pitch competition for early stage companies” dampened my enthusiasm. I don’t think what they’re offering is worth an additional $225 (or $795 as a standalone) of my hospital’s money.

I’m a little more enthusiastic about the “HIMSS Speakeasy” theme for the opening reception, which is usually pretty vanilla. Who’s ready to bob their hair and pack their flapper dresses and dancing shoes? Email me.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

 

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 8, 2015 News 2 Comments

News 1/7/15

January 6, 2015 News 2 Comments

Top News

image

The American Medical Association says EHRs, ICD-10, prior authorization, and Medicare fraud detection programs are “barriers to providing high-quality care” that it will oppose in 2015. AMA will continue its push to make the Meaningful Use program more flexible, improve EHR usability, and expand EHR interoperability. It will also “urge regulators to ease this physician burden” of the October 1 implementation of ICD-10, study the physician workload impact of prior authorization, and push CMS to overhaul its RAC-centered “bounty hunter” fraud and abuse programs.


Reader Comments

image

From Hallway: “Re: smartphone wayfinding apps. I passed along information on Jibestream that you mentioned in June 2014. I agree that this type of application will offer competitive advantage, not only with patients and visitors, but for new hires, for patient transportation, and for ancillary staff that need to deliver services at the bedside, maybe even eventually to route robots delivering supplies (I can just picture R2D2s roaming the halls).”

image

From Title Contender: “Re: smartphone wayfinding apps. Check out Logic Junction, whose solution works on both web and mobile with a single database that can be updated in real time.” The company lists Cleveland Clinic, LA County, Sarasota Memorial, and the VA as clients. The online demo is pretty cool and doesn’t require registration to run. If I were the company, I would white label the product and let hospitals sell ads or promote their own services to make it cost neutral.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

image

I’ve ordered Eric Topol’s “The Patient Will See You Now” and Steven Brill’s “America’s Bitter Pill,” so I’ll have book reports soon.

The latest in my long line of pet grammar peeves: starting sentences with “there.” The next-to-latest: sites that post articles with a question as the headline, indicating that the author isn’t confident enough to actually answer the question (meaning: the article is a complete waste of time). I’m curmudgeonly even in restaurants whose menus gets overly cute by offering “veggies” and “mashers.”


Webinars

January 13 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “The Bug Stops Here: How Our Hospital Used its EHR and RTLS Systems to Contain a Deadly New Virus.” Sponsored by Versus Technology. Presenter: John Olmstead, RN, MBA, FACHE, director of surgical and emergency services, The Community Hospital, Munster, Indiana. Community Hospital was the first US hospital to treat a patient with MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). It used clinical data from its EHR and staff contact information from a real-time locating system to provide on-site CDC staff with the information they needed to contain the virus and to study how it spreads. Employees who were identified as being exposed were quickly tested, avoiding a hospital shutdown.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Allina Health (MN) will take an equity position in Health Catalyst as part of a 10-year agreement in which the Allina will outsource its 60-employee analytics and quality improvement teams to Health Catalyst and will contribute its clinical expertise, while Health Catalyst earns a portion of its payment when Allina hits specific quality improvement targets as overseen by a governing committee. The organizations value the agreement at $100 million. I interviewed newly promoted Allina President and CEO Penny Wheeler, MD this week about the agreement and other topics.

image

Lexmark acquires Toronto-based medical imaging technology vendor Claron Technology for $37 million in cash. Lexmark will position the company’s medical imaging viewing platform and zero-footprint viewer within its Perceptive Software business, which offers a vendor-neutral archive and medical content management.

image

Staffing services company General Employment Enterprises acquires Jacksonville, FL-based medical scribe contractor Scribe Solutions.

image

Baltimore-based hospital hiring software vendor Pegged Software, which claims to have reduced employee turnover in its customers by an average of 45 percent, raises $9.2 million to increase its sales and marketing efforts.

image

Guided episode management software vendor Wellbe raises $2.42 million.

image

Honeywell renames its HomMed remote patient monitoring business to Honeywell Life Care Solutions.

image

The non-profit MedicAlert Foundation will reduce headcount and cut its budget “to better focus on its core mission of protecting and saving lives by serving as the global information link between members and emergency responders during medical emergencies and other times of need.” Beyond a variety of bracelet-type medical IDs, the organization offers an online health record linked to the medical ID number for an annual membership fee that starts at $19.99.


Sales 

image

Saint Luke’s Health System (MO) chooses Phynd to create a single provider profile of its 15,000 referring and credentialed physicians.

Children’s Hospital of San Antonio (TX) selects Ingenious Med’s patient encounter platform.


People

image image image image

HIMSS adds four new board members who will serve three-year terms: Michael Nusbaum (MH Nusbaum & Associates); James Peake, MD (SVP, CGI Federal); Christopher Ross (CIO, Mayo Clinic); and Ferdinand Velasco, MD (CHIO, Texas Health Resources).  

image

CHIME names University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers CIO Sue Schade as its 2014 John E. Gall, Jr. CIO of the Year.

image

Rick Adam is named president and COO of analytics vendor Stanson Health. He has work for a variety of health IT vendors over the years, including Baxter, NEON, and Recondo Technology. The company’s board chair is Scott Weingarten, MD now with Cedars-Sinai after co-founding Zynx Health.

image

Halfpenny Technologies hires Carl Smith (Airclic) as CFO.

image

David Silberstein (Teradata) joins Leidos Health as service line director for analytics.

image

The former HHS acting director of cybersecurity is sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for distribution of child pornography, including participating in discussions with another member of a private website that the two get together to fulfill their mutual fantasies of raping and murdering children. The FBI says Timothy DeFoggi used the technology expertise he gained in working for HHS to evade detection, ultimately unsuccessfully.


Announcements and Implementations

image

Epic announces plans for Campus Five, a five-building expansion that will add 500,000 square feet of space, 1,600 offices, and 1,500 parking spaces, all with a children’s literature theme. The company says it needs the space because 45 percent of its employees are sharing offices. Epic’s Wizards Academy campus is already under construction and will open in about a year.

Connance adds a Claims Optimization platform to its predictive analytics solution.

The HCI Group creates a freely viewable e-book, “The Definitive EHR Go-Live Guide.”


Government and Politics

image

Steven Brill, who wrote a lengthy Time magazine cover story two years ago called “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us,” says in a new book that the Affordable Care Act won’t help control healthcare costs because Democrats struck too many industry-friendly deals to get it passed. He adds in a Washington Post interview that organizations like Cleveland Clinic should be allowed to sell their own insurance under tight regulation, such as limits on hospital profitability and CEO salaries. He thinks insurance companies are the victims of providers who overcharge, leaving those insurance companies to run a low-margin business by abusing their customers. He says about ACA-driven value-based payments:

Sure, I think there’s more focus, for example, on hospital readmission for Medicare patients, which is costly, but in the sum total of things, it’s kind of a drop in the bucket. There are little things like that, but there aren’t any big things, there’s nothing to control the price of drugs, there’s no tort reform, there’s nothing to control the profits of allegedly nonprofit hospitals. There’s nothing to deal with the profits and the secret contracts that device-makers negotiate with hospitals that buy their products.

It’s not just the lobbying influence. You combine that money with the emotional pull and fear that people have when they think about healthcare. People care more about their health than they do about healthcare policy. And then you add to that the multi-channel political power of the healthcare industry in every congressional district, because in about every congressional district, the largest employer is the local hospital. And the local hospital is again seen as a charity. You combine that kind of local power with the lobbying power, with the fear and emotion that’s attached to healthcare, and that makes for a toxic political stew.

How is that going to change? I think the only way it’s going to change relates to what the thinking was in Massachusetts when Romneycare passed. They’re very candid about this — we’ll give everybody coverage and then when people see how much it costs, there’ll be this huge political wave to say we have to reform this or we’re going bankrupt.


Technology

NPR’s “All Things Considered” covers the consumer medical devices being displayed this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in a piece titled “Self-Tracking Gadgets That Play Doctor Abound at CES.” It mentions CellScope (a phone-powered ear camera that sends images to doctors for diagnosis) and Neurotrack (quiz-based Alzheimer’s diagnosis). The article wanders confusingly into thinking that phone apps have something to do with cyberattacks and telemedicine, so the only interesting aspect is that NPR wrote up the article in the first place.

image

An interesting use of telemedicine: St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center (NJ) connects ED victims of domestic violence with county court officers, allowing them to take out restraining orders within 45 minutes directly from the hospital. The program is being expanded to make an iPad-equipped judge available around the clock to handle night and weekend cases, which are the majority.


Other

Physicians responding to a Sermo poll name wearables-based remote patient monitoring and telemedicine as the top two expected trends of 2015.

image

Surgeon and writer Atul Gawande, MD, MPH weighs in on technology in an interview with Bob Wachter, MD:

Information is our most valuable resource, yet we treat it like a byproduct. The systems we have – Epic and our other systems – are not particularly useful right now in helping us execute on these objectives. We’re having to build systems around those systems … the issues have less to do with systems than with governance … the residents feel they’re caught up in this world where everything they need to know is on the computer screen. That’s creating angst in their day-to-day life. You go up to the floor of the medical service in my hospital, and there are no doctors there. They come, they see the patients, and then they escape to this tribal room where all 15 residents hang out together, each doing his or her computer work. That means that many of the informal interactions that used to occur between the docs and the nurses, or the docs and the patients and their families, have withered away.

A veteran sues the Atlanta VA hospital that was treating him for PTSD, claiming that the single dose of antidepressant he was prescribed created a weeks-long erection that made him the laughingstock of doctors and nurses and resulted in improper treatment that left him disfigured. “One had mentioned that I should line up all the women. I haven’t had that many people who had seen it in my whole life until I went to that hospital.” His attorney (Mr. Johnson, strangely enough) cites another patient who took the same drug with the same result, to whom a jury awarded $10 million.

image

Weird News Andy drives us into the new year with a story he titles, “Making a turn for the better.” Surgeons remove a turn signal lever from a 1963 Thunderbird from the arm of a man who had been in a car accident 51 years ago, unaware until now that he had a seven-inch piece of metal embedded there.


Sponsor Updates

  • Phynd publishes a blog post titled “Direct Addresses Are Yet Another Reasons Hospitals Need to Move to a Single Provider Profile (SPP) Model.”
  • ADP AdvancedMD will integrate its EHR with physician practice reporting from Iron Bridge Integration, giving customers access to pre-built connections to 57 registries in 48 states to help meet Meaningful use Stage 2 requirements.
  • Chadron Community Hospital (NE) successfully attests to Meaningful Use Stage 2 using NTT DATA’s Optimum product suite. I interviewed CIO/COO Anna Turman several months ago and it’s still among my favorites.
  • Netsmart publishes several new white papers: “In Transition: How Electronic Data Sharing Enables Improved Outcomes and Reduced Costs,” “5 Things to Consider When Selecting Your New (Next) EHR,” and “Transforming the EHR into a Knowledge Platform to Ensure Improved Health and Healthcare.”
  • Medhost describes the use by Larkin Community Hospital (FL) of its YourCareLink integration service to automate public health reporting for Meaningful Use Stage 2.
  • Amerinet will offer the interoperability and population health management solutions of Sandlot Solutions to its members.
  • A market research survey finds that VMware’s AirWatch enterprise mobility management solution is the #1 choice of decision-makers, handily beating out MobileIron.
  • Four Army National Guard locations will use AtHoc’s network-centric crisis communications system, which allows base officials to quickly send deployment orders and emergency notifications via text, phone, and desktop.
  • Besler Consulting offers a review of the FY2015 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System.
  • A CareSync blog post reviews CMS’s chronic care management reimbursement program and how doctors can use the company’s CareSync CCM product.
  • Clinovations posts an article titled “Patient Access: What Does Failure Cost?”
  • CommVault announces the schedule of its “Hockey Helping Kids” fundraiser.
  • DataMotion publishes an article, “Want to ensure secure and compliant data exchange? Integrate security!”
  • Divurgent will participate in the HIMSS East Tennessee Summit on January 22, 2015 in Knoxville and the HFMA Florida Mid-Winter Conference January 26 in Miami.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

 

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 6, 2015 News 2 Comments

Monday Morning Update 1/5/15

January 3, 2015 News 11 Comments

Top News

image

Healthcare analytics vendor Inovalon Holdings (known until a 2012 name change as MedAssurant) files for a $500 million IPO. The CEO and board chair is cardiologist Keith Dunleavy, MD. The company’s technology is used by NextGen, Greenway, Allscripts, and Walgreens.  


Reader Comments

image

From KimJongDeux: “Re: Athenahealth. Interesting that Jonathan was the much celebrated, drunk, foul-mouthed (and most un-funny) host of HIStalkapalooza for a few years and the article above seems to indicate the bloom is off the rose. Guess he’s not on the program this year? We seem to have a company run by force of personality. The quote, ‘Those naysayers don’t understand the company’s business model’ is the same cry as we hear from self-styled ‘artists’ when their works are panned and from CEOs who either get no push back from their yes-men staffs or who weeds out or banishes anyone who disagrees. The fact that their corporate meeting involves officially sanctioned heavy drinking games tells me all I need to know. And the fact that the CEO openly supports it as a good thing is troublesome. I agree that if the force of personality ever left, the company would fold like a house of cards. Being brash, loud, and verbally overpowering others can keep the airplane aloft only so long.” The company has a new logo and website, I’ve noticed, moving away from the squint-inducing yellow and green color scheme to a more serious-looking purple and green.

image

From PM_from_Haities: “Re: Epic’s going public. It would have very little effect. The capital structure of a company (i.e. going from private to public) impacts who owns Epic, but it’s leadership would likely be unchanged. Given Judy has plenty of cash, it would make very little sense for her to add that kind of public scrutiny unless it helped in gaining government contracts. Epic would continue to deliver on its promises and continue to grow. If anything, Epic might get BETTER by being publicly traded as they would typically have a stronger marketing department.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

image

One-fourth of respondents to my poll expressed a positive impression of HIMSS, with 38 percent each having neutral or negative feelings. New poll to your right or here, triggered by last week’s Fortune article: which set of quotes best describes Athenahealth, the positive ones by CEO Jonathan Bush or the negative ones from a skeptical hedge fund manager? Vote and then click the “Comments” link in the poll box to explain yourself.

Attendees of our webinars have asked about the possibility of receiving continuing education hours. I looked into this years ago and concluded that the only way to accomplish that would be to connect with a university already set up to award CEUs to physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. I’m open to suggestions.

image

I registered for the HIMSS conference this weekend since the early full registration rate of $745 is good through January 27. My impressions:

  • The online registration is slow because it tries to upsell you on extra-cost events, but it’s efficient otherwise.
  • The registration policies document says that HIMSS doesn’t share attendee email addresses and to report any email received from an exhibitors. I assume that means that, as usual, registrants will receive a barrage of promotional snail mail (some of it invariably arriving after the conference has concluded).
  • The registration policy references a “use of photographic images” clause in the same document, but the only related item involves “recording any educational session content,” so apparently the widely ignored ban against taking exhibit hall photos has been eliminated.

image

Divurgent, Elsevier, Falcon Consulting, Sunquest, and Thrasys have signed on as sponsors of HIStalkapalooza, which will be held Monday of the HIMSS conference week at the House of Blues Chicago. It’s an expensive event to put on — the facility, food, bar, and band add up to more than $175 per attendee — and the number and level of sponsors dictates the number of people I can invite (and thus the number I can’t invite) without going deep into the red. We still have a couple of weeks to add new sponsors – let me know if your company is interested in standing out among all the conference noise that week.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • An report looking at six ONC-funded state HIEs finds that large health systems can be either supporters or competitors, HIEs are beginning to embrace Direct despite its poor EHR integration, and the HIEs are still searching for use cases that the market wants.
  • A Wall Street Journal report finds that a significant portion of Medicare fraud is perpetrated by the 45,000 newly registered providers each month that CMS says it doesn’t have the resources to review.
  • CSC pays $190 million to settle an SEC fraud case that includes its UK NPfIT contracts.
  • A Fortune profile contrasts Athenahealth’s high-flying public image with the skepticism of investment advisers and managers who say the company’s tiny market share and flattening performance suggests otherwise.

Webinars

January 13 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “The Bug Stops Here: How Our Hospital Used its EHR and RTLS Systems to Contain a Deadly New Virus.” Sponsored by Versus Technology. Presenter: John Olmstead, RN, MBA, FACHE, director of surgical and emergency services, The Community Hospital, Munster, Indiana. Community Hospital was the first US hospital to treat a patient with MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). It used clinical data from its EHR and staff contact information from a real-time locating system to provide on-site CDC staff with the information they needed to contain the virus and to study how it spreads. Employees who were identified as being exposed were quickly tested, avoiding a hospital shutdown.


People

image

OB/GYN EHR vendor DigiChart promotes Rodney Hamilton, MD to president and CEO.


Announcements and Implementations

image

Terrebonne General Medical Center (LA) goes live in its admissions area on RightPatient facial recognition software from Atlanta-based M2SYS Technology.


Government and Politics

image

The New York Times profiles US CTO Megan Smith, with insiders concluding that while she has a big vision and the president’s ear, she’s also in a position that comes with unclear mandates, minimal budget, and responsibility for outdated technology platforms. The article points out that the newly created United States Digital Service reports to the Office of Management and Budget instead of her office.

image

A class action lawsuit filed by doctors against North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services over software that incorrectly paid practices Medicaid rates for services provided to Medicare patients lingers on a year later. A family practice doctor says the state owes him $100,000, adding that in his pleas to DHHS, “There was a complete lack of courtesy. Those people have no humanity.” The NCTracks system was developed by CSC at a cost of $484 million, with a significant portion copied from a similar system CSC built for New York City. The US Justice Department sued CSC and New York City in October for Medicaid fraud, claiming that the $1 billion New York system didn’t correctly bill Medicaid secondarily to private insurance. Neither system was related to CSC’s $190 million settlement with the SEC last week over accounting and fraud claims involving the company’s work on the UK’s failed NPfIT project.

Oregon’s proposed 2015-2017 budget includes $3 million for a prison system EHR, which is expected to go live in early 2016.  


Privacy and Security

The US Postal Service announces that a previously reported breach of its systems that exposed the Social Security numbers of 800,000 employees also included medical information on 485,000 current and former employees as well as retirees who had filed for worker’s compensation. The most interesting aspect to me is the huge number of injury claims filed with USPS.


Technology

I mentioned last week that John Olmstead, who runs the ED and surgery departments of The Community Hospital (IN), says in an upcoming Versus webinar that he would like to see a GPS-wayfinding type technology so that hospital visitors could navigate around campus using their smartphones. Readers sent information on two companies that offer such technology:

Connexient offers a smartphone app that provides turn-by-turn navigation to visitors at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and will bring six more hospitals live on it in the next few months.

image

Madison, WI startup Solomo Technology is using similar technology to help conference attendees locate session rooms. It offers APIs so that developers can integrate its location and content services into their own apps.

image

An excellent analysis of the fitness tracker market makes great points:

  • Courts are beginning to accept fitness tracker data in cases ranging from vehicular accidents to worker’s compensation, with resulting privacy concerns.
  • Wearable device manufactures use glossy marketing to position themselves as health and wellness brands instead of step counters. “You will never find a review for Jawbone or Fitbit that says ‘works as advertised’ because no one knows what they’re advertising.”
  • Trackers have penetrated only 3 percent of the market and the washout rate is high.
  • The Scanadu medical tricorder-type device holds great promise, as does senior monitoring app Lively.
  • Companies that have bought a single brand of fitness tracker for employees haven’t seen broadly successful results because people are motivated differently.
  • Users don’t want more data, they want to have devices tell them what to do and to simplify their technology interactions rather than to add new ones.

Other

image

This headline from the Rome, GA newspaper succinctly describes a lot of what’s wrong with the US economy. Taxpayer-funded organizations that don’t pay taxes themselves shouldn’t be the only hope of employment growth. At least government hiring didn’t top the list.

image

The Madison newspaper profiles Nordic Consulting co-founder Mark Bakken’s transition from entrepreneur to venture capitalist. He’s putting together a $10-$20 million venture fund that will invest $300,000 to $500,000 in Madison-area companies whose technologies work with Epic. He has raised $4 million so far (including $1 million of his own money) and says several Epic-using health systems have expressed interest in investing. The article mentions that he has personally invested in eight startups (Catalyze, Forward Health Group, Wellbe, Moxe Health, 100health, Quietyme, Healthfinch, and HealthMyne) and four of those have hit $1 million in annual revenue. Bakken, who stepped down from the CEO role at Nordic last month but remains board chair, says he “won the lottery with Nordic,” which had $81 million in revenue in 2013.

image

A fundraising project for the children of The Johns Hopkins Hospital senior software engineer and bike shop owner Tom Palermo that included a 1,000-participant New Year’s Day ride has raised $60,000 so far, well beyond its original goal of $10,000. Palermo, 41, was killed last weekend when he was run over while bicycling by an Episcopalian bishop with a previous drunk driving arrest who fled the scene. She has been placed on administrative leave pending possible criminal charges following her admission that she hit Palermo, who leaves behind his wife, six-year-old daughter, and four-year-old son. The bishop had previously received probation for her 2010 DUI arrest (before she was hired by the diocese) in which she was driving a car with a tire shredded to the rim, told police she had drunk alcohol and smoked marijuana, and recorded a 0.27 on a blood alcohol breath test.

Five Michigan health systems receive $25 million in value-based payouts from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, which says the hospitals and physicians are communicating better because of EHRs and HIEs. The systems will also receive $500,000 each over three years to improve their IT systems and care coordination. The chief medical officer of Henry Ford Physician Network says he gets immediate notification if his patient is is seen by any provider in the network or at an area hospital that uses Epic, but otherwise he won’t know about it until he sees the patient next, so he’s looking forward to using the money to improve HIE connectivity and to improve data capture from physician practices.

image

Lenox Hill Hospital (NY), embarrassed by international press coverage of a British couple unfortunate enough to have their premature baby delivered in the US at a cost of $200,000 instead of free in England, hints that it will simply write off the bill, sticking less-publicized patients with the burden of its profitability. It really annoys me that when media outlets publicize a ridiculous hospital bill involving a feel-good patient, the hospital nobly agrees to cancel the bill as though it doesn’t really need the money. The rest of us who get equally absurd hospital bills are turned over to collections for every dime. Somehow the public never sees through this PR scam to realize that we’re all paying for it. The same hospital annoyed patients and families three years ago by restricting visitor access so that Beyonce and Jay-Z could have their baby in the manner to which they have become accustomed, with the star couple adding their own private security force to guard the VIP suite (the hospital denies rumors that the couple spent $1.3 million to upgrade their room). The CEO of North Shore-LIJ Health System, which owns the hospital, was paid $4.3 million in 2013.

image

The Sioux City paper describes the interoperability situation between UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s and Mercy Medical Center, running Epic and Cerner, respectively, and still faxing scanned chart images back and forth. The hospitals are bringing up Iowa Health Information Network with hopes of electronically exchanging at least summary records.

Tennessee doctors are diagnosing and treating people with flu by telephone or telemedicine, telling them not to come to the office for fear they’ll spread the virus to other waiting patients.

image

A ProPublica investigative article exposes the billing practices of the for-profit debt collection agency run by non-profit health system Mosaic Life Care (MO), which has filed 11,000 lawsuits in five years to collect money from uninsured hospital patients and to garnish their usually low wages. The part of the story that always drives me crazy: uninsured patients are sued for the full (phony) list prices hospitals make up in order to give 90 percent discounts to insurance companies, so people are losing their homes to pay for $12 Tylenols and the ever-accruing interest charges and attorney fees. It seems reasonable that hospitals be required to charge cash-paying patients their lowest prevailing contracted prices.

A JAMA opinion piece written by informatics people from Christus Health points out the rising numbers of medical scribes, the number of companies (22) offering their services, and the creation of a scribe aptitude test and a vendor-led member association. It says that overuse of scribes to make up for EHR inefficiency can lead to compliance and clinical issues, concluding:

The answer to today’s inadequate EHRs is not scribe support. Instead, physicians should demand improved products, should educate vendors to ensure that they understand how physicians think clinically, and should clarify what is needed for an intuitive, quick, and navigable user interface. If such usual market forces are vibrant, and physicians engaged robustly, EHRs will evolve rapidly. Yet even after a decade of use, some EHRs and CPOE may not compete with the speed of a paper checklist, and may never.

The New York Times notes that a doctor whose office was raided by federal agents for writing oxycodone prescriptions for $200 in cash was caught only because neighbors complained about the traffic outside his unmarked office that was guarded by an armed bouncer. The doctor made $2.6 million in cash over two years writing narcotics prescriptions to patients who then turned the drugs over to “crew chiefs” to sell on the street. The practice created false medical records that included MRI reports and urinalysis results.

image

Dr. Oz makes a lot of headlines, most of them negative. His ABC TV show, “NY Med,” takes heat when a female viewer watches her husband die in an episode filmed at New York-Presbyterian Hospital without the family’s permission. Producers blurred the man’s face in the video, but the woman recognized him and heard his last words as the cameras rolled. Her son has filed complaints with the hospital, the state’s Department of Health, and HHS’s Office for Civil Rights. The hospital and ABC claim the patient isn’t identifiable, ABC says news is protected by the First Amendment, and the hospital says the man’s privacy rights ended when he died and blames the family instead for calling attention to his identity by complaining.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 3, 2015 News 11 Comments

News 12/31/14

December 30, 2014 News 12 Comments

Top News

image

CSC will pay $190 million and will restate previous years’ financial statements to settle a variety of SEC fraud charges that includes its participation in the UK’s NPfIT program. That’s a minor amount compared to the $2.75 billion the company already wrote off for its work on the failed NPfIT project. CSC will change its 2011 balance sheet to reflect a $1.16 billion impairment charge.


Reader Comments

image

From Brandom: “Re: Barnes Jewish Christian. Rumor is it they will be installing Epic.” Unverified, but I ran a reader’s rumor saying the same thing on December 5. Often the earliest confirmation is a health system’s posting of a ton of open Epic positions, but BJC doesn’t have any of those on its recruitment site.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I have to disclose a brilliant idea I heard in listening to the rehearsal of the Versus webinar I mention below, which I honestly think is the most interesting webinar I’ve ever watched. John Olmstead of Community Munster captivated me all the way through on the hospital’s use of ED technology, but he really grabbed me at the end when he suggested technology tools he needs. His holy grail is a way-finding, GPS-type app that patients and visitors can use on their own devices to locate themselves precisely on a hospital floor plan, then receive directions to get them to a desired location. Example: I’m in room 4401 with my mom and I want to go to the cafeteria, then to the financial counselor, then to the gift shop, and then back to 4401, so give me turn-by-turn directions like I get with my car GPS. His take is interesting: patients will become so attached to hospitals that offer this app that they won’t consider going elsewhere, where they’ll go back to stumbling around lost or trying to follow decades-old red vs. green lines on the floor that lead to confusing elevators. Hospitals are always a poorly conceived patchwork of added-on construction that went up quickly as funding allowed, so visitors spend a lot of time wandering and wasting the time of employees who have to assist them. Turning that universally embarrassing situation into a competitive advantage is brilliant.

What’s really bugging me lately (it always has, but even more so now): companies that make portions of their name incorrectly upper or lower case, defying all of the civilized rules of spelling just because someone in marketing who’s never run a business has decided that being flagrantly incorrect is a desperate way to distinguish a company from its competitors. I’ve always refused to recognize all-caps vendor names like Meditech, Medseek, and Medhost, but I’ve also decided that I’m also no longer letting Athenahealth slide with the oh-so-cute small “a” at the beginning of the company’s name. Names in America start with a capitalized letter and then have all lower case letters following, so now I have to decide what to do with the many cutesy company names that stick capitalized letters midstream (even providers like Partners HealthCare mistakenly think that’s cool). I’ll even concede that HIStalk should really be Histalk if that will convince other companies to value conformity to accepted rules over marketing nonsense.


Webinars

January 13 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “The Bug Stops Here: How Our Hospital Used its EHR and RTLS Systems to Contain a Deadly New Virus.” Sponsored by Versus Technology. Presenter: John Olmstead, RN, MBA, FACHE, director of surgical and emergency services, The Community Hospital, Munster, Indiana. Community Hospital was the first US hospital to treat a patient with MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). It used clinical data from its EHR and staff contact information from a real-time locating system to provide on-site CDC staff with the information they needed to contain the virus and to study how it spreads. Employees who were identified as being exposed were quickly tested, avoiding a hospital shutdown.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Fortune describes Athenahealth’s “More Disruption Please” conference as “the Animal House of corporate gatherings,” with the company’s 387-acre Maine resort hosting drinking games and an after-party cabin for investors and corporate hangers-on led by CEO Jonathan Bush, described as a “hyperactive, no-filter goofball of a chief executive.” The article contrasts the party atmosphere to skeptical investors who believe that Athenahealth shares are massively overvalued, especially since the company just announced that revenue growth has slowed as it continues to lose money. Bush says those naysayers don’t understand the company’s business model and will miss the building of a Salesforce-like technology company that will “create and curate the healthcare Internet.” Hedge fund manager and ATHN short-seller David Einhorn isn’t buying it (literally), saying, “They’re a niche provider way out on the periphery with a tiny market share. I don’t see how they’re going to become a backbone of anything.” My take is that Athenahealth would have been an obscure, offshore-powered medical paper pusher without the cult of Bush’s personality; investors had better hope he sticks around and keeps his mojo since that’s the only way shares can continue to trade independently of tepid company performance as a self-proclaimed Internet high flyer. The money gods would lose interest quickly if recommending or owning ATHN stock no longer paid the dues for being a member of JB’s frenetic fraternity.

image

Athenahealth shares (in blue above) did OK in the past year, falling a bit short of the Nasdaq’s 15.6 percent gain but 25 percent off their March 2014 highs. The company is valued at $5.6 billion on annual revenue of $711 million and a negative operating margin. Jonathan Bush hold shares worth $46 million.

image

The Forbes article on Athenahealth mentions that the company’s $1.1 million investment in Castlight Health was worth $75 million at the end of Q1, allowing Athenahealth to buy a private plane it calls “the Castlight jet.” At least Athenahealth ended up with something more high flying than CSLT shares — above is the CSLT price chart since its March IPO (blue, down 71 percent) vs. the Dow (up 12 percent).

image

Cincinnati-based revenue cycle management firm The Consult Inc. (TCI) will acquire RCM software and services vendor Physician Management Information Services of Denver.

image

Specialty EMR vendor Modernizing Medicine acquires Aesyntix Health, which offers dermatology practice RCM, inventory management, and group purchasing services.  


Sales

image

The federal government awards Accenture a five-year, $563 million contract to continue the work it started on Healthcare.gov after CGI Federal was fired.

Medical practice performance management company GloStream chooses DrFirst’s EPCS Gold 2.0 controlled drug e-prescribing system to comply with New York’s I-STOP mandatory e-prescribing requirement.


People

image

Tom Palermo, a 41-year-old senior software engineer at The Johns Hopkins Hospital (MD), was killed in a bicycling accident Saturday. Memorial Mass will be celebrated Saturday in Towson, MD.


Announcements and Implementations

image

Lafayette General Medical Center (LA) donates a telemedicine station to a local elementary school, allowing ill students to be evaluated by a physician without leaving school.


Government and Politics

image

An ONC-commissioned report studying HIEs in six states finds that they commonly offer care summary exchange, lab results reporting and exchange, public health reporting, and ADT messaging, but otherwise their technologies and strategies vary. Lessons learned include setting attainable short-term goals to maintain stakeholder interest, recognizing that big health systems can be either supporters or competitors of grant-funded HIEs, and data standards are often voluntary but need to be standardized to achieve real interoperability. Five of the six states plan to charge subscription fees but haven’t set rates (the sixth HIE already shut down). The study found that Direct is still a confounder, with HIEs originally seeing it as a competing model but are now looking at Direct as an easier workaround to problems they found with query-based services, but Direct is still poorly integrated with EHRS (usually requiring providers to log in to a separate portal) since it wasn’t required of vendors until Meaningful Use Stage 2 and they’ve been slow to incorporate it. Wyoming’s HIE gets a special mention for shutting down immediately once its federal grant money ran out. The issue of sustainability is nicely summarized by this statement: “In the short term, grantees are trying to identify use cases that align with the market” (i.e., we built it and they didn’t come before the government money ran out, so it’s like being the owner of a tattoo shop when the local military base closes).


Technology

image

Iltifat Husain, MD names his best medical apps for 2014:

  • ASCVD Risk Estimator (#1)
  • JAMA Network Medical Image Challenge
  • Medscape MedPulse
  • UMEM Pearls
  • Multiple Sclerosis @Point of Care
  • PreopEval14
  • Pediatric Quick Reference
  • Eye Emergency Manual
  • Blood Donor by American Red Cross
  • CDC Vaccine Schedules
  • Family Practice Notebook
  • Change Talk: Childhood Obesity and Motivational Interviewing

A German hacker replicates a politician’s biometric thumbprint using only a press conference photo and off-the-shelf software. The politician, ironically, was speaking at a hacker’s convention. The hacker, who’s apparently not a fan of biometric security, says he assumes that politicians will start wearing gloves when speaking in public.

image

Siemens has been caught countless times over at least 100 years for bribing people to earn government bids, so this is hardly news: Israel’s securities regulator arrests six electric company employees for accepting $20 million in Siemens bribes related to a power station turbine bid.


Other

image

Geisinger Health System CEO Glenn Steele, Jr., MD, PhD, who is retiring next year, comments on physician complaints about health IT in a Modern Healthcare interview:

Here’s my Jonathan Gruber statement: This is an issue of stupidity. If people believe that you can put IT in, continue working the same way you did before IT, and not get inefficiency, we are talking double-digit IQs here. What everybody’s learned over the last 15 to 20 years is if you put IT in, whether it’s hospital-based or ambulatory, you have to look at the entire workflow and use the IT implementation as an excuse for re-engineering your workflow from beginning to end. If you don’t do that, it’s going to create havoc. You’ve got to look at your patient-care processes from beginning to end and say, “How are we going to do it differently? How is this going to make it better?”

On the benefits of health IT, we couldn’t do point-of-service care innovation without having near real-time data fed back to us. You’ve got to have data both from the insurer side and the provider side to predict which patients or cohorts of patients are most likely to need the highest-intensity vigilance. If you don’t have feedback in a timely fashion, it’s not going to work.

image

The president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company says she’s a fan of the quantified self movement, in which people will “[take] charge of their well-being through the use of data and digital sensors, wearable health bands, and smartphone apps that can track and quantify everything from their heart rate, blood pressure, and sleep quality to steps walked and calories consumed. The word ‘quantify’ is what’s really important because people will use the personal data and feedback from these devices to make healthier lifestyle choices and adjust the way they eat, exercise, work and rest.”

I’m not interested enough to look up the details, but somehow Cerner and Allscripts are both involved in a patent dispute with RLIS, which apparently took a stab at the EMR market in the late 1990s but then folded. I mentioned a reader’s report of the lawsuit in mid-2012, so apparently it’s still churning its way through the court system.

image

CDC declares the 2014-15 flu season as an epidemic, with 22 states reporting significant influenza-like activity vs. 13 last week. Flu vaccine doesn’t seem to be working well against this year’s strain.

This is sad: a hospital Santa of 30 years hangs up her red and white suit, saying the drug test, background check, fingerprinting, and HIPAA requirements make it too much trouble to give young inpatients their December dose of Christmas cheer. At least a new Santa is happy to take over the suit, which the former Santa donated.

Only in America, home of too many lawyers trying to drum up work and too many righteously indignant people convinced that everything that happens to them is an egregious injustice wrought by deep-pockets defendants: the family of  a woman killed when a driver allegedly high on nitrous oxide rear-ends her as she slows for a traffic light sues: (a) the driver, which makes sense; (b) Toyota, because the family claimed the victim’s car was defective; (c) the driver’s sister, a doctor the family claimed helped the woman get drugs; (d) the towing company who released the driver’s car to her; and (e) a local ambulance company, who the family says caused the crash by responding to an accident with flashing lights on, causing cars to pull over right before the crash.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

 

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
December 30, 2014 News 12 Comments

Monday Morning Update 12/29/14

December 27, 2014 News 11 Comments

Top News

image

Cerner shares hit a 52-week high last week, closing Friday at $65.71 and valuing the company at $22 billion. The end-of-year rise sounds impressive until you examine the one-year share price graph that shows CERN shares rising 18.2 percent (blue) vs. the Nasdaq’s 15.6 percent (red), so it barely beat the Nasdaq composite index. 


Reader Comments

From Pango: “Re:  vendor employee provider experience. My company developed a rounding program where our software developers, project managers, product managers, and QA team members spent time observing a clinician in hospital departments. It was valuable because it provided insights into workflows and usability that we could not have understood other than by on-site observation. The programs were in place at several client hospitals and we maintained an active rotation of our team members who wished to participate.”

From Patti Melt: “Re: Epic. I just spent all day interfacing it to other systems. Since Neal Patterson says it can’t be done, should I buy a lottery ticket?”

From Urban Cowboy: “Re: Madison airport. If Epic is trying to eliminate consultant advertising within 50 miles of Verona, someone should tell the airport since it’s about all they have. With fewer implementations, they need all the help they can get.” Someone mentioned previously that perhaps the airport wasn’t within Epic’s rumored no-fly-ads zone since it’s a long cab ride, but Google Maps says it’s only 21.9 miles.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

News is predictably (and thankfully) skimpy, so the biggest takeaway from this post is that you haven’t missed anything over the post-Christmas weekend.

image

Dave Miller, CIO of Optimum Healthcare IT and formerly CIO of University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, sent out an email suggesting Christmas donations to the Salvation Army, recounting how as a child the organization got his family of seven through their temporarily homelessness. Bitdefender wouldn’t let me bring up Dave’s fundraising campaign page at OnlineRedKettle.org because of a phishing warning, but I matched Dave’s $250 donation online in honor of HIStalk’s readers. Salvation Army is my #1 overall charity choice, with DonorsChoose.org running a close second.

image

I’m ecstatic to report that three-quarters of respondents to my poll say they’re happier now than they were a year ago. New poll to your right or here: what is your overall impression of HIMSS? Click the poll’s “comments” link after voting to explain.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • The executive director of the Connecticut Health Policy Project observes that the state’s now-defunct HIE oversight organization spent $4.3 million in federal grant money without accomplishing anything.
  • Pennsylvania’s HIE organization asks the state for $4.7 million to keep it running now that its ONC grants have expired and its efforts to bring paying organizations online and to solicit charitable donations have failed.
  • The FDA announces plans to require drug manufacturers to publish prescribing information for professionals electronically on an FDA-maintained website, eliminating the paper versions.
  • HTC Global Services acquires CareTech Solutions.
  • Boston Children’s Hospital (MA) pays $40,000 to settle state charges over the theft of an unencrypted laptop, while Northwestern Memorial Healthcare Group notifies 3,000 people that their information has been exposed by the theft of an unencrypted laptop from an employee’s car.

People

image

Oneview Healthcare names Samir Batra (CareInSync) as VP of patient engagement.


Announcements and Implementations

TEDMED is offering a $1,000 discount for registrations completed by December 31 for next fall’s event, dropping the cost of the refundable, transferrable delegate pass to $3,950. This year’s event was split between San Francisco and Washington, DC and connected by video. No way I’m paying thousands of dollars to watch a big screen meeting from the other side of the country, but to each his own. The only names I immediately recognized from last year’s speaker list were swimmer Diana Nyad and Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, neither of which would cause my hand to move toward my wallet.


Government and Politics

image

Jeb Bush will resign from the board of for-profit hospital operator Tenet Healthcare as he explores a 2016 Presidential run. He made $300,000 from that gig last year. Tenet is worth $5 billion, with CEO Trevor Fetter holding shares worth $42 million.

A Wall Street Journal report says that Medicare is hard to fix because the agency doesn’t want to restrict care, adding that new providers aren’t vetted and inspectors never visit provider locations to see if they are real. The article points out that 45,000 new providers sign up to deliver Medicare services every month and CMS doesn’t have the resources to vet them.


Technology

image

My most-used iPhone app is the outstanding, 99-cent MotionX GPS Drive navigation system. I just noticed that the company offers the also-99 cent MotionX 24/7, which includes a sleep tracker, step counter, heart rate monitor, and wake-up alarm, all integrated with Apple Health. I didn’t realize until I looked up their site that the company’s emphasis is on and quantified self rather than GPS navigation. It holds dozens of patents and licenses its technology to wearables vendors such as Nike. MotionX’s CEO and co-founder is Philippe Kahn, who invented the phone camera, founded the powerhouse 1980s software vendor Borland (Turbo Pascal, Quattro, TopSpeed/Clarion, dBase, Delphi, and Paradox), and earned simultaneous master’s degrees in mathematics and classical flute. I’m installing MotionX 24/7 now and will report back, but I can already see that it’s as well designed as I expected.

image

Since I mentioned my most-used iPhone app, here’s another highly used one on the phone, desktop, and laptop: the LastPass password manager and single sign-on utility, which allows me to log on to a single Web page and have instant auto log-in to everything I use online (and to easily and centrally maintain complex and mandatory-change passwords) from any device. It’s free for personal desktop use, or an extra $12 per year to run it from mobile devices.

image

This should annoy everyone smart enough to use their phone as a personal hotspot instead of paying $15 for crappy hotel Internet access: Marriott and its hotel lobbying group ask the FCC for permission to block tethering, using the extraordinarily stupid and self-serving excuse that guests might use their personal Wi-Fi connections to attack the hotel’s network, steal information from other online guests, or slow down the hotel’s Wi-Fi (all of which are arguments hotels should make for NOT using their own in-house networks, other than the fact that they profit handsomely from it). Microsoft and Google are urging the FCC to deny Marriott’s lame idea. Somehow cheap roadside hotels can offer free parking, Internet, and breakfast but the snootier, big-city ones milk their business travelers hard. Marriott’s Springhill Suites is still my favorite chain, though.


Other

The board of Massena Memorial Hospital (NY) approves spending $49,000 for a Medhost upgrade and $29,000 for a Meditech/LSS purchase. The CEO explained that the Medhost upgrade is required for complying with New York’s I-STOP mandatory electronic prescribing law, adding, “The last thing we want to do is end up sideways with the state and DEA. That would be extremely unpleasant.” 

image

Eric Topol, MD tweeted this graphic of his medical smartphone concept from his new book, “The Patient Will See You Now.” Amazon’s “look inside” preview contains generous sections of the book’s content – it looks good.

This YouTube video of Derby the dog running for the first time after being fitted for 3D-printed prosthetics has received 6.8 million views for its producer, 3D Systems. The company, based in Rock Hill, SC , is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and is valued at almost $4 billion even after shares dropped 64 percent in the past year.

image

The children of “American Top 40” host Casey Kasem, who died of dementia last June at 82, will share his hospital records with his widow, who is suing the hospital that cared for him. Kasem’s widow is the former Jean Thompson, who played Nick Tortelli’s curvaceous wife Loretta (with the “I Dream of Jeannie” hairdo) on “Cheers.”

The federal government upholds the firing of the head of the Phoenix VA, not because of the wait times scandal that erupted there, but because she accepted gifts from a consultant that included a family trip to Disneyland and Beyonce concert tickets.

‘Tis the season for intolerant lunatics: American Airlines removes a disruptive La Guardia passenger who was loudly berating the flight attendants and crew who had wished him “Merry Christmas.” The man, who wouldn’t calm down, said nobody should ever say Merry Christmas because not everyone celebrates it. His fellow passengers cheered when he was escorted off the plane.
 
image

UPMC’s Magee –Women’s Hospital (PA) gives keepsake Christmas stockings and caps knitted by volunteers to the parents of newborns who are in the hospital over the holiday.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

 

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
December 27, 2014 News 11 Comments

News 12/24/14

December 23, 2014 News 4 Comments

Top News

image

Healthcare workforce services vendor AMN Healthcare acquires Avantas, saying its clients need staffing forecasting analytics.


Reader Comments

image

From Sonoran Dog: “Re: Maricopa Integrated Health System. Veiled rumors from administration suggest it will have to shut down in July 2015 due to lack of funds after receiving a large bond in the November elections. Any truth to the rumors? A lot of us medical personnel are working hard to comply with every cost-cutting feature we can come up with to help.” Voters overwhelmingly approved a $935 million bond to upgrade the facilities of the 515-bed public health system that includes Maricopa Medical Center, the Arizona Burn Center, and the Level One trauma center. The CEOs of the four largest private hospitals in Phoenix (Abrazo, Banner, Dignity, and Scottsdale Lincoln) say the huge construction expense is unnecessary given the sufficient bed capacity already in place (theirs, of course.) Readers comments are welcome. Surely there’s little chance of MIHS shutting down given public support, but some sort of public-private partnership with the those other Phoenix systems would make sense.

From Czarina: “Re: vendor-provider contact. What do HIStalk readers suggest for giving vendor employees exposure to the clinical workflow and technical challenges that providers face? We want every one of our people to get out in the field, but just taking a hospital tour doesn’t seem to have much value. We’re considering encouraging volunteering, attending a local or national conference, or taking a clinician to lunch.” I should note that this isn’t a huge company, so their employees won’t overwhelm the local health systems. Ideas? I’ll be honest that in my health system IT experience, I wouldn’t see the benefit to my department in having vendor people underfoot so they could learn on my dime, so I would be somewhat resistant to committing. I like the idea of setting up a volunteer program specific to the IT department if the hospital is willing to support it – our desk-bound IT department people learned a lot just going out with the field services techs or sitting with the help desk people.

image

From HITPro: “Re: cyberdefense training system. Can’t mimic real-world health system security because it is virtually non-existent.” CyberCity, created to train federal government employees to defend against cyberattacks, had to artificially boost the security capabilities of its prototype hospital because it otherwise would have been “too trivial to hack.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I’ll probably slack off a bit over the next week by posting less frequently. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Habara Gani (and if you don’t celebrate any of these holidays, those of us who do thank you in advance for respectfully tolerating that fact).


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Provider secure messaging app vendor GroupMD renames itself Flow Health, or at least that’s what I infer from the maddeningly vague company blog post announcing a change without really describing it. I probably shouldn’t be surprised given that Flow Health’s “About Us” page on its we’re-so-hip, scroll-happy website doesn’t list its founders, physical location, or history.


Sales

image

Porter Medical Center (VT) chooses Summit Healthcare’s data exchange platform to meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 Direct messaging requirements.


People

image image

Explorys hires Greg Yarrington (Truven Health Analytics) as VP of operations and Patrick Wells (Deloitte) as VP of solutions.

image

Home medical equipment manufacturer Invacare appoints Cleveland Clinic CIO Martin Harris, MD as interim board chair following the retirement of Mal Mixon. The publicly traded Ohio-based company has 5,200 employees and a market value of $533 million, with Harris holding shares worth $327,000. The company’s share price has dropped 28 percent in the past year.

image

J. Robert Beyster, PhD, founder of SAIC and Leidos, died Monday at 90. He left his job working on nuclear submarines for Westinghouse in 1969 and founded SAIC at age 45.


Announcements and Implementations

The Cal INDEX HIE connects to Blue Shield of California via Orion Health.

image

India’s state of Telangana rolls out the country’s first healthcare app.

Sagacious Consultants announces an Epic report-writing annual subscription that provides a fixed number of hours each month with discounts of up to $50 per hour.


Government and Politics

image

The executive director of the Connecticut Health Policy Project says the now-defunct state HIE oversight organization (Health Information Technology Exchange of Connecticut, or HITE-CT) was shut down “after wasting $4.3 million in federal grants and four years without accomplishing anything.” She references a state auditor’s report that concluded that the organization was slow to react, couldn’t figure out how to fund itself, and failed to renegotiate a bad vendor contract it had signed with Axway and GE Healthcare. At its peak expense year of 2013, the organization paid $343,000 in salaries. Auditors also noted that some of the 20 members of its board often missed meetings, vacant board positions weren’t filled, and with zero revenue the organization couldn’t pay the paltry matching funds required by the federal government ($1 for each $10 in federal grant money received). The editorial’s author is correct: the only accomplishment of the group was to squander federal money.

image

Acting HHS Assistant Secretary Karen DeSalvo, MD writes a Huffington Post blog post welcoming home the US Public Health Service officers who returned from fighting Ebola in Liberia this past Saturday.

The FDA issues a proposed rule that would require drug manufacturers to provide prescribing information for professionals in electronic form, which would then be posted on an FDA reference site. Paper versions would no longer be allowed since they can’t be updated with new information, but manufacturers would be required to staff a telephone service that would send paper copies on request.


Privacy and Security

image

Mercy Medical Center  (CA) announces that a third-party transcription vendor unintentionally opened up its server to the Internet for several weeks, making the physician notes of 620 oncology patients visible in web searches. The hospital has apparently fired the responsible contractor.

image

The Michigan appeals court dismisses a privacy brought by 159 people whose medical records were unintentionally made available online by a contractor for Henry Ford Health System (MI). The three-judge panel ruled that an invasion of privacy claim isn’t valid unless the plaintiff’s actions are intentional.


Other

image

Time magazine profiles Qliance, a Washington-based nationally expanding concierge primary care practice that has lowered its cost to the point that it covers entire businesses (Expedia and Comcast) and even Medicaid groups for a flat monthly per-patient fee based on age. Billionaire investors include Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Michael Dell. I really like this snip:

At the tangled heart of this dysfunction is Medicare, which by its sheer size sets the standards for insurance reimbursements. Specialists dominate the panel that sets its payment rates. Thus the system values surgeries, scans and other procedures more than it values checkups and management of existing conditions. West, a primary-care doc, explains it this way: “If I put in an hour with a patient, I will be reimbursed for one exam–the same payment I would get for seeing that patient for 11 minutes. Meanwhile, an ophthalmologist might perform three cataract surgeries in that same hour, and each surgery might be reimbursed at twice the rate of my exam. So that doctor is making six times as much money.”

And if the eye patient has questions after the surgery about her medicine or her recovery, the specialist’s office is likely to suggest that she consult with her primary caregiver. After all, neither doctor gets reimbursed for answering questions on the phone, so the chore is often traded like a hot potato. “We say primary care is critical to a healthier future,” West says, “but in every way we show value, it is at the lowest level.”

image

Doctors without Borders is using donated advertising on free medical imaging social network Figure 1 (“Instagram for doctors”) to recruit Ebola volunteers. The app automatically detects faces in submitted photos and blocks them for privacy and allows users to manually block other identifying features. Images are also moderated before posting to make sure they have been de-identified. The Toronto-based company has raised $6 million in funding and was founded by (a) a professor and writer with a JD and Columbia MBA; (b) an internist who describes himself as having an “above-average sense of humor and below-average physical fitness”; and (c) an iOS app developer.

A Harvard Business Review article called “The Antidote to Fragmented Health Care” contains as  one of its recommendations universal EHRs. It doesn’t define exactly what that means, but references the VA’s VistA, Kaiser’s HealthConnect, and the OpenNotes initiative. Looking back at all the money (taxpayer and otherwise) spent on EHRs and HIEs, maybe the better and cheaper alternative would have been to buy or create a nationalized EHR. Or, as I proposed years ago, mandate use of a standardize EHR database structure with rule-defined fields and let vendors compete based on the user interfaces and add-on capabilities they sell beyond the basic database-populating parts of the EHR.

Trustees of Regional Medical Center (SC) approve an extra $500,000 to implement Cerner’s document imaging system, with its president explaining that the hospital had underestimated the number of departments that would use the system and the volume of documents to be converted.

image

The annual report of the Pennsylvania eHealth Partnership Authority says its biggest challenge is funding (duh) after its ONC grant ran out earlier this year, when it asked for $1.85 million in state support. Now it wants $4.7 million for the next fiscal year, explaining that it failed to generate the charitable donations it expected, user fees that were supposed to start kicking in earlier in 2014 won’t start until mid-2015, and even then those fees “will not reach levels that contribute significantly to Authority sustainability until most HIOs are onboarded to the P3N in 2016.” Translation: we don’t don’t know how to run a business, every one of our plans and projections were wrong and have been scrapped, and it’s highly doubtful anyone will ever pay us for the services we may eventually offer. Therefore, taxpayers should provide a never-ending flow of money so a poorly conceived, ever-changing, and incompetently executed idea can be pushed onto a market that doesn’t want it.

image

An apparently serious study finds that the 30-day mortality rate of high-risk heart failure and cardiac arrest patients admitted to teaching hospitals is lower when cardiologists leave to attend national conferences. I remember reading years ago that death rates dropped when hospitals were closed due to strikes.


Sponsor Updates

  • Greenway Health releases version 3.1 of PrimeMOBILE.
  • EDCO Health Information Solutions posts two new case studies involving its Solarity medical records scanning and indexing solution.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

 

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
December 23, 2014 News 4 Comments

Monday Morning Update 12/22/14

December 21, 2014 News 7 Comments

Top News

image

HTC Global acquires CareTech Solutions. Both companies are in Troy, MI. I reported on November 24 (tipped off by a reader) that the Federal Trade Commission had approved the acquisition.


Reader Comments

image

From Vermonty: “Re: UVM and patient poaching. The fertility clinic’s staff accessed the EHR looking for candidates to contact and one of those patients complained, triggering an EHR audit that revealed the unauthorized access. Lucky for UVM it was fewer than 500 patients. UVM has filed complaints with the state and the medical society and is suing the practice. This will get ugly.” Unverified.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: health clinic of the future. Forbes had an interesting article about data inhaling, where patients and everyone in the health treatment process work from the same platform. The key element of the concept is everyone has ownership of the same data.” I didn’t get anything from it other than some very brief and generic pie in the sky thoughts, but to each his own.


Anonymous Reader Report: Being a Patient in my Own Hospital System

My husband has a tendency  for vertigo. We called 911 for a severe episode and he was taken to the ED at 10 p.m. They said the CT scan showed a brain anomaly (which our PCP later said was normal) and sent us to Hospital B at 4 a.m.  We ended up in the stroke unit, which we found out only because of the sign on the door – nobody told us. The neurologist said he was OK and discharged him. Radiology showed up at noon to do a test that we hadn’t been told about.

I started getting anxious at 4 p.m. and asked to see the hospitalist, but was told she was too busy. I paged the nurse supervisor and she could get no action either. At 9 p.m. I asked to speak to another nurse supervisor and again was told that the hospitalists was too busy. I gave up at 10 p.m and went home since my husband was feeling OK.

The next morning he was served a breakfast of straight sugar and carbs as a non-insulin dependent diabetic. Not surprisingly, his blood sugar showed a little high and they gave him insulin, which we objected to. At 9 a.m. the neurologist poked his head in wondering why we were still there after 24 hours of no contact with a physician. I again called the nurse supervisor, who finally did get the hospitalist to say he could go home.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

image

Two-thirds of poll respondents say ONC should focus on interoperability, with less than 4 percent excited at the prospect of an ONC-run health IT safety center. New poll to your right or here: as 2014 draws to a close, are you personally happier now than a year ago?

image

Hot coffee was the easy winner in my poll asking which beverage readers most preferred to drink at work, racking up 56 percent of the vote. It was followed by water (16 percent) and hot tea (14 percent). The least-favorite drink from my list was non-diet soda, with only 2 percent of respondents favoring it.

Reluctant Epic User provided his own suggestion for those whose employer doesn’t provide free java: “Use only fresh, unground medium roast beans, get an AeroPress, a grinder, and a tea kettle. Leave the milk in the cows and the sweeteners at the chemical plant.” The $25 Aeropress coffee and espresso maker has 3,300 Amazon reviews and a rating of 4.5 stars, which sounds great other than it’s a bit of a pain compared to turning on the coffee maker, it makes only  four cups (which is probably really two of the size I like) per pressing, and you would have to keep the extra amount warm yourself.


Here’s the video from Ed Marx’s book launch last week for “Extraordinary Tales from a Rather Ordinary Guy.”


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • An Advisory Board analyst’s review of Eligible Hospital attestation numbers for Meaningful Use Stage 2 finds that 66 percent that are eligible to attest have already done so, projecting that 95 percent will have achieved MU Stage 2 by the time information from the last quarter of 2014 is available.
  • Consumer Watchdog urges Californians to opt out of the state’s HIE because the group hasn’t explained its privacy policy clearly.
  • Sony Pictures warns that HIPAA-protected information from its health plan was stolen by the hackers responsible for its huge data breach.
  • Karen DeSalvo gets a new employee as Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA is confirmed as surgeon general by the Senate.
  • The FY15 Omnibus bill includes $32 billion for DoD health programs (including its EHR project) and $344 million for the VA to modernize Vista, but keeps ONC’s budget flat at $60 million instead of the $75 million it requested.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


image

Healthcare technology services investor Carrick Capital Partners names retired Senator William H. Frist, MD as a special advisor.

image

Merge Healthcare shares hit a 52-week high Friday, closing at $3.59 and valuing the company at $344 million. Above is the one-year MRGE share price (blue, up 56 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 16 percent.)


Sales

MultiCare Health System (WA) joins Premier.


People

image image

Huntzinger Management Group promotes Nancy Ripari and William C. Reed to partner.

image

CompuGroup Medical US promotes Chris Lohl to VP of R&D, ambulatory information systems.

Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital (NH) hires Kristen Kneisel (Cornerstone Advisors) as AVP of information services.

Anthelio names co-founder Chick Young to its board.


Announcements and Implementations

Blood glucose tracking capabilities will return to the iPhone and iPad with the release of iOS 8.2, in which an Apple Health patch was added to support a measurement unit common in Europe (mmol/L) in addition to the US standard unit of mg/dL.

CIO Review names CitiusTech as one of “50 Most Promising IT Services Companies.”


Government and Politics

image

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and 29 of her House colleagues urge HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell to reduce the 2015 Meaningful Use Stage 2 reporting period from 365 days to 90.


Privacy and Security

image

Boston Children’s Hospital (MA) will pay $40,000 to settle charges brought by the state’s attorney general following the theft of an unencrypted, PHI-containing hospital laptop from a physician presenting at a conference in Argentina. The physician mistakenly thought he had erased the information of more than 2,000 patients and failed to follow BCH’s encryption policy.

image

Northwestern Memorial Healthcare Group (IL) notifies almost 3,000 people that their medical information was contained on an unencrypted laptop that was stolen from an employee’s car in October.


Other

An editorial in London’s The Guardian says that the Epic-related problems at Addenbrooke Hospital are “the latest installment in a long-running saga in which British public institutions display their inability to introduce complex IT systems without causing chaos and distress.”It adds that Epic’s user interface has progressed from “abysmal and dysfunctional” to “merely ugly” but at least it works. Update: a reader pointed out that the user interface comments were directed at the physician practice system, not Epic, thus the timeframe referenced in years vs. Epic’s October go-live. The article combined both the Epic issues and other healthcare software in general. 

image

I mentioned last time that I tried First Opinion, which offers free texting to physicians, and listed the pluses and minuses. Here’s an addendum: Dr. Kia did indeed text me back from India the next day to see how I was doing and we had a nice chat. I was impressed even though I don’t entirely see the point since non-US doctors can’t diagnose or prescribe.

Patient advocate and The Walking Gallery founder Regina Holliday is trying to raise $75,000 to create the Walking Gallery Center for Art and Healing in Grantsville, MD. Donate $10,000 and she’ll deliver a keynote address and workshop at your meeting.

A Black Book survey of small-hospital CFOs finds that revenue cycle system upgrades have been deferred in favor of ICD-10 and Meaningful Use projects. Two-thirds of small hospitals that said in 2012 that they would replace their RCM system still haven’t done so.

image

Nurses, doctors, and pharmacists (in that order) are named as the most honest and ethical professions (and this the most trusted) in a Gallup poll. At the bottom of the list are care salespeople and members of Congress.

A study finds that less than half of the recommendations of TV huckster-doctor Dr. Oz are supported by medical evidence, while 39 percent of his recommendations were not backed by evidence and 15 percent were contradicted by it. The authors conclude that TV doctors rarely address their own conflicts of interest.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

 

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
December 21, 2014 News 7 Comments

Founding Sponsors


 

Subscribe to Updates

   

Search


Loading

Tweets

Report News and Rumors

No title

Anonymous online form
E-mail
Rumor line: 801.HIT.NEWS

Archives

Sponsor Quick Links

7ads6x98y

Platinum Sponsors


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold Sponsors


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow

Reader Comments

  • Another Dave: Listicle: An enumeration of sensitive items to be treated with care...
  • EngagedPatient: Tim, Love the idea for the scholarships. It occurs to me that you don't want industry shills wandering the halls. I wou...
  • geekrph: "It’s also bittersweet to watch systems be torn out when you’ve spent the better part of your professional career bu...
  • Digital Diva: Just A CEO: You might want to think about Dr. Travis, who has written regularly for HIStalk Connect, as a speaker for yo...
  • Patti Rosquist MD: Thank you for your candid honesty....

Text Ads