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Monday Morning Update 8/24/15

August 23, 2015 News No Comments

Top News

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Mercy Health (OH) implements Premier’s integrated pharmacy and care management program to advance population health management initiatives at its 23 hospitals across Ohio and Kentucky.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Practice Fusion promotes Tom Langan to interim CEO, replacing founder Ryan Howard, who will move to board chair.
  • The executive exodus continues at NYC Health & Hospitals Corporation, with Paul Contino departing following an investigation of its $764 million Epic implementation.
  • Gene-sequencing company Illumina forms Helix, a business that will offer free genome sequencing to consumers and then monetize the data by selling portions of it back to patients as they need it.
  • ZocDoc raises a $130 million funding round on a $1.8 billion valuation, making it one of the most highly valued venture-backed companies in New York.
  • Leidos wins a $900 million contract to support R&D efforts within the US Army’s Medical Research and Materiel Command.
  • Epic is selected as the replacement EHR vendor for Finland’s Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, in a $424 million contract budgeted to grow to $635 million over 10 years.

Webinars

August 25 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Cerner’s Takeover of Siemens: An Update (Including the DoD Project).” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Vince Ciotti, principal, HIS Professionals; Frank Poggio, president and CEO, The Kelzon Group. Vince and Frank delivered HIStalk’s most popular webinar, "Cerner’s Takeover of Siemens, Are You Ready?" which has been viewed nearly 6,000 times. Vince and Frank return with their brutally honest (and often humorous) opinions about what has happened with Cerner since then, including its participation in the successful DoD bid and what that might mean for Cerner’s customers and competitors, based on their having seen it all in their decades of experience.

September 9 (Wednesday) 2:00 ET. “Need to cleanse, unify and manage the provider data in your EMR master file and other IT systems?” Phynd’s Unified Provider Management platform allows healthcare organizations to maintain a single, verified, customized profile for each provider across legacy IT systems. This 30-minute presentation will explain how Phynd’s system can help synchronize internal provider information in real time; create provider interoperability among systems; and manage, update, and analyze provider information with workflow tools to improve revenue cycle and clinical communication.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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San Francisco-based Zephyr Health lands $17.5 million in a funding round led by Google Ventures, with help from existing investors Icon Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. The med device and biopharma analytics firm has raised $33.5 million since its founding in 2011.


People

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James Rossiter joins NextGate as CFO.

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Dawn Van Dyke (The Advisory Board) joins The Sequoia Project (fka Healtheway) as marketing director.

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Dean Schorno (Adaptive Biotechnologies) joins 23andMe as CFO and head of operations.


Sales

Cone Health (NC), Mount Sinai Medical Center (FL), Kettering Health (OH), Dayton Children’s Hospital (OH), SCL Health System (CO), and Chicago-based Presence Health sign on to the Unified Provider Management Platform from Kearney, NE-based Phynd Technologies.


Announcements and Implementations

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Cerner shop EvergreenHealth becomes the only hospital in Washington to avoid paying a hospital readmissions penalty for the fourth year in a row. The two-hospital provider achieved HIMSS Stage 6 recognition last month.

NHS facilities in Wye Valley and Salisbury announce plans to move from decades-old patient administration systems to “electronic patient record systems” over the next two years. Wye Valley will spend over $23 million on a system from IMS MSXIMS, while Salisbury NHS will continue spending money with CSC on its Lorenzo platform. CSC has earned a tainted reputation as part of the boondoggle that was the National Programme for IT (NPfIT), which imploded in 2011 due to project overruns, mismanagement,and resultant budget-busting.


Technology

ZeOmega releases an annual clinical content update for its Jiva population health platform.

Validic adds RxRevu prescription intelligence software, including prescription drug delivery options and a price transparency tool, to its digital health platform.


Government and Politics

A 68-page report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology determines that more work is needed from federal agencies such as HHS, NIH, NIST, and the National Science Foundation to promote and utilize open standards and interfaces to leverage data analyses for healthcare delivery and biomedical research. The report recommends without a hint of irony that “NIH and HHS should create funding mechanisms that will encourage accelerated deployment, testing, and evolution of translational IT systems for clinical use.”

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The White House issues a fairly broad call to stakeholders for ideas on how to move its Precision Medicine Initiative forward, outlining 10 potential categories of ways to treat disease and improve health that have precision medicine potential. Feedback is due September 21.

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The American Red Cross honors female community leaders and volunteers who contributed significantly to the recovery of New Orleans and Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina at its inaugural Power of Women luncheon. National Coordinator and Acting Assistant HHS Secretary Karen DeSalvo, MD was among the honorees for her work as city health commissioner and senior health policy advisor to New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu from 2011-14.


Research and Innovation

Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cancer Institute partners with Intel to launch the Collaborative Cancer Cloud, a network that will enable providers to securely share genomic data for more personalized medicine and tailored cancer research. OSHU plans to go live in the first quarter of next year with two additional cancer centers to pilot the new technology, plus make open source its Trusted Execution Technology to ensure patient privacy.


Other

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Nancy Snyderman, MD will make her first public appearance since leaving NBC earlier this year when she hosts a discussion next month with New Jersey hospital CEOs during the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Healthcare Symposium. Snyderman left the network after facing criticism for violating a voluntary agreement with the CDC to stay out of public areas after reporting from Liberia during the Ebola epidemic. Keyspeakers.com notes that her speaking fees are nothing to sneeze at.


Sponsor Updates

  • Huron Consulting offers “A Modern Commentary on Medicare at 50.”
  • The SSI Group will exhibit at the 2015 MidAmerica Summer Institute Region 8 August 26-28 in Minneapolis.
  • Streamline Health rings the Nasdaq opening bell in New York City.
  • T-System offers “ICD-10 Leniency from CMS: What You Need to Know.”
  • TeleTracking offers “One Team … Unlimited Success.”
  • Verisk Health offers “Talking Cost Drivers: How Employers Can Stop Rising Medical Costs.”
  • VitalHealth Software offers “Healthcare Outcomes: Our First Executive Forum.”
  • Voalte offers “Lessons from mHealth History.”
  • Xerox “Helps State Medicaid Organizations Reduce Costs, Improve Care.”
  • ZirMed offers “Less Than 50 Days to ICD-10: Tips to Help You Prepare.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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

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August 23, 2015 News No Comments

News 8/21/15

August 20, 2015 News 10 Comments

Top News

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Investors and genome sequencing company Illumina form Helix, an app store-like service that will sequence and store a user’s DNA for free, but then offer the user pay-as-you-go apps to access it in the future. A customer might pay $20 to see if they have a specific genetic variant, then Helix will additionally sequence all of their medically relevant variants at their own cost of $500, hoping to sell the customer other information they need later without requiring a second round of sequencing. Partners such as LabCorp and Mayo Clinic will be paid a royalty-type fee, both for getting customers to submit their initial DNA sample and for each app they sell.

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San Diego-based Illumina sold $1.8 billion of DNA equipment and tests last year and is hoping to penetrate the market for consumers, who so far have shown little interest in having their DNA sequenced. The FDA may weigh in with regulatory requirements. As the excellent MIT Technology Review concludes, “With Helix, says Flatley, companies won’t have to invest in starting a laboratory any more. Instead, he says, any developer with a computer will be able to start a genomics company.”


Reader Comments

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From Gotham Growler: “Re: NYHHC. Glen Tullman was right in the Allscripts lawsuit.” The 2012 Allscripts lawsuit had nothing to do with the current investigation into HHC’s payments to consultants or how it has managed (or mismanaged, depending on who you believe) its Epic project. Allscripts claimed that HHC’s choice of Epic over Allscripts was unfair because HHC incorrectly calculated the total cost of ownership of Allscripts, which the company says was $500 million less than the number HHC used to choose Epic. The Allscripts analysis from its lawsuit (above) shows that HHC pegged the cost of all three options (Epic, Allscripts, or doing nothing) at around $1.4 billion, which is where the project estimate stands today. The lawsuit backfired, with Allscripts earning negative publicity from an industry generally puzzled at what the company hoped to gain by suing a prospect after losing a selection — HHC responded publicly in stating that the Allscripts TCO claims were “absurd,” that Allscripts was getting beaten soundly in the market by Epic because it “lacks a truly integrated solution,” and that the lawsuit was “an ill-fated attempt to reassure investors and inflate its sagging stock price.” Allscripts filed the lawsuit on December 13, 2012. Six days later, the company announced that it had failed to find a buyer for itself and had instead hired Paul Black as CEO and fired its executive team of CEO Glen Tullman, President Lee Shapiro, Chief Client Officer Laurie McGraw, and EVP of Culture and Talent Diane Adams. Allscripts dropped the HHC lawsuit three months later. MDRX shares are up 30 percent since Black took over, although they significantly trail the Nasdaq’s 64 percent overall rise over that time.

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I went back to my October 2012 post about HHC’s original Epic decision, where I now recall that the $1.4 billion project cost was clearly spelled out to documents prepared for HHC’s board. That suggests that newspaper reports that the project is running double the expected costs of $700 million are incorrect – HHC estimated $1.4 billion from the beginning. The most interesting aspect of the lawsuit is that it disclosed that Epic’s software license fees represented $303 million of the $1.4 billion project, which is pure profit to Epic since the software carries no incremental costs. People always observe that Epic gets only a small portion of a total project cost of $500 million or $1 billion as license fees, but the lawsuit indicates that it’s around 25 percent. The Epic financial magic is high license fees, billing out freshly graduated liberal arts majors at multiples of their $50 hourly salary, and charging a significant portion of the license fees as annual maintenance with rebates for behaving in ways that Epic likes (applying updates, not bad-mouthing the company, and following Epic’s consultant hiring processes, for example.) Not too much different than any other vendor except for using newbies and putting lots of restrictive clauses in the contracts.

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From Quality is Job Open: “Re: Quality Systems/NextGen. They let CTO Steve Puckett go, but are also swapping out all of their development leadership to create an Office of the CTO with an SVP of engineering, chief architect, and chief product officer.” Unverified, but the recruiter’s email I ran across seems to confirm that newly appointed CEO Rusty Frantz is retooling the whole product development group.

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From Fly on the Wall: “Re: MediGain. The CEO and chairman are gone after a series of lawsuits claiming financial improprieties. As reported on HIStalk on 10/29/14, MediGain received an investment of $38 million from Prudential Capital Group. The latest lawsuit was filed by MedVision in January 2015, claiming that MediGain failed to pay the founders the monies due them.” Unverified, but the bios of Greg Hackney and Dinesh Butani have been removed from the executive page of the coding and revenue cycle vendor’s site.

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From Don: “Re: Theranos shout-out. I’ve used the service for nine months in Phoenix. No DMV type experience – draw stations are at Walgreens and have weekend hours. Great for people without insurance coverage, with PT/INR at $2.70 vs. $99.50 hospital bills Medicare, who pays $4.98. Fast turnaround and results are available via web, smartphone, app, and PDF download. Tests drawn at PCP are available in four hours and are available on his eClinicalWorks system and patient portal. No lab order required in Arizona. As long as Theranos meets CLIA-88, CAP, JCAHO, and other regulatory requirements, we will use them whenever possible. My only concern is that convenience and pricing could deteriorate as the company expands to meet financial viability.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

This week on HIStalk Practice: Circle Health launches new practice business model in San Francisco. Telemedicine comes to a pet near you. Urgent Clinics Medical Care implements DocuTap tech at Houston facilities. Millenials may not be as averse to primary care office visits as their addictions to devices would have you believe. HHS encourages health IT-savvy practices to submit nominations for the 2015 Million Hearts Hypertension Control Challenge. Palliative care via telemedicine makes a difference in rural California. Large group practices weigh in with favored vendors based on customer satisfaction.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Doctors working at Al-Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip have developed a 3D-printed stethoscope that can be produced for 30 cents and performs as well as modern commercial alternatives. Nutritional supplement startup WellPath announces new integration points with both Fitbit and 23andMe in an effort to enhance its ability to personalize nutritional supplements. Finnish designers have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the Oura Ring, a ring that tracks activity levels, caloric burn, heart rate, respiration rate, and sleep cycles.


Webinars

August 25 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Cerner’s Takeover of Siemens: An Update (Including the DoD Project).” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Vince Ciotti, principal, HIS Professionals; Frank Poggio, president and CEO, The Kelzon Group. Vince and Frank delivered HIStalk’s most popular webinar, "Cerner’s Takeover of Siemens, Are You Ready?" which has been viewed nearly 6,000 times. Vince and Frank return with their brutally honest (and often humorous) opinions about what has happened with Cerner since then, including its participation in the successful DoD bid and what that might mean for Cerner’s customers and competitors, based on their having seen it all in their decades of experience. 

September 9 (Wednesday) 2:00 ET. “Need to cleanse, unify and manage the provider data in your EMR master file and other IT systems?” Phynd’s Unified Provider Management platform allows healthcare organizations to maintain a single, verified, customized profile for each provider across legacy IT systems. This 30-minute presentation will explain how Phynd’s system can help synchronize internal provider information in real time; create provider interoperability among systems; and manage, update, and analyze provider information with workflow tools to improve revenue cycle and clinical communication.

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Physician-patient matching service Grand Rounds raises another $55 million in financing, increasing its total to $106 million. Companies provide the service to their employees, who can seek second opinions, find insurance-covered doctors and have appointments made for them, and ask for medical help while hospitalized. The company digitizes and stores the medical records of its users within its app. The co-founders are Owen Tripp (co-founder of Reputation.com) and Rusty Hoffman, MD (chief of interventional radiology at Stanford Hospital).

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Doctor appointment booking app ZocDoc is valued at $1.8 billion from its most recent funding round, earning them the already-overused and annoying “unicorn” label by people whose lips are too busy to say “billion-dollar valuation.”


Sales

NeuroPsychiatric Hospitals (IN) chooses Medhost’s clinical and financial solutions.


People

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Kennedy Health (NJ) promotes Tom Balcavage from VP/CIO to SVP of technology and program services, where he will oversee ambulatory, product line, dialysis, patient experience, and imaging as well as IT.

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Consumer healthcare expense management system vendor CoPatient names Tom Torre (Alegeus Technologies) as CEO.

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William Tierney, MD (Regenstrief Institute) is named inaugural chair of population health for Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Healthcare software vendor Ability Network names board chair Mark Pulido (BenefitPoint) as CEO. He was CEO of McKesson until the company fired him along most of the executives involved in its 1999 acquisition of book-cooking HBO & Company for $14 billion, with the June 1999 hit list including Pulido, Chairman Charlie McCall, CFO Richard Hawkins, Al Bergonzi, David Held, Jay Lapine, and Mike Smeraski.


Announcements and Implementations

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Allscripts will use CoverMyMeds as its prescription electronic prior authorization (ePA) solution. That’s how I read this somewhat vague announcement, anyway – Allscripts announced in December 2014 that it had developed its eAuth product for Express Scripts patients, so perhaps this agreement expands its reach.

Cerner will integrate the CoverMyMeds ePA solution with Millennium.

Cancer diagnostic vendor Guardant Health and oncology IT vendor Flatiron Health will develop a cloud-based platform to integrate liquid biopsy-based genetic testing results from Guardant’s equipment with clinical treatments and outcomes information to improve the targeting of cancer therapies.


Privacy and Security

The health minister of the Netherlands will propose that doctors be forced to turn over the medical records of patients to disability fraud investigators, although planned European Union privacy legislation may override that requirement by giving individuals more control over information about them, especially their health records. That new EU regulation will impact England’s NHS, which is making the data of non-opt-out patients available to researchers, drug chains, and private companies.

Carilion Clinic (VA) reprimands or fires 14 employees in unspecified roles for accessing patient records without legitimate need.

A former Florida TV news anchor sues his former employer, claiming he was fired for covering a story about paper medical records found in an abandoned storage unit whose contents were auctioned off. Matthew Dougherty says the station’s news director ordered him to “kill the story” when he found that the owner of the records was his own family physician, threatening him with statements that he had violated HIPAA.


Other

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The Kansas City paper writes a surprisingly insightful article on the lack of EHR interoperability, opening with a brilliant question: “Why, then, does a windowless office in Truman Medical Center need to scan 2.9 million pages of paper medical records that started out as electronic ones?” That’s pretty eloquent for a site that co-features the usual eyeball-pandering cute dog video right next to it. I like its term of “digital dead ends,” which it summarizes as, “All that scanning springs from institutional rivalries over control of your medical data. Records emerging from all that scanning give your doctor the digital age version of something pieced together with duct tape — and rendered less valuable in the process.”

It isn’t just a US problem that nobody likes taking a pay cut: China passes a law prohibiting doctors from selling drugs to patients at a markup, so to offset their loss of income, the doctors doubled the rate of inpatient care. As the abstract concludes, “The reform had an unintended consequence: China’s healthcare providers have sought new, potentially inappropriate forms of revenue.”

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Cleveland Clinic kicks McDonald’s out of its food court after years of trying to cancel the company’s lease, apparently convinced that the people who eat there (many of whom its own clinical employees) can’t be trusted to choose their food wisely during the very few hours each lifetime they’re inside the hallowed Clinic’s food court walls rather than everywhere else in Cleveland, which has 25 surviving McDonald’s. They should have instead used their copy of the franchise as a living laboratory to learn how to shift consumption to the healthier options that McDonald’s offers and that nobody buys, like salads, apple slices, and non-sugary drinks. McDonald’s, like Walmart and drug dealers, meets consumer demand that won’t go away no matter how much finger-waggers try unsuccessfully to legislate away the supply.


Sponsor Updates

  • MedData offers “The ABCs of ICD-10: Background and New Features.”
  • Navicure will exhibit at the 2015 Community Health Institute & Expo August 23-25 in Orlando.
  • ESD is included on the Inc. 500. Nordic also made the list, as did The HCI Group.
  • Netsmart offers “Leading the Interoperability Charge with Local Health Departments.”
  • Direct Consulting Associates opens its new exhibit in the Technology Showcase at the HIMSS Innovation center in Cleveland.
  • Nordic will exhibit at NeXXpo August 25 in Madison, WI.
  • SyTrue CEO Kyle Silvestro is featured in “Five Things You Never Suspected About Your Healthcare Data.”
  • Park Place International offers “Approaching VDI.”
  • Experian Health/Passport will exhibit at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Total Store Expo August 22-25 in Denver.
  • Patientco offers “Learn How a Meditech Hospital Boosted Patient Revenue 17% by Bringing Patient Payments In House.”
  • QPID Health is identified as a sample vendor in the NLP-Clinical Enterprise category of Gartner’s Hype Cycle for healthcare technologies.
  • PMD offers “The Many Faces of Android Devices.”
  • Anthelio Healthcare Solutions is named to the HCI 100.
  • Point-of-Care Partners offers a presentation on “Advancements in Technology to Streamline and Expedite Patient Access.”
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the Collaborative Care Summit 2015 August 20-21 in San Diego.
  • Extension Healthcare offers “Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery.”
  • Galen Healthcare Solutions posts “Reducing Complexity in Healthcare IT: Part 2 … Preparing to move forward.”
  • Greenway Health offers “Patient Engagement: Is Fear of Commitment Keeping Your Patients From Getting Engaged?”
  • Healthfinch will exhibit at the NeXXpo: Business in Fast Forward event August 25 in Madison, WI.
  • Healthgrades offers “A Day in the Life of a Web Developer.”
  • HealthMedx will exhibit at the Missouri Health Care Association Annual Convention August 24-25 in Branson.
  • Healthwise offers “Exploring the relationship between plain language and ethics.”
  • Ingenious Med will exhibit at the HFMA Mid-America Summer Institute August 26-28 in Minneapolis.
  • InstaMed offers “The Top 3 Essentials of Payment Security in Healthcare.”
  • InterSystems publishes “Redefining Relationships: Information Sharing Among Frenemies.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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

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August 20, 2015 News 10 Comments

News 8/19/15

August 18, 2015 News 14 Comments

Top News

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CTO Paul Contino leaves NYC Health & Hospitals Corporation, the fourth high-ranking IT HHC official to depart following an investigation of its $764 million Epic implementation. HHC previously fired CIO Bert Robles, two other employees, and seven consultants. Several of the project’s top positions being filled in interim by Clinovations (acquired by The Advisory Board Company in February 2015), which was given a $4 million, 15-month contract to manage the project. HHC is investigating reports of consultant overbilling on the project that is 18 months behind schedule. Internal documents suggest an actual project cost of $1.4 billion, nearly double the announced cost. HHC chose Epic in January 2013 at an announced contract price of $302 million. It hopes to bring it live system-wide by 2018.


Reader Comments

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From Former PF Employee: “Re: Practice Fusion’s interim CEO. Ryan Howard was never going to make it as CEO through an IPO. He had too many issues and wasn’t able to temper them enough. An IPO may happen but isn’t as imminent as the PR team says — that was a tactic to distract people from the need to change CEOs. It wasn’t supposed to be this sudden, but that’s how Ryan is and part of why this is a good decision overall. Side note: why does everyone think PF only generates revenue from ads and selling data? Ads are maybe 30 percent and data actually isn’t sold (while ‘insights’ from the data are sold, that’s less than five percent too).” Unverified.

From Duluth Dilettante: “Re: Practice Fusion’s interim CEO. I agree, you don’t put in an interim CEO to prepare for an IPO. A lot of venture money was poured into both Practice Fusion and CareCloud, both of which changed CEOs. The ‘broken’ healthcare space offers opportunities but is complicated, especially when competing with incumbent vendors like Epic and Cerner. Once you take VC money, the game changes to achieving lofty financial goals or getting kicked out by impatient investors.” I can’t imagine the learning that’s required of a startup CEO who faces a tough investor grade card at each revenue milestone. Think about Neal Patterson guiding Cerner from a picnic table conversation to a huge corporation and what he had to learn along the way. CEOs who are afraid of losing their job let boards convince them to maximize short-term profits even at the expense of long-term potential, so risky innovation isn’t encouraged, like Cerner spending a fortune developing Millennium in the late 1990s. One might postulate that every publicly traded company would have been better, but not necessarily bigger, if it had stayed private and stuck with a non-quarterly mindset like Epic, InterSystems, Meditech, and quite a few other health IT companies that are still run by their very successful founders after decades.

From Hospital Money Man: “Re: CMS. Cutting it awfully close for the 2015 MU modification / alignment rule. Reporting periods need to start no later than October 2 assuming the provision sticks. There’s no time for vendors to respond and QA is the first to get cut. Some vendors will hedge in assuming NPRM will pass as written, but there’s obvious risk. Just in case anyone wonders why we’re in the position we’re in with consensus that EHR functionality is in shambles and calls for program postponement.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

My latest gripe: referring to provider payments as noble-sounding “reimbursement,” an especially embarrassing euphemism when the reimbursee books an annual “surplus” of hundreds of millions of dollars. Also, publications that say Congress prohibits use of a National Patient Identifier, which isn’t exactly true – it only prohibits HHS spending government money to implement it.


Webinars

August 25 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Cerner’s Takeover of Siemens: An Update (Including the DoD Project).” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Vince Ciotti, principal, HIS Professionals; Frank Poggio, president and CEO, The Kelzon Group. Vince and Frank delivered HIStalk’s most popular webinar, "Cerner’s Takeover of Siemens, Are You Ready?" which has been viewed nearly 6,000 times. Vince and Frank return with their brutally honest (and often humorous) opinions about what has happened with Cerner since then, including its participation in the successful DoD bid and what that might mean for Cerner’s customers and competitors, based on their having seen it all in their decades of experience. 

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Wolters Kluwer will acquire physician CME provider Learners’ Digest International for $150 million in cash.

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Denver-based predictive analytics vendor NextHealth Technologies raises $1 million in funding from investors that include Nuance Healthcare President Trace Devanny.

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Medical coding services vendor Aviacode receives a $16 million investment to further develop its marketing and technology. David Jensen founded the company in 2000.

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Rehab therapy software vendor WebPT acquires Therabill, which offers a Web-based practice management system for therapists.

Bold, insightful investment firms set a consensus target share price of $7.05 for Merge Healthcare, no doubt acting independently of the news that IBM will acquire the company for $7.13 per share.


Sales

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Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa in Finland chooses Epic’s $424 million bid to replace its patient care system. Epic outscored CGI based on price, functionality, usability, and interoperability. HUS has 21,000 employees and nearly 3,000 beds.


People

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St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (TN) names Keith Perry (University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center) as CIO.

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Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin hires William Showalter (Wellmont Health System) as SVP/CIO.

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Steve Puckett, EVP/CTO of Quality Systems (NextGen), resigns “by mutual agreement with the company.” His duties will transition to COO Daniel Morefield.

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Meg Aranow (The Advisory Board Company) joins SRG Technology as SVP of technology.

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CareTech Solutions President and CEO Jim Giordano is appointed vice chairman of Ascension Michigan’s board.

RightCare Solutions names Jeff Edgin (Siemens Medical Solutions) as SVP of business development.


Announcements and Implementations

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Peer60 publishes “IT Infrastructure Trends in Medical Imaging 2015.” It’s interesting that hospitals are nearly equally split between wanting to buy PACS or VNA hardware on their own vs. choosing a turnkey solution. Preferred hardware vendors were Dell and HP.

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Clinical Architecture announces Content Cloud, a cloud-based terminology update service.

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Novant Health (NC), which has the highest Epic MyChart engagement in the US with 50 percent of its users logging into the portal at least monthly, will integrate user wearable data into MyChart using Apple HealthKit.

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Capital BlueCross (PA) announces that enrollees can start using its American Well-powered physician video visits on January 1, 2016.


Government and Politics

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Leidos wins another big military medical contract, earning a 10-year, $900 million bid to support US Army medical research.

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FDA, CDC, and NLM will convene a free public workshop on promoting semantic interoperability between diagnostic devices and EHRs/LISs on September 28, 2015 at the FDA’s Silver Spring, MD campus.


Privacy and Security

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The State of Colorado apologizes for sending 1,600 PHI-containing letters intended for Medicaid recipients to the mailing addresses of other people due to a vendor’s programming error.


Innovation and Research

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MIT researchers develop a cognitive assessment in which smart pens analyze the way a person draws a clock, automating a manually interpreted test and potentially allowing earlier detection of dementia.


Technology

An article about the Internet of Things says consumer and other light uses (some of them absurd, like refrigerator and trash can sensors) can’t be profitable since they communicate via expensive cellular networks.


Other

In England, local media get worked up after their Freedom of Information requests reveal that a hospital paid a cardiologist $17,000 to cover three, eight-hour holiday shifts, or compensation of $708 per hour.

UK investors complain that digital health innovation is stifled there by NHS, whose bureaucracy controls nearly all health-related spending even as NHS says its future success depends on innovative technology. A frustrated English startup CEO who moved his company to the US despite being named a NHS Innovation Accelerator Fellow says, “The NHS is optimized for people with large sales organizations and/or specific knowledge about how the system works. Although US healthcare has its problems and there are some messed-up incentives, at least there are incentives.” You can imagine a similar situation here if the federal government ran healthcare even more than it already does.

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A study of 96 medical specialists in Massachusetts finds that most are unaware of the state’s 2012 medical transparency law that requires them to provide consumers with self-pay prices within two business days. Dentists were the most accommodating, presumably because they have many patients without insurance. One ophthalmology practice quoted $140 for an eyeglass exam, but raised the price to $327 when told the patient would be paying cash. Price estimates for a colonoscopy that includes facility and anesthesiology charges ranged from $1,300 to $10,000. Some practices told the surveyor that they weren’t allowed to give prices by phone, while others were “downright rude.” The president of the state medical society blames “the complexity of the payment system.”

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The Kansas City paper digs back into Cerner history in comparing Amazon’s “brutal” workplace to Neal Patterson’s infamous 2001 threatening employee email that sent CERN shares down 20 percent after it went public. I’ve changed my opinion about the email over the years as several then-Cerner employees have said Neal was right – employees were taking advantage of the company’s management sloppiness and he had to skip those layers to get his point across directly and unequivocally. It must have worked since shares have increase somewhere around eightfold since then vs. the Nasdaq’s doubling. Still, it’s fun to run his spitting nails email every couple of years.

The New York Times publishes a great article called “How to Know Whether to Believe a Health Study.” It says the problem with randomized trials is that they focus on narrow populations of people who are most likely to benefit from the particular treatment, often also excluding older patients and children. However, it fails to mention what I see as the biggest problem – studies are often sponsored by companies that suppress publication of the negative or even inconclusive ones. The author likes observational studies in which large, existing databases are mined for new insights as long as they cover broad populations and not just people who chose to receive a particular treatment.

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Lenny Robinson, who sold his cleaning business and made a full-time job of visiting hospitalized children in Maryland costumed as Batman, was killed Sunday when his stalled Batmobile was struck by another car on Interstate 70. He was 51.


Sponsor Updates

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  • Aprima announces attendance of 800 at its user conference earlier this month.
  • Caradigm and iHT2 publish “12 Things You Need to Know About Value-Based Reimbursement.”
  • MEA|NEA is named to the Inc. 5000.
  • AdvancedMD offers a look at its new ICD-10 website.
  • AirWatch becomes a founding sponsor of the new Center for the Development and Application of Internet-of-Things Technologies at Georgia Tech.
  • Strata Decision Technology participates along with Costs of Care in a national story contest called “The Best Care, The Lowest Cost: One Idea at a Time.”
  • Aventura offers “A Nurse’s Perspective: Shifting the Focus from the Computer to the Patient.”
  • Awarepoint posts “Protect Patients, Cut Costs & Increase Compliance with Real-time Temp Monitoring.”
  • Besler Consulting offers “Medical Necessity and Ambulance Services.”
  • Cumberland Consulting Group and Divurgent are named to the Inc. 500 I 5000 list.
  • Recondo Technology will exhibit at the HFMA Region 8 Mid-America Summer Institute August 26 in Minneapolis.
  • Practice Unite offers “Achieving High Adoption of Patient Engagement Apps.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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

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August 18, 2015 News 14 Comments

Monday Morning Update 8/17/15

August 16, 2015 News 13 Comments

Top News

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Practice Fusion promotes Tom Langan to interim CEO, replacing founder Ryan Howard, who will move to board chair. That’s a bizarre move given that Langan has no CEO experience (he’s always been in sales) and he joined the company only a year ago. Practice Fusion is planning an IPO that could be imminent, but that plan seems faulty with this move. Sounds fishy to me, but then again that’s been said about the company’s free (as in advertiser-sponsored and data-selling) EHR business model from the beginning. They seemed awfully anxious to get Howard out of the CEO chair without having a viable replacement identified.


Reader Comments

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From Jed: “Re: your medical records saga. I came across PicnicHealth and I see you mentioned them back in 2014. The demo account looks pretty slick.” PicnicHealth, like CareSync, offers to manually obtain and input all of a patient’s records into its online system, which is presented in timeline form. They charge $19.95 per month for twice-yearly collection or $39.95 per month for constant updates. The company absorbs any records fees charged by providers, although it’s not clear from their site whether they obtain hospital records as well as those from practices. I mentioned PicnicHealth in August 2014, noting that they had five employees working from a San Francisco apartment or office above a Western wear store, sharing an address with the headquarters of sex party operator Kinky Salon. PicnicHealth raised $2 million in April 2015. I would be a bit concerned that its director of medical informatics, called “Doctor” throughout, is actually an ND (naturopathic doctor), although it probably doesn’t really matter for a consumer site. Still, that’s why the form “Dr. XXX” should never be used in writing, and when it is (incorrectly), I check the degree and school every time — it’s the folks trying to hide something that don’t state their actual degree or who conferred it.

From Digger: “Re: press releases. You mentioned that other sites basically rewrite them to look like news. I notice they also don’t link to them.” Of course they don’t – that would make it obvious that they did no original research or added no value at all. I always link to the source so you don’t have to take my word for it.

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From Terry: “Re: summer Sunday haha. Saw this on LinkedIn.” As you suspected, I like it.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Seventy-one percent of poll respondents say Meditech’s competitive position is worsening. Reader comments include  Bread_Butter_Site: Meditech has too many platforms, got into ambulatory too late, took too long to release a Web version, and sacrificed agility to maintain their legacy platforms. PFS_Guy: Meditech offers the cheapest option for small to medium-sized facilities, but those are getting bought up by larger systems who replace it with their own system. Previous Medical User: decreasing product sales will force Meditech to raise support fees and limit product development. It’s Just Business: HCA considered moving to Epic but chose to stay on Magic.

New poll to your right or here: in which company (some publicly traded, some considering it) would you invest $10,000 if forced to choose one? I predict somebody will, as they always do, add a comment suggesting, “You should have put a ‘none of them’ response,” which of course would be irrational given the question.

Listening: new from Toto, decades-polished hard rock/progressive that stands as excellent on its own without even thinking about their late 1970s/early 1980s hits “Rosanna,” “Africa,” and “I’ll Supply the Love.” They aren’t just guys pushing 60 riding off into the sunset atop their ancient hits – the guitarist still shreds. They’re on tour now with Yes, who I say with sadness (having seen them many times as one of my favorite bands ever) is just topping off the grandchildren’s trust funds by cashing in on yet another tour as a sloppy, wooden cover band with no original members or creative energy left to do anything other than issue a zillion live albums from the band’s nearly 50 years.

Pet Twitter peeve: I’m scrolling through an endless list of utter Twitter crap, mostly retweets from the 134 people I follow (who often get maddeningly off-topic sidetracked in tweeting about baseball, a guy wearing a kilt, and pet issues like their personal airline gripes or their photography hobby) when I finally see something interesting and click on a link. Twitter then resets the very long list back to the beginning, forcing me to restart the endless scrolling. It’s time for another round of un-following.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Premier adds to its analytics arsenal by acquiring Healthcare Insights for $65 million.
  • Teladoc releases its first post-IPO quarterly report that shows a significant telemedicine usage ramp-up, but huge losses.
  • ONC announces that its IT safety center – assuming Congress changes its mind about not funding it — will be named the Health IT Safety Collaboratory.
  • A Vancouver newspaper’s investigation finds that IBM was fired from a large clinical systems transformation project and has been replaced with its subcontractor Cerner.
  • AHA complains that the FCC’s decision to open up some frequency bands to wireless microphones will interfere with Wireless Medical Telemetry Services in hospitals.
  • A GAO report finds that the VA and Department of Defense are missing key interoperability dates but are making progress, with the great unknown being how the DoD’s new Cerner project fits in.

Webinars

August 25 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Cerner’s Takeover of Siemens: An Update (Including the DoD Project).” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Vince Ciotti, principal, HIS Professionals; Frank Poggio, president and CEO, The Kelzon Group. Vince and Frank delivered HIStalk’s most popular webinar, "Cerner’s Takeover of Siemens, Are You Ready?" which has been viewed nearly 6,000 times. Vince and Frank return with their brutally honest (and often humorous) opinions about what has happened with Cerner since then, including its participation in the successful DoD bid and what that might mean for Cerner’s customers and competitors, based on their having seen it all in their decades of experience. 

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Wireless and needle-free continuous glucose monitoring technology vendor Echo Therapeutics proves the difficulty of turning an idea into a business: the company loses $11 million in the quarter after deciding to abandon plans to license its technology and instead focus on its own product development by working with a China-based technology company. Echo’s largest investor, an arbitrage fund, agreed to invest another $4 million in the company in December in return for having the company’s board replace three of its members with its own people. The fund had previously sued the company for mismanagement, while its former CEO received a settlement from the company after suing for wrongful termination. ECTE shares peaked at around $800 in 2000 but are priced at $1.51 today, valuing the company at $17 million.


People

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Ross Martin, MD, MHA (AMIA) joins the Maryland HIE CRISP as program director.


Announcements and Implementations

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Medhost will convene “The Nashville Experience” at Nashville’s Music City Center on September 16, featuring speakers Hayley Hovious (Nashville Health Care Council), Nicholas Webb (futurist and author), Farzad Mostashari, MD (former National Coordinator and current Aledade CEO), attorney Steve Blumenthal, and Jitin Asnaani (executive director, CommonWell). Registration is $250 including meals with an optional $150 ticket to the Taste of Nashville Gala.


Government and Politics

The protest period for the DoD’s EHR bid has expired, so the contract stands with the winning team of Leidos, Cerner, Accenture, and Henry Schein. Competing bidding consortia that included partners Epic and Allscripts were rumored to have been underbid by $1 billion by the ultimate winner, making their protest unlikely since a win would require them to do the work for a lot less money than they estimated.


Privacy and Security

NHS England will give chain pharmacies access to the summary care records of all patients (excepting those few who have opted out) this fall following a pilot project involving 140 pharmacies. The records, which are on file for 96 percent of the country’s residents, contain medications and diagnoses. The pharmacist is required to ask the patient for permission to view their record during their drugstore encounter. Only 15 patients responded to surveys during the pilot, so few that their input was discarded. Pharmacists have expressed some confusion about when they need the patient’s permission and how to obtain it.

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University of Virginia announces that a China-based cyberattack affected its IT systems on June 11, but didn’t affect the UVa Health System.


Technology

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The Nashville paper suggests that hospitals and other business consider deploying beacon technology rather than apps that require installation and updates. Beacons use Bluetooth Low Energy to broadcast to nearby Android or iOS smartphones, displaying the desired information to the user and reporting back information to the business. The advantage to customers is that their location is encrypted and push notifications aren’t sent when they are out of range or their phones are turned off. Beacons cost only around $20 are even sold at Target for finding lost devices with beacons attached. Theoretically beacons could replace some hospital RFID functions or even to transmit vital signs information, although that probably strays into FDA approval territory.


Other

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The Donald is finding that it’s hard to hide from past idiocy that lives forever in social media. Many such cases!

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A reader sent over the full-text JAMIA article that bizarrely concludes that HITECH had no impact on EHR adoption. The public health professor authors used some kind of diffusion model to determine that EHR adoption was imitative rather than innovative, then wanders off to a seemingly unrelated conclusions about lack of positive EHR impact on productivity and interoperability. I think what they’re trying to prove is that HITECH drove EHR adoption for the wrong reasons and may have stifled innovation as a result, with the billions of taxpayer dollars spent on HITECH returning little value in clinical outcomes or costs. That’s just guessing since I really can’t figure it out. I’m surprised JAMIA’s editors let this run without asking for more clarification.

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The new $1.3 billion Parkland Hospital (TX), twice the size of the old building across the street, includes an interactive patient care system, Wi-Fi throughout, palm vein scanning for patient ID, and a more comprehensive ICU monitoring system.

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Graduate diploma and associate degree nurses of a struggling for-profit college chain break into tears at their first look at their licensure exam when they realize they were poorly trained, causing the community college exam proctors to bring in a mental health counselor and to hand out information about a suicide hotline. Brown Mackie College faces national fraud charges for using unqualified instructors (the Arizona campus instructor for anatomy and physiology is a lawyer) and skipping practical instruction for tasks such as starting an IV, which students tried to learn on their own by finding YouTube videos. Parent company Education Management Corporation lost more than $2 billion in 2012 to 2014 as the government cracked down on for-profit colleges marketing themselves hard to students who didn’t know better and who were likely to default on federal student loans, taking away 90 percent of the potential school profits. The Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corporation also operates Argosy University, The Art Institutes, and South University. Taxpayers will pay billions of dollars to cover the defaulted loans of students whose schools shut down as students demand that the federal government cancel their loans because they allowed themselves to be swindled. It’s not just a problem with for-profit colleges, as private and public colleges and universities woo students with the idea that they should rack up dozens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt in studying whatever interests them despite the almost certain likelihood that they’ll end up with no increase in employability or earning power as a result.

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Combat communications airmen with the US Air Force’s 35th Combat Communications Squadron from Tinker Air Force Base, OK rebuild the Internet connectivity of a Honduras hospital as part of a joint training exercise. The hospital had been offline for three years. Tech Sgt. Jasmine Matus says the team focused on the archives room that holds paper medical records since the hospital is hoping to migrate to digital storage. A 15-member Air Force medical team also participated, supporting classroom and drinking well construction teams from the Air Force’s 823rd Red Horse Squadron from Hurlburt Field, FL and the 271st Marine Wing Support Squadron from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point NC.

Employees of Willis Knighton Proton Therapy Center (LA) surprise 12-year-old spinal cord tumor patient Sophia with a flash mob dance (practiced on their own time) to celebrate the completion of her advanced proton therapy.

Weird News Andy titles this story “Jettisoned Evidence,” in which scientists study how bacterial populations differ around the world by extracting samples from the sewage holding tanks of commercial jets.


Report from the Allscripts Clinical Experience
By Joe Adkins, Clinical Pharmacist
Springhill Medical Center, Mobile, AL

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I changed my mind last week about what a healthcare IT conference is really all about.

When I made plans for the Allscripts Client Experience (ACE) held August 5-7 in Boston, I had no idea just how much my world view would be changed about what lies ahead for our industry. I planned to attend the usual technology sessions to learn about product roadmaps and functionalities.

But after experiencing the opening session, I realize what I’m doing now in my role as a clinical pharmacist is helping to build the future for healthcare’s new era of personalized medicine.

From the opening session featuring Allscripts President and CEO Paul Black along with NantHealth founder Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, I realized that this conference isn’t just about software. It’s about saving lives, thinking big, and finding a path to predictive medicine from our current reactive medicine mode. When it comes to treating cancer and other complex diseases, genomic sequencing is going to change the game – and sooner than we know.

I was given access to some of the great thinkers on health information technology (HIT), and a view into where we’re headed not next year, but five, 10, even 15 years down the road. It was interesting to see just how far Black and Soon-Shiong are planning beyond what we even know as healthcare IT today.

What I heard them saying is that the medications we use to treat and target cancer and other complex diseases are becoming more personalized and predictive thanks to nearly commonplace access to genomic sequencing. The advances in cancer treatment alone are moving ahead by leaps and bounds that we couldn’t imagine just two years ago. All of us in HIT must step up to ensure that the clinical information needed to treat patients is available in real time at the point of care just as quickly as discoveries are made.

For example, a handful of medications treat cancer well in ways we couldn’t envision just a few years ago. Eventually, there will be several dozen types of drugs to select from, and eventually, thanks to genomic sequencing, we’ll know which one works best for each individual.

The development pathways for those types of drugs have become much, much more compressed and the industry currently has no answer for how to keep up.

But Black and Soon-Shiong provided an interesting sneak peek into the future, and they are making some bets that NantHealth has the answer. It’s a little bit of a gamble, but I think it’s a calculated, good one. We don’t know yet whether this is the direction to go, but I’m glad Allscripts and NantHealth are investigating a new path to the future of HIT.

We can save more lives if we get this right. And I’m all in for that.


Sponsor Updates

  • The SSI Group will exhibit at the 2015 MS HFMA Summer Workshop August 19-21 in Philadelphia, MS.
  • Streamline Health will ring Nasdaq’s opening bell August 19.
  • Surescripts Chief Administrative and Legal Officer Paul Uhrig is featured in a Boston Global article, “E-scrips seen as a way to combat opioid abuse.”
  • T-Systems offers “Leading with Passion: Check Your Resilience.”
  • TeleTracking posts “The Value of Time” in optimizing hospital operations.
  • TransUnion writes its first corporate social responsibility report.
  • Valence Health will exhibit at the World Congress on Health and Biomedical Informatics August 19-23 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • VitalHealth Software offers, “The Patient Centered Medical Home: Will the Demonstration Projects Fail?”
  • Voalte offers a preview of VUE15, its first user experience conference, November 10-12 in Sarasota, FL.
  • West Corp. offers, “The New Healthcare Paradigm: “Think Whole Person.”
  • Xerox Healthcare explains how “Data Analytics Transforms Virginia Medicaid.”
  • ZirMed will host its 2015 UGM, ZUG 15, August 17-18 in Chicago.
  • Navicure offers “Shifting Attention: Value-Based Reimbursement Gains Traction.”
  • Nordic offers “HIT Breakdown 10 – Patient Engagement possibilities with MyChart.”
  • NTT Data posts “5 Reasons Your Cloud is About to Become a Legacy System.”
  • Oneview Healthcare offers “Yelp Comes to Healthcare.”
  • Orion Health writes “Does greater patient control equate to a better healthcare experience?”
  • Park Place International offers “Sustaining Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.”
  • Summit Healthcare reports the experience of its client Valley Regional Healthcare (NH), which is using the company’s downtime reporting system.
  • Patientco publishes a new white paper, “3 Strategies for Increasing Self-Service Patient Payments with PatientWallet.”
  • PatientKeeper offers “Relieving a Practice’s ICD-10sion.”
  • Phynd Technologies writes “Merger Mania in the Healthcare Industry.”
  • PMD submits “Digital Health: A New Haven for Physicians.”
  • RelayHealth posts a new case study, “Focusing on Patients, not Dollars, makes Cooper Bend Pharmacy unique.”
  • Sagacious Consultants offers a “Q&A with David Hammer: How Consolidation and Unified Reimbursement will Change Revenue Cycle Management.”
  • Sandlot Solutions will exhibit at the iHT2 Health IT Summit August 18-19 in Seattle.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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

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August 16, 2015 News 13 Comments

News 8/14/15

August 13, 2015 News 4 Comments

Top News

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Premier acquires financial analytics vendor Healthcare Insights for $65 million in cash. 


Reader Comments

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From Bean Enumerator: “Re: North Shore-LIJ’s JV with Newport Health. Newport says it has experienced and innovative health IT talent, but the only person listed as working for the company has no relevant experience whatsoever. It’s a bad sign when an investment banker starts a health IT company. How did Allscripts lose this one given their supposedly tight partnership with NS-LIJ and their population health management aspirations?” I couldn’t find much of anything on Newport Health other than it’s apparently connected to Newport Private Group with a real office in Newport Beach, CA and mail drawer addresses in New York and Texas. The site contains nothing that suggests why they would make a good partner for NS-LIJ or anyone else for that matter.

From Divine: “Re: Cerner. Have you heard anything about them pulling their Intermountain team back to Kansas City?” I have not.

From ACOver: “Re: Aledade. You didn’t mention that the company is expanding.” Farzad’s Aledade has nothing to do with health IT, which some of the HIT sites can’t quite grasp in confusing his former job with his current one. Non-HIT sites with healthcare reform and insurance followers are the place for that kind of story rather than HIT sites that just reword Aledade’s press releases without adding any value whatsoever.

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From GeneInsight SchmeneInsight: “Re: Sunquest and Partners HealthCare marketing GeneInsight software. While the GeneInsight investment may be helping, I spoke with two folks (Meridian Health, NJ and Main Line, PA) each doing due diligence on enterprise systems to include ripping out Sunquest. Epic and Cerner are being vetted at both sites.” Unverified. The challenge with being a best-of-breed vendor is that your fervent, enterprise-resistant users don’t have the final word when health systems consider buying a broad, good-enough integrated product line from a company that supports it all. Those dominoes have been falling for years – lab, radiology, and pharmacy are moving (or being pushed) to Epic and Cerner from their favorite departmental systems. I haven’t seen any evidence that patient outcomes or costs have suffered as a result despite the dire predictions from the folks in those departments whose niche systems were, in their minds, integral to their unique mission.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor YourCareUniverse. The Franklin, TN-based company offers cloud-based technology and expertise in consumer relationship management, putting consumers at the center of the health system’s strategy. Patient-facing modules include YourCareHealth (personal health records), YourCareWellness (a wellness portal), YourCareEverywhere (consumer health content), and YourCareNavigation (rules-based care and wellness plans). Provider-facing technologies include a patient education content repository for clinician prescribing, community risk stratification analytics, an HIE and HIE connector, a patient transfer application, a Salesforce-integrated consumer marketing system, and a referral management system. The company also offers strategic consulting to guide organizations through transformational change. YourCareUniverse quickly signed up 38 customers after it was launched early this year, with its first go-live last month at Mount San Raphael Hospital (CO), which is using the patient engagement capabilities to promote its brand to consumers. Thanks to YourCareUniverse for supporting HIStalk.

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The YourCareUniverse folks are excited to present their two-day “Transvisional Forum: Transforming the Health of Consumers Through Engagement” conference September 16-17 at the Music City Center in Nashville. Topics of the nine educational sessions include cultivating consumer loyalty, managing the digital patient, analyzing big data, and increasing volume. Keynote speakers are Nicholas Webb (author of “The Digital Innovation Playbook”), Farzad Mostashari, MD (former National Coordinator and CEO of Aledade), Steve Blumenthal, JD (health IT attorney and all-around HIStalk pal), and Jitin Asnaani (executive director, CommonWell Health Alliance). Early bird registration is $795 through this Saturday, August 15.

This week on HIStalk Practice: Texas physicians struggle to keep their doors open and spirits up. HelloMD pivots its telemedicine services to medical marijuana. The Senate approves the Electronic Health Fairness Act, while HHS gets a black eye over breaches. Kathryn Evans offers best practices for leveraging technology to ensure reliable disposal of hazardous drugs at physician practices. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell announces $169 million in funding for new health centers. CSI rolls out Doctor on Demand telemedicine services. SecurityMetrics develops a HIPAA Dashboard for physician practices.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Google X Labs partners with DexCom to develop a miniaturized, disposable continuous glucose monitor. Twitter introduces an API exposing its entire 500 million tweet history to software developers. A Cambridge, MA-based genetics startup raises a $120 million Series B to advance its research into CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing therapies. A consortium of European researchers is developing a "smart mirror" that will screen users for early signs of chronic diseases.

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My love-hate affair with Windows 10 continues after one of its silent updates trashed my laptop’s Wi-Fi connectivity yesterday due to what I initially thought was device driver incompatibility. I spent a couple of hours trying to fix it before giving up and taking it to the repair shop (which I’ve never had to do since I can usually fix things myself). The shop owner left a message last night saying he had spent hours of analysis without figuring out a solution, with the only option he could suggest being to downgrade back to Windows 8.1. I returned his call this morning and he had experienced some sort of nocturnal epiphany and fixed the update-corrupted Windows networking components by matching up individual DLLs with versions and dates and then reinstalling and registering them one at a time. It’s back on my desk working fine. The $89 cost was worth it and I’m pretty happy to keep Win10, although I’m annoyed at the exasperation and expense of fixing the damage it caused and fearing the havoc the next update will wreak. The repair shop owner has added my problem to his Win10 issues folder, which is rather thick after just two weeks of its availability. He’s probably thrilled at the business uptick.


Webinars

August 25 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Cerner’s Takeover of Siemens: An Update (Including the DoD Project).” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Vince Ciotti, principal, HIS Professionals; Frank Poggio, president and CEO, The Kelzon Group. Vince and Frank delivered HIStalk’s most popular webinar, "Cerner’s Takeover of Siemens, Are You Ready?" which has been viewed nearly 6,000 times. Vince and Frank return with their brutally honest (and often humorous) opinions about what has happened with Cerner since then, including its participation in the successful DoD bid and what that might mean for Cerner’s customers and competitors, based on their having seen it all in their decades of experience. 

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Roswell, GA-based Tea Leaves Health, which sells hospital marketing software, will be acquired for $30 million by consumer health website publisher Everyday Health. Tea Leaves Founder Reuben Kennedy will make a pile of money he doesn’t really need given his LinkedIn endorsement of a car detailing company that attends to his “five Ferraris, several Porsches, and a Lamborghini.”

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PokitDok, which offers 16 healthcare transaction APIs for application developers, raises $34 million.

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DispatchHealth, which offers cities a mobile acute care alternative to dispatching an ambulance in response to 911 calls, raises $3.6 million. Dispatchers route non-urgent calls to the company, which sends out cars with a clinician, a mobile lab, medical equipment, medications, and Internet connectivity. The company was previously known as True North Health Navigation. It doesn’t indicate pricing, but a FAQ on its old site suggests $200 to $300 per visit with insurance accepted.  

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Freshly IPOed telehealth vendor Teladoc reports Q2 results: revenue up 78 percent, EPS –$7.20 vs. -$2.15. The company warns that it expects to lose $50 million in the fiscal year. Teladoc reports that 83 percent of its revenue comes from the per-member, per-month fees paid by employers, health plans, and health systems, with the remaining 17 percent coming from visit fees averaging $40. Teladoc made reference to future possibilities that include behavioral health, dermatology, second opinions, at-home testing and biometrics, post-discharge monitoring, and wellness programs.

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In a strange business shift, HelloMD, which previously offered expensive, cash-only video visits with big-name medical specialists, relaunches itself as a seller of $49 video consultations for medical marijuana cards. Note that the site says “Approved in 20 mins,” which suggests that a minimal amount of clinical rigor is applied during the video visit. The lady on its home page indeed seems to have been relieved of all her medical suffering and is now in a blissful state of deep-breathing wellness, surrounded by clouds.


Sales

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BayCare Health System (FL) chooses Legacy Data Access to retire its SoftMed application.

New England Healthcare Exchange Network chooses Cognizant and its TriZetto subsidiary to manage its technology infrastructure.

University Hospitals (OH) will use Sectra’s vendor-neutral archive.

Cambridge Health Alliance (MA) chooses Imprivata’s two-factor authentication for e-prescribing of controlled substances.

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Athol Hospital (MA) will implement Medhost’s ED information system.


People

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Cureatr appoints former Highmark CEO William Winkenwerder, Jr., MD to its board.

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Bill Wallace (Kansas HIE, BCBS of Kansas) takes over as interim CEO of the Kansas Foundation for Medical Care.

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University of Iowa Health Care names Maia Hightower, MD, MBA, MPH (Stanford Health Care) as CMIO. She replaces Douglas Van Daele, MD, who will serve as executive director of University of Iowa Physicians.


Announcements and Implementations

InterSystems will use technology from Validic to integrate user-generated and wearables data into its HealthShare interoperability suite.

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HIMSS brags on its Cleveland conference center and its role in helping its vendor members market their products as it trolls for “collaborators” (i.e., paying tenants). The upcoming events list isn’t very compelling with mostly small HIMSS meetings and vendor presentations for attendees yearning for a junket to Cleveland. I’m starting to think that from my experience with health systems and member organizations that the concept of non-profit (meaning “non-taxpaying”) organizations should be eliminated.


Government and Politics

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A GAO analysis finds that the VA and DoD are working on interoperability between their systems, but are missing dates and won’t be finished until 2018.


Privacy and Security

The Economist ponders whether databases can remain useful after being anonymized, or if in fact real anonymization is even possible given the relative ease of matching one database to another to re-identify the information. Possible solutions include releasing data only to researchers rather than to the general public, making data recipients sign use contracts, making re-identification illegal, encrypting data queries as a package so that researchers can’t see the underlying data rows, and dividing the database among multiple hosts.

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The Greater New York Hospital Association bans filming in the city’s hospitals without the the prior written consent of patients, embarrassed by a 2012 episode of “NY Med” that captured the ED death of a patient whose family recognized him on TV despite his digitally obscured face.


Innovation and Research

I can’t see the full article since I don’t subscribe to JAMIA, but I would question the methodology of this study, which concludes that HITECH didn’t change the EHR adoption trajectory – it was just practices without EHRs imitating those that had them.


Other

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Peer60 publishes a “Rapid Reaction Report” on IBM’s planned acquisition of Merge Healthcare, collecting thoughts from 130 healthcare leaders in the two days following the announcement. One-third of the Merge customer contacts said the acquisition will be negative, but 20 percent said they will expand their use of Merge’s solutions under IBM’s ownership. Radiology and non-CIO IT folks felt pretty good about the announcement, but 60 percent of CIOs see it as negative. The main concern seems to be whether IBM is too big and too light on PACS knowledge to keep Merge customers happy while they try to sex up Watson with Merge-supplied “eyes.”

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A British newspaper profiles EMIS Health Managing Director and former Misys Healthcare executive Duane Lawrence, noting that he was the #1 territory sales manager for Coca-Cola at 22 years of age before deciding, “I wanted to do something that was going to make a difference.” I can’t think of any positive healthcare difference Misys ever made other than getting out of it, but perhaps he has finally found his calling.

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The shrill shrieking for Internet attention has unfortunately encouraged the proliferation of witless, intellect-insulting puns in headlines, I’ve noticed. The reporter’s credentials suggest he should know better, although maybe I’m expecting too much since he also contributes to “Painting and Wallcovering Contractor.”

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Nice job spell-checking, Health Gorilla (or is that Health Gorrila?)

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The former network manager of Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation (AK) is indicted for collecting and distributing child pornography over the hospital’s network after investigators find 29 terabytes of images and videos.

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An Accenture analysis of 900 digital health IT startups labels half of them as “zombies” that are likely to fail in their first two years, creating a “vulture capital’ market in which better companies pick at their carcasses for people and technologies. The report identified the zombie startups as those “dead but unaware of it” companies that raised up to $50 million from 2008 through 2013 but haven’t had new financing in the past 20 months. I’m not as optimistic as Accenture that those struggling newcomers have people or intellectual property worth poaching, but we’ll see. They left out the most interesting part – the list of those companies they targeted as zombies. It would be fun to run a death pool contest.

In Australia, a state review of the new Queensland children’s hospital finds that patients were endangered in the rush to open the facility quickly before medical equipment, computer systems, and even hand sanitizers were in place. Employees didn’t meet each other for the first time until the day of opening. Everyone agrees now that the hospital needed another two months before opening its doors.

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I winced when I saw the “register for HIMSS16” subject line in my inbox. The pushed-back Chicago version was like Daylight Saving Time – it was great having the extra weeks before last year’s conference, but now we’ll all pay as the clocks are set forward for Las Vegas and the dreaded week comes all too quickly (you’re likely an HIT newbie or anything-to-miss-work conference junkie if you actually look forward to it). Early bird member registration runs $765. Las Vegas always requires messing up the familiar schedule to accommodate the busloads of gamblers that the hotels and casinos won’t displace over the weekend, meaning the HIMSS conference runs Monday through Friday instead of Sunday through Thursday. The opening keynote will be at 5:00 p.m. Monday and the exhibit hall won’t open until Tuesday morning. HIStalkapalooza will be Monday night as usual, so hopefully the opening keynote will be as unappealing as in the past several years so people can bail out to arrive at my event on time. The closing keynote will be delivered by noted healthcare IT expert Peyton Manning, who will face a Friday afternoon audience smaller than at a Denver Broncos closed practice scrimmage. Hotel rates are, as always, jacked up for expense account attendees, with the same Treasure Island room running triple what it would cost to go next week in the miserably hot Las Vegas summer. In case you forgot, HIMSS announced earlier this year that the conference will alternate between Las Vegas and Orlando, having outgrown all the more interesting places.


Sponsor Updates

  • E-MDs offers a free ICD-10 Survival Kit.
  • Extension Healthcare offers “Market Trends: Counting Down to Alarm Safety Readiness.”
  • Galen Healthcare offers “Healthcare Interoperability Musings: Incentives, Barriers, Blocking.”
  • Access demonstrated its electronic forms and signatures solutions at Meditech South Africa’s event in Johannesburg.
  • Greenway Health posts “Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances: a Convenient Tool to Improve Patient Care and Safety.”
  • Hayes Management Consulting offers “Secure Messaging – Why It Makes Your Job Easier & Your Patients Happier.”
  • ZeOmega earns NCQA’s disease management certification.
  • The HCI Group publishes “4 Steps for Success: ICD-10 Training for Physicians and Non-Clinicians.”
  • HDS offers “FDA Warns of Medical Device Hacking.”
  • Cumberland Consulting Group is named to the Inc. 5000.
  • Healthfinch says “Document, Document, Document!”
  • HealthMedx offers “Proposed CMS rules set new destinations for SNFs … but where’s the path?”
  • Healthwise offers “Engaging Moms on Medicaid.”
  • Iatric Systems posts “EHR Optimization: Go-LIVE Marks the Beginning.”
  • VitalWare is named to the Inc. 500/5000.
  • Impact Advisors is recognized by KLAS for service performance.
  • InstaMed offers “In Healthcare Payments, EMV May be a Driver, But Dodging PCI is the Benefit.”
  • InterSystems and Leidos Health will exhibit at the Defense Health Information Technology Symposium August 18-20 in Orlando.
  • Liaison Technologies is named a finalist in the 2015 North Carolina Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance Health IT Transformation Awards.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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

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August 13, 2015 News 4 Comments

Morning Headlines 8/12/15

August 11, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Newport Health Solutions, North Shore-LIJ Sign Letter of Intent to Pursue Joint Venture to Further Develop “Health Connect” Network Technology in NY

North Shore-LIJ Health System (NY) and population health vendor Newport Health Solutions have signed a joint venture agreement to deploy and further develop Newport’s platform across the North Shore-LIJ system, and then collaboratively market the platform commercially.

Health minister says he read riot act to IT leaders over megaproject problems; IBM out, Cerner in

In Canada, British Columbia’s health minister Terry Lake reports that IBM has been fired from the province’s 10-year, $640 million integrated EHR project, and that Cerner has been named as the replacement vendor.

Castlight Health Announces Second Quarter 2015 Results

Castlight Health reports Q2 results: revenue increased 76 percent to $18.5 million but the company still closed out the quarter with an adjusted net loss of $17.6 million and adjusted EPS –$0.19 vs. –$0.21.

UNC Health Care on pace to double budgeted operating income

UNC Health Care reports that it is closing out its fiscal year with $120 million in operating income, 142 percent higher than the $50 million it had forecasted. The health system gives partial credit for the financial turnaround to its now complete Epic implementation, which it says has had a positive impact on its overall financial performance.

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August 11, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

News 8/12/15

August 11, 2015 News 6 Comments

Top News

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North Shore-LIJ Health System signs a joint venture agreement with population health management system vendor Newport Health Solutions. The new company will complete the installation of Newport’s Health Connect throughout NS-LIJ, then try to sell it commercially. The only listed officer of Newport is Sophia Teng, whose experience is entirely in investment banking rather than healthcare.


Reader Comments

From EMRYouThere: “Re: EMR. One of our physicians runs two clinics for underserved patients in Guatemala. He would like to get them on an EMR but they are under-resourced. Suggestions?” The first ones I thought of were the open source OpenMRS, FreeMed, and iSante, but certainly others are available. I assume that Internet connectivity may be unreliable or slow, but if that isn’t the case, a cloud-based solution would probably require less setup and maintenance. I’ll invite readers to weigh in.

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From Ian: “Re: Sandlot Solutions. Ten to 15 people laid off, CTO Telly Shakelford has left.” I asked Rich Helppie (above), chairman and CEO of Santa Rosa Holdings, which includes Sandlot Solutions, Santa Rosa Consulting, InfoPartners, and Fortified Health Solutions. Rich says there was no material event – the company is fine-tuning its resources to match customer needs and is still hiring. He wouldn’t comment on specific current or former employees, but Telly’s bio has been removed from the company’s executive team page.

From J. Ferguson: “Re: Dim-Sum. I just read the HIStalk Dim-Sum reports, each and every one across 2014. He is hilarious, opinionated, and smart. This guy (I am assuming here) seems bright, on his game, and very aware of how IT works in the medical environment. I am surprised that more people did not initiate, demand, or at least ask for ongoing commentary via HIStalk because it is the perfect forum for someone that is informed and willing to express an opinion. I found nothing on-line about DHMSM that was compelling or interesting until this guy.  He seems like a person that could help initiate discussions and perhaps even be a catalyst for positive change in our industry. I have been in IT for a long while, most of it in healthcare, and he is spot on with occasional sarcasm, but it is entertaining and more than 95 percent accurate. I listened to the commentary via the webinar and his knowledge is very impressive, better than people that will be managing DHMSM I’m sure. Good luck and someone should hire this guy before he wanders off into anonymity.” I agree, his writings (here, here, here, and here) and webinar were outstanding. We haven’t spoken for some time, but last I heard he was hoping I would start some regular feature or site that covers the DoD’s progress.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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It appears that my unblemished streak of Windows 10 success has ended. Windows automatically applied an update to my laptop today, after which I couldn’t access the Internet. I tried everything I could think of – repairing the connection, flushing the DNS cache, tethering to my phone instead, rolling back to an older Wi-Fi adapter driver, de-installing and re-installing the Wi-Fi adapter, and checking the TCP-IP configuration. I gave up and called the computer repair place and the guy says he’s fixed half a dozen PCs with the same problem since the July 29 Win10 release date because of incompatible Wi-Fi adapter drivers. It will cost me around $100 to diagnose and fix (probably involving a new Wi-Fi adapter with a known Win10-compatible driver), I wasted a couple of hours of troubleshooting time, and I had to drag out my Win8 desktop while the laptop is in the shop. At least I was lucky enough to be home when it happened and not stuck elsewhere without an alternative.

My latest Internet gripe: those scroll-happy, overly wordy web pages that tell long stories when a short news item would suffice, especially when those painfully overwrought pieces masquerade as news but aren’t dated. 

Listening: new from Jack + Eliza, a college student duo that sounds like sunny, trippy 1960s groups like the Cowsills or Mamas and the Papas. I needed an antidote to all that cheery music, so I turned to Atlanta-based Mastodon and their upcoming tour-mates Corrosion of Conformity


Webinars

None scheduled in the next two weeks. Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by Labor Day.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Medical device Olympus, whose redesigned but not FDA-approved duodenoscopes have been implicated in spreading bacteria that in some cases killed patients, reports a record-breaking $130 million profit and a 14 percent sales increase in the devices, for which it holds an 85 percent market share. The Department of Justice has subpoenaed the company over the infections. Olympus is also being investigated for corruption in South America and has set aside $450 million to settle US kickback charges. Feel free to insert your own GI tract-related punch line.

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Castlight Health announces Q2 results: revenue up 76 percent, adjusted EPS –$0.19 vs. –$0.21, missing earnings expectations. Shares swirled even deeper around the bowl on the news, with the graph above showing CSLT shares dropping 85 percent since the company’s high-flying March 2014 IPO as its market cap has dropped to just over $500 million. The investor conference call covered just about every vanity metric and excuse buzzword.

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Data integration and cloud vendor Informatica goes private in a $5.3 billion deal that includes secondary funding from Microsoft and Salesforce.

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Sunquest’s year-old investment in Partners HealthCare subsidiary GeneInsight is paying off, the company says, as Sunquest has gained knowledge that it is incorporating into its anatomic pathology product and GeneInsight gets access to Sunquest customers.


Sales

The US Coast Guard chooses InterSystems HealthShare to provide a comprehensive, longitudinal EHR view across its disparate systems.

Christus Health will expand its use of Wellcentive’s value-based care and population health management solutions to most of its US operations.

Providence Health & Services chooses QPID Health to automatically search and interpret free text patient information for quality reports and registry forms.


People

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Orion health promotes Cheryl McKay, PhD, RN to chief nursing officer.

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Mark McMath (Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital) joins Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare as CIO.

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PatientSafe Solutions hires Balaji Sekar (Sutherland Healthcare Solution) as CFO.


Government and Politics

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A presentation to the Health IT Policy Committee on Tuesday seems to suggest that ONC’s proposed health IT safety center will be called “Health IT Safety Collaboratory.” I can’t decide if that’s innovative or annoying, but I’m leaning toward the latter.

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Also from Tuesday’s HITPC meeting: hospitals blame other providers for their lack of information exchange, with 59 percent saying their partners lack the technology. The AHA-sponsored survey questionably concludes that hospitals would love to exchange information with their competitors if only the technology supported it.

Meanwhile, ONC seeks a consumer-patient representative for the HIT Policy Committee and several members for the HIT Standards Committee.

A software error in the VA’s eligibility system has caused 35,000 combat veterans to be denied enrollment. Combat veterans are automatically entitled to free care for five years, but the VA’s system rejected their applications if they didn’t fill out a family income form. Nearly half of those who were rejected had applied more than five years ago, meaning their eligibility has since expired without their receiving any benefits.

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CMS awards Booz Allen Hamilton a five-year, $202 million contract to run Healthcare.gov. 

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HELP Committee member Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) urges President Obama to issue an executive order that would guarantee paid sick days to 28 million federal contractors, saying, “Our nation needs it.” She could just save time and propose raising the minimum wage to $100 per hour, which will be (as is true with all government tinkering with employee compensation terms) fantastic for everybody left standing after companies lay off enough people to pay for their newly mandated largesse.


Privacy and Security

The SEC brings charges against two Ukrainian hackers who breached the systems of three press release companies (PRNewswire, Marketwired, and BusinessWire) and sold pre-release, market-moving company earnings announcements to 30 stock traders around the world who bought or sold shares minutes before the news went public, earning the traders $100 million in illegal profits. The hackers created a video of themselves breaching the systems to sell their services to the traders, who sometimes agreed to give the hackers a percentage of the profits.

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Some patients who were among the 3.9 million whose information was exposed in the Medical Informatics Engineering breach complain that they are confused by the online form to request credit monitoring and can’t get through on the telephone hotlines provided. Experian has added call center agents and online signup tips.

A cybersecurity expert notes that it’s easy to look up physician credentials in public databases, then use them to sign up for access to the national electronic registries for births and deaths. The hacker can then file a death certificate that allows someone to collect life insurance or change the age on a birth certificate.


Other

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A freedom of information request by the Vancouver newspaper finds that the health minister fired IBM in April 2015 from its $640 million, province-wide clinical systems transformation project and has now replaced it with Cerner. The 10-year-old project involves 1.2 million patients. Cerner’s deal extends through 2026. IBM’s problems included unmet deadlines, too many consultants and too few informaticists involved, and the rejection by clinicians of every treatment plan IBM designed. Cerner was already providing most of the systems involved. It’s interesting that IBM gets fired as prime contractor with Cerner as its sub in Canada, then loses the US DoD bid to the Leidos-Cerner team when partnered with Epic. Equally interesting is that while large-scale health IT projects fail with alarming regularity (generally because incompetent government bureaucrats are running them), the largest successful health IT project is arguably Kaiser Permanente’s Epic rollout, which happened only after KP fired IBM. Maybe they need to rethink that old saying that nobody gets fired for buying IBM.

Medsphere President and CEO Irv Lichtenwald quotes my interview with Grahame Grieve in an editorial titled “FHIR will not save us. We need national patient identifiers.” He cites the automobile industry’s well-financed, self-serving resistance to implementing VIN (vehicle identification numbers) that stood until the federal government insisted that it be put in place to track theft, accidents, and recalls. He adds, “This is disconcerting. On the one hand, the current Congress is passing legislation like the 21st Century Cures Act that mandates interoperability without mandating a certain standard. On the other, a previous Congress avoided the responsibility of creating the prerequisite for interoperability in a national patient identifier.”

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Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHS, director of health services research at Cedars-Sinai, says that as a clinical front-liner, he knows digital health is harder than technology companies believe and is in fact still in its infancy. He urges rigorous research rather than self-proclaimed success to figure out where digital health really proves value and says its imperative to interview real patients, adding a tremendously insightful conclusion: “Next time you read a forward-reaching statement about the glory of digital health, ask yourself whether the author has ever placed a digital device on an actual patient.” He gives some Cedars lessons learned:

  • Streams of data often make no sense until you talk to the patient about what they were doing and feeling at the time.
  • Patients won’t wear sensors that must be applied to a specific part of the body or that are visible.
  • Some technologies, like virtual reality goggles, sound great in theory but won’t necessarily be accepted by patients in distress.
  • Patients lose devices and misuse them in ways that seem impossible.
  • Humans react to designs, even simple aspects like colors and method of attachment, in unpredictable ways.
  • Build it and they won’t necessarily come – Cedars got endless publicity (including from Apple’s Tim Cook on the stage) for its HealthKit and wearables integration with Epic, but of the 80,000 MyChart users who were invited to sign up, only 500 (or 0.6 percent) uploaded their information even once.

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UNC Health Care (NC) reports that its operating income for the first 11 months of the year is $121 million vs. the $50 million it expected, which it attributes to the opening of new facilities, better expense management, and its implementation of Epic.

I keep reading about companies determined to be “the Uber of healthcare” in offering on-demand, smartphone-requested house calls. Note to those companies: there’s a nearly endless supply of potential Uber drivers, but not of licensed physicians. You’re going to run out of doctors (and thus runway) as everybody chases the same idea. Our medical education model restricts — intentionally or otherwise — the number of physicians it produces and many of those are opting out of practicing after graduation, which is why it seems that at least a third of the doctors listed on any insurance company’s list weren’t born in the US. Video visits hold more promise since they are geographically indifferent (other than archaic state-by-state licensure), ideal for part-timers, and more efficient overall than traipsing around to the houses of individual callers.

I find this hard to believe: American Academy of Family Physicians endorses HealthFusion’s EHR to its members, but claims it wasn’t paid to do so.

Coca-Cola funds a new non-profit that will fund the research of scientists trying to prove that obesity is due to lack of exercise, not guzzling the gallons of obscenely sugary water sold under Coke’s nameplate. One of the fund’s main researchers is the dean of the public health school of West Virginia University, located in the state that perpetually battles Mississippi for obesity bragging rights.

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Anaheim, CA and other cities are running pilot projects in which nurse practitioners accompany paramedics on non-urgent 911 calls, diagnosing and treating the callers in their homes instead of taking them to overcrowded ED. A third of Anaheim’s medical 911 calls are from people reporting non-urgent situations such as headaches and stomach aches, all of whom would have otherwise ended up in the ED.

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A Kim Kardashian Instagram post in which she extols (with the obligatorily enthusiastic “OMG”) the virtues of a drug sold by a company “that I’m partnering with” without including the drug’s mandatory risks earns the manufacturer an FDA warning. The company responds (I’m paraphrasing) that Kardashian is an airhead celebrity of questionably earned fame who probably thinks a package insert is an OMG-cool sexual practice and it will muzzle her appropriately. FDA insists that, “To the extent possible, corrective messaging should be distributed using the same media, and generally for the same duration of time and with the same frequency that the violative promotional material was disseminated,” which I paraphrase as, “She needs to retake that selfie holding up the warnings and precautions, preferably with the same OMG so her dimwitted followers can understand their folly in taking medical advice from a reality TV star.”


Sponsor Updates

  • First Databank adds a new column titled “Little Known Facts About Drugs” to its company blog.
  • KLAS scores Impact Advisors services as an overall 92.8 in its mid-year report.
  • The Chartis Group publishes “Consortium Model Networks: Evaluating the Potential of Collaboration.”
  • Zynx Health adds transitions of care content to its ZynxCarebook mobile care coordination solutions.
  • AdvancedMD offers “Level the financial data playing field.”
  • AirStrip offers “Midwives and Technology: Maximizing Local Care.”
  • Anthelio Healthcare Solutions CEO Asif Ahmad discusses healthcare technology trends driving development of products and services in a new video.
  • Besler Consulting offers “The CCJR is distinctly different from other bundled payment models.”
  • Billian’s HealthDATA offers “Trends in Healthcare Finance.”
  • Caradigm posts “Engaging High-Risk Patients through Care Management.”
  • CareTechSolutions’ Jim Giordano presented the “Whatever IT Takes” award to Sammi Goulet, who worked 22 hours straight on a recent go-live
  • CenterX will exhibit at the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs Workgroup Meeting August 12-14 in Minneapolis.
  • Clinical Architecture offers “A Meaningful Scavenger Hunt.”
  • CoverMyMeds posts “Pelotonia Fundraiser ‘Bump, Set, Cure!’” D
  • Divurgent offers “Why Cerner? Reflecting on DoD’s EHR Decision & The Role of Cyber-Security.”
  • PracticeUnite offers “Developing User Friendly UI for Secure Texting Patient Apps.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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

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August 11, 2015 News 6 Comments

Monday Morning Update 8/10/15

August 9, 2015 News 2 Comments

Top News

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The American Hospital Association complains that the FCC’s decision to open up TV and 600mHz bands to unlicensed devices such as wireless microphones places hospitals at risk since Wireless Medical Telemetry Service uses 608-614 mHz. The FCC denied AHA’s request for a delay but agreed to increase the geographical buffer zone to several hundred meters, leaving it up for hospitals to figure out how to enforce it to avoid interference with their vital signs and cardiac monitors. Hospitals request the buffer zone by registering each device in a central AHA database that unlicensed devices are supposed to check in finding a vacant frequency.


Reader Comments

From PollyWantACracker: “Re: Yale Physician Services. I played golf with two of their MDs. They both stated that Epic had a terrible rollout, they are still trying to figure it out, and they wished they hadn’t switched.” Sounds like par for the course (no pun intended) following an EHR rollout. I thought Epic had been live there for some time, so either they still aren’t over it or perhaps their practice was implemented later in the cycle.

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From Howdy Partner: “Re: Microsoft’s US partners of the year. Will be announced soon, but here’s the slide from their user group meeting last week announcing the winners.” Hopefully Microsoft will realize that it spelled the name of its Rising Star Partner of the Year incorrectly – Health Catalyst is two words.

From Will Bloom: “Re: cloud. I ran across your 2008 article. It was pretty forward thinking then.” I had to dig to figure out which one the reader was referring to. I think it’s this one, where I argued for SaaS and connected networks in opining:

In other words, I don’t need a loaded PC any more than I need a gas generator, a TV antenna, or an outhouse. The grid is better, cheaper, and more reliable to meet those needs. All I need is a connected appliance. But more importantly, the network adds tremendous value. You contribute a little by joining, but you get a lot in return … The Holy Grail is to pull data back out in a way that lets hospitals learn something actionable, like which antibiotics work best or which lab values correlate with genomic profiles. Few hospitals have the capability to even get that kind of information from their own locally stored data. Fewer still can tap into the collective knowledge of their fellow IDN members. And nearly none can focus the accumulated intelligence of hundreds of peers when making important clinical and business decisions … It will soon make good sense to shut down the endlessly duplicated silos of locally maintained hospital IT and get on the grid instead.

From Hacky Sacker: “Re: hackable medical devices. You mentioned the FDA’s warning about wirelessly controlled infusion pumps that can be taken over by hackers. Here’s a live demo of an actual IV pump hack as performed at the recent BlackBerry Security Summit.” The live hack of a PCA pump is sobering, although hackers have limited incentive to prowl security camera-equipped hospital hallways looking for medical equipment to hack. The demo hacker connects the PCA pump to his laptop via Ethernet, uses hacker tools to see what network services and ports the pump is using, uses unsecured Telnet and FTP to gain root access to the pump, then finds the wireless network name and unencrypted WEP passwords to log into the pump wirelessly as well. He installs malware into the pump’s firmware and changes settings freely, such as increasing the narcotic dose to a level that would have killed the attached patient.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Poll respondents minimized Cerner’s contribution to the DoD win by Leidos, Accenture, Cerner, and Henry Schein, with 42 percent of them crediting the DoD’s incumbent vendor Leidos, 26 percent saying the selection was due to political influence, and 17 percent suggesting that  DoD chose the Leidos team strictly on price. New poll to your right or here, triggered by my report on Meditech’s latest financials and the company’s ensuing response: is Meditech’s market position getting better or worse?

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Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor Bernoulli. The Milford, CT medical device integration company has been a leader since 1989 in real-time data integration and patient safety surveillance for clinical areas, ICUs, and telemedicine settings. Bernoulli Enterprise offers an enterprise, vendor-neutral medical device integration platform; alarm management; a virtual ICU; remote patient monitoring with built-in dashboards and viewers; and analytics that provide clinical decision support and outcomes analysis. Customers with some of the company’s 35,000 installed beds include Duke University Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The company’s CEO is industry long-timer Janet Dillione, who many folks will remember used to run Siemens Health Services and Nuance Healthcare. Thanks to Bernoulli for supporting HIStalk.

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Elementary schoolteacher Mrs. F from Wisconsin sent a thank-you note and photos about the STEM professional development library and iPad Mini we funded via vendor donations (with matching funds from the  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). She says neither she nor her school district could have afforded the 20 books that she’s studying on her own time this summer in a pilot project to prepare for the upcoming school year. Her school is moving toward a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) emphasis and she and her colleagues needed to dig deeper into how to prepare students for 21st century careers. She especially liked the units on MakerSpaces, do-it-yourself labs where students are provided with tools, supplies, and space to explore their scientific interests. Vendors who donate $1,000 or more to my DonorsChoose project get a mention here on HIStalk and have their funds matched by an anonymous vendor executive benefactor.

My latest LinkedIn gripe: executives who lack advanced degrees (usually sales and CEO types) who pad their resumes with “executive coursework” from big-name schools that offer expensive weekend programs for status-sensitive executives who couldn’t be bothered to actually attend graduate school.

The update on my Windows 10 experience is as positive as I could hope – I’ve had no problems or seen any puzzling or questionable behavior. I had ongoing memory and disk problems under Windows 8 , not a big deal, but near-lockups that occasionally required bringing up Task Manager to kill piggish, long-running apps like Firefox. I haven’t had to do that under Win10 and my CPU and desk utilization are still low, dropping down to 1 percent or so when I’m not doing anything. I hadn’t thought of using the laptop’s webcam microphone to give verbal requests to Cortana, but that’s working too, although its speech recognition isn’t nearly as good as on my Amazon Echo, so I’ll stick to keyboard entry.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • IBM announces plans to acquire Merge Healthcare for $1 billion to add imaging capability to Watson.
  • The Senate moves along the confirmation of Karen DeSalvo as HHS assistant secretary for health.
  • Cerner’s Q2 results miss analyst revenue expectations, sending shares down 9 percent for the week.
  • Meditech’s quarterly results show a 16 percent revenue drop on a 42 percent decrease in sales.
  • Allscripts announces flat quarterly revenue and reduced losses, with the company adding one Sunrise sale in the quarter.
  • Papworth Hospital in England changes its plans to install Epic and instead will look for a more cost-effective system.
  • Medical Informatics Engineering informs HHS that its May cyberbreach exposed the information of 3.9 million patients of dozens of provider organizations to unknown hackers.
  • CHIME announces Gretchen Tegethoff as VP of its for-profit business that charges vendors for access and sales to its CIO members.

Webinars

None scheduled in the next two weeks. Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by Labor Day.


Sales

Streamline Health Solutions will implement the abstracting module of its Looking Glass solution at one of its existing, unnamed customers through a channel partner.


People

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Texas Health Resources promotes Joey Sudomir to CIO.

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Citra Health Solutions names Eric Olofson (Olofson Group) as COO/CIO.

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Well-being technology vendor Healthways names board chair Donato Tramuto as CEO. He’s also chairman and CEO of Physicians Interactive, which sells “digital marketing tactics” to drug companies.


Announcements and Implementations

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Physicians’ Desk Reference updates its mobilePDR smartphone app to feature concise drug label information such as indications, dosing, adverse effects, side-by-side drug comparison, interaction checker, and pill identifier. The iOS and Android apps are free for US healthcare professionals.


Technology

Baidu, the Google-like China-based web services company, develops “Ask a Doctor,” a voice translation application that allows users to speak their symptoms to then receive a possible diagnosis and link to a nearby medical specialists. The company says its goal is “to build a medical robot.” The company is building artificial neural networks to allow it to accept voice input in the complex Mandarin language. It also hopes to connect to EHRs, which are in early deployment in China.

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The Privacy Visor, $240 eyeglasses that trick facial recognition systems so they can’t identify the wearer in a form of visual opting out, will go on sale in Japan within a year. They were developed by a government-affiliated institute.


Other

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A Health Affairs Blog post asks a question I’ve raised many times myself: why do veterinary practices, especially those in chain pet stores, have far better patient portals and EHRs than their medical practice and hospital counterparts?

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This tweet makes perfect sense: why are hospitals considered the organizations best equipped to manage overall individual or population health? Not only do most people spend only a tiny fraction of their lives interacting with hospitals, hospitals don’t even make up a significant percentage of the time a given patient spends interaction with the healthcare system since most care is delivered from physician practices, pharmacies, walk-in clinics, etc. Unstated bias puts hospitals in the healthcare driver’s seat when they have always been the poorest performing, most expensive, and most consumer-indifferent healthcare resource, not to mention the one patients would most like to avoid. Hospitals made their fortunes cranking out highly paid and questionably effective procedures while blaming insurance companies and doctors for most of what’s wrong with healthcare, and now that the market is less inclined to pay for those procedures, hospitals have suddenly developed a keen interest in the overall wellbeing of their customers.

Researchers find that EHR medication lists perfectly match a patient’s claims data only 24 percent of the time, with 60 percent of the discrepancies involving EHR-profiled meds with no claim filed and 40 percent having meds for which a claim was filed that didn’t appear in the EHR.

China’s technology-driven healthcare reform has stalled, with policy changes and innovative technology startups failing to overcome inadequate IT systems, overregulation, and pressure from the dominant state-run hospitals that still deliver 90 percent of visits. Doctors are also pushing back against reform that would reduce hospital reliance on drug sales for income, saying they need the money to stay open.

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Greece’s financial crisis has led to the formation of illegal free clinics, most of which refuse to register with the government because they say the government is legally responsible for providing the care they are delivering. The country’s 25 percent of hospitals that are not government run are struggling with patients who can’t afford their services and who are instead crowding public hospitals, which are 40 percent fuller than before despite an austerity-mandated hiring freeze that has been in effect since 2011.

Healthloop founder Jordan Shlain, MD says public reporting of surgical outcomes (“data scalpels”) is causing surgical teams to review their overall performance since every person on it contributes to outcomes (“your income will be dependent on your outcomes.”) He urges physicians to collect and analyze their own data instead of letting insurance company statisticians boil it down to their own questionable conclusion.


Sponsor Updates

  • The SSI Group and T-System will exhibit at the HFMA Region 10 Healthcare Conference August 12-14 in Colorado Springs, CO.
  • Forward Health Group creates a music video to promote its August 27 open house. It seems to have been created as a single, two-minute roving video that involved everybody in the office lip syncing, which must have been quite a coordination challenge.
  • Streamline Health will attend Medhost’s “The Nashville Experience” event September 16 in Nashville.
  • Surescripts offers “I’ll Take One Refill, Hold the Fax.”
  • SyTrue founder Kyle Silvestro is featured in a NewsReview article on data-driven healthcare.
  • TeleTracking offers “Lean Strategies in Healthcare.”
  • Fujifilm Teramedica offers “VNAs usher in new opportunities for healthcare.”
  • GetWellNetwork publishes a white paper on Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital’s implementation of its interactive patient care system.
  • TransUnion postss “For Healthcare Companies, Data Security is a Critical Test.”
  • Verisk Health offers “5 Tips for a Successful HEDIS Season.”
  • Versus Technology publishes “5 Myths and Misunderstandings About RTLS.”
  • The Information Difference names VisionWare a leading technology vendor in the Master Data Management space.
  • Recondo’s EmpoweredPatientAccess suite earns a most-improved score in a KLAS mid-year report.
  • VitalHealth Software will host an Executive Forum on “Healthcare Outcomes – what we measure matters” August 12 in Minneapolis.
  • Voalte offers a guest post, “Changing the Game and Getting it Right.”
  • Huron Consulting will exhibit at CORE Conference 2015 August 12-14 in Salt Lake City.
  • West Corp. offers “How Chronic Care Management is Like Going to the Gym.”
  • Xerox offers “An Overlooked Member of an Effective Healthcare Team.”
  • ZirMed offers “Diagnosing the Increase in Surprise Bills at Urgent Care Centers.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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

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August 9, 2015 News 2 Comments

News 8/7/15

August 6, 2015 News 11 Comments

Top News

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IBM will acquire Merge Healthcare for $1 billion, giving IBM’s Watson product “eyes” that will allow users to compare images within a single patient or across similar patients for diagnosis and treatment. IBM will pay $7.13 per MRGE share, a 32 percent premium to Wednesday’s closing price. Merge shares haven’t hit that price since late 2006, having dropped 58 percent in the past 10 years as the Nasdaq rose 135 percent.


Reader Comments

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From Helen Waters: “Re: MEDITECH’s financial report. To reference a famous quote: ‘The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.’ (Mark Twain, 1897). MEDITECH is ushering in a long overdue level of energy and meaningful innovation to the EHR market. Our customers, and the EHR industry, should expect more. We are delivering disruptive innovation with fiscal responsibility, which we believe the industry very much needs. No other company is better positioned to deliver an advanced and contemporary EHR solution that addresses the needs of the market at an affordable price point. We are doing that. Let’s stop assuming that if you pay more, you get more. To what degree has that premise really been vetted? The EHR vendor community needs to work harder for your health care IT dollar. As healthcare leaders, you owe it to your organization, and as vendors, we owe it in partnership with the national agenda. We are all being called upon to drive down the cost of delivering efficient and effective quality healthcare, as well as to spend the healthcare dollar more wisely, and this includes information technology. We are fortunate to have a big seat at the EHR table, and we intend to preserve and grow it. While you note a change in our revenue and earnings, given these transformative efforts, this was not unexpected. Please know we are responsibly at the table, and we are committed to our existing customer base, providing them with an affordable option to migrate to our latest platform. We celebrate the success of our customer base and the impact they’ve had advancing the delivery of high quality healthcare for the communities they serve. At times, the EHR market feels a bit irrational relative to IT decisions and the promise of utopia often being trumpeted with selecting one system over another. We are proud of our past, executing in the present, and delivering for the future of healthcare technology.” Helen is VP of sales and marketing for Meditech and references my mention of the numbers above from its Q2 report.

From DoD: “Re: DoD contract. The actual amount Cerner got is very small and will need to be shared with Intermountain. I suspect we’ll see a tremendous amount of infighting in this group as they begin the work of delivering while not being paid until the users come online as the contract requires. That stretches payments over seven years, but the investment needs to be done up front. There are several off ramps built in and some strict deliveries. The prime will have to beat the subs into submission in order to deliver on the commitments while withholding payments for years.” Unverified. I’m not sure what Intermountain contributed to the bid or what they’ll get in return.

From Doogie: “Re: Epic. In light of news of Epic’s failures in the UK, coupled with DoD decision, Epic should probably start worrying about its public image. Judy’s silence may have worked for her in the past, but now that Epic is finally being held accountable for its shortcomings, people are going to start wondering if there’s nothing to hide why not comment? One thing is certain, Epic’s stubborn refusal to join CommonWell, among many other things, may finally be backfiring.”

From Concerned Reader: “Re: HIStalk. You’re a Cerner hater and an Epic lover. I have decided to stop reading HIStalk because your bias affects your reporting to the extent of being unethical journalism. On Monday the morning update headlined Cerner missing financial projections in the first line and Epic’s loss of the UK hospital as the very last line.” One thing I’ve learned in writing HIStalk for 12 years is that I can’t mention Epic, religion, or George Bush in any capacity without having a few hysterical, anonymous readers react like a bull instinctively charging a red cape. It doesn’t matter what I actually say — just seeing the words on the page sends a few grudge-bearing readers off screaming with fingers in ears. Lt. Dan writes the headlines and wisely chose Cerner’s earnings report (along with those of Allscripts and Meditech) as the top headline  – Cerner’s report and comments were more important given their DoD win and continued integration of Siemens Health Services. If you’re truly going to stop reading HIStalk (those who threaten almost never do), consider first Googling to see which of the cookie cutter, opinion-free alternatives covered Epic’s reported loss at Papworth – I don’t see even one, which means your only source of that negative Epic news was right here on good old unethical and Epic-loving HIStalk.

From Out of Touch: “Re: KLAS. Using ‘fighting words’ and posturing as they holding vendors hostage on a topic KLAS clearly doesn’t understand. Irrelevant. For a price, I bet.” KLAS says many large vendors “challenged KLAS to step up and be the Switzerland of interoperability,” an assignment it accepted “with trepidation” in offering to convene a meeting along with CHIME. It adds that, “Congress and federal agencies are likely to cheer when they know such action is voluntarily taken” and lists as participants CEOs of Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, Athenahealth, Meditech, and others. I’m not sure I would expect KLAS to be the Switzerland of anything or to lead the interoperability charge while selling non-interoperable vendors reports as its main focus, but we’ll see what the participants come up with.

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From Mute Pointer: “Re: BJC. Says their downtime wasn’t due to a hack.” MP forwarded an internal email describing the results of BJC’s investigation, which concluded that “inadvertent actions within our own IS department” flooded the network and caused its protection systems to restrict application access. They’ve hired an external consulting firm to review their IT infrastructure, having not done one since 2013.

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From Isadore Nobb: “Re: AHA Solutions. I don’t think any product has failed to earn their ‘vetting’ approval as long as the company paid. With one contract at least, they added a huge group of solutions from a business unit without any process other than to require another million dollars and a percentage of sales. Turns your ethical stomach.” Unverified.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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I took a deep breath of hesitation before clicking the button to upgrade my primary PC to Windows 10. It was painless and has been perfect so far, with zero learning curve, no unexpected gotchas, and no incompatible programs. The only extra step for me was to install a new Win10-compatible version of Bitdefender Total Security 2015 and the upgrade even prompted me to do that automatically. Win10 has a good user interface and just feels right all around. Here’s what I’ve discovered so far with a small amount of use:

  • The Cortana “ask me anything” digital assistant box is useful, even if only to avoid navigating trying to find commonly used functions like Device Manager.
  • The Start Menu is not only back, it has been enhanced to display some of the Metro live tiles by default (but that can be turned off, too).
  • The Edge browser replacement for Internet Explorer feels really fast and lightweight – it brings up the HIStalk page faster than Firefox by my timing.
  • Task View does something with virtual desktops that would seem to be useful, although I haven’t done anything with it.
  • The Action Center icon rides in the system tray and offers one-click access to some settings and a log of recent system activity. The much-hated “hover to see the charms” option is gone.
  • I haven’t studied it in depth, but looking at Task Manager’s CPU and disk utilization, Win10 seems to be much more efficient. My CPU usage always seemed to be high under Win8, but it’s at 1 percent right now and so is disk utilization. I don’t know what actually changed, but everything feels snappier.

So far, I would say this is the best and easiest Windows upgrade ever. That only negative I’ve read is that some basic and not universally used features (being able to play DVDs, for example, or play ad-free Solitaire) have been removed from the basic free upgrade and are now paid options in the previously little-used Microsoft Store, raising the possibility that Microsoft plans to give away the basic OS (to previous consumer-only licensees, of course – businesses and new users still pay) and charge more for optional individual apps and services in a cafeteria-style promotion. In that regard, Microsoft may have moved Windows into the ultimate machine for generating recurring revenue instead of a one-and-done upgrade.

My server took a temporary break when I sent out the email blast about the IBM-Merge deal Thursday, just like it did last week on DoD news, which I thought was a one-time overload of readers. The result was a “you’re going to need a bigger boat” maxing out of server memory to the point it couldn’t even swap out storage even though I’m running a dedicated server with a Xeon E3 four-core processor, 16GB of memory, and solid-state disk. I’ve placed an order to upgrade the server yet again, a problem I’ll happily accept every time since it means someone is reading other than me.

My present grammar gripe, which isn’t really a gripe since it’s cutely old school: referring to a “piece of software” as though the user gets just one slice of the larger software pie.

This week on HIStalk Practice: Dr. Gregg composes a moving requiem for the patient portal. AncestryHealth Chief Health Officer Cathy Petti discusses company plans to move member health histories into EHRs. Practice Fusion ramps up executive team in preparation for IPO. WEDI survey confirms what other ICD-10 research has already shown: Physician practices aren’t ready for October 1. AMA lobbying dollars come under scrutiny. Azalea Health secures a new round of financing. Premier Physician Network goes live on Centricity. The newly formed Ohio Independent Collaborative looks to extend the livelihoods of independent physicians.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Yelp expands its consumer review platform to include Medicare performance data for hospitals, dialysis clinics, and nursing homes. The FDA issues a safety alert over cybersecurity vulnerabilities found within Hospira infusion pumps. Developers in South Korea introduce a new Braille-based smartwatch for the visually impaired. A new startup focused on women’s health unveils an earbud that tracks basal body temperature during sleep, plotting it on a paired smartphone app.


Webinars

None scheduled in the next two weeks. Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by Labor Day.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Computer cart maker Capsa Solutions acquires Rubbermaid Healthcare., which offers basically the same product line.

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Marlin Equity Partners will acquire ambulatory EHR/PM vendor AdvancedMD. ADP bought the company in early 2011. Marlin also owns e-MDs and MDeverywhere.

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Health Catalyst acquires Health Care DataWorks, the early but lagging data warehouse vendor that was spun off from Ohio State with former CIO Herb Smaltz in 2008.

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India-based Cognizant reports a 39 percent increase in its healthcare business is it continues to boost revenue and profits following its September 2014 acquisition of TriZetto for $2.7 billion.Health makes up 29 percent of the company’s business. Share price rose 50 percent in the past year, valuing the company at $41 billion.

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Leidos Holdings reports Q2 results: revenue up 4 percent, adjusted EPS $0.73 $0.61, with its health and engineering segment losing $7 million vs. a loss of $482 million in the previous year. Chairman and CEO Roger Krone said of the company’s Department of Defense EHR bid, “We’re in that weird period between the award and the expiration of the protest period, so we’re not going to give a lot of guidance on what’s going on. We probably have another five days or so until we think we’re safely on the other side of the protest period.”

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McDonald’s tries to stem its dramatic business downturn by naming Dignity Health CEO Lloyd Dean to its board. Perhaps it missed Dignity’s web page declaration that “in today’s fast-paced, fast-food society, it can be tough to make healthy decisions for kids.” McDonald’s is getting endless pressure from franchisees unhappy with out-of-touch management and lack of buyers for their underperforming locations; competition from fresher offerings at Burger King, Wendy’s, Shake Shack, and Chipotle; and strongly slumping sales.

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India-based provider search website Practo raises $90 million in funding from investors that include Google.


Sales

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WellStar Health System (GA) chooses Legacy Data Access to retire its McKesson Horizon applications.

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The FDA awards genome informatics vendor DNAnexus a contract to build precisionFDA, an open source platform for sharing genetic information as part of the White House’s precision medicine initiative.


Announcements and Implementations

Extension Healthcare publishes a guide for hospitals working to comply with the Joint Commission’s January 1, 2016  alarm safety goal.

Long-term care software vendor PointClickCare adds the ability for customers to receive radiology tests results into their EHR using technology from Liaison Healthcare. 

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Yelp will add ProPublica-produced data to its provider business listings, including ED wait times, fines paid, and readmission information. It’s a bit of an odd relationship given that ProPublica is a non-profit, public-spirited news reporting organization now turned data vendor to a commercial customer via an undisclosed business arrangement. I took the screen shot above Wednesday afternoon. Hospitals will learn that Yelpers tend to get dramatic given one bad experience even after many good ones, so it’s common for an otherwise quiet or even complimentary Yelper to suddenly go off on a one-star tirade over something only marginally related to the business’s main focus, as they often do when they can’t get a table at their favorite restaurant or find an error in their credit card charge after the fact (you really are only as good as your latest review).

HIMSS offers so many conferences that it is now co-locating them in confusing attendees about what they’re signing up for. The latest: the Connected Health Conference in chilly National Harbor, MD in November, which includes the mHealth Summit, Cyber Security Summit, and Population Health Summit. Each requires $695 registration, but signing up for one allows attending the others.

Apple’s ResearchKit gets its first international use as Stanford’s MyHeart Counts app is made available to people living in Hong Kong and UK.


Government and Politics

The Senate’s HELP committee unanimously approves the promotion of Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH to HHS assistant secretary for health without a hearing Thursday, clearing the way for a full Senate vote following its recess through September 8. DeSalvo has been holding the assistant secretary position since October 2014 while remaining National Coordinator. In that role, she oversees the Surgeon General, communications, regional health administrators, and a number of public health related offices.

The SEC approves a new rule that will require most public companies to publish the ratio of CEO pay to its average overall employee salary.

Ireland will roll out a national patient identifier, with the automatically assigned record including a signature and photograph. According to the health minister, “It will allow us to follow patients and staff as they move through the service in a way we currently can’t. This will improve patient safety, reduce duplication and errors, and give us a huge amount of new data that we can use to make services more efficient and improve planning.”

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The American Hospital Associates asks the Department of Justice to review possible increase in healthcare costs that the proposed merger of Anthem and Cigna could cause. Perhaps the insurance companies should ask DOJ to look at hospital mergers since those seem to be increasing opportunistic pricing as well.

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Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announces a plan to improve the state’s Medicaid program that includes offering personal savings accounts for paying for non-covered services and an app- and portal-based member system that includes appointment reminders, disease management tools, and a provider locator. 


Innovation and Research

Johns Hopkins University researchers develop an algorithm that uses 27 factors to predict septic shock in 85 percent of cases.


Other

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A Commonwealth Fund survey finds that 50 percent of primary care physicians see technology as improving care quality, with 28 percent feeling that HIT makes it worse. Their feelings about ACO impact are all over the place, with only 30 percent of those actually participating in an ACO saying they have a positive impact on patient care. Nearly half of PCP physicians say healthcare trends are causing them to consider early retirement.

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Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (GA) will go live on Meditech on October 1 at a total project price of $50 million. It chose Meditech 6.1 in April 2014.

The family of a 14-year-old girl who died at a “Foam Wonderland” rave concert at the New Mexico State Fair sues the state, three promoters, two security firms, an ambulance company, a hospital, and two paramedics, claiming that all of them contributed to her death by their recklessness and negligence in failing to save her from her MDMA overdose.


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicity CEO Nancy Ham co-authors the HFMA article “The Financial Impact of Population Health Analytics in the Shift to Value-Based Models.”
  • Billian’s HealthData and Porter Research invite responses from professional marketers in a survey on marketing practices.
  • Hayes Management Consulting posts “Prepping Your Staff for a Successful EHR implementation, what you need to know.”
  • MBA Health Group and Netsmart will exhibit at the Allscripts Client Experience 2015 through August 7 in Boston.
  • MedAptus offers “A Glimpse into the Facility Billing World from a Split-Billing Expert.”
  • MedData offers “The Wait is Over: Welcome to ‘The Impatient Patient.’”
  • Navicure offers “Increasing Patient Payments with Clarity.”
  • Nordic offers the latest video in its “Making the Cut” series on Epic conversion planning.
  • NTT Data offers “Six Reasons You’re Not Yet on the Cloud.”
  • NVoq offers “Your iPhone has Good Dictation. Why Doesn’t Your Enterprise Application?”
  • Oneview Healthcare will host Health Facilities Design and Development Victoria August 17-19 in Melbourne, Australia.
  • Experian Health/Passport Director of Strategy and Innovation Karly Rowe is featured in Washington Business Journal’s “4 things to know about data security after the Children’s hack.”
  • PatientSafe Solutions offers “Alarm hazards as patient safety concern.”
  • UlteraDigital interviews Patientco Director of Marketing Josh Byrd about redesigning PatientWallet and the need for innovation in healthcare.
  • PatientKeeper offers “The Physics of EHR Advocacy.”
  • PerfectServe offers “Put down the phone, and other communication lessons from healthcare professionals.”
  • PeriGen piblishes “How research resulted in a checklist solution.”
  • Phynd Technologies offers “Is There a Solution to Provider Abuse of the Medicare System?”
  • PMD posts “Client-Server Architecture and Finding the Right Balance.”
  • Qpid Health offers “Getting meaning from patient records stuffed full of results and statistics.”
  • Sagacious Consultants launches a charity ad campaign for Tri 4 Schools at the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, WI.
  • Salar Inc. offers “ICD-10 is still on track to launch October 1, 2015, will you be ready?”
  • Sandlot Solutions will exhibit at the EHealth Initiative’s IThrive Innovation Challenge August 12-13 in Washington, DC.
  • Elsevier Clinical Solutions, Impact Advisors, and Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at the Allscripts Client Experience through August 7 in Boston.
  • EClinicalWorks offers “1.5 Million Referrals Exchanged via P2POpen.”
  • Galen Healthcare Solutions publishes “Clinical Data: Hey, You Are Migrating Your EHR, Take Me with You!!”
  • Greenway Health offers “CMS Expands ICD-10 Grace Period Guidance.”
  • The HCI Group offers “Epic Consultant Corner: Robert Kight Interview.”
  • HDS offers “Thoughts on Meaningful Use by the Brookings Institution.”
  • Healthcare Growth Partners advises GMed on its sale to Modernizing Medicine.
  • Healthfinch offers “It’s Not Just a Formality: Formal Refill Protocols are a Must.”
  • Healthgrades recaps its second HG Challenge hackathon.
  • HealthMedx will exhibit at the Arizona Health Care Association Annual Conference & Trade Show August 18-20 in Scottsdale.
  • Holon Solutions offers “Next Up For Enabling Data Exchange: Transitions of Care Between Hospitals and Nursing Homes.”
  • Influence Health posts “Engaging Patients for Impactful Changes.”
  • Ingenious Med offers “IM1: Solving ZDoggMD’s Readmission Problem.”
  • InterSystems publishes “From Opposition to Cooperation: Payers Join the Care Team.”
  • LifeImage offers “The Top 5 Reasons to Integrate Image Exchange with Your EMR.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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

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August 6, 2015 News 11 Comments

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 8/6/15

August 6, 2015 Dr. Jayne 2 Comments

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I’ve always been an early adopter of technology. When personal computers first came out, my parents made sure we had one. Sure, it was an Apple II+ and it TYPED IN ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME, but it put us on the cutting edge. It also put me on track to disassemble and modify devices after the Apple IIe came out (with its functional shift key) and I figured out you could run a jumper wire to make the II+ stop YELLING. My brother procured a used modem from his football coach and there we were, dialing up all kinds of trouble.

I learned the virtues of the “pretzel” key with a Macintosh Classic, then finally joined the world of color monitors with Windows Millennium Edition. After surviving a medical school that made us use Lotus Notes, I headed off to residency at a hospital with a half-baked Cerner system and finally found myself in practice with Medical Manager. I felt like I was really on the cutting edge, especially since some of my private practice colleagues still billed using ledger cards and made their appointments in the same kind of schedule book used by my hair stylist.

Through my continued interest in technology and a willingness to serve as a guinea pig on multiple occasions, I worked my way up in the world of “big” hospital IT. Having spent a good chunk of the last decade convincing physicians to add technology to their practices, I never thought I’d find myself feeling such a backlash against technology. According to USA Today this week, “46% of physicians report burnout: cynicism, less enthusiasm, low sense of accomplishment, too much bureaucracy.” Physicians feel overworked and are unable to cope with the stressors they currently face. They report being less empathetic toward their patients. Many cite EHR use as a key part of the problem, but I think there’s a lot more to it than that.

I’m wondering whether we as a society are becoming increasingly burned out and think that technology is a significant part of the problem. Instead of freeing us, smart phones are increasingly tethering us to the workplace. One of my friends recently reported working nearly 10 hours during her week-long vacation, citing the need to “protect” her boss from covering while she was out. I was certainly guilty of checking email on vacation when I was an employee, but I always felt supported in taking time off and knew I could forward critical emails to the person covering me so that she could address them. In turn I covered others while they were away. Eventually I learned to not even open Outlook.

Through social media, we’re under constant pressure to document every moment of our lives and share it so the world can see how interesting our lives are. There are plenty of studies citing Facebook and other social media services as actually making people feel like their lives are less meaningful or less satisfying than others because of what they see posted. Luckily most of the people I follow on my personal Facebook account are pretty mature – there are rarely photos of what they’re eating (unless there’s a great story attached) and don’t post their every move throughout the day. Although they post some spectacular vacation photos, when I see them I’m more likely to tease them about the risk of having their houses burglarized since they just advertised they were away than I am to be jealous.

I didn’t think too much about how technology is changing us as a society until I had the recent pleasure of taking my nephew on a trip to the East Coast. We visited several historical cities and quite a few monuments and landmarks. I was surprised to see that the atmosphere was very different than when I was in the same places just a few years ago. Rather than taking photos of the sights, everyone seemed to either be trying to take a selfie with the monument in the background or to take pictures of each other at the monument, blocking others from even seeing it in some cases.

Some of them were so obsessed with getting the perfect picture that they completely missed out on what they were supposed to be seeing. At one museum, I watched a mother force her children to wait in line to have their picture taken with an artifact and then she immediately bustled them off to do the same thing with another artifact. None of them spent any time looking at the phenomenally interesting collateral around it. (Moon landing note: Did you know the Apollo command module had to detach from the module with the lunar lander, turn 180 degrees, and re-dock with it? What could possibly go wrong? Learned it reading the sign.)

My brother is a photographer and once made a comment about his children’s generation being the most photographed but least seen. With the advent of digital technology, people don’t have to ration their shots any more. I tried to explain to my nephew about film coming in cartridges of 10 or rolls of 24 to 26 pictures back in the day. You had to choose your subjects carefully and you certainly didn’t take a picture of every single thing you found interesting. Although you might entertain your family and friends by showing them 35mm slides projected on a bed sheet (carousel if you were fancy, stacker if you weren’t) you definitely didn’t take hundreds of photos at a museum and make a nuisance of yourself. At one location, there were so many people taking pictures with tablets (including full-size iPads) you could hardly see the exhibit because of the air clutter. I hadn’t intended on seeing the world through someone else’s screen held aloft.

It turned into a teachable moment. My nephew and I had a good discussion about the psychology of all this and how technology makes people feel. We also talked about how it can physically affect people as well. He mentioned hearing that Disney had banned selfie sticks, and after this week, I think it’s a fantastic idea since I was almost hit a couple of times. I’ll be interested to see 10 or 20 or 30 years from now how immediate access to information has impacted our ability to leverage human memory. Personally I think we’re losing the ability to make good memories – rather than being in the moment and experiencing something, we’re either multitasking on our phones, listening to music, or trying to take a picture of ourselves doing it.

What’s worse is seeing people allow their children to be cheated by the lure of technology. At one famous site, I watched a family of four sit next to each other, completely absorbed in their devices. The pre-teen daughters were playing games, the dad was checking sports scores, and mom was just surfing. None of them were talking about the history of the property or why it was significant to our country’s history. Technology could have been a tool for them to talk about the site or the Civil War (which I also heard referred to as the War of Northern Aggression, which was slightly amusing in 2015) but instead it was a distraction. They certainly weren’t giving it the reverence it deserved as a burial site.

We also watched people on the subway interacting with children in strollers with some clearly generational behaviors. Older individuals (who appeared to be grandparents or hired caregivers based on some of the conversations) turned the strollers to face them so they could keep an eye on the children, which also meant they were interacting. Younger individuals tended to leave the strollers facing out and often had earphones in while using a smart phone, so there was very little interaction. If this is a common pattern, will it cause attachment problems, anxiety, or other disorders? And what about the toddlers using electronic media for hours a day? We know that’s an issue. While kids need to learn patience and how to deal with situations they may find boring, it’s helpful for parents to engage with games of “I Spy” or “Twenty Questions.” (Some of the answers this week: Robert E. Lee, Thomas Edison’s light bulb, and a bald eagle.)

As technology professionals and leaders in our field, I think that some re-examination of how technology impacts our lives may be warranted. We may not be able to change the technology demands of our organizations, but we can certainly advocate for wise use in our workplaces. Let’s start with rational email policies. My favorite boss had a three-day policy – if you needed a response within three business days, you weren’t allowed to send an email but had to actually talk to another human being. It was one of the most cohesive teams I’ve ever experienced. We also need to support our employees and colleagues in taking real vacations that don’t involve the expectation of checking email or voice mail. If something doesn’t change, we’re going to need a bunch of new ICD codes to address it.

What do you think about the pervasiveness of technology in today’s society? Did you know that you can turn your toast into a selfie? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

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August 6, 2015 Dr. Jayne 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 8/5/15

August 4, 2015 Headlines 2 Comments

Cerner profit falls as operating costs surge

Cerner reports Q2 results: revenue increased 32 percent to $1.13 billion, adjusted EPS $0.52 vs. $0.40, missing analyst estimates for revenue and reporting a 53 percent increase in operating expenses.

Allscripts earnings rise on bookings growth

Allscripts reports Q2 results: revenue was flat at $352 million vs $351 million for Q2 2014, adjusted EPS $0.12 vs. $0.09. Bookings for the quarter increased 11 percent to $260 million, but the company still posted a net loss of $3.2 million.

MEDITECH United States SEC Form 10-Q

Meditech reports Q2 results: revenue falls 16 percent to $117 million, EPS of $0.46 vs. $0.63. Service revenue increased five percent to $80 million, while sales revenue dropped 42 percent to $37 million for the quarter.

Papworth says no to Epic

In England, Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust rescinds its Epic selection following recently reported problems with the Epic install at Cambridge University Hospitals. Papworth had entered into a joint procurement process with Cambridge in 2012 and was slated to install Epic in 2016.

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August 4, 2015 Headlines 2 Comments

News 8/5/15

August 4, 2015 News 12 Comments

Top News

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Cerner announces Q2 results: revenue up 32 percent, adjusted EPS $0.52 vs. $0.40, meeting earnings estimates but falling short on revenue expectations as service revenue declined and operating expenses jumped 53 percent. The company raised full-year earnings guidance but lowered full-year revenue guidance, sending CERN shares down 3.5 percent in after-market trading following the market’s close Tuesday. CERN shares are up 26 percent in the past year vs. the Nasdaq’s 17 percent.

From the Cerner earnings call:

  • CFO Marc Naughton says the company is disappointed that it missed its guided revenue estimates, but is happy with its all-time high strong sales and positive outlook.
  • Recurring revenue from the Siemens acquisition is tracking as expected, but fewer than expected customers committing to moving to Millennium or buying additional of the former Siemens solutions as they are “holding pat with their hand.”
  • President Zane Burke says Cerner differentiates itself (presumably from Epic) on predictable costs of ownership, fixed-fee implementations, and partial or full IT department outsourcing.
  • Cerner says (without naming names) that it is gaining ambulatory business at the expense of Athenahealth because it offers better service and value.
  • Burke says Cerner is happy to have been chosen by the DoD as part of the Leidos bid, but doesn’t expect a material impact on sales, revenue, or profits in the near term. He adds that the DoD’s project estimate is $9 billion over 18 years, but the value of the contract awarded is less.
  • Cerner says its customers “are actually very excited” about its DoD win.
  • Cerner’s new campus construction will require a capital expenditure of $150 million in the fiscal year.
  • CEO Neal Patterson was supposed to join the call for Q&A, but did not participate.

Reader Comments

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From Captain Cupric: “Re: CHIME’s for-profit vendor-CIO matchmaking service. Isn’t that what the AHA’s AHA Solutions group does? Vendors pay hundreds of thousands of dollars (sometimes more than a million dollars) for an agreement, then pay a percentage of sales for ‘introductions’ to decision makers.” I believe that’s the case, although AHA Solutions does have some sort of vetting procedure (other than having the vendor’s check clear) before anointing their solutions as “endorsed.” It annoys me when supposedly non-profit member organizations can’t resist the lure of transforming themselves into richly rewarded pimps who arrange vendor-member liaisons in exploiting the “Ladies Drink Free” business model. The healthcare history is rich with examples (AHA, AMA, HIMSS, etc.) and CHIME seems anxious to pile onto the financial bandwagon in selling access to its provider members.

From CIO Doc: “Re: DoD EHR coverage. HIStalk had all I needed to know, from the early rumors to Dim-Sum’s webinar to critical analysis of the selection and then contract and vendor insight.” The other sites didn’t get anything wrong, they just didn’t add much value to the single-paragraph DoD contract notice (which is all they had to work with) in cranking out mindless articles and tweet-seeking missiles like (a) plucking a few random tweets or reader comments about the selection and passing them off as an insightful article representing the industry’s collective reaction; (b) running a long piece about how Epic feels about getting passed over in repurposing content from a rather sloppy Madison newspaper article; (c) asking but not answering questions in headlines; and (d) assembling random, pointless factoids together in proclaiming “X things to know” that were in fact not at all worth knowing. I don’t see much value in having writers with zero healthcare or IT experience rewording public information to seem like fresh news, hoping to attract reader eyeballs and advertiser support with stories that provide those readers with little value, but that’s just me.

From Horse Hockey: “Re: Healthcare IT News. Tooting its own horn in an odd press release. It’s odd that they brag on their unstated DoD reader numbers and even more that they issued a press release about themselves – what editor other than their own would think something like that is newsworthy?” I hesitate to comment since this reader’s email came after I had already written my media diatribe in response to the comment above, but the HIMSS-owned HITN issues a self-congratulatory news flash stating that its (unstated) readership numbers temporarily rose by an (unstated) percentage after they stopped the online presses for lightweight articles as, “CIOs ‘surprised’ at Cerner DoD win,” “Is DoD’s EHR modernization bound to fail?” and “The good, the bad, and the ugly: social media’s response to DoD Cerner EHR contract win.” I don’t read any health IT sites since I’ve yet to find anything there that wasn’t amply described elsewhere, but more power to everybody who can earn and keep readers, especially if they’re trying to do it as cheap seats observers.

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From Informatics Please: “Re: Tampa General Hospital. Has extended their instance of Epic to the University of South Florida in a large ambulatory Epic Connect project involving 850 physicians and 2,800 users.” Unverified, but the source is sound.

From RingRing-Tom Brady: “Re: question for clinical readers. What about a vendor prompts them to want more in going to the vendor’s website or picking up the phone? I’m interviewing and am amazed at how much faith sales and marketing people place in their CRM and automated marketing platforms to drive sales. Is email outreach and social media really making an impact or is it just lazy selling? Does it matter how many touches you hit a prospect with, or do they just hit delete? Does an old-school ‘let me tell you how I can help solve your problem’ work?” I’ll let readers weigh in, but I’ll say this: I often find that clueless sales and marketing people who measure vanity but irrelevant metrics such as ad clicks to be employed by equally clueless and unsuccessful vendors. I’ll also opine that any company that relies on Twitter and Facebook to drive sales might as well lock up and go home since most heavy users of social media (both vendors and providers) are junior employees rather than decision-making executives. I would wager that most healthcare IT sales come from word of mouth or existing personal relationships, not a flashier HIMSS booth or insultingly boilerplated emails.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor VitalHealth Software. The company, co-founded by Mayo Clinic and Noaber Foundation in 2006, offers cloud-based solutions that include chronic disease care management, patient questionnaires, an integrated digital interventions portal, a next-generation heath IT application development environment for deploying cloud-based EHR solutions, and a Mayo-designed EHR for specialty practices. The company is a certified supplier of ICHOM, which defines global outcomes standards for issues that matter most to patients. The company’s global eHealth solutions are used by 100 healthcare networks in the US, Argentina, China, Spain, and several other countries, with a project in China, for example, providing cost-effective telemedicine services with shared medical records, risk profiles, and patient access to their medical records by smartphone. Thanks to VitalHealth Software for supporting HIStalk.

I found this YouTube video describing the use of VitalHealth Software’s QuestLink questionnaire platform for patient-reported outcomes.

I was about to eat an apple this morning and polished it on my shirt, leading me to ponder, why do I do that? The apple has passed through a lot of unwashed hands on its way from orchard to me, so anything short of washing it or peeling it isn’t going to accomplish much (not to mention that polishing it will deposit cloth particles and whatever’s on my shirt on the peel I’m about to eat). It’s almost as mystifying as why many men (not me) pointlessly spit in a public restroom urinal before using it.

Listening: Vaults, a London-based synth pop trio that nobody seems to know anything about — their website says nothing about them and they aren’t even on Wikipedia or Amazon. Their melodic, slow, bass-heavy music is fronted by a siren-like singer. Trying to find them turned up “In Vaults,” a new album of Chicago-based, female-led prog rock from District 97. The band played an amazing live version of “Starless” that features King Crimson’s vocalist/bass player John Wetton, who sang the original version of that King Crimson musical epitaph to itself on the group’s 1974 final album “Red” and who delivered an engaged performance here, unlike most of his 1970s-era music peers who just prop themselves up on stage like sagging, lip-syncing Disney audio-animatrons.

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I’m happy to report that most of the HIStalapalooza sponsorship spots have been claimed, meaning the odds have improved that I won’t go broke in throwing the industry a free party next February. Still available are the all-access CEO Rock Star package and one I’m calling HIStalkacabana, although we’ll still consider the needs of smaller companies who want to be involved (we’ve customized some packages already). Contact Lorre. Thanks for the companies that have stepped up – it’s going to be a great evening as always.


Webinars

None scheduled in the next two weeks. Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by Labor Day.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Activist investor Starboard Value, which holds an 8.7 percent stake in MedAssets, calls for the company to replace some of its board members, questioning its acquisition track record and undervalued share price. MedAssets also files SEC disclosure that Tenet will not renew its group purchasing contract with the company, costing MedAssets $44 million in annual revenue or about six percent of its total, but Tenet will continue using its revenue cycle technology products under a separate agreement. MedAssets reiterated that it is continuing to pursue a “value creation plan” and the loss of the Tenet contract may cause “expense reductions, restructuring charges, and/or investments in products or services to help drive long-term growth.” Above is the one-year share price chart of MDAS (blue, up 1 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 17.3 percent). The company’s market cap is $1.3 billion, helped along by the prospect of Starboard Value taking control from present management.

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Preventative care and disease management platform startup Zest Health, co-founded by former Allscripts executives Glen Tullman and Lee Shapiro, raises $6 million in Series A funding, with an unstated amount of the money coming from the Tullman-Shapiro-led 7wireVentures.

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Aetna announces Q2 results: revenue up 4 percent, EPS $2.05 vs. $1.69, falling short of revenue expectations but beating on earnings. AET shares rose 46 percent in the past year, with CEO Mark Bertolini holding $83 million worth.

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CVS Health announces Q2 results: revenue up 7.4 percent, EPS $1.12 vs. $1.06, beating earnings expectations but reporting a front-of-store sales drop of 7.8 percent following the company’s decision to stop selling tobacco products last fall.

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The Advisory Board Company reports Q2 results: revenue up 30 percent, adjusted EPS $0.40 vs. $0.30. The company also announces a new healthcare marketing product, Audience RX.

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Allscripts reports Q2 results: revenue flat, adjusted EPS $0.12 vs. $0.09. GAAP numbers showed the company losing $3.2 million in the quarter. From the Allscripts earnings call:

  • CEO Paul Black is happy with the company’s sales, revenue, profitability, gross margin, and recurring revenue.
  • The company added 180 new customers in the quarter.
  • The company signed one net-new Sunrise client, a 50-bed hospital.
  • Allscripts will work with NantHealth on API integration between their respective systems and in integrating genomic data.

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I reported a reader’s rumor on July 29 that said a company (whose name I omitted) would divest several hospitals and its consulting company. I omitted some of the details since they involved the publicly traded Community Health Systems, which announces exactly what the reader reported – it will spin off 38 of its rural hospitals and Quorum Health Resources. CYH share price has risen 60 percent in the past year, valuing the company at $7 billion and the holdings of CEO Wayne Smith at $61 million.

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Premier acquires supply chain and performance services vendor CeCity for $400 million. The company offers PQRS reporting, an educational platform, clinical data registries, and a performance and population health management system. CEO Lloyd Myers, a pharmacist, founded the Pittsburgh-based company in 1996.

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Meditech’s Q2 report shows total revenue down 16 percent and product revenue down a startling 42 percent as the company moves from $23.4 million net income to just over $17 million quarter over quarter, reporting EPS of $0.46 vs. $0.63. Six-month net income dropped from $85.4 million to $37 million. Sales dropped nearly $26 million as maintenance fees made up more of the company’s total revenue, with that big sales drop seeming to prove the market perception that Meditech is no longer a significant challenger as Cerner and Epic make it a two-horse health system EHR race as they move down the food chain into smaller and acquired hospitals.


Sales

Delaware Valley ACO chooses Wellcentive’s value-based care solution.

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Presbyterian Healthcare Services (NM) will deploy Zynx Health’s Knowledge Analyzer to standardize its clinical decision support using evidence-based intelligence.

University Health System (TX) chooses Spok for enterprise clinical communications.

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Baptist Health South Florida chooses Cerner Millennium and HealtheIntent for all of its locations, apparently replacing Soarian clinicals but keeping Soarian financials in favor of Cerner’s own offering.

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System chooses HCTec Partners for Epic 2015 implementation consulting.


People

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Hebrew SeniorLife (MA) names Peter Ingram (MetroChicago HIE) as CIO.

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Diana Nole (Carestream Health) will join Wolters Kluwer Health as CEO.

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Ingenious Med names Todd Charest (Cogent Healthcare) as chief innovation and product officer.

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SRG Technology, which offers population health management technology it developed with Massachusetts General Hospital, hires Adrian Zai, MD, PhD, MPH (MGH) as CMIO.

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Greenway Health names David Wirta (Vista Consulting Group) to the newly created position of chief revenue officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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NTT Data acquires global exclusive rights to products from it business partner InteHealth, which include a cloud-based HIE and portals for patients and physicians. The LinkedIn profile of former InteHealth VP Frank Nash (now senior director at NTT Data) says NTT Data acquired the assets of InteHealth on June 1, 2015 and the company is now part of NTT’s Healthcare Convergence Group.

London-based EY (the former Ernst & Young) consolidates its health consulting offerings in a barrage of obfuscatory buzzwords, promising to “collaborate with clients on improving efficiencies, catalyzing new digital health technologies, and helping to ensure wellness and prevention.” The company promotes Jacques Mulder to Global Health Sector Leader, a title that begs to be uttered in a Darth Vader voice.


Government and Politics

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The Senate’s HELP committee is scheduled to discuss Karen DeSalvo’s nomination for HHS assistant secretary of health on Thursday, August 6. This is probably the Senate’s first step in confirming President Obama’s May 2015 nomination of DeSalvo for the HHS promotion, which would leave ONC searching for its next National Coordinator. She won’t get much if any opposition. 


Privacy and Security

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Sensato and Divurgent will offer a three-day workshop titled “Designing Secure Healthcare Systems” October 27-29, 2015 in Long Branch, NJ. It would be fun to attend a hacker’s conference – I bet they are constantly trying to pry into each other’s Wi-Fi connections to earn happy hour bragging rights before the World of Warcraft all-nighter.

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Indiana-based NoMoreClipboard vendor Medical Informatics Engineering says the medical information of 3.9 million people was exposed its May 2015 breach by unknown hackers. The long list of affected health organizations include Concentra, Franciscan St. Francis Health Indianapolis, and Rochester Medical Group. The company’s former president says it took in $18 million in 2014 revenue from 2,500 commercial clients, all of which could go right down the tubes after this massive breach. MIE’s other claim to fame is that it invented the phony Extormity and SEEDIE sites that made fun of EHRs a few years back, an attempt to gain the company publicity that unfortunately fell far short of the exposure it’s getting from spilling the data of millions of people into the hackersphere.


Innovation and Research

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The FDA approves Spritam, the first drug to be manufactured by 3D printing. Manufacturer Aprecia holds an exclusive worldwide license for MIT-developed 3DP (powder-liquid three- dimensional printing) technology, which can deliver a high-dose drug in a quickly dissolved tablet. Spritam is a new formulation of the existing epilepsy drug levetiracetam (Keppra).


Other

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In England, Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust backs out of its commitment to implement Epic following an investigation into the Epic implementation of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with which Papworth jointly chose Epic in the spring of 2013. Papworth’s board concluded last week that Epic won’t deliver optimal value and says it will consider other vendors to provide “a cost-effective ICT system which meets our patients’ needs.” I like that they’re thinking value, as they obviously do in working from building that looks like a slightly decrepit hotel rather than the obscenely glitzy edifice complex palaces commonly found in even financially teetering US hospitals.

Athenahealth posts a video of CEO Jonathan Bush interviewing oncologist, author, and Affordable Care Act contributor Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD. Emanuel says excess hospital bed capacity, low margins, and the fact that nobody really wants to be hospitalized will cause 1,000 hospitals to close as their bond market drives up, while the survivors will shift into other care venues. He’s against health system consolidation, which focuses on controlling the market, vs. more care-focused integration. He says most hospital executives have no idea what it costs to perform a given procedure or service, so any claims that they lose money on Medicare or Medicaid patients aren’t fact-based. Emanuel says EHR information can drive quality and price transparency. He thinks video visits are the wave of the future.

Researchers find that hospitals that score well on clinical quality metrics often have quality-focused boards of directors.

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Computer systems at the fantastically named Credit Valley Hospital in Ontario, Canada go down for a day and a half following flooding that took out its telecommunications systems. As is always the case, the hospital claims patient care was not impacted in moving back to paper, which if you take at face value raises the question of why they bothered installing those systems in the first place.


Sponsor Updates

  • Peer60 names Nuance as the leading provider of medical image-sharing offerings with its PowerShare Network.
  • ADP AdvancedMD offers “5 ways to enhance your current ICD-10 transition plan.”
  • Aprima will hold its user conference August 7-9 in Dallas.
  • Aventura, Capsule Tech, CareSync, and Culbert Healthcare Solutions will exhibit at the Allscripts Client Experience August 5-7 in Boston.
  • Billian’s HealthData offers “Traversing the Path to Patient Data Access.”
  • Caradigm posts “Moving Healthcare Analytics from Measurement into Management.”
  • Jaffer Traish, director of Epic consulting with Culbert Healthcare Solutions, publishes a letter to the editor of the Boston Globe titled “Celebrating strides being made in electronic health records.”
  • CitiusTech wins the “2015 Best Companies to Work For” award from the Great Place to Work Institute for the fourth consecutive year.
  • ClinicalArchitecture offers “Semantically Enabled Medication Reconciliation.”
  • The Detroit News features Clockwise.md in a profile of the Henry Ford QuickCare Clinic.
  • CoverMyMeds offers “Prior Authorization, Step Therapy and Quantity Limit … What’s the Difference?”
  • Cumberland Consulting Group is named by the Nashville Business Journal as one of the 25 fastest growing private companies for 2015.
  • Innovista Health CIO David McCormick explains how the organization’s partnership with Medecision helped move the network towards value-based care.
  • Burwood Group is named one of Chicago’s “101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For in 2015.”
  • Recondo Technology will exhibit at the HFMA Region 10 Conference August 10 in Colorado Springs, CO.
  • Practice Unite offers “6 Ways Secure Texting & Mobile Patient Engagement Apps Improve Patient Experience.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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

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August 4, 2015 News 12 Comments

Monday Morning Update 8/3/15

August 2, 2015 News 1 Comment

Top News

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England’s Monitor regulatory program is investigating the $300 million Epic rollout and overall financial management of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Cambridge was Epic’s first UK client, with the 10-year, $250 million contract announced in early 2013. 


Reader Comments

From Military Medicine: “Re: DoD EHR bid. Your estimate of 10-20 percent of the total contract value going to Cerner is a bit high from what I’ve heard – it might have been as low as 9-15 percent, which is why Cerner cautioned investors not to get overly excited about their potential revenue and profit. I also suspect Leidos won’t be all that excited about rolling out a new solution since they have the lucrative contract to maintain the old system – they will let the government delay at every step they can bill for working on both systems at the same time.” Leidos its later spinoff SAIC have been paid billions to create and support the DoD’s AHLTA, the renamed Composite Health Care System that wags say stands for “oh, hell, let’s try again.” Leidos has incentive to milk AHLTA for as long as possible while simultaneously collecting checks for its new project work. Using the low end of that range, Cerner’s cut of the rumored $1.7 billion in guaranteed money over 10 years would be only $15 million per year, which given Cerner’s annual revenue would indeed not be an investor-cheered windfall.

From Grunt in Green: “Re: DoD EHR bid. For those who say this is the world’s largest HIT procurement, 60 percent of DoD care is handled by civilian delivery systems under TriCare, so quite a few systems are already larger than DoD, including Kaiser for sure and probably Sutter and Providence.”

From Bang a Gong: “Re: DoD EHR bid. I hope everyone watches closely as Leidos goes over their $1.7 billion bid, then blows through the $2.6 billion in contingencies, and then keeps right on running up the project’s tab while simultaneously renewing their sustainment contracts for AHLTA. By the time they realize how far over this will go, they’ll be beyond the point of no return and will have to finish it, even with huge overages, to avoid an even bigger NPfIT debacle.” Of that I have little doubt since government IT projects never come in on schedule and at the original cost estimate.

From UberUser: “Re: Uber’s user rating added in the latest update. Lots of HIS consultants and vendors use Uber. I wonder if anyone has attained the elusive 5.0 rating? I have a 4.7 with 50 rides, so I probably got a 1 from a guy I complained about.” I checked mine and it’s 4.9. I’m a bit less enamored than I once was with Uber due to (a) frequent surge pricing that makes me suspect that it’s more reflective of company need for profits rather than the demand for rides; (b) drivers who cancel the arranged ride because they don’t want to travel that far to pick me up; (c) lack of drivers in some areas so that you can’t get a ride at all; and (d) imposition of minimum pricing in some cities and when traveling from some airports such that it’s cheaper to just get a cab or an airport limo. I miss Uber when it’s not available, though, such as in Las Vegas, where cab driver protests and the city’s powerful taxi lobby (which includes two former Nevada governors as lobbyists) got Uber shut down awhile back, although I hear it may return. I tried to use Uber in Seattle and only Uber Black (not Uber X) is available at the airport, with the $50 flat rate charge to downtown being $5 more expensive than booking a car on the spot, which in my case turned out to be a stretch limo for the flat $45.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Eighty percent of poll respondents check their work email or voicemail at least once per day while on vacation, most just a handful of times, but 12 percent admit that they do so nearly constantly. New poll to your right or here: what factor was most responsible for the Leidos-Cerner-Accenture DoD EHR win?

Readers continued to seek information on the DoD’s EHR project Thursday, when HIStalk pages were displayed 17,000 times in 12,000 unique visits, beating the all-time record set the day before. Since then, though, newsworthy “news” has been close to non-existent. Today’s post is short, but includes everything important — there just isn’t much of it post-DoD announcement and I won’t waste your time with faux news.

Here’s a tip to folks running tiny (or even one-person) companies: it’s pompous to call yourself CEO when you don’t really have many executive duties. I hereby create an industry rule: you can use the title “president” once you’ve hit five employees, but you can’t brag on being “CEO” until you have 25 employees. Fewer than five employees makes you a “principal” or “owner” or whatever else you like the suggests roll-up-your-sleeves work rather than jetting off to board meetings or delivering weighty speeches.

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

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My Medical Records Saga Continues

I faxed my request for a copy of my medical records to the hospital on June 26. This past Friday, five weeks later, an letter-sized hospital envelope came in the mail with my name and address handwritten on it with no indication of what was inside. I opened it up and there was my visit summary, contained on two pages front and back as printed off from the hospital’s Epic system. The hospital didn’t include a greeting or explanation or anything to indicate why they had sent the copies – it was just the two pages in an envelope with the hand-scrawled address, which was a long way from being professional. I was surprise they didn’t include a marketing or personal message knowing that most people request their records because they’re going to seek care elsewhere or file a lawsuit, either situation being an excellent time to engage positively with the patient.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • The Department of Defense chooses the team of Leidos, Cerner, Accenture, and Henry Schein for its EHR implementation project.
  • McKesson CEO John Hammergren says in the company’s earnings call that “we have been struggling in the hospital IT business.”
  • Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) introduces the Flex-IT 2 act that would delay Meaningful Use Stage 3 until at least 2017.
  • An investment fund co-founded by Harvard professor and disruption author Clayton Christensen invests $8.4 million in care coordination vendor ACT.md, whose platform was developed by Zak Kohane, MD, PhD and Ken Mandl, MD, MPH from the informatics department of Harvard’s Boston Children’s Hospital.
  • NantHealth Founder Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD takes his cancer drug firm NantKwest public, valuing his holdings at $1.6 billion, 33 times the amount he paid for the company a year earlier.
  • UMass Memorial Health Care (MA) says its implementation of Epic will cost $700 million over 10 years, the health system’s largest capital expense ever.

Webinars

None scheduled in the next two weeks. Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by Labor Day.


Sales

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Department of Vermont Health Access chooses eQHealth Solutions for population health management technology.


People

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Gretchen Tegethoff (TechExec Advisors) is named to a newly created CHIME VP position overseeing its for-profit CHIME Technologies. The business apparently charges vendors an enrollment fee and then takes a percentage of each sale made to CHIME members. Even HIMSS isn’t so brazen as to pimp out its dues-paying members for a percentage piece of the sales action.


Announcements and Implementations

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Allscripts Sunrise user National Institutes of Health Clinical Center attains HIMSS EMRAM Stage 7.


Privacy and Security

FDA advises hospitals not to use Hospira’s Symbiq infusion pump following a Homeland Security warning that it is susceptible to attacks from hackers who could gain access to a hospital’s network. It’s the first time FDA has issued a cybersecurity-related medical device product warning. Hospira had been phasing out the Symbiq pumps since 2013, when FDA raised product quality concerns.


Innovation and Research

An Institute of Medicine report titled “Transforming Health Care Scheduling and Access: Getting to Now” lists patient scheduling best practices that include having the scheduler delve deeper into the patient’s need, give the patient options for appointment times, and providing alternatives to a clinician visit.


Other

I was talking to an ENT surgeon last week and asked him about his EHR. He says his office uses the NextGen practice management system, but gave up on its EHR because it was too cumbersome and slow. He said he enjoys e-prescribing, but uses a standalone product instead because NextGen’s module isn’t workflow friendly. It sounds as though he might be better served with a specialty EHR.

Ten leukemia patients in Australia receive half the intended dose of cytarabine due to what sounds like an incorrectly created order set.

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Former Kaiser Permanente semantic interoperability expert and former HL7 board member Robert Dolin, MD surrenders his medical license following his September 2014 sentencing for possession of child pornography.

Rocky Mountain Health Plans rolls out its MyDigitalMD video visit service with a funny parody video called “Save the Hipsters.”

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Weird News Andy calls this a “s-s-s-selfie.” A man poses for a photo with a rattlesnake in Yellowstone National Park, with his resulting snakebite requiring a five-day, $150,000 hospital stay for treatment and antivenin (which only one company makes at $5,000 per vial.) That reminds me of an old snakebite joke you probably know whose punch line is, “He says you’re going to die.”


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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

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August 2, 2015 News 1 Comment

News 7/31/15

July 30, 2015 News 1 Comment

Top News

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The Department of Defense awards a $4.3 billion renewable EHR contract to the team of Leidos, Accenture, Cerner, Henry Schein, and 31 partner companies, with the DoD estimating its total project cost at $9 billion over 18 years. The roster of companies in the Leidos Partnership for Defense Health includes:

3M
Accenture
Apex Systems
Aderas
ASM Research
Athena Consulting Group
Blue Ridge Federal Consulting
Bridgemore Concepts
Cambridge International Systems
Cerner
Clinovations Government Health
Cognitive Medical Systems
CWS
Ecco Select
EHR Total Solutions
Enterprise Management Systems
Exact Data
Henry Schein
Holland Square Group
HP
ICSA Labs
Intellitronics
Iris Partners
Leidos
ManTech
MBC
MedPro Techologies
MedRed
Medsys Group
NetVision Resources
Ocean Bay Information & Systems Management
ProSource360
SAIC
Security Risk Solutions
Spin Systems
Tiag
Universal Consulting Services
Valytics

Most interesting of these subcontractors is the apparently defunct Ocean Bay Information & Systems Management LLC, launched in April 2012 in Alaska and shut down in December 2014 without an online trace. Its founder, Ernest Anastos, lists his current occupation as “versatile executive seeking new challenges.” The meaty part of his bio is further down the page: he was a former CEO of the Navy Medical Information Management Center and handled Navy acquisitions (DHMSM is a Navy project).


Reader Comments

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From HIPAA Love: “Re: requiring a signature on patient information requests. It’s not a HIPAA requirement, but HIPAA allows covered entities to require individuals to make their requests in writing as long as it tells them so.” Thanks. That means hospitals and practices that require patients to fax or mail a signed request form are just making their own rule, not enforcing a HIPAA requirement.

From Denominator: “Re: former Epic employees. Profiled on a Madison site.” The article describes a few former Epic project managers and implementation consultants who struck out on their own after growing tired of endless travel, long hours, and lack of personal satisfaction. They twenty-somethings report changing jobs to fulfill their true passions despite walking away from an average Epic salary of $83,000.

From Red Man Walking: “Re: companies and CEOs. Which ones have you advised or worked with?” None. My life’s work seems to be sitting in an empty room filling an empty screen every single day, but perhaps I’m missing an opportunity to become a “Consigliere to the CEO Stars,” where I would serve as the invisible, ambition-free, bias-free source of truth for CEOs who don’t trust their ambitious, biased VPs to challenge their decisions, provide brutally honest advice, or provide a spin-free assessment of what customers and the market are saying. I like to think that my complete lack of qualifications (having never run a business or climbed the executive ladder) is offset by my naive objectivity and lack of a socially acceptable verbal filter.

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From Festus: “Re: BJC HealthCare. Experienced a system-wide computer outage this week.” The St. Louis-based system goes down for 20 hours through Wednesday morning, leaving its 13 hospitals with no access to its EHR, administrative systems, and email. The hospitals went back to paper and turned away transfer patients. BJC hasn’t announced the cause, although with all systems down you would have to assume network problems or maybe even a malware attack since otherwise I would expect the hospital to have diagnosed and announced what went wrong.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

You may have noticed that you couldn’t bring up the HIStalk page for part of Wednesday afternoon. So many readers were looking for DoD news that my web hosting provider initially thought it was a denial of service attack. Even though the site couldn’t handle all the readers with the server’s CPU usage needle pegged, it still received 16,000 page views in 12,000 unique visits Wednesday, which I’m pretty sure is a record. I’m writing this Thursday evening and today’s numbers are tracking just about as high. A couple of people emailed me to say that I should start a DoD EHR site, although I think interest will wane as the hard work goes underground and there’s not much to talk about for a year or two.

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Here’s a shout-out to Carla from Health Data Specialists, who asked for a “we sponsor HIStalk” website badge since they are fans. I didn’t give much direction to the offshore guy to whom I paid $15 to design the graphic figuring it wasn’t all that important, but Carla was right  – dozens of sponsors have asked for it for their own sites after I mentioned it in my email to them. It’s gratifying to be supported so enthusiastically.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Nike and Apple settle a class-action lawsuit alleging that the companies knowingly marketed FuelBand activity trackers as more accurate than they actually are. German engineers develop a prosthetic hand capable of mimicking details muscle memory functions. AstraZeneca partners with Adherium, a New Zealand based digital health company that makes smartphone-connected inhalers to help COPD and Asthma patients track medication adherence. Illinois amends its blue sky laws to allow startups to run equity-backed crowdfunding campaigns worth up to $4 million.


My Medical Records Saga Continues

Add to my list of ways providers can make patient electronic records requests easier by sending me your ideas. Here’s one I received:

Provide several ways for patients to request them. Over the phone, online, patient portal, etc. Ensure that in order to receive the records, patient needs to provide several key identifiers that ensure the information is secure and is only provided to said patient (or patient POA). Have a dedicated person and/or department handle these requests so that there is an efficient process and patients don’t have to wait to receive information that is rightfully theirs.


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Thoughts on the DoD’s selection of Leidos, Cerner, Accenture, and Henry Schein

  • The DoD notified the bidders of its decision early Wednesday morning but asked them not to comment until after its contract announcement, which was posted online at just after 5:00 p.m. Eastern time. Analysts for the publicly traded participants apparently started leaking the news at between 3:00 and 3:30, giving shares of Cerner and Leidos a sharp rise on high volume by around 3:30.
  • This was not a typical EHR procurement given that the package includes a lot more than just a single product. It wasn’t just Allscripts, Cerner, and Epic that were being evaluated, but rather an extensive package of services, infrastructure, maintenance, and willingness to meet the DoD’s ongoing needs. It would be interesting to know how much of the final scoring involved the actual EHR product and vendor.
  • Self-proclaimed experts lauded the decision in suggesting that “openness” played a part even though: (a) they didn’t define “open”; (b) they didn’t say how they determined that Cerner is more open than Epic or Allscripts; and (c) DoD didn’t say how (or if) it measured and scored “openness.”
  • Most of the industry – me included – underestimated the importance of the military’s comfort level with the prime contractor based on what knowledgeable readers have told me since the bid was announced. I’ve heard that IBM isn’t strong in defense contracting compared to the winning consortium’s defense powerhouse of Leidos, Accenture, and SAIC.
  • Allscripts had one good partner (HP) and one not-so-good one (CSC) and a product with tiny market share and limited breadth, making that team the obvious long shot no matter how you look at it. Clearly nobody expected the Allscripts group to win given that MDRX shares didn’t drop on the news that it lost.
  • Accenture’s participation may have tipped the scales slightly for Leidos since it helped save Healthcare.gov.
  • The DoD says it has spent more time on the EHR project so far than it did on the trillion-dollar F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
  • Leidos operated as SAIC until it spun that unit off as a separate business and renamed itself Leidos in September 2013. SAIC has outperformed Leidos on the stock market in the past year, with its shares up 28 percent compared to those of Leidos at 6.5 percent.
  • Cerner will replace the military’s present system, the many-billion dollar, contractor-enriching, VA-ignoring, custom-written taxpayer boondoggle known as AHLTA.
  • Cerner did not win the bid, Leidos did. It’s an important distinction since Cerner is not accustomed to taking a second banana position. Cerner as a company is worth nearly nine times the stock market value of Leidos. Even Henry Schein is four times larger than Leidos.
  • I’ve heard rumors that Leidos won the bid mostly on price and DoD comments seem to reflect that. The company needed good news after recent major business problems (huge losses, CEO replacement, and a big drop in its healthcare business) and may have bid aggressively for that reason.
  • I’ve also heard that a lot of the $4.3 billion initial contract value (more than half, in fact) isn’t guaranteed, but rather is set up as contingency money. Leidos and its partners excel at extracting money from the often clueless Washington bureaucracy, a capability that will be essential if the contract really does put so much of the contract value at risk. The #1 rule of government software project bidders: put in a lowball bid knowing that once you get your foot in the door, you can figure out ways to enrich the deal.
  • If indeed so much of the contract is at risk, that leaves Leidos and its 34 partners with maybe $2 billion guaranteed over 10 years before extensions, which includes all costs related to implementation, support, and software maintenance. Leidos as the prime contractor will certainly be squeezing its subs (including Cerner) to keep as much of the money for itself as it can.
  • I don’t know how much Cerner gets from the total project award, but a SWAG might place it at 10-20 percent. If only $2 billion or so is guaranteed, maybe Cerner gets $200-$400 million guaranteed over 10 years (obviously I don’t have insider information so this is just speculation for entertainment’s sake). If that’s anywhere close, $40 million per year isn’t going to change Cerner’s life all that much given that it’s already tracking close to $4 billion in annual revenue.
  • One-third of the non-software cost has to be subbed out to small, minority, or veteran-owned businesses. That means Leidos will have to contract out quite a bit of even the software maintenance fees. Check the list I posted at the top of the page – many of the companies partnering with Leidos trumpet their set-aside status more than anything else.
  • Cerner tagged Intermountain as a “strategic partner” that will provide “clinical governance of solutions and workflow,” although I don’t understand what battlefield and military hospital expertise Intermountain brings to the table.
  • Cerner and Leidos are going to need a bunch of experienced project people, and in the absence of restrictive policies like Epic’s that prevent experienced people from moving on to better jobs with other hospitals or consulting firms, the poaching is probably already underway.
  • The contract has a first-year budget of $149 million and an expected total lifetime cost of $9 billion over the next 18 years (keep an eye on that estimate because you won’t see it that low again).
  • Let’s not forget that Henry Schein was a big winner, too, as one of the four winning core partners in contributing its dental system expertise.
  • I can’t imagine that the Epic and Allscripts teams will fight the DoD’s decision barring some major contracting gaffe, but it does bring back memories of the then-tanking, Tullman-led Allscripts throwing a lawsuit tantrum when New York City Health and Hospitals chose Epic over Allscripts in 2012, when Allscripts cried that it wasn’t fair that their prospect was willing to pay more to get Epic.
  • It’s hard to predict how each company will fare now that the die has been cast. Will Cerner gain knowledge and experience that it can roll into products for the general market or will DoD consume so much of its energy that it will get distracted? Will Epic lose prestige and sales now that it has lost the biggest procurement in health IT history or will it bear down harder in competing with Cerner? Does Allscripts keep trying with Sunrise or just concede the hospital EHR market and focus on ambulatory systems and population health? Do existing customers of each vendor win or lose?
  • It’s good for the market that Cerner won since Epic needs more competition, although it’s a shame that we don’t have a strong third competitor.
  • I remember the excitement when companies won those big NPfIT contracts years ago and it turned out to be a bloodbath for them when they were held accountable for delivering what they promised. Let’s hope (against hope) this project delivers more than a spectacular NPfIT bonfire of British pounds. Big government IT projects hardly ever hit their planned budget, timeline, and benefits, but contractors and taxpayers keep lining up at the trough to take another swing.

Speaking of the DoD, it’s a good time to re-watch Dim-Sum’s September 2014 HIStalk webinar titled “DHMSM 101: The Hopes, Politics, and Players of the DoD’s $11 Billion EHR Project,” which has been viewed a couple of thousand times on YouTube. Spoiler: Leidos wins at the end.


Webinars

None scheduled in the next two weeks. Previous webinars are on the YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for webinar services including discounts for signing up by Labor Day.

Here’s a just-completed (and outstanding) webinar titled “Earning Medicare’s New Chronic Care Management Payments: Five Steps to Take Now.”

We also just finished “De-Silo Your Disparate IT Systems Around the Patient with VNA” by Lexmark.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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McKesson reports Q1 results: revenue up 9 percent, adjusted EPS $3.14 vs. $2.47, beating analyst expectations for both. Technology Solutions revenue was down 7 percent due to the company’s anticipated drop-off in hospital IT business and the sale of its nurse triage operation, but tempered by good performance from RelayHealth and the physician revenue cycle business. CEO John Hammergren said in the earnings call that, “We have been struggling in the hospital IT business, where we have been reinvesting in the go-forward products and de-investing in the products that we’ve already announced that we plan to sunset” as the company tries to “put the momentum back in the business.”

CVS Health will co-develop a chronic disease care management solution with IBM’s Watson group, planning to sell it to insurers and use it in its own pharmacies and MinuteClinics.

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MedAssets reports Q2 results: revenue up 13 percent, adjusted EPS $0.31 vs. $0.30, beating expectations for both.

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Lockeed Martin exhibits atrocious timing in announcing its Healthcare Technology Alliance the day Leidos and Accenture hogged the government contractor limelight with the DoD’s announcement, but if anyone cares, the Alliance’s founding members are Cisco, Cloudera, Illumina, Intel, and Montgomery College.


People

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Stephanie Wallace (Greythorn Healthcare IT) joins Huntzinger Management Group as national sales director.

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Cumberland Consulting Group promotes Praneet Nirmul and Adam Seyb to partner.

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Margaret Laws (California HealthCare Foundation) is named president and CEO of HopeLab, which develops children’s health-related technology.

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Valence Health names former TriZetto and Eclipsys CEO Andy Eckert as CEO. Founding CEO Phil Kamp will move into a chief strategy officer role. Eckert is chairman of Varian Medical Systems.


Announcements and Implementations

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John Gomez (Sensato) and Colin Konschak (Divurgent) publish “Cyber-Security in Healthcare 2015,” available as a free e-book download from iTunes.


Government and Politics

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Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) introduces the Flex-IT 2 act that would delay Meaningful Use Stage 3 until at least 2017. CHIME chimes in with its support for the bill, saying it will ensure Meaningful Use’s “long-term vitality,” meaning it likes the EHR welfare program as long as the provider bar is set low enough that everybody collects taxpayer cash, not really buying into the idea that the MU program was supposed to be a  short-term, cash-for-clunkers stimulus project.


Privacy and Security

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Partners HealthCare-owned McLean Hospital loses four unencrypted backup tapes containing information on 12,600 people who have designated their brains to be donated upon their death.


Other

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Healthcare Growth Partners publishes its mid-year health IT review with a focus on IPOs. I can’t say enough about HGP’s reports – they are stellar at summarizing the challenges and opportunities of healthcare and healthcare IT in a macroeconomic way. HGP gives their reports away when other firms produce reports with a tiny fraction of their insight and charge handsomely for them. The graphic above nicely compares the 2007 publicly traded health IT market to that of 2015. I also enjoyed this brilliant summary of US healthcare:

Healthcare spending in the US is about 90 percent higher than in most other industrialized countries. The US ranks #46 out of 48 in terms of efficiency – one place below Iran, and that’s without economic sanctions. Inefficient markets typically result in a mispricing of goods and services. The cause is often due to monopolies, poor regulation, and a lack of market transparency. Each is a contributor to inefficiency in the US healthcare economy, but the primary shortcoming is the lack of market transparency, or information, needed to define the cost and quality of goods and services, otherwise known as value. Restated, we must define the cost of care and we must define the quality of care in order to determine the value of care. That information then must be made available to consumers who can act on it to create a market-based economy, which in turn theoretically leads to outcomes and efficiencies. The concept of “value” is behind nearly all health IT investment activity, and in a market as personalized and complex as healthcare, the amount of investment required to achieve it is staggering.

Four hospital ED nurses in Saudi Arabia face prosecution for causing injuries that require a six-year-old’s hand to be amputated after their failed attempt to start an IV.

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HIMSS is attempting to insert itself into the DoD’s EHR project by announcing how happy it will be if someone will just invite it to participate, so I will issue an equally self-serving statement of my own:

As the Department of Defense moves forward with its modernization project, Mr. HIStalk is committed to working closely with the DoD on the planning and implementation stages in providing biting commentary for those involved.

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Weird News Andy applies his own product name of “iDon’t Touch” to iSperm, which turns an iPad into a sperm counter. WNA also likes this story about nice Canadians (he says the term is redundant) in which a woman stuck in the ED with her sick child posts her status to a Facebook new moms group worrying about her car being towed, after which several strangers feed the parking meter until she is able to leave. WNA pipes up one more time to comment on the CVS-IBM Watson story, titling it, “Come here, Watson, I need you” in picturing a CVS customer answering Watson’s questions about intestinal distress with, “Alimentary, my dear Watson.”


Sponsor Updates

  • An independent analyst firm places VisionWare among the leaders in master data management technology and customer satisfaction.
  • A Validic survey finds that 59 percent of healthcare respondents are either behind on their digital strategy or don’t have one.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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July 30, 2015 News 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 7/31/15

July 30, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Leidos Wins Massive Pentagon Health Care Records Contract

DoD announces it will implement Cerner as its next EHR in a $4.3 billion initial contract through Leidos that is anticipated to be worth up to $9 billion over the next 18 years. Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics noted that at the conclusion of the procurement process, there was “a clear best-value solution for us.”

Clarifying Questions and Answers Related to the July 6, 2015 CMS/AMA Joint Announcement and Guidance Regarding ICD-10 Flexibilities

CMS publishes clarifications to the ICD-10 Flexibility announcement that it made earlier this month.

Minnesota data analytics IDs potential savings

The Minnesota Department of Health analyzes emergency department visits, as well as hospital admissions and readmissions from 2012 claims data, finding that 1.3 million visits, generating $2 billion in spending, were potentially preventable. Pneumonia, heart failure, and COPD were the leading conditions driving up preventable ER visits.

Answers to Questions for the Record Following a Hearing on The 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook Conducted by the Senate Committee on the Budget

In a follow up report from its 2015 Long-Term Budget Outlook report, the CBO discusses telehealth services and the potential financial costs or savings increased access would have on overall Medicare spending.

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July 30, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Readers Write: My EHR Vendor is Losing Market Share – What Should I Do?

July 29, 2015 Readers Write 1 Comment

My EHR Vendor is Losing Market Share – What Should I Do?
By Jason Fortin

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These are turbulent times for many EHR vendors. In fact, according to a 2014 report from KLAS, only three vendors – Epic, Cerner, and Meditech – gained hospital market share in 2013; everyone else lost more hospital customers than they won.

What should you do if your EHR vendor is one of the many that is losing market share?

Understand the market dynamics. The reality is the EHR market is shifting quickly right now, with rapid consolidation and distinct winners and losers. A number of vendors are losing customers, but there are many reasons hospitals and health systems decide to change their core EHR. Some of the shift in EHR market share is due to justified concerns about the long-term viability of certain vendors, but increasingly, it is also a result of other factors, such as recently-merged hospitals and health systems looking to align on a single EHR.

Ask the tough questions. Go beyond the headlines and try to determine why your EHR vendor is losing market share. Are these things that can change? For example, is the loss of customers a result of the vendor’s lack of executive leadership and vision? Or is it more due to the current features and functionality of the product?

It is also important to look at what types of customers the vendor is losing and how fast the attrition is happening. Are clients being lost only in a specific segment outside the vendor’s target market (such as smaller community hospitals or large AMCs)? Or are all types of customers looking to switch?

Lastly, evaluate the level and immediacy of risk. Is the loss of market share so severe that the vendor could go out of business in the next one or two years?

Don’t panic, but evaluate if your needs are being met. Look at all the factors involved. Even if your vendor is losing market share, consider how their product specifically supports your business and clinical needs right now. Do they have a clearly defined plan to support your business and clinical needs in the future?

Also consider what your vendor offers in the context of what it will take to stay competitive in your market. For example, “interoperability” is an important characteristic, but it is far more important to have a system that can exchange discrete data with the specific EHRs that are predominant in your region.

Take an objective look at the alternatives and make a decision. Evaluate the market, looking at other core EHRs as well as applicable niche solutions to get a sense of different approaches to functionality that is most important to you (i.e. data exchange, population health, etc.) Compare those to your current EHR and be honest in terms of which capabilities represent a significant improvement over what you have, which are essentially a trade-off, and which might be nice to have but aren’t critical to achieve your specific business and clinical goals.

If you decide to leave your vendor, carefully consider your options for selecting a new one. One course of action is a full system selection, which involves a thorough and comprehensive look at multiple solutions (including detailed demos and interviews), but may not be practical from a timing perspective or in cases when a replacement is urgently needed. An alternative option is a “null hypothesis” selection. This approach is focused on starting with the best potential fit based on your scan of market leaders, and then undergoing an expedited selection process with that one “null hypothesis” vendor to try and disprove why it would not be a good EHR for your organization.

The bottom line is loss of market share is a valid reason for customers to be concerned about their core EHR vendor. In some cases, it is sufficient cause to begin looking at a potential replacement. But it is also important to look at why a vendor is losing customers and to objectively look at your current system and the alternatives in the context of what your organization will specifically need to remain competitive in your market. Committing to an EHR vendor is a big decision, and unfortunately in the current landscape, it is not a decision hospitals and health systems can afford to get wrong.

Jason Fortin is senior advisor with Impact Advisors of Naperville, IL.

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July 29, 2015 Readers Write 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 7/29/15

July 29, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Harvard tech guru funds collaborative medical software

A Harvard Business professor invests $8.4 million in digital health startup ACT.md, a company focused on building collaboration tools to improve handoff communications and care coordination among providers.

NantKwest a huge IPO, but watch the small float

In the largest biotech IPO in a decade, Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD’s NantKwest started trading on the NASDAQ today, opening at $37 per share for an initial market capitalization of $2.6 billion. Soon-Shoing acquired the company less than a year ago for just $48 million.

Community Hospital EHR  – 2015

Peer60 publishes survey results from 277 community hospital providers, finding that 20 percent of community hospitals are actively looking to replace their current EHR, with Epic, Cerner, and Meditech most frequently named as likely replacement vendors.

UMass Memorial Health Care plans big patient record upgrade

UMass Memorial Health Care CEO Eric Dickson, MD reports that the health system will invest $700 million over $10 years in its transition from Sorian to Epic, representing the largest capital investment in its history.

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