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Monday Morning Update 3/7/16

March 6, 2016 News 10 Comments

Top News

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The VA is reassessing whether VistA has a long-term place as its EHR and has halted some of its VistA modernization steps following a business case analysis ordered by new VA leadership. The VA says it requested $40 million less in 2017 VistA modernization money because it will focus instead on making its existing systems interoperable.

According to Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology LaVerne Council (photo above), “We want to take a step back and look at what we really need an EHR and a healthcare system to do. There are multiple needs that are different than in 2014 around the area of women’s health, the Internet of Things, and how we manage private sector care.”

House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY) wasn’t happy with the VA’s testimony to the committee, saying, “We’ve been at this for 10 years and we’ve given you billions of dollars. I’m hearing muckety-muck here. I don’t know what you’re saying. Apparently, you’ve not made your mind up yet about whether you’re going to replace VistA with something off the shelf. Is that right or wrong? Yes or no?”

Council replied that the VA hasn’t decided yet, blaming her VA predecessors for not developing a sound plan but extolling the virtues of the VA-DoD Joint Legacy Viewer. She joined the VA in July 2015 after retiring as corporate VP/CIO of Johnson & Johnson.

Council also says that a visual overlay to the VA’s 30-year-old patient scheduling system may eliminate the need for its planned $690 million replacement depending on how the VA-wide rollout in April is received.


Reader Comments

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From Vegas Blues: “Re: healthy health conventions. Is it a foregone conclusion that we can’t eat healthy at a Las Vegas conference venue?” Plenty of sugary snacks, fatty sandwiches, and coffee were available, but I didn’t see much fruit or unprocessed food. It’s a fine line between providing what attendees want vs. what’s good for them, however. The H in HIMSS stands for healthcare, not health. It’s like McDonald’s, which offers a lot of healthy food that nobody orders, earning it scorn for the choices its customers make.

From Jardin: “Re: delegating computer tasks to non-physicians. The Senate unanimously passed this because, according to the committee chair, ‘hospitals and providers dread EHRs’ and “MD documentation is burdensome.’ After a year-long review that included HIMSS and physician lobbyists, Congress proposes a solution that adds costs, introduces errors, and eliminates many EHR benefits. After spending billions on health IT, we’re regressing back to the e-secretary model, pushing the burdens of the same EHRs to scribes or RNs. Nurses continue to be invisible in the law. Why isn’t there an industry outcry to actually fix the problem instead of just passing it off?”

From Flaming Introvert: “Re: HIMSS conclusions. As a near-entry level vendor employee, this is my second HIMSS and I’m not sure if I love it or hate it. It’s upbeat and our customers provided positive feedback about our changes and their needs. It’s refreshing to connect with patient advocates, even if most conversations end with the defeatist consensus of, ‘It really sucks, but what can we do about it?” Low point was getting to HIStalkapalooza too late for the shoe judging – I don’t normally parade around in six-inch heels without potential ROI. Maybe that same sentiment applies to HIMSS overall – it continues to yield enough return to induce me to participate, but I’m always glad to get home.”

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From Bonus Room: “Re: iTriage. Just laid off 33 employees and CTO Patrick Leonard is leaving.” Unverified. I haven’t seen any official announcements from the medical question and doctor finding app vendor that’s owned by Aetna. However, the report came from a non-anonymous iTriage employee.

From Love American Style: “Re: Epic’s 2015 release. I’m a project director for an Epic customer. We are still in the testing phases and the severity and number of patches at this point in the release cycle has been unprecedented. Patient safety problems, patches that break workflows, performance problems all abound. Things I would have expected Epic in prior years to have nipped in the bud long before now.” Unverified.

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From Delled: “Re: Michael Dell at HIMSS. He’s my hero, but I was stuck in the overflow room for his keynote. The moderator was so bad that people left in droves like the session was over. At one point Dell had to remind the moderator that he was supposed to ask a specific question. Finally I worked my way to the front against the crowd streaming for the exits, and at the end when he was leaving the stage, I asked to shake his hand (photo attached). He ignored me.” Michael Dell would have been an awful choice to keynote even if he wasn’t trying to sell out Dell’s pitiful healthcare offerings so he can finance his $67 billion passion for computer storage in acquiring EMC. EMC owns VMware, which has watched its shares drop 40 percent and has laid off 800 people since Dell came sniffing. Other than funding Dell Medical School, his healthcare accomplishments are zero or less, hoping desperately to sell Perot Systems for the same price he paid in 2009, backpedaling on the the idea that the future is in services rather than hardware.

Here’s my formula for becoming a highly-paid, well-received HIMSS keynote speaker, not inspired by Michael Dell since I didn’t attend any HIMSS keynotes:

  1. Be famous for any reason. Healthcare relevance is unnecessary and even detrimental – the goal is to raise the spirits of attendees by making them think they are as cool, rich, good-looking, or smart as the celebrity podium-gripper.
  2. Negotiate a speaking fee of several hundred thousand dollars, making sure to insert contractual clauses requiring approval of the introduction and the freedom to sell whatever product or service the speaker offers on the side.
  3. Arrange travel to minimize the time hanging out with the insufferably fawning organization people who hired you and who therefore think they’re entitled to face time or the privilege of escorting you through the exhibit hall that makes you glaze over.
  4. Announce to the worshipful masses how utterly delighted you are to be in their midst, carefully omitting the fact that you could have attended any time you wanted in previous years if your delight didn’t carry a price tag.
  5. Begrudgingly allow a high-ranking executive of the group running the conference to (a) hug you before or after your speech; (b) ask carefully scripted softball questions after the stage is reset into a fireside chat type configuration; and (c) annoy the audience by prattling on instead of letting you talk as you’re being paid to do. At least moderator verbosity prevents audience members from asking their own pointed questions that might result in an unfortunate, life-ruining off-the-cuff answer. After the friendly chat, allow the executive to magnanimously present your foundation with a big check above and beyond your personal speaking fee.
  6. Have your hired copywriter modify the harmless, standard speech you’ve given dozens of times to conventions ranging from car dealers too the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America, penciling in four seemingly insightful anecdotes as provided by the people writing the check that are sure to make the audience feel that you understand them even though you have no idea what they actually do. You don’t  have to review the scripted comments in advance – they will be right there in front of you on the Teleprompter per your contractual requirement.
  7. Include a handful of humorous, self-deprecating, name-dropping insider anecdotes to allow geeky non-profit IT people to live your celebrity life vicariously and to brag afterward that they briefly shared your aura.
  8. Be vaguely motivating in a boilerplate-type way that won’t require actually thinking up something new, extolling the generic virtues of teamwork, leadership, doing what you love, and being true to oneself.
  9. Close with over-the-top accolades that defer glorification to whatever the audience members do for a living, telling them that they are the real heroes even though (a) they’re paying to see you and not vice versa, and (b) you just made more money in 60 minutes than they make in a year.
  10. Go straight offstage to a limo with the engine running to minimize unpaid downtime before the next cookie-cutter speaking gig.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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A little more than half of poll respondents doubt that Athenahealth and eClinicalWorks will become major inpatient systems vendors. Skeptical says that if eCW’s entry into inpatient is like its interoperability solutions, “we should expect major-league hype and minor-league results.” Vote Early and Often says eCW employees stuffed the ballot box and the company can’t service enterprise customers that expect project discipline and management maturity. Frank Poggio says it’s too late – the market has been sewn up by Cerner and Epic with Meditech, the only small-hospital vendor, losing ground. It’s All Good says there’s a long history of companies aspiring to be what they aren’t (Allscripts) and that eCW should stick to ambulatory.

New poll to your right or here: HIMSS attendees, will the hard-dollar benefit of your attendance cover your employer’s cost to send you within one year? Click the Comments link after voting to explain.

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Here’s an extra, reader-requested poll for HIMSS15 exhibitors: in the year that has elapsed since, did you make a sale that you wouldn’t have made had you not exhibited?

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Ms. Livingston says her New Mexico elementary school students “have the idea that they don’t deserve what the schools that have more money enjoy having” and therefore are having great fun with math story books we provided in funding her DonorsChoose grant request.

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Also checking in was Mrs. Jochum from Nebraska, who sent photos of her students using the Osmo learning systems we provided.


Webinars

March 16 (Wednesday) noon ET. “Looking at the Big Picture for Strategic Communications at Children’s Hospital Colorado.” Sponsored by Spok. Presenters: Andrew Blackmon, CTO, Children’s Hospital Colorado; Hemant Goel, president, Spok. Children’s Hospital Colorado enhanced its care delivery by moving patient requests, critical code communications, on-call scheduling, and secure texting to a single mobile device platform. The hospital’s CTO will describe the results, the lessons learned in creating a big-picture communication strategy that improves workflows, and its plans for the future.

March 22 (Tuesday) 2:00 ET. “Six Communication Best Practices for Reducing Readmissions and Capturing TCM Revenue.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenters: Chuck Hayes, VP of product management, West; Fonda Narke, senior director of healthcare product integration, West Healthcare Practice. Medicare payments for Transition Care Management (TCM) can not only reduce your exposure to hospital readmission penalties and improve patient outcomes, but also provide an important source of revenue in an era of shrinking reimbursements. Attendees will learn about the impacts of readmission penalties on the bottom line, how to estimate potential TCM revenue, as well as discover strategies for balancing automated patient communications with the clinical human touch to optimize clinical, financial, and operational outcomes. Don’t be caught on the sidelines as others close gaps in their 30-day post discharge programs.

Contact Lorre about our post-HIMSS webinar sale.


Sales

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Sixty-nine bed Madison Memorial Hospital (ID) will implement Cerner at a cost of $6 million upfront and $86,000 per month in maintenance fees. They chose Cerner over Epic and their incumbent vendor Meditech.

Virtua Health System (NJ) chooses Epic, which apparently beat Cerner in offering a replacement for Siemens Soarian.

Steward Health System chooses Imprivata Cortext for provider communication across its nine hospitals.

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Aurora Health Care (WI) chooses Strata’s StrataJazz as its full financial analytics and performance platform.


People

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Healthgrades hires C.J. Singh (Backcountry.com) as CIO.

Ross Martin, MD assembled video good wishes for Deloitte’s Chris Brancato, who is recovering from unfortunately eventful spine surgery that has left him hospitalized and therefore unable to attend the HIMSS conference. Some of the greetings were recorded at HIStalkapalooza.


Announcements and Implementations

CPSI announces a program by which its revenue cycle customers can apply their additional revenue toward buying its Evident Thrive EHR with no upfront costs. CPSI shares have rallied a bit in the last few months, beating the Nasdaq slightly by increasing 3 percent in the past year.

Health Catalyst arranges its product roadmap around nine subject areas.

Intelligent Medical Objects will work with Northwestern University’s medical school to support pharmacogenomics clinical decision support through creation of terminology to support concepts such as “ultra-rapid metabolizer of clopidogrel.” IMO will make the results available to members of the federally funded eMERGE consortium at no cost.

Vital Images launches an ACO imaging analytics solution and announces a personalized HIE/EMR viewing platform.


Privacy and Security

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The personal information of all employees of Main Line Health System (PA) is exposed when one of them replies to a spear phishing email.


Innovation and Research

Mass General’s “Ambulatory Practice of the Future” calls for undergraduate and graduate engineering students to compete for $400,000 in prizes for creating innovations in primary care (technology, instrumentation devices, etc.) Pre-proposals are due April 18, 2016. Ten finalist teams will be awarded $10,000 and the top three winners will receive $150,000, $100,000, and $50,000. Last year’s winner was Hemechip, a point-of-care diagnosis device for sickle cell disease.


Other

The HIMSS16 final attendance count was 41,885, down 3 percent from last year’s 43,129. This is the first time I can recall attendance going down year over year unless maybe it was in 2000 due to the Y2K scare. Possible reasons I came up with:

  • Industry hangover from MU and ICD-10.
  • Fatigue with the novelty of having the federal government drive so much of the conference agenda.
  • Lame keynote choices.
  • Election year uncertainty.
  • A move to immediately valuable vendor user group meetings instead of a massively broad conference that is more useful to providers who are shopping products.
  • A cutback in travel funds from vendors anticipating a market slowdown.
  • Questionable return on investment for both providers and vendors.
  • An increasingly less-useful education track that favors just pushing attendees into the exhibit hall nonstop.

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A reader sent a link to the Sands Expo’s brochure describing its “green “ practices conference planning tool that should relieve HIMSS attendees worried about the lack of obvious recycling efforts. Interesting facts from it:

  • The Sands Expo facility earned LEED Gold certification for existing buildings.
  • Meeting rooms are equipped with sensors that control energy-efficient lighting.
  • Onsite solar panels address some of the energy requirements.
  • The convention center recycling rate is 80 percent, with waste sorted at both on-site and off-site recycling stations.
  • Leftover food is made available in the employee dining room with the unused amount composted and sent to a local pig farm.
  • Carry-out and concession serviceware is compostable.
  • The entire property is smoke free except for the casino and 6 percent of guest rooms.
  • The facility offers volunteer opportunities to conferences exhibiting that include helping with soap and shampoo recycling, creating Clean the World hygiene kits from recycled materials for locals in need, helping sort donated products for the local food bank, packaging nutrition bags for senior citizens in poverty, packing food in backpacks for local children, boxing meals for after-school programs, and volunteering with Opportunity Village to support those with severe intellectual disabilities.

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HIMSS barely missed what would have been a huge PR scoop as the Denver Broncos announce that Peyton Manning will retire, just two days after his HIMSS conference keynote.

An 86-year-old woman accidentally strangles herself to death when her medical alert bracelet, which did not have a breakaway clasp, gets tangled in her walker.

Weird News Andy advises people to “Don’t Worry, Don’t Be Happy.” A study finds that joy – along with anger, grief, and fear – can cause emotional stress that contributes to takotsubo (aka broken heart) syndrome. 


Sponsor Updates

  • Huron Consulting Group and Strata Decision Technology announce a partnership to create a value-based care transition solution.
  • NextGen Healthcare integrates CareSync CCM into NextGen Ambulatory EHR and will offer the product to its customers who want to perform and bill chronic care management services.
  • Aventura chooses HealthCast as its single sign-on partner.
  • Catalyze will add support for Microsoft Azure to its HIPAA compliance platform as a service.
  • The Advisory Board Company offers case studies from four health systems that saved $4 million using its Crimson performance analytics program.
  • Nordic will offer its customers visual analytics from Qlik Sense.
  • NextGen Health integrates inMediata’s inBanking payment reconciliation solution with its practice management system, allowing payments to be electronically reconciled against banking deposits.
  • VMware integrates Imprivata’s user credentialing and messaging products into its Workspace One provider digital workspace.

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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March 6, 2016 News 10 Comments

Dr. Jayne’s HIMSS16–Thursday

March 4, 2016 News 1 Comment

I was able to sleep a bit later this morning – no breakfast meetings or client calls. Trying to determine which sessions I want to catch has been an exercise in frustration. It feels like most of the ones I’m interested in all occur at the same time.

While I was looking at the short list of possibilities for today and eyeballing what I missed, it struck me that some submitters were much better at creating eye-catching titles than others. Some of my favorites:

  • Patient Engagement: No Diamond Ring Required
  • Five States, 700 Physicians, and Four Best Practices for HIEs
  • Just Press Print: Challenges in Producing EHRs in Litigation
  • Patient Identification: Biometric or Botched
  • How to Avoid Getting Sued by Your Cyber Risk Insurer
  • Rise of the Medical Scribe Industry – Risk to EHR Advancement
  • Hard Truth about a Soft Go Live

A couple of the sessions I was particularly interested in happen to occur on Friday, so I’m looking forward to finding them online. I’m also looking forward to reviewing “What Do You Do When Your Improvement Project Fails” because it’s near and dear to my heart. When I went for my Lean Six Sigma certification, my first project was a complete and total bust. It ended up being a good thing, however, since it led to the creation of an upgrade methodology that I still use today, but it was definitely painful at the time, not to mention embarrassing.

I had mentioned yesterday about the lack of recycling (or discussion of single stream management) and a reader commented that there were signs near the waste receptacles. I made a more concerted effort to notice today and still didn’t find any more than I had already seen. The conference center did have divided bins (waste vs. cans/bottles) that I saw previously and failed to acknowledge, but most of the bins I saw in the exhibit area were unmarked.

My hotel had no mention of recycling whatsoever. They did mention on the express check-out card that they don’t issue paper bills for environmental reasons. Still, I needed a paper copy for reasons of my own and the desk clerk actually scolded me, saying I’d receive it via email by the end of day. It’s midnight in my world and I still haven’t seen it, but I guess in Vegas time they have a couple more hours.

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I noticed some bachelorette-appearing ladies coming out of Treasure Island in what appeared to be last night’s clothes. They were sporting some adult-themed balloon hats and I’m just sorry I wasn’t fast enough to get a picture. It’s a good thing that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas because they were looking pretty rough. Perhaps they were headed up the street to White Castle for some hangover therapy. I didn’t remember seeing it on the strip last time I was here, but the strip can be overwhelming and things are easily missed.

I did a last-minute swing through the exhibit hall and heard quite a few comments about people getting ready to head out. I do wish I had more time to see more products and attend more sessions, but staying through Friday wasn’t an option. I’m not thrilled about the schedule shift that occurs when HIMSS is in Las Vegas and it seems like others aren’t so thrilled either. Next year we’re back in Orlando, which is challenging for its own reasons. I wish HIMSS would reconsider other options for the meeting.

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The show floor was still fairly busy although nothing like opening day. I had equal numbers of reps who were smiling and trying to engage people walking by as compared to those who were looking pretty bored. I popped down to Hall G to see a couple of specific vendors and ended up running into someone I hadn’t seen in ages and chatting took up most of my remaining time.

It takes a lot of discipline to try to see everything and do everything at HIMSS. I’d like to blame my broken toe for slowing me down, but I think the whole event is almost too much. Thanks again to Edifecs and their #WhatIrun for literally making it possible for me to limp my way through the week in comfort.

I was fortunate again this year to have a vendor executive offer to share his car to the airport, allowing me to bypass the taxi queue craziness and providing a nice chat on the way. I enjoyed getting his thoughts on the industry and the move to value-based care. The airport was surprisingly low key and I made it through security in record time, for which I was grateful.

During my flight, I was able to catch up on the unbelievable amount of email that had come in during the week. One was from a PR firm correcting me for not using their client’s full name in my mention. Although I appreciate their position and their diligence to the brand, I hope they understand that (a) HIStalk is not my full-time job; (b) sometimes we write quickly and on the fly; and (c) during HIMSS, I usually end up writing at 1-2 a.m. after hitting the show all day and at least three or four vendor events each night. An email from a different vendor used the analogy of “a tree falling in a vast, cold, poison-ivy infested forest” gets my compliments for best prose of the day.

Weird News Andy wins the award for best fashion advice in the “What Not to Wear” category, sharing a piece explaining the perils of wearing shoes with gun-shaped heels and bullet-shaped accents.

I also received a note from a vendor exec apologizing for missing HIStalkapalooza. Apparently there was an EHRA dinner and awards ceremony that overlapped and they couldn’t make it to Mandalay Bay before the doors were closed. Another physician reader who did attend asked if I had any photos of her team and John Halamka doing the limbo at HIStalkapalooza. I am very sad to say that I do not, but if anyone does, please share.

What has been the best part of HIMSS? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

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March 4, 2016 News 1 Comment

Jenn’s HIMSS 3/3/16

March 4, 2016 News 3 Comments

My last day at HIMSS … how I already miss seeing friendly faces around every corner, the fantastic free food in the press room, readers stopping by the HIStalk booth to tell me why they love (or hate) some of the things we do. I’m already looking forward to Orlando, and can’t say goodbye quickly enough to Pacific Time. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

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My last morning got off to a nice start. I found that chivalry is indeed not dead, as several gentleman helped me cart my luggage between the HIMSS shuttle and conference entrance. I wasted no time in grabbing coffee from the press room before meeting with Lauren Douglass, brand manager for Medhost’s YouCareUniverse. She brought me up to speed on several nuggets of news, including the fact that the company’s YourCareEverywhere mobile app has recently been certified for Meaningful Use – the first of its kind to attain certification, to the best of her knowledge. The company, like many others at the conference, is joining the interoperability conversation in a big way via a project with an unnamed EHR vendor.

Encore Health CEO Dana Sellers joined me afterwards to chat about the show. (I love talking with smart folks that have been in the industry as long as she has; it’s a great way to absorb just a tiny bit of their wisdom.) We talked about everything from The 5 Love Languages to value-based care. She pointed out that, while a theme usually emerges by this point in the conference, she just couldn’t put her finger on one this time around. She equated it to post-Y2K, when the industry settled into a six month lull to catch its breath. “We’re in that same lull,” she explained, adding that her customers are taking a step back to recover from Meaningful Use and ICD-10. Sellers predicts that once they’ve taken a breather, providers will move full speed ahead with figuring out how to derive value from their healthcare IT.

Her comments regarding lack of a theme hit a nerve. HIMSS conference news cycles in years past have been driven by industry-wide EHR adoption, then ACOs, then Big Data (as its history of HISsies attests), and I was fully prepared for yet another buzzword to rear its ugly head. While population health management, analytics, cybersecurity, and value-based care have been tossed around, I haven’t gotten a sense that one is more important than the rest to providers walking the exhibit halls. Yes, everyone is talking about interoperability, but as BIDMC CIO John Halamka smartly said in his session with Jonathan Bush, “Interoperability is a bit like porn. I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.” I haven’t even heard much mention made of precision medicine, aside from HHS reps talking it up in various sessions. Perhaps readers will offer a different perspective.

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After coffee talk, I walked just a few yards to the HX360 Pavilion, which turned out to be a really nice, open space for its exhibitors, including Matter and Startup Health. I’m not sure how it compared to pavilions past, but it was nice to enter into an exhibit space not filled to the gills with humanity.

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I caught the #HITsm panel featuring illustrious thought leaders like Drex DeFord, a longtime friend of HIStalk and participant in our HIMSS16 CIO luncheon. Host @HealthStandards kept the live and virtual discussion high level by focusing on innovation in HIT. A number of themes emerged, including the consumerization of healthcare and technologies poised to have the biggest impact. My vote goes to any type of tech – high or low – that can alleviate the costs associated with aging in place, long-term care, and palliative care. A big chunk of healthcare dollars goes towards caring for the elderly in these categories, and so it stands to reason that technology that addresses these areas might make some waves (if it’s not already doing so) in terms of cost and outcomes.

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Standards were also mentioned, at which point everybody groaned.

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I spent the rest of my time walking through the exhibit hall one last time. Traffic was light in some areas and heavy in others, as this picture of HL7 International’s booth can attest. Folks were lined up two to three deep to hear Massachusetts EHealth Collaborative President and CEO Micky Tripathi talk about the Argonaut project.

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The #FHIRSelfie photo op just around the corner from where he spoke looked like a lot of fun.

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Healthfinch co-founder and CEO Lyle Berkowitz, MD (and associate CMO of Innovation at Northwestern Memorial HealthCare (IL)) was gracious enough to stop and snap a selfie with me, even though I initially mistook him for Cedars-Sinai CIO Darren Dworkin.

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My last official “drive by” of the day was to say one final thank you to the Xerox team for the lovely dinner the night before. Chief Innovation Officer of Commercial Healthcare Tamara StClaire and I chatted about the fabulous food and conversation (creamed corn = amazing / value-based care = struggle), and Xerox’s new population health management solution, which I’ll cover in HIStalk Practice’s Population Health Management Weekly Wrap Up on Sunday. I threw her a curveball in asking for her thoughts on HealthSpot’s stealthy departure/implosion. She equated Xerox’s partnership with HealthSpot as a learning lesson – one that has left the company now fully committed to remaining in the telemedicine space with an eye towards offering virtual queuing and payment processing. She wouldn’t name names, but did say that the company is in talks with several telemedicine vendors to prop up their IT infrastructure in the coming months.

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I shuffled through tweets as I queued for a taxi to the airport (the line was not that bad), and had to share this one because it is apropos no matter which HIMSS conference.

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As is this chart tweeted by @MandiBPro and @drNic1. The expo’s WiFi actually ended up being pretty reliable, which isn’t always the case at HIMSS.

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My flight home has thus far been fun. The terminal was filled with familiar faces and longtime friends and I’m about to crack open one of the books I splurged on at the airport bookstore. I’m hoping humor – and healthcare IT – will get me through the long flight. Safe travels everyone!


JennHIStalk

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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March 4, 2016 News 3 Comments

Morning Headlines 3/4/16

March 3, 2016 Headlines No Comments

VA leaders cite progress on health record interoperability

David Shulkin, the under secretary for health at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, testifies before Congress that the VA and DoD are on track to be fully integrated by 2018, though during the same hearing VA CIO LaVerne Council reported that it was time to “take a step back” from planning the modernization of Vista while it considers off-the-shelf alternatives.

Cerner lands another big contract

Dignity Health will implement Cerner across all of its ambulatory clinics. Dignity already runs Cerner in its 39 acute care hospitals

This genetics company claims it just achieved a major milestone in biology — and it could transform personalized medicine

Veritas Genetics breaks the $1,000 genome sequencing threshold, offering full sequencing, interpretation, and genetic counseling for less than $1,000.

Life as a Healthcare CIO: Dispatch from HIMSS

John Halamka, MD recaps his impression of HIMSS16, expressing excitement over Surescripts National Record Locator Service, CommonWell, FHIR, and other initiatives that are gaining momentum.

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March 3, 2016 Headlines No Comments

From HIMSS 3/3/16

March 3, 2016 News 3 Comments

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From Idiosyncratic Reaction: “Re: change. Thought you would like this.” It’s perfect.

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From Civil Discourse: “Re: HIStalkapalooza. I realize that some people like loud music, but I would rather see a provider-only get-together that facilitates making contacts and having more in-depth conversations with peers.” The tug-of-war between “it’s a party” and “it’s a networking event” started in the event’s second year in 2009, but since then, HIStalkapalooza has evolved more into a party and attendees are self-selecting knowing that’s the case. Maybe there should be a two-hour, provider-only networking event before the regular HIStalkapalooza starts, or even a separate event entirely. The downside is that just putting on HIStalkapalooza consumes lots of time for weeks beforehand and I’ve assumed that the conference provides ample networking opportunities already. I’m open to ideas.

From Mutually Assured Destruction: “Re: HIMSS16 observations. See if these resonate.” Here’s what MAD submitted:

  • Best new addition to HIMSS Annual Conference. HIMSS Living Room. We attend the annual conference for the networking and it’s such a pleasure to be able to connect in a comfortable space with food for sale and a nice mix of comfortable seating, mini conference tables, etc. I had more ad hoc face-to-face meetings in two days than in months of scheduled meetings, and the hallways weren’t lined with floor-sitters trying to rest their weary feet.  Well done, HIMSS!
  • Most interesting tone change. I’ve noticed throughout my HIMSS lifetime that each year, a different villain was blamed for problems with health IT. One year it’s physicians who wouldn’t accept change. Next year it was health system administrators who wouldn’t budget more than 3 percent of spending on HIT. Then the government for issuing unworkable mandates. Then health IT vendors whose EHRs weren’t user friendly enough. It was very refreshing to hear Karen DeSalvo say, (paraphrasing) “Let’s stop the blame and shame and look for solutions.”
  • Biggest irony. That a conference focused on developing solutions for improving the nation’s health is hosted in a location where daily exposure to second-hand smoke is unavoidable. Anyone with even the mildest asthma condition spent the week wheezing and coughing. I know there are only so many venues that can handle the HIMSS annual conference, but if we never return to the Vegas Strip it will be soon enough for me.
  • Biggest stressor/biggest regret. Being a no-show at HIStalkapalooza because of a last-minute work command performance conflict, knowing I’ll be blacklisted next year.

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From High Pitch: “Re: HIMSS session on cognitive computing. It was a pure Watson vendor pitch. Don’t they have a customer who is willing to speak on behalf of the success they’ve had?”


Four hospitals in Israel were infected with ransomware in the past month alone.

Dignity Health will expand its use of Cerner.

Some of the DrFirst roving reporter interview videos from HIMSS16:


Lots of folks were wheeling suitcases through the casino this morning and packing up their exhibits this afternoon, foretelling the usual poor attendance at Friday’s sessions. It will be cold where a lot of people are going, with these highs Friday: New York 39, Boston 36, DC 43, Atlanta 59, and Chicago 38. Las Vegas will be sunny and 80 degrees.

Overheard: “I’m a hospital business analyst. I stopped by the booth of Borda RFID to get product information. The rep didn’t want to let me in the booth. I tried to get some collateral and she told me I couldn’t have anything because it was for CIOs who were coming by later. She made me put it down. I pointed out my CIO across the aisle and said, ‘Notice that his bag is empty while mine is full. Guess who initiates product investigation at my hospital?”

I spent the morning wandering downstairs Hall G, walking slowly and offering eye contact at each booth to see which vendors were paying attention:

  • I had great coffee and a brownie at BridgeHead.
  • CaptureProof explained their secure patient-provider photo, video, and comments exchange.
  • Doc IT Solutions is a first-time exhibitor. They offer document management and said they’ve done great this week.
  • Oblong Mezzanine is a telepresence-like visual collaboration conference room setup that is realistic and allows impressive image manipulation via a wand, almost like in “Minority Report.” It’s being used by Mercy Virtual. Their full-scale mock conference room was nicely done. They say it’s being used by tumor boards and other groups that need a lifelike virtual meeting setup. This was the coolest thing I saw today.
  • Stibo Systems is a master data management vendor that serves 34 of the top 50 retailers in the world. They said MDM is not yet widely known in healthcare, but interest is growing.
  • IMAT Solutions offers tools to normalize and aggregate data in real time for reporting.
  • DataMotion Health equips providers with the ability to let their patients download their data.

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I ran across this booth in the Hall G maze. Pretty cool.

I checked out FormFast, which had an iPad-powered self demo. They offer electronic forms, barcoding, and data collection, including online consents.

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The folks at Netskope were giving away this book, which is actually very good. Netskope’s tools allow companies to find situations where PHI or other sensitive information is being sent to unauthorized cloud services, which its studies have shown happens in 21 percent of healthcare organizations. The average healthcare organization uses 1,017 cloud apps. The company’s technology allows creating policies for each risky activity. They offer a free cloud risk assessment.

That’s all I have for the moment. I left mid-afternoon today because I’m super tired (probably like everyone else). I’ll wrap up anything I have left to say about HIMSS16 this weekend. Safe travels home, everybody.

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March 3, 2016 News 3 Comments

Dr. Jayne’s HIMSS16–Wednesday

March 3, 2016 Dr. Jayne 1 Comment

If I thought yesterday was an overwhelming 16 hours of HIMSS-related events, today was even more packed. I started the day with a couple of standing client calls. It’s important for those of us that are here to remember that for the rest of the health IT community, time marches on and no one really cares whether we’re at HIMSS or not.

Fortunately, both of my clients are doing well and the calls were brief, allowing me to use the time zone change to my advantage and still make it to the exhibit hall close to opening. Crowds seemed lighter today and I felt much less like I was trapped in a salmon run.

I had the opportunity to check out Aprima’s new patient portal, which was aesthetically pleasing with very little clutter. They have solid features and are planning to add more during upcoming releases. We had a good discussion about the difficulties of developing a patient portal, including the requirements for proxy users and the difficulty of handling data for pediatric patients. They definitely understand the challenges and I’m looking forward to seeing how their product evolves over the next year.

One of the other areas I focused on today was Chronic Care Management documentation for ambulatory EHRs. For those of you not in that space, Medicare came out with a new billing code last year that allows providers to bill an additional $42 per month for care management services for patients meeting certain criteria involving chronic diseases. Each vendor seems to have its own spin on how to handle the documentation (there are time thresholds that must be met) as well as how to identify patients for the service in the first place.

I didn’t see any vendor with as robust documentation as I would have liked to, but that reflects the slow uptake in the market for the new code. Patients have to consent to enrollment and usually end up paying around $8/month in coinsurance, so adoption has been slow in some markets.

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I met up for lunch with a handful of my favorite women and one of them was packing these fetching flats for later in the day. Due to my broken toe from earlier in the week, I’ve had to resort to some less-fashionable shoe choices, but it was nice to live vicariously through her.

I was also busy today attending sessions. Most of them were sparsely attended and it didn’t seem like the rooms were particularly well matched to the number of attendees. I’ve been to several other conferences where attendees are asked to register their session preferences in advance to the planners can right-size the rooms for the expected audience. One presenter commented that this was the largest room he’s ever spoken in especially given the number of people present. I think there were about 20 people in a ballroom that would seat several hundred. He did a great job with his material, but included a couple of off-color jokes, which would have been better left unsaid.

I haven’t been able to hit nearly the number of sessions I had planned. Rumor has it that HIMSS will be posting the sessions to their website so we can complete the continuing education requirements after the fact. Hopefully they’ll be posted soon because I’d like to cross Maintenance of Certification off my list for the rest of the year. I had the chance to connect with a couple of fellow clinical informaticists and swap war stories, which is one of the main reasons I like to come to meetings like this.

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I always love Epic’s artwork, including this bottle-cap wearing unicorn and a musical cow. I overheard a couple of attendees commenting about the adult coloring books at Aventura. Kudos to them for tapping into a current trend and having a give-away that was definitely out of the box.

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I’ve been plagued by dry skin on this trip, requiring a trip to the store for better moisturizer. I forgot my lip balm at the hotel so spent a bit of the afternoon scouring the hall for another tube. NextGen didn’t disappoint with their high-end giveaway and the mesh bag will be perfect for corralling cords in my bag. I know Mr. H mentioned the apparent lack of recycling and I’m always happy to see something I can reuse. I know some hotels do recycle and do the sorting for you, but I haven’t seen anything about that practice on the signage at the expo center or at my hotel.

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IMO had some technical tee shirts at their booth. I’ll be enjoying mine as I continue to hit the treadmill during the rest of the winter. They also hosted a reception tonight at Hyde, located right on Lake Bellagio. The views of the fountains were stunning and I was impressed by the understated elegance of the event.

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Tonight seemed like the busiest night for vendor events, with offerings from Nordic, Athena, NextGen, Greenway, and a host of others. It seemed like the events were shorter this year than in the past, with many of them only scheduled for two hours. The tight timeline and spread-out nature of the venues made it difficult to get to all of them although I did give it a fighting try.

I’ve never been able to make it to a Greenway event because it usually conflicts with HIStalkapalooza, but due to the date shift this year I finally made it happen. I’m glad I did because it was the best party of the night. Held at the OMNIA nightclub at Caesar’s, it featured a good selection of food and some sassy bling-handled cake pops. The DJ had the party hopping and it continued well past the published end time, with wait staff continuing to circulate for drink orders and offering water to those of us that were starting to wind down. Their photo booth was busy all night, and since it was open and in the middle of the action, we got quite a few laughs.

I met up with a good friend for a nightcap, although I didn’t get to stay as long as I wanted. Luckily he understood my need to go back and finish writing as well as to try to catch up on the hundreds of emails I haven’t been fielding for the last few days. Jet lag has definitely set in but I hope to sleep in a little tomorrow.

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March 3, 2016 Dr. Jayne 1 Comment

Jenn’s HIMSS 3/2/16

March 3, 2016 News 1 Comment

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My third day at HIMSS started bright and early thanks to the paper-thin walls of my hotel room and the 4:45 am wake-up call for the room next door. Given that I was still on East Coast time, I gave in and got up. I cabbed over to HIMSS, thinking it would be quicker than using the shuttle. My hotel is not that far from the Sands Expo, and yet it still took about 20 minutes for my cabbie to navigate the traffic. He’s not a fan of the very narrow taxi drop-off area. I think I’ll try the shuttle tomorrow morning and see if that’s any quicker. At least it will be free.

After grabbing a quick coffee in the press room, I hunkered down at the HIMSS Spot to watch the passers by and catch up on email and tweets. The WiFi was surprisingly bearable today, which meant I was able to get work done on the go rather than attempting to cram it all in before bed. After watching the masses zip past, I headed over to our booth to relieve Lorre, who left to play hostess for a few hours at HIStalk’s CIO luncheon. The highlight of my morning was sashing Ross Martin, program director at CRISP; a member of the HIStalkapalooza alumni; and president, founder, and fellow of the American College of Medical Informatimusicology. After singing a few notes, I too became a member of ACMIMIMI. It was a very productive morning.

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I also had the chance to chat with Robert Donnell, MD interim CMIO at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and Shiv Rao, MD a cardiologist at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. My favorite game to play at HIMSS thus far has been to ask folks how they define population health management. It’s amusing because no two answers have thus far been the same. Rao believes PHM is a state of mind, not necessarily a solution, with domain experts making the difference. Donnell told me that, while PHM is talked about everywhere he goes, there’s no standard definition. He thinks of it as community health, a kind of “warranty service” that ideally will one day be fueled by IoT. We didn’t get into the security or privacy implications of that notion.

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The very dapper Steve Whitehurst, CEO of Health Fidelity (above, top), stopped by to say hello; as did Nuance Director of Corporate Communications Ann Joyal and Director of Cloud and Mobile Marketing Jonathan Dreyer cruised by to tell me a bit about the company’s new Dragon Medical One platform. I wish I could remember the fun statistic they shared equating a tower of Bibles to physician notes.

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The ARC Devices team also stopped by to demo their wireless smart thermometer, coming soon to a peds hospital near you in versions with your favorite comic book characters. It may be low-tech, but this is the kind of product that’s already helping to improve nursing workflows.

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The Drchrono team also stopped by to give me a live demo of the company’s new medical billing app, which was pretty slick in that the physician doesn’t have to actually type anything in. No clicks, just taps and drags. I took a picture of the demo, but instead opted to run the one above of company co-founder and COO Daniel Kivatinos petting President Obama’s dogs while in town for the Precision Medicine Summit. Drchrono is one of a handful of vendors that have agreed to support the initiative via a commitment to deploying the applications required for consumers to donate their health data directly to the PMI cohort. Kivatinos tells me he had aspirations of having his picture taken with the president, but the dogs had less security.

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HC1 CEO Brad Bostic and Chief Marketing Advisor Ali Roach stopped by to follow up on an after-hours invite they sent last week, and we ended up chatting about healthcare CRM. HC1, which offers healthcare relationship management software, seems like it might face some competition from Salesforce. Bostic assured me that it’s nearly the opposite – a rising tide lifts all boats, and Salesforce’s entry into the market actually validates what his company has been offering for some time.

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After Lorre returned, I finally had the opportunity to take a turn around the exhibit floor. The CenterX booth caught my eye because of its vibrant pink and oddly angular shape.

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The Leafsprout booth had a very welcoming alien, which made me think they must have had a balloon artist lurking around somewhere.

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DSS Inc. promoted its EHR solutions via a full-on screen-printing press. I suppose the ceilings are so high that ventilation wasn’t an issue.

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The folks at Hyland did their best to entice me with a beer. Their booth’s permanent bar was definitely hopping.

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Dimension Insight’s booth compelled me to stop zipping around and stare at its digital fish. It’s the most relaxing booth display I’ve seen thus far. I might have to return tomorrow for a few minutes of Zen-like stillness in between appointments.

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I finally had the chance to meet PerfectServe CEO Terry Edwards in person. This is the company’s third HIMSS – his tenth – and the best so far in terms of attendee interest in PerfectServe’s secure messaging (and much more) solution.

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I’m not a car aficionado, so I can’t even tell you what this type of care is. I do know, however, that it’s cool (so does the guy stepping up to have his picture taken with it.) Maybe a Formula One model?

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Thanks to the folks at Aventura who sent me off with these cute plush owls and a coloring book. They ran out of owls last year, and have already started rationing them. I may spend today with my eyes peeled for crayons or colored pencils. Coloring during the flight home may be good stress relief.

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I ended the day at Xerox’s dinner at Envy Steakhouse, where I got to enjoy good food (my only real meal of the day, in fact), great conversation, and even better company. Xerox Healthcare CIO of Commercial Healthcare Tamara StClaire did a great job of keeping us talking about value-based care and population health management. My favorite tangent had to do with healthcare IT’s love of buzzwords, often used as a way to either jump on some sort of product-buzz bandwagon. Given that I read dozens of press releases every day, I can attest to the fact that today’s marketing teams tend to use buzzwords and acronyms as a crutch, enabling their messaging to limp along without putting full weight on the underlying end-user problem their solution solves. I mentioned a rising tide earlier, and there’s nothing like sitting amidst a group of brilliant people to make you want to really bring you’re A-game expertise. Thanks to Xerox for having me.

My last night in Vegas ended at a decent hour. A good night’s sleep will set me right to visit a few more booths and attend one or two more sessions tomorrow before heading home. The #HIMSSanity is almost over!


JennHIStalk

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
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March 3, 2016 News 1 Comment

Dr. Jayne’s HIMSS16 Tuesday

March 3, 2016 Dr. Jayne No Comments

Today provided a full 16 hours of HIMSS-related fun, starting with a questionably planned breakfast meeting that was way too early for a post-HIStalkapalooza morning. As usual the party was tons of fun, with lots of celebrity sightings and more than my fair share of time on the dance floor. Party on the Moon never disappoints, and I was glad to share the night with some good friends, connect with last year’s Secret Crush, and meet some new people.

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Props to Dr. Eric Rose of IMO for his blue suede shoes.

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These boots were also fetching. After catching a late night snack and some must-needed rest, I hit the exhibit hall along with apparently everyone else. The crush of people moving through the expo center was unreal, with long lines for breakfast and coffee.

I started my day with a Greenway demo. I’m focusing on population health during this visit and give full credit to the product specialist, who asked a lot of good questions about what I was looking for and immediately recognized that I was more knowledgeable than the average bear, jettisoning her standard presentation to tailor it to my needs.

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After hitting a few more booths, I headed over to Medicomp to play the new improved version of Quipstar. This year they are featuring their Quippe Clinical Lens product, which was easy to use. The Green Team was victorious, making this my first win at Quipstar. The team was made of audience members as well as the core group of Evan Frankel (4ealth Consulting Group), Maria Luoni (NextGen Healthcare), Bonny Roberts (Aventura), and Debbi Gillotti (nVoq) as well as several audience members. I was pleased to see quite a few HIStalk readers in attendance as well.

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I was able to get a quick behind-the-scenes tour of the operation behind the Quipstar show and learned the answer to one of the biggest mysteries of our time.

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Sunquest had the first sponsor sign I spotted.

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Orchard had some cute stress-ball giveaways. I plan to surf the hall tomorrow with one of my favorite people, who has gathered up some of last year’s giveaways and plans to return them to their vendors. We’ll see how that goes.

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I spotted my secret crush in the exhibit hall sporting his sash with his bright orange Aventura shoes. I’m just glad he got the sash back at the end of the night, since there were multiple people wearing it at different points at HIStalkapalooza.

I spent lunch catching up with a start-up vendor, who is not exhibiting but who is conducting meetings at HIMSS. Given the cost of booth space and other amenities, I’m not surprised by this approach. The hall hosted several happy hours this afternoon – Webair with their “Doctors, DR, and Drinks” event as well as Orion and Greenway. I participated in a vendor focus group which was very interesting, then headed for a quick shoe change and purse swap before the second night of events.

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In the afternoon I hit the Intelligent Health Pavilion, located in the subterranean exhibit hall. I was surprised by how much buzz was going on there, and ran into a friend that I hadn’t seen since 2009. It was good to catch up in person. I also spotted these snazzy wing tips.

Dell hosted a client event at Bellagio’s Bank nightclub, which was hopping. Practice Insight had a subdued but classy event at the Platinum Hotel. We also hit the Imprivata event at Beer Park at Paris. The band was great and they had not only a photo booth, but someone hand-rolling cigars. Next it was off to the Bourbon Room at the Venetian to connect with friends old and new. Renewing relationships is the best part of HIMSS and I hope to connect Wednesday with someone I haven’t seen in almost six years. It’s been too long.

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March 3, 2016 Dr. Jayne No Comments

From HIMSS 3/2/16

March 3, 2016 News 6 Comments

From Bonus Question: “Re: HIStalk. How big is your team? How many events people do you have? Where is your headquarters?” I always have to laugh when someone thinks I have an HIStalk team, like it’s a real business instead of just doing what I love doing. Jenn and I write, Lorre handles sponsor stuff and webinars. That’s the whole team. We don’t have events people – Lorre spends a lot of time arranging HIStalkapalooza. Our headquarters location is our computer screens.

From Cereal Killer: “Re: CMIO lunch. Why didn’t you have one this year?” I’ve only had one of those lunches, which was at least year’s conference since McCormick Place had a HIMSS Bistro setup near the show floor that’s not available in Las Vegas. I should have realized that the Venetian and Palazzo have lots of restaurants I could have booked, but I always forget that while HIMSS controls every hotel and conference room for miles during conference week, it doesn’t insist on managing restaurant space (yet).

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From Sirius: “Re: HIMSS booth dress and food fest. One may be more appropriate versus appealing.” I’ve noticed that booth food is a lot less available than in years past, but Iron Mountain has put out some impressive spreads, including the chocolate-dipped fruit I saw today.

From Digital Probe: “Re: Hall G exhibitors. They could sponsor HIStalk for a year and get tons more exposure than a three-day booth setup that nobody sees.” I feel sorry for companies that paid dearly to exhibit in the downstairs Hall G without understanding how little traffic it gets and how crammed in the tiny booths of unknown companies are. As I overhead from one attendee, Hall G attracts companies whose business model avoids competing with Epic and Cerner (he claims there are 30 companies down there demonstrating instant messaging), but of which 40 percent will be defunct within a year.

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From Cherry Pie: “Re: booth eye candy. Your news item had a photo of attractive dancers and you’re complaining about booth babe eye candy? Please!“ This comment made me angry. I had included a photo that Party on the Moon took from their stage that showed the male singer and four females that included singer Kelsey Chandler in costume, captured during one of their amazing numbers and posted by the band to their Facebook. Cherry Pie apparently is happy to insult Kelsey by suggesting that her primary contribution is her appearance, which is absurd if you had heard her singing Monday evening. CP’s smug opinion doesn’t help the cause of talented women who are free to look, dress, and behave however they like. I know CP probably fancies himself a progressive man, but he’s not doing women any favors by insinuating that attractive ones must have been chosen just for their looks – that’s just as maddeningly sexist as actually hiring subjectively attractive women over more qualified but subjectively less-attractive ones. You’re either gender blind or you aren’t and I doubt Kelsey needs your approval of her choice of dress, showmanship, or vocal talent.

Looks like from the preliminary HIMSS estimates that conference attendance down quite a bit from last year. I hope that’s true – I’d like to see HIMSS worry about it enough to eliminate some of the practices that might be turning people off. I’m happy to provide my own list.

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Stop by our Booth # 5069 Thursday at 11, when we’ll have your HIStalkapalooza hosts Barry Wightman and Jennifer Lyle on hand to say hello. Barry is director of marketing at Forward Health Group, where he deals with software-assisted outcomes, but he’s also a published book author, voiceover talent, fiction editor, and rock musician. Jennifer is founder and CEO of Software Testing Solutions, which helps health IT software vendors accelerate end-user delivery (and therefore revenue recognition) via automated testing, whether it’s for interoperability interfaces, middleware, outreach software, or LIS applications, cutting testing time from weeks to days. They would be ecstatic to see some HIStalkapalooza attendees drop by.

I’d like to give a shout-out to the folks who are minding the store while the rest of us are screwing around at the HIMSS conference worrying about which party to attend. My conclusion is this: the folks here can’t be all that important if their organizations run seamlessly in their absence. People who don’t travel much think it’s glamorous and fun, so those here can score points by emailing back to work and thanking the people who stayed behind.

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I really appreciate the vendors and CIOs who participated in my CIO lunch on Wednesday. Lorre reports that everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, the food and Maggiano’s were great (I paid for lunch, just in case someone thinks it came out of the money donated), and Dana Moore says he’ll write a description of what each sponsor talked about for me to run later. I funded a lot of projects from the proceeds, with every dollar donated going directly to helping a lot of classrooms, teachers, and students that needed some financial assistance. A vendor executive who is setting up a family charitable foundation told me he had DonorsChoose vetted and they passed with flying colors, which isn’t surprising given their near-perfect Charity Navigator scores. The CEO, a former teacher, takes a very low salary.

Speaking of DonorsChoose, Epic QA donated $50, to which I applied matching funds as well as some personal money to purchase a library of 25 biographies for Mrs. Hale’s third grade class in Indianapolis, IN. She responded almost immediately, “From the bottom of my big, third grade teacher heart, THANK YOU! Thank you so much for taking the time to help get my students biographies that are kid friendly and engaging. They will be so excited to read about people from the present and past. I can’t wait to see their faces when I tell them we have so many new biographies to choose from.”

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Ross Martin, MD, MHA was too busy changing jobs and houses to perform at HIStalkapalooza like we originally planned. However, I had a sash made for him, which he picked up in our booth today. He made a great Elvis here at our 2012 event.

Nordic’s Aaron Mann dispels the notion that HIStalkapalooza is just a party, explaining that a chance encounter is actually pretty likely when you have a room full of the industry’s coolest people.

DrFirst filmed Jonathan Bush doing his Donald Trump imitation at HIStalkapalooza.

Here’s an HIStalkapalooza flashback video from the 2012 Las Vegas event, hosted by the amazing ESD. I watch this every few months since I really like the music and the atmosphere it captured. For trivia buffs, we held this one at the since-closed First Food & Bar restaurant in the Palazzo. Let’s hear your memories and comparisons if you were there.

DrFirst captured John Halamka accepting his HIStalk Lifetime Achievement Award on stage. He won several awards Monday evening. I’m a big fan.

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I will never like this product name, formed by leaving out the “t” in “quantum.”

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Chris Miller of the DoD led a discussion about their EHR project. He said military users demanded an integrated system and that DoD is happy making configuration decisions instead of leading technical design sessions for self-development.

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A CEO suggested that I take a look at Novarad’s VNA. That’s not my strongest area of expertise, but it was simple to understand and their services agreement covers maintenance and disaster recovery. The zero-footprint viewer running on Google Chrome was cool. Users can upload any document from a network-attached drive and store it in designated patient folders in the VNA.

Is it just me or is it bizarre that in this day and age, Las Vegas apparently doesn’t recycle? I didn’t see any blue trash cans.

I watched a kiosk demonstration at the Fujitsu booth and pondered this question about biometric security since they offer palm vein scanning ID systems. People have rightfully observed that if biometric credentials are stolen, there’s little recourse since users can change passwords but not their fingerprints or palm vein patterns. Here’s my idea. In both cases, all that’s stored by the scanning system is a set of mathematical inferences from the image, not the image itself. Why not allow each vendor to develop their own ID matrix from the hundreds of available data points? Maybe Vendor A takes the mathematical representation of the palm vein scan and uses 25 data points of their choosing to construct a verifiable user ID, while perhaps Vendor B uses a different 52 data points to string together their own ID characteristics. That form of “encryption” allows each vendor to positively ID patients using characteristics that are meaningless outside their own environment, making it pointless to steal the entire biometric database because it doesn’t work on other systems. Even if Vendor A gets breached, they can simply choose a new algorithm and convert existing profiles, immediately locking their own systems back down while preserving the ability to keep using biometrics without noticeable patient impact. Interoperability of biometric ID is unnecessary – it’s perfectly fine for individual IT systems to positively ID patients from their individual, proprietary subset of the entire biometric scan.

A reader told me about this 2013 TEDMED video by ZDoggMD on testicular self-examination, set to the crotch-grabbing music of Michael Jackson. It’s brilliant. “I’m checking out my nads in the mirror.” He was on stage at HIStalkapalooza with Jonathan Bush.

HIMSS Media was doing a live radio show from the exhibit hall. I can’t imagine that anyone was actually listening.

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CareTech had their “mission control” display out. Pretty cool.

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Allscripts had quite a few people in their booth today.

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The coolest product I saw was from EchoPixel, which is exhibiting “blended reality” in the HP booth. It’s a fuzzy monitor image above because it’s 3D, but putting on the 3D glasses makes it shockingly real for clinicians to look at diagnostic images spatially, practice their procedures, and interactively pick up and move objects like implantables to plan surgeries. Not only was it super cool, the friendly lady showing it was Janet, who has a biomedical engineering PhD from Cal Berkeley (she was shyly embarrassed a little when I noticed the credentials on her business card and starting gushing like a star-struck fan). It was an outstanding product demonstrated by a really cool engineer. You should see it before the exhibit hall closes Thursday.

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Epic’s booth sign claims that moving from Cerner or Allscripts increases profitability.

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Cerner strikes back in pointing out that Banner bought University of Arizona Health Network and promptly announced plans to replace Epic with Banner’s Cerner systems. UA had made a bit of a mess of it, with project budget overruns being one of several reasons it had to sell out to Banner.

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Hall G is a lot of tiny booths of mostly unknown companies. I’m sure there’s some good stuff down there, but it was sort of depressing down there in the basement, especially knowing that companies paid dearly for a low-traffic location.

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Legacy Data Access made their point with a dinosaur. Pretty cool.

I asked NTT Data about Bob the amazing magician they have in their booth. Apparently he’s about to retire, but they’re hoping to lure him back next year. I commented that I saw him doing absolutely unreal things in talking about the deceased relatives of some HIMSS attendees watching his performance – they said that in the demonstration shows he did for their employees, several left the room crying after his apparent contact with their family members who have passed on. I wouldn’t have believed it myself, but I strongly recommend that you see him Thursday and decide for yourself. I thought I was going to have to physically support my fellow HIMSS attendee whose deceased grandmother Bob described in amazingly precise detail despite knowing nothing more than her name.

Thanks, LifeImage, for the cool backup battery for electronics.

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Our booth neighbors Stericycle Communications have been tolerant of our never-ending parade of visitors. Stop by and have your picture made with Elvis – it will make their day. They’re nice people.

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I don’t understand how either of these neighboring companies are still in business.

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I heard the hall-filling sound of singing and found Anthelio’s Sinatra imitator cranking up his backing music to very high levels. You could hear him 20 rows over. I’m sure neighbors complained given the strict HIMSS rules on sounds or activities that detract from other exhibitors, so I’m certain they had to turn it down. He was OK.

I saw quite a few vendor people eating lunch in their booths out in the public areas. Bad idea. Attendees are either going to feel they’re intruding or they’re going to get hungry. You’re on stage when you’re in your booth on the time clock, so act like it.

Every year I’m amazed at how customer-indifferent the people working the Microsoft booth are. I stopped by today as the only person in front of four Microsoft employees standing in in front of some notebooks and Surface Pro devices. Two immediately walked away chatting together as I stood there trying to make eye contact, while the remaining two talked among themselves in studiously avoiding eye contact until I finally left. They really are self-important geeks who shouldn’t be allowed within 100 yards of prospects or customers, yet every year I experience the exact same treatment in their booth.

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Medecision’s mentalist was sporting a cool suit.

I was happy not to see the distractions of previous HIMSS conferences like people pretending to be statues, dozens of booths baking cookies, and golf simulators. Here’s the odd thing, though: nearly every vendor was giving away pens, but I couldn’t find a single one offering anything to write on. I really needed a notepad.

I found myself pondering why low-level vendor employees have to wear company shirts while on HIMSS booth duty, while their richly compensated bosses don suits instead. Shouldn’t the company’s highest-paid person be proudest to work there?

The HIMSS “Ask Me” people are really friendly and helpful. Kudos to them.

Overheard: “Todd Park left Athenahealth with $40 million in shares to go to work as HHS CTO. Federal service requires liquidating such holdings, but since the government then recognizes the proceeds as tax free, Todd avoided paying the many millions of taxes that would have otherwise been due on the $40 million stock sale. I’m not saying he took the job for just that reason, but the man knows how to work a spreadsheet to his advantage.”

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Cerner’s booth had an open feel, complete with a journey through various healthcare settings.

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The DoD EHR project got some podium and booth time.

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Epic claims to not have a marketing department, but someone there is doing a pretty good job of stating the company’s case.

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March 3, 2016 News 6 Comments

Morning Headlines 3/3/16

March 3, 2016 Headlines No Comments

ONC proposes greater oversight for EHR vendors

ONC publishes a proposed rule granting it authority to regulate EHR certification testing bodies, as well as review certified health IT products for information blocking and potential risks to patient safety,

EHR adoption is a great success! Except that docs still hate them

During a panel discussion on EHRs and interoperability, National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo,  MD and CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, MD offer contrasting views on the future of healthcare. Slavitt explains his pessimism, “She works with the technology community, which is making tons of progress. I’ve been spending the last few months hearing from physicians trying to use technology, I think they affect my mood just a little bit.”

Garmin and Allscripts Enter Strategic Relationship to Improve Patient Care

Allscripts partners with Garmin to integrate real-time patient generated health data captured by Garmin’s fitness trackers into Allscripts’ population health manager solution. Berkshire Medical Center (MA) will pilot the technology.

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March 3, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Jenn’s HIMSS 3/1/16

March 2, 2016 News 1 Comment

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Oh, how naïve I was to think that I could sleep past 4:30 am Vegas time … The early start was actually a good thing, giving me plenty of time to get my bearings, enjoy the eventually beautiful sunrise, and prepare for the day’s events.

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My first stop was the HIMSS16 Media Breakfast, during which panelists from HIMSS, including HIMSS North America Executive Vice President Carla Smith, Divurgent Vice President of Clinical Information Dana Alexander, and Metro Health (OH) Vice President and CIO Don Reichert took members of the press through results of the association’s 27th annual leadership survey. The two big takeaways seem to be that more and more providers are including a clinical IT executive in their C-suites – a trend that is having a “notable impact on the organization’s orientation toward health IT.”

The other is the association’s long overdue focus on the gender-based wage gap, and the larger conversation that opens up about diversity. Survey findings indicate that women lag behind men by about $25,000 in compensation for C-suite roles. Kudos to Smith for taking the lead on bringing these statistics to light. She and her team are hopeful that the findings will lead to additional research that will in turn evolve into HIMSS resources and programs focused on engendering diversity in organizations that have historically been led by white males. Reichert held up Metro Health as an example of an organization that has made a conscientious effort to focus on diversity in its hiring practices via new programs. Perhaps that’s the kind of case-study session HIMSS needs to think about offering next year in Orlando. 

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I headed over to the HIMSS Spot shortly after the breakfast, where I caught up with ONC CNO Rebecca Freeman, RN University Hospitals Health System Interim CIO Sue Schade, and Encore Health CEO Dana Sellers at the #healthITchicks meetup. All three had great advice to share on balancing work and life, especially when caring for young children and aging parents; working in a male-dominated field; and encouraging young women to learn more about STEM.

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My favorite session of the day by far was the lunchtime “View from the Top” featuring Beth Israel Deaconess CIO John Halamka and Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush. The duo tag teamed a talk about how far we’ve come in health IT, how far we have to go, and the opportunities that are staring us right in the face. Their talk was a bit toned down compared to their on-stage antics at HIStalkapalooza the night before. I had no idea Halamka was such a great speaker, or that he is the nation’s leading expert on poisonous mushrooms and plants. Apparently he does a brisk business in telemedicine visits with parents of children who’ve eaten mushrooms (the garden-variety kind and the psychedelic kind) , and adult nature lovers who are convinced the wild variety they find in the woods will go great in homemade stroganoff.

What was perhaps most interesting to me was the juxtaposition of Halamka’s humorous (the Chairman Mao-Meaningful Use analogy was hilarious) yet critical eye towards government regulations with Bush’s obvious ability to make money off of those burdensome, click-inducing regulations. Yes, the top vendors can get together at posh resorts and commit to sharing data with one another (as the picture above shows them doing at the recent KLAS summit.) Yes, they can publicize their pledge to HHS that they will help consumers access and share their health data, preclude information blocking, and implement government-friendly interoperability standards … but what will that look like in practical terms and how long will it take? As CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt mentioned during a media briefing later in the afternoon, we’ve really got to push vendors to do the things they say they’re going to do. There’s no letting up if the journey towards interoperability is ever going to progress.

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Things lightened up once I headed over to the HIStalk booth. (If you’re looking to find us in the 5000 row, wind your way through or around Epic then head straight back. We’re near the fun folks at MedData and next to Stericycle, which has a fun array of gummy candies to nosh on. I had the chance to chat with “HIStalk Celebrity Lawyer” David Schoolcraft, who I hope will swing back by and keep me company at some point. I also got to pick the brain of passers by including Michael Paul Gimness, MD (above) of Family Medical Specialists of Florida and Mike Narumiya, director of data and information systems at North Central Texas Trauma.

Gimness, whose practice runs Allscripts and Caresync for CCM was roaming the aisles in search of additional population health tools to help him make the move towards value-based care. Given that I had just spent come out of a media briefing with Andy Slavitt, I asked Gimness about his thoughts as an independent doc on MACRA. “I feel MACRA’s coming, and it’s going to stay. They can say they’re getting away from MU, but they still have to have a carrot and a stick when moving towards population health and value-based care. I don’t like docs getting penalized, but it’s the government’s money and they can do what they want with it. I can’t opt out of Medicare or Medicaid. My staff is not going to take a pay cut.”

Narumiya, meanwhile, was on the hunt for security tools, which were easy to find given that, in his opinion, at least a third of the booths had products related to privacy and security. (Thus far both he and Dr. Paul have validated my initial predictions of cybersecurity and population health management being big items of interest at HIMSS. Validation feels good.) He has shied away from looking into products from the big vendors, opting instead to focus on smaller companies and startups. He also mentioned that his organization has been happy with encryption tools from DataLocker.

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The fun folks at Mobile Heartbeat trekked across the aisle to introduce themselves to us. Their booth seemed to have consistently busy traffic. Providers must still have a strong interest in migrating from pagers to mobile clinical communications (or making a vendor switch).

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I didn’t spend much time wandering around the exhibit hall today. I’m pretty sure Mr. H and Dr. Jayne will cover that part of the conference in their typically excellent fashion. I did make a point to stop by the Georgia HIMSS reception to say hi to friends. On the way I just had to snap a pic of the ScienceLogic trio above. I wonder if they’ll give me a shirt if I talk nerdy to them?

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The reception was buzzing, as was the Intermountain Healthcare bus. I wonder if I could sneak on board and use what I’m sure is far more reliable WiFi than the tenuous exhibit hall connection provides. Intermountain CIO Marc Probst – who was coincidentally up for a HISsie – seemed very excited about the bus when I interviewed him a few weeks ago. He mentioned that he too will be looking for security solutions during the conference.

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My last session of the day featured a fireside chat with National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo and Andy Slavitt. The two seemed completely at ease with each other – joking about their tendencies to be positive (DeSalvo) and negative (Slavitt). Slavitt humorously pointed out that of course DeSalvo’s positive – she spends her time with technology and vendors. He, on the other hand, has been spending a lot of time lately with grumpy physicians. The two took a good hour to cover the evolution of Meaningful Use and hopes for MACRA, highlighting the aforementioned pledge from healthcare stakeholders to make EHRs work better for patients and providers, and the just-announced “FHIR Cloud” – a new FHIR app ecosystem that will incorporate app challenges and resources to help providers and consumers take advantage of innovative tools based on open APIs.

My favorite part of the presentation came when Slavitt started getting into the nitty gritty of his recent physician focus groups. The comment above is just one of hundreds he’s been listening to throughout the course of eight meetings with providers. A telling comment: “To order aspirin takes eight clicks on the computer. To order full-strength aspirin, 16. That’s not patient care. It’s clicks.”

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My evening ended at the HIMSS Women in Health IT Reception at Madame Tussaud’s –  a unique venue if ever there was one. I spotted DeSalvo mixing and mingling. I wonder if she thought the figurines were slightly creepy like I did. I did end up taking a pic with Andre Agassi, just to show my tennis team. All in all, my second day at HIMSS proved to be fun – great sessions, tremendous networking, and beautiful weather. Now if I could just manage to sleep a little later … 


JennHIStalk

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
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March 2, 2016 News 1 Comment

From HIMSS 3/1/16

March 2, 2016 News 8 Comments

From Organized Thyme: “Re: leap day. We were impacted by a large documentation management system vendor that would not allow us to scan in yesterday. Rumor has it that every one of their customers in the US were impacted.  Can you believe that in 2016 a medical software vendor could not program to handle leap year day? Their workaround was to have us hold all documents from 2/29/16 and scan them on 3/1/16.” That is indeed hard to believe. Luckily (or not), we’ll all be dust by 2100, when the usual leap year logic is skipped on the “every 100 years” exception schedule.  

From Thrill Me: “Re: HIMSS. One of my pet peeves is when companies hire female eye candy for booths.” The only way to pick them out is to engage them in product conversation since being attractive and talented certainly aren’t mutually exclusive, but I honestly saw only one person in the exhibit hall today who even looked as though they might be a booth babe. I think those days are happily gone. I’m also thrilled that companies aren’t even shy about putting obviously valuable geeks out on public display, like guys with long, gray ponytails or technologists who can’t look someone in the eye. However, I wish clueless vendors would stop putting non-clinicians in scrubs and white coats – that’s an insult to their target audience, obviously one of the stupidest things you could do in trying to move product.

From Pshaw Y’all: “Re: HIMSS. A gentleman with a HIMSS badge was walking through the Mirage lobby with a shuffled, stuttered walk. A woman stopped him, noticed his eyes, and realized he was having a stroke. She dropped her bags, ran to the front to get paramedic help, and returned to be with him. Several others had noticed, including myself, and from behind assumed it was a disability. It took a special person to stop, look at his eyes, and help.” It’s likely that few of the big-bucks people at the conference would have any idea what to do if faced with a patient in distress, or even if they did know, whether they would actually deign to render aid. Kudos to whomever that person was. You want a clinician and not a bureaucrat when you have a medical need. I had a funny HIStalkapalooza sash made for Jonathan Bush that read, “I CPR’ed some random guy,” but let’s face it – when that homeless guy went down on the San Francisco sidewalk, it was former Army medic and New Orleans paramedic JB who pushed the gawking suits out of the way and resuscitated the guy. Strokes are scary, so let’s hope our fellow conference-goer had a good outcome.


HIStalkapalooza

Lorre had at least 1,000 email exchanges with people wanting individual attention for HIStalkapalooza in the last few days – wanting to bring a guest, wanting to come even though they didn’t sign up, wanting to bring a colleague who wasn’t invited. She was literally sitting in the green room 15 minutes before the event started still furiously trying to keep up with event-related emails. Today started the in-person versions, of which this one was unfortunately typical in the “how exactly do I answer this?” manner:

  • (Some guy who ran up to Lorre in the hall): “You ruined my HIMSS conference. You didn’t invite me to HIStalkapalooza.”
  • (Lorre): “Did you sign up?”
  • (Guy): “I didn’t know I had to. I got all this crap from HIMSS and didn’t see an invitation.”
  • (Lorre): “Do you think we invite every HIMSS attendee? Do you even read HIStalk? The invitation process hasn’t changed in eight years and we explained it every day for weeks starting in early January.”
  • (Guy, indignantly): “I read every post carefully.”

The no-show rate was high as usual, but Eventbrite check-in allows us to give those folks lower priority if I decide to do an event next year.

Thanks once again to our HIStalkapalooza sponsors that made the event possible:

Athenahealth
Clinical Path Consulting
Elsevier
Experian Health
Forward Health Group
Fujifilm
Healthwise
NEC
NextGen Healthcare
PatientSafe Solutions
Sagacious Consultants
Validic
Wellcentive

Also deserving special recognition is Ashley Burkhead of Santa Rosa Consulting, who jumped energetically into the fray when our registration sponsor fell through. She and her team organized the entire process staffed the check-in area. We’ve had bad experiences with companies whose people weren’t well prepared or who couldn’t understand that nobody gets in without an invitation, causing long lines and an uncertain headcount, but the Santa Rosa people handled it perfectly. She earned Lorre’s seldom-won admiration. One guy who hadn’t signed up to attend actually emailed Lorre to praise the fact that Ashley’s team refused to let him in even though he tried to bribe them with $200 in cash.

I appreciate our hosts Barry Wightman of Forward Health Group and Jennifer Lyle of Software Testing Solutions. All the nerve-wracking details are easier to work through knowing that I have two experienced and skilled people running the stage show.

I’ll be getting more photos and videos through the week and will share them then.

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Party on the Moon posted some photos on Facebook that they took from the stage. Dennis the band leader and guitarist says they love playing for the HIStalkapalooza crowd. They fill the dance floor with their first notes and never slow down until that final song where the big horn section kicks in one last time.

The super helpful and fun folks at PatientSafe Solutions not only provided an HIStalkapalooza photographer, they burned the midnight oil to turn them into this cool video.

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Here’s a couple of band shots from Nordic.

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Validic sent over this photo of the evening’s big HISsies winner, John Halamka, spending time in their HIStalkacabana. John said on stage that winning the Lifetime Achievement Award can only mean that he’s done and has nothing to look forward to.

Here are your HISsies winners from last night.


A newsy item: Mayo Clinic’s financial report indicates that it plans to spend $1 billion over five years to implement Epic.

I compared Uber vs. a taxi covering the same Las Vegas route of a handful of miles. Uber was half the price, plus they don’t insult passengers by charging a flat $3 per credit card swipe. That’s almost as obnoxious as the mandatory Las Vegas resort fees that can almost double the cost of a cheap room. I also noticed that Uber is smart enough to give you a choice of which hotel entrance you’d like for pickup.

Walking through the convention center this morning was dangerous, as attendees got their HIMSS legs. People were stopping short to stare at their phones in wonderment, veering across people walking straight ahead, slowing everyone down in trying to drink coffee while afoot, and hitting the brakes in high-traffic areas to glad-hand suddenly spied old friends. If the halls were highways and attendees drove like they walk, the death toll would be massive.

Caradigm provided really nice backpacks this time around. A significant portion of them might actually be packed back home instead of filling up hotel trash cans. Nice job.

I feel like I’ve accidentally wandered into a restricted area when I go down to the lower level restrooms, which requires navigating uncarpeted, battleship gray stairs under harsh fluorescent lights.

The most brilliant conference giveaway in history: Lifepoint Informatics was handing out those little 5-Hour Energy bottles.

DrFirst is filming a HIMSS interview series. Above is one of the series of videos, to which more will be added in the coming days. 


HIMSS Conference Random Observations and Photos

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The first booth I checked out was Oneview Healthcare, which offers an interactive patient system. They’re booth is close to that of GetWellNetwork, oddly enough, so you can compare their systems easily.

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Athenahealth’s escalator ad is clever.

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MedData wasn’t allowed to bake scones in the hall this year, but they have retro candy and craft beer. I had a Lemonhead and an IPA, although not simultaneously.

How quickly imitative trends die: I saw maybe two Farzad-style bowties the entire day as his former legion of fawning fanboys apparently moved on to other forms of unoriginal behavior.

The YourCareUniverse people gave me an overview of their product, which offers a consumer health site, a patient portal, and a personal health record.

The VGo Robot people say they’re bringing out a stethoscope that can capture and send data.

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I’m always surprised to see these guys coming back since I’ve still never heard of them selling anything in the US after years of trying.

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Epic’s outside booth signs were based on fun song titles. Bravo to the Monty Python reference.

The most interesting product I saw today was West’s patient engagement platform that can provided outreach for routine care, transitional care, or chronic care. It’s a nice UI in which organizations can define pathways with timed actions such as sending a survey, doing medication reconciliation, or sending an appointment reminder. The provider can bulk review performance and exceptions. Patient contact can be by phone, mobile or IVR. It’s purely technical tool that should work great for automating ongoing patient contact to make it easier to identify outliers.

Jama Software has nothing to do with the medical journal, offering requirements tracking and collaboration for critical development projects such as working on FDA-regulated software.

Arcadia was showing a Data Quality Scorecard Analysis that plows through data looking for incorrect data assumptions, rule patterns, and database composition.

Summit Healthcare was showing its Enterprise Downtime Viewer.

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My iPhone takes crappy pictures, especially if it’s steamed up in my sweaty pants pocket, but this sign indicates that Access was generous in offering to provide latte to its fellow exhibitors, with the only restriction being that its booth guests get served first. I really like these people – we always talk barbeque (some of their folks are on competition teams), they got where they are by self-bootstrapping and hard work, and they have fun. Check out their display case showing manual methods of document delivery vs. their electronic imaging – the crashed drone with (fake) human hair attached made me laugh out loud.

Merge Healthcare was demonstrating its cardiology system database analyzed by its new owner, IBM Watson. A cardboard sign attached under the monitor said “Work in Progress.” I imagine quite a few more of those signs could probably have been deployed throughout the exhibit hall.

Sunquest had its new logo in place. I sat through a session by Rob Atlas on Sunquest Diagnostic Communities and its precision medicine applicability. It connects to EHRs, collects all patient lab orders in a Clean Orders Hub, and checks for duplicates or other problems before filing them away in a repository.

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It’s easy to miss the downstairs Hall G and its mishmash of small vendors, educational institutions, and special interest groups, but there’s a DeLorean down there in the CrossChx booth.

Hyland had a replacement magician, which crushed my HIMSS spirit until I saw the astonishing one at NTT Data’s booth. He was snarky in doing the usual eye-popping tricks, but then delved into telling people things there’s no way he should be able to know about their deceased relatives. He was amazing and NTT’s Larry Kaiser was the perfect deadpan foil. This is a must-see – email if you take the time to see him and aren’t impressed.

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Park Place International features its new name, CloudWave.

Practice Fusion’s booth was dead. The reps were huddled in a circle, looking inward for strength as the out-of-runway company goes down in flames around them.

Meditech had more reps on the phone as a percentage than any booth I had seen by mid-morning, but the other vendors caught up quickly. I tweeted a joking observation that some booths looked like they were demoing cell phones rather than software.

The food both lines were long by mid-day, sending me fleeing downstairs to Hall G seeking sustenance. Which I found: there’s a food court type setup with no lines and plenty of seats. I scored three spicy chicken tacos, black beans, Spanish rice, and a great salsa bar with homemade pico gallo for $12. It was surprisingly good, although my first bite of chicken was so surprisingly zesty that I gulped down half of my $3.25 can of Diet Coke.

NantHealth’s booth was pretty dead. About all they had to show was a big-picture video about the cancer moonshot.

MedCPU’s booth was a lot bigger and the company is riding the wave of its fresh investment and implementation by UPMC. They’re one to watch since UPMC had tried to develop similar text-mining technology years ago (the MARS system) and should have expertise as well as cash to offer.

I watched an interesting presentation from a Mass General molecular pathologist on managing genomics data, presented by InterSystems. They’re using Cache to store 300 TB of genomics data collected from just a few thousand patients over three years. They’re planning to build decision support tools around the data since it’s too hard for an oncologist to digest at the point of care. InterSystems is one of the most quietly brilliant (and quietly but massively successful) healthcare IT companies.

Greenway’s booth was quiet, but they had a nice happy hour late in the afternoon.

The hot booth furnishing this year: carpet that looks exactly like a hardwood floor. I also noticed that the multi-year transition to light green as the favored branding color is apparently nearing completion. 

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Forward Health Group had HealthLinc CEO Beth Wrobel speaking in their booth. I interviewed her a few months back. She says her FQHC wants to “put a face on the denominator.” She says anyone can run FHG’s systems and the only decision to be made is how to integrate it into workflows. She says commercial insurers are their worst payer by far and hopes to use FHG’s data to convince them it’s in everybody’s best interest for them to provide more funding.

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Also in the FHG booth was industry long-timer John Holton (Atwork, Scheduling.com, SCI Solutions). He’s doing some HIT investing and advising these days. 

HCI Group was talking about their Securonix system, which offers security behavior profiling, a policy engine, and a risk engine.

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I was about to joke to the lady pouring Black Box wine that its vintage must be Friday when I noticed that the company was more clever than I – its name is Black Box Network (no relation).

I was really surprised to not be overwhelmed by vendor buzzwords like analytics, big data, population health management, and patient engagement. Those concepts were mostly just worked into product value propositions instead of being shouted from the rooftops. That leaves me without an obvious HIMSS16 theme so fare.

Overheard Conversations

  • “Of course former US CTO Aneesh Chopra is stumping for interoperability. He now works for vendor Hunch Analytics, which makes money ‘unleashing data sets’ that it can’t get unless other vendors share them.”
  • “No vendor does population health management well. Nobody even knows what it means yet.”
  • “Epic is killing the standalone lab system business.”
  • “EClinicalWorks is the least interoperable vendor. The rumor is that CMS is looking into its data-sharing practices.”
  • “Meditech is really as much of a real estate company as an HIT vendor. They are the second-largest commercial real estate owner in Massachusetts.”
  • “Karen DeSalvo doesn’t care about doctors or EHRs. She’s just using them as a steppingstone to being elected to Congress.”
  • “I only come to HIMSS because of HIStalkapalooza.” (Jonathan Bush)
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March 2, 2016 News 8 Comments

Morning Headlines 3/2/16

March 1, 2016 Headlines 2 Comments

Surescripts activates National Record Locator Service, includes data on 140 million patients

Surescripts announces the launch of its National Patient Record Locator Service, a partnership that includes CVS, Express Scripts, Epic, and NextGen Healthcare, covering 140 million patients and 2 billion patient interactions.

Investing in the Future: New Market-Ready, User-Friendly Health Technology App and Infrastructure Support

National Coordinator for Health IT, Karen DeSalvo, MD unveils three new FHIR developer challenges aimed at improving interoperability.

Supreme Court Rules Against Vermont Health-Care Data Law

The Supreme Court strikes down a 2005 Vermont law requiring large health plans to report “information relating to heath care costs, prices, quality, utilization or resources required” to a state database.

Lahey Hospital’s operating loss widens as IT, drug costs mount

Lahey Hospital reports a $5.6 million operating loss for Q1, citing increased operating expenses and its $160 million Epic implementation costs as primary reasons.

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March 1, 2016 Headlines 2 Comments

Jenn’s HIMSS 2/29/16

March 1, 2016 News 1 Comment

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Oh Las Vegas …. Where else do I get the chance to see multiple Michael Jackson impersonators crossing the street, a cabbie (mine) get into a cursing match with a pedestrian, and Jonathan Bush pull out his best Donald Trump impersonation? I’ve been here less than 24 hours and my first day at HIMSS has already been memorable.

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The day started off as many of my HIMSS seem to – catching up with the Patientco crew at the airport. Marketing Director Josh Byrd brought me up to speed on the impact the company’s new Payments Hub is having in the revenue cycle space. It’s already making waves in hospitals, and seems poised to have a big play with RCM vendors, too. The flight was full of the usual suspects. I recognized vendor shirts from Greenway and Modernizing Medicine, and overheard countless HIMSS-related conversations. (I wonder how much money HIMSS could make if they started chartering flights out of major hubs for vendors and attendees?)

I had the good fortune to sit next to Stuart Post, regional vice president at LogicStream Health, who gave me a rundown on the company’s quality improvement and revenue management tools. The four-year-old firm is exhibiting for the first time this year, and so I need to make a point to show ‘em some love and swing by their booth for a twitpic or two. Post, who’s been around the health IT block in various positions at McKesson, Harris, and Microsoft, is firmly convinced that smaller (and presumably more nimble) firms have greater influence than they once did. “The industry is really speeding up,” he explained. “It’s all about small companies with big ideas, whereas 10 years ago it was about a handful of big companies dominating the market.” I’ll have to keep that sentiment in mind as I stroll the exhibit hall over the coming days.

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Post also asked me for my “HIMSS hot topics,” and, based on recent headlines, I predicted that cybersecurity, population health management, and chronic care management will be exhibit-hall buzzwords. (Population health made waves earlier this evening as a contender for the HISsie award for most overused HIT buzzword. It lost to big data, which I believe has won three years in a row.) My prediction was affirmed by chatter at the HIMSS #HITMC meetup, where the topic of choice was what defines an uncertain HIT marketplace. I’d cast my vote for the uncertainty vendors seem to feel around population health versus population health management. Some use the terms interchangeably; some have adopted the phrases in what seem like desperate moves to cash in on their buzz-worthiness. Marketers, messaging is important; so is clarity.

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My time at the conference today was short – just shy of an hour spent getting my badge and attending the aforementioned meetup. I was surprised at the amount of people already roaming the halls, although I hear tomorrow will be the peak day, with 40,000-plus expected. I feel like I’ve spent most of the day in various modes of transportation, bouncing between the airport, my hotel, the Sands Expo, and the House of Blues. I don’t know that Uber would have been any better, especially since one HIStalk reader’s Uber got pulled over on their way to HIStalkapalooza. If that’s not a good reason for being late, I don’t know what is.

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I’m ashamed to admit that I left HIStalkapalooza early. The East Coast time caught up with me and I headed back to my hotel room with enough energy left to write today’s recap and to review tomorrow’s jam-packed itinerary. (The 10 events I have on my schedule pale in comparison to the to-the-minute schedules of more seasoned HIMSS-goers.) I had a nice time entertaining our sponsors during our pre-party meet and greet, and a fantastic time listening to my secret crush – Eric Quinones, MD national director, healthcare, Slalom Consulting – recite poetry to me from the House of Blues stage. Never did I think healthcare IT buzzwords could sound so lyrical. Until tomorrow …


JennHIStalk

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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March 1, 2016 News 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 3/1/16

February 29, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Vendors, providers agree on interoperability, consumer access

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announces during her HIMSS keynote speech that EHR vendors providing 90 percent of all systems used in the US along with the five largest private health systems have pledged to adopt federally recognized interoperability standards, avoid information blocking, and expand patient access to data.

eClinicalWorks aims to deploy healthcare IT solutions in 200 Indian hospitals by 2016 end

EClinicalWorks has 75 hospitals using its EHR in India, and expects that number to grow to nearly 300 by year end.

Health Catalyst raises $70 mln

Norwest Venture Partners and UPCM co-lead a $70 million Series E investment round, which CEO Dan Burton says will be its last investment round.

UPMC to lead $35 mln investment in medCPU

UPMC has taken a majority interest in MedCPU, a New York based clinical decision support startup and has led a $35 million investment round in the company.

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February 29, 2016 Headlines No Comments

From HIMSS 2/29/16

February 29, 2016 News 2 Comments

I shouldn’t really title this post “From HIMSS” since I’ve done nothing conference-related today and have no plans to. Finally I’ve cracked the code that has eluded me so long on how to enjoy HIMSS – stay away from the fray as much as possible.

I mentioned that I rented a large, luxurious house for $200 per day and filled it with family and friends (all female) helping out with HIStalkapalooza tonight. Two of them are in their 20s and another is in her teens, so they’ve had a blast hanging out in the pool and hot tub, playing music and giggling. They weren’t impressed with the Strip, so last night we took them to the real Las Vegas – downtown around Fremont Street.

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I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun. I chose for us the old-school $9.99 prime rib dinner at the California Hotel, which was just fine and even included a great salad bar. One of the girls decided to treat us to a bottle of wine and the barely English-speaking cocktail waitress brought back an alarming 1.5 liter bottle of Cabernet (equivalent to two normal bottles). I tactfully offered to pay since I was afraid it might be an unexpected $120 budget-buster for our young friend, but it was actually only $38.

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Then we spent a couple of hours at the Fremont Street Experience enjoying the cover bands on stage (one Beatles, one rock), watching the zip line riders flying overhead, and drinking beer in the street. The girls had a ball posing for pictures with street performers. The neon alone is worth the trip. The top-rated Las Vegas restaurant on Tripadvisor is Andiamo Steakhouse in the the D hotel and Hugo’s Cellar in the Four Queens isn’t far behind – both are in that area. The Strip is like a sterile mall whose every feature is designed to extract cash elegantly from wallets, while downtown is a formerly decrepit but now quirky business district that has roared back to life.

Tonight the girls get to dress up in their Rent the Runway dresses and help out with HIStalkapalooza. They have been excited for days.

This morning everybody except me headed over to the convention center to pass out the booth signs I had made for sponsors who wanted to display them. Then they’ll head over to House of Blues to make sure they are ready for tonight’s HIStalkapalooza. I ate leftover pizza for breakfast and hit the hot tub. I just noticed that my cheap Timex watch didn’t recognize that it’s Leap Day, so I almost dated this post as 3/1/16.

I’ll catch up on a few news item to lighten my load tomorrow since I’ll be tired after being out late tonight.

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Divurgent hires Bert Reese (Sentara) as VP of portfolio management and innovation.

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Epic signs an agreement to give its users access to Tableau Software-powered analytics dashboards and workbooks.

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Healthwise integrates its patient education content and tools with Salesforce Health Cloud.

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UPMC takes a majority position in MedCPU, will lead a new $35 million funding round, and will become a MedCPU customer. 

EClinicalWorks will implement inpatient software systems in up to 300 hospitals in India. I didn’t realize that its main business there is inpatient software, which might explain the company’s recently announced plans to develop inpatient software for the US market.

Health Catalyst raises another $70 million in a Series E funding round co-led by Norwest Venture Partners and UPMC, increasing its total to $222 million.

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February 29, 2016 News 2 Comments

Dr. Jayne from HIMSS 2/29/16

February 29, 2016 Dr. Jayne 1 Comment

Usually the travel day to HIMSS is uneventful and this year didn’t start any different. I boarded my flight at O Dark Thirty and settled in to watch some software training videos that my client had created, since I knew there was a good chance they’d put me right to sleep. After a nice nap, it was time for email clean up.

I must have missed this before, but CMS has extended the Medicare EHR Incentive Program hardship deadline until July 1, 2016. If you haven’t submitted your application yet and want to avoid adjustments to your 2017 Medicare payments, you have plenty of time.

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I touched down in Las Vegas right around the start time of the Hot Chocolate 15k run, which had multiple roads closed. Fortunately I had a taxi driver with a great personality, which made the delay tolerable. Although the roads were closed, I never saw any actual runners.

Speaking of runners, I mentioned previously that Edifecs has their #WhatIRun campaign live. I’m flattered to have my profile posted under the healthcare leaders section and appreciate their willingness to keep me anonymous.

For those of you who pop over to take a peek, yes, the comment about the refrigerator is true. Once I arrived at my hotel, I found out that my promised (and paid for) early check-in had been pushed back an hour. It was difficult to find somewhere to hang out that wasn’t completely smoke filled, which reminded me why I am not a huge fan of Las Vegas.

Once I finally received my room keys, I was quite surprised (as was he!) to find a naked guy who had apparently just stepped out of the shower. The front desk was apologetic and reversed my early check-in fee and also upgraded my room. It wasn’t their fault, though – the guest had checked out before he was actually ready to depart, so let that be a good lesson to only check out when you’re ready and also to use the privacy lock.

Once I was settled, I enjoyed the opportunity to get outside and actually see the sun since there is still snow on the ground in my world. I’m always saddened to see the panhandlers on the elevated walkways. Although it’s a complex problem, one man today was clearly having a psychotic episode outside the Palazzo. Hotel security were keeping an eye on things since he was accosting pedestrians. I hope he gets the help he needs.

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The fountain at the Wynn was getting some maintenance and I imagine electricians who own dry suits are in demand across down. Registration was smooth, although there was a snafu with picking up bags and materials. At the registration area, they were telling people to come back in three hours to get everything. I decided to wander around the meeting areas and found the bag desk a few dozen yards away, fully stocked and ready to distribute. There were several people headed to the CHIME golf outing toting their clubs.

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I stumbled across this Sunday session, featuring AMA president Steven Stack as well as Nancy Gagliano from CVS Minute Clinic and some others. From the time I saw it to when I returned to snap a photo, they had added the “free” to the signage. I registered and chatted with some of the staffers, who were very enthusiastic about their mission. I popped in for a bit and didn’t learn anything new, so headed back out for some more sun.

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I connected later in the day with Dr. Lyle and some of his Healthfinch colleagues, who were on their way to a get-together at the Palazzo. My favorite part of HIMSS is catching up with people that I may only see once or twice a year. The rest of the evening was spent with friends old and new, as we christened the Southbound Greyhound as Dr. Jayne’s Official Drink of HIMSS16. (I personally like to muddle in a few blueberries, but there were none to be had.) Note to the bartenders at Treasure Island: you might want to stock in a few more bottles of Deep Eddy Ruby Red. You’re going to need them.

I was trying to unwind this morning in preparation for this evening’s big events, but despite the privacy sign on the door, the housekeeper opened the door without knocking. I always use the privacy lock, so she wasn’t able to get in, but it was annoying, especially since it was barely past 8 a.m. I know they’re in a hurry to turn over rooms, but I’m not checking out today and I did have the sign on the door.

I’m going to meet up with a good friend for lunch and lay out the battle plan for the week. Unfortunately I’ll miss the opening keynotes due to HIStalkapalooza prep, but I don’t think I’ll be missing anything earth-shaking.

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For the rest of you prepping for the big night, may I suggest the liquor section at Walgreens, which has the Pedialyte thoughtfully displayed with the Ketel and Tito’s. I’m looking forward to the dance-floor stylings of Matthew Holt as we Party on the Moon. See you there!

Email Dr. Jayne.

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February 29, 2016 Dr. Jayne 1 Comment

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