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Monday Morning Update 12/30/13

December 29, 2013 News 6 Comments

12-29-2013 9-01-12 AM

From Informatics Doc: “Re: PCORI. Announces who they will fund to build clinical data research networks and patient-powered research networks, which has a fairly ambitious national goal. MU-compliant EHRs will be a key component to several networks.” The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, a non-profit created as part of PPACA/Obamacare,  approves $93.5 million to fund 29 clinical research data networks that will form PCORnet, a national network that will study clinical outcomes. Of the 29 participating organizations, 11 are hospitals, plans, and health networks that will provide real-time patient encounter information, while the other 18 are patient-operated, condition-focused groups. Quite a bit of technology is involved, including interoperability and data collection from EHRs such as Cerner and Epic, data standardization, patient-facing applications, and population health management tools. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute won a $9 million contract in September to run the program, naming as directors Richard Platt, MD, MS from Harvard Medical School along with Robert Califf, MD from Duke University Medical Center. I think it’s a great idea, although the politics and special interests involved in translational research make it hard to predict whether it will be successful in turning new medical data into health-improving and cost-saving principles. 

12-29-2013 2-11-27 PM

From The PACS Designer: “Re: iPhone 5S. With the gifting completed for the holiday, TPD thought it would be useful to post instructions for the HIStalkers who may have received the iPhone 5S. Since it can be daunting getting started with the 5S,  providing detailed instructions will get you going sooner.”
12-29-2013 7-20-01 AM

Barely more than half of poll respondents think Karen DeSalvo was a good choice to be Farzad’s replacement as National Coordinator, although none of those who voted added a comment to explain their position. The suck-up organizations (which is pretty much all of them) can’t say enough good things about her even though most of their flattery is either superficial or irrelevant, so to you naysayers, what don’t you like about her? Leave a comment on this post if you like. New poll to your right: how would you grade Medicare’s fraud prevention efforts?

12-29-2013 8-16-29 AM

The Associated Press Oregon names Cover Oregon’s botched insurance exchange website as the state’s top news story for 2013, summarizing:

Once considered a national health care leader, Oregon produced the worst rollout in the nation of the new national health insurance program. While the crippled federal website eventually got up and walked, Oregon’s remained comatose, unable to enroll a single person online. The state had to resort to hiring 400 people to process paper applications. Officials lay much of the blame on the primary information technology contractor, Oracle Corp., and withheld some $20 million in payments. But state officials’ own actions played a role, too. In the face of disaster, they insisted on doing things The Oregon Way, clinging to a grandiose vision of creating a grand health IT system that would not only enroll new people in the national health insurance program, but also provide other vital services. In the midst of the finger-pointing, executive director Rocky King went on indefinite medical leave, and chief information officer Carolyn Lawson resigned.

12-29-2013 10-31-27 AM 

Massachusetts, whose healthcare programs inspired Obamacare, has paid $11 million of a $69 million contract for creating its health insurance exchange website, which has enrolled only 2,800 people due to technical problems. The state says the system, built by Healthcare.gov lead contractor CGI, is slow, displays random error messages, and times out. It requires applicants to submit their information online, then wait for a mailed letter before signing up for insurance. Both Massachusetts and Vermont have halted payments to CGI for their insurance exchange sites, saying the company isn’t meeting its obligations.

12-29-2013 9-30-52 AM

Canada-based CGI, whose Healthcare.gov contract is worth around $300 million of that site’s $700 million cost so far, has a market cap of $10.6 billion. It’s one-year share price chart is above, with GIB in blue and the Dow in red. Vanity Fair’s profile of CGI is unflattering, citing previous unhappy customers and creative acquisition-related accounting practices (the company is made up of 70 acquired entities.) Industry long-timers will remember its 2004 acquisition of American Management Systems (AMS), from which quite a few hospitals bought medical records scanning and workflow applications. Including my hospital at the time, which earned AMS/CGI strong consideration for my “worst vendor” list. The article summarizes:

The story of how the Obama administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agencies tasked with implementing the Affordable Care Act got it so wrong is still unfolding. Much of the blame has to fall on an insular White House that didn’t want to hear about problems, and another chunk has to land on CMS, which instead of hiring a systems integrator, whose job it would have been to ensure that all the processes feeding into healthcare.gov worked together, kept that role for itself. As anyone who has worked with the federal government on such projects knows, it is utterly inept when it comes to technology.

Palomar Health’s Glassomics incubator for Google Glass releases a demo video of potential medical applications, including real-time integration with patient monitors and the EHR.

12-29-2013 2-13-01 PM

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie releases $21.7 million in state capital funds for healthcare projects, of which Hawaii Health will receive $14.3 million for EHR-related projects.

Venture Beat predicts the hot tech buzzwords for 2014: “growth hacker” (data-driven marketing people); “nth screen” (sharing across devices); “design thinking” (human-focused innovation); “ephemeral sharing” (Snapchat-like shared data that disappears); and “hyperdata” (cooler than the now-unhip term “big data,” but meaning about the same thing).

In England, NHS and Department of Health create The Walk, an exercise app that combines a pedometer with a mystery story that unfolds as more steps are accumulated toward 500 miles of walking. It was developed by the creators of Zombies, Run!, which similarly combines a mystery story with running.

Hope Phones collects unwanted cell phones, allowing individuals and companies to outfit global health workers with the erased and furbished devices. Donation couldn’t be simpler: just print a postage-paid label from their site and put your phone in the mail. It’s part of Medic Mobile, a San Franciso-based public charity that uses mobile technology to improve health.

A Hero’s Welcome to Health IT, a government-funded program, will introduce military veterans to careers in health IT at the HIMSS conference. It offers mentoring and entry-level certification.

12-29-2013 2-46-21 PM

ONC’s annual meeting will be held January 23-24 at the Washington Hilton in DC, with 1,200 attendees expected.  It will probably be the first public appearance of new National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, who will start at ONC on January 13. 

The txt4health mobile personalized messaging program for diabetes management launched by three ONC-designated Beacon Communities reached a good many participants in Michigan, Ohio, and Louisiana, but more than half of them dropped out of the 14-week program, many of them apparently just ignored the messages, and only 3 percent of active participants tracked their weight. The article generously concludes that “this type of approach may not be appropriate for all.”

12-29-2013 1-55-14 PM

The board chair of a children’s hospital in Greece is arrested for demanding a $34,000 bribe from an advertising company that had been awarded a $262,000 contract to develop an anti-obesity campaign for children. He was also fired from his full-time position with the National Bank of Greece. The bribe was paid by an informant wearing a wire, which recorded the man’s stated rationale: “What kind of an idiot would I be to have made a 190,000-euro deal and not kept a cent for myself?”

12-29-2013 2-02-55 PM

Strange: parents of a newborn sue a Pittsburgh rabbi, claiming he severed their son’s penis while circumsizing him. Surgeons reattached it during an eight-hour microsurgery that involved six blood transfusions, two months in the hospital, and leech therapy. According to the rabbi’s website, “A doctor’s medical circumcision, usually performed in the hospital on the second or third day after birth, does not fulfill the requirements of a Bris Milah and is not considered valid according to Jewish law.”

Sponsor Updates

12-29-2013 9-09-57 AM

The annual holiday fundraiser held by Surgical Information Systems raised $15,000 from employees to support Cookies for Kids Cancer, Donor’s Choose, Toys for Tots, USO Wishbook, and The Weekes House.

12-29-2013 9-13-09 AM

Employees of ESD donated toys for Lucas County Family Services, which supports abused and neglected children.

The Lab Executive War College and CHUG (Centricity Healthcare User Group) donate hundreds of extra conference backpacks annually to Coffee Creek Backpacks project, run by Frog Pond Church in Wilsonville OR, which provides women newly released from the local correctional institute with essentials to help them return to society.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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December 29, 2013 News 6 Comments

News 12/27/13

December 26, 2013 News 11 Comments

Top News

12-26-2013 7-01-06 AM

CMS adopts final rules that extend the Stark exception sunset date from December 31, 2013 to December 31, 2021. The amendment allows healthcare entities to continue subsidizing physician purchases of EHRs and includes additional rule modifications, including:

  • The exclusion of lab companies from donating EHR items and services
  • The elimination of the e-prescribing capability requirement
  • Updates to the interoperable provision
  • Clarification of the requirement prohibiting any action that limits or restricts the use, compatibility, or interoperability of donated items or services.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga thumb   Mr. H whisked away Mrs. H for a little holiday this week, but he should be back this weekend. We’re about to be in the midst of the pre-HIMSS fury so I am glad he took time for R&R with Mrs. H before the craziness begins.

inga thumb  News was slow on HIStalk Practice this week but you’ll want to check out the letter Dr. Gregg sent to Digital Santa before St. Nick jumped on his sled.  Thanks for reading.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

The HIMSS Foundation and the National eHealth Collaborative merge their organizations and announce plans to create the HIMSS Center for Patient- and Family-Centered Care and to integrate NeHC’s educational and HIE programs with existing HIMSS resources.

PM and RCM service provider Medical Transcription Billing files a registration statement for a proposed IPO.

12-26-2013 12-51-39 PM

The Singapore government invests $500,000 in Ring.MD, a telehealth startup focused on improving access to high-quality physicians in Asia. The company was founded by Justin Fulcher, a 21-year-old entrepreneur who has been coding since he was seven and started his first business as a preteen.


12-26-2013 2-40-26 PM

Big Bend Hospice (FL) selects Allscripts Homecare software.

12-26-2013 2-42-49 PM

CareTech Solutions will provide consulting services to Medicine Bow Technologies (WY), which is developing a disaster recovery plan for services impacting Invinson for Memorial Hospital.



12-26-2013 2-46-03 PM

Cerner names former Indiana governor/current Purdue University president Mitch Daniels to its board of directors.

12-26-2013 12-42-09 PM

Family Health West (CO) hires Pam Foyster (Quality Health Network) as clinical informatics director.



Announcements and Implementations

Jamaica’s minister of health says his country will being implementation of an $50 million EMR system for hospitals and primary care clinics during the first quarter of 2014.

12-26-2013 2-47-16 PM

Maine Medical Center will increase its Epic EMR investment from $145 million to $200 million and dedicate about two-thirds of the funds for additional employee training. Health system officials admit they originally underestimated the resources required for training and may have made a mistake by starting the implementation at its 6,000-employee Maine Medical Center, rather than a smaller pilot facility. Earlier this year the hospital’s CEO said the Epic rollout and incorrect billing issues contributed to a $13.4 million loss in the first half of its 2013 fiscal year.

12-26-2013 2-48-59 PM

Weems Memorial Hospital (FL) goes live on its $450,000 EMR from CSS.

Sagacious Consultants launches Sagacious Analytics to help hospitals improve reporting and make better use of EMR data for performance measurement.

Vermont Information Technology Leaders makes radiology and transcribed reports from Fletcher Allen Health Care available to providers via the state’s Medicity-powered HIE.


Government and Politics

CMS announces the formation of 123 new accountable care organizations, bringing the total number of established ACOs to more than 360.


Innovation and Research

A new influenza forecasting method developed by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health is proving almost twice as reliable as traditional approaches that rely on historical data. The system combines real-time estimates from Google Flu trends and CDC surveillance programs.




12-26-2013 2-55-33 PM

Apple secures a patent for an embedded heart rate monitor for smartphones.



A USA Today article looks at how the adoption of HIT and preventative care are improving healthcare and lowering costs. David Blumenthal, MD highlights areas requiring more work, including moving from fee-for-service payment models to risk-sharing or team-pay systems; improving care coordination through the use of IT; educating consumers on how to choose better care based on quality and lower costs; and, increasing the use of standards to lower administrative costs.

Mount Sinai Hospital (NY) reports a 40 percent decline in its sepsis mortality rate since implementing an early warning system within its EMR. The system triggers an alert whenever staff enter vital signs that match the criteria for early sepsis.

12-26-2013 10-25-15 AM

Over two-thirds of HIT professionals participating in a HIMSS compensation survey report receiving a salary increase in 2013; the average reported salary was $110,269.  Almost half of the 1,126 survey participants also received bonuses with the median bonus equal to three to four percent of annual salaries.


Sponsor Updates

  • NextGen posts its January webinar schedule.
  • Optum opens an on-demand health and wellness clinic in  Overland Park, KS.
  • Imprivata hosts its second user conference HealthCon 2014 May 4-6 in Boston.
  • Forbes profiles Ping Identity founder and CEO Andre Durand.
  • As the industry shifts to P4P and ACOs, API Healthcare VP of nursing Karlene Kerfoot predicts a shift in healthcare jobs from hospitals to home care agencies, outpatient surgery centers, and urgent care clinics.
  • Info-Tech Research Group names Informatica a Champion in its Data Integration Tools Vendor Landscape.
  • EDCO posts a video highlighting its point of care scanning process for clinical staff.

EP by Dr. Jayne

It’s a very slow week here since a good portion of our department took vacation days around the Christmas holiday. I’ve enjoyed the relative quiet and am glad to see that people are staying off of email. CMS shared some holiday cheer by emailing providers to remind them that if they didn’t e-prescribe in 2012 or 2013 they will receive their penalty in 2014. I don’t know why they insist on calling it a “payment adjustment” rather than a penalty. Penalties related to Meaningful Use will begin on January 1, 2015 so if you’re going to avoid them you need a solid strategy now.

I’m keeping my eye out for exciting opportunities in the New Year and was interested to see a couple of CMIO postings pop up at organizations that haven’t had a CMIO previously. Although it may be exciting to be the first CMIO and to be able to define the role, I don’t envy anyone taking a job at an organization that is just now figuring out they need one. A couple of the job descriptions were nebulous to the point where I’m wondering if the hospital even understands what they are looking for.

Medical Economics recently did a piece on the survival of the doctor-patient relationship. Physicians cite administrative burdens as the highest threat (41.9 percent) followed by EHR at 25.8 percent. I’m glad the article makes the point that some of the tasks could be assigned to other office staff members. I still struggle with physicians who insist on doing work that could be done by support staff including printing lab requisitions, tracking down test results, processing refill requests, and dealing with insurance paperwork.

The article addresses the EHR challenge more specifically – citing anecdotal stories of physicians who spend 10 minutes of a 15 minute appointment typing. I’m continually surprised by the number of my peers who refuse to learn to type. If you’re going to use free-text rather than structured documentation, typing skills are essential. I remind our physicians that if they mastered biochemistry and tying surgical knots they can learn to touch type but they still resist. I’ve even tried a games-based approach to try to harness their competitive natures, but haven’t had a lot of success.

Another physician states he spends “eight to 10 minutes per chart entering information not directly related to patient care, mainly tied to quality metrics.” Based on conversations with some of our providers I’d have to challenge that statement. We have a large employed provider base and it’s always a shock when someone thinks that a particular clinical quality element is “not my problem” especially in the ACO environment. We’re fortunate to have an EHR where the quality metrics are baked into the documentation – there’s not a lot of extra work to do. I know many sites don’t have this advantage but for us there’s no excuse.

I recently went a couple of rounds with a surgeon who said the patient’s morbid obesity was “not my problem.” I countered that if he plans to do any procedures on her, it certainly is his problem because of the risk of complications directly related to the obesity, not to mention the need to find out if there is diabetes related to the obesity because that alone can complicate wound healing. The same thing applies to our orthopedic surgeons who don’t want to check blood pressures. Fortunately our organization has made measurement of vital signs part of the required elements for physicians to receive bonus payments, so it makes it easier for me to push back at them.

I know there are a lot of EHRs out there where the documentation isn’t so simple and having used a couple of them I’d encourage physicians to look for alternate strategies to make it easier. I did a stint as a locum tenens where the physicians dictate using voice recognition and then staff post-loads the discrete data elements that the system doesn’t recognize. It worked well and the physicians had a high level of satisfaction. Essentially the extra two patients a day they could see by using voice recognition allowed them to pay for the extra staff needed to load the data. It was revenue neutral but the physicians felt better not clicking as much as they used to.

I think the key to managing quality indicators is having a plan on when they are going to be addressed. I see a lot of physicians struggling to try to address every indicator at every visit and it’s just not necessary. My EHR allows me to filter and only see those items that are due in the next three months, six months, etc. so that helps somewhat. Our group also has policies about when the indicators are to be addressed. For example, patients in for an annual preventive visit should have all preventive services due during the next 18 months addressed. This covers them for the next year and a little bit extra should their return appointment be delayed.

The article also cites the amount of time needed to have a conversation with the patient about screening services as a barrier. We provide extensive training to our medical assistants (no nurses in our world) on how to address preventive services with patients during the intake and rooming process so that the patient knows it will be a topic of discussion. The staff can provide educational materials for the patient to read before the physician enters the room, which can make some of those conversations easier and faster. Additionally, providers are not expected to address all preventive services on acute visits. We rely on our automated outreach mechanisms to catch those patients who don’t come in for preventive visits or who have lapses in care. This has been a major physician satisfier because the acute visits remain fairly quick and they don’t have to spend time worrying about patients falling through the cracks.

Having policies on when to address what kinds of services doesn’t have anything to do with the EHR – we actually had these policies in place in the paper world – but they’ve made a great deal of difference. We also provide training for support staff on completing pre-authorizations and pre-certifications so that work can be handed off even in a small office that doesn’t have dedicated referral staff. Looking at the operational workflow and staff training has helped physician satisfaction and hopefully will be one of the things bolstering the patient-physician relationship in our organization. Does your organization have any secret recipes for success? Email me.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

smoking doc

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December 26, 2013 News 11 Comments

Monday Morning Update 12/23/13

December 20, 2013 News No Comments

12-20-2013 2-24-22 PM

From Kris Crinkle: “Re: Epic. The bells rang for a new contract signing. Southcoast Health System (MA). Replacing Meditech Magic, eClinicalWorks, athenahealth, and Cerner homecare. I’m an avid reader and love the format, especially Dr. Jayne.”

From JG: “Re: musical stocking stuffers, best of 2013. The Growlers, Dean Wareham, The Men. Thank you for everything you do!” I listened to all three bands and liked all three.

12-20-2013 1-23-27 PM

From The PACS Designer: “Re: all-digital solutions. A truly remarkable event took place at this year’s RSNA. Philips Healthcare introduced the world’s first all-digital diagnostic treatment solution in the form of a CT/PET Scanner. This event should be of great interest to Doctor Dalai as he’s been contemplating the purchase of such a system for quite some time.”

12-20-2013 10-09-07 AM

The vast majority of poll respondents think it’s time to retire the word “mHealth.” New poll to your right: is Karen DeSalvo a good choice for National Coordinator? Feel free to click the poll’s Comments after you’ve voted to explain why you think she is or isn’t.
12-20-2013 10-24-43 AM
Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor DataMotion. The Morristown, NJ-based company offers easy-to-use solutions for email encryption, secure file transfer, and Direct-based secure messaging, allowing customers to cut costs and meet compliance and Meaningful Use requirements. DataMotion Direct makes secure messaging via Direct easy to implement and use, and the DataMotion Direct Developers Program provides vendors a quick, capital-free way to implement Direct messaging in their applications (EHRs, HIE, patient portal, interface engine) and to meet MU Stage 2 secure data exchange requirements. Give SecureMail a free trial, request access to their Sandbox,  or view the recorded Webinar, “HIPAA, Business Associate Agreements, and What You Need to Know.” Thanks to DataMotion for supporting HIStalk.
Here’s a DataMotion introductory video I found on YouTube.Here’s the complete list (not just AMIA members like the list I ran earlier) of the new diplomates in the Clinical Informatics subspecialty area.
Athenahealth will move its Bay Area office from a 20,000 square foot space in San Mateo to a 60,000 square-foot building in San Francisco.
Archbold Memorial Hospital (GA), San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (CA), Virginia Hospital Center, and Western Connecticut Health Network select Perioperative Management from Surgical Information Systems.
An internal Marine memo reveals current inefficiencies in the transfer of medical records from the Navy to the VA. Currently the Navy prints service treatment records and mails them to the VA. At the same time the VA is in the process of scanning all paper files, which are saved electronically as PDFs. Depending on a the service member’s length of service and documented medical conditions, a single record can run thousand of pages.
Pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics contracts with CoverMyMeds.com for electronic prior authorization services.

A ProPublica investigation uses the federal government’s own Medicare databases to find evidence of rampant Medicare drug plan fraud, with organized groups either stealing the identity of doctors or bribing them to write prescriptions. Medicare’s process is so poorly managed that they rarely catch anyone. Example: Medicare paid $3.8 million in one year to fill the prescriptions of a psychiatrist, most of them for drugs unrelated to his specialty, when someone stole his identity. Pharmacies and insurers say they’re reporting suspicious behavior to Medicare but are being ignored. The series of articles concludes that newspaper reporters can easily detect fraud from Medicare’s databases, but the agency itself isn’t doing it.

Fraud rings use an ever-evolving variety of schemes to plunder the program. In one of the most popular, elderly, broke, disgraced or foreign-trained doctors are recruited for jobs at small clinics. Their provider IDs are used to write thousands of Medicare prescriptions for patients whose identities also may have been bought or stolen. Once dispensed, the drugs are then resold, sometimes with new labels, to pharmacies or drug wholesalers. In other schemes, investigators say, pharmacies are active participants, billing Medicare multiple times for prescriptions they never fill. Doctors can readily disavow the prescriptions as forged, investigators say. And because the schemes don’t always involve painkillers, a law enforcement focus, they can escape notice.


Weird News Andy delivers this story, which he titles “Yes C-Section, No C-Baby.” Doctors in Brazil perform an emergency C-section delivery after failing to hear the baby’s heartbeat, only to find that their patient wasn’t pregnant. The woman showed up with proof of her prenatal care and a protruding abdomen, but she was having a false pregnancy, her second of the year. The hospital suggested she seek mental care instead.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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December 20, 2013 News No Comments

News 12/20/13

December 19, 2013 News 7 Comments

Top News

HHS names Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MsC National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. DeSalvo, health commissioner for the City of New Orleans, will start on January 13, succeeding Farzad Mostashari, MD, MsC. According to an internal email from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, “Throughout her career, Dr. DeSalvo has advocated increasing the use of health information technology (HIT) to improve access to care, the quality of care, and overall population health outcomes –including efforts post-Katrina to redesign of the health system with HIT as a foundational element.”

Reader Comments

12-19-2013 5-44-16 PM

From MC Scanner: “Re: Apple commercial. The video for ‘Misunderstood’ that will air on TV next week brought tears to my eyes. It’s amazingly powerful – even better than their ‘1984’ ad.” Maybe I’m just being a Scrooge, but it seemed to me like a lame, Microsoft-style attempt to make people believe that their lives are incomplete unless they experience it using consumer technology. This commercial features a kid who chooses not to participate in family holiday activities with everybody else, instead messing around with his phone and recording everything for the big reveal when he shows the edited video to the family on the big screen TV. The message appears apt for the self-obsessed Facebookers of the world who can’t turn their smartphones off long enough to participate in the world instead of documenting it in Kodak moments for public display. I was creeped out when the family stopped doing everything warm and loving about the holidays and instead stared at themselves on TV, suddenly overcome with affection for the kid who couldn’t relate to them otherwise (probably because he never stops staring into his phone). Here’s my alternative, non-Apple approved holiday message: put down your electronic pacifiers, spend time with people you love, forget the always-beckoning fantasy world of your phone for just one day, and live like a human instead of an online avatar.

From Unnamed: “Re: [company name removed]. Laying off US employees right before Christmas, moving jobs to India, cutting budgets by 25 percent, and disregarding outstanding financial commitments. Sounds like a HISsies ‘Stupidest Vendor Move’ category.” We had some financial problems with that company, too.

From Jack: “Re: Orion Health’s list of best healthcare reporters and blogs. I saw this and figured either your actual name was on here (gasp) or whomever wrote this doesn’t actually read HIStalk. But how in the world do you get left out of that list?” HIStalk gets left off quite a few of the “best HIT sites” lists for several reasons: (a) it competes with the interests of whoever created the list; (b) it’s based on an Internet metric like Alexa or Klout scores; (c) they can’t figure out whether to consider HIStalk a blog or something else; or (d) they think other sites are better, which is perfectly fine and maybe they’re right. I never look at those lists and I often haven’t heard of the sites they proclaim as the busiest or best, but all I know is that Orion Health sponsors HIStalk, which seems to indicate they think it’s OK even though it’s not on their “Five Healthcare IT Reporters You Need to Follow” or “Health IT Thought Leaders” list.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga_small From HIStalk Practice in the last week: a few moonlighting suggestions for physicians. CMS offers informal reviews for EPs and group practices who will be subject to the 2014 eRx payment adjustment. CMS confirms that providers who assign their reimbursement and billing to a CAH under Method II are now eligible to participate in the MU program as EPs. A solo physician does a commendable job addressing a data breach. Salaried GPs in the UK face declines in compensation. My favorite gift, regardless of the holiday, is having new readers, so please take a moment and stop by. Thanks for reading.

Listening: The Honorary Title, a Brooklyn-based indie rock band that flamed out in 2009 without a lot of success. I’ve been obsessed with Nada Surf lately and they sound a good bit like them.

12-19-2013 6-15-33 PM 12-19-2013 6-21-15 PM

Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor (and HIStalk Connect Platinum Sponsor) CareSync. The Florida-based company offers a family health record and the mobile-based Visit Manager that provides access to a family’s medical records, organizes questions for providers, and stores to-do lists and notes, all to get family members organized before, during, and after their medical appointments. Information can be selectively shared with providers and family and friends who are helping with health needs. It allows tracking of health goals, prescriptions, emergency contacts, and providers. The company’s team of medical records specialists will even help assemble and organize the health information. It is reasonably priced and could make a nice Christmas gift for a family member. You probably know some of the industry long-timers who are involved – Travis Bond (Bond Technologies) and Amy Gleason, RN (Allscripts), to name two. Thanks to CareSync for supporting HIStalk.

I found this CareSync video on YouTube that explains it much better than I just did.


Mercy Health Physicians (OH) will implement PatientPoint’s patient engagement solutions.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn (UK) selects iMDsoft’s MetaVision for its ICU.

Children’s Medical Center (TX) engages PCCI to build predictive analytical models to identify children at-risk for asthma crises and to develop an information exchange between pediatric and social services providers.


12-19-2013 12-42-34 PM

ClearDATA names Scott Whyte (Dignity Health) SVP for growth and innovation.

12-19-2013 8-39-01 AM

Ryan Donovan (Visa) joins Practice Fusion as VP of corporate communications.

12-19-2013 8-45-05 AM

CareInSync hires Cheryl Cruver (The Advisory Board Company) as SVP of provider solutions.

12-19-2013 9-13-32 PM

Rainu Kaushal, MD, who holds a number of roles including informatics at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, is named chair of the college’s Department of Healthcare Policy and Research.

Announcements and Implementations

Arch Health Partners, a medical foundation affiliated with Palomar Health (CA), deploys Phytel’s population health management platform.

Kansas HIE and the Lewis and Clark Information Exchange connect their networks.

University of Colorado Health migrates 17,000 mailboxes from three disparate healthcare organizations on multiple legacy email platforms into one single consolidated Microsoft Office 365 environment. The consolidation is expected to save the organization $13.9 million over 11 years.

Landesklinikum Amstetten (Austria), AZ Sint Lucas (Belgium), Hospital La Pitie-Salpetriere and Centre Hospitalier Regional De Metz-Thionville (France), and Medway Maritime Hospital (UK) go live with the iMDsoft MetaVision platform.

Wesley Medical Center, Cypress Surgery Center, and Surgery Center of Kansas go live on Anesthesia Touch from Plexus Information Systems.

Lehigh Valley Health Network (PA) implements Salar’s TeamNotes, which sits on top of GE Centricity EMR to facilitate ICD-10 compliant documentation.

Government and Politics

A report by the Senate Commerce Committee highlights minimally regulated data brokers that buy and sell patient data, including disease-specific patient lists and in one case, lists of rape and domestic violence victims.

The VA’s ongoing cybersecurity problems are the subject of a Federal News Radio series, which points out the material weaknesses listed in its financial statements. Among them: failing to revoke network access of terminated employees, failing to keep unauthorized software off the network, and improperly securing Web-based applications. An unnamed government official says the VA CIO’s office has developed a siege mentality against Congressional inquiries, concluding,

“I find it disingenuous in how they are responding to this and the degree of contempt they have in how they are approaching this. They feel it’s a witch hunt. There is a marked lack of respect for the committee by the IT leadership. How they are managing the process is indicative of the lack of respect for Congress and particularly the Veterans Affairs Committee. They think it’s a game so they will evade, obfuscate and they will basically come back with just the bare minimum so as not to be out of compliance.”

12-19-2013 10-20-31 PM

The Oregon government official in charge of the state’s trouble-prone health insurance exchange website resigns. The state had bragged that its marketplace would be one of the most advanced when it opened October 1, but it still can’t handle electronic applications and required hiring 400 workers to process paper forms. Carolyn Lawson, CIO of the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services, stepped down Thursday for “personal reasons.”

12-19-2013 9-29-02 PM 12-19-2013 9-30-58 PM

Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Bill Johnson (R-OH) introduce the Telehealth Modernization Act of 2013, which would create a federal definition of telehealth based on an earlier California definition with the hopes of standardizing inconsistent state-level policies. It addresses patient-provider relationships, informed care,  provider documentation, sending documentation to other providers, and prescribing requirements.


Scripps Health launches a pilot of the Sotera Wireless ViSi Mobile vital signs wrist monitor, which measures ECG, heart rate, pulse,  oxygenation, and temperature.

MMRGlobal is awarded another patent, this time for just about everything a person can do to access health information on a mobile device.


The healthcare industry is making slow progress on preparing for ICD-10, according to a WEDI readiness survey. About 20 percent of vendors claim they are halfway or less complete with product development, while about half of providers have yet not completed an impact assessment. Meanwhile, about one-third of health plans have not initiated internal testing; two-thirds have not started external testing.

12-19-2013 5-12-32 PM

The Orlando newspaper profiles Automated Clinical Guidelines, which offers some kind of clinical pathway guidance product whose company-provided description is obfuscated by a writhing nest of unintelligible HIT-related cliches that marketing people dream about when you naively ask what a particular product does and 20 minutes you still have no idea:

ACG has developed an innovative healthcare ecosystem that is patient-centered, operates in real-time, is language-independent, and serves up evidence-based medicine for application on a worldwide basis. The ACG expert system represents a breakthrough in processing structured clinical information utilizing automated clinical guidelines. ACG software is a patented, smart, internet-based, and platform independent solution to the medical crisis in a demographically aging world faced with a severe shortage of physicians. ACG is NOT an EMR or an EHR product and in fact operates in a product space that is totally EMR/EHR independent. ACG revenue streams come from annual renewable institutional contracts, physician patient visits on a per click basis, and by medical products advertising. The ACG ecosystem is an elegant design that requires little or no training and guides the user by use of Symbolic and Boolean logic clinically correlated algorithms, as opposed to current attempts to use database centered templates and report writers.

12-19-2013 5-36-03 PM

The Houston newspaper writes up Decisio, which formats information from patient monitors into an electronic triage system. Says CEO Bryan Haardt, who was COO of Prognosis Health Information Systems until June 2013, “Today’s thermostats have more intelligence than most medical monitors.”

12-19-2013 7-36-34 PM

Cottage Health System (CA) discloses that the information of 32,500 patients was exposed when a vendor inadvertently opened up one of its servers to the Internet. As is nearly always the case, the problem was discovered by someone who found the information while Googling names. Surely there must be a monitoring service that can ping a supposedly secure server from outside the firewall and raise an alert if it gets in.

AMIA runs a list of its members who passed the first clinical informatics subspecialist exam in October.

12-19-2013 10-38-05 AM

inga_small A 66-year-old man files a lawsuit against Advocate Condell Medical Center (IL), claiming that hospital security guards threatened him, beat him, and bit him as he attempted to discharge himself from the ER. The main waited six hours for treatment of his TIA before trying to depart for another hospital, at which time he says seven security guards verbally and physically attacked him. Following the altercation, he claims he was injected with narcotics, strapped to a gurney, and kept in the hospital for six days.

12-19-2013 6-08-37 PM

Weird News Andy offers a list of items “for all the HIStalk techies in your life” from this article, cynically saying of an anesthesiologist robot, “What could go wrong?”

WNA will be sorry he didn’t see this first. A Chicago ED doc says he deals with sex-related accidents twice per week, enough to make him the star of a stupid new reality show (was that redundant?) called “Sex Sent Me to the ER.” Some of the cases he’ll cover involve people who fell on penetrating foreign objects (right), broken penises, and a 440-pound male virgin so focused on his first sexual experience that he pushed his girlfriend’s head through a wall. It looks stupid, sensationalistic, and poorly made, which of course means it will be an instant hit.

Sponsor Updates

12-19-2013 5-18-19 PM

  • Visage Imaging lists the top five trends it observed about enterprise imaging at RSNA 2013.
  • QPID releases some funny, holiday-themed training videos for its customers (1, 2, 3).
  • The MarketsandMarkets research firm ranks Perceptive Software’s Acuo VNA platform the world market share leader among all independent and PACS-affiliated VNA solution providers.
  • ICSA Labs awards CliniComp’s Essentris v213.01 software 2014 Edition Inpatient Modular EHR ONC Health IT Certification.
  • Deloitte includes Kareo on its Technology Fast 500 list of fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and clean technology companies in North America based on its 797 percent growth over the last five years.
  • Gartner positions Informatica as a leader in its 2013 Magic Quadrant for Data Masking Technology report.
  • University College London (UCL) and Elsevier will establish the UCL Big Data Institute to explore innovative ways to serve the needs of researchers by providing analytical data for scientific content.
  • The Drummond Group certifies Alere Analytics Clinical Quality Measures Services version 2.1 and Public Health Electronic Laboratory Reporting and Communication Portal version 3.2 for ONC-ACB MU as Modular Inpatient and Modular Ambulatory solutions respectively.
  • T-System offers free T-Sheets flu documentation templates to hospitals and healthcare providers.
  • Greenway Medical Technologies wins the 2013 Intel Innovation Award for its PrimeMOBILE app for Windows 8.
  • Besler Consulting releases a review of the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System 2014 final rule.
  • Experian integrates its identity proofing and risk-based authentication platform Precise ID for health care portals with Epic’s MyChart patient portal.
  • Impact Advisors principal Laura Kreofsky discusses HIT in 2014.
  • E-MDs Cloud Solutions v. Cirrus achieves ONC-ACB certification for MU Stage 1 and 2 and is compliant as a Complete EHR 2014.
  • Huntzinger Staffing Solutions expands its offerings to include Cerner staffing and sourcing services.
  • Carolyn Brzezicki, senior clinical specialist for Healthwise, challenges readers to behave as if they have Type 2 diabetes for one day.
  • Billian’s HealthDATA hosts a January 16 #HITchicks Tweet Chat.
  • HIStalk sponsors winning Fierce Innovation Awards include Health Catalyst for Best Problem Solver and Data Analytics; Patientco for RCM; QPID for Best Cost-Saver and Clinical Information Management; and CoverMyMeds in the HIE category and an overall award in Best in Show: Best New Product/Service.
  • Australia’s Adelaide Research and Innovation names Wolters Kluwer Health an Innovation Champion based on its ongoing partnership with Joanna Briggs Institute to bring evidence-based practice resources to healthcare institutions globally.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

I keep my eye on Twitter for interesting health IT items. A mention of “24 Outstanding Statistics on How Social Media has Impacted Health Care” caught my eye, mostly because of the use of the number 24. Usually articles will feature a top 10, top 20, maybe a top 25 but I thought going with 24 was an interesting choice. The statistics are drawn from some interesting sources from advertising and media firms to Mashable.

The first two numbers weren’t surprising: 40 percent of consumers say social media impacts how they deal with their health, 18-24 year olds are more likely than 45-54 year olds to use social media, and so on. The third did surprise me: 90 percent of those 18-24 said they’d trust medical information shared by others on their social media networks. This little tidbit doesn’t give me a lot of hope for humanity since my “official” practice persona is Facebook friends with a number of our patients in that age bracket. Let’s just say that most of the posts from that demographic are not exactly systematic literature reviews.

I wonder if they also buy into links for “one simple way to lose belly fat” or “avoid this one food to lose weight?” Behind the closed door of the exam room, I’ve heard a lot of things that 18-24 year olds say about health issues and can confidently attest that most of them have been bogus. Typically those conversations have been in the realm of reproductive health, which probably adds to the mystery of some of their statements, but I’m not sure I’d trust most of the advice these teens have been given by their peers.

Back when the Internet was all we had, I used to counsel patients that the Internet is like the world’s largest bathroom wall. There are a lot of things written on it and some of them are certainly true, but it’s hard to figure out which. The number and volume of sites, apps, and sources available now makes keeping track of the truth even more challenging.

Only 31 percent of healthcare organizations have written guidelines for social media, which I think is low, especially if the respondents were organizations of any size. A good friend of mine is a plaintiff’s attorney and regularly licks his chops at the prospect of litigating cases where medical advice was inappropriately given via social media or where patient-specific information was inadvertently released. Another statistic later in the piece states that 26 percent of hospitals participate in social media, so perhaps the relatively low rate of those online makes the guidelines percentage look a little better.

I liked the statistic that 54 percent of patients are “very comfortable” with their providers using online communities to aid in treatment. It’s validating for me personally since I was once yelled at by a hospital VP after being quoted in a newspaper interview about using the Internet to search for information while seeing patients. He told me it was “unseemly” to admit that you didn’t know everything the patient needed you to know and would undermine confidence. I’ve always found patients appreciated the fact that I admit I don’t know everything and am willing to make sure I have the correct approach before I apply it to their situation.

Although 41 percent of people claim social media would impact their choice of a physician or hospital, I’d like to see the numbers if we asked which was more influential: social media or insurance coverage. I’m pretty sure reimbursement trumps reputation and quality much more often than most of us would like. Among resources used to health information, Wikipedia was at 31 percent. Since I personally use Wikipedia to validate information fairly often, that felt low to me.

I was heartened to learn that 60 percent of people trust physicians’ social media posts over any other group. In real-life clinical practice, it felt like I was often competing against Aunt Betsy or the neighbor up the street, so six out of 10 isn’t bad. Given this number in light of the statistic about the 18-24 year olds being so trusting of items seen on social media, I should probably start posting “safe sex” advice on my professional Facebook page. I’m sure my grandmother would be scandalized, but I can say I’m doing it in the name of science.

The final statistic mentioned is that Facebook is the most popular for hospitals that have an online presence. I must admit, my professional self no longer follows my hospital’s Facebook presence because I simply couldn’t take it any more. Rather than being a good source of health information and patient advocacy, it had become little more than a marketing vehicle. If I read one more congratulatory back-pat for earning some bogus “Top Whatever Hospital Center of Excellence Patient Choice Satisfaction” award, I was going to need anti-nausea medication.

What would Mark Twain think of the information age and its lies, damned lies, and statistics? Email me.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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December 19, 2013 News 7 Comments

Morning Headlines 12/16/13

December 15, 2013 Headlines No Comments

Cerner Corporation : Cerner Announces Stock Repurchase Program

Cerner announces a stock repurchase of $217 million, which at current stock prices would allow it to buy back 1.2 percent of the company’s outstanding shares.

Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud in Scheme That Cost His Employer More Than $100,000

A former employee of The Advisory Board Company pleads guilty to fraud after cheating the company out of more than $100,000.

How Long Will Athenahealth Investors Keep the Faith?

According to Barron’s, athenahealth stock dropped last week because the company lowered its 2014 expectations and Jonathan Bush announced that he would be taking a two-month sabbatical. The company also announced that it will sell hospital clinical software to compete with Epic and Cerner.

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December 15, 2013 Headlines No Comments

Monday Morning Update 12/16/13

December 14, 2013 News 11 Comments

12-14-2013 3-20-22 PM

From Epic Fail: “Re: Epic. During the Q&A portion of a talk by Bernard Tyson (Kaiser CEO) at Epic today, an Epic employee stood up in front of a full Epicenter and asked Mr. Tyson if he thought that Kaiser would consider selling insurance in the future.” I will generously assume that the interrogator was one of Epic’s youthful, perfect-SAT savants who performed a quick scenario analysis and was shrewdly suggesting to Mr. Tyson that Kaiser’s business model might need to adopt to ever-changing healthcare requirements by focusing on other aspects of the corporate portfolio beyond its extensive insurance offerings. Either that or it was the typical Epic 24-year-old philosophy graduate who knows nothing about healthcare, but who has gained unwarranted conversational confidence from telling hospital people how to run their businesses using knowledge obtained from reading software manuals.

12-14-2013 8-48-04 AM

From Sharing is Caring: “Re: Kaiser. I just got this and it is very interesting… revolutionary, in fact. We can now share patient information between any Kaiser and all of the major hospitals in the SF Bay Area that use Epic-Sutter, Stanford, UCSF, and Alta Bates.” Shared Epic information includes just about everything from the patient, encounters, and results, omitting only flowsheets, images, smart forms, and scanned documents.

12-14-2013 9-39-51 AM

From The PACS Designer: “Re: RSNA highlights. The 2013 RSNA featured an interesting shift in how radiologists can interact with patients. Aunt Minnie listed five areas that drew the attention from attendees. TPD was pleased to see informatics among the list of the top five categories presented in the list for radiologists to consider for adoption.” According to the writeup:

In the past, big iron scanner introductions drew the lion’s share of attention at McCormick Place. One of the defining characteristics of the “new normal” for the RSNA meeting, however, may be the continued prominence of imaging informatics software in the exhibit halls and the scientific program. Indeed, market interest in these technologies seemed to provide a rare sign of hope amidst the overall malaise that still seems to be plaguing much of radiology.

That radiology maturation seemed inevitable – it happened in lab, where the intelligence moved from the instruments to the software managing the information the instruments created. Imaging costs, radiation exposure, remote viewing, patient image sharing, and radiology efficiency are all key issues that smart software (rather than the latest and greatest scanner) can improve.

12-14-2013 7-48-50 AM

Even hospital people like HIStalk readers don’t pay attention to published hospital quality data when making medical decisions for themselves. New poll to your right: is the term “mHealth” obsolete or unnecessary? I think it’s not only meaningless (as is “digital health”) but also unnecessarily divisive as companies and people wall themselves off behind that label instead of jumping into the mainstream of just “health.” That’s not a criticism of the companies waving the mHealth banner – we’re having the same identity crisis in “healthcare IT” as well as it becomes clear that our horizons should be “health” and not just “healthcare” and we try to figure out how population health management and wellness fit among our stodgy billing and order entry episode-based applications. Somewhere among all of that self-imposed digital segregation are consumers-slash-patients wondering why we have to make everything so provincial, fragmented, and complicated.

My latest grammar pet peeve examples, provided without explanation since they are hopefully obvious: (a) I went away for a couple days; (b) So I read a new book; (c) I eat breakfast everyday in the backyard. I’m also still frustrated constantly by lame articles with supercharged headlines that make them sound useful and insightful when they clearly aren’t, leaving me to feel as though I wasted my time with the journalistic equivalent of trying to make a meal of air-filled Cheetos and instead ended up still hungry and with embarrassing orange gunk on my lips (I’m often led to those worthless articles by Twitterers and Facebookers who seem to love being the first to link to awful healthcare IT articles.)

12-14-2013 9-18-37 AM

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Proximare Health. The 10-year-old Savannah, GA-based company improves the referral process, with 3,000 users processing 25,000 referrals per month through its clinical rules-powered IRIS (Internet Referral Information System). The result: referrals are made to the most appropriate service, the appropriateness is validated from the Web-based system, eligibility and authorization are verified, patients are prioritized by condition, clinical documentation is managed, and results are shared among a patient’s providers. IRIS was built with the help of clinicians from nearly every specialty at Cook County in Chicago, who were trying to solve access challenges by making sure referrals were clinically appropriate, with the referral process managed by (and supported by) clinicians instead of a non-clinical utilization management department. Cook County’s results: (a) referral processing time was reduced from three months to 5.5 days; (b) 22 percent of the referrals were rejected as inappropriate; (c) referral volume increase sevenfold with fewer employees needed to manage it. Check out the short  videos covering order entry, rules engine, scheduling, document and results sharing, patient messaging, appointment preparation, interoperability, and business intelligence. Thanks to Proximare Health for supporting HIStalk.

Proximare had lots of its own YouTube videos, but I found one created by Portland IPA on how it uses the IRIS referral management system.

12-14-2013 8-32-16 AM

My first-generation iPad is getting long in the tooth to the point it can’t run newer versions of apps. I don’t use it enough to justify spending $499 on an iPad Air or even $299 for an iPad mini, so I did my research and instead bought an Asus MeMo Pad HD 7 for $119 from Office Depot on Friday. It’s amazing how much technology you get these days for so little money and in a thin, 10-ounce package: a high-definition display, super fast performance with 1 GB of DDR3 memory, front and rear cameras, dual speakers that sound really good, 10-hour battery life, highly responsive touch, 16 GB of storage, and a Micro SD card reader slot for cheap storage expansion. A seven-inch screen is plenty big when you have an HD display — even tiny text is crisp and playing a YouTube HD movie will just about take your breath away (I’ll use it to watch movies on planes, I’m sure.) Picking up my old iPad now is like hefting a yellowed, weighty encyclopedia volume from 1970. The MeMo Pad feels every bit as satisfying and well designed as my iPhone and Android is just as easy to use as iOS. Thank you, Google, for developing an economical and powerful alternative to the OS wares of Apple and Microsoft.

12-14-2013 8-06-25 AM

Cerner announces a $217 million share repurchase program. As a review, those programs involve companies using their cash to buy their own shares (which they often consider undervalued) on the open market. Or at least that they’ve announced plans to do so – companies don’t always follow through. Those purchases take shares off the market, which increases earnings per share even though overall earnings haven’t changed. They also increase executive bonuses tied to earnings per share at the expense of reduced cash that might have been spent on R&D or acquisitions. In other words, share repurchase programs don’t mean a thing despite the feel-good message that “we love our stock so much that we’re buying it ourselves.” Above is the five-year performance of CERN vs. the Nasdaq.

12-14-2013 8-10-17 AM

Jamie Stockton of Wells Fargo Securities provides the above slice-and-dice of hospital Meaningful Use attestations through 10/31/13. Meditech leads by far in total and net number of attestations, while Epic, Cerner, and McKesson have the highest percentages of clients successfully attesting. Trailing the pack in client percentages are Healthland, Siemens, and Allscripts.

12-14-2013 3-26-42 PM

Duke University Health System goes live with Strata Decision Technology’s StrataJazz for capital and long-range financial planning. 

12-14-2013 3-16-40 PM

A former IT director of The Advisory Board Company pleads guilty to defrauding his employer of $100,000 by approving the payment of invoices to a sham company he created for that purpose.

12-14-2013 3-28-52 PM

Barron’s says athenahealth’s stock drop late last week was due to concerns raised at the company’s investor meeting: (a) CEO Jonathan Bush announced that he will take a two-month leave next year; (b) the company guided next year’s earnings expectations down; (c) the company’s use of flattering but unusual financial measures that have given it a “thin-air valuation” of $5 billion; (d) athenahealth’s statement at the investor meeting that it will double its market opportunity by selling inpatient clinical software to hospitals and by doing so will “undermine the foundations” of Cerner and Epic; (e) the company has little choice for selling to hospitals because they are acquiring its practice-based customers and replacing athenahealth’s products. Athenahealth’s hospital plans apparently involve pre-certification and referrals.

Weird News Andy titles this story as “Now that’s what I call a gestation period,” although he notes that “the train never left the gestation.” Doctors find that an 82-year-old woman with stomach pain has a 40-year-old fetus inside her.

Here’s Vince’s Christmas edition of HIS-tory.


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

More news, HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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December 14, 2013 News 11 Comments

Morning Headlines 12/13/13

December 12, 2013 Headlines 1 Comment

AthenaHealth shares plunge on disappointing 2014 earnings outlook

AthenaHealth shares dropped 14 percent in after hours trading Wednesday on weak earnings forecasts ($0.98-$1.10 EPS) for 2014, that missed analysts estimates of $1.38 EPS.

Health Information Exchange Improves Identification Of Frequent Emergency Department Users

A study published in Health Affairs finds that using community-wide data from a HIE improves the ability to identify frequent emergency department users because visit history can be measured across unaffiliated hospitals. When analyzing HIE-wide data instead of site-specific data, 20.3 percent more frequent ED users were identified.

Cerner to take charge against earnings after arbitration ruling

Trinity Medical Center (ND) will receive an undisclosed settlement nearly two years after suing Cerner over accounting software purchased in 2008 that it claimed was "defective and did not deliver the promised benefits." Trinity was seeking $240 million in damages, while Cerner argued that damages should not have been higher than $4 million. The two agreed to arbitration hearings in October and a final settlement amount has now been reached. Cerner will take a $0.19 charge against its anticipated Q4 EPS of $0.35 to cover the loss.

Health Insurance Marketplace: December Enrollment Report

Healthcare.gov enrolled 258,497 in November, bringing the State and Federal total since launch to 365,000.

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December 12, 2013 Headlines 1 Comment

News 12/13/13

December 12, 2013 News 1 Comment

Top News

12-12-2013 7-22-35 PM

Athenahealth lowers FY14 guidance, projecting EPS of $0.98-$1.10 vs. analyst expectations of $1.38, sending shares down 14 percent Wednesday.

Reader Comments

From Norm: “Re: HHS Office for Civil Rights. I’m not surprised the OCR had issues with their internal security practices based on my past interactions. I’ve been through a couple of OCR audits and my staff and I spent almost as much time educating the auditors on the MU requirements and the meaning of various measurements as we did compiling the reports for the actual audit. I’m curious if that is also the experience of other HIStalk readers.” Readers are welcome to weigh in.

12-12-2013 8-47-43 PM

From Bobby Orr: “Re: Lifespan (RI). Having to borrow another $50 million during bad financial times to buy Epic may not have been the best idea.” Lifespan’s net earnings dropped from $41 million to a loss of $5 million in the most recent fiscal year excluding a one-time gain. The health system blames the “unique dynamic in play nationwide.” It paid its CEO $7.88 million in 2011.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga_small In you’ve gotten behind on your ambulatory reading in the midst of the busy holiday season, here are a few highlights: MGMA requests end-to-end ICD-10 testing with physician offices. CMS will develop guidelines for the practice of copying and pasting in EHRs. Private physicians office are predicted to net profit margins of 12.7 percent for 2013. Only 17 percent of Medicaid EPs are meaningful EHR users, though 76 percent have been paid an EHR incentive. An autism module added to an EHR’s clinical decision support system improves screening. Brad Boyd of Culbert Healthcare Solutions considers the value of EHR optimization. Dr. Gregg wonders if health IT cares. If you take a moment to sign up for the HIStalk Practice email updates it will be like buying a Christmas present for your BFF (in this case me) and getting a present for yourself at the same time (come on, you know you’ve done that.) Thanks for reading.

On the Jobs Page: VP of Product Management.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

12-12-2013 10-36-18 PM

Streamline Health Solutions reports Q3 results: revenue flat, EPS -$0.50 vs $0.18.

12-12-2013 7-25-08 PM

Doctor on Demand, which offers $40 video chats with US-licensed doctors, closes $3 million in seed funding. Investors include athenahealth’s Jonathan Bush, Venrock, and Google Ventures.

12-12-2013 7-27-18 PM

Toronto startup Figure 1, which offers a photo-sharing app for physicians, raises $2 million in seed money.

12-12-2013 8-37-59 PM

Cerner will take a Q4 earnings charge of up to $0.19 per share (vs. expected earnings of $0.35) after an arbitrator rules in favor of Trinity Medical Center (ND). The value of the settlement wasn’t announced, but the hospital had sought $240 million, claiming that the Cerner Pro-Fit financial system it bought in 2008 was dysfunctional. CERN shares closed down 1 percent Thursday.


12-12-2013 7-28-50 PM

Estes Park Medical Center (CO) selects Summit Healthcare to integrate its Meditech HCIS and MEDHOST EDIS.

12-12-2013 7-29-40 PM

Butler County Health Care Center (NE) selects Access electronic patient signature and e-forms solutions to complement its Meditech rollout.

Springhill Medical Center (AL) chooses Allscripts Sunrise Surgical Care to manage the perioperative care process.

The 16-bed Crook County Memorial Hospital (WY) contracts with RazorInsights for its ONE-Enterprise Edition.


12-12-2013 7-31-58 PM

Alere appoints former US Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, MD to its board.

12-12-2013 9-14-10 PM

MidMichigan Health names Dan Waltz (University of Michigan Health System) as VP/CIO.

12-12-2013 9-26-02 PM

Joe Craver, president of the health and engineering sector of Leidos, resigns. The parent company of the split-up SAIC announced this week that it lost $7 million in the most recent quarter vs. a profit of $100 million year over year. Revenue in Health and Engineering dropped 20 percent, which the company attributed to completed projects, less new business, and shrinking hospital budgets. That division includes SAIC’s healthcare consulting acquisitions, Vitalize Consulting Solutions (July 2011, price not disclosed) and maxIT Healthcare (July 2012, $473 million.)

Announcements and Implementations

CommonWell Health Alliance will launch its interoperability services in early 2014 in Chicago; Elkin and Henderson, NC; and Columbia, SC.

12-12-2013 7-34-24 PM

Cerner will offer KidsHealth pediatric-specific discharge and after-care instructions within the Cerner Millennium Patient Education Content.

Practice EMR vendor drchrono releases an API that will allow developers to extend and enhance its platform.

Government and Politics

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reports that 365,000 individuals had selected plans from the state and federal marketplaces by the end of November, with November’s enrollment in the federal marketplace four times greater than that of October. Sebelius also reveals that the IT costs for the website totaled $677 million through the end of October.

12-12-2013 7-16-39 PM

HHS launched the Spanish version of the marketplace website last weekend.

12-12-2013 8-33-04 PM

Texas Medical Association urges CMS to extend the MU Stage 2 deadlines for another year.

A Kentucky doctor announces closure of his practice, erroneously blaming Obamacare (rather than ARRA) for requiring him to adopt electronic medical records. He says the change would be too expensive and would require thousands of hours of work to convert his paper records.

12-12-2013 10-21-08 PM

An OIG report on fraud prevention safeguards in hospital EHRs recommends that hospitals:

  • Turn on EHR audit logging at all times (ONC responded that it will make this a certification requirement for vendors)
  • Revoke permissions for users to delete or edit the audit
  • Use audit logs to detect fraud, not just monitor for HIPAA violations
  • Develop policies for using EHR copy-paste capabilities, issue warnings to users copying and pasting, and capture copy-paste activity in the audit log (CMS responded that it will develop guidelines on copy-paste use)

ONC will discuss findings from its patient matching initiative next week in Washington, DC.

Innovation and Research

12-12-2013 7-35-55 PM

Kaiser Permanente’s use of data analytics is helping to lower hospital mortality rates, according to CMIO John Mattison.

HIE data can identify ED frequent flyers better than a single hospital’s records, according to a Health Affairs-published study of 10 hospitals participating in the New York Clinical HIE.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University are working with a Belgium-based technology company to developed a nanotechnology-based “lab on a chip” that would allow diagnostic testing to be performed anywhere.


In England, an NHS-funded patient safety project replaces paper charting of vital signs with automatic recording via an iPad app, which also calculates an Early Warning Score. Project developers Oxford University Hospitals was also awarded a grant to develop a system that links the EHR to the pharmacy packaging robot so that take-home meds can be prepared and delivered automatically, decreasing discharge delays.


12-12-2013 1-26-26 PM

The Fire Department of NYC sends a medical bill, addressed to “unknown Asian” to The New School of New York, a 10,000 student college.  A spokesman for FDNY says their billing contractor is fixing the problem.

HIMSS names MedPeds (MD) a 2013 Ambulatory HIMSS Davies Award of Excellence winner for its use of EHR to improve the healthcare delivery process and patient safety while achieving a demonstrated ROI.

12-12-2013 9-19-17 PM

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey notifies 840,000 customers that their personal and clinical information has been exposed after two unencrypted laptops are stolen from its offices. 

Healthcare app platform vendor Happtique, which sells services to app vendors intended to improve provider confidence, suspends its certification program when an outside developer finds that apps in the first group Happtique certified two weeks ago store usernames, passwords, and data as easily exposed plain text.

A tweet by UCSF physician Bob Wachter, MD says that each ICU patient triggered an average of 1,156 alarms per day, leaving nurses with 2.5 million alarms to deal with in one month.

Weird News Andy suggests redefining “never.” In England, NHS reveals that 150 patients were harmed in six months by “never” events that included performing heart surgery on the wrong patient, removing a woman’s fallopian tube instead of her appendix, and 69 cases in which surgery implements were left inside patients.

Sponsor Updates

  • Market research firm Radicati Group names AirWatch a “Top Player” in the Enterprise Mobility Management Market Quadrant.
  • Cornerstone Advisors Group chooses three client-related hospital projects to support from its Cornerstone CAres charitable program funded by the company and its employees.
  • The Orange County Register names Kareo a top workplace in the mid-sized company category.
  • Clinithink wins the 2013 MediWales Innovation Judges Award for the development of innovative technology and outstanding contribution to the life science sector.
  • Business NH Magazine names Bottomline Technologies to its Best Companies to Work For Hall of Fame for 2013.
  • The HROToday Forum names Aspen Advisors and its big data platform Pando the Top Technology Innovator for 2013.
  • Forward Health Group CMIO John Studebaker,  MD discusses the transition to value-based care in an MGMA on-demand webinar.
  • Halfpenny Technologies discusses how access to actionable and complete lab and clinical results data enables health insurance organizations improve care management.
  • DrFirst presents a case study profiling Edward Sobel, DO and David Krasner, DO and and their transition to e-prescribing.
  • Craneware sponsors a December 17 HFMA webinar featuring Lake Regional Health System’s (MO) development of an audit management process. 
  • The Boston Globe names Imprivata one of the city’s best places to work for 2013.
  • Porter Hills Retirement Community Services and Home Care shares how it found flexibility and time savings through the use of the HealthMEDX Vision solution. 
  • Liaison Healthcare predicts six 2014 trends that will make an impact on the healthcare and life sciences industries.
  • Laura Kreofsky and Jason Fortin of Impact Advisors provide commentary on the recently announced extension of Stage 2 and Stage 3 MU deadlines.
  • Lincor Solutions launches a portfolio of products for delivering patient engagement to hospitals and health systems.
  • Truven Health Analytics releases MarketScan Oncology EMR Database for oncology-focused research studies.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

I enjoyed reading Rebecca Sutphen’s piece on bringing up family health history during the holidays. Not only is it important for individuals to understand their family history for genetic purposes, but it’s good for the younger generations to be aware of conditions their older relatives may be treating. Knowing that Uncle Sal is diabetic may be helpful if he starts acting funny on Christmas Eve and he hasn’t been hitting the eggnog.

It can also be important to understand relatives’ end-of-life plans. I encourage everyone to discuss their wishes with family, especially if they don’t have an Advance Directive in place. The holidays may be the only time families get together and talk about these important issues. Good information on talking points can be found at FamilyDoctor.org.

I’ve received a lot of correspondence regarding Monday’s Curbside Consult discussing the CMS changes to Stage 2 and Stage 3. I got quite a few questions about the three years of Stage 2 for those practices that started Meaningful Use in 2011 or 2012. At this time, participating providers and hospitals will have to complete all three years and there won’t be any skipping allowed. All of the CMS materials will need to be updated, but I’m sure they will be clarifying this.

As CMS tries to use information from Stage 1 and Stage 2 to inform Stage 3, a reader shared John Halamka’s recent blog (written before the announcement) about rethinking certification. Make no mistake, the recent timeline shift does not do anything to delay the need for hospitals and providers to have their certified 2014 software live so that they can attest in 2014. I agree with his assessment that the certification criteria are “overly burdensome…. And disconnected from the attestation criteria.” Some of the certification criteria have also forced vendors to modify functionality in ways that fracture provider workflows and make it more difficult to provide care.

Since I use several different big-name products, I know that there are some nuances in the ways that vendors implement these requirements, but some of them are particularly difficult to implement with good usability in a way that actually supports clinical care. I visited one of my providers the other day and listened to what can only be described as a tirade against all the bells and whistles that don’t do anything to help him provider better care to his patients. I agreed, but also pointed out that it’s bigger than Meaningful Use and EHRs, though – there are many things that have happened in medicine during the last few decades that do little to improve patient care.

E&M coding rules, draconian audit methodologies, Medicare RAC hit squads, pre-payment audits, and the rise of defensive medicine have done little to improve care. In my experience as a patient, I think that patient portals are the best thing since sliced bread. I enjoy being able to use secure communications to take care of issues without having to take phone calls at work or schedule time off.

However, in looking through communications with my physicians over the last two years, not a single question has been medical. I don’t think it’s because I’m a physician and am making my own medical judgments. My clinical history looks very similar to most women in my age group and it’s not that complicated. Looking at the topics of communication across a couple of practices reveals: requesting a mammogram order with a wet signature for no good reason other than the imaging center wants one because it’s afraid of an audit; dealing with wacky insurance rules that require me to reschedule a visit because it’s one day earlier than the insurance plan allows; requesting to have a prescription rewritten with specific directions because my pharmacy benefit manager disagrees with one that meets all of the Surescripts guidelines for correct and accurate prescribing; and dealing with a co-pay issue because the office didn’t understand that I don’t pay one for preventive visits. There are more, but the theme is the same.

My fear (which I think is well founded) is that things are only going to get more complex. To make things more interesting, like many Americans, I have brand new health insurance starting after the first of the year. Now I get to figure out all the nuances that took me years to figure out with my previous carrier. At least we can all sympathize. It’s looking like 2014 is shaping up to be a very interesting year indeed.

A shout-out to my friend Dr. Doug Farrago of the Authentic Medicine Gazette for sharing this quote of the week which sums up my recent challenges as a CMIO:


I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell.


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

More news, HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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December 12, 2013 News 1 Comment

News 12/11/13

December 10, 2013 News 6 Comments

Top News

12-10-2013 5-23-25 PM

Practice Fusion closes a $15 million Series D round led by Qualcomm Ventures, bringing the company’s total funding raised to date to $149 million.

Reader Comments

12-10-2013 5-53-48 AM

From Lorre: “Re: mHealth. So many people were coming up to me asking if I was Inga that I finally had to make this sign. I am going to get a well-made one for HIMSS. At one point today I showed someone my shoes and he said, ‘Yeah, you’re not her.’” Lorre was holding court at our little HIStalk booth at this week’s mHealth conference. I’m going to recommend that she not only get a better sign for HIMSS but step up her shoe attire, just to confound suspicious readers.

From Helen: “Re: mHealth Summit. I met Lorre – she rocks!” Lorre enjoyed meeting those (few) readers who attended the conference this week. I’m not sure it was relevant enough for a return next year, but we’ll see.

From ASMD: “Re: floppy disks. New York Times or Dilbert?” An article points out that government is not the most sophisticated technology user, noting that The Federal Register often receives submissions from federal departments via 3.5” floppy disks.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

12-10-2013 5-26-09 PM

HealthLoop, which offers an automated patient follow-up solution, raises $10 million in Series A funding led by Canvas Venture Fund. The company’s CEO is Todd Johnson, the former CEO and president of Salar.

IMS Health, a big data firm that aggregates and sells large databases of de-identified healthcare data, acquires Pygargus, a Swedish health analytics firm. Bloomberg, by the way, reports that IMS Health is considering an IPO in 2014 and  may seek a company valuation of at least $8 billion.


The Indiana HIE selects AT&T’s healthcare Community Online information exchange platform for clinical messaging and medical record sharing.

12-10-2013 1-49-05 PM

Crystal Run Healthcare (NY) selects the Health Catalyst data warehousing and analytics platform.

12-10-2013 1-48-17 PM

UF Health Shands (FL) contracts with Besler Consulting for its Transfer DRG recovery services.


12-10-2013 1-50-04 PM   12-10-2013 1-53-47 PM

HMS Holdings names Joel Portice (Verisk Health) divisional president of government solutions and corporate strategy and Douglas M. Williams (Aveta) divisional president of commercial solutions.

12-10-2013 1-54-45 PM

Teleheatlh solution provider AMC Health appoints Lisa J. Roberts (Viterion Corporation) SVP of its government market division.

12-10-2013 11-54-26 AM

Juan Diaz (Association Capital Resources) joins The HCI Group as SVP/general counsel.

12-10-2013 4-37-04 PM

Bobbie Byrne, MD is named SVP/CIO of Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare, created by the merger of her former CIO employer Edward Hospital and Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare. She will also have responsibility for the facilities and construction departments at Edward as well as the two locations of the Edward Cancer Centers.  

Next Wave CONNECT names Doug Cusick (HP/IBM), Robert Cothron (Singing River Health System), Becky Heflin (IBM), John McDowell (Oslo’s), and Sherry Reynolds (HHS) to its community management team.

Announcements and Implementations

12-10-2013 8-21-45 AM

St. Mary’s Health Care System (GA) makes the Epic MyHealth portal available for hospital patients.

Billings Clinic (MT) implements Omnicell automated dispensing cabinets integrated with Cerner Millennium EHR via the CareAware iBus.

Mercy Medical Center (MD) deploys BridgeHead Software’s Healthcare Data Management for the protection of its Epic system data.

PA eHealth, eVantage Health, and Caradigm will complete the pilot for their HIE project in early 2014.

The Mount Sinai Health System (NY) will use $5 million in funding from the NYC Economic Development Corporation to establish the Mount Sinai Institute of Technology. The Institute will initially focus on digital health technologies, biologically integrated technologies, and prescription technologies.

Government and Politics

The FDA, ONC, and FACC will release a report early next year outlining strategies and recommendations on an HIT framework that promotes innovation, protects patient safety, and avoids regulatory duplication.

Do as I say, not as I do: the OIG finds that the HHS Office of Civil Rights failed to comply with certain federal cybersecurity requirements for the IT systems used to store HIPAA-compliance investigation data. The OCR says all deficiencies have now been corrected.


Almost 76 percent of the largest not-for-profit senior living organizations are implementing EHR technology and 83 percent are implementing point-of-care systems.

12-10-2013 12-25-49 PM

KLAS finds that despite vendor claims of the importance of technology differentiation, providers find that technology platforms do not accurately predict EMR capabilities or clinical success.

12-10-2013 12-45-36 PM

Also from KLAS: StatRad, Rays, and TRS earn top scores for overall customer satisfaction in a report on teleradiology in the ED.

12-10-2013 12-33-20 PM

Thanks to Brian Ahier for forwarding an updated graphic that clarifies the newly proposed timeline changes for MU. Brian notes, “I think the important point here is that although there will very likely be more changes to come, healthcare organizations and providers should not count on any delay or changes but prepare for plans to proceed under this current current regulatory framework.”

Further thoughts on the MU Stage 2 extension: the Stage 2 timeline is unchanged, as Brian’s graphic depicts. Just because Stage 3 has been pushed back a year doesn’t mean that ONC is ignoring concerns about Stage 2 as CHIME and other groups seem to assume by their ballistic reaction to the Stage 3 announcement. ONC’s decision-making process has been thoughtful, participative going back to when Farzad was named National Coordinator. ONC announced the Stage 3 decision Friday and mentioned this week that it will offer a public comment period for the regulatory strategy being worked on with HHS and FDA when that report comes out in in early 2014. Those events show show that nothing has changed just because Farzad has moved on – ONC is listening and won’t blindside anyone with salvos of dictatorial imperatives. The pundits are also missing another important point – decoupling product certification from MU gives vendors more predictable certification updates and the change to give input. Vendors can deliver what the market wants (usability and patient safety features, for example) instead of chasing certification checkboxes.

A Massachusetts man spends about $10 and 20 minutes to make a prosthetic hand for his 12-year-old son on a 3D printer using plans he found on the Internet. The estimated cost for a traditional prosthetic hand is $20-$30,000.

Sponsor Updates

  • API Healthcare reports that more than 250 hospitals and other healthcare providers have chosen its ShiftSelect to automate staffing and scheduling processes.
  • HMS will integrate Medi-Span Controlled Substances Drug File from Wolters Kluwer Health into its Prescriber Eligibility solution.
  • Visiongain includes AT&T and Airstrip on its list of Top 20 Mobile Health Companies for 2014.
  • Anthelio Healthcare Solutions and Encore Health Resources align to promote economies of scale and expand available services.
  • Certify will participate in next month’s IHE NA Connectathon 2014 in Chicago.
  • Caristix posts a white paper on managing predictable outcomes and margins with  HL7 integrations.
  • Iatric Systems hosts a December 12 webinar on integrating EHRs with Welch Allyn vitals.
  • Billian’s HealthData shares its list of the five most popular health market reports for 2013.
  • Twenty-nine percent of patients participating in the 2013 Connance Consumer Impact Study rate their most recent hospital billing experience with top satisfactions scores, though 19 percent express full dissatisfaction.
  • PeriGen hosts a December 11 webinar featuring the company’s chief clinical officer Thomas Garite, MD and a discussion on problems with Category II fetal heart rate problems.
  • KLAS gives 3M Health Information Systems the highest overall performance score among vendors for the 360 Encompass System, 3M’s inpatient CAC technology.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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December 10, 2013 News 6 Comments

Morning Headlines 12/10/13

December 9, 2013 Headlines No Comments

Practice Fusion Grabs Another $15M for Electronic Health

Free cloud-based ambulatory EHR vendor Practice Fusion raises another $15 million on its series D round, bringing the round total to $85 million and its lifetime fundraising to nearly $150 million.

Royal Berks suspends Cerner contracts

In England, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust has suspended two contracts it has with Cerner worth $10 million. The contracts were awarded in 2012 for 10 years of customer support for the Trust’s Cerner Millennium EHR. The contracts were cancelled due to due to higher than anticipated operating costs associated with the project. To bring costs back in line, the Trust cancelled the support contracts and plans to train internal staff to fill the support roles instead.

IMS Health Announces Acquisition of Pygargus

IMS Health, a big-data firm that aggregates and sells large databases of de-identified healthcare data, acquires Pygargus, a Swedish health analytics firm.

You’re Getting Too Much Healthcare

The Atlantic discusses overconsumption of healthcare services in America. According to a recent Institute of Medicine report, 30 percent of total healthcare expenditures in the US are for unneeded care. 42 percent of doctors surveyed in a 2011 Archives of Internal Medicine study reported thinking that their patients were getting more care than necessary.

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December 9, 2013 Headlines No Comments

News 12/6/13

December 5, 2013 News 8 Comments

Top News

12-5-2013 8-03-31 PM

Healthcare Informatics owner Vendome Group acquires The Institute for Health Technology Transformation (IHT2), which offers executive health IT conferences, webinars, and research reports.

Reader Comments

12-5-2013 8-52-52 PM

From Quilmes Boy: “Re: Medseek. Underwent another round of layoffs this morning. My role was one of them.” Medseek CEO Peter Kuhn provided this response to our inquiries: “Over the past 12 months, Medseek has developed a significant offshore development operation, adding almost 150 personnel in India to accelerate product development and enable us to respond quickly to changing market dynamics and evolving customer requirements. In addition, weeks ago we funded the acquisition of Madison, WI-based Symphony Care, a leading population health and care management solution provider. Today, the company initiated a planned restructure to take full advantage of these recent investments. Medseek has retained all key personnel to deliver on customer commitments and deliver on near and long-term strategic goals.”

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga_small Some recent goodies from HIStalk Practice include: McKesson may close its Seattle office. Physician EMR adoption in the US is up but still lags behind many countries. Texting while doctoring could negatively impact patient care and safety. CMS finalizes the 2014 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, which includes a 24 percent pay cut if the SGR formula is not amended. Patent data from EHRs provide reliable measures of the process of care and the patient-centeredness of a primary care practice. A gastroenterologist finds pleasure in his move to a low-tech office. Lab ordering rates among primary care physicians decline with providers have a real-time display of cost information within their EMRs. Dr. Gregg takes a trip back to the future. Thanks for reading.

On the Jobs Page: Program Manager – Healthcare Resellers.

Upcoming Webinars

December 17

How to Drive ROI in Your Healthcare Improvement Projects,” presented by Bobbi Brown and Leslie Hough Falk, RN, MBA, PMP of Health Catalyst. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Tuesday, December 17 at 1:00 Eastern. At a time when average hospital’s margins are stagnating, executives should be asking tough questions about the ROI of "indispensable" technologies. Will new technologies prove their worth or drive them further into the red? How do you measure and track ROI?

December 10


Paperless Practices: Harnessing EHR Value by Improving Workflows with Electronic Data,” presented by Jay Ward of Kryptiq, Mike Kelly of DocuSign, and Sam Clark of  Asheville Head, Neck, & Ear Surgeons, P.A. Sponsored by DocuSign. Thursday, December 10 at 1:00 Eastern. During this Webinar, panelists will discuss how industry and market trends have aligned to rationalize the adoption of e-signature in healthcare. They will also review primary, practical considerations such as legality, security, and mobility. Finally, panelists will highlight case studies and relevant examples of organizations that have successfully jumped onto the “path to paperless”.

December 11

Audit Readiness: Three Simple Steps to Protect Patient Privacy,” presented by Mark Combs of WVU Healthcare System and Rob Rhodes of Iatric Systems. Sponsored by Iatric Systems. Wednesday, December 11 at 2:00 Eastern. Join us for this insightful Webinar to learn what you can do to keep your healthcare organization safe from unauthorized access to patient data.

December 12

Looking Behind the Curtain: Value Based Care’s Impact on the Revenue Cycle ,” presented by Karen Marhefka, MHA, RHIA of Encore Health Resources. Sponsored by Encore Health Resources. Thursday, December 12 at 1:00 Eastern. This webinar provides a basic understanding of value-based health care, or accountable care, explain why value-based reimbursement may not impact the core revenue cycle components immediately, discuss the key focal points for change needed to maintain profitability in a value-based reimbursement model, review why organizations will be pressured to consolidate revenue cycle systems, list the type of tools that are being introduced or are changing with the move to value-based reimbursement and name the major changes that will be required from organizations to move to value-based care and reimbursement.

December 17

The Power of Doctor Happiness: Why The Ideal Patient Experience Needs to Start with the Ideal Provider Experience,” presented by Lyle Berkowitz, MD, FACP, FHIMS (DrLyle). Sponsored by HIStalk. Thursday, December 17 at 2:00 Eastern. Hear from a "Doctor Happiness Guru" who describes how to think innovatively about using healthcare IT in ways which can automate and delegate care, resulting in time savings to doctors as well as improved quality and efficiency for patients.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

12-5-2013 5-49-33 PM

ClearDATA Networks closes a $14 million Series B funding round.

Accelera Innovations will pay $4.5 million in cash for Behavioral Health Care Associates, a billing and PM provider.

12-5-2013 6-48-07 PM

The College of American Pathologists (CAP) confirmed with Inga that it will shut down its CAP Consulting business over the next few months, concluding that, “The Board decided to exit the CAP Consulting business, our division located in our Lake Cook Road office that provides terminology and clinical information consulting services. CAP Consulting has made steady progress against its business objectives over the past several years; the services it provides are incredibly important and valuable. But with current fiscal constraints, the CAP is not able to continue to invest at the level needed to sustain and grow the business.” Employees were told on November 21. CAP hopes to place those affected in open positions, but also recognizes that the vendors it works with may have an interest in hiring them. CAP will continue to support existing products such as Electronic Cancer Checklists and Electronic Forms and Reporting Module.

12-5-2013 9-50-01 PM

Carl Icahn raises his stake in Nuance to nearly 19 percent of the company’s shares. NUAN shares rose around 6 percent in the past week.


St. Luke’s Hospital (TX) will add Craneware’s Pharmacy ChargeLink.

San Diego Orthopaedic Associates Medical Group (CA) selects SRS EHR.

12-5-2013 5-54-24 PM

Marin General Hospital (CA) engages MedAssets to support the optimization of clinical support resources through cost and operational management improvements.

Baptist Health South Florida will implement the Medseek Empower enterprise patient portal and integrate it with its existing Siemens and NextGen EMRs.

12-5-2013 7-25-07 PM

Banner Health selects Wolters Kluwer Health’s Health Language solutions to navigate the ICD-10 conversion process.

University Physicians of Brooklyn-Anesthesia (NY) will implement OpenTempo’s staff scheduling and case management solutions.


12-5-2013 3-59-33 PM

Experian names Jennifer Schulz (Visa) group president of its vertical markets group, which includes the company’s healthcare business. Its healthcare-related acquisitions include SearchAmerica (December 2008), Medical Present Value (June 2011), and Passport Health Communications (November 2013).

12-5-2013 8-24-11 PM

The National Association of Professional Women names Trudy Easton, RN, senior clinical consultant with McKesson, as its Professional Woman of the Year.

MedSynergies hires Doug Hansen (Accelion Health) as CFO.

Announcements and Implementations

12-5-2013 9-52-27 PM

Homecare and medical staffing company Interim HealthCare implements Procura Home Care Software across 47 locations.

Pediatric genetic testing laboratory Claritas Genomics will implement Cerner’s Millennium Helix solution, join Cerner’s Reference Lab Network, and collaborate with Cerner to develop a laboratory solution for molecular diagnostics. Cerner Capital has also invested in Claritas, closing the company’s Series A round.

Impact Advisors completes a feasibility analysis for Sutter Health (CA) that consider the possibility of Sutter sharing its EHR platform with a community hospital.

Healthix and the Brooklyn HIE (NY) complete their merger and will combine their separate technology platforms over the next year. The organization will retain the Healthix name.

PerfectServe introduces Clinical Event Push, which automatically informs physicians of important clinical events as they occur.

Coastal Healthcare Consulting announces Fusion, a solution to help healthcare organizations achieve peak performance from their EMR investment.

12-5-2013 9-21-07 PM

Mediware releases the MediLinks WTS workload solution for respiratory therapist staffing. 

Government and Politics

ONC’s HIT Policy Committee votes to urge HHS to abandon a proposed requirement for providers to give patients reports showing who looked at their EHR data. Though patient advocacy groups support the requirement, opponents claim the option would be technically impractical and administratively burdensome.

CMS reports that 85 percent of eligible hospitals have received a MU incentive payments through the end of October and 60 percent of Medicare EPs are meaningful users. Agency representatives also note that 89 percent of EHs have attested to Stage 1 MU using a primary vendor that had any 2014 edition product, while 70 percent of EPs used a primary vendor that had any 2014 edition product.

12-5-2013 1-35-14 PM

Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) introduces the Health Savings Through Technology Act, which would create a commission to investigate how digital health technologies could help reduce healthcare costs and how they could be integrated into federal healthcare programs.

Innovation and Research

Researchers find that physicians who receive email notifications of lab results for tests pending at the time of patient discharge are significantly more likely to be aware of abnormal test results. Authors of the AHRQ-supported study suggest that widespread use of such automated systems could improve patient safety.

When it comes to HIE adoption, physicians are more influenced by other physicians with whom they interact and have common patients than by geographical proximity or other factors, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association,


12-5-2013 9-50-31 AM

inga_small Microsoft researchers develop a smart bra prototype embedded with sensors that flash smartphone warnings when the wearer’s mood suggests they might be about to eat too much. Enterprising hackers would be well advised to seek fast food chains willing to underwrite lingerie infiltration activities to redirect consumers’ dietary choices.

12-5-2013 7-01-41 PM

A study of 19 healthcare systems using the Philips eICU ICU telemedicine system finds that mortality and length of stay were reduced, adding that patients were 26 percent more likely to survive their ICU stay and were discharged from the hospital 15 percent faster. The study also identified the most important criteria in delivering patient care and cost benefits from an tele-ICU program:

12-5-2013 7-00-32 PM

I spoke to principal author Craig M. Lilly, MD, professor of medicine, anesthesiology, and surgery at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and director of the eICU program at UMass Memorial Medical Center (MA), who told us, “All of the things we found made sense." The most important factors affecting patient outcome and cost were:

  • Having a remote or local intensivist review the patient and care plan within an hour of ICU admission
  • Reviewing the results of the program regularly
  • Responding faster to patient alerts and alarms
  • Following ICU best practices
  • Conducting interdisciplinary rounds
  • Running an effective ICU committee

Lilly clarified that the organizations studied were hospitals which had not outsourced their intensivists to a for-profit company.

I asked about previous vendor-supported studies that claimed benefits from tele-ICU programs that independent studies rarely validate. He emphasized that no commercial ties existed in this study. "Any meta-analysis that’s done going forward will definitely show improvement whether you include or whether you exclude the studies that were done by the commercial manufacturers."

Several health systems have shut down their tele-ICU programs due to cost and questionable benefit, most recently MaineHealth, and I asked Lilly about that. He said, "The MaineHealth outcome is really interesting. They had withdrawn it from about 35 community hospital intensive care beds and those folks actually signed up with another vendor. Even though MaineHealth wasn’t going to support it or subsidize it — and they were providing a pretty darned good subsidy, I can tell you, to have it in these community hospitals, which I think is when it became financially unviable and that was one of the reasons they wanted to cut it down — these other community hospitals absolutely saw the value in it for their patients and also for their financial outcomes.They signed up with another vendor and paid a lot more money to do so."

In summarizing his study, Lilly told me, "It didn’t matter whether you had in-house intensivists or didn’t and a lot of these places did. They still got better when they added this layer on. Even though they had somebody in house, that person couldn’t be everywhere they needed to be when they needed to be there. Because while they were dealing with the emergency in Bed 1, the patient in the the ICU three floors above them in Bed 7 was really getting sick and they didn’t know about it. This technology allowed hospitals with good intensivists and great bedside nursing to get the right expertise when they needed it, where it needed to be there because they were able to get on the alerts and alarms in less than three minutes and they couldn’t before."


Allscripts India opens a new and expanded office in Vadodara to house 275 existing employees and to accommodate up to 400. Allscripts has 2,000 employees in India, up from 850 in 2010.

A psychiatrist warns peers about blanket authorizations that patients sign to get their insurance companies to pay for their care, with an example of a subsidiary of Quest Diagnostics requesting the complete paper file on one of his patients. He found that the company mines prescription data and sells it to life insurance companies to consider when deciding whether to issue policies. Psychiatric News, which ran the story, said, “Steven Daviss, MD, chair of the APA Committee on Electronic Health Records, told Psychiatric News that health information exchanges (HIEs), which connect different sources of patient health care data for the use of practitioners caring for patients, can also be an unexpected source of sensitive information. In Maryland, for example, the HIE contains information on hospital treatments, laboratory and radiology data, diagnoses, and medications. ‘This is valuable information that improves the continuity of care, but states have different policies regarding access to these data beyond treatment purposes,’ he said. ‘Most states have mechanisms that allow one to opt out of the HIE and to see who has accessed your information.’”

12-5-2013 10-02-58 PM

Boston Children’s Hospital (MA) reports a substantial drop in medical errors with the introduction of more standardized communication during patient handoffs, including a structured handoff tool within the EMR that self-populates standard patient information.

Vendors, beware: lawsuit-happy MMRGlobal is awarded its tenth healthcare IT patent entitled “Method and System for Providing Online Records,” which covers prescription and appointment reminders as well as e-prescribing.

12-5-2013 7-43-28 PM

A New York Times opinion piece by Pulitzer-winning writer Tina Rosenberg says hospital quality data is inconsistently reported and hard to understand. She says, “But at times it seems as if hospitals aren’t trying very hard. They like to report process measures on which they score well. But with 440,000 deaths from hospital error per year, their record is poor on key safety outcomes. This somewhat dampens their enthusiasm for public reporting. And what hospitals want matters a lot.”

12-5-2013 7-52-42 PM

A study finds that hospitals have a median of two employees assigned to manage population health, with mid-level managers being the most likely to be involved. It concludes that hospital population health approaches are inconsistent and poorly integrated.

In Europe, big drug companies are enlisting patient groups to lobby against legislation that would require them to publish all results of clinical trials, not just favorable ones, so that independent researchers could validate their conclusions. The two drug company trade associations want patient advocates to protest the release of such data by expressing concerns that it would be misinterpreted by non-experts. According to a trade group SVP, “EMA’s proposed policies on clinical trial information raise numerous concerns for patients. We believe it is important to engage with all stakeholders in the clinical trial ecosystem, including the patients who volunteer to participate in clinical trials, about the issue. If enacted, the proposals could risk patient privacy, lead to fewer clinical trials, and result in fewer new medicines to meet patient needs and improve health.”

Adoption of core medication MU elements reduces adverse drug event rates with cost savings that recoup 22 percent of IT costs, according to a study published in the American Journal of Managed Care.

12-5-2013 6-40-22 PM

An op-ed piece in New England Journal of Medicine reviews the OpenNotes initiative that calls for patients to have access to the notes made about them by their clinicians, citing previous studies showing that most patients read the notes and reported improved understanding, medication adherence, and feeling of control, with the vast majority of both patients and clinicians urging that the program continue. However, the article finds that while electronic medical records created the opportunity, they also complicate it:

Early adopters are learning that implementation means more than simply mailing notes or visit summaries or having patients log on to a portal. For starters, the knowledge that patients (and often their families) will have access to records affects the intent and sometimes the content of clinical documentation. Writing accurately about a suspicion of cancer, for instance, can be difficult for clinicians who don’t want to worry patients unnecessarily, and addressing character disorders or cognitive dysfunction in ways that are useful to patients, consulting providers, and others who use the records requires carefully considered words. These challenges are compounded by today’s electronic records, in which the story weaving together social, familial, cultural, and medical contributors to the patient’s health and illness often disappears, obscured by templates. A boon to billers, quality assessors, and researchers, such records can become formulaic and susceptible to data-entry errors. Moreover, they’re often filled with copied-and-pasted information that buries the essential narrative under voluminous repetitive text.

You may think you possess an unnatural ability to speak Siamese Thai when watching this video from Bumrungrad International Hospital in Thailand that describes its planned January go-live with inpatient nursing documentation using Medicomp’s Quippe.

12-5-2013 7-34-04 PM

Weird News Andy racked his brain to come up with “From Doobies to Boobies” as his working title for this article, which describes the potential for marijuana smoking to cause gynecomastia in men (i.e., moobs). WNA also likes the story of Ben Taub Hospital’s ED director (above), who is charged with breaking into the home of another female physician and using red lipstick to write “whore” and “homewrecker” on her bathroom mirror, presumably for reasons not involving emergent care.

Sponsor Updates

  • Clinical insights platform vendor QPID is named a finalist for a publisher’s innovation award, as chosen by a panel of hospital CIOs and other executives.
  • Greythorn conducts a market survey for HIT professionals to analyze compensation, benefits, job satisfaction, hiring trends, and industry participation. Greythorn will donate $1 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bellevue and Chicago for every submission.
  • MedcomSoft partners with Liaison Healthcare to connect its Record EHR platform to more than 120 labs and imaging centers integrated within the Liaison EMR-Link Lab Hub.
  • Aprima Medical integrates DMEhub into its EHR, allowing physicians to write orders for durable medical equipment directly from their Aprima EHR.
  • First Databank begins publishing the National Average Drug Acquisition Cost pricing file from CMS.
  • Aspen Advisors spotlights Baystate Health’s (MA) EHR optimization efforts following Aspen’s review and analysis of the organization’s EHR options.
  • API Healthcare highlights the top 10 interview questions to ask nurses.
  • The Indiana HIE details its work with Predixion Software to develop predictive analytics healthcare solutions at this week’s National Readmission Summit.
  • Truven Health Analytics extends its contract to use Post-n-Track’s cloud-based web services platform for the exchange of eligibility data.
  • AT&T launches EverThere, a wearable device that connects to a 24/7 call center if it detects that the wearer has fallen.
  • Impact Advisors principal Laura Kreofsky discusses the sharing of patient data between hospitals.
  • Quantros launches Quantros Member Center, a customer portal that provides immediate access to support cases, training videos, release notes, and user groups.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

From The Grey Goose: “Re: RSNA. Booth traffic felt like it was up. The temps were much warmer than last year (except they dip to the 20s later this week) so that probably helped improve the moods. All the big anchor exhibitors continue to improve their booths – more flash, more high tech, better organized space – so people wouldn’t get log-jammed in the middle. Lots of focus on moving data to HIPAA-compliant clouds and being able to access it securely on any device, anywhere. Folks not looking at that seem to be in the minority now which is a big shift from a year or two ago. People want to be more efficient to drive down costs in the land of Obamacare.” Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s great to have roving reporters fill us in on the meetings we’re not able to fit onto our busy dance cards.


From Converse All-Star: “Re: your Thanksgiving column. Mentioning readers sending photos of shoes brought to mind a pair of shoes that my lovely wife possesses. As you might expect, she saves them for special occasions and they also occupy a place of honor in our closet at home.” I’ll let our readers guess what state they represent. The coordinating scarf definitely puts these over the top! Is this the beginning of a 50-state themed challenge? Or better yet, perhaps we could convince The Walking Gallery’s Regina Holliday to branch out into shoes?

Dr. Jayne’s HIMSS Registration Update


More fun and games on the HIMSS website this week. After the HIMSS14 registration site couldn’t figure out how to charge my membership, I decided to go to the HIMSS main website to try to update my membership first so I wouldn’t have to do that step on the conference page. No luck – this critical error message was all I received. The site also refuses to recognize my MD and I can’t figure out how to update that part of my demographics (although it does refer to me as “Dr.” so it’s even more confusing).

I tried it again a couple of days later. I didn’t get the critical error, but when I tried to renew my membership, it adjusted the expiration date by a month since I’m renewing before mine expires, making it effectively only good for 11 months. At that point I was just glad my housing reservation was successful. I gave up for the night.


I decided to go back to the conference website and try it again that way. I am still receiving an alert that it can’t find the pricing for a membership renewal, but at least it has my expiration date in the wrong year. For those of you who are not familiar with the concept of positive pessimism, that’s an example: following up a negative statement with another negative statement to take the edge off the current problem. You’ll learn more about it if you are actually able to register for HIMSS and stay until Thursday to hear Erik Weihenmayer speak. He’s one of the best motivational speakers I’ve heard.


I tried to do it again without the membership renewal (thinking I’d try to do it on the main HIMSS site in January) and got this great new alert. Unfortunately it doesn’t tell me what to do with “please note” rather than “error” or “warning.” Perhaps we could use this as a testing scenario for next year’s Clinical Informatics board exam. Is anyone else having these issues? Or is it as I suspect and half the attendees are either vendors or media so they have a different registration process entirely and no one has complained yet?

I finally broke down and called because I didn’t want to miss the Early Bird discount. I was directed into a phone queue that didn’t have an option that applied to my scenario. Unfortunately the best advice the live agent could give was, “log out and log in again” and we all know how much end users love to hear that. I explained that I had been trying to register using multiple browsers on multiple different devices over many days, so I didn’t think logging out would help.

I asked if they could manually register me. She had to ask a supervisor. Ultimately the blame was placed on the data file that HIMSS sent with the incorrect expiration date, although they said they had no access to the file to try to verify the correct dates. After roughly half an hour of back and forth, they were able to shadow me in their system and bypass the problematic steps, so I suppose now I’m good to go. Inga and I are well into planning our social schedules, so please keep those event invitations coming.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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December 5, 2013 News 8 Comments

Morning Headlines 12/4/13

December 3, 2013 Headlines No Comments

Hearst Corporation Agrees to Acquire an 85% Stake in Homecare Homebase, LLC

Hearst Corporation acquires an 85 percent stake in Homecare Homebase, the #1 KLAS rated home health and hospice software vendor.

Martin Health System Adopts RightPatient™ Iris Biometrics for Patient Identification

Martin Health System (FL) will deploy a new biometric patient identification solution from RightPatient that uses iris scanning to positively identify patients. MHS executives expect that the new system will help stop patient identity fraud, eliminate the creation of duplicate medical records, and reduce billing errors.

KLAS Investing in the Future of Medical Imaging

KLAS forms an imaging advisory board to lead a new project focused on imaging-based research.

Adventist to launch updated system

Adventist (CA) will go live with Cerner across 50 clinics this week, completing a network-wide install.

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December 3, 2013 Headlines No Comments

News 12/4/13

December 3, 2013 News 4 Comments

Top News

12-3-2013 6-04-00 PM

Hearst Corporation will acquire 85 percent of Homecare Homebase, the #1 KLAS-ranked software provider for the homecare and hospice market. Hearst’s other healthcare IT companies include First Databank, Map of Medicine, MCG, and Zynx Health.

Reader Comments

From N2InformaticsRN: “Re: CAP Consulting. The College of American Pathologists is dissolving CAP Consulting, its informatics consulting practice. This is the group that was doing exceptional work in terminology and standards with a deep understanding of the information needs and challenges faced by providers across the health care delivery and laboratory spectrum. More recently they developed an effective framework to assess and tackle health information management.  The team has unique skill sets and helped us ensure ontological correctness by developing a terminology roadmap. It will be interesting to see who picks these folks up or whether they form a consulting group on their own.” Unverified. We have a call scheduled for Wednesday with CAP Consulting to learn more.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

12-3-2013 6-53-05 PM

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Physician Technology Partners. The physician-owned and led consulting company offers provider-to-provider services that make Epic-using physicians more productive. Its physician champions hold ASAP and EpicCare Ambulatory certifications. PTP’s six-phase approach to building to optimize for quicker ROI includes strategic planning, implementation, build and validation, training, go-live support, and optimization. They’ve done it for customers that include Ohio State, UCSF, Sutter, Exempla, Texas Children’s, Providence, University of Miami, and a bunch more names you would know. PTP’s expertise also includes making Dragon speech recognition work optimally in an Epic environment. Thanks to Physician Technology Partners for supporting HIStalk.

I have an interesting challenge with HIStalkapalooza. Jonathan Bush has a conflict and, for the first time since the inaugural HIStalkapalooza in 2008, we may need to find someone else to present the HISsies awards (travesty, I know.) I need someone who has commanding stage presence, a wicked sense of humor, and a cynical view of healthcare IT (extra points for being able to swig large-format bottles of high-gravity beer while uttering a non-stop stream of one-liners during the otherwise august proceedings.) Let me know if you’ve seen anyone who can approximate JB’s on-stage magic since otherwise Inga’s going to have to get up there and she will be terrified.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

12-3-2013 6-06-47 PM

Post-acute care software provider Brightree acquires MedAct LLC, a developer of home medical equipment and DME software solutions.

12-3-2013 6-07-45 PM

Entrada, a developer of workflow products that are integrated with EHRs from athenahealth, Allscripts, Greenway, and NextGen, raises $1.12 million in new equity.

12-3-2013 6-16-06 PM

Shareable Ink closes $10.7 million in Series C financing and names former Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman to its board.

12-3-2013 6-16-57 PM

Lexmark will consolidate four acquired businesses — Pacsgear, Saperion, Twistage, and Acuo Technologies — under its Perceptive Software subsidiary.


12-3-2013 9-21-02 PM

AnMed Health (SC) will implement technology from Iatric Systems to integrate multiple hospital and departmental systems.

The Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council selects HIE technology from Sandlot Solutions.

Children’s National Medical Center (DC) will deploy Streamline Health’s OpportunityAnyWare business analytics software suite.



12-3-2013 7-47-10 PM

Kristina Greene (Proxicom) joins Lucca Consulting Group as RVP.

12-3-2013 8-14-35 AM

Acusis names Richard Simonetti (Horiba Medical) VP of strategic business solutions.

12-3-2013 8-35-54 AM

Kareo hires Amyra Rand (HireRight) as VP of sales.

12-3-2013 8-34-56 AM

Perigen appoints Chip Long (Merge Healthcare) SVP of growth and development.

12-3-2013 6-11-55 PM 12-3-2013 6-12-47 PM

RCM service provider MedData appoints Paul Holland (QuadraMed) VP of sales and Carl Naso (Aleris International) corporate controller.

12-3-2013 6-14-43 PM

Stephen Bernard (Accretive Health) joins Connance as VP of professional services.

12-3-2013 12-51-06 PM    12-3-2013 12-50-27 PM

Valence Health names Nathan Gunn, MD (Verisk Health) VP of population health and Dan Blake (AirStrip Technologies) SVP of software product development.

KLAS names six members to its first-ever imaging advisory board: Mark Christensen (Intermountain Healthcare), Karen McGraner (Exempla St. Joseph Hospital Denver), Eugene V. Pomerantsev (Massachusetts General Hospital), Peter S. Rahko (University of Wisconsin Hospital), Pablo Ros (University Hospitals HS Cleveland), and Brian Wetzel (Our Lady of Lourdes Memorial Hospital Binghamton.)

Announcements and Implementations

Pro-Laudo, a teleradiology practice in Brazil, implements eRAD PACS with integrated reporting and speech recognition.

12-3-2013 8-53-08 AM

PeaceHealth Medical Group in Longview, WA goes live on Epic.

Hospitals and skilled nursing facilities in California’s Santa Clara county will deploy CareInSync’s Carebook platform to coordinate care transitions.

12-3-2013 9-24-47 PM

Cheyenne Regional Medical Center (WY) converts patient information and data from seven legacy systems into a single platform integrated with Epic using Hyland Software’s OnBase ECM solution.

More than 50 Adventist Health/Central Valley Network (CA) facilities go live this week on Cerner.

12-3-2013 6-19-51 PM

Martin Health System (FL) deploys the RightPatient iris biometrics patient identification system from M2SYS Healthcare Solutions.

Providence Health & Services (WA) opens a clinic without a waiting room in its first go-live of RTLS from Versus Technology.

UCLA Health System (CA) opens the Lockheed Marking UCLA TeleHealth Suite and Lockheed Martin Outpatient Recovery Suites for Wounded Warriors of Operation Mend, which were made possible by a $4 million gift from Lockheed Martin.

GE Healthcare launches Centricity 360, an online clinical collaboration tool that provides real-time sharing of data.

3M Health Information Systems releases 3M ChartScriptMD Software for Radiology, a reporting application that allows radiologists to create, sign, and distribute complete reports and communicate diagnostic findings from a single, integrated system.

12-3-2013 7-33-20 PM

Congratulations to Tampa General Hospital (FL), which VP/CMIO Richard Paula tells me has earned HIMSS EMRAM Level 7 with its $90 million Epic system.

Innovation and Research

Researchers from NORC at the University of Chicago will study how Cerner employees respond to cost transparency tools from Change Healthcare. The RWJF-funded study will assess the impact of price, quality, and engagement approaches on consumer choice of healthcare.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh create a publicly searchable digital database of infectious diseases cases dating back 125 years.



12-3-2013 9-47-33 AM

The Leapfrog Group publishes its annual list of top hospitals based on quality of care.

Carolinas HealthCare System launches analytics capabilities that integrate data for evidenced-based health management, individualized patient care, and predictive modeling. The health system’s in-house analytics group built the data analytics models and are using de-identified clinical and financial information from 10.5 million patient encounters. I interviewed SVP/CIO Craig RIchardville in September.

Happtique certifies 19 health and medical apps, which requires them to meet privacy, security, and operability standards and pass clinical content testing.

WEDI, EHNAC, and DirectTrust partner to promote and accelerate the adoption of a national accreditation program for information “trusted agent” service providers.

12-3-2013 1-46-45 PM

inga_small The New York Times highlights the insanity of US hospital charges, including pricing that is often arbitrary; wide variations in pricing for the same service across different facilities and regions; and, heavily inflated prices for routine supplies and services. For example, the average cost of treating a cut finger in an ER ranges from $790 in New England to $1,377 in the Pacific. Also noted: the hefty incomes of many executives in non-profit health systems, including 28 Sutter Medical Center officials who each make more than $1 million a year.

12-3-2013 1-31-36 PM

inga_small A tone-deaf boy in Denver suffers a concussion playing lacrosse, recovers, and develops the ability to play 13 instruments. His physician theorizes that the musical talent was “latent in his brain and somehow was uncovered by his brain rewiring after the injury.” Sort of gives new meaning to the term, “one-hit wonder.”

Crain’s Chicago Business points out that despite the hoopla around the 34 hospitals MetroChicago HIE has announced as members, it has failed so far to sign at least three of the biggest ones: Northwestern, University of Chicago Medicine, and NorthShore.

Weird News Andy finds himself thankful for piercings after reading this story, which describes a joystick-like device implanted as tongue piercing that allows paralyzed people drive their wheelchairs by flicking their tongues.

WNA may have a new competitor, as a reader provided this toothsome morsel of prose. A Swedish prisoner escapes two days before his scheduled release to have a tooth fixed, having been denied service by the prison dentist. He has the tooth removed and then returns to his cell. The prison gives him an oral warning and extends his stay by 24 hours to make up his time.


Sponsor Updates

  • Administrators from Nemours Children’s Hospital (FL) explain how Rauland-Borg Corporation, Versus Technology, and GetWellWork integrated their technologies to inform patients about their doctor or nurse as they walk into a patient room.
  • Mike Silverstein and Kasey Fahey of Direct Recruiters, Inc. interviewed 21 healthcare IT executives about trends and predictions.
  • Capsule Tech joins the Continua Health Alliance.
  • Greenway Medical Technologies will integrate data analytic tools from Inovalon into its PrimeSUITE EHR platform.
  • AirWatch develops app reputation scanning technology for its platform in support of corporate-owned and BYOD deployments.
  • Vital Images showcases clinical enhancements to its VitreaAdvanced software at this week’s RSNA meeting.
  • MedAssets shares a video case study highlighting how it helped the Texas Purchasing Coalition achieve $60 million in cost reductions and increase efficiencies.
  • Culbert Healthcare Solutions hosts a December 13 webinar on the ICD-10 impact of revenue cycle operations and clinical workflows.
  • Quantros offers a December 11 webinar on quality reporting requirements for inpatient psychiatric facilities.
  • Nuance adds speech recognition accuracy and workflow enhancements to the PowerScribe 360 platform.
  • Beacon Partners publishes a white paper outlining best practices when connecting affiliated physicians to the health system.
  • Merge Healthcare releases iConnect Network, an imaging network for the secure electronic exchange of imaging information.
  • FUJIFILM Medical Systems introduces Synapse VNA technology and demonstrates Synapse RIS EHR solution at this week’s RSNA meeting.


RSNA Impressions

12-3-2013 7-12-28 PM
Deborah Kohn checks in with a high-level reaction to RSNA.

Based on my observations of RSNA 2013’s multitude of imaging informatics products, radiology (and other image-generating “ology” or department) PACS continue to be “deconstructed”.

For example, the “A” in PACS (for Archiving) remains the focus of many Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) system products. No noteworthy independent (of PACS vendors) VNA products are being introduced this year, and most of the PACS vendor VNA products are trying to catch up to the independents by highlighting new functionality. This year’s newer focus centers on enterprise viewers, which consolidate provider organizations’ large number of disparate clinical system viewers, such as those of the multi-modality PACS (DICOM), Enterprise Content Management (non-DICOM), and even EHR system viewers.

Also moving to the enterprise level are the image share / image exchange capabilities, which include the taking-along of key clinical content down/uploaded from/into the EHR. An impressive Johns Hopkins Medicine work-in-progress at IHE’s Image Sharing Demonstration included Face Time/Skype-like (yet HIPAA secure) video conferencing for consultations and/or second opinions. The remote providers collaborated on diagnostic-quality views of DICOM images with side-by-side, structured EHR data and unstructured text reports – all in one view at the click of a button.

In summary, traditional PACS functionality continues to be siphoned off into other, more robust and often enterprise components, leaving traditional PACS as the important workflow engines for the modalities.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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December 3, 2013 News 4 Comments

News 11/27/13

November 26, 2013 News 2 Comments

Top News

11-26-2013 7-24-25 PM

Nuance Communications reports Q4 results: revenue up less than 1 percent, adjusted EPS $0.30 vs. $0.51. Unenthusiastic company guidance sent shares plummeting 18 percent Tuesday; they’ve sunk 41 percent in the past year. Above is the one-year price graph of NUAN (blue) vs. the Nasdaq (red).

Reader Comments

11-26-2013 3-42-24 PM

From BR549: “Re: Health Care DataWorks. Laid off 35 percent of its workforce last Wednesday.” HCD CEO Jason Buskirk provided this response to our inquiries: “We do not share specific statistics, but the percentage that you quote is incorrect. Based on feedback from our clients, we are realigning the organization to be laser focused on our software, KnowledgeEdge. HCD will continue to hire the best and brightest technical talent in the industry.” Buskirk was announced as CEO on September 18, replacing founder Herb Smaltz, who had held the CEO position since 2008 but remains on the company’s board.

11-26-2013 12-51-59 PM

inga_small From TomT: “Re: holiday wishes. It’s that time of year when we should take a moment to give thanks for for all 141,000 new ICD-10 codes coming our way. I hope you and the rest of the HIStalk gang avoid any of these turkey-related injuries and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.” Yet another reason to buy the frozen Butterball. Many thanks to TomT and all the other readers who have sent us holiday greetings!

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

11-26-2013 3-13-32 PM

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Medfusion. The Cary, NC-based company enhances the patient-provider relationship by providing new ways for them to communicate, improving patient engagement and allowing providers to meet MU Stage 2 requirements. The former Intuit Health’s patient portal allows providers to spend more time on patients through the efficiencies gained from online messaging, appointment scheduling, bill payment, payment plans, refill management, and results sharing. Medfusion’s portal also integrates with popular EHRs and provides patients with mobile access. See for yourself – you can test drive the patient portal instantly with no signup required just like I did. I interviewed founder Steve Malik, who bought the company back from Intuit in August 2013. Thanks to Medfusion for supporting HIStalk.

11-26-2013 4-07-10 PM

I’ll have details about our HIMSS activities (including HIStalkapalooza) after New Year’s, but here’s something fun: we’ll be having an HIStalk sponsor networking reception Sunday evening, February 23 from 6:30 until 8:30 (an easy walk from the HIMSS opening reception, which runs from 5:00 to 7:00). Sponsor executives always enjoy the chance to lay aside their competitive armor in renewing old acquaintances and making new ones in a relaxed setting, so this should be a fun evening in which business will be inevitably conducted as well. Lorre will be hosting and I’ll provide great food and drinks. Watch for your invitation.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

11-26-2013 9-21-29 AM

Patient engagement and education provider PatientPoint completes the acquisition of publishing assets from American Hospitals Publishing Group International, a developer of customized patient guides and communication tools.

11-26-2013 10-51-41 AM

Genophen, a developer of a health management platform and clinical support tool, raises $2 million in a third round of funding.

11-26-2013 4-10-12 PM

Streamline Health Solutions prices its secondary stock offering of 3 million shares at $6.50 per share for net proceeds of $17.1 million.

11-26-2013 6-11-00 PM

Cumberland Consulting Group acquires life sciences implementation firm Mindlance Life Sciences

11-26-2013 7-01-17 PM

PM/EMR vendor CureMD acquires medical billing company AviaraMD.


11-26-2013 9-22-31 AM

AtlantiCare (NJ) selects MedCurrent’s OrderRight Radiology Decision Support system, which will be integrated with AtlantiCare’s existing Cerner PowerChart platform.

Madera Community Hospital (CA) will implement Passive Incident Management software from RGP Healthcare.

UK Healthcare (KY) will implement medical image sharing services from lifeIMAGE.

Allina Health (MN) expands its use of MedAssets Contract and Episode Management solutions into outpatient settings.

Bone marrow donor center DKMS chooses registry software from Remedy Informatics.


11-26-2013 9-33-17 AM

Brigham and Women’s Health Care (MA) names Cedric J. Priebe, MD (Care New England Health System) CIO.

11-26-2013 11-16-35 AM

Michael Dal Bello, managing director of Emdeon’s parent company Blackstone Group, resigns from Emdeon’s board.

11-26-2013 12-50-23 PM

The Pennsylvania eHealth Partnership Authority appoints Michael Fiaschetti (Highmark) to its board.

11-26-2013 6-03-02 PM

Outpatient specialty care software vendor Net Health hires Mary Mieure (Greenway) as VP of training and implementation.

Announcements and Implementations

The Kansas HIN and the Lewis and Clark Information Exchange agree to connect their HIEs, allowing the networks to keep $1 million in federal funding.

Huntsman Cancer Institute (UT) deploys the NLP-based I2E software platform from Linguamatics to extract discrete data from unstructured texts in clinical notes.

ProHealth Care (WI) becomes the first healthcare system to use Epic’s Cogito data warehouse tool, which combines patient data from Epic with information from other EMRs and data sources.

Government and Politics

11-26-2013 3-08-55 PM

Several industry organizations ask the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees to ensure that MU Stage 3 includes interoperability requirements for EHRs and remote patient monitoring systems.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin reprimands Health Access Commissioner Mark Larson for lying to state representative earlier this month when Larson was asked directly if the state’s insurance exchange had experienced any security breaches. Larson failed to disclose an October incident in which a user pulled up the personal information of someone else due to a reassigned username.

Seven Democratic senators call on the President to name a CEO of the Healthcare.gov website who would report directly to the White House instead of to HHS.

Innovation and Research

Researchers find that rural ED physicians are less likely to make medication administration errors when using telehealth technology to consult with specialists.


11-26-2013 3-10-31 PM

The AHA urges CMS to ensure Medicare contractors and state Medicaid agencies  begin end-to-end testing on ICD-10 by January in order to prepare for the October 1, 2014 deadline.

11-26-2013 8-04-17 PM

Epic will build two laboratory installations of its EpicCare EHR at Oregon Health & Science University for medical informatics and research purposes. On the research side, the University will have access to Epic’s source code. 

Weird News Andy notes breaking news from Good Shepherd Medical Center (TX), where a male suspect is being held in the Tuesday morning stabbing death of a female nurse in the hospital’s ambulatory surgery center. Another employee and three visitors were also injured.

An Idaho state senator video chatting with her son on her iPhone on Face Time has a stroke, which her son notices from seeing her confusion and facial drooping . He rushes her to the hospital in time for speedy treatment and she’ll make a full recovery. She says, “I’ll always be a dedicated fan of the iPhone,” while her son adds, “If you have adults that live away, you need an iPhone for ‘em. I’m serious, that’s huge. … Seeing their face, you can actually see if something’s amiss.”

USA Today talks up the promise of analyzing large healthcare databases to its audience of hotel guests and airport travelers,  although the article wanders around with a few unrelated facts and no real conclusion other than “it’s coming.” It did contain one interesting factoid: a study found that diabetic hospital readmissions weren’t dominated by older patients who had forgotten to inject their insulin, but rather young female diabetics who had intentionally skipped their dose trying to lose weight.

Sponsor Updates

  • Nuance Communications announces the general availability of Dragon Medical 360 l Network Edition 2.0, which allows clinicians to document using multiple devices and provides an accuracy level of 98 percent or higher out of the box.
  • E-MDs Solutions Series 8.0 achieves Complete EHR 2014 certification for Stage 1 and 2.
  • MModal integrates radiology report measurements from PACSGEAR’s ModLink with MModal Fluency for Imaging Reporting.
  • Merge Healthcare will showcase iConnect Access Version 5.0, its universal viewing and imagine sharing solution, at next week’s RSNA meeting in Chicago.
  • Iatric Systems announces that Meaningful Use Manager with Clinical Quality Measures Version 3.0 has earned ONC 2014 certification as an EHR Module.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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November 26, 2013 News 2 Comments

News 11/15/13

November 14, 2013 News 7 Comments

Top News

11-14-2013 11-32-20 PM

Moses Cone Memorial Hospital (NC) sees its credit rating downgraded from stable to negative after spending $90 million to implement Epic, with plans to spend another $40 million and to add another 90 employees to support it over the next three years.

Reader Comments

From Head Scratcher: “That Allscripts announcement about implementing Sunrise at two newly acquired Montefiore hospitals comes just days after Montefiore announces the signing with Epic. Interestingly, Jack Wolf is not leading the Epic install.” Unverified.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga_small Are you current with all the latest HIStalk Practice news? Some highlights from the last week include: “better-performing” practices use patient-satisfaction surveys to evaluate and improve practice operations. Doctors blame EMRs for slowing them down and reducing productive face-time with patients. Emdeon reports a Q3 loss of $16.2 million and a nine percent increase in revenues. Practices charge for online access to patient portals. Dr. Jayne’s personal physician shares impressions from NextGen’s User Group Meeting, including a review of the NextGen Patient Portal solution. Thanks for reading.

On the Jobs Page: Director of Business Development, Solution Sales Executive, Sales Excellence Manager.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

RightCare Solutions, a provider of decision support and transition of care technology developed by a University of Pennsylvania Nursing professor, raises $5 million in a Series B funding round.

11-14-2013 10-45-11 AM

Healthcare messaging company docBeat secures $1.1 million in a pre-Series A round.


Signal Health (WA) selects HealthUnity’s HIE, analytics, and PHR platform.

11-14-2013 11-36-12 PM

Albert Einstein Medical Center (PA) will integrate MedCurrent’s OrderRight radiology decision support system Cerner Millennium.

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital (NH) selects PatientKeeper Charge Capture and PatientKeeper Sign-Out solutions for its hospitalists and intensivists.


11-14-2013 4-04-26 PM

The Care Continuum Alliance appoints ICA CEO Gary Zegiestowsky to its board.

11-14-2013 10-47-47 PM

An internal McKesson email indicates that Kevin Torgersen, president of Imaging & Workflow Solutions, resigned this week for personal reasons. IWS will be reorganized under the acute care product line and several personnel changes were announced to employees.

11-14-2013 10-52-53 PM

Kevin Brown (athenahealth) is named VP of West Coast sales for CareCloud.

Announcements and Implementations

Accenture and The Phoenix Partnership deliver the first phase of an EHR across nine NHS systems in Southern England.

11-14-2013 11-26-55 AM

Virtual Radiology releases its free Radiology Patient Care benchmarking metrics.

Orion Health launches Rhapsody 5.5.

pMD announces ICD-10 Converter, which automates ICD-9 to ICD-10 conversion.

Government and Politics

11-14-2013 12-44-49 PM

CMS releases the Virtual Research Data Center, a data sharing tool that provides researchers access to Medicare and Medicaid data from their own workstations for performance analysis and data manipulation.

The Obama administration won’t require insurance companies to upgrade existing individual plans to meet ACA requirements for 2014 as long as the insurers notify consumers what ACA protections their plans don’t include and of the additional options available through insurance exchanges. The announcement comes a day after CMS revealed that 106,185 individuals had selected plans in the first period of open enrollment, only 26,794 of them through the federal exchange.


11-14-2013 1-00-29 PM

inga_small Even if I talked on the phone more I don’t think I would be an early adopter of this technology. Google files a patent for an electronic skin tattoo that sticks to your neck and serves as a hands-free microphone for your cellphone. The tattoo could also carry a lie detector that would detect skin response caused by nervousness. To be clear, I was a “no” before the lie detector part was mentioned.


In Oregon, a university-based pediatric intensivist remotely diagnoses a baby’s life-threatening bacterial infection using a telemedicine workstation controlling a robot-like device. The mother says the telemedicine technology “is the greatest thing ever invented” and does not think her daughter would be alive without it.

11-14-2013 10-39-54 AM

A KLAS report finds that no single vendor leads in the population health management tools market, though early leaders are emerging based on their portfolio breadth, experience, and ability to deliver. Those vendors include The Advisory Board Company, Conifer Health, Explorys, Healthagen, Optum:Humedica, i2i Systems, McKesson, Optum: Care Suite & Impact, Phytel, Premier, and Wellcentive.

Three US organizations win the 2013 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, including Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano (TX) and Sutter Davis Hospital (CA).

Steven Brady, SVP for administration at SUNY Upstate Medical University, resigns after the university discovers that he received outside income without permission from its affiliate MedBest Medical Management, which has a $22 million contract with the university to implement a PM/EMR system.

Sponsor Updates

  • Gartner positions CommVault in the leaders quadrant of its Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving.
  • Kareo launches Kareo Marketplace, a solution center to help private practices identify cloud-based applications and services to optimize their operations.
  • VMware announces it will provide HIPAA business associate agreements to its customers.
  • Visage Imaging will demonstrate new features for its Visage 7 Enterprise Imaging platform at RSNA December 1-5 in Chicago.
  • The ICA-powered Kansas HIN reaches the connectivity milestone of providing access to more than one million patients.
  • Great River Health Systems (IA) shares how Encore Health Resources provided contract review and pre-implementation assistance while transitioning to Cerner.
  • EDCO Health Information Solutions recommends three point-of-care record scanning articles.
  • ICSA Labs offers five tips for keeping enterprises safe from mobile app threats.
  • Wolters Kluwer Health is providing a free emergency resources portal to Philippine hospitals and healthcare institutions in support of typhoon disaster relief efforts.
  • HIStalk sponsors named to Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list for 2013  include AirWatch, Awarepoint, Kareo, InstaMed, Etransmedia Technology, Allscripts, Liaison Technologies, SRSsoft, Greenway Healthcare, Halfpenny Technologies, Imprivata, Valence Health, Vocera Communications, and VMware.
  • Impact Advisors principal Laura Kreofsky discusses MU audits at next week’s Oregon & SW Washington Healthcare, Privacy & Security Forum.
  • Elsevier launches Elsevier Adaptive Learning study solution for improved learning and memory retention for healthcare professionals.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

I’ve been digging through provider quality reports this week and it’s so tiresome. I have to know which physicians are in jeopardy of missing their bonus targets so that when they call screaming at me that the reports are wrong, I can be prepared. It’s surprising how badly some of them are doing. They receive a package of reports monthly so that they can see where they are, and our chief medical officer works with those that are underperforming to institute changes in the practice to try to increase their success. There’s only one month left in the year, however, and unless providers are only under their targets by a fraction of a percent (or see small numbers of patients), it’s not likely that they can turn things around now.

What kills me is that some of the measures they fail to hit seem to be no-brainers. Our EHR has tons of prompts to make sure that certain services are done – both passive alerts (icons, exclamation points) and “in your face” type modal window popups that they cannot get past without acknowledging. We have standing orders available that providers can print, sign, and institute in their offices (and in the EHR) so that their clinical staff can administer vaccines without individual patient orders. We have signage available reminding diabetic patients to remove their shoes and socks so the providers can examine their feet. Inevitably, though, providers miss the mark.

Sometimes I really wish I had gotten a psychology degree instead of a chemistry one – it would have been much more useful in figuring out what makes my colleagues tick. Why wouldn’t you want certain services to be on autopilot? Why would you want to have to give individual verbal orders (or heaven forbid ,enter them into the EHR yourself) for flu shots or tetanus shots? And what makes some providers very eager to get on board with these kinds of clinical protocols when others dig in their heels? If I could crack this code I could retire early.

Maybe it’s being afraid of “cookbook medicine” or just not wanting to be told what to do by others. In some cases, it’s being in denial of the clinical evidence that shows that standing orders prevent disease and disability. Maybe it’s just feeling beaten down by what the healthcare system has become. Another one of my friends just made the decision to leave clinical medicine – she finished her MBA and is off to work for one of the major health IT vendors.

I’m looking forward to 2014 as a chance to reset. Those providers that missed the mark can start over. We only have to attest for 90 days instead of the full year, so that will reduce some stress, although our impending EHR upgrade and some other payer initiatives are adding to the overall tension. I suspect that CMIOs at other hospitals and health systems are feeling the same kind of pressure, but there is not a lot we can do about it since the forces are largely external.

For me, it’s back to the quality reports. But first, another NextGen User Group special report from our roving reporter. Inga shared comments from my personal physician about the NextGen User Group this week in Las Vegas. Here’s her second installment:

NextGen UGM Update

The customer appreciation parties thrown by vendors on Monday were a lot of fun. My favorite was IMO’s elegant cocktail party held in a suite with a balcony overlooking the strip. They had Monday Night Football showing on the balcony’s big screen TV (that’s the way to live!) and an excellent wine assortment, although rumor was the MGM wouldn’t let them serve reds due to the all-white décor of the suite. The buzz on the street was that Navicure’s party was best and had nearly 1,000 attendee at the Hard Rock. I’m just a little PCP, though, so didn’t score an invite.


I noticed this display appear on Day 2, near the escalators where you enter the conference center. Only in Las Vegas can you get walk-in IV hydration and a B12 shot. It’s a cash practice with no insurance billed, so of course they can do whatever they want. One young IT guy I overheard in a session said he took advantage of it after a night of too much fun. He mentioned that the nurse who administered his IV normally works in a pediatric ER and loves working the “spa” because the patients have big veins.

There were many good educational sessions on ICD-10, Meaningful Use Stage 2, and how to improve revenue cycle and clinical documentation. A fair amount of continuing medical education credit was offered as well. The MGM did a great job with logistics for 5,000 people. This was my first User Group and the build-up to the Tuesday client event was huge. They always keep the entertainment a secret and past musical acts have included Sammy Hagar, Styx, Foreigner, Huey Lewis and some other well-known groups. The first act turned out to be the Brian Setzer Orchestra, which would have been good if the acoustics weren’t so distorted. The second was Big and Rich, which provoked a mass exodus. I was among the scattering crowd so I can’t report after that. Wednesday was a little more low-key with only two education sessions and I suspect many people left early to avoid the chaos that is the Las Vegas airport.


I forgot to send this picture earlier in the week, you have to love an airport with a liquor store in baggage claim. I relaxed on the plane on the way home reading the Twitter feed for the event and some of my favorite tweets were:

  • Either I’m in ICD-10 hell or they have the heat on in room 309

Followed by:

  • Do you know the ICD-10 code for burning up like you are Lucifer’s step sister?

And then:

  • Depends on whether burning is via a coal- or wood-fired oven, nuclear meltdown, etc. Please consult CMS GEM mappings.

You have to make fun of ICD-10 or you’d cry, so I found it particularly funny.

All in all it was a successful meeting. I got some CME, heard some great speakers, and learned some things that should make my EHR documentation quicker and easier. I’ll definitely be back next year!

I’m glad she got to go and I was able to live vicariously through her – I’ve only been to my own vendor’s meeting. I’d love to see how the grass looks on the other side of the fence. Maybe that’s an idea – we could auction off a chance to have Dr. Jayne attend and review your user group meeting (under an assumed name, of course). Proceeds could go to charity. What do you think? Email me.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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November 14, 2013 News 7 Comments

News 11/13/13

November 12, 2013 News 21 Comments

Top News

11-12-2013 5-49-15 PM

AMIA announces in an email to members that Kevin Fickenscher, MD will step down as president and CEO on November 30, 2013 to return to industry. He took the position for 20 months ago. The search for his replacement will start immediately.

Reader Comments

11-12-2013 7-57-05 PM

From Pitiful: “Re: U. Arizona Health System. More than 9,500 glitches in its Epic EHR, claims to have solved more than 6,000. The health system is financially precarious.” Unverified. They were scheduled to go live November 1.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

11-12-2013 3-22-35 PM

Vocera reports Q3 results: revenue flat, adjusted EPS -$0.02 vs. $0.13, missing earnings estimates.

11-12-2013 3-26-09 PM

Alan Dabbiere, chairman of mobile device technology vendor AirWatch, expresses an interest in acquiring BlackBerry’s services division and integrating the Blackberry server technology into its device management technology to provide corporate customers a single dashboard for all devices.

Long-term care EHR provider PointClickCare acquires Meal Metrics, the developers of a web-based nutritional management solution.

11-12-2013 7-45-41 PM

AuthentiDate announces a $2.46 million private placement from unnamed investors. The company offers telehealth, referral management, and discharge management solutions, with the VA as a notable customer.


11-12-2013 1-42-31 PM

Star Valley Medical Center (WY) selects Access E-forms on Demand to eliminate paper forms.

11-12-2013 1-40-41 PM

ValleyCare Health System (CA) will implement CareInSync’s Carebook mobile communication platform for care team coordination.

The 11-provider Ocean Eye Institute (NJ) selects SRS EHR.

11-12-2013 1-38-41 PM

Denver Health (CO) selects Besler’s BVerified Screening and Verification solution.

The Nevada HIE will deploy the Orion Health HIE.

Montefiore Health System will upgrade its newly acquired hospitals in New Rochelle and Mount Vernon to Allscripts Sunrise, including EHR, Analytics, Radiology, and Laboratory and implement the FollowMyHealth patient engagement platform.

SummaCare (OH) selects Wolters Kluwer Health’s Health Language to convert ICD-9 codes and DRGs to ICD-10.


11-12-2013 1-55-25 PM

PaySpan names Cheryl King (First Data) CFO.

11-12-2013 1-50-27 PM

Candace Smith (Medline Industries) joins Voalte as CNO.

11-12-2013 3-53-30 PM

The VA appoints Arthur L. Gonzalez (TISTA Science and Technology Corp.) deputy CIO for service, delivery, and engineering.

11-12-2013 4-02-05 PM

Direct Recruiters, Inc. promotes Dan Charney to president.

11-12-2013 6-50-31 PM

Scotland-based Craneware appoints Colleen Blye (Catholic Health Systems of Long Island) to its board.

Announcements and Implementations

Nextgen introduces NextGen Share, an interoperability solution based on the Mirth HIE platform that facilitates clinical data exchange and referrals from within the NextGen EHR.

11-12-2013 1-56-46 PM

CSI Healthcare IT completes a Cerner activation at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Merge Healthcare will exit the consumer medical information kiosk business, which reportedly accounted for $10 million of the company’s $250 million in sales last year. Merge, which spent $2.8 million on 500 of the kiosks last year with an ultimately failed plan to roll them out throughout Chicago, said technology upgrades were too expensive and it agreed to get out of the business following a patent infringement lawsuit. The kiosks made up one of 11 deals between Merge and companies owned by its chairman and largest shareholder, Michael Ferro, who stepped down in August 2013.

Westmed Medical Group (NY) reports that its ACO program with UnitedHealthcare and Optum improved nine of 10 health quality metrics, increased patient satisfaction, and reduced costs since its establishment in mid-2012.

DrFirst launches the Patient Advisor Report Card, a medication adherence alert system that provides a physician with medication adherence rates for each patient.

NextGen announces NextPen Voice, a pen that accepts either voice or written input depending on user preferences and activities. It uses digital pen technology from Sweden-based Anoto, which announced three weeks ago that it couldn’t survive another 12 months without issuing new stock rights.

Four large Boston-area organizations – Dana-Farber, Brigham and Women’s, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Broad Institute – form the Joint Center for Cancer Precision Medicine, which will study the genetic characteristics of tumors to choose the best chemotherapy drug treatments for individual patients.

Government and Politics

inga_small The Wall Street Journal reports that fewer than 50,000 people signed up for health insurance through Healthcare.gov during October. Despite my “success” about 10 days ago signing up for insurance, my application now appears to be in limbo. After two support chat sessions, two support phone calls, and an email exchange with my selected insurance carrier, I’ve been advised that the normal 48 hour “acceptance” process has been delayed. I’m trying to remain optimistic that the new plan will be in place in time for me to cancel my current plan so I won’t be stuck paying for two plans come January.

CMS tells industry stakeholders it might reconsider performing external, end-to-end ICD-10 testing with physician offices following recent problems with its Healthcare.gov site. CMS said previously it would not offer external testing and that it was confident with its current internal testing.

11-12-2013 6-23-55 PM

Former National Coordinator David Blumenthal, MD, now president of The Commonwealth Fund, says President Obama’s call for federal government IT procurement reform after the contractor-assisted bungling of Healthcare.gov is necessary because “the federal process is clearly broken.” He says of his experience at ONC:

Our staff would decide what services we needed, write a request for proposals (RFP), and send it off to a totally independent contracting office. That office could be within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), but if the DHHS office was too busy, the RFP could go almost anywhere: the Department of the Interior, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Education — whatever contracting office had time to process the work. Officials extensively trained in the details of federal procurement, but lacking familiarity with our programs or field of work, would put the RFP out to bid. An expert panel–over which we had minimal control — would evaluate the responses. Months later, the contracting office would present us with the signed contract. The winner was usually picked from a group of companies with considerable experience working the federal procurement process. If we weren’t happy with the firm, or with their later performance, there was virtually nothing we could do about it. Getting out of this shotgun marriage meant months of litigation, during which the funds would be frozen and the work itself would grind to a halt.

11-12-2013 8-07-25 PM

News I missed from several weeks ago, if it was announced:  CMS awards several companies an $800 million contract to support the Measure and Instrument Development and Support program for healthcare quality measures as part of HITECH.

11-12-2013 8-08-44 PM

It’s not just the federal insurance exchange website that’s having problems. Users report that the Massachusetts Health Connector site won’t accept hyphenated names and requires proof of incarceration for non-prisoners. The spokesperson gave the same response as those for Healthcare.gov – sorry for the problems, we’re fixing them, but in the mean time, pick up the phone or mail a paper form.

Innovation and Research

11-12-2013 8-09-30 PM

The New York Digital Health Accelerator celebrates its first year and the recent success of two graduates of its nine-month mentorship program: Avado (patient relationship management tools, acquired by WebMD) and Cureatr (secure physician messaging, obtained $5.7 million in funding).


11-12-2013 4-34-12 PM

inga_small If you are like me, you may be a little flash-mobbed out. However, this video of a woman dancing with the OR staff minutes before undergoing a double mastectomy brought tears to my eyes. Got to love the doctors, nurses, and techs who busted some moves with Deborah Cohan, an OB/GYN and mom of two who I wouldn’t mind having as a BFF.

Patient Privacy Rights launches a “Save Health Privacy” campaign on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, hoping to raise $10,000 to purchase privacy-friendly technology and to create a privacy education app. Donate $500 and you’ll get a dinner with PPR Founder Deborah Peel, MD.

11-12-2013 6-31-54 PM

The National Patient Safety Foundation releases an online, self-paced course titled “Health Information Technology through the Lens of Patient Safety,” targeting physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and quality professionals who are involved with both IT strategy and patient safety. Topics include organizational culture, transparency, patient engagement, integration of care, and human factors engineering. The course costs $30 and CE credits are provided. McKesson provided an educational grant to make the course possible. I’ll most likely take the course myself and report back.

A Pittsburgh internist sues a local medical billing company after its systems fail with no usable backup. The doctor concludes, “It is all in the cloud, and if the cloud disappears someday, we are all in trouble.”

11-12-2013 8-02-34 PM

Weird News Andy notes the story of an ABC reporter who got her first-ever mammogram on live national TV to call attention raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, only to have the test reveal that she has cancer. Amy Robach, 40, will have a double mastectomy performed this week. WNA observes that under new guidelines, she would not have been a mammogram candidate until she turned 50, assuming she had lived that long without treatment.

Sponsor Updates

  • Salar sponsors the Student Design Challenge: Reinventing Clinical Documentation at next week’s AMIA 2013 Annual Symposium in Washington, DC.
  • Amcom Software hosts its annual user conference, Connect 13, this week in San Diego.
  • NextGen Healthcare is hosting 5,000 attendees this week at its user group meeting in Las Vegas. Dr. Jayne’s personal physician offers her impressions of the conference on HIStalk Practice.
  • Hyland Software and Bottomline Technologies will integrate their mobile data capture and ECM technologies.
  • Elsevier adds new content types and an enhanced mobile app to Mosby’s Nursing Consult .
  • Kootenai Health (ID) estimates that its implementation of the Summit Interoperability Platform saved the organization $50,000 to $75,000 in 2012 through the elimination of duplicate interface purchases and maintenance costs and the reallocation of hospital IT staff.
  • ChartMaxx hosts webinars November 13 and 21 discussing ways to provide high quality care while cutting costs and improving revenue cycle.
  • LDM Group sponsors the iPatientCare National User Conference November 15-17.
  • Strata Decision Technology hosts a November 18 webinar on high performance decision support operations.
  • Market research firm Harvey Spencer Associates ranks Nuance Communications the world’s leading scanning and capture software vendor based on market share.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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November 12, 2013 News 21 Comments

Monday Morning Update 11/11/13

November 9, 2013 News 10 Comments

11-9-2013 6-46-41 PM

From Dash Riprock: “Re: Allscripts. Cliff Meltzer leaving a year after being elevated to the tech savior is troubling. Customers give him credit for fixing the technology problems left behind by the previous executive team. Was it a difference of technical opinion or something else?” Allscripts seems to be betting its future on the hope that the recently acquired dbMotion and Jardogs will allow it to jump on the fashionable population health bandwagon to avoid the competitors that are beating it soundly in hospital and practice new sales, with hosting and add-on services generating recurring revenue from existing customers of products that are rarely mentioned these days (the stable of practice systems, Sunrise Financial Manager, the former Premise, Allscripts ED, e-prescribing, etc.) providing revenue to give the battleship time to turn. Putting Jim Hewitt from Jardogs in charge of development might reinforce that perception. Paul Black came from Cerner and that sounds exactly like Cerner’s strategy, other than Cerner was already highly successful with better management, the broad and deep Millennium product line was more credible, it developed rather than acquired its core systems, it knows how to meet the expectations of both Wall Street and clients simultaneously, and Cerner’s DNA doesn’t include the comically mismanaged Misys, Eclipsys, and late-stage Glen Tullman Allscripts. The Allscripts pitch seems to be entirely focused on population health and whatever of its pieces and parts can be cobbled together to claim a solution for it, and given the frothy enthusiasm in population health technology, why not? To the company’s credit, Wall Street seems to be buying it for now, probably because it’s trusting Paul Black to figure it all out. He’s been in charge since December 2012 and MDRX shares are up around 20 percent since then, although their performance lags the Nasdaq index, which was up up 30 percent in the same period.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: Apple’s LTE hub. As our IT environment fills up with more iPads, it becomes practical to ensure connectivity options are available no matter where you may be daily. With the Apple LTE communications function, everyone present can connect to the Internet and cloud services as long as at least one laptop is running the Apple iOS with the LTE mobile hotspot option. There is some disadvantage in that as more iPads join the group, the LTE network will have a slower response time for Internet queries.”

11-9-2013 3-52-56 PM

Buy Cerner shares if you want to invest in healthcare IT, poll respondents say. Looking back one year, your $10,000 investment would now be worth $22,488 (athenahealth), $14,811 (Cerner), $11,818 (Allscripts), $8,106 (Merge Healthcare), and $13,688 (Quality Systems). New poll to your right: how well do hospitals and practices use the data they already have to make improvements? Dr. Jayne pointed out that hospitals that don’t seem to have much interest in doing anything with the piles of data they’re already collecting are inexplicably salivating over big data. There’s no need for big data envy until you’ve wrung out every possible improvement from the “little” data you already have, which few hospitals and practices have done.

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

11-9-2013 4-18-54 PM
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11-9-2013 5-06-24 PM

Jeffrey Allport (JLA Insights) is named VP/CIO of Valley Presbyterian Hospital (CA).

11-9-2013 5-12-17 PM

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoenas US CTO Todd Park to testify at its November 13 hearing about Healthcare.gov, saying that he is the only administration witness “unwilling to appear voluntarily.” The White House responded that the subpoena was not necessary since Park offered to appear in December after he finishes work on the struggling site. The White House says it will “respond as appropriate.”

Epic and service provider NNIT win a big EHR deal for all of eastern Denmark, beating out Cerner and IBM/Systematic. According to a press release translated from Danish, “We have chosen Epic and NNIT’s offer as the economically most viable. All three bids included good, professional suggestions for the healthcare platform but in the end we chose the offer that scored the highest on the parameters we had defined for the bid in advance. Now we look forward to seeing the positive effect for our professional users and not least the patients.” The project for Regions Zealand and Hovedstaden, which will involve 40,000 users, is valued at $180 million. The Denmark-based Systematic was probably the pre-decision favorite. NNIT, oddly enough, is owned by drug manufacturer Novo Nordisk and, not so oddly, is also headquartered in Denmark.

11-9-2013 6-47-39 PM

From the Allscripts earnings call Friday:

  • CEO Paul Black blamed missed revenue numbers on the transition to subscription pricing. Not to be cynical, but surely this is the longest streak of quarterly reports in which a company blames its own voluntarily chosen strategy for causing disappointing results.
  • Most of the discussion revolved around population health and 40 percent of the Q3 bookings came from it.
  • The company talked up its electronic referral network and homecare solutions.
  • Black said 90 percent of Sunrise clients will commit to the 6.1 upgrade by the end of the year.
  • Both system sales revenue and professional services revenue were down, causing non-GAAP revenue to drop by 7 percent year over year.
  • Black confirmed that SVP Jim Hewitt, former Jardogs CEO and CIO of Springfield Clinic, will replace Cliff Meltzer as the head of development, although didn’t really answer the directly asked question of why the replacement was necessary.
  • Ambulatory solutions were hardly discussed except in the context of forming a network to connect all Allscripts users.

11-9-2013 6-00-46 PM

According to a tweet by former National Coordinator Farzad Mostashari, MD, the HIMSS EHR Association “can’t just say, ‘we don’t want FDA regulation.’ Have to work hard to make the (ONC) alternative work.”

11-9-2013 7-01-00 PM

The PR company that manges ONC’s “Health IT Buzz Blog” wins a PR society award for their efforts. You might be surprised (but probably not) by how many company blogs are ghostwritten or edited by freelance writers and PR flacks, aimed at promoting rather than informing. HHS/ONC awarded Ketchum a $25.8 million public relations contract in 2010  because of its track record in gaining public acceptance for unpopular projects, placing provider EHR adoption and patient privacy concerns in that category. The government has a history with Ketchum: the GAO said that a 2004-2005 series of Ketchum-produced prepackaged “news” reports sent to local TV stations to run as their own, complete with actors pretending to be journalists reporting from Washington, were actually “covert propaganda” that failed to disclose that the government paid for them.

ONC names the winners of its recent patient empowerment codeathon. In the Blue Button category: Edge Interns (patient health evaluations), Light Hearts (discharge CHF workflow), and Patient Watch (wearable device data tracking). In the financial category, WTF! Denied (redesign EOB and surely the most interesting name among the participants), MintMD (patient cost presentation), and Archimedes (ranks personalized insurance plans from California’s insurance exchange).

11-9-2013 7-02-21 PM

The CEO of University Hospital (GA) says hospitals will probably have to join in regional alliances to survive because of EHR costs and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. CEO Jim Davis, whose hospital spent $50 million on Epic and is facing another $30 million in upgrades, is considering signing a shared services contract with Novant Health, saying he can’t compete with that organization’s 20-hospital economy of scale. “When Novant, which has 20 hospitals, does an upgrade on their Epic system, which takes a lot of work, they spread that cost over 20 hospitals.  When I do that same upgrade, I spread it over one. If I can be the 21st hospital that (cost) gets spread over, then everybody’s costs goes down.” He’s worried about PPACA because Georgia opted out of Medicaid expansion and even those who buy insurance will probably buy the cheapest plans with high deductibles and lower provider reimbursement.

Weird News Andy isn’t impressed with the excuse of a Florida doctor caught on surveillance video stealing a framed bird picture from Naples Community Hospital by slipping it under his white coat after hours: the doctor claims he was just borrowing it.  

The city of Washington, DC seeks guardianship of its most frequent 911 caller, with its Department of Behavioral Health filing a court petition claiming that the 58-year-old woman (who was named in the report and in the newspaper story) has psychiatric disorders and insufficient mental capacity to make medical decisions for herself. The woman started calling 911 for fainting spells in 1997 and hasn’t stopped, racking up 226 calls and 117 ambulance transfers in the past year alone.

11-9-2013 8-09-43 PM

Monday is Veterans Day in the US, set aside to honor everyone (living and dead) who has served in the military. If you served, thank you. If you didn’t, thank them. Use hashtag #HonoringVets on Monday.

A reader asked me to re-run my 2007 list of EMR rollout rules. Here you go.

Mr. HIStalk’s Universal Rules for Big EMR Rollouts (From 2007)

1. Your hospital will pledge to make major process changes, vowing to “do it right” unlike all those rube hospitals that preceded you, but the executive-driven urgency to recoup the massive costs means the noble goals will change to just bringing the damn thing up fast, hopefully without killing patients in the process.

2. The project and/or system must be anointed with an incredibly dopey and user-embarrassing name, preferably chosen from user submissions and with the offer of crappy vendor paraphernalia or lame IT junk as a prize, and also preferably made up of a far-fetched phrase whose contrived acronym spells out a medically related word or female name. Instead of inspiring the expected collegial chumminess among users, it will serve as a bitter reminder of the innocent, naive days between RFP and go-live before it got ugly.

3. Doctors won’t use it like you think, if at all, because hospitals are one of few organizations left that doctors can say ‘no’ to.

4. You’ll spend a fortune on mobile devices and carts that will sit parked in a corral due to the short life of their $100 battery and a dysfunctional but not yet fully depreciated wireless network, the keystone arches to the entire project.

5. All the executives who promised undying support to firmly hold the tiller through the inevitable choppy waters and who overrode all the clinician preferences in a frenzy of inflated self esteem will vanish without a trace at the first sign of trouble, like when scarce nurses or pharmacists threaten to leave or when the extent of the vendor’s exaggeration first sees the harsh light of day in some analyst’s cubicle.

6. It will take three times as long and twice the cost of your worst-case estimate.

7. You’ll pay a vendor millions for a software package consisting of standardized business rules, then argue bitterly that all of them need to be rewritten because your hospital is extra-special and has figured out the secrets that have eluded the vendor’s 100 similar customers. The end result, if the vendor capitulates, will be a system that looks exactly like the one you kicked out to buy theirs.

8. You’ll loudly demand that the vendor ship regular software upgrades to fix all the bug issues you submit, but then you’ll refused to apply them because you’re scared of screwing something up with the skeleton maintenance staff you can afford, given that millions were spent on systems with nothing left for additional IT support staff or training.

9. All those metrics you planned to collect to show how quickly the EMR would pay for itself instead show the situation unchanged or getting worse, so factors beyond your control will be blamed (like a ridiculously long implementation time that changed all the assumptions and external conditions) and ROI will not be brought up again in polite company.

10. No matter how unimpressive the final result toward patient care or cost, the EMR will be lauded far and wide as wonderful since the vitality of the HIT industry (vendors, CIOs, consultants, magazines, HIMSS, bloggers) requires an unwavering belief that IT spending alone will directly influence quality, even when nothing else changes.

Vince continues his fascinating HIS-tory of McKesson, this time covering its acquisition of IBAX. He’s looking as always for fun stories, photos, and memories from folks who were there and his contact information is on the last slide.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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November 9, 2013 News 10 Comments

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