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Morning Headlines 12/1/14

November 30, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Cloud solutions firm 8K Miles buys electronic health record co SERJ

8K Miles, a technology company that offers cloud-based software solutions, acquires SERJ Solutions, a consulting firm focused on Epic EHR implementation support. 8K intends to use its newly acquired healthcare IT expertise to build a cloud-based healthcare solutions business.

Vista Equity Partners to Pay $1.1 Billion for British Software Maker

Vista Equity Partners acquires UK-based Advanced Computer Software Group (ACSG) for $1.14 billion. ACSG is a 20-year old EHR vendor with a growing market presence in primary care, home health, and mental health markets.

Google Glass Is Dead; Long Live Smart Glasses

MIT’s Technology Review forecasts the demise of Google Glass, but predicts that the first generation device has created enough interest in a glasses-based form factor that Google and others will continue working on it and eventually develop a glasses-based wearable with consumer appeal.

Electronic Health Records; How Will Students Learn If They Can’t Practice

An article in the Annals of Family Medicine calls on medical schools to incorporate hands-on EHR training into traditional medical education curriculum, despite concerns over the effect medical student contributions would have on billing practices and overall data integrity.

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November 30, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Monday Morning Update 12/1/14

November 30, 2014 News 3 Comments

Top News

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Cloud solutions provider 8K Miles Software Services acquires 30-employee Epic consulting firm SERJ Solutions. 8K Miles says it will use the newly acquired expertise to create cloud-based healthcare solutions. I was curious about SERJ’s self-proclaimed marketplace difference, which it describes as follows: “Through our unique and multi-faceted approach, SERJ is able to ensure your EHR implementation is successful by providing strategic and subject matter expertise, software tools to increase productivity and provide an immediate return on your investment, and a proven post-implementation support model.  We are committed to our clients, every step of the way.” Here’s a challenge: name one consulting firm’s “why we’re different” statement that suggests that they really are different in specific ways. I’m not saying there aren’t any, just that they are rare. 8K Miles is headquartered in San Ramon, CA and has an office in Chennai, India, which might explain why all seven members of its leadership team have Indian names. Meanwhile, even though 8K Miles declined to announced what it paid for SERJ, its CEO tells a financial site in India that it paid what I think is $2.5 million cash (if I did the conversion from Rupees Crore correctly) plus a potential earnout, with SERJ taking in annual revenue of $6.4 million.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Half of the respondents to my poll say they’ll use less IT-related consulting in 2015 as they did in 2014, with 14 percent predicting they’ll use more. New poll to your right or here, in a repeat of my 2011 poll that named a clear and possibly surprising winner: which city has the strongest claim to call itself the US capital of healthcare IT? Perhaps the winning metropolis will arrange an official and expense-paid visit for the award-bearing HIStalk delegation.

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Some folks involved with CommonWell Health Alliance have offered to answer questions from HIStalk readers after seeing several comments here. Send me anything you’d like to know about its technology, plans, business model, or anything else and I’ll get their response.

This week on HIStalk Practice: MediGain acquires Millennium Practice Management Associates. HIE-sponsored patient portals face an uphill adoption battle, while Epic’s portal wins rave reviews. Notes from the Health IT Leadership Summit. Dr. Gregg offers “It Do and It Don’t” observations on the impact of MU. Drchrono integrates biometric authentication into its EHR. James Stevermer, MD answers five questions. PracticeFusion docs see almost zero patient demand for wearable data integration. MD Mama puts being thankful in perspective.

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

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Listening: new from Brooklyn-based power pop band Nude Beach, which sounds like Tom Petty singing lead for The Replacements. I’m also revisiting concert video from the best live band in the world: Sweden’s The Hives, featuring the singer Mick Jagger wishes he could be, Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • ECRI Institutes includes missing or incomplete EHR information in its “Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2015”
  • CMS extends the 2014 Meaningful Use attestation deadline from November 30 to December 31 because its attestation software wasn’t ready in time.
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (MAI) pays $100,000 to settle a state complaint involving an unencrypted stolen laptop.
  • In Canada, a Montreal newspaper agrees with the health minister that the province’s $500 million EHR project is “an abysmal failure.”
  • Emdeon announces that it will acquire Change Healthcare for $135 million. Change Healthcare markets a benefits management system focused on helping employees make the most of their health benefits,

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Vivify Health receives a reported $15 million in Series B funding. The Plano, TX-based company offers remote patient monitoring and care coordination tools.

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Vista Equity Partners will buy British software vendor Advanced Computer Software Group for $1.14 billion. The company’s healthcare-related offerings include a community-based EHR and software for home care, ED, and long-term care.


People

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James Parks, former CIO of Box Butte County General Hospital (NE), is sentenced to three years in prison for storing child pornography on his hospital PC, discovered by his own IT staff who were investigating a hospital-spread virus that originated on his device.


Announcements and Implementations

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Johns Hopkins Nursing magazine covers the September switch of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center from skilled nursing facility to specialty hospital, which including moving it from paper to Meditech.

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GE Healthcare announces keynotes for its Centricity LIVE 2015 user conference, April 29-May 2, 2015 in Orlando: Atul Gawande, MD, MPH (surgeon and author), Melissa Etheridge (singer-songwriter), and LeVar Burton (actor, director, and the guy who wore what looked like a car air filter over his eyes in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”).


Innovation and Research

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VGo telepresence robots, tablet devices, network equipment, and software from Vecna Cares are sent to Ebola treatment units in Liberia, moving paper-based recordkeeping to electronic. Robotics researchers hope the telepresence robots can serve as interpreters, deliver supplies, decontaminate equipment, and bury deceased Ebola patients.


Technology

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An MIT Technology Review article titled “Google Glass is Dead; Long Live Smart Glasses” says interest in Glass has rapidly evaporated as Google has lost key personnel and failed to advance the product from geek beta experiment to consumer mainstream. The article says Glass’s biggest problem is the way “Glassholes” look wearing the device and concerns by those nearby that they are being unknowingly recorded. The article says the technology is fine, but the form factor needs to evolve so that the technology is hidden within the glasses instead of being perched like a prism on top of them, perhaps even being incorporated into a contact lens. It’s a tough break to have developed an entire business around an orphan product that may never make it out of beta. Meanwhile, disillusioned Glass Explorers are trying to unload their devices on eBay for less than the $1,500 they ponied up to get preview versions.


Other

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Gilbert Lederman, the former director of radiation oncology of Staten Island University Hospital (NY) will pay $2.35 million to settle Medicare fraud claims. He is best known for (a) his hospital commercials that ran on New York radio; (b) pestering a dying George Harrison to sign his son’s electric guitar; and (c) turning his office walls into a self-promotional billboard, as described by New York magazine as, “the kind of celebrity shrine you see in Italian red-sauce joints.”

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An internal email provided by a reader contains more details on the Epic outage following its October 26 go-live at England’s Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust.

University Hospitals (OH) fires an employee for inappropriately accessing the electronic medical records of 692 patients.

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At least 5,000 Russians, many of them doctors, march through Moscow to protest a healthcare reform plan driven by sagging oil prices and Western sanctions that would eliminate up to 10,000 physician jobs and close 28 hospitals and clinics in the next few weeks. Proponents say the actions are necessary to enact President Vladimir Putin’s pledge to increase physician salaries to twice that of the average employee by 2018.

An Annals of Family Medicine editorial written by ADFM’s Education Transformation Committee says medical school graduates require EHR competence that can be gained only by first-hand experience, recommending that supervised, patient-centered EHR use be added as an Entrustable Professional Activity even though some medical schools bar such access since students aren’t allowed to bill for their services.

The always-entertaining folks at pMD post Thanksgiving-related ICD-10 codes on their blog:

  • W61.42XD – Struck by turkey, subsequent encounter (drily noting, “If you find yourself confronted with a live turkey, you may want to rethink your Thanksgiving strategy”).
  • W29.0 – Contact with powered kitchen appliance, subsequent encounter.
  • K21.9 – Gastro-esophageal reflux disease without esophagitis (aka “heartburn and indigestion).
  • W52.XXXA – Crushed, pushed or stepped on by crowd or human stampede, initial encounter (a Black Friday special).
  • W22.02XA – Walked into lamppost, initial encounter (alcohol-fueled parade mishaps).

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The career development team at Besler Consulting ran a Thanksgiving food drive for the South Brunswick, NJ food pantry.

Also running a holiday food drive, this time a virtual version: Aprima employees are collecting money for the fifth year for Metrocrest Social Services, which serves communities near the company’s offices in Carrollton, TX. They like the “virtual food drive” idea because the organization pays less than retail and can provide fresh foods instead of just canned goods. Last year Aprima’s employees provided more than six tons of food, double that of the previous year. 

 

Vince Ciotti’s inaugural CLAS Report names Epic #2 in a very important category, with the billionaire-led company losing to a thousandaire who packs a size advantage.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

 

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November 30, 2014 News 3 Comments

Morning Headlines 11/26/14

November 25, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2015

ECRI publishes its annual list of health technology hazards, with inadequate alarm configuration topping the list, and incorrect or missing data in EHRs coming in second.

Nuance Announces Fiscal 2014 and Fourth Quarter Results

Nuance announces Q4 and FY2014 results: for the quarter, revenue was up 6.4 percent to $502 million, resulting in a net income of $107 million, EPS $0.33 vs $0.30. The company ended the year with $1.9 billion in revenue, up from $1.8 in FY2013.

Addenbrooke’s Hospital paperless system’s ‘significant problems’ reported

Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Epic’s first UK customer, is forced to divert incoming emergency department patients for five hours after the ED module became unstable.

MRMC’s fiscal year starts with a loss

The CIO of Magnolia Regional Medical Center (AR) reports that the hospital will need to return $287,000 in Meaningful Use incentive payments, despite passing what he describes as an “intense” MU audit.

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November 25, 2014 Headlines No Comments

News 11/26/14

November 25, 2014 News 2 Comments

Top News

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ECRI Institute announces its “Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2015”:

  • Setting medical alarms incorrectly.
  • Incorrect or missing information in EHR and other IT systems.
  • IV line mix-up.
  • Inadequate sterilization of surgical instruments.
  • Ventilator alarms incorrectly set to warn of disconnection.
  • Improper use and failures of patient-handling equipment such as lifts.
  • Inadequate training on robotic surgery systems.
  • Inadequate cybersecurity for medical devices and systems.
  • Lack of hospital resources to manage medical device recalls and software updates.

Reader Comments

From Tank Girl: “Re: consulting downturn. Implementation staff augmentation business is tough and rates are down. Strategic IT consulting is good if not on an upswing.” A couple of readers made similar observations – the hardest-hit companies are those that were just reselling go-live bodies without adding much value otherwise.

From Smitten: “Re: Karen DeSalvo’s closing address at AMIA. A remarkable performance. She walked up to the podium in front of several hundred, spotlight in her face, a stapled speech or whatever it was in hand, but no matter. Without glancing at it once, she spoke close to 30 minutes straight, without hesitation or stumbling, and lost neither the story nor the passion. She lacked neither humor or emotion. National Coordinator is nice, but if this woman does not become Surgeon General, then we’re missing a gift-wrapped package on our doorstep. Count this as a wager.” I didn’t see video from her AMIA talk, but here’s her TedXNOLA presentation from 2010.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

It appears that a spammer is spoofing the email address Imprivata used early this year for HIStalkapalooza announcements. I’ve been getting a ton of junk mail from histalkapalooza2014@imprivata.com with a purported fax link that’s actually a malware page. Obviously you don’t want to click the link even though the return address belongs to a company offering secure communications technology.

Holidays are good times to recognize the contributions of employees, so consider my “Beacon of Selfless Service” award. Managers, peers, and customers can nominate a non-management employee (vendor or provider) who went above and beyond. I’ll also be running recaps of holiday-related company good deeds or celebrations over the next few weeks, so feel free to send those along, preferably with a photo or two.

Apple’s iOS offers a nice option to disable auto-play videos when visiting a site over a cell connection. Every browser should have the option to suppress auto-play videos (including not just Flash-based video, but HTLM5 too). I haven’t found anything that works reliably yet, so I’m still jumping a foot in the air when I click a story on a new or sports site and the video I didn’t want to see starts playing automatically and loudly. I really dislike auto-play video.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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CareTech Solutions provided a statement following my Monday report that the FTC granted its approval for an acquisition by IT/BPO outsourcer HTC Global Services: “CareTech Solutions has made an ‘Intent to Sell Filing’ with HTC Global Services, a Troy, Michigan based global provider of IT solutions and business processing outsourcing. We are now undergoing the necessary administrative process that goes along with this filing. At this time, there is currently no agreement.”

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HIMSS acquires the Online Journal of Nursing Informatics, a free, quarterly, online-only journal produced by team of volunteers.

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Streamline Health Solutions gets a $10 million credit facility.

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Nuance reports Q4 results: revenue up 6.4 percent, adjusted EPS $0.33 vs. $0.30. Healthcare sales rose 7 percent to make up 47 percent of Q4 revenue. Chairman and CEO Paul Ricci said in the earnings call that revenue is growing and operating margins are stabilizing after two years’ of decline.

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Covisint will depart the Detroit building of its former parent Compuware, moving its headquarters and 250 employees to Southfield, MI after choosing Michigan’s incentive package over offers from Austin, TX and Raleigh, NC.


Sales

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Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital extends its Allscripts Sunrise contract through 2020 and will use TouchWorks as the EHR for its network.

Memorial Healthcare (MI) will replace pagers with Imprivata Cortext.

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Kennedy Health System (NJ) chooses eClinicalWorks Care Coordination Medical Record and Electronic Health Exchange.


Announcements and Implementations

Scottsdale Institute releases an IT strategy report from a CIO roundtable at its September summit, sponsored by Impact Advisors.  I didn’t see anything surprising or particularly insightful in its recommendations from eight big-system CIOs to support hospital consumerism:

  • Focus on the patient and family experience
  • Maximize use of patient portals
  • Implement e-visits and telemedicine
  • Improve use of mobile technology
  • Develop a retail strategy
  • Improve IT security via standards and user training
  • Implement analytics carefully
  • Reduce variability
  • Develop software in-house as needed to fill gaps

Lakewood Health System (MN) will participate in the Medicare Shared Savings ACO of Essentia Health (MN) and will use its Epic EHR under Epic’s Community Connect program. Lakewood went live on McKesson Paragon in 2012.

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TransUnion Healthcare announces that the KLAS’s new patient access report rates the company as the highest-performing vendor for its patient pay estimation and propensity to pay solutions.

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University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics wins the enterprise Davies award. They’re on Epic.


Government and Politics

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CMS extends 2014 Meaningful Use attestation deadlines for hospitals from November 30 to December 31, primarily because CMS didn’t get its own software ready in time to meet the original date.

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The CEO of 49-bed Magnolia Regional Medical Center (AR) tells its board that the hospital had to return $287,000 in HITECH money after undergoing a Meaningful Use audit.

A draft bill created by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) would limit FDA’s jurisdiction over EHR and other medical technology that its authors label as having low risk to patient safety.


Innovation and Research

A literature review concludes that corporate wellness programs increase employer healthcare costs while providing no net health benefit.


Technology

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Proof that Twitter’s user interface is somewhere between baffling and maddening: Twitter’s CFO accidentally tweets out to the whole world (instead of his intended individual recipient) an acquisition-related message.


Other

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In England, a county review of the $300 million Epic implementation of Cambridge-affiliated Addenbrooke’s Hospital finds that ED performance dropped 20 percent after go-live and the ED had to go on diversion after the system went down on November 1. Hospital executives have been denying significant problems, admitting only minor problems with a blood transfusion analyzer interface. Chief Clinical Officer Afzal Chaudhry, MBBS,PhD (above) says the implementation is going well given its large scope.

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Eight hospitals and several practices went back to paper for several hours Monday when a data center power surge took down the IT systems of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems (ME), which had eliminated 40 IT positions a few weeks ago to reduce annual expenses.

The Cincinnati business paper covers University of Cincinnati Medical Center’s eight-patient clinical trial in which tablet-powered systems from Intel-GE Care Innovations are being used to monitor discharged liver transplant patients.

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An article written by a former advertising executive and Presidential speechwriter five days before he died of prostate cancer on October 31 describes the fighting between his oncologist and insurer over his treatment. He said he and his doctors followed every rule of Health Republic / MagnaCare, but the insurance company refused to pay after waiting five months to claim his doctors were out of network, ignored his calls, blamed him using for incorrect physician codes, and said his doctors were lying to him about being in network.

For I know now how this company really feels about their customers. It was perfectly expressed in the letter I received last week when they tried to explain why they were turning down my oncologist’s request for that critical cancer test. It was, of course, a form letter. Very legal. “The request for outpatient medical services has been reviewed and has not been certified.” But they gave themselves away with a very strange sentence—their only effort to acknowledge me as a human being. It read: “Member is over 85 year old and continues to smoke.” So, that’s it. According to my insurers, I have already lived too long. And because, until recently, I enjoyed my two or three cigarettes a day, I am a bad boy who is not worth the cost of keeping alive. No wonder they won’t pay.

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The medical license of a New Mexico OB/GYN who is also the incoming president of the state medical society is suspended after charges that he had sex with patients and his employees, was inebriated while seeing patients, left a woman in labor so he could have sex with another patient, and wrote “inappropriate notations of a personal nature into certain patient medical charts.”

Weird News Andy says “8 Million a Second” isn’t Judy Faulkner’s salary, but rather the number of bacteria that are transferred during an intimate kiss, with the result that romantic partners share the same “microbiota” on their tongues for at least hours after kissing and and sometimes permanently. WNA also cites another study in which kissing was found to chemically reduce stress and increase bonding, also observing found that men prefer “sloppy” kisses as a prelude to amorous activity because those kisses transfer testosterone.


Sponsor Updates

  • Salar’s clinical documentation and billing solution, TeamNotes, earns Meaningful Use 2 certification.
  • Fujifilm announces that it has installed 4,000 Synapse PACS, making it the most widely used medical informatics vendor.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

 

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November 25, 2014 News 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 11/25/14

November 25, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

EHR Program Announcement

CMS extends the Meaningful Use attestation deadline from November 30 to December 31.

Congress ponders health IT regs and the FDA, again

Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo) are collaborating on a new health IT regulatory bill that would eliminate FDA oversight and remove medical device tax requirements for most EHR and clinical decision support systems.

Validating drug repurposing signals using electronic health records: a case study of metformin associated with reduced cancer mortality

Researchers are turning to EHR data analysis to help them discover potential new uses for existing prescription drugs. Vanderbilt University and Mayo Clinic demonstrated the effectiveness of the approach after correlating metformin, a type-2 diabetes medication, with improved cancer outcomes.

AHA president and CEO to retire at the end of 2015

American Hospital Association president and CEO Rich Umbdenstock announces that he will retire at the end of 2015. AHA has engaged Korn Ferry, a national executive search firm, to find a replacement.

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November 25, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

HIStalk Interviews Siva Subramanian, SVP Mobile Products, Zynx Health

November 24, 2014 Interviews No Comments

Siva Subramanian is SVP of mobile products for Zynx Health of Los Angeles, CA.

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Tell me about yourself and the company.

My background is in communications technology. I worked as head of product management for Nortel and Avaya, doing their healthcare vertical products, providing communications solutions to hospitals. That’s how I came across the challenges that hospitals faced in coordinating care. Communications was a big piece of this. They needed something more than just phones.

My wife, also the co-founder at CareInSync, was the head of quality improvement and also a hospitalist by training from UCSF and currently at the VA. Her area of research is care transition. That created a perfect storm for me to understand the challenges, understand the customer needs, as well as what the ideal solution could be like, which led to the founding of CareInSync.

 

Several companies are popping up to offer secure messaging and care coordination, sometimes both. How would you define the broad categories and positioning of competitors with ZynxCarebook?

If you can visualize, I draw a layered diagram. At the very bottom layer are basic communications. Whether they are phone or text messaging, whether it’s a secure text or not secure text, doesn’t matter. That’s basic communications that can connect one to many or one to one, most often one to one.

Above that, the next layer is the patient-centered team communications, which involves not just a formation of the team which is around each patient, but tracking of the work flows associated with each of those team members to keep the team structure integrity as the patient moves from one setting to another. That’s care team messaging and work flow that comes about.

Then on top of that, once we have a team that’s delivering care for a patient continuously connected to a solution such as ours, we can now direct evidence-based interventions based on where the patient is, where they’re going, what the roles of the people in the care team are, based on a set of content that’s been proven out, and work flows that have been proven to be efficient and effective. 

We need to have all three layers to deliver outcomes and improvement through healthcare organizations. If you’re doing just the bottom layer, which is what a majority of the basic secure messaging solutions do, then what you’re doing is trading off a phone for a text-based modality. That is an improvement, but it’s marginal at best.

 

When you talked about the interventions that are based on content and work flow, tell me what that means and how the acquisition by Hearst brings that together with the other elements that Hearst offers.

In my previous company, Nortel-Avaya, as a communications company, you could only do so much. You could replace modalities or perhaps make a more efficient connection. But that’s where you stopped.

To  go to the next level, you needed healthcare domain experience to understand the work flow of the 15-20 different disciplines of care team members that connect around a patient, depending whether they are in an acute setting, post-acute setting, or even at home. That required us to work through and work with healthcare organizations to understand that. Of course my wife was a key player in all this.

Then we leveraged a lot of existing interventions that have been proven to improve care transitions, like Project Boost and Project Red. We realized that if we were to grow beyond CareInSync, we needed a more sound footing and a credible footing in the clinical domain, which is to be able to leverage a much bigger bank or library of clinical interventions. That way we can direct all this information to the right people who are now captured by our solution.

That’s why the marriage with Hearst/Zynx became very timely for our group and an appropriate fit. It helped us differentiate from the lower-layer players.

 

What are examples of improving clinical outcomes from tying together communications, content. and work flow?

A very good example that ties all of these three layers together is a patient who is showing up at the emergency department. The patient’s being tracked by a care manager as part of an accountable care organization. The care manager has no idea that this patient has shown up at the ED.

Our solution can automatically alert when a patient tagged as high risk arrives in the ED. The care manager is automatically notified and brought into the team. They can now input into our mobile solutions key risk factors that they are aware of, which are very important for that ED doctor, who is only going to spend probably two or three hours with that patient and then they will either admit them or discharge them from the ED. That information and communication with someone who knows that patient well needs to happen in a matter of seconds, before the ED physician or nurse has taken some action on that particular patient.

Some of our existing customers have made a footprint in navigating the patient away from a high-cost approach to doing what that patient did not ask for versus what is a better approach for the patient preferred based on their choices of being DNR and things like that. They have had very real examples of cost savings as well as improved outcomes for the patient, not to mention better dignity of care for that particular patient.

 

A study just came out showing what most of us in healthcare already knew, that handoffs and changes in care settings are a big problem. Can technology and content be used to improve the handoff process?

That’s pretty much what we do. When we connect the things together, we provide a very concise set of assessment forms that gauge the barriers that this patient is going to have as a transition. For instance, from an acute setting to home. Those barriers then are married, if you will, to interventions that mitigate those particular barriers.

A good example is, if the patient has no transportation and lack of social support, meaning they live alone, then we automatically trigger a notification and invite a social worker into that patient’s team. This patient requires transportation to pick up medication, transportation to their primary care office. That connection is made in real time.

Normally this would require someone to make several pages and phone calls that may or may not complete and then the receiving person has to dig into the patient’s records to find all this information. We eliminate all that to make these interventions timely and for the right patient at the right time.

 

You saw the potential impact of mobile technology vs. desktop devices early on. What capabilities do you see in the future for using mobile in a clinical setting?

The two examples I described would be either sub-optimal or at worst not even be possible for a web-based solution, because as you know, they all require someone to be sitting in front of the computer looking at the information. The one thing that care providers lack into this environment — maybe two things, because technology is one — but the other thing is time, because they’re taking care of 20 different patients or more simultaneously. To change context in your mind around who needs what, you need a tool that can dynamically present to you which patient needs what in real time.

That push-based technology is going to become more and more prevalent. This is why physicians, if you’ve seen the stats, are moving to smartphones by the droves. They’re leveraging not just solutions, real-time solutions, but also just any type of content. It needs to be at the point of care, and most of the healthcare providers are rarely sitting down in a conference room discussing with other people.

 

A lot of the cost and the inefficiency of healthcare is trying to orchestrate the resources to be in the same place at the same time. Surgery is always a good example, where you’re trying to bring together a team, equipment, supplies, and the patient. Mobile brings people together. Are customers seeing job satisfaction improvement because people know where they’re supposed to be and when?

There are two types of scenarios. One is where there’s no other alternative, that the people have to be in the same place at the same time, as you described. Surgery is one.

Another example is where they wish they could be at the same place, same time, but they just cannot, like when you’re rounding on a patient. It’s very important for everybody to write their inputs, get the assessment that is interdisciplinary in nature, and then go back and take care of the patient based on their discipline. That’s very challenging in an acute care environment.

What we enable is a virtual huddle. Essentially, meaning they’re all connected around the patient. Assessments are kind of like a a very simple Google Doc for a patient. They’re real time, shared, simultaneously updated, and interventions are driven automatically. We help, with the mobile devices, alleviate that need for certain types of needing to be together and we make that virtual.

For others, a good example is a physician is talking to a patient. The patient may as a result of the conversation need to talk to some other discipline. With a real-time tool, you can pop open the patient’s page, see who the other provider is. Regardless of what shift or when the time of day is, you can instantly contact that person, and if need be, have them come to the room when the patient needs that.

Just-in-time care is going to become more prevalent. Care is going to become more efficient. Part of the reason is there’s no choice. Hospitals, if they don’t become more efficient, are going to be out of business.

 

I saw the product offers checklists. What are people doing with those?

Two things. When Gawande published “The Checklist Manifesto,” it made absolutely a very big splash. But if you read this book, he says two things — checklists and collaboration. Unfortunately, collaboration didn’t make the buzz when he published that book.

That’s what we bring together. We bring together a dynamic checklist that is driven based on the patient’s specific needs. We bring that collaboration, because the checklist filled by one person alone in the care team is not of any value if the other people have not read it and used it to influence their care.

By taking what would be otherwise a clickable form in an EMR or a paper form and making it a shared item that multiple people can simultaneously update and then it dynamically changes based on these rules and interventions that I alluded to earlier around that care team — that’s what really brings and makes an effective checklist.

 

What level of integration do you need to have to get other information sources such as the electronic health record?

At minimum, our product only requires a registration feed, an ADT feed. We require demographics information to identify the patient and to track as they move from different settings in the acute care environment or when they go into the post-acute environment. Beyond that, any other information that our tool uses is all entered into our tool because it’s primarily a very concise and very specific tool aimed at transitions, handoffs, and transfers.

You don’t need the mountain of information that’s in the EMR to make this process effective and efficient. There are specific touch points such as a discharge summary or an intake risk assessment. Certain customers have asked for that to be brought in, which we do on a custom basis. But the majority of our deployments are based on purely just ADT input. It’s a very lightweight input into our system.

 

Developers who are new to healthcare usually create an easy standalone application that doesn’t touch HIPAA and doesn’t  integrate with anything. What are the challenges when you’re trying to develop and support something that’s enterprise-grade for a healthcare setting and fully connected versus those simple standalone apps that work in their own world?

We went through this dilemma early on. Unfortunately, even the investment world has been caught in that bubble trying to invest in very simple applications, because they feel that that is something that can be understood easily and can grow.

Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of those type of applications that can deliver strong value and outcomes to a healthcare organization or even to a patient. That’s just the nature of the healthcare beast. If you’re selling to a hospital, you need a solution that is part of the work flow, even if it’s just a single discipline.

Like for instance, nurse. It’s very hard to do one slice of one small piece of a nurse’s work flow and survive as a company or as a solution. You may get few adoptions. No clinician wants to go to one place for certain things, then go to another place for certain other things.

Where some of this is being made easier or the barriers are being lowered is with mobile phones and tablets. Because of the push technology, the user doesn’t have to make a conscious decision to switch applications. The push can automatically present the information that they need to know at a given time. That’s alleviating some of this, but for a large portion of it, the applications need to be quite sophisticated and enterprise-grade with HIPAA compliance and other characteristics which makes it difficult for a start-up to scale without a significant amount of investment or being acquired. We chose a partner that can take us there. Zynx Health is ideal.

 

It’s difficult for companies to get a foothold. It’s tough to get a pilot. They have to compete for attention on the mobile device. They have to do some sort of outcome study or return on investment. Do you think it’s inevitable that most start-ups will fail and that those do succeed will have to be acquired to get critical mass?

I believe so. There will be many that are not able to even find that initial customer to fully deploy. Those that find it often flounder in the first four or five customers.

Once you’re over 10-plus, then you start getting that mass of implementation experience and references. But getting to 10 customers requires a significant level of runway because sales cycles in this world are … six months is a very good cycle, I would say. You have to have longevity or very significant amount of cash behind you from major investors.

Some start-ups have made it to that point — AirStrip is a good example –  but they’re going to be very few and far. A few of those will be acquired and then there will be many, many of those that just don’t make it.

 

What do you see for the future?

The direction we started out in fortunately didn’t require too many pivots to arrive where we are. Again, we’re extremely fortunate to find a partner like Zynx Health within the Hearst Health network that’s laterally aligned at the Zynx Health level, because care transitions and care continuum as well as just enabling team-based care for patients is a significant part of the Zynx Health vision as well, guided by evidence which they have gathered and are the market leaders. We are very happy to be part of that.

If you look at the Hearst Health Vision, this now takes us into the home environment, there’s the payer environment … Hearst has made investments into all of these areas. Under Hearst Health, now we’re able to share information across these portfolio companies to become bigger than the sum of the parts.

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November 24, 2014 Interviews No Comments

Advisory Panel: Favorite Vendor

November 24, 2014 Advisory Panel 1 Comment

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

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

This month’s question: Who is your favorite healthcare IT-specific vendor (product or services) right now and why?


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IMO, Intelligent Medical Objects. They have a team that we’ve seen be proactive in finding ways to help ease our physicians’ jobs. Their products are cost effective, especially when we point to amount of provider happiness they return. We’ve partnered with them for at least one beta partnership and are currently considering another, in part because of how easy they are to work with.


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I’m pretty happy with Allscripts right now. It’s a completely different company under Paul Black vs. Glen Tullman. Now that I’ve said that out loud, I’ve probably jinxed the relationship. 


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Epic delivers an adequate documentation system that automates workflow, can be integrated with other clinical and administrative systems, and scales to our very large care delivery system.

Epic. Sorry, that might not be the politically popular answer. But they are continuously focused on making their products better and making their customers successful. And the idea that they are trying to block interoperability in some way is frankly nuts. The recent back-and-forth in the press on interoperability and who is the best or the most committed is mostly posturing in advance of the impending DoD contract. Could Epic do better in this area? Absolutely. Could Cerner and the rest of “CommonWell?” Absolutely. We need a common standard.

Epic. They are the most focused on healthcare reform and the most ready to adopt and support the changes.


I don’t have a favorite company right now as I am dealing with too many that I would like to get rid of.


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Favorite is Wairever. They offer Plexina, which is a content management tool that we use for developing and managing order sets. The tools they provide are fantastic and their responsiveness has been great.


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Fortified Health Solutions. They partner (and I do mean partner) with us to provide security monitoring and consulting. We’re much safer than we were a year ago because of their recommendations and guidance.


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My favorite vendors lately are Vocera and small nurse call vendor called Critical Alert Systems. They have been extremely engaging and get it – they both have engaged individually and collaboratively to figure out how we achieve our desired result. They have been candid, direct, and honest. I wish larger vendors would get off their high horse and act like they did when they were half their size. Every CEO should ask themselves: how did we act when we had half the customers and market share? My favorite services company lately is Beacon Partners. Ralph is easy to do business with, easy to interact, with and hasn’t let me down yet!


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Cerner is my favorite vendor as they are rescuing Siemens from the mud.  (I am a Siemens customer.)


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EClinicalWorks. They have many shortcomings, but are delivering a usable ambulatory EMR at a decent ROI. Their support folks respond and often can help solve problems.


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I am absolutely overwhelmingly impressed with Salesforce.com. They are not an HIT vendor, but they have shown me an ability to provide a malleable platform along with a team of leaders who really get it.


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Meditech. Provides the best level of support, especially with their task management system. Meditech has also become more proactive and letting clients know about software issues and severity of the issues. The stability of the system is still topnotch, with no unplanned downtime in our environment in over two years. Meditech also has a lower maintenance cost then many of our other vendors. Not that you asked, but the vendor that we struggle with the most is eClinicalWorks. Communication with eCW is very, very difficult and they don’t use their task management system very well.


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Microsoft Azure and Office 365. Removes a heavy load of keeping the lights on. CommVault — best solution to backup to Azure and have the ability to preform legal/investigative searches.


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There are two I would highlight. The first is the best staffing firm in the world, iMethods Inc out of Jacksonville, FL. They are the only firm I have worked with that realize that is a person with a resume versus a resume that happens to come with a person. The other company is dbMotion. We are working on a project with them right now where we will connect all of our community data and make it actionable at the point of care, where it is needed most. Great stuff there that will put our community in a great position for the future.


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November 24, 2014 Advisory Panel 1 Comment

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 11/24/14

November 24, 2014 Dr. Jayne No Comments

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I’m getting ready to be a volunteer judge for the local science fair. I’m communicating with not only the school’s science fair coordinator, but with a couple of student ambassadors who have been assigned to make sure the judges know what to expect and have all the materials they need.

It’s been fun seeing the student packet and how they can leverage technology. This year they’re even offering a “virtual science fair” where submissions can be entered via electronic presentations rather than on the time-honored table display.

This is the same school where I’ve spoken at Career Day in the past. It’s always fun to see young people embrace technology when I spend a good chunk of my time helping physicians who are fighting it tooth and nail.

I just hope they’re teaching the students how to use technology responsibly because some of my hospital co-workers seem to be challenged by it. I’m still amazed by the number of people who haven’t yet mastered the art of the blind carbon copy, not to mention restraint where “reply all” is concerned. Those elements are just basic workplace standards, but workplace use of social media is another thing entirely.

Sharing your life with co-workers on Facebook shouldn’t be taken lightly. I’m not a heavy Facebook user, but I do have an account since it’s an easy way to keep up with college and med school friends. It’s tempting to accept friend requests from people at work. Usually I accept them since I don’t have anything to hide and it’s unlikely I’ll be posting any wild and crazy party pictures that could haunt me down the line. Even as a casual user, though, there is a fair amount of content that builds up over a couple of years.

I hadn’t really thought much about it until one of my colleagues started mentioning random things to me. They seemed familiar, but I couldn’t really place them. I have to admit it was a little unnerving since I wasn’t making the connection.

Finally, after a couple of weeks of this, he mentioned seeing something I posted on Facebook. It all made sense. This guy had completely stalked me on Facebook, reading everything I had ever posted and making note of everything I had “liked” for the last several years.

In addition to making me feel completely creeped-out, it made me think a lot about my social media footprint. I don’t accept friend requests from patients, although any patient who tries to friend me will get a friend request from our office’s account instead so that we’re not ignoring them. I have my security settings pretty narrow and I don’t post overly-personal information. Still, one could look at the pattern of comments and likes and end up putting together a profile that really doesn’t fit me at all.

There are also the privacy concerns about companies like Facebook capturing our browsing patterns and selling that data and a host of other scary situations. Their ability to peer into our lives is limited by the power of their algorithms and the data they had to work with.

On the flip side, there are companies that we willingly provide a host of personal data to that can’t seem to present useful information. I receive weekly emails from a couple of job-hunting type sites, and despite my building a fairly decent profile, they still send me junk.

This week one of them found me some interesting positions: System Center Operations Manager; Medical Technologist; Hotel/Resort Sales Recruiter; Business Analyst for Nestle Purina Pet Care; Cardiovascular Pharmaceutical Sales Professional; Infusion Center Nurse; Senior Storage and Back-up Engineer; and Inpatient RN. My favorite was “Intern, software development.”

The only one that remotely fit my profile was for an emergency department locum tenens position. I’m thinking that either their algorithm has gone haywire or it just can’t handle the chaotic scope of keywords a CMIO might have on her resume. It makes me want to think twice about the ways we process big data for patient care and whether we have enough measures in place to flag whether trouble is brewing.

On the other hand, if our HR department uses anything like what this website is using, it might go a long way to help explain why we have such a difficult time finding qualified candidates for some of our open positions.

Do you have concerns about social media or analytics gone wild? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

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November 24, 2014 Dr. Jayne No Comments

Morning Headlines 11/24/14

November 23, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Beth Israel fined $100,000 for patient data breach

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will pay a $100,000 fine after an unencrypted laptop containing personal information of 4,000 patients and employees is stolen. The Massachusetts attorney general’s office says that lax data security practices were to blame for the data being compromised.

Traditional primary care, meet next year’s model

The Advisory Board Company publishes a consumer survey focused on the growing retail clinic (Walgreens, CVS) model of delivering primary care, and what it means for traditional family practice offices.

Electronic health records project has been a failure

In Quebec, a local paper scrutinizes a $563 million government funded project that was scheduled to bring EHRs to all primary and secondary care providers in the province by 2010. The project is now four years behind schedule and looking at revised cost of $1.6 billion.

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November 23, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Monday Morning Update 11/24/14

November 23, 2014 News 9 Comments

Top News

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Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (MA) will pay $100,000 to settle a state complaint over the 2012 theft of a laptop that contained the health information of 4,000 employees and patients. The attorney general said the hospital broke the law in failing to encrypt the device. CIO John Halamka says the hospital has since started encrypting all devices and requires employees to verify annually that their personal devices are encrypted.


Reader Comments

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From Sam Lawrence: “Re: CommonWell. I read through their website to understand what exactly they offer and was unsuccessful. Tons of reference to ‘services’ and appears to be written entirely in vague marketing-speak. What can the two endpoints exchange? CCDAs? Discrete data? If so, what data? Can it be viewed and pulled directly into the EHR at either end? Do users have to query for data or is it passively making connections behind the scenes? Maybe this is coming, but instead of some fluff quotes, I’d like to understand what the provider actually gets and how it’s helpful.” Their website has specific use cases and refers to documents that members receive, so I assume it’s really just non-members who are still in the dark. CommonWell gets a pass for their hastily prepared HIMSS13 publicity rush, but for a group that talks a lot about transparency and openness, they aren’t very good at either when it comes to explaining their business model, technology, and the status of their offering to the industry as a whole (they’re kind of like Epic in that regard, in fact). The latest announcement looked like a committee-edited PR fluff piece. I suppose that’s inevitable when you ask several EHR vendors to collectively agree on anything. Loftily stated benefit to mankind notwithstanding, I fully expect that McKesson and Cerner expect to make money or gain competitive advantage from their participation, so I would just like them to say so.

From Donald: “Re: health IT consulting. We’re seeing a huge downturn. Rates are down a bit and opportunities are way down. Every consultant and recruiter I’ve talked to says the same thing.”

From Mr. Ron Anejo: “Re: health IT consulting. The market is dead. Very few large implementations remain, providers aren’t chasing MU $, and uncertainty surrounding possible repeal of the ACA has Medicare heavy hospitals and health systems freezing spending. In speaking with many consultants, they’re terrified because recruiters are no longer calling them 10 times a day with offers and aren’t sure how long they will be without work. Supply (consultants) definitely outweighs demand for services right now — consulting firms should be able to drive down pay rates and hospitals should push for lower rates.”

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From Deborah Kohn: “Re: ICD-10 phase-in. I contacted Sue Bowman, AHIMA’s Senior Director, Coding Policy and Compliance (Public Policy & Governmental Relations), who confirmed and articulated what I suspected. Per Sue: It’s not just a matter of accepting both code sets – someone has to process the codes, be able to analyze and compare data, etc. With different providers on different code sets, it would be a nightmare. And there is also the matter of coordination of benefits. Our healthcare delivery and reimbursement systems are too inter-connected to allow different entities to use different code sets for the same date of service.” CMS is abound with botched, expensive IT projects (Healthcare.gov being just the most visible one), so I wouldn’t be optimistic that the checks will keep flowing without interruption. Here’s a free tip for mainstream reporters looking for a big story: start sleuthing around in the spring to see how confident CMS’s contractors and project people are about their ICD-10 readiness and how thoroughly they’ve tested. I bet they, like providers, just moved on to something else while waiting out the year-long delay.

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From Jello Biafra: “Re: CareTech Solutions. Has it been sold to Mr. Madhava Reddy?” Weekend confirmation is hard to get, so I’ll stick with facts: (a) the Federal Trade Commission approved on November 20 the acquisition of CareTech Solutions, Inc. by Madhava Reddy; (b) Madhava Reddy is president and CEO of IT/BPO outsourcer HTC Global Services; and (c) both companies are located in Troy, MI.

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From Dan: “Re: Dr. Oz. Invites fans to send him questions via Twitter, getting gems such as ‘I just got my flu shot — when can I expect to develop autism?’" America’s favorite daytime TV huckster doctor should have known better to take to the Twitterverse given the flack he takes for touting bizarre miracle drugs and refusing to have his children vaccinated. My favorite questions asked of him: (a) “What has been your most profitable lie for money so far?”; (b) “Is snake oil gluten free?”; and (c) “Why have you not been censured or fired from Columbia Surgery for conduct unbecoming a physician, scientist, and gentleman?”

From The PACS Designer: “Re: Office 365 sharing. The Garage Series for Office 365 ProPlus highlights a nice upgrade called shared computer activation, which can enhance productivity for multiple users of any computer.” It uses Remote Desktop Services to allow multiple users to connect to the same remote computer simultaneously to run Office 365 ProPlus programs like Word or Excel. It was announced using hospital nurses as an example.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Most poll respondents left their most recent jobs because of problems management could have resolved, with 50 percent saying they didn’t like management, were overworked, or lacked opportunity. A surprising 9 percent said they were fired from their last position. New poll to your right or here for hospital or practice people: how much IT consulting will you use in 2015 vs. 2014? Vote and then click Comments to explain – I’m curious about what seems to be a consulting downturn and I’d like to learn more.

Some interesting comments from last week’s poll:

  • Laid off. Other hand-picked layoffs included people who had worn out their welcome at the company after on-the-job injury, bereavement, and of course, cancer.
  • Competition was eating our lunch nationally, and their response was to constantly cut staff and raise prices; classic short-term thinking.
  • The software company where I worked for many, many years sent me to India to train developers. After I returned, the company decided they didn’t need the experienced local staff and our jobs were outsourced to India.
  • I left, not because I was unhappy or underpaid at my last job, but because I saw an large challenge in my new job… this new job came a’-calling and the offer was intriguing. Essentially the same money, but in a warmer climate. The job though was to start a program from scratch, accelerate it as quickly as possible. I wanted to see if I could do it.
  • When I turned in my notice, management went after me. They contacted Epic to look into if I might be trying to go into consulting. Epic found I was. My management told them to blackball me in an attempt to get me to stay. The job which I was to start in a few weeks disappeared. The site and recruiter were told by Epic that they could not do business with me since I was leaving an active installation, which was untrue.
  • Individuals in management roles tended to be those who stuck with the company the longest, rather than individuals who were talented or forward-thinking. There was no official training that management received, as far as we knew, so most managers didn’t know how to grow their team members or keep them at the company (most managers had no idea how to handle HR issues either, like what to do when an employee told them they wanted to quit).

I was frustrated at not being able to see a journal article because it’s behind the paywall of a for-profit journal publisher. My conclusion: journals should continue providing a service in vetting and editing submitted research articles, but perhaps the authors should pay a submission fee and let everybody read the resulting article for free. That would serve several purposes: (a) it would reduce the number of crap articles that are accepted only because the journal is desperate for content; (b) journals could stop accepting ads if they haven’t already, or they could all start running ads as long as the editorial process is separate; and (c) human knowledge would be diffused to everyone, not just high-paying subscribers. That’s especially true of articles written from government-sponsored research or by government employees: why should I as a taxpayer have to pay to see them? It’s the author that gets bragging rights and personal benefit, so let them pay. I’d also like to see an impartial panel of experts grade the methodology, originality, and applicability of each article, which might shame sloppy authors or journals into not wasting reader time.

Listening: new from Gerard Way, the former singer of My Chemical Romance. Not bad, although MCR was a lot better.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • CVS Health announces plans to open a 100-employee technology development center in Boston that will create consumer-engaging technologies and work with health-related startups.
  • EHealth Initiative’s “2020 Roadmap” calls for the federal government to refocus Meaningful Use on interoperability, get EHR vendors to offer API access to their systems, and align federal agency interoperability efforts.
  • Cleveland Clinic creates Adeo, a for-profit company and website that will sell software developed by it and academic medical centers in the Healthcare Innovation Alliance.
  • Emdeon announces that it will acquire consumer engagement tools vendor Change Healthcare for $135 million.
  • A Salesforce blog post describes how Johns Hopkins Healthcare is using its platform to manage high-risk patients, seemingly confirming a big healthcare push by the company.
  • UPMC takes a $9 million gain by selling a procurement systems software company it created to a private equity firm.

Webinars

Webinar recordings recently added to YouTube:

Improving Trial Accrual by Engaging the Digital Healthcare Consumer

Cerner Takeover of Siemens, Are You Ready? Vince and Frank have hit over 1,000 YouTube views in four days, giving them a good shot at surpassing Dim-Sum’s all-time record.


Government and Politics

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Karen DeSalvo tweeted out this farewell photo with Jacob Reider in a nice gesture. They have something in common: both are doctors who used to work full time for ONC.


Technology

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US News profiles Health Heritage, developed by NorthShore University HealthSystem (boy, do I hate that multiply conjoined words name created by marketers run amok – why create a dumb name that 99.9 percent of your customers couldn’t spell in a bar bet?). It’s a genomic decision support system that combines family history to information from Epic, developed by the founder of Apache Medical Systems. Of 3,000 people who signed up and downloaded their NorthShore information, 13 percent were flagged as being high risk for cancer.


Other

An Advisory Board survey lists the reasons doctors are worried about retail clinics:

  • They will siphon off the profitable and more easily managed simple cases.
  • Patients don’t understand the value of provider continuity and will seek convenient access instead.
  • Retail clinics will move up the food chain in offering ever-expanding services that threaten the medical group model.

My reaction as a patient:

  • If a practice can’t survive without cranking through expensive but mindless sore throat and fever encounters that trigger an automatic (and often clinically inappropriate) antibiotic prescription, then we have too many practices.
  • Providers haven’t in most cases demonstrated the value of continuity to their patients, treating each encounter like an impromptu hooker visit where the patient describes what they have and what they want in 10 furtive minutes of bartering and eventual consummation of a clumsy balance of compassionate care and bare-knuckle capitalism.
  • If retail clinics can threaten the overpriced, underperforming, and often patient-indifferent healthcare system and that system refuses to change, then I’ll happily go to Walgreens or CVS where I get treated like paying customer and can park for free close to the door. I feel perfectly safe as long as the provider (whether it’s a PA, NP, or telemedicine doc) knows when to turf me off to experts when they’re in over their head.

It’s really odd to me that retail clinics made a big splash, were seemingly on the verge of extinction, and now are seen as a big threat to entrenched providers (the “odd” part being why it took so long).

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Florida’s Blue Cross Blue Shield company installs a HealthSpot telehealth kiosk in its Miami center to allow members to access doctors from Miami Children’s Hospital. HealthSpot even did a nice job Photoshopping MCH’s logos onto stock photos of its device.

In Canada, a Montreal newspaper’s editorial says Quebec’s EHR project is “an abysmal failure,” adding that its health minister agreed in an interview. The project was supposed to cost $500 million US and be finished by 2010, but is now targeting a $1.4 billion cost and 2016 completion date. The editorial blames the variety of EHRs that were approved (nine for practices, four for hospitals) that can’t exchange information.

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Weird News Andy says this article on the privacy-invading possibilities of 90-minute DNA criminal profiling creates should also have addressed potential medical uses, such as finding genetic disorders that mimic MS or identifying people with genetic sensitivity to warfarin or chloroquine.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

 

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November 23, 2014 News 9 Comments

Morning Headlines 11/21/14

November 21, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Emdeon to Acquire Change Healthcare

Emdeon announces that it will acquire Change Healthcare for $135 million. Change Healthcare markets a benefits management system focused on helping employees make the most of their health benefits,

Fiscal Year 2014 Top Management and Performance Challenges Identified By the Office Of Inspector General

The Inspector General of HHS publishes a list of the top 10 challenges it is facing. The list touches on a number of health IT initiatives, including: validating spending for federal and state health insurance exchange markets, and monitoring the EHR Incentive Program for fraud.

Can we predict the unpredictable?

Researchers at the University of Windsor unveil a forecasting algorithm that can monitor EEG waveforms and predict oncoming seizures in epileptic patients 17 minutes ahead of time.

Merge Healthcare to Introduce Merge One for Ambulatory Radiology at RSNA 2014

Merge unveils a new solution, called Merge One, which is designed to support ambulatory imaging centers. Its provides a RIS, PACS, financial system, universal viewer, cloud archive, document management, and business analytics.

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November 21, 2014 Headlines No Comments

News 11/21/14

November 20, 2014 News 3 Comments

Top News

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Emdeon will acquire Change Healthcare for $135 million. The company offers consumer messaging, lookup, and education tools to improve engagement.


Reader Comments

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From Former McKesson: “Re: McKesson reorg. McKesson Technology Solutions has another big reorg, the third in three years, this time in the MCCA business unit. MTS has lots three good GMs in the past 12 months and middle managers are fleeing.” Unverified. An attached internal email from Jeff Felton, president of McKesson Connected Care and Analytics, says that several RelayHealth business lines have been combined into McKesson Connectivity & Analytics under Ken Tarkoff and that several reporting changes have been made.

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From Judge Smails: “Re: country club brawl, with a healthcare IT twist.” Police responding to a 911 call break up a fistfight at the tony Boston-area Weston Golf Club, started when the club’s president ordered jeans-wearing guests to leave the premises because of their dress code violations. The club president who apologized and then resigned was Tom Ferry, president and CEO of hospital software vendor Curaspan. I interviewed him a couple of years ago. I’m siding with him: people everywhere (restaurants, cruises, meetings, etc.) are offended at the idea that clearly stated dress-related rules might inconveniently apply to them and being loudly obnoxious usually gets them a quiet exemption.

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From Mike Kovner: “Re: Medicare ACO Shared Savings Program results. CMS has posted the Performance Year 1 final financial reconciliation and quality performance results for all MSSP ACOs with 2012 and 2013 agreement start dates. Kudos to the 52 ACOs that produced real savings and met the threshold for clinical quality measures. Memorial Herman ACO was the big winner with a $28M earned Shared Savings payment, followed by Palm Beach ACO with $19M. Tough break for the six ACOs that produced savings but did not meet the quality threshold, leaving real money on the table.” Mike sent over a detailed worksheet that I’m sure he would be willing to share.

From Ohio MD: “Re: ICD-10. We’re a busy orthopaedic EP. Both 5010 claims and HCFA 1500 can handle both code sets, so why not allow a phase-in over several years? There’s no way to do end-to-end testing since you can send a claim to CMS, but you don’t get payment, and no other payers allow testing as far as I know. Plus getting signed up for CMS testing is an absolute nightmare, especially for small providers.” Readers are welcome to weigh in: is a hard compliance date for ICD-10 necessary? CMS has had plenty of time to prepare with the one-year delay, so why can’t it start accepting either version now?

From Sinking Ship: “Re: [consulting firm name omitted]. Earlier this week rumors were spreading that the company has over 50 percent of its consulting staff on the bench due to poor performance by the sales teams.” Unverified and likely not possible to verify, so I left the large company’s name out. Maybe the sales team is underperforming, but I believe we may be seeing a downturn in the healthcare IT consulting business in general due to fewer go-lives and government meddling with ICD-10 dates and Meaningful Use tweaks. That could be my own incorrect perception from talking to a couple of folks. If you’re on the front lines, tell me what you think.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

This week on HIStalk Practice: Greenway, CVS, and Quirk open new facilities. CMS Compare websites come under GAO’s fire. Pediatrician Sapna Mukherjee, MD discusses her use of HIT at her concierge practice. Healthcare.gov sees fewer glitches than several state-run exchanges. Seacoast Orthopedics & Sports Medicine physicians achieve MUS2. ONC welcomes several new staff members. Thanks for reading.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Harvard public health researchers launch a heart health calculator that evaluates lifestyle choices rather than blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  Walgreens rolls out on demand lab tests across its 8,200 facilities. Cue, a digital health startup making smartphone-based lab analyzers, raises a $7.5 million Series A.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Valence Health receives a $15 million growth equity investment, raising its total to $45 million.

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A questionable Fortune article called “Digital healthcare investments soaring again. Here’s why.” spends most of its pointless meandering talking up Castlight Health, which is hardly the poster child for why digital investments should be soaring. All of those sharp investors who jumped all over Castlight right after “the most overpriced IPO of the century” have seen their investments shed 72 percent of their value in just seven months (blue) vs. the Nasdaq’s gain of nearly 11 percent (red) over the same period as the company continues to lose big money. Castlight is still mysteriously worth $1 billion, or 28 times annual sales.


Sales

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Providence Health & Services chooses NantHealth’s Clinical Operating System and eviti|Advisor for genomic analysis and evidence-based cancer treatments.

Providence Anesthesiology Associates (NC) chooses TigerText secure messaging.

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WellSpan Health (PA) selects the Visage 7 Enterprise Imaging Platform.


People

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EHR scribe provider Essia Health names Anita Pramoda (TangramCare) to its board and William Moore (4medica) as CFO.

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Dave Morgan (Vista Consulting Group) joins Greenway Health as CFO. He apparently replaces Laurens Albada, but I’m not quite sure since the company’s leadership page lists Morgan but Albada still has a leadership profile that lists him as CFO. I haven’t seen any announcements either way, so I’m going with Dave.


Announcements and Implementations

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CommonWell Health Alliance announces (in a poorly written press release that makes it impossible to figure out what they’re actually announcing) that is offering its services to a broader market, that RelayHealth is its technology provider, and that Aprima and CareCloud have signed up as members.

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Greenway Health will open a technology development center in Cobb County, GA in early 2015 that will create 150 jobs.

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Revenue cycle and coding products vendor VitalWare launches VitalABN, a medical necessity validation tool that automates the Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage process.

MModal announces that its Fluency for Image Reporting can notify radiologists of documentation deficiencies in real time.

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Johns Hopkins Medicine and Premier will collaborate on educational, clinical, and analytics projects.

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A Salesforce blog post suggests that its rumored healthcare push is underway as it describes how Johns Hopkins Healthcare is using the company’s platform in an engagement program to keep high-risk patients out of the ED and to coordinate the schedules of home care workers.

GE Healthcare, a 50-50 joint venture partner in Caradigm along with Microsoft, will resell Caradigm’s single sign-on and context management solutions to integrate anatomic pathology information systems.

Merge Healthcare launches Merge One,  a cloud-based, transaction-priced solution for ambulatory radiology sites that includes PACS, RIS, financials, universal viewer, cloud archive, document management, and analytics.


Government and Politics

Newly discovered emails from former CMS COO Michelle Snyder say her boss, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, used threats and tantrums to insist that Healthcare.gov be launched on time no matter what. Snyder retired weeks after the failed launch. Meanwhile, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology gets its subpoena-powered audience with former US CTO Todd Park on Healthcare.gov. Republican members hammered away, while the ranking Democrat member apologized to Park for making him a  target for Affordable Care Act venting and said it will make it harder for Park to carry out his current job of recruiting wealthy technical entrepreneurs to federal government work once they see how he was treated.

The GAO says the consumer transparency tools created by CMS aren’t user friendly and fall short on cost and quality information. HHS agrees.

Another GAO report finds that the VA violates its own policy in failing to push out critical OS patches to desktops and laptops within 30 days.

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CMS forms the Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics and names Niall Brennan as its chief data officer.

HHS’s OIG lists the agency’s top challenges for FY 2014, one of which calls for HHS to make sure that Meaningful Use policies align with its goals and reflect “the changing health IT landscape,” adding that HHS should provide guidance on adoption, Meaningful Use, and interoperability and that HHS, CMS, and ONC stay focused on privacy, security, and fraud prevention.

Vermont cuts ties with economist Jonathan Gruber over his unflattering comments about lack of transparency in passing the Affordable Care Act. The state is ending Gruber’s economic modeling contract in which he bills his time at $500 per hour and that of programmers at $100 per hour. He and his associates collected more than $6 million in federal and state grants and contracts and he’s still working on an NIH project that will pay him $2 million.


Innovation and Research

Two University of Windsor researchers say their newly patented predictive software can monitor EEG waveforms and give someone with epilepsy a 17-minute advance warning that they’re about to have a seizure, although they studied only 21 patients. They also recognize that while it would be nice to let an epileptic know they need to pull their car over or surf one last wave before hitting the beach, it won’t do much good unless someone develops a portable, continuous EEG monitor (waterproof, in my second example).

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Finalists in Harvard’s Health Acceleration Challenge are Twine Health (personalized treatment plans),  Boston Children’s Hospital’s I-PASS (care team communication), Bloodbuy (a Priceline-like bidding system for hospitals to buy blood products), and Medalogix (predictive identification of patients as candidates for palliative care).


Technology

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The city of Cleveland will reportedly announce Friday that the Euclid Avenue area, home to several health-related organizations and vendors and locally branded the “Health-Tech Corridor,” will get 100-gigabit fiber optic broadband connectivity courtesy of a federal grant that will pay for it.

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Apple publishes WatchKit tools and guidelines to help developers move their iPhone apps to Apple Watch.

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A Santa Barbara, CA group that treats homeless people from temporary clinics it sets up in public parks uses a self-developed mobile EMR running Microsoft Access on $200 Chromebooks and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Its author says, “I do not have nearly as many coding options to control both the styling and the function as I would if I had coded the platform from scratch. What we gained was security, instant accessibility of all past charts for a patient, legibility, more detailed records, more accurate reporting, and much more.”


Other

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Botsford Hospital (MI), which recently merged with Beaumont Health System and Oakwood Healthcare to create  $3.8 billion system, will replace McKesson Paragon with Epic, which is used by the other members of the new system.

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Colorado RHIO announces that its Regional Extension Center will no longer offer free services now that its ONC grant has run out. The REC will be replaced with a fee-based services division. I would opine that dwindling Meaningful Use activity makes it even more unlikely (if that’s possible) that providers will spend their own money on its services.

A Truven Health Analytics-NPR poll finds that 75 percent of Americans see an EHR-using doctor, 68 percent are OK with having their de-identified health information shared with researchers, but only 22 percent would let their doctor or insurance company review their credit card transactions or social media information even if it might improve their health. More than half the respondents claim they have reviewed their information as kept by their provider.

EClinicalWorks CEO Girish Navani writes an Entrepreneur article called “The Case for Never Selling Your Company,” saying that eCW “is, and always will be, a privately-held company. I have no interest in selling it, regardless of any offer I may get. In addition, we don’t use investor cash or spend money we don’t have.” He says selling a company often changes its founding principles, threatens its longevity, and takes away the independence of its leaders.


Sponsor Updates

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  • Wellcentive SVP Mason Beard and CTO Kirk Elder accepted a finalist plaque for the Intel Innovation Award at the 2014 Health IT Leadership Summit in Atlanta on Thursday.
  • T-System is providing free flu T Sheets that include the latest CDC guidelines to all providers
  • NextGen Healthcare earns top ranking among healthcare IT vendors providing outsourced billing / RCM.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

I received a fair amount of reader feedback about this week’s Curbside Consult on proposed measures for Meaningful Use Stage 3.

From Ski Dude: “I enjoyed your article on MU Stage 3. Ever so true, as an IT consultant and patient I find the overly inquisitive requirements to be a burden. I have a customer, a primary care physician group with approximately 120 providers, that has a spread sheet for all the metrics they need to capture and for whom they have to report them. It is a 17 x 160 cell grid. I’m sure it’s costing these providers way more than they’ll gain in incentives or lose in reimbursements just trying to collect all the data and deliver it to the 17 data consumers.” I’m right there with you on that. Back before MU, we had approximately 20 metrics that we were tracking for providers as part of our internal Clinical Score Card. Every one of them was evidence-based and had a direct impact on patients: influenza vaccination, colorectal cancer screening, diabetes screening / glucose control / foot exams, etc. that had a real return on investment, either financial or in reduced patient morbidity and mortality.

Now we’re tracking hundreds of measures, some of which have not been directly proven to benefit patients. I wonder what our Institutional Review Board would think about the fact that our entire patient population (not to mention all of our staff) is part of an unapproved research project involving human subjects?

I’ve been asked to judge a local science fair this year. Looking at the packet of rules and regulations, what MU is doing to the healthcare community wouldn’t even pass muster for the seventh grade.

I received a couple of replies that surprised me, generally stating that the proposed measures didn’t go far enough to allow providers to make significant advances in MU3. Various suggestions included: tying the payments to actual data scores (not merely reporting the data); requiring HIE exchange on each and every patient visit; and requiring interfaces with data reported by patient mobile devices and apps.

If MU wasn’t already on its deathbed, I’m sure including those factors will push it into full arrest. It’s not that many of us disagree with these ideas, but including them in MU3 without significant financial support and adequate time to plan, code, test, and implement the features just makes them untenable. Not to mention that there is little evidence that wholesale implementation of these features (especially if it’s at the expense of tried and true population health work) may not have significant demonstrable benefit.

I also received one comment that made me smile.

From Thoughtful, Albeit Weird: “Great Column on MU3. It made me think of this: When you brought your car in for repairs, you would have to provide information to the counter person on how you had driven your car and when. What about the other cars in the house? Did you have an accident in the past couple of years? Parking or speeding tickets? What kind of gas do you use? When your mechanic is working on your car, would they have to check the brake, power steering, coolant, and other fluids and document the findings? Tire pressure? Document the state of the belts and hoses? What was the brand of brake shoes they installed? Why did they use that brand and not a different one? When they replaced the brake fluid, did they document that the old fluid was properly drained and that no water was in the line? Did they scan the brake fluid they installed? Did the software automatically check it was of the approved type for the car? If they did have to document these things the cost of every visit would have to go up because of the time involved in documenting these items (not to mention the purchase of the system they use to do the documentation) which leads to fewer customers seen per day. Instead, they use a sheet of paper with checkboxes that they give you (probably so they don’t get sued if something happens to your car). The government is setting the map for the marketplace instead of letting the market do it. I do not favor that approach.”

There are so many comparisons you can make here. At the hair salon, did my stylist counsel me on the risks and benefits of adding highlights and lowlights to my hair? Did he warn me that my elderly grandmother would think reddish lowlights to be tacky? Did he suspect that my wanting to change my color was a potential sign of emotional distress? Did he arrange follow up evaluation on exactly WHY I wanted a different color? Did he caution me that being a blonde might not actually mean that I would have more fun? Did he scan the bar code, document the lot number, and record other information about the chemicals in case there is a recall? Did he conduct a time-out prior to actually applying the color to make sure he had mixed the right combination and to ensure I was fully aware of what I was getting myself into?

Of course I’m just being sassy, but if you look at most industries that we depend on or use regularly, if they were being run like healthcare IT (not to mention healthcare in general) it would be like living in a dystopian sci-fi movie.

How do we stop the madness? Or should I change fields and start designing that hair stylist tracking software? Email me.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

 

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November 20, 2014 News 3 Comments

Morning Headlines 11/20/14

November 20, 2014 Headlines No Comments

CMS creates new chief data officer post

CMS names Niall Brennan, former acting director of CMS’ Offices of Enterprise Management, as its first Chief Data Officer. Brennan will oversee the newly created Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics.

Former Obama adviser Zeke Emanuel says digital health coupled with payment reform will vindicate ACA

Zeke Emanuel, a former healthcare advisor to President Obama, refutes the recent “stupidity of American voters” comments of MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, as well as his claim of being central to the drafting of the ACA. Emanuel says that Gruber was an outside consultant with limited influence on the legislation, that the ACA has already slowed healthcare spending, and that as value-based payment reform takes hold, VCs will respond by funding startups focused on expanding at-home and office-based care delivery.

New coalition hopes for no further ICD-10 delays

A group of 15 healthcare organizations that includes providers, insurers, vendors, and professional membership groups like CHIME and AHIMA, sent a letter to congress requesting that the October 1, 2015 ICD-10 implementation date be upheld this year.

Survey Reveals Private Option Impact on Hospitals

The Arkansas Hospital Association publishes a survey measuring the effect of implementing a state-level plan for expanding health insurance to low-income residents. The survey included responses from 80 percent of all Arkansas hospitals, and measured a 56.6 percent decrease in uncompensated care losses associated with uninsured patients. The decrease was attributed to a 46.5 decrease in uninsured inpatient visits, and a 35.5 percent decrease in uninsured emergency department visits.

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November 20, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Advisory Panel: ONC’s Leadership Exodus

November 19, 2014 Advisory Panel 1 Comment

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

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

This month’s question: What is your reaction to ONC’s recent leadership exodus?


Back at the ranch, my team and I are implementing healthcare information technologies and give little thought to ONC’s entrances and exits. Cynically, I guess their departing leaders are chasing new money and will move to lobbying consulting.


From my perspective, I don’t see us in a post-MU world yet. Maybe that’s because we are so focused on still getting all the Stage 2 requirements to work, but I don’t think we’ve moved into a stable time yet.


I think it’s normal turnover when the top person leaves. That’s not to say that ONC is not undergoing an identity crisis. They need to re-invent themselves and I would think people at that level would enjoy that type of challenge. But they’re bureaucrats and I’m not, so I could be off. 


ONC is in free-fall. The confusing series of announcements about Karen  DeSalvo’s departure that isn’t a departure is symptomatic of a larger problem. There doesn’t seem to be a plan. Turnover in government agencies at this level is pretty normal, but there usually isn’t a shortage of people ready to fill the gaps. Not so this time.


My reaction is not of surprise at all. You have a very unpopular administration right now that is like a sinking ship. When non-politicals get involved, they don’t need to have their reputations tarnished by what is happening in Washington in general. The public may never get the truth behind the exodus, but it certainly looks like people that just want out of DC.


I am not surprised. CMS leadership (if we can use that term) lacks real-world understanding. When Ebola rose as an issue, it would have been a wonderful excuse to suspend programs like MU2 under the guise of a national emergency. Instead, they took Karen out of the leadership position at ONC and reversed themselves soon afterward when the heat got too hot from the IT and Informatics community, among others. Of course, she now has two jobs and won’t be able to do either as well as they need to be done. This is not normal turnover. I think folks are looking at MU and realizing that with the incentive money essentially gone, everything from here on out will be very difficult. Like all human beings, the ONC staff are doing the calculations – work hard for little reward or find something else to do.


I think this is a bit of “it’s harder to get all these (implementer) cats to cross the finish line then we wanted to believe” combined with the natural life-cycle of a run fast and free organization tied to stuffy CMS, and this has started to shut down the ask-for-forgiveness freedom that the recent leaders needed to stay interested.


Not surprised and neither (turnover or identify crisis). I think it’s indicative of our current state, both in healthcare and the world. Few make long-term commitments or have a vision that lasts longer than three years. We want to make changes to fix the perceived problem right now and pad our resume but we aren’t willing to live with the consequences of our choices. We’ve lost any ability to do anything other than complete a few tasks and then take off for the next organization with the hopes of increasing our paycheck and retirement portfolio. Jaded? Yes. But you asked.


I think these sort of non-career appointments have a high turnover rate. Most of the ONC heads have left after two years or so. I think this is a very difficult job. they have to be on their toes watching what they say 24×7. As for Karen D, I think she saw this as a perfect excuse to leave when the going is going to get very difficult, not that battling Ebola will be any easier. As for Jacob R, I think he was upset that he didn’t first get selected to be the National Coordinator before Karen D and then more recently get selected as at least the interim coordinator to replace her. I know I would have quit for that reason.


Not surprised – matter of time and I suspect the timing was perfect for her. I also think this is a symptom of a significant identity crisis and I think the overall program is in jeopardy. The ONC turnstile is likely indicative of what it’s like to try reconcile vision, policy, and politics with the realities of an immature technology market with providers trying to figure out how to be successful in an uncertain world. This might be a revised definition of insanity. In summary, I don’t blame her as the job has involved into something that cannot be achieved under the current construct (and I thought CIOs had it tough these days).


I think the changes occurring in ONC are higher than normal for government agencies. It could be the post-MU blues, but I think it is also the drain from pushing for HIT progress through tedious, laborious regulations which don’t always hit the mark.


Not surprised. Didn’t see any major strategic announcement following Dr. DeSalvo’s assignment except a change in the org chart, which didn’t amount to much. Her heart has always been in helping people with health issues and not working for an agency distanced from the patients.


This is an example of the government doing an about face and the government as well as ONC know they are doomed. They have no value to the healthcare system at this time with virtually zero leadership effect.


Looks pretty much akin to the death throws of a wounded skunk … it ain’t pretty and someone is bound to get sprayed.


As to Karen and Jacob’s departures, I was not surprise. Karen presented Grand Rounds here the week prior to her recent announcement and it was clear that she has much to offer this country. While the ONC role is an important one, many of us were so impressed with her candor, her transparency, her passion, and her commitment (in her own words) “to the poorest of the poor, and the sickest of the sick” that I believe she had to move into a more visible role. I’m not sure what’s next for her, but I genuinely believe we will see her move around, in a good way, for the years ahead. I hope she stays involved in ONC for a while (as the press releases seem to indicate). I hope HHS will work hard to seize this opportunity to reconsider some of the ways ONC could play are more collegial role, like the one Karen was creating,  promoting collaboration toward the ultimate roadmap that Karen was assembling.


Ugh. I hope the interoperability focus/Jason report doesn’t get lost (why did she?)


My feeling is that the personal movement shows that there is no plan. The government seems to be making it up as goes with no end game, which leads to staff unrest. The number of healthcare enterprises abandoning even trying to meet MU measures shows that the program should be reworked to focus on interoperability instead of focusing on the care delivery process.


They did what they thought would “revolutionize” healthcare and perhaps realized the root causes of our systemic issues are different than what they thought. We now have EHRs and MU measures but you could argue that’s made a ton of money for vendors but had little impact on quality of care. In government work, it’s not surprising when g-men and g-women go take private jobs at some of the same corporations they had dealings with.


I am concerned about the change in leadership. This new leader is the fourth in the last three years. That does not spell stability to regardless what CMS/ONC says about their stable team.


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November 19, 2014 Advisory Panel 1 Comment

Readers Write: HIE Encounter Notification Solutions and Meaningful Use

November 19, 2014 Readers Write No Comments

HIE Encounter Notification Solutions and Meaningful Use
By Rob Horst

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I joined esteemed colleagues from Johns Hopkins Community Physicians (JHCP) in presenting an HIStalk webinar on November 12 titled “3 Ways to Improve Care Transitions Using an HIE Encounter Notification Service.” Some of the attendee questions during and after the webinar required more insight into how ENS helps Eligible Hospitals (EHs) meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 (MU2) and the Transitions of Care (TOC) Measure.

In the way of background, EHs and critical access hospitals (CAHs) that transition or refer a patient to another setting of care are required to provide a summary of care record for more than 50 percent of transitions of care and referrals. This MU2 measure has proven challenging for many organizations to achieve. The method of getting a summary of care record to the right destination and then calculating the number of summary of care records that are actually received is imprecise.

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On September 22, CMS issued FAQ 10660, clarifying that a third-party organization that plays a role in determining the next provider of care and that ultimately delivers the summary of care document can count in the measure’s numerator for EHs.

Part of the challenge of meeting the TOC measure is that EHs/CAHs and providers must clearly identify the intended recipient of the transition or referral and verify that the summary of care was received by the intended recipient via one of the allowed transport methods. ENS has a unique capability that can help EHs/CAHs meet the TOC measure.

ENS is capable of sending a C-CDA summary record using the same logic that it uses to send EHs/CAHs encounter notifications to subscribers. Using the patient demographic information in the header of the C-CDA, ENS is able to match the patient with the subscriber’s patient panel and send the document with the same accuracy and predictability that it does with encounter notifications. Once the C-CDA is sent to the subscriber, ENS logs the acknowledgement of when it was accessed and is able to provide a report back to the C-CDA sender with the critical metric needed to calculate the numerator for this measure.

We received these questions during and after the webinar that might provide clarity for those considering their options.

How does ENS help EHs/CAHs satisfy the TOC requirement?

EHs/CAHs, primary care physicians, and specialists submit panels (patient rosters) to ENS. When a patient is discharged from the EH/CAH, the EH/CAH generates a C-CDA from their Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT) and sends the C-CDA to ENS via one of the allowed transport methods. ENS uses the patient data in the C-CDA header and the patient rosters to identify the correct PCP or specialist and automatically send a summary of care document to the receiving provider.

How does ENS help provide relevant metrics for the EH/CAH to use in its numerator calculation?

ENS will provide a report to the EH/CAH that includes data elements such as the patient identifiers, receiving subscribers, and time of receipt of the C-CDA. These data elements can be used in calculating the numerator.

Does ENS have to be CEHRT?

No. ENS is not the technology that is creating and transmitting the C-CDA and therefore does not need to be CEHRT.

Rob Horst is a principal with Audacious Inquiry of Baltimore, MD.

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November 19, 2014 Readers Write No Comments

Readers Write: Leveraging Technology for Communicable Disease Care

November 19, 2014 Readers Write No Comments

Leveraging Technology for Communicable Disease Care
By Paul J. Caracciolo

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The Ebola crisis has been another wake-up call for healthcare providers to get prepared for national and global medical emergencies. Experts agree that it is only a matter of time before the world experiences another pandemic, such as the flu of 1918 that killed many of millions worldwide.

The recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa and subsequent spread to the US has caused providers to re-examine how they handle sick (and potentially infected) patients, but we don’t have to use Ebola as the example. The seasonal flu still has a significant impact on health and many deaths occur each year. This past year has also seen the rise of enterovirus D68, sickening many hundreds of children across the country, resulting in several deaths.

The proper care of patients with communicable disease is a concern. We want to ensure that patients receive appropriate care, but at the same time, we need to take precautions around the containment and spread of disease. Recently, CNN News reported statistics that approximately 4.5 percent of reported Ebola cases in West Africa are infected caregivers. In the case of Ebola, disease management is further complicated considering the 21-day incubation period, with possible imposed isolation and continuous monitoring of potentially infected patients during this time.

Solutions can be implemented now that could make a huge difference in not only increasing the quality of patient care, but also protecting caregivers from prolonged or unnecessary exposure to sick patients.

Telehealth / telemedicine. It would be beneficial to have this capability in sick patient rooms to control access. This would allow remote consults with disease specialists, primary care providers, ancillaries, or whoever needs direct access to these patients and their caregivers. This solution could be expanded to include two-way audio and video with nursing staff and HD video conferencing between the patient and their families. Or in the case of isolation for potential infection, patients could communicate with their loved ones, employers, benefits providers, or anyone else on the outside.

Virtual patient observation. This solution includes video equipment, network integration with nurse call, and intelligent software that can be configured to be sensitive to patient movement. A monitoring console can be presented at a nurse station computer or accessed mobile from tablets. Several patients can be monitored from one station, or select rooms can be monitored. Coupled with two-way voice communication, this can be a powerful tool.

Alert and alarm management, workflow enhancement. This middleware that can capture relevant patient data from monitoring devices and lab results and then present this data to caregivers on mobile devices. Staying with the theme of patient and caregiver safety and more efficient workflows, this technology can streamline communications. Alarms from biomedical equipment in a patient’s room can be triaged by the configured system, thus preventing alarm fatigue for caregivers and focusing attention on critical alarms. Additionally, these applications can use push notification technology to send out critical lab test results, with related information, to the mobile devices of clinicians Secure text messaging, typically another feature, can streamline communications and record the information and send it to the EMR to complete the care record and maintain compliance.

Care team collaboration applications. Having the ability to share patient related data is key to keeping care teams on the same page. Access to the EMR may not be feasible for all caregivers involved. The ability to share documents, notes, lab results, and images (and imaging) among care team members wherever they may be is powerful. Even caregivers who are suspected of being infected (and in isolation) could still be part of a productive care team with these applications. Cloud applications could be used on demand and are easily scalable to fit emergency scenarios.

Hospitals can take action now to be better prepared to deal with outbreaks. Although many hospitals may not have formal isolation rooms, they may want to designate and prepare certain rooms that could be used in a more formal manner if needed in emergencies. For instance, specific nurse wards, floors, or group of rooms could be outfitted with these technologies. In time of emergency, the emergency protocol would kick in, with technology in place and workforce trained. These technologies can also be used on demand for triage or isolation tents, with portable versions of telemedicine and virtual patient observation solutions.

Paul J. Caracciolo is chief healthcare officer of Nexus – A Dimension Data Company of Valencia, CA.

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November 19, 2014 Readers Write No Comments

HIStalk Interviews Joe Torti, CEO, ESD

November 19, 2014 Interviews No Comments

Joe Torti is founder and CEO of ESD of Toledo, OH. 

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Tell me about yourself and the company.

I started in healthcare IT in 1983 when I got out of graduate school. I worked in healthcare IT for a few years and left the industry. In 1990, I was talking to some people that I worked with for a couple of years and they said, "There’s a need for this."

I felt entrepreneurial at that time and I went for it. I was an HBOC project manager on a few jobs working for myself. Then I slowly started hiring people as I talked to people I knew or met more people in the industry. I started building up the practice one consultant at a time.

 

The company just announced some layoffs and a restructuring, which is something most companies aren’t as forthright about. What challenges led to that decision and what have you learned from it?

We had increased our sales force to get more exposure to the market. As the forecast got closer and closer, we realized that the market for our products and the consulting industry in general was down. A good majority of the clients that we dealt with that were ripping and replacing systems had already done it.

A major portion of our business is still go-live and staff augmentation, which have slowed down significantly throughout the industry. One of our contracts, a very large one, just moved from April to the end of the year. We did not see that in our sales forecast and our salespeople were not seeing a lot of traction in the market for the next three to six months. That’s what drove our right-sizing, if you want to use an industry phrase. 

We have not closed. We’ve sized for the market we see over the next three to six months. We have kept key people in key positions to move forward in the market that we see.

 

How has the business changed in the past two years?

Two years ago, everybody was trying to get Meaningful Use dollars. They were putting in systems. The staff augmentation on these projects was huge. The activation part of the business was huge.

Since a lot of the organizations have made the decision, they’ve moved ahead a lot of what we thought was going to be first half 2015 work. They dropped ICD-10 work, spent the money on other projects, and now they’re back to spending it on ICD-10 because they’re trying to get that done.

The market will be very strong again over  the next two to three years. Even though a lot of hospitals have made the call on switching or upgrading, a lot of them are still making that decision.

 

Where do you see the opportunities going forward?

There will be activation work in the next  18 months, but optimization is the opportunity. Clients have said, “We put in a model system or a vanilla system and now we need to make it work for us better.”

We are uniquely qualified in that area because of our clinical focus. Many of our consultants are clinical, with very good knowledge of multiple installations of certain software . They can come back to a client and help them optimize it based on best practices from around the country.

 

How will you take the company forward?

Our COO, Kelly Myles, is an RN. We’ve always marched to her saying, "Whatever we do affects the patient eventually." That’s been our guiding force. 

We provide good consultants who are focused on doing the best job so that the patients have the best experience with whatever organization they’re in.

 

Do you have any final thoughts?

Our business has been successful because of the value of the consultants that we have built relationships with. That part of our business remains unchanged. We’ve spent many years developing those relationships and working with the same consultants over the years. We know their expertise very well.  They’ve worked for ESD on many projects. 

We have multiple clients that we’ve been working with since 2005 or even 2003. They still have confidence in us, every one of them.

Moving forward, we will provide the same level of quality to our clients. We will keep those relationships intact. Our changes will allow us to be there for the consultants and for our clients.

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November 19, 2014 Interviews No Comments

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