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News 3/3/17

March 2, 2017 News 3 Comments

Top News

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McKesson and Change Healthcare Holdings (the former Emdeon) complete the creation of the new health IT company Change Healthcare, which combines CHC’s software and analytics business with most of McKesson Technology Solutions.

McKesson will own 70 percent of the 15,000-employee Change Healthcare.

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The company’s leadership team is listed above.


Reader Comments

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From Alhambra: “Re: EClinicalWorks. The only tool available for EP MU attestation is the MAQ dashboard, which contains a disclaimer that all users must accept when they first log in. ONC is aware and investigating since a certified EHR must be able to accurately produce the required attestation reports.” Unverified as to the ONC part, but above are the screen shots provided. I’m not sure requiring acknowledgement of a standard lawyer-verbose warranty either absolves responsibility to ONC or suggests a lack of capability, so I suppose the issue is who is liable if an incorrect attestation is filed because of flawed data and whether the disclaimer is binding either way.

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From Studiously Stoic: “Re: Becker’s Healthcare ‘150 Great Places to Work.’ We won and would like it mentioned.” I should stop being surprised when an organization that wins an award fails to note the worthlessness of their “win.” Becker’s employed no reasonable methodology to come with its click-baiting list – it accepts nominations, but then just lets its “editorial team” (mostly of them recent liberal arts graduates) make up the 150 winners based on unstated criteria that doesn’t seem to involve any research beyond Googling. It’s not like they actually surveyed employees or anything. This is not newsworthy.

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From Banacek: “Re: ECG Management Consultants. Apparently cleaning house after last year’s acquisition of Kurt Salmon, with over 30 people being terminated. Senior partners are being targeted.” The company provided this response: “ECG recently completed a three-year strategic plan and organizational restructuring. This resulted in some departures and reassignments, primarily for our administrative function, but included a few consulting staff members as well. Overall departures have been minimal (fewer than five consultants from January 1 through February), and we have continued to make strategic hires – for example, in our revenue cycle and academic practices. Our business is strong and we anticipate continuing to grow in 2017.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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We provided a greenhouse and gardening kits for Mrs. M’s class of severally mentally and physically disabled students in Ohio. The students are actively participating and will present their work to their families in May and can then take the seedlings home to transplant them into their own gardens.

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I’m annoyed at companies whose marketing people declare that their unchanged software has suddenly transformed into “artificial intelligence” just because it sounds cooler. AI is defined as a device that perceives and reacts to its environment in mimicking human reasoning in performing a complex, nuanced task such as solving a problem and then learning from the process to get smarter. Today’s version of AI is primitive, incapable of doing even a fraction of the intellectual processing of a not-very-bright human even when limited to a super-specialized task in a closed context. I suspect that most AI systems have a “man behind the curtain” who carefully programs the system to appear smart when it’s really not, hoping to find a profitable problem to solve without anyone digging too deeply into the methods involved. 

This week on HIStalk Practice: The Vancouver Clinic adds ActX genomic decision support. Drchrono opens its second office. CMS begins $100 million spend on helping small practices make the QPP switch. Jacksonville Children’s & Multispecialty Clinic selects PatientPay billing. The CMS Innovation Center looks for input on new pediatric care delivery models. Austin Regional Clinic adds Wolters Kluwer clinical guidelines to its Epic EHR. Coordinated care tech startup CrossTx raises $735k. Culbert Healthcare Solutions Executive Consultant Randall Shulkin shares value-based reimbursement success factors for medical groups.


Webinars

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

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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AnalyticsMD changes its name to Qventus.

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Consumer medication reminder free app vendor Medisafe, which apparently makes money by charging drug companies to nudge their patients into profitably taking all their ordered doses, raises $14.5 million. 

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An employee overtime lawsuit that was filed against Cerner by delivery consultants and system analysts is certified as class action. The lawyer who represents current or former Cerner employees in several related lawsuits says that Cerner’s job titles make it sound as though learning consultants and delivery consultants are highly skilled positions, but claims that in reality, “these are folks that are entry level, straight out of college, with no real minimal requirements other than a college degree and a willingness to relocate to Kansas City.”

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Tech-powered insurer Oscar, which offers exchange medical insurance policies in four states, loses $200 million in 2016. The company hopes to survive by raising prices, narrowing networks, and selling small business insurance plans to reduce its reliance on the volatile individual market.


Sales

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The DoD chooses BD’s Pyxis ES automated dispensing cabinet for its 115 inpatient facilities and pharmacies in a $100 million contract award.  BD acquired the former Carefusion – which offered Pyxis dispensing technology, Alaris smart IV pumps, MedMined surveillance software, and medical supplies — for $12.2 billion in 2014. 

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CVS Health will extend its use of Epic to its specialty pharmacy, which will join CVS’s MinuteClinic as an Epic user.

In England, three Liverpool trusts choose InterSystems TrackCare in a deal worth up to  $86 million.


People

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Signet Accel names co-founder Peter Embi, MD, MS as chief medical officer. He remains president and CEO of the Regenstrief Institute.


Government and Politics

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A federal grand jury in Texas indicts 16 people for fraudulently billing Medicare $60 million for hospice care. In addition to paying kickbacks disguised as medical director salaries and submitting false claims, the company’s CPA owner and nurses made medical decisions based on what paid the most, including placing patients on high-dose narcotics regardless of their need. The medical directors also gave their EHR log-in credentials to others to create and sign orders for services that were billed but not performed.

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CDC publishes the 500 Cities Project, which allows visually comparing and downloading the prevalence of 27 chronic health condition measures between cities and down to the census tract level in a chosen city.


Other

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Facebook is testing algorithms that can identify users who are having potentially suicidal thoughts, after which a company team will rapidly review the user’s posts and comments from friends and then send a message offering resources. Facebook is trying to balance its response to such incidents against the privacy issues that would arise if it automatically notified family, friends, or mental health groups without the user’s permission. It already allows users to manually flag suicidal posts, functionality that has now been added to Facebook Live streaming video. Facebook says it was working on the tools before a series of events in which people live streamed their suicides on Facebook Live, often with the encouragement of other Facebook users.

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Amazon Web Services explains its four-hour East Coast outage on Tuesday: a script being run by a technician to take down a few problematic servers contained a typo that instead took a bunch of servers offline, including the one that indexes all locations for running database commands. AWS says it has updated the script tool to disallow taking servers offline if any subsystem will fall below its minimum capacity. It will also speed up an existing project to improve recovery time of the indexing subsystem.

NHS auditors find a hospital’s foreign doctor with poor English proficiency looking up medical terms on Google. The hospital says the doctor no longer works there and it will now require language checks.

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A study finds that 80 percent of patient advocacy groups accept money from drug and medical device companies that sell products to people with the conditions they support, raising the question of whether the donations influence the frequent silence of those groups about drug prices. Some groups receive more than half of their funds from industry, while 40 percent of them have industry executives as board members. Even the umbrella group for patient advocacy groups took in 62 percent of its $3.5 million budget from industry. The groups claim such donations don’t affect their decisions, but the authors recommend that they be required to provide full disclosure.

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A study confirms what we all suspect and fear – people are indeed peeing in public swimming pools and hot tubs, with an analysis of artificial sweetener content in two pools suggesting they contain from 8 to 20 gallons of urine. Hot tubs had much higher urine levels. Movie gags to the contrary, no blue dye exists to call out the pee-pertrators.


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicity launches Community Interchange, which creates a single, de-duplicated, and normalized CCD for hospitals.
  • CommonWell TV interviews LifeImage CTO Janak Joshi.
  • Children’s Mercy Kansas City (KS) goes live on GetWellNetwork.
  • MedData will exhibit at HFMA Utah’s Spring Alliance Meeting March 8-10 in St. George.
  • National Decision Support Company will integrate its CareSelect decision support system with McKesson and Meditech. The company also announces that its client base has increased to 250 provider systems and 2,000 facilities in all 50 states. 
  • NVoq will exhibit at the CHA Rural Health and Hospitals Conference March 8-10 in Denver.
  • Recondo Technology releases a revenue cycle API for prior authorization, eligibility, medical necessity, and pre-service patient collection and related RCM processes.
  • NTT Data and Oracle expand their existing relationship, adding cloud capabilities to Oracle’s Healthcare Foundation analytics platform.
  • Netsmart extends its behavioral population health solutions to post-acute providers.
  • Orion Health begins migration of its Amadeus precision medicine platform to Amazon Web Services.
  • CloudWave chooses Commvault to power its backup-as-a-service healthcare offering.
  • Definitive Healthcare launches a professional services team to help customers use its healthcare data to understand the market and executive plans.
  • Obix Perinatal Data System will exhibit at the March of Dimes Perinatal Nursing Conference March 6-7 in Lombard, IL.
  • Medicomp Systems announces Quippe Clinical Lens, a web-based, problem-oriented clinician view of relevant clinical information from EHRs and HIEs.
  • Experian Health will exhibit at the FL AAHAM meeting March 8-10 in Palm Coast, FL.
  • Uniphy Health releases UH4, an enterprise collaboration platform that supports patient-centric communications and provides real-time patient data at the point of care.
  • Kyruus integrates ProviderMatch with Salesforce Health CLoud.
  • PatientKeeper previews its new e-book, “Healthcare IT 2017-2022: First Comes Change, Then Comes Value.”
  • PokitDok joins the AWS Marketplace, becoming an APN advanced technology partner.
  • QuadraMed will exhibit at the ANA Annual Conference March 8-9 in Tampa, FL.
  • Imprivata integrates its PatientSecure positive patient ID solution with registration kiosks from CTS, Vecna, and PatientWorks.
  • The SSI Group will exhibit at the HFMA Region 5 Dixie Institute March 9 in Savannah, GA.
  • The Surescripts National Record Locator Service is live at 14 health systems nationwide.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
Get HIStalk updates. Send news or rumors.
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Morning Headlines 3/2/17

March 1, 2017 News No Comments

Trump CMS Pick Gets Second Vote After Tie at Senate Committee

The Senate Finance Committee vote on Seema Verma’s nomination to lead CMS resulted in a 9 to 9 tie Wednesday, requiring a second vote, which will be held Thursday.

Grail Closes Over $900 Million Initial Investment in Series B Financing to Develop Blood Tests to Detect Cancer Early

Life sciences start up Grail raises an unprecedented $900 million Series B funding round to fund the development of an early detection cancer screening blood test.

Trump chooses Pence ally to lead Medicaid

President Trump nominates Brian Neale, ‎executive director at the United States Congress Joint Economic Committee and former health care policy director for Vice President Mike Pence, as the director for Medicaid.

Losses Mount for Obamacare Startup Oscar as Repeal Looms

Health insurances startup Oscar Health, which hoped to profit in the ACA’s individual marketplaces, reports 2016 losses topping $200 million.

Lorre’s HIMSS17 Summary 3/2/17

March 1, 2017 News 1 Comment

During the months leading up to HIMSS, I feel like a CPA anticipating April 15. It is a huge push to get an unbelievable amount of work done in not nearly enough time. After all, I’m the one and only HIStalk team member other than the folks whose time is fully committed to writing what you read every day.

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As in previous years, I enlisted the help of a couple of my family members to help me get things to the convention center and distribute the HIStalk sponsor signs. Our booth is small and there is little to it, so it takes about 15 minutes to set up.

It usually takes a couple of hours to deliver all of the sponsor signs since we do it before the exhibit hall setup is complete. It’s hard to find the booths with just their numbers because of irregular aisles. This year, we waited until the opening day when all of the booth signs and numbers were up. We got it done in record time.

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Midway through HIMSS16 a year ago, I went to my first booth selection appointment. With the help of someone there, I chose our booth location purely because it was at the top of an escalator and not in the back of the exhibit hall near the loading docks or restrooms like we usually get for our tiny 10×10 space. On Sunday afternoon when I arrived to set the booth up, our booth was the first thing I saw.

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Even that first look at our pretty decent-looking spot could not prepare me for the opening of the doors to attendees at 10:00 Monday morning. People were lined up as far back as I could see. The location of the booth made up for all of the prior years combined. Our booth was busy from the time the exhibit hall opened until it closed each day.

Here are the Top 10 comments and questions I heard at the booth:

  1. I love HIStalk, I read it every day.
  2. Please tell Mr. H not to ever stop writing HIStalk.
  3. I am new to healthcare IT and I read HIStalk because it makes me look smart. (I heard this a lot)
  4. HIStalk is required reading where I work.
  5. Does that really look like Mr. H? (asked while pointing at our cardboard standee of the smokin’ doc).
  6. Do you know who Mr. H is?
  7. Why are so many people visiting your booth? What do you guys do?
  8. Would it be OK to take a selfie with Mr. H? (our cardboard standee)
  9. Do you have any extra tickets to HIStalkapalooza?
  10. I heard a rumor that this was the last year for HIStalkapalooza. Please tell me it isn’t so!

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I am always excited to meet the guests who spend time in our booth. This year I had a chance to talk with Nancy Ham, named as one of the most powerful women in health IT. She spoke about the importance of mentoring young women in the workforce. Keep an eye out for an upcoming HIStalk-sponsored webinar where she will cover a similar topic.

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It was interesting to talk with Dr. Regina Benjamin, the 18th Surgeon General of the United States. She was at HIMSS with accessURhealth to emphasize the need for tools and resources to positively impact the identification, treatment, and awareness of mental and behavioral health.

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I packed up and left the booth early on Monday so I could be a the House of Blues by 4:30 to walk through the logistics of HIStalkapalooza. It was like HIMSS all over again – we were two hours from opening the door to the attendees and there was so much left to be done. None of the sponsor banners were hung and the step-and-repeat red carpet backdrop I had bought online for $250 was delivered to my feet in two big boxes. I showed the people who would hang the banners where they should go.

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I know Mr. H mentioned this, but you had to be there to appreciate the ingenuity and determination Jenny and Val from Optimum Healthcare IT demonstrated. I asked the House of Blues if they could provide someone to help us assemble the frame that holds the step-and-repeat. After spending about 30 minutes on it, one of their production crew told me we were probably missing a part and it couldn’t be put together, leaving us without a backdrop and Mr. H with a wasted investment. I sighed with frustration and went on to the next urgent matter. When I returned, Jenny and Val were sitting on the red carpet with the pieces of the frame spread out, trying to figure out how to assemble it. A few minutes later, they had it standing, albeit a little bit propped up.

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There were a lot of challenges with the House of Blues this year, but as always, someone trying to do a good job provided a highlight. I ordered a toast for a group of people and the bartender said a manager would need to approve. She arrived after 15 minutes and said they aren’t allowed to provide shots at events like ours. After the manager was out of earshot, the bartender decided that as long as he placed an ice cube in each glass, it’s not technically a shot. The tradition was upheld.

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The result was the now-famous Longo Lemonade toast.

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This is Jean, a HIMSS shuttle bus driver who also provided amazing service. I had waited 30 minutes for the shuttle to stop near where I was staying and it finally arrived just as it started to rain. As the last passenger stepped off of the bus and I took the first step to enter, Jean received a call from his dispatcher telling him to return to the garage empty since the shuttle schedule was changing from every 15 minutes to every 30 minutes. After a bit of coercion, Jean agreed to take our group of passengers to the convention center before returning to the garage as instructed. I got there on time and still dry.

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We gave out our usual HIMSS survival kits, thanks to Arcadia Healthcare Solutions. Meditech gave us a supply of “Mobile Pockets” and cool green pens to give away. I managed to grab a pocket for the back of my cell phone cover, but the pens were gone before I got one.

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I don’t see a lot of cool things at our booth because most companies are demonstrating in their own booths. The one exception was Blausen. It is like a collaboration of WebMD and Pixar, They claim it is the world’s largest library of medical and scientific illustrations and 3D animations, but that was an understatement. Each one has a short video that describes the condition, symptoms, and treatment clearly with visuals that are hard to stop watching.

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The team from Spok stopped by for a picture and I admired their company-branded shoes. The Spok logo was subtle and the color matched the logo on their shirts perfectly.

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HIMSS17 was manageable for me because of the help I received from Brianne, shown here backstage at the House of Blues with some of the Party on the Moon dancers. She spent the weeks leading up to HIMSS making sure all of the HIStalkapalooza invitations were sent and all of the (never-ending) changes were kept straight. She answered questions from sponsors and kept them on track. During HIMSS, she spent time in the booth and gave people information. She spent almost all of her time at HIStalkapalooza at the door enforcing the rules for admission. Thank you, Brianne.

My favorite part of HIMSS every year is connecting with the readers and sponsors. I interact with people on the phone and through email all year, so it is really a treat to meet people I have only spoken to and get a hug from those I have known for years.

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I thought HIStalkapalooza was fantastic again this year. Thanks to the many sponsors that made it possible.

Despite the fact that Mr. H swore he wouldn’t do it again because of the work involved and the financial risk he takes in hoping he can cover the cost with sponsorships, I am already hearing him softening up a  bit. My plan is to find sponsors willing to sign up early to avoid our last-minute panic and reduce his risk. It makes sense to limit the number of sponsors to those who can commit early and thus make it extra special for them. Stay tuned!

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Contact Lorre.

News 3/1/17

February 28, 2017 News No Comments

Top News

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


Reader Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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

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

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

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

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

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


Webinars

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

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


Sales

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


People

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

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


Announcements and Implementations

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

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


Government and Politics

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

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

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

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

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


Privacy and Security

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

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


Other

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sponsor Updates

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

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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Monday Morning Update 2/27/17

February 25, 2017 News 6 Comments

Top News

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

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

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


Reader Comments

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

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

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


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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

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

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

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

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

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


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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


Decisions

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

People

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


Announcements and Implementations

CMS adds Audacious Inquiry to its SPARC contract.


Other

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

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

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

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

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


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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Jenn’s HIMSS Report – Wednesday

February 24, 2017 News 2 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conduent Health’s booth was booming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Jayne’s HIMSS Report – Wednesday

February 23, 2017 News 1 Comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From HIMSS 2/22/17

February 22, 2017 News 7 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Random booth observations:

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

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

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

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

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

Jenn’s HIMSS Report – Tuesday

February 22, 2017 News 2 Comments

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

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

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

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

Nuggets of wisdom included:

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

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

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

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

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

Dimensional Insight had a nice set up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s hoping tomorrow’s a little warmer …

Dr. Jayne’s HIMSS Report – Tuesday

February 22, 2017 News No Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bottomline Technologies had their sponsor sign on display.

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

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

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

From HIMSS 2/21/17

February 21, 2017 News 12 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This is a smart giveaway from PerfectServe.

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

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

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

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

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

Random booth observations:

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

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Vince Ciotti chose an interesting HIMSS badge.

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

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

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


HIStalkapalooza

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

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

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

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

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

These photos just started arriving from our photographer:

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

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

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

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

Dr. Jayne’s HIMSS Report – Monday

February 21, 2017 News No Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jenn’s HIMSS Report – Monday

February 21, 2017 News 1 Comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then it was on to …

HIStalkapalooza

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

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

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

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

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

More to come tomorrow.

From HIMSS 2/20/17

February 20, 2017 News 6 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CMS had a big booth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SPH Analytics hires Amy Amick (nThrive) as CEO.

Jenn’s HIMSS Report – Sunday

February 20, 2017 News No Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Jayne’s HIMSS Report – Sunday

February 19, 2017 News No Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From HIMSS 2/19/17

February 19, 2017 News 7 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Reader Comments

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