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News 8/21/13

August 20, 2013 News No Comments

Top News

8-20-2013 9-42-53 PM

8-20-2013 9-18-45 PM

From Left Tackle: “Re: Intuit Health Group. Was bought back Monday by Stephen Malik, who founded Medfusion and sold it to Intuit in the first place.” Verified. He was saying just a few weeks ago that he had no interest in buying back the Cary, NC-based company he sold to Intuit for $91 million in 2010. That probably means the asking price and/or the number of interested suitors dropped since then.

Reader Comments

8-20-2013 3-52-16 PM

From MoJo: “Re: Allscripts reorg. Allscripts made an internal announcement of (yet another) reorganize to ‘further improve accountability, performance.’” Some of the changes noted in a company memo: the addition of new business units (international, Sunrise, and enterprise); the hiring of Greg White (Cerner) and Ricker Berner (Caradigm) to head the enterprise and international segments, respectively; the addition of new client sales regions and changes to leadership; and the realignment of the client advocate and solutions management teams.

8-20-2013 1-32-02 PM

From Partner: “ACE. Dozens of companies are spending big marketing dollars to exhibit at ACE.” The Allscripts annual conference kicked off Tuesday in Chicago. Attendance hasn’t been announced, but the exhibitor directory includes at least 50 vendors.

From Broadway Joe: “Re: North Shore LIJ. Buying a stake in Allscripts.” Unverified.

8-20-2013 5-50-50 PM

From Turk: “Re: Rose Harr. Interesting news about the CEO of BlueWare, a small imaging system that claims to be an EHR.” The former Brevard County, Florida Clerk of Court is arrested on a variety of corruption charges that include approving $8.52 million in county scanning contracts with BlueWare for personal financial gain. State law enforcement agents say that BlueWare didn’t own any scanning equipment at the time and 75 percent of the records they were paid to scan could have been discarded without scanning. BlueWare CEO Harr turned herself in was arrested for bribery and bid tampering, but is out on bond. She has an interesting LinkedIn profile that includes running companies that are flipping properties, making a cartoon about Boston Terriers, and selling big imaging deals to NHS hospitals in England.

From I’m Not Creative: “Re: Siemens Soarian customers. Only getting six weeks to upgrade from version 3.3 to 3.4 due to the number of clients who need to get upgraded to meet MU2 requirements. Talk about feeling the burn.” Unverified.

8-20-2013 6-02-15 PM

From TexasHeart: “Re: ONC Blue Button announcements. Is this smoke and mirrors because state HIEs are failing and most docs, include a fourth of them in Epic, don’t want to trade? Why would people use Blue Button as a portal? Will docs even accept records sent by a patient?”

From Escapade: “Re: CIOs. You should do some CIO interviews and leave them anonymous so they can be brutally honest and vent. “ That’s a brilliant idea. I would happily do that, as well as running anonymous blog posts (either one-time or ongoing) by CIOs who want provide uncensored opinion without fear of reprisal.  Contact me if you’re a CIO who likes the idea as much as I do.  The anonymous interview would be a super easy and great fun.

HIStalk Webinars

8-20-2013 5-29-31 PM 8-20-2013 5-37-34 PM

Beacon Partners will present “The Transition to ICD-10: Building the Bridge as You Walk on It” on Thursday, September 12 at 2:00 Eastern. With the transition to ICD-10 only 15 months away, healthcare organizations will have to find inventive ways to create their roadmap and execute on their plans. Rather than taking valuable time to complete a gap analysis and then create the plan, leaders and project managers should consider how to do these tasks concurrently. Examples from healthcare organizations will provide ideas for choosing the right partners, defining program strategies, and incorporating ICD-10 work into already existing teams. Even if you assemble the plane as you fly it – or build the bridge as you walk on it – it’s time to move forward and make the ICD-10 transition a reality. The target audience for this presentation is mid-senior level financial, clinical and IT, CFO, COO, CIO, ICD-10 program manager, and ICD-10 team leads. The speaker will be Chris Kalish, national practice director in the Strategic Advisory Group. One of my reviewers summarized, “With approximately only one year to go and a lot of work still to be done, this Webinar provides hospitals with strategies to prepare for ICD-10 if the hospitals are late starters.”

8-20-2013 5-40-37 PM

Speaking of Webinars, there’s a list of those upcoming in the column to your right. Clicking on one brings up the full calendar.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

8-20-2013 3-56-55 PM

Summit Partners invests $14 million in specialty EMR provider Modernizing Medicine.

8-20-2013 9-31-30 PM

Champion Medical Technologies, which sells tracking software for implanted medical devices, receives an unspecified investment from Jump Capital.

8-20-2013 3-55-57 PM

The SSI Group acquires Medtelligence, dba Medibis, a provider of analytic, dashboard, and mobile applications.

8-20-2013 9-52-04 PM

Greenway reports Q4 earnings: revenue down 2.34 percent, adjusted EPS -$0.08 vs. $0.10, missing analysts’ estimates of -$0.02. Shares rose 3 percent Tuesday after Monday’s announcement. CEO Tee Green notes that the results reflect the company’s continued transition from a one-time system sales and training model to a recurring revenue model. From the earnings call:

  • Greenway is live with CCD exchange at Epic and Cerner sites
  • Up to 80 percent of new customers are choosing cloud solutions paid for via the subscription model, which is driving training revenue down
  • Only 10 percent of users are using the company’s mobile EHR access app
  • The company’s growth is expected to be driven by EDI and services
  • Greenway says it expects to lose $5-6 million in FY14, with system sales down 50-60 percent

8-20-2013 4-02-05 PM

Above is the one-year GWAY stock chart, with Greenway in blue, Allscripts in red, athenahealth in green, and the Nasdaq composite index in brown.

8-20-2013 4-39-46 PM

Teleheath software provider SnapMD raises $600,000 in a seed round led by Shea Venture and Whittier Trust.

8-20-2013 9-46-36 PM

First Databank acquires medication reconciliation software vendor Design Clinicals. More information and thoughts from Design Clinicals CEO Dewey Howell, MD, PhD are available in the Tuesday morning announcement on HIStalk.


8-20-2013 1-46-47 PM

Wahiawa General Hospital (HI) will implement MEDHOST’s EDIS.

The Healthcare Access San Antonio HIE will offer consumers access to a portal developed by Intellica Corp.

The Defense Logistics Agency awards McKesson a $29.9 million medical imaging technology contract.

Community Health Information Collaborative (MN) selects Orion Health to power its statewide HIE.

Arcadia Solutions selects the Compuware Application Performance Management platform for EHR infrastructure performance optimization.


8-20-2013 4-45-49 PM

AHRQ names Richard Kronick (HHS) director, replacing the retiring Carolyn Clancy, MD.

Lisa Stump is promoted to VP/associate CIO of Yale-New Haven Health System.

EBSCO Information Services hires Elizabeth Jones (American Medical News) as VP of medical product management and chief content officer.

Announcements and Implementations

UnitedHealthcare adds online electronic bill payment services to its plan participant portal via the InstaMed payment network.

The Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital (UK) and Robinson Memorial Hospital (OH) go live with integrated OnBase ECM and Allscripts EMR solutions.

8-20-2013 5-09-19 PM

Qstream announces new clients for its mobile healthcare education platform that include Boston Children’s Hospital, Partners HealthCare, Mayo Clinic, and Baylor College of Medicine.

Vivature EHR chooses Liaison Healthcare for connecting its Oracle-based EHR to more than 120 labs and imaging departments via Liaison’s EMR-Link hub.

HCA says in an entrepreneur workshop that it likes doing business with Boston-area companies that have an MIT or other academic connection, including Meditech, PatientKeeper, eClinicalWorks, and EMC.

Government and Politics

8-20-2013 6-27-45 PM

Florida Senator Arthenia Joyner introduces a bill that would force insurers to pay for telehealth visits. Critics say the bill is flawed because the state’s Board of Medicine allows telemedicine consultations only when a patient relationship has already been established and it also would require insurers to pay the same amount for a telemedicine visit as an in-office visit. Similar bills have failed previously.

Innovation and Research

Via @cascadia:  Intermountain Healthcare looks at the “Personalized Patient Room,” including an in-room camera; a server to support teleconsultations by pharmacists and interpreters; and video chat for bringing in remote family members to participate in the patient’s care. They’re also considering using touchscreens instead of pillow speakers for pushing educational content, entertainment, and information in languages other than English.

Three entrepreneurs form Oscar, a technology-powered insurance company that hopes to reform healthcare via the PPACA-mandated health insurance exchanges. Users of its application can enter their symptoms and click a button that will let them find nearby providers or speak live to a doctor through a partnership with TeleDoc. Patients can request prescription refills through a Twitter-like timeline. The company is analyzing large data sets to guide patients through rational medical decisions. They’ve raised $40 million in funding and will launch in 2014.


Greenway Medical launches PrimePATIENT, a patient portal integrated with PrimeSUITE.

Allscripts introduces Population Health Analytics, a real-time chronic disease management solution that provides comparative analytics at the point of care. Allscripts also announces the GA of its native iPad app Wand 2.0 for Enterprise EHR.


8-20-2013 9-48-52 PM

Virtual Radiologic and its NightHawk Radiology subsidiary file a lawsuit claiming patent infringement by Tandem Radiology related to its teleradiology and order creation technologies.

Mayo Clinic’s Center for Innovation offers $89 Web stream access to its Rochester, MN-based Transform 2013 conference September 8-10.

An Oracle survey finds that 84 percent of CFOs are working more closely with their CIO peers as technology becomes their second-highest focus area, placing behind only industry knowledge.

inga_small A Nebraska woman lands in the ER after a post-baby shower brawl in which another woman stabs her in the face with her own six-inch stiletto heel. Police said the altercation resulted from the stabber’s “relationship with the father of the victim’s child.” Once again I am reminded how mundane my life is.

8-20-2013 6-05-49 PM

Weird News Andy urges, “EMT, heal thyself.” A Detroit EMT performing in-transit CPR on a patient has a heart attack himself, ending up recovering three hospital beds over from his patient after both receive identical stents.

Sponsor Updates

  • iHT2 releases details of its August 21-22 Health IT Summit in Seattle.
  • A Triple Tree report, ACOs: The Accountable Care Opportunity, says the organization was impressed by population management and clinical analytics solutions from Forward Health Group.
  • Jennifer Dennard of Billian is appointed to the board of the Technology Association of Georgia.
  • The Massachusetts eHealth Institute awards eClinicalWorks a $150,000 grant to advance the use of EHRs with the state’s HIE.
  • Helix Health Solutions will distribute Wolters Kluwer Health’s Provation Medical software to healthcare organizations outside of North America.
  • Greenway Medical adds Seamless Medical Systems to its online Marketplace as a value-added partner.
  • The Truven Health Advantage Suite healthcare data and analytics platform version 5 achieves Oracle Exadata Ready status through Oracle PartnerNetwork.
  • Laura Kreofsky, principal advisor with Impact Advisors, discusses Stage 2 MU challenges.
  • HIStalk sponsors named to the 2013 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in America include Beacon Partners, Clinovations, Cornerstone Advisors, CoverMyMeds, CSI, Culbert Healthcare Solutions, Cumberland Consulting Group, DIVURGENT, eClinicalWorks, Enovate, ESD, eTransmedia Technology, Forward Health, Iatric Systems, Impact Advisors, iSirona, Intellect Resources, Kareo, Kony, Santa Rosa Consulting, SRSsoft, Strata Decision Technology, and Virtelligence.
  • Clinical Architecture introduces Symedical Content Portal, which acquires and maintains clinical and administrative vocabulary files.
  • PatientKeeper hosts a September 24 webinar explaining how to make the ICD-10 transition a non-event for physicians. (sent to us)
  • T-System CMO Tom Ward, MD discusses ICD-10 compliance in the ED.


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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August 20, 2013 News No Comments

HIStalk Interviews Bob Watson, President and CEO, Streamline Health

August 19, 2013 Interviews 2 Comments

Robert E. Watson is president and CEO of Streamline Health of Atlanta, GA.

8-19-2013 5-59-49 PM

Tell me about yourself and the company.

Streamline was founded in 1989 and went public in 1996. The fundamentals of the business are really about capturing the unstructured data around the patient care experience, integrating that information with the record, providing a series of workflow solutions around coding, clinical documentation improvement, and analytics to improve financial outcomes. 

I’ve been in healthcare for 30 years, originally as an investment banker, unfortunately. It seems like I have to apologize for that. I’d been the founder and CFO of a company in the ambulatory surgical center business that we took public in the 1980s and sold that business to HCA. I’ve spent the last 13 years in the healthcare technology space.


Speaking about unstructured data in general, what’s new in that area, and how is the co-existence with EMRs going?

What people find when they deploy a record — and we hear this all the time — is that there’s an abundance of information that’s outside of the core record. Most of it’s unstructured. Historically, it had been paper.

Today, if we look at our own business, the percentage of that unstructured data that’s paper is dropping into the mid-80s. You’re seeing things like images that don’t for some reason interface with the RIS or PACS, .WAV transcription files, and other pieces of information that are important for the quality of patient care. Also important, frankly, to the financial outcomes. You have to get that information in order.


Are hospitals, even those that claim to be paperless, still getting a lot of external information from places that aren’t?

Yes. There is tremendous amounts of information that comes in externally. We have a client in metropolitan New York that 95 percent of the inbound physician order referrals for surgical events come in via fax. I don’t foresee that changing in the near term.


There was some enthusiasm for the hybrid EMR, which made the best use of paper records moved to an electronic form such as scanned images. What can people do with information in your system that they can’t do with paper?

It depends on the construct on how you get that information and unstructured data into the EMR. At the very basic, you can view that information inside the EMR. For example, if you’re in an Epic facility and there are prior visits, those prior visits may have been outside of the electronic version of Epic that’s in place. You can click on a tab and look at the PDF of those versions.

Where we’re seeing the market got today is a much broader use of OCR technologies and other ways to make that unstructured data actually actionable inside the record. We see it as taking unstructured data and turning it into knowledge to help not only clinicians, also but the financial side of the provider to make better decisions.


The criticism of scanned text documents is that nobody’s ever going to look through a bunch of PDF files. Is the OCR technology and your ability to build that into the workflow changing the usefulness of that data that previously nobody would have even looked at?

We’d like to think so. It has to. There are pieces of information that exist outside that core record that are important to the quality of the care of that patient. 

I realized clinicians are pressed for time, but there’s information that’s critical. You want to make sure they have it in a form that’s actionable. If you can search it and deliver that information to them at the point of care, you’ve made a big advancement over simply viewing a PDF where you’ve got to read it and look for the pieces of information.


Much of the agenda of both providers and vendors has involved chasing after the Meaningful Use requirements. Are those having an effect on your business?

It has. Less so in Stage 1 than as we start looking in Stage 2. There are parts of the Stage 2 process that the things that we happen to do at Streamline would give them proof points to get their payments along those lines. For example, release of information, a very critical part. Historically, as you and most of your readers probably know, a lot of the release of information processes have been outsourced. Some of the vendors like ourselves have built that release of information process into the technology that we sell.


The acquisition you did in 2011 of Interpoint Partners to create the OpportunityAnyWare product changed the company’s footprint drastically, along with the Meta Health acquisition. How do you think the analytics market looks and who do you compete with most often?

That acquisition of Interpoint was transformational for Streamline. We would not be where we are today had we not been fortunate enough to be able to complete that transaction, and for a variety of reasons.

But fundamentally, if we think about the analytics space today, if you were at HFMA a few weeks ago at the ANI meeting in Orlando, every other booth had big data or analytics, probably every booth actually. It’s a realization in the marketplace that there is an abundance of information that’s generally available — in EMR systems, in the claims systems, in the billing systems, in the coding systems — that has not historically been used to the best advantage of the payers, the providers, or frankly even the patients. I think that gets lost in this, by the way.

We see analytics as the cornerstone of everything we’re going to do at Streamline. But more importantly, the market itself in general has realized that there is great information that sits in these systems. We need to get it out and we need to get it in form that is actionable. It’s one thing to present a KPI dashboard. It’s another thing to give someone actionable information. We think that’s a key part of what we’re trying to do.

Competitively, it’s the usual cast of characters you’d expect us to be competing against – The Advisory Board, MedAssets, MedeAnalytics.


I think I heard you say that the benefit to patients is often lost and the marketing is aimed at hospitals trying to get control of their physicians. Is there enough emphasis on what the individual patient can immediately get out from all that data?

Do I think there’s enough emphasis on the patient side of it? No, absolutely not. I think it’s going to take a long time to get there. 

The financial challenges and operational challenges that providers face today are staggering and they’re only going to get worse. The first step in the lifecycle of analytics is to address the financial and operational components of the enterprises. Along the way, what comes out of that is an understanding that there is an enormous amount of rich clinical data that can have an impact on the patient either at the point of care or post-care. If you’re able to provide a patient with positive information that’s going to help them once they’re discharged — that prevents readmissions, for example — that’s a piece of information that we should get in the patient’s hand. Or just helping the hospitals understand their patients better.

For example, if you have 70-year-old patient taking 12 different medications, lives in a third-floor walk-up in the Bronx, and has mobility issues, do you think that patient is going to actually get those scripts filled? Pulling that kind of patient information out and being able to present that in format that the care management team can say, this patient is likely to be readmitted because they’re not going to fill their medications — what do we do as part of the care management plan to make sure that he or she gets those medications? That’s the patient part I’m talking about.


It sounds like what you’re saying in terms of who is looking at analytics is that there may be some desperation involved. Hospitals are trying to save the ship financially and desperately trying to find tools that can help do that. Do you sense that hospitals need a solution that they can’t necessarily define because they are facing the uncertainty and aren’t really sure how to react to it?

Yes. They can’t define what it is that they want when it comes to analytics. That’s why you see so many vendors saying, “We’re the next generation in analytics vendors. We can help solve all your financial problems.”

The reality is I don’t think anybody has cracked the crystal ball of what’s the right amount of information and how to deliver and how to make it actionable for our clients. None of the vendors have. But I think we all have the right intention in mind, which is to ensure that our clients are getting meaningful, positive return on investment that’s ultimately going to translate into that provider IDN’s ability to provide quality care in the community. We have to keep the hospitals alive.


I was looking at the STRM stock chart today and noticed that the share price has gone from in the $1.50 range in early 2012 around to $7 today. Do you think that the industry, in all its excitement about the bigger and better-known companies, has missed a pretty big success story?

Streamline flew under the radar for a long time. Over the last couple of years — really starting last May – the investor marketplace started to pay attention to what we were trying to assemble here, I think. A lot of investment dollars chased the big EMR vendors. Look at Cerner’s stock charts or anybody else – they’ve all done fairly well in this period, for the most part.

At $1.50 per share, our market cap was about $16 million. It’s hard to find institutional investors, but lot of retail people want to own that kind of stock where we trade by appointment. I think in 2010 we were trading 5,000 or 6,000 shares a day.

We’ve invested a considerable amount of effort in telling our story to the marketplace and it has responded favorably. Frankly, our team here has performed very well. Our sales organization delivered, our operational teams delivered, the technology folks delivered. We’re getting a little better recognition in the marketplace at the moment.


My first reaction to the market cap was the value of being publicly traded is marginal compared to the expense and headaches involved, but it was a lot worse when the market cap was smaller. Will you be able to grow better at this point because you’re publicly traded? 

I don’t think there’s a person on the face of the earth that wakes up one day and says, you know, I want to be CEO of a microcap public company, so I can assure you I did not.

That being said, our current position being public offers us some advantages. The obvious one, you have better access to capital and the capital markets, but beyond that, the cost of being public is still quite burdensome. It was clearly excessively burdensome when we were a $50 million market cap company.


You used the term a couple of minutes ago that investors were responding to what you are trying to assemble. The two acquisitions made the company a lot more attractive in different ways. Do you see that the company’s growth will be based on further diversification or acquisition?

We gave our guidance to the analysts earlier this year. Our growth guidance in terms of revenue and Adjusted EBIDTA were entirely based upon organic growth. We think we’ve assembled a set of assets today where there’s inherent meaningful organic growth in an orderly fashion and have really focused our teams on that.

That said, when I get asked the acquisition question in every earnings call, I try to give the same answer. One of the things we’ve tried to create culturally here is building deep, meaningful relationships with our clients. Those relationships give us ideas and point us in directions of where our clients think there are either weaknesses in other vendors or challenges they don’t see being met by their current set of vendors, where they come to us and said, hey, can you do anything along these lines? Have you thought about being in this business? So when we think about the potential to do additional inorganic growth opportunities, that thought process is really frankly driven by our relationships with our clients.


What’s your plan for the company over the next five years?

When we came here in early 2011, we had a vastly different plan than the plan we have today. Plans are iterative, as you’d expect. The original plan was, let’s try to stop the cash losses and grow the business modestly. 

In early to mid-2011, we went back to the board of directors and said, we think there’s an opportunity for a mercurial growth here. We want to set out a plan where we put forth a five-year strategic plan, which we redesigned again this year to take another look at the next rolling five years now that we’ve been here but little over two years. We think we have meaningful runway in front of us, an opportunity to build something that’s exciting. We’ve been able to culturally create an environment where our clients understand our commitments.

One of the things we use internally culturally is something called the three Rs, which is respect, responsibility, and results. The cornerstone of those three R’s is building those relationships with those clients. We think those client relationships put us in a position to grow a meaningful business over the next four to five years.

Our current five-year plan starts every morning when I get up. It’s the first day of that five-year plan.


Do you have any concluding thoughts?

First, thank you very much for thinking of Streamline. We’ve flown under the radar for 20-plus years, so I appreciate the opportunity to tell a little bit of our story.

Secondly — and I think this is an important generic comment about this space — as we all know, we’re entering another series of challenges for the whole healthcare ecosystem. The one question that we all need to ask ourselves is, what can we do to ensure that we have a healthy healthcare system for the generations that follow us?

I think that’s really an important question. Every day we challenge our associates to think about what can we do to make sure that the health system survives all the challenges that are in front. 

Thanks again for thinking of us and our team here at Streamline.

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August 19, 2013 Interviews 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 8/19/13

August 19, 2013 Headlines No Comments

Forbes ranks Cerner among world’s most innovative companies

Forbes ranks Cerner #13 on its list of the world’s 100 most innovative companies, as measured by the difference between its market capitalization and the net present value of cash flows from its existing businesses.

Jeremy Hunt plans sale of confidential patient medical records to private firms

In England, the General Practice Extraction Service will send de-identified electronic patient records from NHS to a central database, where they can be bought by private companies performing research.

NSF invests $20 million in large projects to keep the nation’s cyberspace secure and trustworthy

The Trustworthy Health and Wellness Program will receive a five-year, $10 million National Science Foundation cybersecurity grant to develop tools for authentication and privacy, malware detection, and medical IT auditing.

Bingham Memorial Hospital CEO pleads guilty to stalking charge

Louis Kraml, CEO of the Idaho hospital, pleads guilty of ordering the IT director to tap the telephone of a former hospital physician. Kraml received a suspended jail sentence, probation, a $1,000 fine, and 100 hours of community service. Charges were dropped against two other IT employees, but a warrant has been issued for the arrest of IT Director Jack York after he failed to appear in court.

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August 19, 2013 Headlines No Comments

Monday Morning Update 8/19/13

August 17, 2013 News 6 Comments

8-17-2013 2-18-16 PM

From DanburyWhaler: “Re: Norwalk Hospital. No longer hooking up with Western Connecticut Health Network, now part of Yale-New Haven. Stay tuned for lots more consolidation in Connecticut” That would be interesting since Norwalk just signed up as a WCHN affiliate in January.

8-17-2013 2-22-18 PM

From Jon: “Re: HIMSS. They emailed members about the ICD-10 Playbook, and when I click the links, I get the infamous registration form before I can view it. It is sponsored by vendors, which is appropriate, but it should be available to all members with no strings attached for all the money we spend on dues. Now we will be bombarded with sales calls. No, thanks. I think my HIMSS membership days are over. Hopefully others will join me in sending a message.” HIMSS has gotten so commercial and so intertwined with its vendor members that I treat them like any other vendor, i.e. I always assume anything they send is spam. I’m rarely wrong on that. All the resources that require registration are on the site of MedTech Media (Healthcare IT News, Government Health IT, etc.), a private company of which HIMSS bought the majority position of shares in 2011.

The more important debate to me is this: are vendors doing themselves a favor by hiding their promotional material behind a registration form? Vendors think this way: we need leads, and any names we can get, even of people with marginal interest, make us feel more successful. I think this way: why in the world would you make it harder to see your advertisement? Nobody wants to be cold-called just because they took a quick look at a white paper. I would bet people often do as I do in just inserting phony contact information to avoid the dreaded phone call (note to vendors: if you are trying to reach a CIO named Scatman Crothers who used a phony email address, that’s me.) Don’t listen to your marketing and sales people – put your stuff out there where everybody can see it. Do the right thing and the HIMSS problem goes away with it.

8-17-2013 9-40-59 AM

Two-thirds of respondents say it’s OK if Farzad Mostashari’s replacement isn’t a physician, although most of the respondents probably aren’t members of Congress who may expect to see an MD in charge. New poll to your right: will the FDASIA report help improve patient safety with healthcare IT? Vote first, then click the Comments link at the bottom of the poll to explain your thoughts because “yes” or “no” votes don’t create rich debate.

Speaking of FDASIA, I made that the lead item in “This Week in HIT,” a partly serious, partly snarky weekly news update that I’ll do on Fridays. It will focus on the most important stories of the week, which admittedly aren’t all that fascinating at the moment given the summer doldrums before the inevitable September pickup (hint to vendors: it’s a great time to make announcements.) Long-time readers will remember the format from the Brev+IT weekly newsletter I used to send out until the volume of work overwhelmed me, much of which went toward coming up with Onion-like headlines. People have asked for a weekly summary of just the major news items, so this is it.

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

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8-17-2013 9-55-26 AM

Wake Forest Baptist Urgent Care – Clemmons goes live with UrgentQ, a “fastpass for healthcare” that lets patients choose an open visit time and receive text message updates of when to come in. It’s from Lightshed Healthcare Technologies, a new company founded by Dialog Medical Founder Mike Burke.

8-17-2013 10-31-59 AM

Cerner will develop the biggest office project in Kansas City history if its plans for the former Bannister Mall are approved. The campus will cover 4.5 million square feet on 251 acres and will be valued at $4.1 billion upon completion. It will house up to 15,000 employees. Cerner wants $1.2 billion in tax incentives to build it, offering to chip in $2.9 billion of its own money.


Readers have asked for an update on the HIPAA Omnibus Rule, for which enforcement begins in just a few weeks. I publicly solicited pro bono volunteers to to review the changes via Webinar. Doing so will be a couple of excellent presenters from The Advisory Board Company: Associate General Counsel / Privacy Officer Rebecca C. Fayed and Information Security Officer Eric Banks. Sign up for The HIPAA Omnibus Rule: What You Should Know and Do as Enforcement Begins, which will be held on September 10, 2013, from 2:00 to 2:45 p.m. Eastern. I reviewed their slides and they are excellent in the usual Advisory Board fashion – very meaty and to the point as they cover changes related to business associates, breach thresholds, and everything else covered entities need to know and do. This is a non-commercial presentation offered strictly to benefit readers by Rebecca and Eric. I appreciate their involvement.

The West Virginia Health Information Network has added several hospitals recently, bringing its total to nine.

8-17-2013 1-47-45 PM 8-17-2013 1-50-34 PM

Louis Kraml, CEO of Bingham Memorial Hospital (ID) pleads guilty to stalking charges for illegally wiretapping a former hospital physician, aided by three of the hospital’s IT department employees. Charges were dropped against two of the employees because they were following the instructions of IT Director Jack York, who had been accused last year of running a bogus consulting company that was charging the hospital for IT services. The court has issued a warrant for the arrest of York, who didn’t show up in court. The charges aren’t mention on LouisKraml.com, the CEO’s official website.

8-17-2013 1-06-08 PM

HIMSS urges HHS to start Meaningful Use Stage 2 as scheduled, but suggests extending the attestation window to 18 months.

The Fort Lauderdale, FL newspaper covers the use by several hospitals, most of them VA facilities, of the GetWellNetwork patient engagement solution.

8-17-2013 2-00-08 PM

The National Science Foundation issues a five-year, $10 million cybersecurity grant to Trustworthy Health and Wellness program that will develop tools for authentication and privacy, malware detection, and medical IT auditing. Experts from Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and University of Michigan are on the team.

Sidney Health Center (MT), a 25-bed critical access hospital, will implement Epic as part of an agreement with Sanford Health (ND).

Vince commences his HIS-tory coverage of Cerner, aided by Neal Patterson (who responded quickly and warmly to Vince’s inquiry) and the archives of Cerner’s April Martin. The details they provided are fascinating.


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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August 17, 2013 News 6 Comments

News 8/16/13

August 15, 2013 News 3 Comments

Top News

8-15-2013 9-19-55 PM

CareCloud secures an additional $9 million from Adams Street Partners as part of its Series B financing round, bringing the company’s total funding to $55 million.

Reader Comments

From Frank Poggio: “Re: certification scoreboard. Here we are just six weeks away from the termination of Stage 1 vendor Certifications on 9/30/13 and there are only six Inpatient EHR vendors with 2014 Edition Certified systems (aka Stage 2). They are: Epic, McKesson (Paragon only), Allscripts, Meditech, HMS, and CPSI. No-shows for full EHRs are Cerner, GE, Siemens, Healthland, QuadraMed, and NTT-Data (Keane). If you are running a Stage 1 Certified system on 10/1/13, it will be considered a non-certified product even though you’ve not changed a line of code. As I have said on this blog before, the process and details under 2014 are far more difficult than ONC would admit, and even today the test scripts are still changing. In fact, while working through some test data with several of my clients this week, we came across three situations where the test data is in error. When we brought this to the attention of the test labs they simply said, ‘We’ll notify ONC, but for now just ignore it.’”   

From Dodging a Bullet: “With all the praise and glory for the soon-to-be former ONC head, you have to wonder about the timing of his departure. Does this really mean that MU2 will be pushed back and he doesn’t want to be at the helm when that takes place?” I can’t imagine the timing of Stage 2 would be enough to make Farzad leave. He’s been through Congressional grillings, has taken every kind of criticism there could be, and works for an agency that rarely sticks to dates it sets.

8-15-2013 6-49-59 PM

From Potha Cary: “Re: Allscripts tip of the week. Tells you how to look up a zip code on the United States Postal Service website. Asinine.” It would be nice if the app could do the lookup itself, but at least if not, they gave users good instructions that they may or may not need. I don’t see a problem with that.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

8-14-2013 1-14-06 PM

inga_small Hot news from HIStalk Practice this week includes: the AAFP urges CMS to add a 12-month extension to the timeframe for Stage 2 MU compliance. MGMA-ACMPE adds almost 600 new members as HCA Physician Services joins the association. The majority of physicians believe EMRs have at least some positive impact on patient care according to an athenahealth / Epocrates survey, though 17 percent believe they worsen care. Thanks for reading.

inga_small Facebook reports that 128 million Americans and 24 million UK users access Facebook every day. A mere 278 of those are my friends, which happens to be a few more than Mr. H and Dr. Jayne but far less than the 2,271 who like our HIStalk page. We are collectively of the belief that you can never have too many friends, so send us a request and we’ll be happy to join your inner circle. If you prefer to keep it professional, you can connect with Mr. H and me through LinkedIn.

8-15-2013 5-52-17 PM

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Symantec, which secures the IT systems and health information of medical practices, hospitals, and payers. Symantec Backup Exec simplifies backup and disaster recovery for practices. The company’s healthcare software solutions provide security, data loss prevention, HIPAA compliance automation, business continuity, and storage and infrastructure management (the list of specific products is surprisingly long, and Mobile Management is probably worth a look, as is Endpoint Virtualization for managing applications and standardizing single sign-on). Many of these tools are available as free trial downloads. Thanks to Symantec for supporting HIStalk.

Surescripts Mini-Interview

8-15-2013 4-42-52 PM

Surescripts announced Tuesday that it has added 19 state HIEs and health information providers to its clinical interoperability network, allowing them to exchange referrals, discharges lab results, CCD, prior authorization, and notes via the Surescripts network. I spoke to Jeff Miller, SVP/GM of clinical interoperability for Surescripts, who says the company “decided to move out of just electronic prescribing and support a wider set of clinical information on the Surescripts network.”

Surescripts network members have always been able to communicate with each other through the network directory, but Miller says that “communities of networks have significant populations we need to reach.” Now that Greater Rochester RHIO is on the network as one of the 19 new participants, for example, any of its members can communicate with any member of the Surescripts network and vice versa. Surescripts is paid by hospitals and EHR vendors, who may or may not pass along charges to their own users, but there’s no extra charge to use the gateway. 

Miller says the connectivity marketplace consists of HIE applications that poll EHRs to get information and send messages and EHRs that can exchange information within their own vendor-specific network or through partners such as Surescripts. The EHR-based solutions allow that communication to be integrated into user workflow, so that an Epic user discharging a patient can look up a provider in the directory and send a message out without launching another mailbox-type application. Miller says over 600 EHR vendors are connected to its network.

I asked how this type of messaging could support population health management. He says networks need to support three models: (a) a push or message-based model; (b) a pull or query-based model; and (c) a publish model, such as moving data to a repository to support managing populations. The benefit to patients, he says, “is to get rid of that clipboard you get at the practice. Let the doctors become more proactive. Take cost out and improve quality.”

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

8-15-2013 9-22-27 PM

Imprivata announces that Q2 bookings grew 30 percent and headcount was increased to 250 with the addition of 48 new employees.

8-15-2013 9-23-26 PM

A stock analysis firm starting its coverage Quality Systems with lukewarm enthusiasm claims that the company’s customers, and presumably those of other EHR vendors, are being lost to enterprise vendors such as Cerner and Epic as hospitals acquire practices.


8-15-2013 9-24-18 PM

The NY eHealth Collaborative awards Mana Health a contract to build the “Patient Portal for New Yorkers.” 

8-15-2013 1-43-15 PM

Orthopaedic Associates of Augusta (GA) selects SRS EHR for its 14 providers.

8-15-2013 12-25-34 PM

Charleston Area Medical Center (WV) contracts with Besler Consulting to assist with the identification of Transfer DRG underpayments.

8-15-2013 12-23-24 PM

The NFL’s Buffalo Bills will implement medical imaging technology from Carestream at the Bills’ Ralph Wilson Stadium to provide early detection and monitoring of brain injuries.


8-15-2013 12-49-24 PM

James McDevitt (GE Healthcare) joins API Healthcare as VP of human resources.

8-15-2013 12-51-26 PM

The Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise Patient Care Device Domain Technical Committee names Iatric VP Jeff McGeath co-chair.

8-15-2013 7-58-25 PM

Jeff Finkelstein, MD, former chief of emergency medicine and CMIO of The Hospital of Central Connecticut (CT), joins Hartford Hospital (CT) as chief of emergency medicine.

8-15-2013 9-02-28 PM

Standard Register Healthcare names Kevin Lilly (McKesson) as VP of marketing and product management.

8-15-2013 9-10-21 PM

John Halamka,MD is named to the board of Imprivata.

Announcements and Implementations

8-15-2013 12-54-23 PM

Hawaii Health System concurrently implements Perioperative Management by SIS and Siemens Soarian.

8-15-2013 12-55-52 PM

The Central Illinois HIE launches Direct communication between its members and other HIEs using ICA CareAlign Connect technology.

8-15-2013 12-56-53 PM

Prime HealthCare Services will connect its 23 hospitals to the Inland Empire HIE, which is based on the Orion Health HIE platform.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (NC) goes live on Allscripts Sunrise Clinical Manager.

Diagnotes launches a mobile clinical communications system for patient information, caregiver communication, and documentation.

Innovation and Research

ShiftyBits, LLC releases ID My Pill, a $4.99 iPhone app that identifies prescription tablets using the phone’s camera.


Weird News Andy concludes about a story he titles “En Fuego” that, “Well, they are part of the fire department.” Two Washington, DC ambulances catch fire in separate incidents on the same day, fortunately with no injuries. WNA also likes this story, in which a surgeon intentionally lied to a patient for reasons unknown in claiming that he had removed her brain tumor, when in fact he had not.

8-15-2013 7-06-21 PM

An OIG audit finds that Medicare paid $449 million too much in 2011 to hospitals that shouldn’t be considered critical access hospitals because they aren’t in rural areas and aren’t far from other hospitals. States were allowed to override the location criteria until 2006; OIG says it’s time to take their exemptions away and CMS seems to agree.

Sponsor Updates

  • Greenway Medical approves Master Mobility iPad and iPad mini applications as certified API solutions for its PrimeSUITE platform.
  • An article by Brad Levin of Visage Imaging covers radiology’s “imaging IT disorders.”
  • Intelligent InSites celebrates its 10th anniversary.
  • Aprima reports having over 600 participants at annual user group conference earlier this month in Dallas.
  • A Santa Rosa Consulting article offers a test to determine whether an organization needs to conduct an IT cost optimization review.
  • GetWellNetwork publishes an e-book on transformative health trailblazers.
  • Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center and GE Healthcare collaborate to find ways to make healthcare more enjoyable for patients.
  • HIStalk sponsors earning a spot on “Best Places to Work 2013” are Aspen Advisors, CTG Health Solutions, Cumberland Consulting Group, Divurgent, Encore Health Resources, ESD, Hayes Management Consulting, Health Catalyst, Iatric Systems, Impact Advisors, Imprivata, iSirona, Sagacious Consultants, Santa Rosa Consulting, and The Advisory Board Company.
  • ORA Orthopedics (IA/IL) reports that its implementation of Emdat’s clinical documentation technology has yielded operational and administrative advantages.
  • Direct Consulting Associates and Direct Recruiters expand their offices, staff, and services. 
  • HIMSS Analytics’ James Gaston, senior director of clinical and business intelligence, will participate in a panel discussion on leveraging analytics in clinical operations at next month’s Midwest Hospital Cloud Forum. 
  • Wolters Kluwer Health introduces iPad and iPhone apps of Lippincott’s Nursing Drug Handbook.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

Now here’s an app I’d use. A group of New York University researchers has developed a mathematical model to help identify which preventive measures would most improve a patient’s life expectancy. Responding to the challenges physicians face when trying to address the mass of preventive recommendations that exist, they hope to integrate the model into EHRs to prioritize guidelines on an individual basis. It’s not ready for prime time, but I’m seriously intrigued.

An app that is actually on the market, “Health through Breath – Pranayama” includes controlled breathing exercises intended to relieve tension and promote relaxation. I wish I could have beamed it to the attendees of a meeting I was in the other day because everyone was keyed up and irritable. Its topic: the cost of ICD-10 readiness.

Speaking of apps, Medical Economics releases its list of the top 10 apps physicians recommend to their patients. Four of the 10 are diabetes related, which parallels the percentage of patients I seem to be seeing.

The National Uniform Claim Committee publishes its transition timeline for the new CMS 1500 claim form. The timeline meshes with Medicare’s and proposes that payers begin accepting the new form in January 2014 with a dual-use period through April 1, 2014 when the new form is required. I may have mentioned this before but it’s worth mentioning again – I don’t know how a lot of providers keep up with this and I’ve gotten quite a few questions on it in the last few weeks.


The American Academy of Family Physicians proposes a revised Stage 2 compliance timeline for Meaningful Use. The proposal actually includes three different revisions depending on whether 2014 is your first, second, or third/fourth payment year.

It’s not just a photocopier any more. Affinity Health Plan settles with the US Department of Health and Human Services over HIPAA violations. A returned leased copies rwas later sold to the CBS television network and investigators checking the hard drive found protected health information belong to over 300,000 patients. According to the documents, Affinity didn’t include photocopier hard drives in its HIPAA risk analysis as required. Show of hands: who is pulling out their risk analysis right now to double check? The FTC’s guidance on copier hard drives is here for your reading pleasure.


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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August 15, 2013 News 3 Comments

Morning Headlines 8/15/13

August 14, 2013 Headlines 3 Comments

Why EHRs are not (yet) disruptive

According to the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, EHRs aren’t disruptive because they were designed to simply replace paper and users aren’t motivated to change their business model.

Affinity Health Plan Fined $1.3 Million for Photocopier HIPAA Violation

AHP failed to erase the hard drive of a leased photocopier containing PHI of 345,000 patients.

Quality Systems slips on a less-than-stellar initiation at KeyBanc

Analyst’s report suggest that Quality Systems / NextGen and presumably other practice EHR vendors may be losing ground as hospitals acquire physician practices and replace their systems with those of enterprise vendors such as Epic and Cerner. 

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August 14, 2013 Headlines 3 Comments

Morning Headlines 8/14/13

August 13, 2013 Headlines 2 Comments

Surescripts Adds 19 Healthcare Organizations to National Network

Surescipts adds 19 state HIEs and health information service providers to its national health information network, including Cerner, ICA, and Quest Diagnostics.

As its Farm Campus opens, Epic Systems prepares for even more workers

Epic Systems prepares to open its third campus, built to resemble a working farm, as the company also completes a fourth campus that will open in the fall.

CareFusion Reports Fourth Quarter And Fiscal 2013 Results

Revenue was down six percent, adjusted EPS $0.49 vs. $0.55, in line with expectations.

Scripps Launches Study To Assess Role Of Mobile Health Devices In Lowering Health Costs

Scripps Translational Science Institute launches a clinical study that will determine if wireless technologies and the use of social media can reduce healthcare spending.

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August 13, 2013 Headlines 2 Comments

News 8/14/13

August 13, 2013 News 11 Comments

Top News

8-13-2013 5-48-53 PM

Surescripts adds 19 state HIEs and health information service providers to its national health information network, including Cerner, ICA, and Quest Diagnostics.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga Mr. H has taken a day or two off so I am flying solo tonight. He can never rest for long so be assured he’ll be back at the keyboard later this week.

Reader Comments

  8-13-2013 5-42-00 PM  8-13-2013 5-43-38 PM

From Elsie: “Re: Epic’s new campus. If I were a cow I think I’d want to live in Verona.”  Epic opens its Farm Campus, which includes a white farmhouse with a wraparound porch, a red barn with a silo, a creamery, and a John Deere tractor. The buildings, which have standard offices on the inside, will house up to 1,000 employees and include extra decorative touches that follow the farm motif. Verona city officials have estimated the value of the farm campus and Epic’s new 11,000-seat auditorium at about $400 million.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

8-13-2013 8-01-21 PM

Marlin Equity Partners acquires long-term care software vendor 6N Systems, which will be merged with Marlin’s portfolio company SigmaCare.

8-13-2013 8-03-30 PM

Emdeon reports Q2 adjusted earnings of $77.2 million, down 3.7 percent from a year ago. Revenues were up almost six percent to $311 million.

8-13-2013 8-04-40 PM

Endo Health Solutions subsidiary HealthTronics agrees to sell HealthTronics Laboratory Solutions, its anatomical pathology business, to Metamark Genetics as part of Endo’s announced plan to pursue strategic alternatives for HealthTronics.

Medical device maker Medtronic buys Cardiocom, a provider of telehealth and patient monitoring services, for $200 million.

CareFusion reports Q4 earnings: revenues down six percent, adjusted EPS $0.49 vs. $0.55 and in line with expectations. The company also announced a $750 million share repurchase program.


8-13-2013 8-07-46 PM

East Tennessee HIN selects DataMotion Direct as its secure messaging service.

Apria, a provider of home healthcare products and services, extends its contract with predictive analytics provider Connance.

8-13-2013 8-42-40 PM

Brazosport Regional Health System (TX) will implement MEDHOST’s EDIS.

8-13-2013 8-46-29 PM

Mercy Health System (ME) selects Allscripts RCM Services for back office processing and patient collections.

The Chain Drug Consortium renews its agreement with Emdeon to provide services through the Emdeon Clinical Exchange eRx Network.

The AHRQ awards ECRI Institute a contract to continue operating, maintaining, and enhancing the AHRQ National Guideline Clearinghouse and the National Quality Measure Clearinghouse.

PinnacleHealth System (PA) and Meridian Health System (NJ) select the SIS perioperative IT platform.


8-13-2013 8-48-24 PM   8-13-2013 8-49-12 PM

Impact Advisors promotes Matt Duncan and Kent Gray from principal advisors to VPs.

8-13-2013 8-50-21 PM

Conifer Health Solutions hires James C. Bohnsack (TransUnion Healthcare) as VP of acquisition strategy.

Healthcare analytics provider PTS Physicians names Penn Krause (Treatspace) CEO, replacing the retiring William Bennett.

8-13-2013 8-56-37 PM

WebMD names David Schlanger its permanent CEO following three months serving as interim CEO. The company also promoted Steven Zatz from VP of professional services to president.

8-13-2013 8-54-02 PM

US HealthCenter hires Paul A. Markham (V3 Healthcare Strategies) as chief strategy officer.

Announcements and Implementations

8-13-2013 8-58-44 PM

Cullman Regional Medical Center (AL) deploys the MedSnap ID Enterprise application, which can identify a patient’s pills from a single image and identify the name and strength of each drug. Mr. H mentioned the app several months ago and characterized it as “brilliant.”

Humana agrees to subsidize up to 85 percent of the purchase of Greenway’s PrimeSuite EHR for physicians practicing in the Humana network.

8-13-2013 9-00-03 PM

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (NC) implements Allscripts Sunrise Clinical Manager.

8-13-2013 9-01-17 PM

Connections Counseling (WI) installs Forward Health Group’s PopulationManager for analytics.

The Kansas HIN will launch a statewide patient portal next month, which will be free to patients and based on the NoMoreClipboard PHR platform.

8-13-2013 9-02-25 PM

The Dallas Business Journal reports that Baylor Health Care System (TX) providers are electronically placing about 94,000 orders each weekday. Orders originate from multiple EHRs but integrate into Baylor’s existing EHR (Allscripts Sunrise, I believe.)

8-13-2013 2-06-52 PM

Novant Health (NC) begins implementation of its $1.1 million patient identification iris scanning system from M2SYS Technology.

Nuance Communications announces that in the last three month 100 hospitals and radiology practices, including 50 new customers, have converted to the latest PowerScribe 360 platform,


Government and Politics

The Obama administration reports that the VA backlog of disability claims is now 496,000, a 20 percent reduction since March.

8-13-2013 3-48-01 PM

The ONC selects 28 practicing providers and staff from 18 states to serve as the inaugural class of the Health IT Fellows program, which aims to “help other providers overcome challenges faster and more efficiently by sharing key lessons learned.’”

Innovation and Research

The Scripps Translational Science Institute launches Wired for Health, a clinical study to evaluate whether the integration of wireless technologies, online social networks, and medicine have a direct effect on healthcare spending. Half of the study’s 200 participants will use a mobile health device for six months to monitor blood pressure, heart rhythm, or blood glucose and will have the ability to track their conditions through a web portal or mobile device. Researchers will evaluate whether the device-wearing patients have more online interaction with their providers and more success managing their health conditions.



The FDA extends 510(k) clearance for Verizon’s Converged Health Management remote patient monitoring medical device.

LRS and Siemens Healthcare jointly develop a solution that reduces the number of Windows print servers and printer drivers that need to be defined and maintained within the Siemens Soarian platform.


8-13-2013 9-06-37 PM

The Jackson Clinic (TN) reports positive results from the first year of its collaborative accountable care initiative, including better than market measures for annual eye exams and kidney disease screenings for diabetics, breast cancer screenings, and adolescent well-child visits, as well as lower total medical costs compared to the local market.

Sign of the times: The AMA announces it will shut down its print and online news magazine because of its inability to generate a profit over the last 10 years. AM News has a print circulation of about 230,000 but saw an $8.7 million decline in print display advertising last year. Pharma advertising has historically accounted for the bulk of the publication’s advertising revenue.

8-13-2013 9-07-24 PM

Only 38 percent of providers participating in an athenahealth/Epocrates survey claim they are at least somewhat confident in their practice’s ability to transition to the ICD-10 code set, while 79 percent express confidence in satisfying the requirements for Stage 2 MU.

Sponsor Updates

  • Frost & Sullivan awards Kareo its 2013 North American Physician Practice Management Customer Value Enhancement Award for demonstrating excellence in implementing strategies that create value for its customers.
  • Vitera Healthcare offers an August 28 Webinar to help physicians and their staff prepare for MU Stage 2.
  • NextGen Healthcare will utilize Clinical Architecture’s Symedical Server for its terminology integration architecture within the NextGen Hospital Solutions suite.
  • Allscripts Enterprise 11.4.1 and Professional 13.0 EHRs receive 2014 ONC HIT Certification from the Drummond Group.
  • API Healthcare looks at the healthcare system trend of eliminating differential pay in order to reduce costs.
  • Impact Advisors identifies three challenges in achieving MU Stage 2.
  • Billian’s HealthDATA ranks MedAssets the top healthcare group purchasing organization based on the number of affiliate beds.
  • Pro golfer Jason Dufner, who is sponsored by Greenway, wins the 2013 PGA Championship, his first major title since partnering with Greenway two years ago.
  • Alere Analytics releases its Electronic Laboratory Reporting solution for hospital reporting of results to state health departments and to improve care coordination between lab personnel and clinicians.
  • Ophthalmology EMR provider Medflow will give users access to LDM Group’s healthcare messaging programs for improved patient medication compliance.
  • iSirona posts a video featuring its client services team and how it supports hospitals’ medical device integration efforts.


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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August 13, 2013 News 11 Comments

News 8/9/13

August 8, 2013 News 15 Comments

Top News

8-8-2013 7-53-34 PM
8-8-2013 6-09-57 PM

Allscripts reports Q2 results: revenue down 7 percent, adjusted EPS $0.05 vs. $0.16, missing earnings expectations of $0.10. Revenue of $345 million missed expectations of $357 million. Shares are down 6 percent in after-hours trading. It’s the third straight quarter that MDRX has fallen short of expected profit. The announcement’s headline is a clear signal of a bad quarter given that neither revenue nor earnings are mentioned, indicating that the company was forced to dive deeper into the financials to find something to brag about. Allscripts is moving its focus (or at least the attention of analysts) to population health management given the minimal mention of its ambulatory solutions. I tried to listen to the conference call, but felt cognitive dissonance as the optimism I heard didn’t match the pessimism the numbers suggest.

Reader Comments

8-8-2013 3-51-18 PM

From Fraudbuster: “Re: Farid Fata, MD. Charged with Medicare fraud. He is affiliated with Crittenton Hospital in Rochester, MI and its cancer center. It’s big news in the Detroit metro.” Federal agents arrested the doctor at his practice Tuesday, charging him with a $35 million Medicare fraud scheme that included administering chemotherapy and PET scans to cancer patients who had no chance of survival. He is accused of employing hundreds of unlicensed doctors trained outside the US to see patients first so he could visit with 50-70 patients per day and bill Medicare for his time, which totaled $25 million plus another $24 million in drug infusions, making him #1 in Michigan. He’s also accused of taking home bags of patient records to do billing from his home. The complaint says that in one case, the doctor insisted that a male patient who had fallen and struck his head on the way to the clinic be given his chemo before being taken to the ED, where he later died of the head injury. You might think CMS suspicion might have been raised earlier(and payments frozen) by doctor billing $25 million.

From Bob: “Re: McKesson Horizon. My hospital is looking to migrate to Paragon. Can anyone share insight?” If your hospital has done the conversion or is underway, please leave a comment.

From DCInternRoomate: “Re: ONC-funded HIEs. They are failing, so expect a huge Blue Button push next week.” I’m assuming you are saying that HIEs have had minimal impact, so patients will be reenlisted as the hand-carrying human interfaces between non-interoperable systems. I wouldn’t necessarily disagree. Technology bears some of the blame for mandatory sneakernet, but mostly it’s the screwy US health system that created the problems involved with expecting competitors to freely share information, not to mention to disenfranchise the patient to the point where they are merely the widget that must be processed in order to trigger sending out a bill. Medicare in the 1960s made healthcare a business and not a charitable endeavor or a public health project as it simultaneous drove (short term) and drained (long term) the US economy, so it’s hard to work corporate empathy and compassion in there. Hospitals have generally good intentions but poor execution.

8-8-2013 6-57-11 PM

From Velvet Hammer: “Re: HCA. This e-mail should give you an idea about HCA’s EMR plans.” The e-mail describes plans for HCA and Reston Hospital Center to roll out Meditech Advanced Clinicals, which would suggest that perhaps HCA won’t abandon Meditech for Epic or Cerner after all.

8-8-2013 6-58-02 PM

From MyFirstTime: “Re: [vendor’s name omitted]. I called them to learn more, but they say they are getting so many calls that they have started a wait list for new customers. Is healthcare IT so popular that it is now mainstream?” I can’t imagine that a lab ordering and results solution is creating such demand no matter how good it is, but readers have reported that it’s the real deal. I’m not mentioning the name again because this comment smells a bit like a company planted item, having originated in the same location as the company’s headquarters.  

8-8-2013 6-59-19 PM

From Gordian Knot: “Re: Halamka’s recent self-indulgent blog post about benefits of keeping his organization homegrown. First, I really, really wonder what the cost analysis is when sites need to meet current regs. Second, I do find it humorous how other bloggers and semi-news sources immediately linked his comments with Maine Med having issues with an install of Epic. It all sounded like voices that have been waiting to jump on anything negative about Epic. How many people in leadership got ejected because of an install gone bad with Allscripts or Cerner or Siemens any other system? Look at Lahey and UCSF as extremes of installs gone bad. Since Epic is just about the only one installing anything,  a few missteps gonna happen.” I used to advocate homegrown software, but those days were gone once the federal government started setting the development agenda. It’s ironic that hospitals that outsource activities such as food service, ED coverage, and even clinical departments assume that they are better enterprise software developers than companies whose own core mission is exactly that. Sometimes organizations really do have expertise and processes that preclude using commercial software effectively, but usually they just overestimate their wonderfulness. Those big hospital systems that like developing their own systems (not BIDMC specifically – I ‘m generalizing now) often have the money to run huge IT departments because they’ve created a lofty-brand pricing monopoly rather than because they have the highest efficiency or best outcomes, and with reimbursement changes, they will just keep buying up practices and hospitals and spreading mediocrity.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga_small From HIStalk Practice this week: 80 percent of clinicians use smartphones and almost half of physicians use a combination of smartphones, tablets, and laptops / desktops for professional work. Patients using EMRs through online portals express significantly higher satisfaction with their physicians and believe they are receiving better care. The AMA says CMS still has more work to do on the Medicare Physician Compare website. A reader reports on Aprima’s national user conference. A Colorado orthopedic clinic fires an employee who emailed PHI to her personal email in order to do some work from home. August is “Admit You’re Happy Month” which seems like the perfect reason to admit you’d love to make me happy by signing up for HIStalk Practice email updates. Thanks for reading.

Some recent HIStalk Connect posts worth your time:

Epocrates Mobile Trends 2013
HIStalk Connect Interviews Joe Reinardy, Founder and CEO, CenterX
Battle of the App Stores: athena vs. Greenway

Listening: Built to Spill, Idaho-based catchy guitar indie rockers that hit their popularity peak in the late 1990s that I’ve somehow missed until now. They’re on tour and I’m likely to check them out.

8-8-2013 4-08-56 PM

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Valence Health, which offers providers turnkey solutions for delivering value-based care. The Chicago-based company has been doing that for 20 years and serves 35,000 physicians, 115 hospitals, and 15 million patients. Customers include Cleveland Clinic, Scott & White, OhioHealth, and half of the country’s freestanding children’s hospitals. Hospital solutions include clinical integration, population health, care management, analytics, managed services, physician network development, and financial analysis of value-based arrangements. Its Vision platform combines data from practice-based PM/EMRs, standardizes it with other data (hospital bills, labs, PBMs, LTC, payer), runs it through a proprietary EMPI, and then generates reports and analytics that measure quality, cost, and utilization and provides risk scores, identification of high-risk patients, and information to establish programs for specific populations and conditions. Its vMine technology obtains daily data from all certified PM/EMR systems and takes only 30 minutes to install remotely. Thanks to Valence Health for supporting HIStalk.

HIStalk Webinar

Elsevier will present “Invigorate Order Set Management: Four Essential Steps” on Tuesday, August 27 from 12:00 – 12:45 p.m. Eastern. Presenters will be Jim Nolin, MD, editor in chief for order sets at Elsevier, and Kevin W. Hatton, MD, medical director of clinical decision support at University of Kentucky HealthCare.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

8-8-2013 8-05-16 PM

LifeNexus, which offers a personalized health information smart card, raises $3.7 million from unnamed investors. Smart cards have been a solution looking for a healthcare problem for at least 20 years and almost always fail miserably, even when packaged as a hospital loyalty card.

8-8-2013 8-07-21 PM

Could computing vendor ClearDATA secures $7 million in second-round funding from Excel Venture Management and Norwest Venture Partners.

SEC filings indicate that activist investor Carl Icahn has increased his stake in Nuance from the 9.3 percent of the company’s shares he reported in April to 16 percent now.


Geisinger Health System selects VisiQuate to develop predictive revenue cycle analytics to increase efficiencies and lower collection costs.

Boulder Community Hospital Physician Clinics select Wellcentive’s Advance platform to facilitate care coordination in support of its PCMH implementation and as part of its comprehensive primary care initiative.

8-8-2013 8-08-45 PM

Twenty-four bed Cozby-Germany Hospital (TX) will implement RazorInsights ONE-Enterprise Edition.


Chris Belmont (Ochsner Health System) will be named as VP/CIO of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (TX). I interviewed him in February.

Announcements and Implementations

St. Louis Children’s Hospital (MO) goes live on iMDsoft’s MetaVision for perioperative.

8-8-2013 8-10-50 PM

The Medical Center of Central Georgia (GA) implements Cerner CPOE with assistance from HCI Group.

The Baylor Quality Alliance ACO (TX) will expand its private HIE into a community HIE using technology from Sandlot Solutions.

Quantros will announce Friday that more than 1,500 Target stores and 50 Target clinics will implement its Safety Rx medication incident reporting system.

8-8-2013 8-12-23 PM

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford, which surely must possess the longest and least-pronounceable hospital name in America, goes live on PCCI’s Pieces EMR-driven clinical surveillance and risk scoring system. PCCI is Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, launched by Dallas-based Parkland Health & Hospital System in October 2012. Meanwhile, Parkland Memorial Hospital was finally deemed safe by CMS on Wednesday, which threatened in 2011 to cut off the hospital’s Medicare and Medicaid funding because of patient safety issues. The federal government said then that Parkland’s problems posed “an immediate and serious threat to patient health and safety,” forcing the hospital to spend $75 million on changes in the past two years.

Lubbock, TX hospitals launch the Llano Estacado Access Partners HIE, with the $80K startup costs underwritten by University Medical Center and Covenant Health System. 

Government and Politics

HHS releases a strategy for accelerating HIE in support of delivery and payment reform. Specific strategies and policies include:

  • Developing regulations and guidance on existing programs to enable the secure portability of health information
  • Advancing HIE among long-term, post-acute, behavioral health, and laboratory providers
  • Developing standards, including an interoperability and certification road map and HIT standards for quality measurement and improvement
  • Implementing incentive and reward-based policies to encourage providers to incrementally incremental adopt electronic HIE.

Innovation and Research

The Inova Translational Medicine Institute at Inova Fairfax Hospital (VA) and GNS Healthcare will develop and commercialize computer models for predicting risk of preterm live birth using next generation sequencing and EMR data.


8-8-2013 3-06-54 PM

Seventy-nine percent of providers using clinical decision support surveillance software report that utilizing the technology has a moderate to significant impact on clinical outcomes, according to a KLAS report. Nearly all Epic, Hospira, and Wolters Kluwer users reported a moderate to significant impact on clinical outcomes, including reductions in length of stay, antibiotic usage, medication costs, and adverse reactions as well as better IV-to-PO conversions.

Highly rated with preliminary data in the KLAS report is PeraHealth, formerly Rothman Healthcare Corporation. I interviewed co-founder Michael Rothman in 2010 about what was then known as the Rothman Index, a real-time patient assessment and clinical decision support tool that readers found promising.

8-8-2013 7-20-18 PM

Genesis Health (IA) alerts several hundred patients that the transcription company used by Cogent Healthcare, its contract hospitalist provider, had exposed their information. It turns out it wasn’t just Genesis: Cogent now says India-based M2ComSys exposed information on 32,000 patients due to an incorrectly secured Web server. Cogent has since fired M2ComSys, which might have triggered confidence concerns initially given that all the photos on its home page still bear the stock photography watermark indicating that they apparently just stole the pictures instead of licensing them.

GlaxoSmithKline announces that packages of its vaccines will include two-dimension bar codes, which are smaller and can contain more information that linear bar codes. GSK will include lot number and expiration date so that hospitals and practices can log the information automatically in their EMRs.

Weird News Andy says he isn’t Captain Renault, but he is shocked – shocked – to read that CMS is months behind in testing data security for the health insurance exchanges that are supposed to be operational on October 1. CMS, having missed two June test dates, says it will instead test security on September 30, the day before the PPACA-mandated insurance exchanges are scheduled to be open for business.

Sponsor Updates

  • Encore Health Resources announces that its Activation Support Services has supported 28 go-lives in 22 hospitals involving more than 10,000 physicians in the past 18 months. Chief Medical Officer Judi Binderman, MD will present EHR go-live challenges in an August 15 HIStalk Webinar, “Full Speed Ahead: Creating Go-Live Success.”
  • Sharp HealthCare (CA) reports that its use of Caradigm’s Identity and Access Management suite has allowed it to grant system access requests in an average of one day compared to 21 days previously.
    NextGen Healthcare reseller ITelagen introduces UroWorx, a series of urology-focused templates for use with NextGen Ambulatory EHR.
  • Imprivata announces that its OneSign solution is the most widely deployed SSO product at hospitals using Siemens Soarian Clinicals.
  • CTG Health Solutions posts a white paper outlining the potential impact of big data on healthcare organizations.
  • TrustHCS joins Greenway Medical’s online marketplace to offer PrimeSUITE customers access to its coding and ICD-10-readiness solutions.
  • StrataRx releases details of its annual conference September 25-27 in Boston.
  • iHT2 interviews Rick MacCornack, chief systems integration office for Northwest Physicians Networks (WA), who will be a featured speaker at iHT2’s August 21-22 HIT Summit in Seattle.
  • Emdeon simplifies the new ACA operating rules and guidelines in its August newsletter.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne


I can’t count the number of emails and text messages I received this week asking what I thought about Dr. Farzad Mostashari’s impending departure from ONC. Of all the names that are being thrown around as possible successors, none of them happen to share his impeccable taste in neckwear. I’m going to continue to appreciate each day that he remains on the job, although I suspect I will likely have to go into mourning when he leaves. I have a feeling we haven’t seen the end of his influence on health IT regardless of where he lands.

CMS issues a clarification on how multiple eligible professionals contributing to a patient portal may count a patient who views information. I’m glad they clarified that the patient does not have to specifically view information contributed by a particular provider for him/her to receive credit. Trying to track that level of data would truly be a chore.

Registration for ONC’s Third Annual Consumer Health IT Summit will begin on August 12. The event is September 16 and will include an announcement about a new eHealth campaign. How’s that for a teaser? The email from ONC was quite mysterious, and although it included a sentence missing the object of a preposition, it didn’t include a link to register or a specific website.

It may be old news, but I didn’t want to fail to mention the planned partnership to link LOINC and SNOMED. It should help with interoperability and hopefully will make things a little less difficult for those of us who have to hook everything up behind the scenes for hospitals and health systems.

Earlier this week one of my good friends mentioned he was frustrated with my health system’s lack of a patient portal. He can access the competitor’s portal but not ours and wanted to let me know. I was surprised since I helped install it almost four years ago. Turns out his physician is merely on staff at one of our hospitals rather than being employed by us, therefore uses a different EHR that may or may not have a portal live. We had a nice chat about the different kinds of community physicians and that their choice of EHR is largely determined by their employment status. It reminded me how obtuse the architecture of our healthcare delivery system is and how ridiculous it must seem to people working in more reasonably structured industries.

Pressure ulcers are a major problem in debilitated patients and ONC announced the winners of their mobile app challenge aimed at assisting nurses in documenting assessments and interventions for ulcer risk and prevention. The winning solution was WoundMAP PUMP from MobileHealthWare. It includes automatic graphing of wound size and time-lapse review of photos. The app is currently in beta testing.


I always like to hear about low-tech solutions and this story got my goat. Eco-Goats provides “environmentally friendly vegetation control,” which will be used at Washington’s Congressional Cemetery. Maybe I can get them to assist with my kudzu problem.


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

 smoking doc

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August 8, 2013 News 15 Comments

Advisory Panel: Physician Order Cost Tools

August 8, 2013 Advisory Panel No Comments

The HIStalk Advisory Panel is a group of hospital CIOs, hospital CMIOs, practicing physicians, and a few vendor executives who have volunteered to provide their thoughts on topical industry issues. I’ll seek their input every month or so on an important news developments and also ask the non-vendor members about their recent experience with vendors. E-mail me to suggest an issue for their consideration.

If you work for a hospital or practice, you are welcome to join the panel. I am grateful to the HIStalk Advisory Panel members for their help in making HIStalk better.

This question this time: What IT tools do you use to help physicians make cost-effective decisions as they are creating patient orders?

Although our system allows us to create rules that would give the provider options for less expensive selections, we do not use that feature. The pharmacy already has an aggressive substitution policy and the thought of more alerts makes us concerned. I’d love to hear how others are approaching this.

Not as much as we should. We try to build our order sets in a way that makes it easy to make cost-effective decisions. In particular, we try to make it easy to use best practices and make it difficult to order unnecessary tests and therapies. But we haven’t taken the path (yet) of displaying costs next to drug orders, for example.

We have not been very effective in bringing utilization management to the physician ordering workflow. We’ve tried with mixed success to incorporate best practices embedded in Zynx order sets into the standard content, but our physicians have many workarounds to avoid using condition-specific order sets. 

We embedded a link and query tool in Cerner PowerChart to our charge master that allows physicians to review costs of medications, tests, procedures, DME, etc., with their patients in the exam room. In our organization, the charge master reflects our actual charges and reimbursements from the national insurance company. In the course of re-competing our Cerner contract, I asked the EMR vendors to build a prototype equivalent of the Amazon shopping cart in the EMR. That is, as a physician completes the order, the total cost of the order accumulates in the upper right corner of the EMR.  RazorInsights developed a prototype demo that was very slick. None of the other vendors could do it in the timeframe of the re-compete. Of course, because of the laughable situation of the charge master in the US market, it’s not a very easy thing to pull off in a real setting. But at least we could have the functionality in the EMR, waiting for the industry to catch up.

None at the present.

Rank diagnostics and medication choices in increasing order of cost.

Right now, only thing I can say is they can use UpToDate to help make the right choice. We are looking into the option of displaying price and/or cost-effectiveness indicators in the ordering panels. And as we start improving our analytics capabilities so we can better understand variance, I assume we will start using more protocols/pathways to help ensure the right test is ordered for a specific condition.

Having the cost of the ordered test may help…duplicate tests alerts on CPOE, trend value of labs viewable in the clinical summary tile.

[From a vendor member] As a revenue cycle management company, we use various reports to show physicians where they are adequately being paid for the services they render and where there are gaps in the way they bill claims.  We do this retrospectively and not real time as coding is a matter of physician choice.

Our primary interventions to help physicians make cost-effective, appropriate decisions for patient care are actually 1) our actual hospital formularies themselves 2) antibiotic stewardship clinical decision support embedded in electronic orders for antibiotics at some facilities 3) evidence based order sets standardized by diagnosis at the facility level that are designed with high quality, high safety, high reliability and cost effectiveness in mind. Not overly fancy interventions, but they have been successful and really these are truly the basics that everyone should be doing in every hospital in the world (even laggard facilities out there that are still stuck on paper based provider ordering can be making an impact in all three of these areas).

None, yet. We’ve looked at a tool from Nuance for imaging orders–I can’t recall the name. We’re planning a rebuilding of order sets (and I’ll sleep when I’m dead) with fewer options and more guardrails to make it harder for practitioners to deviate from best evidence based practice when available.

Mainly the lab flow from the EHRs and the imaging studies from the  EHRs to avoid duplication of tests already performed.

There are efforts to incorporate the cost of various medications and treatments in the drop down menus. These also include the efficacy of the various treatments. In study after study, we find that the order of the options in the menus is significantly influential in determining the selection. At least if options were listed by least expensive to most expensive (and include efficacy) they would be useful guides to choices

We have been live with CPOE for several years and took the traditional approach of using various third party content providers to provide some insight into the clinicians thinking as they were attempting to build their own content. This helped us move along but didn’t assist in aligning cost to outcomes during their ordering process. We looked at opportunities prior to live hypothesizing on how CPOE would reduce re-tests but didn’t have much support to evaluate post live to assess any benefits realization. For us I think it is a matter of how much time do we have to spend looking back vs. focusing on the road ahead. Perhaps a good example of the unintended consequences of the things that you don’t do given other various obligations (MU2, I10, Bundle Payments, etc.).

There is little support to physicians to ensure / suggest more cost-effective treatments via the EHR / CPOE process. We do provide order sets that have some element of cost consciousness in them, but that it somewhat limited in scope.

Standard order sets. Descriptive information on order screens showing relative cost "$", "$$", or "$$$".

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August 8, 2013 Advisory Panel No Comments

News 8/7/13

August 6, 2013 News 2 Comments

Top News

Farzad Mostashari, MD, MSc announces via Twitter that he has resigned his position as National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, a post he has held for two years and will vacate in the fall. The internal announcements are here.  Who would you choose to replace him, either the individual or the ideal background? Leave a comment with your thoughts – you never know who might be listening.

Reader Comments

8-6-2013 8-18-41 PM

From BowTie No More: “Re: ONC. Big announcement coming out tomorrow …” I received this anonymous rumor report Monday. I asked the official ONC press contact as well as an insider if Farzad was resigning and received no response from either, which I told Inga seemed suspicious. The tiebreaker was that Inga’s contact didn’t know anything about it, so I decided to wait and see. I should have direct messaged Farzad, although he probably would not have confirmed.

From Piker: “Re: Farzad. Where’s he going?” He claims he doesn’t know. I would do what he’s doing: announce my availability well before my last day at ONC and see what offers roll in during the interim. He’s not making a mint working for Uncle Sam and therefore probably can’t undertake a lengthy job hunt after his federal checks stop, but he certainly can cash in big time afterward if that’s his ambition. A reader sent a rumor that he described as “weak” that perhaps Farzad is going to Siemens, playing off an earlier rumor that the company was about to hire an unnamed notable. Other than Farzad’s relationship with Siemens Medical Solutions CEO John Glaser, I don’t know why he would go there, so I would put those odds as low.

From Lazlo Hollyfeld: “Re: Farzad. Vendor – no way.  He’ll join a policy / consulting shop (maybe a K Street firm or not), get a few director positions on various boards (10-20k/year for each director position that is almost free), and reevaluate what he wants to do. It’s time for him to go make some easy cash, stop getting grilled on the Hill, and kick back.” That’s more along the lines of what I would expect him to do. His conscience would be clear that he didn’t sell out completely since he would still involved with healthcare IT at a high level, he wouldn’t have to deal with ugly vendor issues like profitability and product lines, and his value would be highest in offering his cache to the highest bidders. 

inga_small From InfoDoc: “Re: HIMSS board. I am considering running for a position. Will it be worth my time? Will HIMSS be gaining or losing power in the next four years?” The general consensus is that HIMSS has become increasing vendor-focused in recent years, as opposed to provider-focused. With that shift, I am sure there are plenty of providers and provider organizations who believe HIMSS is not the unbiased advocate it may have been 10 or 15 years ago. On the other hand, you don’t have to look further than the increasingly crowded exhibition floor at the annual conference to recognize the importance that vendors place on HIMSS. As to whether a board position is worth your time, I’d say it in part depends on whether you are hoping to be a voice of providers or of vendors. Readers?

8-6-2013 6-07-02 PM

From Boy Lee: “Re: recruiter. This recruiter needs 20 analysts per Cerner module. Is a large nation-state converting to Cerner?” That’s a lot of analysts, suggesting a fast rollout by a big organization. I thought first of HCA, which at one time was looking at Cerner and Epic as an alternative to Meditech 6.0. If you know who it is, tell me. I started to call the recruiter, but dreaded getting locked into a lengthy conversation that probably wouldn’t have resulted in my getting the employer’s name anyway.

8-6-2013 6-43-03 PM

From Larry: “Re: Practice Fusion HL7 ORU laboratory specs. The tech writer forgot to take the spec doc out of Word’s Track Changes mode before saving it as a PDF. Perhaps you can drop a hint to accept all changes, turn off the balloon display option, and convert it to a clean PDF with working hyperlinks? Just trying to help on the long slog to interoperability.” Hopefully this will provide the hint.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


inga_small Forget MU and all of Farzad’s accomplishments at the ONC. The real bummer is that Dr. Jayne and I will have to seek a new HIT crush. This is my favorite picture of Dr. Jayne, by the way, who photo-bombed an intense conversation between Farzad and Jonathan Bush at this year’s HIStalkapalooza.

Lt. Dan not only writes  the daily HIStalk news headlines and articles on HIStalk Connect, he’s also a veteran and healthcare IT guy. I ran his comments about how he would approach the never-ending (and always expensive) VA-DoD EHR issues. He got a response from an Army Medicine physician who’s working on project similar to what Lt. Dan proposed. We may have updates, depending on what can be said publicly at this point since it’s more of a concept than a finished project.

8-6-2013 6-17-58 PM

Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor Talksoft, which offers HIPAA-compliant patient reminder systems (phone, email, mobile, and SMS) for appointments, recall reminders, broadcast messages such as last-minute practice closings, payment reminders, notification of new lab results, and outreach calls to help meet Meaningful Use requirements. Practices can estimate their ROI with the on-screen calculator. Orthopedic Associates of Rochester felt pretty good about its 9.4 percent no-show rate vs. the national average of 16 percent, but using Talksoft dropped it to 5.6 percent. Setup took a week (some customers are up and running within a day), one hour of office time, and no phone line or computer hardware, plus Talksoft charges only for usage with no subscription commitment required. I enjoyed playing around with the sample messages and looking at the audit report, and thought it was cool that the practice’s brand is protected because caller ID shows the practice’s number, all aspects are customizable, and the practice records its own messages so the patient hears a familiar voice. Thanks to Talksoft for supporting HIStalk.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

8-6-2013 8-21-42 PM

The SSI Group acquires the Dallas-based Claimsnet.com, a provider of claims processing solutions and payer connections.

8-6-2013 8-23-01 PM

Hospital billing provider HealthTech Solutions acquires RCM provider Gaffey.

8-6-2013 8-23-35 PM

Vocera reports Q2 results: revenue up 12.9 percent, adjusted EPS $0.01 vs. $0.09, beating earnings expectations of –$0.03. Shares are up 18 percent in after-hours trading.

8-6-2013 8-24-33 PM

Nuance announces Q3 results: revenue up 9.5 percent, adjusted EPS $0.34 vs. $0.45. CEO Paul Ricci warned that a shift to a subscription-based revenue model will hurt revenue and margins of its mobile offerings in the short term. The company’s healthcare unit was the star, with sales up 29 percent.


Providence Health & Services contracts with Quantros to provide safety performance improvement advising services across 16 of its facilities.

8-6-2013 8-34-33 PM

BCBS of Tennessee will implement Care Team Connect’s population health management platform.

The VA awards CACI International a $14 million contract in to build a data exchange platform that consolidates EHR data and benefits information across the VA, DoD, and other agencies as part of its VLER program.

Rideout Health (CA) chooses the Pavisse incident management solution from RGP Healthcare.

American Medical Software selects Health Language applications from Wolters Kluwer Health to enhance clinical documentation and regulatory compliance in its ambulatory EHR solutions.

The Indian Health Service awards SAIC a $17 million task order to help replace the agency’s electronic dental record system.

8-6-2013 7-54-41 PM

HealthSouth signs a five-year deal worth up to $20 million to implement a nurse communications system from Australia-based Austco Marketing and Services.


8-6-2013 4-01-37 PM

David Furnas, CIO of Gila Regional Medical Center (NM), resigns in the wake of the hospital’s financial crisis that has resulted in the departure of most of the senior leadership team.

8-6-2013 11-57-45 AM

TeraRecon names Jeff Sorenson (Hyland Software) SVP of global sales, marketing, and business development.

8-6-2013 4-03-12 PM

UltraLinq Healthcare Solutions hires Bao Ho (Canon Healthcare Solutions) as VP of sales.

Announcements and Implementations

The Indiana HIE and Predixion Software will jointly develop predictive health analytics solutions to be offered by IHIE to ACOs and hospitals across Indiana.

8-6-2013 8-36-25 PM

Taylor Regional Hospital (GA) integrates its CPSI EHR with PeriGen’s PeriCALM perinatal system.

The Mount Sinai Medical Center launches RateMyHospital, a real-time patient feedback survey tool for patients seen in its cancer treatment center.

Modern Healthcare announces what it calls “Healthcare’s Hottest,” its list of the 40 fastest-growing companies (companies nominate themselves and their own financial information is used to choose the winners). I don’t recognize all the names, but sponsors that were included are Allscripts, Beacon Partners, CTG Health Solutions, Cumberland Consulting Group, ESD, Impact Advisors, Imprivata, Intellect Resources, and The Advisory Board Company.

Government and Politics

ONC’s Consumer Health IT Summit will be held in Washington, DC on September 16, 2013. Admission is free and the morning’s general session will be streamed live. Registration opens next week.


According to a Health Affairs-published study co-authored by the ONC’s Farzad Mostashari, MD, almost six in 10 hospitals actively exchanged electronic health data in 2012., an increase of 41 percent since 2008.

8-6-2013 5-08-00 PM

An organization-wide e-mail sent by Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan CEO Bernard J. Tyson says the organization needs to focus on affordability and intends to hold per-member, per-month costs flat, reducing the current 3 percent trend to zero, because of “competitors who are enjoying unprecedented success in managing costs.” He wants to see membership growth, care transformation, and standardization of care and service at all locations. HealthConnect wasn’t mentioned, which never would have happened under George Halvorson.

8-6-2013 8-30-56 PM

The CEO of Fletcher Allen Health Care (VT) says that despite an expected $200 million in losses over the next 10 years due to Medicare cuts, the health system will add 280 jobs. Many of them will apparently result from its implementation of Epic. According to the CEO, “You do create new jobs. If you’re going to interface new technology, you need people who are savvy about health care and that are savvy at getting into relatively complex software and systems.”

An investigative report finds that six of UCLA’s 17 academic deans claim that their medical conditions require them to fly first class despite a University of California ban prohibiting it. One of them is triathlon competitor and self-professed “cardio junkie.”

Weird News Andy is moved by this story. A man who has been hospitalized and ventilated for 45 years after a bout of polio-caused infantile paralysis teaches himself computer animation and is creating a TV series about his life.  

Trustwave warns that a luxury toilet’s Android app could allow hackers to “cause the unit to unexpectedly open/close the lid, activate bidet or air-dry functions, causing discomfort or distress to user.”

Report from the AHDI Conference
By Jay Vance, CMT, CHP

8-6-2013 6-57-50 PM

The Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) has wrapped up its Annual Conference & Expo held this year at the Buena Vista Palace Resort in Orlando. This is the annual meeting of the professional association for Healthcare Documentation Specialists (formerly referred to as medical transcriptionists).

Unabashed rebranding is underway to portray HDS as true HIM professionals who are important contributors to accurate clinical documentation, quality patient care, and by extension, to improved reimbursement. As part of this rebranding, future annual meetings, beginning next year in Las Vegas, will be known as Healthcare Documentation Integrity Conferences. Additionally, AHDI is working closely with AHIMA, the American Health Information Management Association, to bring greater understanding of the important role of HDS to a wider audience.

Admittedly late out of the starting gate, our association is nevertheless pushing back hard against the perception of HDS as glorified typists who cost money and are easily replaced by technology such as speech recognition technology and, of course, electronic medical records systems. The reality is that SRT still requires thorough review by human editors, while many EMRs are so user-unfriendly that an entire medical scribing industry is springing up to relieve caregivers from the burden of having to use those expensive EMRs which were supposed to reduce costs by eliminating the need for transcription.

Furthermore, it seems more than coincidental to many HDS that costly clinical documentation improvement programs have grown in inverse proportion to our devaluation and outright elimination. Declining physician productivity and satisfaction? Those have also gotten worse as dictation has been eliminated and transcription budgets have been slashed.

Of course we understand that correlation doesn’t necessarily equate to causation, and certainly there are other forces in play. But just because we’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get us. All facetiousness aside, there are a number of research initiatives underway within our industry to quantify in real terms to what degree, if any, removing skilled HDS from the clinical documentation process has adversely affected the quality of documentation, and concomitantly, negatively impacted patient care and provider revenues.

Sponsor Updates

  • Stern Cardiovascular Foundation (TN) reports that its use of Emdat for dictation and transcription services has resulted in significant process improvements, reduced costs, and improved provider productivity.
  • Orion Health introduces a converged cloud service based on HP’s CloudSystem Matrix, which will support cloud services tailored to individual customers.
  • Siemens Healthcare will offer mobile alert, notification, and secure messaging services from EXTENSION to users of Siemens Soarian and legacy Siemens EHR products.
  • CCHIT designates eClinicalWorks V10 compliant with the ONC 2014 Edition criteria and certifies it as a complete EHR.
  • CIC Advisory releases a report on the challenges and opportunities facing the country’s top healthcare organizations.
  • Aprima PRM 2014 EHR/PM v. 14.0 earns Meaningful Use Stage 2 certification as a Complete EHR.
  • The FDA grants 510(k) market clearance for Alere MobileLink, a self-testing at home device that connects to Alere’s Connected Health platform.
  • Allscripts, McKesson, Medicity, and Sandlot Solutions sponsor a webinar discussing how leading healthcare organizations are using data and analytics.
  • Outside Magazine names iSirona to its list of best places to work.
  • The Association of Affiliated Plans names CTG Health Solutions a preferred vendor.
  • Clinical Architecture CEO Charlie Harp reviews data normalization in a blog post.


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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August 6, 2013 News 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 8/2/13

August 2, 2013 Headlines 3 Comments

Cerner to redevelop Bannister Mall site as office park with as many as 15,000 workers

Cerner has purchased a 236-acre former mall outside Kansas City that it will use to house its growing workforce.

EDCO Awarded Patent for Medical Record Scanning Technology and Process

Frontenac, MO-based EDCO Health Information Solutions has been granted a patent for a scanning solution capable of identifying a document type by analyzing its content, rather than requiring a bar code.

Hospitals Face Challenges Using Electronic Health Records to Generate Clinical Quality Measures

The American Hospital Association reports that hospitals are struggling to adopt automated clinical quality reporting following a study that tracks the implementation of electronic clinical quality measures across four hospitals.

Quality Systems Seen Luring Bids Amid Pressure: Real M&A

According to Bloomberg, NextGen parent company Quality Systems, Inc. could attract buyout bids from Siemens and McKesson.

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August 2, 2013 Headlines 3 Comments

News 8/2/13

August 1, 2013 News 12 Comments

Top News

8-1-2013 11-03-44 PM

Cerner announces plans to acquire a 237-acre abandoned mall near its Innovation campus in Kansas City. A new campus on the property will eventually house up to 15,000 new Cerner employees as the company grows over the years.

Reader Comments

From Jobu: “Re: access control. Have there been recent discussions about deploying fingerprint or iris scanner recognition systems vs. multiple passwords?” I’m sure there’s a case study out there somewhere from Caragidm or Imprivata or another user access systems vendor. Feel free to point the way if you’ve seen something.

8-1-2013 9-09-24 PM

From Bluebonnet: “Re: Oregon Health & Science University patient information stored on Google Drive or Gmail. Does this not point to an organization not meeting the needs of its users to promote patient care? Given that this organization has been pretty progressive, is it not troublesome?” That question rarely gets asked: what system deficiencies created the need to store information on consumer-grade services in the first place? OHSU plastic surgery residents were keeping a spreadsheet of their service’s patients on Google Docs, which contained minimal patient information. A similar practice was discovered in the urology and kidney transplant areas. Questions: (a) was the only problem that the hospital didn’t have a business associate agreement with Google? (b) does the hospital’s system not provide a snapshot of which patients each service is covering? (c) if not, then does the hospital not provide network storage for saving copies of files, or was the problem related to mobile devices? Give the residents credit for trying to do the right thing in making sure handoffs were done and using technology to do it. It’s a tough sell to argue that ubiquitous cloud storage is fine for almost everything except PHI.

From HIS Junkie: “Re: Siemens. Looks like the CFO will take over. Is the SMS ride about to end? Less R&D for Malvern? John Glaser in trouble? We all know they been losing their client base to Epic and others for the last three years. Will they come to the same conclusion as GE – healthcare IT can’t be a winner?” Siemens issues a surprise profit warning and uncharacteristically quickly fires its CEO, replacing him with the CFO (you just can’t beat the excitement of an engineering company run by a bean counter.) The new guy says the company tried to grown too fast and needs to get back to execution (not referring to that of his predecessor). The deposed CEO, who steered the company around its global bribery scandals, will get $20 million in severance and a $20 million pension for his six years in the job.

A reader asked whether outside healthcare IT experts could help veterans and what the 90-day agenda would look like. Proud veteran, healthcare IT guy, and HIStalk/HIStalk Connect contributor Lt. Dan provided this response:

I’d scrap iEHR and spend what’s left of the money creating a patient portal that would make the soldier the acting custodian of their own electronic medical record. After every clinic visit, ED visit, or hospitalization, the entire chart from that visit is pushed to the patient portal. It has lab results, physician notes, PT/ OT, all of it, an exact carbon copy of everything entered in the chart for every visit. The portal IS the medical record, and it houses all details of any injuries or illnesses treated.

The portal follows them through their military career and grows as they need services. If they’re transferring from Ft. Bragg, NC to Ft. Stewart, GA they process out of medical at Bragg where the Bragg doctor signs off on the chart and the portal is updated to show that the soldier is transferring to a new duty station, and that Ft. Stewart is now the primary care location.

When the soldier is ready to be discharged, they have their entire military record on the portal from all bases, including medical and dental. When they get back to the civilian world and meet their new civilian PCP, they can at worst print out the medical record for them, and at best leverage some type of HL7 interface to push a medical summary (CCD) to the provider with extractable allergies, prescriptions, problems, and medical history.

If the vet needs to submit a disability claim with the VA, they grant access to their portal so VA reps can review the records immediately, rather than waiting up to 90 days for DoD to find, print, and mail them a copy.

Vets already have a portal. It’s called My HealtheVet. It looks exactly like your typical portal. A dumbed-down, patient-centric version of a medical record. It’s fine, it’s just missing much of the information clinicians will want to see if they’re taking you on as a new patient after military service, or information that a VA rep would want to see if they’re processing a disability claim.

To help vets within 90 days, I’d get the entire medical record from the first day the soldier enters the military, feeding into that patient portal so that soldiers would have custodianship of their own medical record. Then I’d enhance that portal so that vets can easily authorize access to any or all of the content within it and could transmit a CCD from it.

I’d get a team of sergeants, corporals, and privates to execute the plan. It would be done in 89 days and there would be enough money left over in the budget to spend the last day drinking beer and barbecuing.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga_small What you may have missed this week on HIStalk Practice: the number of physicians opting out of Medicare has tripled since 2009, according to CMS. CareCloud adds more than 150 new medical groups in the second quarter, with more than half also selecting CareCloud’s integrated EHR/PM. Dr. Gregg shares a story of a blogosphere encounter with another physician who took his office fully live on EMR in one day. Dr. Gregg offers additional insight on the doctor’s EMR platform in a subsequent post. Click over to HIStalk Practice and catch up on the latest ambulatory HIT news, sign up for e-mail updates, and check out the offerings of our sponsors. Thanks for reading.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

8-1-2013 11-07-25 PM

Ascension Health Ventures invests in Quantros, a portfolio company of Francisco Partners.

8-1-2013 11-10-49 PM

The Advisory Board Company reports Q1 results: revenue up 18 percent, adjusted EPS $0.31 vs. $0.31. The company also announces its purchase of referral technology vendor Medical Referral Source for $11.5 million.

8-1-2013 11-11-33 PM

MedAssets reports Q2 results: revenue up 4.7 percent, adjusted EPS $0.30 vs. $0.28.

McKesson re-elects all its board members at the company’s annual meeting despite dissent from activist shareholders who wanted the company to cut CEO John Hammergren’s pay and split his chairman and CEO roles.

A Bloomberg article says, without any facts to back it up, that Quality Systems has become a Siemens and McKesson takeover target because its share price has dropped and proxy fights have pushed the company to reevaluate its strategy.


8-1-2013 11-12-29 PM

Hallmark Health System (MA) selects athenahealth’s athenaClarity to proactively manage its patient population and engage in new reimbursement contracts.

The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto selects MetaVision’s MVperfusion solution.


HIT Application Solutions names Betty Jo Bomentre, MD (Vitalize Consulting Solutions) CMIO.

8-1-2013 5-57-57 PM

Healthwise SVP Karen Baker joins the board of Center for Plain Language, a nonprofit that advocates for clear communication in government and business documents.

8-1-2013 9-56-07 PM

Health Care DataWorks names Kathleen Kimmel (MedeAnalytics) chief clinical officer.

Announcements and Implementations

Cerner opens an on-site health center for 2,800 employees and covered dependents of the California-based ViaSat, a communication products company. Providers will use Cerner’s EHR and patients will have access to the Cerner Patient Portal.

Brightree changes the name of its CareAnyware EMR software to Brightree Home Health and Hospice.

8-1-2013 11-14-37 PM

NorthCrest Medical Center (TN) implements Allscripts Sunrise Clinical Manager.

PinnacleHealth (PA) goes live on Soarian Financials.

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences had the first of three Epic go-lives Thursday, bringing up ambulatory scheduling and registration, kiosks, referring physician portal, retail pharmacy, MyChart, and professional billing in all of its clinics. A third of the clinics also went live on EMR.

The Discovery Channel aired an episode of “Today in America” highlighting PeriGen’s PeriCALM and PeriBirth on Thursday. It’s pretty good, although host and former NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw struggles painfully to pronounce the big words as he adopts the “Serious Terry” persona instead of his usual goofy on-screen presence.

The US Patient & Trademark Office awards EDCO Group a patent for its Solarity medical record scanning and indexing process that identifies a scanned document type by its recognizable content rather than by a printed bar code.

PatientOrderSets.com announces the integration of its order set tools with Cerner Millennium.


Government and Politics

VA Undersecretary of Health Robert Petzel, MD says that while one million veterans currently use some type of VA telehealth offering, he hopes to boost the number to more than four million.

Above is Farzad Mostashari, MD responding to questions at the Senate Finance Committee hearing on healthcare IT this week, courtesy of Brian Ahier.

8-1-2013 8-33-36 PM

ONC releases its user guide to EHR contract terms.

Innovation and Research

Researchers find that providers who use EHR clinical decision support predictive tools at the point of care are less likely to order antibiotics for respiratory tract infections.


8-1-2013 8-53-44 PM

The American Hospital Association says even EHR-experienced hospitals are struggling to implement electronic clinical quality measures, recommending: (a) slow the transition by reducing and then improving the measures; (b) make EHRs and eCQM tools more flexible; (c) improve EHR and eCQM standards to meet Meaningful Use expectations; (d) test eCQMs to make sure they are reliable and valid before rolling them out nationally; and (e) provide more tools and guidance for the transition.


8-1-2013 6-03-40 PM

inga_small A Capterra infographic lists the 20 most popular ambulatory EHRs based on number of customers, number of users, and social media presence. The accuracy of the information is suspect given that Epic is listed as having one to 50 employees rather than its actual 6,500. Potential buyers should note that “most popular” is not the same thing as “most likely to succeed” in a given practice, where the vendor’s prolific Tweeting and Facebook likes may provide little consolation.

Consumer advocates in Florida oppose a proposal that would boost allowed charges for providing copies of medical records to $1.00 per page rather than $1.00 per page for the first 25 pages and then $0.25 per page afterward. Lobbyists for release of information provider HealthPort technologies filed the request, surely seeing dollar signs at the prospect of nearly quadrupling revenue given the size of the average chart.

Dialysis patients of Boston Medical Center (MA) were exposed to hepatitis B earlier this year because nurses weren’t allowed to use the hospital’s EMR, the state health department has concluded. Contracted dialysis nurses from DaVita weren’t given access to the EMR that would have flagged an infected dialysis patient, leading them to improperly sterilize equipment and expose 13 patients to the disease. The state said the hospital should give EMR access to non-employed nurses who are delivering patient care.

Healthcare employers cut 6,843  jobs in July, the highest monthly total since November 2009. Hospital finances have been hurt by sequestration, Medicare payment cuts, and lower utilization as patients move to high-deductible insurance policies.

8-1-2013 11-22-12 PM

The CEO of WakeMed Health & Hospitals (NC) warns employees of possible cost-cutting and layoffs as the health system’s accumulated losses hit $15 million before the September fiscal year end. The hospital is spending $100 million implementing Epic and expects a $23 million reduction in payments next year.

The bond ratings agency for Johns Hopkins Health System gives it kudos for its system integration, including installing Epic system-wide.

In England, the BBC finds that Royal Berkshire Hospital has paid $25 million to 200 consultants over five years to help it bring up Cerner Millennium. The article says the total cost is $42 million so far, it’s still not working right, the annual cost is $10 million, and IT is now one of the biggest departments in the hospital.

Sponsor Updates

  • Joseph Eberle of CTG Health Solutions presents a case study on using data analytics to improve outcomes for chronic kidney disease patients at this week’s National Forum on Data & Analytics.
  • Impact Advisors’ Senior Advisor Janice Wurz co-authors an article with Henry Ford Health CTO John Hendricks on planning and designing strategic technologies for clinical BI.
  • Allscripts adds integration with Spaulding webECG, allowing the app to be launched from within Allscripts Enterprise EHR to support physician orders and provide access to ECG reports.
  • 3M Health Information Systems introduces Patient-focused Episodes software, which considers the costs and outcomes of longitudinal care.
  • Quest Diagnostics works with Greater Houston Healthconnect to make lab results available to providers.
  • Ingenious Med offers a white paper, “Transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10: Managing the Process.”
  • Andre L’Heureux and and Kevin Entricken of Wolters Kluwer participate in a roundtable on the genome approach to investing.
  • INHS recognizes 18 of its customers that were named Most Wired.
  • API Healthcare reports that it expanded its market reach to include behavioral health and rehabilitation centers in the second quarter.
  • Truven Health Analytics will add animated videos from Health Nuts Media to its Micromedex Patient Connect Suite.
  • Holon’s Scott McCall discusses the importance of good communication skills for HIE implementation team.
  • INHS client St. Elizabeth Hospital (WA) earns HIMSS Analytics’ Stage 7 recognition for EHR adoption.
  • Health Catalyst SVP Dale Sanders lists five indispensable information systems needed for ACO success.
  • RazorInsights will showcase its ONE Enterprise HIS solution during the Illinois Rural Health Association Educational Conference Aug. 22-23.
  • Five Medicity clients are serving as HIO ambassadors to a Chinese delegation gathering best practices for organizing, administering, and sustaining an HIO.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne


The American Academy of Family Physicians has a new Web page covering the Medicaid-Medicare parity payments specified in the Affordable Care Act. Included is a checklist with the steps providers must follow to obtain the payments.

Clinical Decision Support update time: The US Preventive Services Taskforce publishes a draft recommendation for annual screening of high risk smokers by CT scan. Although it’s still a draft and insurers are not paying yet, it’s a good excuse to review the steps needed to configure new screening guidelines in your EHR.

I was intrigued by a blurb about Cisco’s “Video-enabled virtual patient observation” offering. Essentially it’s remote monitoring of patients who would normally require a “sitter” to ensure they don’t fall out of bed, remove IVs and other tubes, or otherwise cause self-harm. I wanted to find out more about it, but couldn’t without filling out a 17-field questionnaire including budget and timeline information. Based on my recent experiences from the patient perspective, I’d lobby that no technology can replace the presence of a family member at the bedside. For those who can’t have someone there 24×7 or for hospitals that have a shortage, it might be an interesting option.

Researchers at Temple University in Philadelphia are conducting a two-year study looking at virtual speech therapy. Patients will be pushed to spontaneously generate speech rather than practicing scripted conversations.

There have been several additions to the HealthIT.gov site recently, including a document on key terms used in EHR contracts. Based on some of the questions I receive from our affiliated providers, it should be required reading for anyone thinking about purchasing an EHR or going live on a hospital’s platform as part of an alignment strategy or Accountable Care Organization. It’s not a bad read on legal terms in general, especially for providers in the habit of signing documents without reading them.

Bianca Biller alerted me to the proposed cuts to the 2014 Medicare physician fee schedule. Highlights include the (now usual) 24.4 percent cut due to the SGR formula, implementation of value-based modifiers, changes to the Physician Quality Reporting System, and limitations on nearly 200 services where the physician fee schedule non-facility payment is more than the total payment for the same service in a facility setting.


It’s been a rough couple of weeks in the trenches, so I’m going to recharge my magic wand with a long weekend somewhere sunny. If I were a fairy godmother, this is what I would feel like about now. Here’s to sunscreen and fruity drinks.


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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August 1, 2013 News 12 Comments

Morning Headlines 7/31/13

July 31, 2013 Headlines No Comments

Community Health Agrees to Buy H.M.A. for $3.6 Billion

Community Health Systems agrees to buy Health Management Associates for about $3.6 billion. Including the assumption of debt, the merger is valued at about $7.6 billion.

Catholic Health Initiatives Optimizes Nursing Care Delivery in Collaboration With Cerner Clairvia

Catholic Health Initiatives has increased patient satisfaction scores, saved $1.5 million from reduced overtime, and and saved another $3 million from reduced length of stay after completing a three-year project that included analyzing nurse processes and implementing Cerner Clairvia to measure and streamline them.

Give the public access to the Medicare database

Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden call for the release of Medicare’s claims database, arguing that research potential and transparency trumps both the privacy concerns of the patients receiving care and the business concerns of providers uncomfortable with their reimbursement rates being made public.

Fitch Rates Catholic Health Services of Long Island, NY’s 2013 Revs ‘BBB+'; Outlook to Negative

Catholic Health Services of Long Island, NY has its bond rating downgraded and outlook revised to "negative" due in part to a $144 million Epic implementation that led to a $18 million operating loss for the interim period.

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July 31, 2013 Headlines No Comments

News 7/31/13

July 30, 2013 News 5 Comments

Top News

7-30-2013 8-31-15 PM

Community Health Systems will buy for-profit hospital competitor Health Management Associates for about $3.6 billion in cash and stock. With the assumption of debt, the merger is valued at $7.6 billion and includes 206 hospitals in 29 states. It will be interesting to see if HMA shareholders approve the deal since it only pays $10.50 per share compared to Monday’s closing stock price of $13.92.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

7-30-2013 7-22-55 PM

Specialty medical billing vendor Zotec Partners will acquire Atlanta-based ED billing firm Medical Management Professionals for $200 million from CBIZ. The combined companies will have 1,750 employees and $215 million in annual revenue.

7-30-2013 8-32-52 PM

Mediware CEO Kelly Mann says the company, which has acquired five home health software companies, will acquire one or two software vendors each year, focusing on home health and long-term care.


7-30-2013 5-50-19 PM

Excela Health (PA) contracts with SCI Solutions for its Schedule Maximizer, Order Facilitator, and Results Facilitator solutions.

The Arkansas Office of HIT selects Get Real Health as the patient portal development vendor for providers participating in the statewide HIE.


7-30-2013 3-58-42 PM

CareTech Solutions CEO Jim Giordano is named chairman of the St. John Providence Health System (MI) board of trustees.

7-30-2013 3-59-54 PM



John Lutz (Navigant Consulting) joins Huron Consulting Group as managing director of the company’s healthcare practice.

7-30-2013 6-11-48 PM

Justin Graham, MD (NorthBay Healthcare) is named chief innovation officer, healthcare of Hearst Business Media.

7-30-2013 6-16-15 PM

Dann Lemerand (The HCI Group) joins eVariant as vice president, solution engineering.

Clinical Architecture appoints Andrew Frangleton (UBM Medica) managing director of the company’s UK office.


Announcements and Implementations

Qsource and the Tennessee Office of eHealth Initiatives introduce Direct Technology for secure exchange of patient data.

7-30-2013 8-37-49 PM

Catholic Health Initiatives reports savings of nearly $1.5 million from reduced overtime and $3 million for reduced length of stay since its 2010 implementation of the Cerner Clairvia workforce and operations suite in 14 of its hospitals.

TECSYS announces the OR Inventory Manager perioperative supply change management system.

7-30-2013 8-35-56 PM

Napa State Hospital (CA) and two other psychiatric facilities give employees Ekahau RFID-powered name badges to signal for help and transmit their location in an emergency.

7-30-2013 7-10-17 PM

Baltimore-based Parallax Enterprises will begin beta testing its CHaRM OR safety checklist system starting in the fall.

Government and Politics

7-30-2013 5-56-58 PM

Through the end of June, 305,778 EPs and 4,024 hospitals collected more than $15.5 billion in EHR MU incentives.

inga_small In a Politico opinion piece, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) argue for the passage of legislation that would make Medicare claims data available through a free, searchable online database. The senators contend, “The publication of Medicare data will become healthcare’s new financial baseline; the measure of what America’s largest and most powerful buyer of healthcare gets for nearly $600 billion a year.” I understand that privacy issues remain a chief concern, but I have yet to hear a argument compelling enough to convince me that keeping this data largely sealed is preferable to open access and transparency for researchers and consumers.

7-30-2013 8-42-31 PM

A Time article recaps a Washington Post investigative article from earlier this month that describes the AMA group that tells the government how much Medicare should pay doctors. According to former CMS Administrator Tom Scully, “The idea that $100 billion in federal spending is based on fixed prices that go through an industry trade association in a process that is not open to the public is pretty wild.” The AMA criticized the article saying its recommendations are just optional guidelines, but left out the fact that the government accepts 90 percent of those recommendations without question.

Innovation and Research

7-30-2013 8-43-29 PM

A team from the Houston VA Medical Center creates EHR-based triggers to make sure that clinicians follow up on abnormal lab results that can indicate cancer (PSA, occult blood, iron-deficiency anemia, and bloody stools.) Positive predictive value ranged from 58 to 70 percent.

A heart surgeon in India who founded a chain of 21 medical centers offers coronary bypass surgery for $1,583 and hopes to drop the price to $800 within 10 years. The same procedure at Cleveland Clinic costs $106,000.


7-30-2013 8-44-22 PM

MMRGlobal announces Australian singer Guy Sebastian as the spokesperson for its “Don’t Worry Be Happy” advertising campaign for its personal health record.

The ratings agency for Catholic Health Services of Long Island downgrades its bonds, with a key ratings driver being, “Additional expense pressures in fiscal 2013 related to the implementation of an electronic medical record (EMR) has resulted in an operating loss of $18 million for the interim period.” The system filed a $144 million certificate of need in 2010 to implement Epic, which it estimated would add $40 million to its bottom line beyond HITECH payments, including a projection that its length of stay would drop 0.5 days for an annual savings of $28 million.

A jury awards a woman $1.44 million after a female Walgreens pharmacist shared her prescription records with the pharmacist’s husband, who was also the patient’s former boyfriend. Walgreens says the jury was wrong in finding it responsible for the actions of an employee who intentionally violated company policy and says it will appeal.

Weird News Andy calls this article “Potty Mouth.” A China-based research team grows teeth from stem cells extracted from urine. WNA says of this article about a venipuncture robot, “He vants to drink your blaad.”

Sponsor Updates

  • CommVault announces enhancements to its Edge software that give users the ability to securely share, search, and restore files across their mobile, desktop, and laptop devices.
  • NextGen reseller TSI Healthcare will integrate PatientPay with NextGen PM.
  • HealthTronics will integrate SampleMD’s eCoupon and eVoucher solutions from OPTIMIZERx Corp. within its UroChartEHR and meridianEMR platforms.
  • McKesson adds real-time analytics and mobile access to its Strategic Supply Sourcing supply chain solution.
  • ONC head Farzad Mostashari, MD and MGMA Healthcare Consulting Group’s Rosemarie Nelson will deliver keynote addresses at this week’s Aprima 2013 Annual User Conference in Dallas.
  • Greenway Medical will provide its PrimeSUITE customers access to PatientCo’s patient financial engagement  platform.
  • Greythorn Senior Account Executive Paul Tran writes about the importance of “soft skills” within a technology environment.
  • LiquidEHR partners with DrFirst to offer users integrated e-prescribing functionality.
  • Allscripts profiles Manitoba e-Health and its implementation of dbMotion’s eChart solution.
  • Infor Healthcare highlights the success of its supply chain management solutions at several organizations, including MLK Community Hospitals (CA), Huntington Hospital (CA), Prime Healthcare (CA), WellStar Health System (GA), University Health System (TX), and Greenville Health System (SC).
  • Talksoft Corporation integrates its portfolio of messaging services within the Healthpac Computer Systems billing platform.
  • Craneware introduces an update to its Supplies ChargeLink solution that includes an automated search function to identify HCPCS codes.
  • Ingenious Med releases a white paper that offers tips for transitioning to ICD-10.
  • A local publication features the use by Colquitt Regional Medical Center (GA) of Versus RTLS to improve patient care.



Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, Dr. Travis.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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July 30, 2013 News 5 Comments

HIStalk Interviews Sunny Sanyal, CEO, T-System

July 29, 2013 Interviews 1 Comment

Sunny Sanyal is CEO at T-System of Dallas, TX.

7-29-2013 12-48-08 PM

Tell me about yourself and about T-System.

T-System was formed in the early 1990s by a couple of ED physicians who essentially wanted to get through the day. They would work all day and then stay back for hours after work trying to figure out what they did all day so they could document all that and get paid correctly.

These  two ED docs said, “Can we just take all the stuff that we do in the ED and organize that with some taxonomy in a way that all all this clinical content can be streamlined? So that we can document while we’re with the patient and very quickly get it all done in not more than two to three minutes and be able to support optimal coding and billing, be able to stand up to scrutiny in case of a lawsuit, be clinically accurate, and support all of our performance and quality and regulatory needs? 

That’s how it started. One sheet of paper, front and back. By the way, Dr. Rick Weinhaus did a really good job on this article about why T-Sheets work. I owe him some thanks. We couldn’t have said it better. 

The company all along has had a combination of both clinical and financial orientation. We’ve kept that alive in our products and services throughout.

I joined the company three years ago when the company was going through a transition and was acquired by a private equity firm. It was an opportunity for me to be a CEO. I had an appreciation for T-System, having seen it as a competitor in my past life. I jumped in because I saw a tremendous opportunity to do some great things in this space.


What are the most pressing issues that EDs are facing?

We call this the unscheduled care space. That’s a combination of emergency care, freestanding ED, hospital-based EDs, freestanding EDs, and urgent care centers. The macro demographic systemic issues are hitting all of these in the same way, but perhaps they’re feeling them differently.

I will clarify that. Largely speaking, they are all seeing an increase in volumes, rising volumes in the ED. At the same time, while volumes are growing, they are also seeing an increase in self-pay. Historically, we associated self-pay as people that didn’t have insurance. You’d have a hard time collecting from them. But more and more self-pays are coming from people on high-deductible plans and HSAs that we call insured self-pay. That’s making collections very, very difficult.

Add to that that reimbursement levels aren’t going up. They are just getting tougher. Productivity demands from people staffing the ED are going on. 

This space is under a tremendous amount of pressure. Doctors are struggling, frankly, to keep up with being able to provide the right services, the right quality of the clinical services, while they’re getting paid less to do more and having to deal with more and more regulatory pressures. The whole system is under a lot of pressure.

At the same time, what we’re finding is in order to get away from some of these pressures, some physicians are leaving the ED as a practice and going to urgent care centers, where they don’t have some of those regulatory challenges. That further exacerbates the pressures in the EDs because now all of a sudden you’ve got staffing shortages. It’s difficult to find doctors, particularly in rural areas.

ED as an environment in general is under siege and we don’t see it getting better. We see it getting worse in that regard because all of the regulatory changes that are in the horizon make it tougher for the ED. If health reform adds more patients, those patients are unlikely to have access to primary care. It’s more likely that they will show up in the ED than not. If there are further reimbursed changes and modifications in the reimbursement programs and reimbursement gets cut then it will hit the ED even harder. 

There is a tipping point here that the volume of beds is not increasing while the patient volumes are increasing. All of the changes in the horizon appear to be negative from an overall impact of the ED perspective.


I like that term “unscheduled care.” Is there any hope at all of reducing utilization of ED as a non-urgent care provider?

Absolutely. If there is a significant shift in the reimbursement models, then you will see hospitals taking steps to reduce ED utilization. Those patients fall into few different categories. Patients that are habitual ED users that don’t need to be at the ED can be redirected somewhere else or they can be educated to not seek care. That’s one option. Patients that do need urgent care but they don’t necessarily need to be at the ED can be redirected to urgent care facilities. I think there’s an opportunity to redirect the patients away from the ED.

However, the real problem is that while there may be habitual abusers, the vast majority of them will need access to care. That is why we coined the term unscheduled care. We’re seeing entire segment growing dramatically. Five years ago, you might have seen a few urgent care centers across any town or city, but today you see a lot of urgent care centers, The volume of urgent care visits today is estimated about 150 million a year. That volume is coming at the cost of other settings of care, maybe ambulatory.

That’s why this unscheduled care segment, which in some ways was nonexistent many years ago, has become this in-between segment. You have scheduled care, which is hospital and physician offices, and then this massive unscheduled care segment. Not all of it is bad. What we want is for patients not to over-utilize the ED services or something where there’s a better, cheaper setting of care. 

I do think that there will be redirection and education and other care coordination — patient navigation services that will redirect the patients to lower-cost settings — but it’s going to be more likely to be the freestanding EDs or the urgent care centers.


Everybody expected a huge influx of newly insured patients with the Affordable Care Act. With the ACA having somewhat of an uncertain future, what do you predict the ED business is going to do?

The patients that need care that don’t have access to care, if they are uninsured, they are showing up in the ED today. I think they will continue to show up. I think the difference perhaps is that with the Affordable Care Act, they were going to get some level of insurance, and that was good for hospitals because rather than receiving nothing and having all these uncollectible or very low levels of collections, they at least get some low level of insurance guarantee that they’ll get some money for it. 

I think the situation is not going to get worse than it is today. That’s my take. I think hospitals would miss an opportunity to collect from these patients. I’m not anticipating that ED volumes would change one way or another, go up or go down, if the Affordable Care Act doesn’t pass.


Hospitals complain about their ED volumes and the burden of servicing these volumes, yet they advertise their ED wait times. Are they trying to market selectively or are just confused about whether they do or don’t want the business?

That’s a great point. They don’t see the ED as a problem. They see the ED as a front door to their hospital, and more and more hospitals are using the ED to change their patient mix. 

I had a hospital CEO tell me that, look, 80 years ago when my hospital was built in this downtown location, it seemed like a good idea. Today, it’s not such a great idea. I can’t help that I’ve got this huge bricks and mortar here, but but what I can do is two things: put my urgent care clinics in the residential areas where I have a better payer mix, and I can do my advertisements on billboards in those areas. Over time, I’ll gradually shift my patient mix and attract a larger percentage of the targeted patient mix into the hospital.

That we see them doing. The person that knows how to use the iPhone to go find the right ED and get to the right wait times or the person that has a car is driving on the highway … chances are they belong to probably a better payer mix. We think this is a conscious effort at shifting the mix. I know they have a volume problem, but by getting better payer mix and with care managers and other triage mechanisms ED, I think their hope is that they can manage that volume better as long as they can get favorable payer mix.


T-System has expanded the product line beyond the core business of ED documentation. Explain why you did that and how.

Even though T-System started out as a clinical documentation company, the founders of the company had reimbursement in mind all along. They wanted to get paid for the work that they did. They wanted to spend as little time as possible to get through the documentation. Even though as a company we have been a clinical company all along, revenue cycle was in our DNA. 

We looked at the market landscape. We looked at what was wrong with the space or what the opportunities were. We were telling our customers if you use T-Sheets or T-System electronic EDIS, you will get reimbursed optimally. But we found that it’s easy to say but harder for hospitals to implement and sustain because over time, even though they’re using a system, chances are they’re not keeping up with training. Chances are they are not keeping up with upgrades and performance. There’s also the chance that performance would degrade and they’re not getting the outcomes that we thought they should get or they could get.

We said a better approach might be to tell our customers that if you use T-System solutions, we will get you paid better, rather than giving them the promise of that they might get reimbursed better. We say, “Use our software and services and we will get you paid better.” Talking about the outcome versus the potential for an outcome as they do it was the difference in changing our strategy. We decided to become a technology-enabled services company. Going forward, we’re applying that philosophy pretty much for every solution line we introduce.

For example, we have a care coordination offering. Rather than just offering software, we want to say, here’s our software that allows you to plan your care transition at the point of discharge well. But then, here’s a set of services where we can help you with that or we can do that for you as well. That’s the approach we’re going to take pretty much in every solution that we roll out. It will be a combination of both the technology and services.


Are you feeling any pressure as a best-of-breed vendor among the Epics and the Cerners out there to cast your net a little wider within your own specialty to make sure that you stay competitive even as their offerings become attractive because they’re fully integrated?

A couple of enterprise vendors have viable ED solutions. Several of them are very far behind. You can see in the recent KLAS study there’s a pretty big gap between the enterprise block in general and the best-of-breed block in general. There’s some natural selection that happens upfront when institutions decide whether they’re going to best-of-breed or enterprise. What we are seeing is that when someone makes a decision now to go best-of-breed, that’s a long-term decision. They’ve decided for certain reasons that that’s the path they’re going to take. It is a fairly stable decision.

We’ve seen this in other departments, where over time when all the systems have been shaken out and interoperability-related issues have been resolved,. Which by the way, each year as Meaningful Uses raises the bar on interoperability, what we find is that it’s becoming easier to have the conversation around how data will flow from the ED into the enterprise.

Given that, you look at other environments like radiology. It used to be that you needed an integrated RIS-PACS system in order to be able to run a radiology department effectively. Over time, that settled into the RIS in some ways being replaced by enterprise order entry, enterprise results supporting, and enterprise scheduling. PACS drives the physician workflow in the department. There has been a settling down where the co-existence of best-of-breed and enterprise has already occurred. You’ve seen that in several other places – cardiology, potentially oncology.

We think similar model is evolving in the ED as well. A good example for us would be Memorial Hermann. They’re a Cerner site. The ED uses Cerner for the enterprise workflow. For the physician documentation or physician workflow, they use T-System as the best-of-breed and the two co-exist in that environment. That’s how we see the space evolving between the enterprise and the best-of-breed.


How do you see the impact of Meaningful Use, especially the future stages, impacting your business?

The more there is an emphasis on interoperability, the better. That’s good for the industry, good for everyone, good for us as well. We hope that ONC will continue to drive that dimension harder. Secondly, Meaningful Use in general has accelerated the adoption of systems, which has been good.

Now what we’d like to see is that at some point, more emphasis be based placed on optimization of these systems. For example, in the ED there’s measures around documentation. Physicians don’t have to document in an electronic system. If the intent was to capture discrete data, if the intent was to get physicians to use the system, just stopping at physician order entry is not adequate.

We’d like to see the data capture portion also be included in some of the future Meaningful Use standards. That would be good for the industry to accomplish what it started out to achieve, which is to gather discrete data and have data codified to electronic format. That would be good for vendors such as for ourselves, because that’s what we do really well.


What are your priorities for the company for the next five years?

If I break that down into short-term and long-term, T-System made this transition to becoming a technology-enabled services company. We started that with revenue cycle. We acquired a few companies last year and we’re in the midst of integrating those companies and we’ve made pretty good progress there. 

Short-term priorities are to continue on with the integration work. Our vision was that technology in the front office and service in the back office … if you combine the two together, you can move the back office component to the front office and become more efficient that way.

Our vision is that a locked ED chart ought to be a coded chart. Our investments are going in that direction. We’re making investments in products and technologies to move our products and services towards that vision. 

Secondly,making investments in the businesses that we’ve acquired to add in new platforms. You might have seen the announcement that T-System is putting in NextGen system as our enterprise practice management system across our entire company. We’re introducing new technologies for point-of-service collections. That’s a real big problem in the ED. Patients leave without paying anything and there’s really no good approaches. We’re going to deploy some POS technologies to improve collections. We’re continuing to make technology investments in automating as much of the coding and billing process, as well as then integrating the coding platforms into the core EDIS.

I’d say in the next two-year, three-year timeframe longer term, we will continue to evolve the company into other service areas. For example today, patients are discharged from the ED. It’s a handshake at curbside. We think that’s wrong. It ought to be a warm handoff to that next caregiver and the transition should be coordinated. We have solutions to do to care transition. 

We believe that where the industry is headed, care coordination, care transition, and helping patients navigate through the system is going to be important. As a company, we will make products and services available in that area. There are other areas within the ED where T-System, with the software systems that we used in the ED and the access to data that we have, we think we can make an impact in areas such as utilization management. We will continue to evolve our capabilities in that direction.

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Morning Headlines 7/29/13

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