Recent Articles:

Morning Headlines 1/27/16

January 27, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Leidos To Combine With Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions Business

Leidos will acquire the Information Systems and Global Holdings business units of Lockheed Martin, including its health IT business, for $5 billion.

Centene Announces Internal Search of Information Technology Assets

Insurance provider Centene Corporation announces that it has lost six hard drives containing the personal health information of 950,000 patients. The loss was discovered during a recent IT assets inventory.

Design Considerations and Pre- market Submission Recommendations for Interoperable Medical Devices

The FDA publishes draft guidance outlining interoperability standards for medical device manufacturers.

Scripps Trial Fails Where Geisinger Succeeded

Forbes covers the recent Scripps Translational Health Institute study on remote patient monitoring, highlighting the reasons it failed to demonstrate reductions in cost and utilization or improvements in outcomes.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 27, 2016 Headlines No Comments

News 1/27/16

January 26, 2016 News 5 Comments

Top News

image

image

Leidos Holdings will acquire Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions business — which includes its health IT offerings — for $5 billion, confirming earlier rumors.

Lockheed Martin is known in health IT circles as having created the first CPOE system in the early 1970s when the company was operating as Lockheed (it merged with Martin Marietta in 1995 and changed its name to Lockheed Martin) but the company sold the product to Technicon in 1971, when it was named TDS. Lockheed Martin recently won the VA’s appointment scheduling system contract, bidding Epic through its recently acquired Systems Made Simple subsidiary.

image

With the acquisition, Leidos will become the #1 government IT contractor by revenue, with annual sales of more than $10 billion.


Reader Comments

image

From Smartfood99: “Re: Frisbie Memorial Hospital (NH). Cerner couldn’t flip a MedSeries4 hospital – they are going with Meditech 6.1.” Frisbie’s CEO says they wanted a system that would work for their 112-bed hospital sold by “a vendor we could trust.”

From Eddie T. Head: “Re: integration with Epic’s hosted systems. I would be surprised if Epic ever agrees to host third-party products. As far as I know they have always maintained that they will host the Epic infrastructure of servers, but they will not take on the role of a customer’s IT department for anything else. If the server-to-server integration comment is correct, then it sounds like sabotage (either by malice, or by incompetence) on the part of McKesson.”


RxNorm Follow-Up

image

A reader asked us to find out what’s going on with RxNorm updates and code changes, which they say is causing quality measures to fail because CMS has not updated its eCQM value sets with the new codes. Jenn asked the NIH/National Library of Medicine what happens with VSAC and quality measures when RxNorm is updated:

The short answer is, nothing. But it really has nothing to do with RxNorm or any other code system. ONC/CMS (back in 2012) statically bound all of the CQM value sets to their respective code systems, so the content of those value sets is legally locked to whatever versions of code systems specified by an update. So for example, the last CQM update back in 2015 used Feb 2015 RxNorm I believe. Thus, the problem for implementers who want to use the newer, better content (Lovenox as injectable heparin) to meet the treatment criteria for a measure, but are bound to use an earlier version of RxNorm. This has been a known problem for years. The real issue is providers vs. implementers. Providers, of course, want the new content as it benefits them meeting the care goals. Implementers see too much risk in updating/floating value sets dynamically, especially those that are authored as list (extensional) to begin with rather than as rules (intentional).

Julia Skapik, MD at the eCQI Resource Center adds:

This topic is known to CMS and ONC—the use of a static value set associated with each measure means that dynamic code system changes post-publication will not be reflected in the value set. To this date, we have provided the guidance that it is permissible to map where appropriate to a similar code. Where there are no similar codes, however, there will be a gap in the measure. Rob McClure, cc’d above, has been working on a proposal with CMS to provide an interim update to the value sets in the middle of the measurement period with additions only that will fill out dynamic code changes (and potentially correct errors) that affect real-world value set and measure performance.

In response to the reader’s example of CMS not updating the code sets for Lovenox as an injectable heparin that causes the VTE measure for anticoagulant therapy to fail, ONC/NLM consultant Robert McClure, MD responded:

Her defining example is confusing. Enoxaparin (Lovenox) has been included in the VTE measure anticoagulant value sets, such as "Anticoagulant Therapy" OID: 2.16.840.1.113883.3.117.1.7.1.200 and "Low Molecular Weight Heparin" OID: 2.16.840.1.113883.3.117.1.7.1.219 (and there others), from the very first release in October 2012. So if this is a good example of what ever her concern is, I’m afraid I don’t get the problem. 

If I was to wildly guess (a dangerous thing to do with you playing man-in-the-middle) perhaps she is not familiar with the expectation that data submitted in support of meeting an eCQM may at times require mapping, say from a code representing a branded drug (like Lovenox) to the “general form” (Enoxaparin) using RxNorm as the submitted code system. Or some entity that she’s relying upon is not getting this job done well.

There is the possibility that Sanofi (they make Lovenox) has come out with a brand new formulation of enoxaparin that did not get into the value set. If that is the problem, then this is exactly the sort of thing we are working to determine a better solution for implementers then simply “mapping to something close that is in the value set." If she is aware of such things then I encourage her to provide very specific evidence of this so we can design solutions that really work. She should do this by participating, like thousands of her colleagues have done, in the CMS/ONC eCQM JIRA site (http://jira.oncprojectracking.org) and report the specific issues so we can get to specifics.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

image

The HCI Group donated $1,000 to participate in my CIO lunch at the HIMSS conference, with which I funded these DonorsChoose grant requests:

  • A document camera, speakers, and dry erase lapboards for Ms. Hardy’s elementary school class in Upper Darby, PA
  • A document camera for Mr. Martinez’s high school math class in Delano, CA
  • Three tablets for Mrs. Haley’s elementary school class in Waycross, GA
  • Model rockets for Mrs. Elliott’s sixth grade class in Indianapolis, IN
  • Electronic circuit kits for Ms. Mills fifth grade science classes in Spring, TX
  • An iPad and gaming system for Mrs. Swords’ fourth grade class in Douglas, GA
  • Machining tools for the robotics team of Mr. R’s high school class in West Covina, CA

image

Ms. Osborne says her South Carolina elementary school class is using the math games and materials we provided in their math centers.

I was excited about Black Sabbath’s final tour, but video from their “The End” tour stop in Chicago shows Ozzie singing so wildly off key that he ruins all the songs they otherwise played excellently. I think they’re making the right decision to hang up their inverted crosses after nearly 50 years.


HIStalkapalooza

HIStalkapalooza Sponsor Profile – Healthwise

image

Amplify the impact of your patient touch points with Healthwise health education, technology, and services. Easily integrated into episodic care, care coordination, automated programs, and patient portals, Healthwise solutions give you the ability to deliver tailored, meaningful experiences. Since 1975, Healthwise has been driven by our non-profit mission to help people make better health decisions. Visit us on the HIMSS show floor in booth #3617 and at our kiosk in the Population Health Knowledge Center. To find out more about Healthwise or to schedule a one-on-one meeting, visit www.healthwise.org/himss16.


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

CMS inspectors have found problems at the Northern California laboratory of Theranos, according to unnamed insiders. Meanwhile, a Wall Street Journal investigation finds that not only is Theranos using its fingerstick technology for just one test, it’s also sending some of its samples out to reference labs instead of running the tests itself, apparently losing money on each (Theranos sells patients a test for $7 while paying UCSF $300 to run it). The article also reports that Walgreens has met with the company several times since October to discuss concerns about the Theranos stations in its California and Arizona drugstores and isn’t satisfied by the company’s responses. The since-fired CFO of Walgreens approved a loan of $50 million to Theranos without involving the drug company’s senior clinical executives and signed an agreement that Walgreens can’t easily escape from, although a negative CMS report might give them reason.

image

Specialty EHR vendor Nextech acquires SupraMed, which offers a PM/EHR for plastic surgeons.

image

Medical image exchange platform vendor LifeImage acquires its mammography-specific competitor Mammosphere.

image

Enterprise integration vendor Jitterbit, which offers a platform for developers to build and expose APIs, raises $20 million in a Series B funding round. It lists among its customers Dignity Health, Eisenhower Medical Center, and ZirMed. Prices range from $2,000 to $6,000 per month.

image

Kaiser Permanente will open an 800-employee customer service center and a 900-employee IT center in metro Atlanta.

image

The Milwaukee paper profiles Epic with a potpourri of recycled facts:

  • The company has 9,500 employees, up from fewer than 400 in 2000.
  • The Verona campus has cost $1 billion and construction continues.
  • The article claims that Epic departments don’t have budgets, there’s little hierarchy and few middle managers, and use of job titles is minimized.
  • The company won 127 contracts in 2014 vs. 19 for Cerner.
  • The article says the company is poorly equipped to deal with the criticism that goes hand in hand with its success, noting that its in-house communications team consists of one person and the company is run by limelight-shunning CEO Judy Faulkner, who has asked reporters not to run photos of her for fear that people will bug her at her favorite Madison ice cream shop.

Sales

image

Pikeville Medical Center (KY) chooses Medsphere’s OpenVista EHR.

image

Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics (TX) chooses Stanson Health’s point-of-care recommendation system for appropriate use of medications, imaging, and lab tests.

Phynd Technologies announces sales of its provider management system to Premier Health (OH), Duke University Health System (NC), and Children’s Health (TX).

University of Iowa Health Care selects Oneview Healthcare’s interactive patient care system.


People

image

Cerner Chairman and CEO Neal Patterson notifies shareholders via an SEC filing that he was just diagnosed with a “treatable and curable” soft tissue cancer and will therefore be traveling less and attending fewer meetings as he undergoes treatment.

image

For-profit hospital operator Capella Healthcare promotes Vishal Bhatia, MD, MBA to SVP/CMIO.

image

Nashville healthcare entrepreneur R. Clayton McWhorter, who served as CEO of HCA in the 1980s, died Saturday at 82.


Announcements and Implementations

image

The California HealthCare Foundation will cease publishing its iHealthBeat daily technology news digest as of February 1 because “its exclusive focus on health IT no longer aligns with the programmatic focus of our work.” The newsletter was managed by The Advisory Board Company under contract to CHCF. I’m surprised that HIMSS didn’t buy it and fold it into its vendor-friendly publishing arm.

image

EHealth Ireland announces that available funding will allow it to increase its 288 FTE headcount by 47.

image

Vermont’s Depart of Labor notifies former and present employees of the South Burlington, VT office of Allscripts that they are eligible to apply for re-employment services if laid off.

Liaison Technologies launches its bone marrow transplant registry that includes one-click CIBMTR reporting.

CareSync joins Athenahealth’s More Disruption Please program, offering CMS Chronic Care Management program support services to providers.

Research software vendor Pulse Infoframe will use InterSystems HealthShare for interoperability.


Government and Politics

image

CMS encourages development in state Medicaid claims processing systems by permanently extending a 90 percent federal funding match for those systems. CMS is spending $5 billion per year on state Medicaid IT and estimates that 30 states are redesigning their Medicaid eligibility or claims processing systems. Cedars-Sinai CIO Darren Dworkin tweets that it’s a much bigger vendor opportunity than any population health app although it’s likely open only to large government contractors.

image

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont calls for an independent review of the state’s Vermont Health Connect insurance exchange as errors force it to once again turn off the ability to enter “change of circumstance” situations. The state blames original contractor CGI and a consulting firm it hired that has since gone out of business. BCBS says exchange problems have prevented some of its customers from renewing their policies and doesn’t allow the company to reconcile its customer accounts. The exchange cost over $200 million to develop, nearly all of that paid by federal taxpayers.

A New York Times article describes the security-required modifications that are required before government officials (including the President) can bring mobile devices into the White House. A general who bought one of the first iPads in 2010 says DARPA technicians removed the device’s cameras, wireless chips, location sensors, microphones, and on-board storage capabilities, leaving him with “a pretty dumb iPad.” The article recounts a 2013 interview in which former VP Dick Cheney revealed that when his replacement defibrillator was implanted in 2007, his cardiologist insisted on disabling its wireless capability for fear someone might use it to assassinate him.

A Congressional Budget Office report finds that the federal government spend $936 billion last year on Medicare, Medicaid, and ACA subsidies vs. $882 billion on Social Security. The report warns about increased spending on mandatory programs and predicts that the federal deficit will increase.

image

CMS posts its 2017 Medicare EHR Incentive hardship exception application, due March 15 if EPs are involved or April 1 for just eligible hospitals, with these allowable reasons:

  • Lack of Internet access.
  • An EHR destroyed by natural disaster.
  • Practice or hospital closure or bankruptcy.
  • Problems with EHR vendor certification delays, decertification, or other vendor-caused delays.
  • Lack of control over locations that fall short of 50 percent of patient encounters.
  • For EPs, a practice that does not offer face-to-face interaction.

Privacy and Security

Insurance company Centene announces that it can’t find six hard drives containing the information of 950,000 members.

image

NIST invites companies to provide products and technical expertise to help develop use cases for IV pump security.

image

Titus Regional Medical Center (TX) finally regains access to its EHR more than a week after its servers were locked by ransomware. The hospital says it did not pay the money demanded and that the FBI is investigating. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority was also recently infected with ransomware that demanded payment of $63,000 to restore access to encrypted files. DART declined to pay and was able to recover most files from backup copies, but some information was lost and some online services remain unavailable. The FBI stated a few weeks ago that it might make sense for some businesses to pay the ransom demanded, which was the case with at least one police department and a sheriff’s office that have paid to get their files back. The hackers behind the CryptoWall ransomware creation tool recently upgraded their product with a redesign of the ransom note.

Two organizations — New Jersey Cybersecurity and Communications Integration and Cell and National Health Information sharing and Analysis Center — create a third-party reporting and notification system in which the state’s hospitals can share cyberattack information anonymously.


Other

image

Apparently the unnamed health IT vendor who ran this ad in the Las Vegas Craigslist values its customers about as much as it does women in seeking a “booth girl” whose primary attribute is appearance.

The inquiring mind of Weird News Andy wonders whether a drug that can cure fear will work in cases of pharmacophobia, iatrophobia, and phagophobia.


Sponsor Updates

  • Burwood Group packs 100 winter coats, hats, and gloves for the Boys & Girls Club of America during its annual company retreat.
  • The local paper features CareSync in its roundup of local entrepreneurial ventures.
  • The local paper features Healthfinch in its feature on “Madison startups to watch in 2016.”
  • Qpid Health’s quality reporting solution achieves ONC HIT 2014 Edition Modular Ambulatory EHR Certification.
  • Huntzinger Management Group hires Jay Boylan and Bill Ehrman as regional sales directors.
  • EClinicalWorks is recognized as having the highest market share among cloud-based EHR vendors.
  • Versus creates a dedicated clinical solutions department of RNs. 
  • Stella Technology is supporting ConCert by HIMSS and conducting demos of the Interoperability Test Tool (ITT) at the IHE NA Connectathon this week in Cleveland, OH.
  • Elsevier Clinical Solutions will host the New England HIMSS Social March 1 at HIMSS16.
  • Frost & Sullivan recognizes the EClinicalWorks cloud-based EHR for highest market share.
  • FormFast will sponsor the HIMSS Midwest Gateway Chapter networking event January 28 in St. Louis.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 26, 2016 News 5 Comments

Morning Headlines 1/26/16

January 25, 2016 News No Comments

Deficiencies Found at Theranos Lab

The Wall Street Journal reports that a damaging inspection report on Theranos’ California lab testing facility will be made public soon. The article says that investigators found “serious deficiencies” that could compromise its standing with Medicare and existing corporate clients.

Cerner CEO Neal Patterson being treated for cancer

Cerner CEO Neal Patterson files an SEC update announcing that he has been diagnosed with a “treatable and curable” soft tissue cancer. He reports that he will reduce his travel and work schedule while he receives treatment, but notes that “it will not be a big change compared to how we run Cerner day to day already.”

Kaiser Permanente says website woes, now on third day, weren’t caused by cyber attack

Kaiser Permanente’s website, including its patient portal, went down last week due to server issues. Kaiser has confirmed that the outage was not the result of a cyberattack, and has confirmed that all systems are back up.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 25, 2016 News No Comments

McKesson’s Paragon Dilemma

January 25, 2016 News 3 Comments

The bumpy road McKesson and its users have found themselves on in the transition from Horizon to Paragon.
By @JennHIStalk

image

It’s been four years since Atlanta-based McKesson announced its decision to shift resources away from its Horizon Clinicals product line — known for serving several hundred large facilities of 300 beds and up — and to make Paragon its centerpiece hospital IT system.

The move — part of the company’s broader Better Health 2020 initiative of increased investment, research, and development of Paragon — was seen by the industry as an attempt to streamline McKesson’s technology solutions to better serve a customer base that was becoming increasingly vocal in its need for an integrated offering.

image

McKesson has faced an uphill battle in its attempts to convert Horizon customers to Paragon. Changes in leadership, rumored employee discontent, and user push-back have all played their part in McKesson’s attempt to remain competitive with scalable technology that can keep up with federal regulations, evolving payment models, and a customer base that seems to be jumping ship to Cerner and Epic in numbers the company didn’t anticipate.

The Evolution of Industry Reaction

image

Initial reactions to McKesson’s decision were tempered, with analysts and industry insiders coupling their wait-and-see attitudes with a healthy dose of skepticism regarding the company’s financial stakes. “On one hand, I laud MPT for coming clean on the challenges it has had with the development and support of the Horizon product,” Aspen Advisors (now part of The Chartis Group) Founder and Managing Principal Dan Herman said in a 2011 year-end assessment. “However, it appears that [McKesson’]s go-forward strategy is ‘déjà vu’ – a poorly thought-out approach to integrate disparate platforms, enhance a product that has experienced success in a focused marketplace (Paragon), and promise to customers that [McKesson] is committed to delivering a ‘fully integrated core clinical and revenue cycle IT system.’”

The situation wasn’t as positive after a few years and a few Horizon to Paragon migrations, both from an end user and company perspective. “As a customer, we have noticed that support and services have steadily declined since the Better Health 2020 announcement …. The average tenure of support employees supporting us has dropped severely with resignations,” noted one HIStalk reader and McKesson Horizon customer in 2013. “We have to run a gauntlet of triage and bottom-tier support before most of our issues are escalated to a rare senior resource. They are exerting pressure for us to migrate to Paragon while failing in their commitment to support us on Horizon. Actions speak louder than words and customers have been left to deal with the fallout.”

Fewer than one-fourth of respondents to an HIStalk reader poll in December 2011 said they had a positive reaction to McKesson’s Better Health 2020 plan. Three-quarters of respondents to a September 2012 reader poll said McKesson’s healthcare IT position had worsened in the past year, with one respondent commenting that the plan to move Horizon users to Paragon was, “Nothing more than puff-piece marketing. There was no tangible follow-up with their closest clients to show them concrete plans. The traditional, ‘Trust us because we’ve worked so hard together all these years’ and the implications of ‘we are too big to fail’ just do not hold water.”

image

The corporate side of the story correlated with user frustration, as McKesson leadership shuffled and Horizon employees were urged to take jobs at RelayHealth, which expanded to over 1,000 employees in 2013. McKesson’s February 2015 earnings call offered a slightly rosier picture of the company’s migration attempts. Chairman, President, and CEO John Hammergren mentioned that the Technology Solutions division’s seven percent drop in revenue was in line with expectations of lower Horizon Clinicals revenue, and that the company was “in [the] middle of the game” in trying to migrate customers.

He added that, “As you think out two or three years, the EMR space and the transition away from Horizon will be more complete or complete, and we’ll see more results, we think, in terms of this pay-for-performance priority.”

Fast forward almost a year. Hammergren’s prediction of a transition away from Horizon seems to be coming true, though not necessarily with the outcome he had hoped.

image

“The move from Horizon to Paragon has actually been pretty painful for McKesson and for their customers,” says Coray Tate, vice president of clinical research at KLAS Enterprises. “That’s not a secret. It’s a little bit of a perfect storm that Paragon got caught up in.”

Paragon, Tate explains, has suffered not only from a Horizon customer base that was unenthusiastic about switching systems and wary of Paragon’s ability to scale to larger facilities, but also from bad timing. The leader in KLAS customer satisfaction rankings for small community hospitals was caught up in the rollout of Meaningful Use and the prospect of a switch to ICD-10. Toss in high-level leadership changes and the “perennial leader” found itself falling behind.

“They took a product that had really struggled,” says Tate. “They reset expectations and have actually done a really good job of developing on that. But now you’ve got all these external pressures that they haven’t been able to meet. Meaningful Use made EHRs become a physician tool, and so that part has been the biggest gap and they are having a hard time getting to the point where physicians are happy with it. That’s not unique to Paragon, but that is definitely one of Paragon’s struggles and one of the reasons why you’ve seen their scores drop in the small market.”

End-User Fallout

image

image

Tate’s insight into market forces have been playing out in Horizon facilities. Mike Jefferies, a former McKesson technical advisor who is now vice president of IS at McKesson customer Longmont United Hospital (CO), agrees with the Better Health 2020 strategy. However, he questions whether big Horizon customers are comfortable with the idea of migrating to Paragon.

“You’ve seen a huge consolidation in healthcare,” Jefferies explained in a February 2015 HIStalk interview. “That consolidation has favored EHRs that handle a larger scale, which in our market means Cerner or Epic. What a larger organization consolidates smaller hospitals and organizations, they certainly aren’t going to uptake that smaller community EHR.”

image

Vanderbilt University Medical Center (TN) is one such customer. It announced its move from Horizon – much of which it had self-developed as WizOrder and then licensed to McKesson in 2001 to create Horizon Expert Orders — to Epic in December 2015, with an anticipated go-live in 2017.

image

VUMC Chief Informatics Officer Kevin Johnson, MD, MS, who is spearheading the effort, says that its decision was certainly strategic, though the IT team was understandably disappointed to hear the Horizon/Paragon news. “We realized that McKesson was focusing on a different segment of the healthcare market with the Paragon system,” he explains. “Therefore, we had begun surveying the landscape to be proactive about the move at the same time that McKesson sent us the announcement.”

“We have enjoyed a long history with Epic as one of their first revenue cycle clients, dating back to 1995,“ Johnson adds. “We had made a decision to upgrade our revenue cycle and billing system to a more recent Epic version for inpatient and outpatient billing. We also have Cerner’s lab system. Our decision, therefore, was to migrate our revenue cycle/clinical/lab environment to Epic/Epic/Cerner or Epic/Cerner/Cerner. Paragon is a system constructed with a different size and complexity health system in mind. Both Cerner and Epic were good choices for us, and after a thorough evaluation, we chose Epic for our clinical system.”

The Consultant’s Perspective

image

Mike Lucey, founder and president of Paragon consulting firm Community Hospital Advisors, paints a more intimate picture of Horizon end user reaction. ”I work with the IT folks and the doctors, nurses, therapists, and revenue cycle folks that actually use the product. They take it personally. This is their product,” he explains. “It’s very hard for the users to get around the idea that McKesson is taking something away that they like and works for them and giving them something that for years and years has been pitched as not good enough for their needs. They feel like they had the rug pulled out from under them.”

In Lucey’s best estimation, between 50 and 60 Horizon customers are still evaluating their options and  “a couple hundred” are on Paragon, with half of those being migrations.

“It’s important to remember that frustration has a half-life,” he says. “People get frustrated, they get angry, they stomp their feet. They run around and they put out RFPs and they get their responses back. Then the reality of money sets in. I think that’s where we are now. How many phases are there to grief? You know, you have denial. They kind of get stuck on anger for a while. Then somewhere along the way there’s acceptance. I think that’s the phase this market has gotten to. Folks are recognizing that they need to make a rational decision with good information.”

The Positives of Paragon

It’s not all doom and gloom, as Lucey’s current Paragon customer estimates attest. He is quick to emphasize that Paragon works, though the definition of “works” is, as with all IT systems, at the discretion of the implementing organization.

“The underlying technology and the functionality of Paragon is effective. It can get the job done for hospitals and multi-facility organizations, but it has to be put in well. It’s an issue of accountability. You can find many instances of Paragon implementations where the product is working very, very effectively. The difference between where it’s effective and ineffective is ownership. If the hospital owns it, it works well. If they don’t, it usually stinks.”

Paragon’s Success Hinges on McKesson’s Commitment

Both Lucey and Tate believe that product development and overall quality will make or break Paragon. “They’re going to have to be able to get code out to increase the physician experience,” Tate explains. “The code quality of the releases has got to get better. There have been reports of things being buggy as releases have come out. Overall, it’s going to have to mature to more of a clinical solution, meaning that it’s easier and faster for physicians to use.”

Lucey agrees that McKesson needs to show its commitment to Paragon by improving code quality within a few months. He adds that the company will have to deal with employee challenges. “A lot of them are the same people that were previously doing that for Horizon. A lot of them are still upset. Can they change uniforms from Horizon to Paragon, pick up the mantle, and advocate for it? Make it better, support it well, and sell it effectively? I don’t think a lot of them can, quite frankly.”

Lucey’s insight into McKesson’s internal struggles is shored up by several HIStalk reader reports that McKesson has turned to offshore resources to tackle Paragon’s development and that the company has begun pitching its technology division to venture capitalist firms, reported privately to HIStalk by someone who claimed to have been present in one of the meetings. McKesson President Nimesh Shah was unavailable for comment due to the company’s pre-earnings quiet period through April 1.

McKesson’s commitment to Paragon will determine whether it will continue to meet user needs, remain competitive, and capture a significant share of the Horizon customer base that is being forced to seek an alternative from McKesson or its competitors.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 25, 2016 News 3 Comments

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 1/25/16

January 25, 2016 Dr. Jayne No Comments

clip_image002 

Although I’m still thinking pretty seriously about hanging up my consulting shoes, I decided to accept an EHR vendor’s offer to become a potential subcontractor. Apparently they’ve heard about my work with some of their clients and would like to able to book my services on their paper.

I thought about it for quite some time before accepting. Although financially it’s a wash for me, it has the potential to increase my pool of potential clients. It might also lead to a bit of accounting efficiency, as I will bill the vendor for my time and expenses rather than having to deal with the accounts payable departments of multiple practices, hospitals, and health systems. That can be a blessing and a curse, though, if their accounting department turns out to be chaotic or they’re a slow payer.

Any of their clients that I’m already working with will remain my direct customers. The agreement is year-to-year and I have a 90-day out clause if it doesn’t work out, so I thought I would give it a shot.

One of the benefits of being an official subcontractor is gaining expanded access to their client support site and their online training and education materials, so that’s a plus. I can also attend formal training at the corporate office if I choose. Prior to this, I’ve had to rely on the kindness of my clients in obtaining access to the vendor’s support system and documentation.

Although I had taken a bit of a break from travel at the end of 2015, I’m now back in the air and watching some of their client-facing training sessions from 38,000 feet. What did we ever do before in-flight Internet?

I’m pleased to see that the vendor has made some significant improvements to the application from a user workflow standpoint. They’ve added quite a few “nice to have” items that I’m guessing have been in their development backlog from some time. For many of the products I work with, vendors were forced to push pure usability enhancements to the side while they pressed forward with a seemingly endless list of Meaningful Use and regulatory enhancements. Although MU3 continues to lurk, it feels like there may be some breathing room and ability to go back and give users things they actually want and need.

I’m grateful that my travel this week takes me away from the Blizzard of 2016. I’m going to meet with a potential new client who heard about my work after I met one of their physicians at the AMIA meeting. Apparently they’ve been through multiple physician and operational leadership changes in the last few years and the organization has finally hit rock bottom, or at least that’s what it feels like to the physician I met who is stuck trying to get value out of the EHR with little support.

From the information I have so far, it looks like they may have been a victim of trying to follow the “flavor of the month” in healthcare without any semblance of strategic planning. The group dabbled in Patient-Centered Medical Home, followed by an Accountable Care initiative, then acquired several independent physician groups and tried to do some work with procedural subspecialties including an Ambulatory Surgery Center. They applied for numerous grants and agreed to participate in multiple incentive programs without a clear plan or strategy.

Based on those goals, they went on to build custom reminders into the EHR for all of them, which has largely driven the end users to their wits’ end. They also mysteriously spun up a practice that operates on the concierge model, yet has to document using the same templates and content used by everyone else even though some of them are not relevant. The physicians feel bombarded by an alphabet soup of initiatives that lack coordination or staff support.

They’re also suffering from staffing issues, including high turnover, lack of coverage in certain skill sets, and perceived budget constraints that have led to the departure of seasoned clinical managers. They allowed several payers to embed care management staff in the practices, but didn’t have a plan for how they would document in EHR or how they would truly coordinate care. In many instances, care has actually become more fragmented as some of the care managers are documenting in systems hosted by their employers rather than in the practice’s EHR.

It’s not just their clinical house that’s in chaos. Their revenue cycle management has also taken some hits. He’s had patients complain that they’re receiving bills for visits that were never sent out to insurance. After investigation, it appears that timely filing deadlines were missed, so the billing office just moved those balances to patient responsibility.

Needless to say, the patients are irate. Co-pays aren’t being collected at the time of service, so even for those visits that did get sent to insurance, they’re spending an inordinate amount of money sending statements to chase the co-pays. Physicians aren’t seeing regular performance metrics and have been told that there are problems with the EHR that prevent accurate reporting.

Sometimes when I meet with groups like this, they want to dwell on the aspects of what went wrong and how they got to this place rather than putting their resources into moving forward. Although some root cause analysis and probing of organizational psychology is a good thing, pointing fingers or trying to pin the blame on people who have left is not.

Even if the organization is ready to move in a new direction, change leadership is difficult. If they don’t have the collective will to devote long-term support to new processes, they might find themselves back where they started or potentially in a worse position. The outgoing CIO had tried to bring in some assistance previously, but was stymied by budget issues.

The physician who recruited me for this adventure isn’t sure whether they’re truly ready to accept outside help, but I am certainly willing to pitch to them. In reality, he didn’t have to do much arm-twisting since the client is located in one of my favorite cities.

As a bonus, I get to visit with one of my health IT mentors while I’m in town. He recently retired to the area and I’m hoping he has some sage wisdom to offer. I won’t just be pitching to a potential client on this trip, but also to him, in hopes that if I’m successful, he’ll agree to help with the onsite work. There’s just something about the lure of putting the band back together that I don’t think he’ll be able to resist.

Are you a sucker for hopeless causes? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 25, 2016 Dr. Jayne No Comments

Morning Headlines 1/25/16

January 24, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Hurley Medical Center Confirms ‘Cyber-Attack’ as Anonymous Hacking Group Threatens Action Over Flint Water Crisis

Hacker group Anonymous is suspected of a cyberattack on a hospital in Flint, MI after the group posted a YouTube video promising realization for the city’s recent water crisis. Hospital administrators report that the attack was detected on January 21, but that patient care was not companied.

athenahealth Partners With University of Toledo Medical Center to Accelerate Development of Inpatient Electronic Health Record

Athenahealth will work with the University of Toledo Medical Center to develop its inpatient EHR, The University of Toledo Physician Group has been on Athena since 2014.

Data Sharing

A NEJM editorial raises concerns about medical research based on big data when combining data sets is often an imprecise endeavor, asking “Can it be assumed that the differences in study populations, data collection and analysis, and treatments, both protocol-specified and unspecified, can be ignored?”

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 24, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Monday Morning Update 1/25/16

January 24, 2016 News 14 Comments

Top News

image

The hacker group Anonymous is presumed to be behind a cyberattack against Flint, MI-based Hurley Medical Center, with the group apparently following through on its threats from the previous day to take action against those involved in the city’s water crisis. The hospital says its IT team detected the attack and reports no impact on operations.

Meanwhile, Flint-based McLaren Regional Medical Center says the city’s contaminated water probably contributed to a January 2014 Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that occurred right after the city started drawing water from the Flint River. The hospital president says health agencies didn’t inform the public about the outbreak until just a few weeks ago, adding, “It’s a public health issue. There were people in the city of Flint seeing brown water. It would seem logical that there would have been public reporting or public awareness about the Legionella situation.”


Reader Comments

From Caveat Emptor: “Re: Epic hosting. We’re one of the first, scheduled to go live in a few months. The IT department tells us we may not be able to scan documents into Epic due to poor integration with our McKesson document management system. There is some very serious anger at Epic right now. They seem to have been caught flat-footed, which raises questions about what other third-party vendors Epic-hosted solutions can’t accommodate.” Unverified.

From Mark: “Re: CenTrak. Heard it was acquired this week.” I’ve seen no news about the RTLS vendor so far.

From InBetweener: “Re: CHIME. They will award $1 million to anyone that technically solves the national patient identifier problem (underwritten by a vendor contribution, of course). Here we have a classic political failure that needs to be solved by technology. Healthcare is full of these ‘insane’ situations and we wonder why systems overly complex, don’t work as planned, have errors, and cost a bundle? The simple albeit political solution is to allow a opt-in/out NPI, just like TSA does for trusted fliers. Works for TSA, no privacy uproar. Why not for CMS? Why isn’t HIMSS/CHIME spending a million to lobby for that solution?”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

image

A slight majority of poll respondents expect CMS’s changes to the Meaningful Use program to be positive. New poll to your right or here: is an ONC-produced EHR "star rating" a good idea?

Four firms donated $1,000 each to DonorsChoose to attend my HIMSS lunch with 10 or so CIOs. I won’t recite the individual projects I funded as a result since it’s a long list, but I’ll run photos and updates from the teachers when I get them (most of them emailed me their thanks over the snowy weekend). Nearly everything I funded was STEM related – iPad Minis, programmable robots, Chromebooks, math manipulatives, headphones, and science activity kits. Thanks to these companies for helping teachers and students in need.

image

Consulting firm Optimum Healthcare IT made a second $1,000 donation following its first one last week.

image

Serra Health Consulting donated $1,000.

image

Electronic forms and workflow vendor FormFast provided $1,000, which funded six great projects.

image

Nordic, which always steps up to support HIStalk, donated $1,000 to fund projects that include two I chose specifically from teachers in their home state of Wisconsin.

image

Our budget-minded HIMSS Booth #5069 will by necessity be microscopic, remote, and amateurishly furnished. However, it always overflows with more enthusiastic, fun visitors than those block-spanning monolithic monuments to executive egos. Contact Lorre if you are an industry celebrity (loosely defined) and want to hang out for an hour with her saying hello to readers. I’m hoping she can get Martin Shkreli to sign up. 

We give out “secret crush” beauty queen sashes on stage each year at HIStalkapalooza for whoever submits the most convincing reason they deserve one. I’ve ordered ones indicating Mr. H, Jenn, Lorre, and Dr. Jayne if you want to send your entry to me. My main lesson learned from years of planning the event – other than that people vastly prefer an open bar to drink tickets — is that nearly everyone likes wearing a beauty queen sash.

image

Mrs. Twigg from Missouri says the document camera we provided in funding her DonorsChoose grant request has changed her classroom’s dynamic since students can now see everything up close and are able to demonstrate their own work to the class. She says, “There are a few students who are soft-spoken and a little uncomfortable speaking in front of their peers. The document camera has been especially beneficial for these students because the focus is more towards their work, and less on them individually … I have noticed that the document camera has greatly enhanced their oral communication skills …It’s nearly impossible to imagine our classroom without the document camera because it has created endless opportunities for each student and their learning experience as a fourth grader. On behalf of every fourth grader who walks through room 205, thank you.” That’s a really impressive result from our donation of just $100 (I applied matching funds from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation).

image

Also checking in is Mrs. C, who says her Texas second graders love using the iPad Mini keyboards and styli we provided.

Here’s an old but funny video of a sketch from Britcom “That Mitchell and Web Look” called “Homeopathic A&E” that amused me when I ran across it this week.

image image

I’m fascinated by the war that’s heating up between ad-serving websites and their readers. Internet users started it by using ad-blocking software that threatens the sole revenue stream of most online publishers in squelching their increasingly intrusive expanding banner ads, pop-up banners, and obnoxious auto-play video commercials. Some of those sites in turn starting blocking access unless the ad-blockers are turned off. Google gets most of its revenue from displaying ads and thus is obviously not a fan of ad blockers (and in fact prevents Android users from installing them), but just announced that it suppresses some of the more annoying or misleading ads, apparently hoping to convince people they don’t need ad-blocking software that it can’t control. One ad-blocker vendor just accused a big competitor of accepting company bribes to let their ads through its filter, while Firefox creator Mozilla just released a new browser (Brave) that blocks publisher ads but instead inserts its own. I’ve noticed that quite a few sites won’t even load on my tablet due to the mess of advertising junk that’s trying to load in the background or pop up intrusively in ways that don’t work on tablets.

Here’s when hospitals will see the impact of this weekend’s blizzard: early November, in their L&D departments.


HIStalkapalooza

HIStalkapalooza Sponsor Profile – Forward Health Group

image

Forward Health Group to unBooth at HIMSS16! A visual extravaganza is rolling into booth #2477. FHG, a leader in value-based population health management solutions, zigs when everyone else zags. The fast-growing company will feature prodigious, on-the-fly artistic talents, generating marvelously whimsical graphic population health management collaborations with HIMSS visitors. Producing giant eight-foot, hand-drawn murals each day, recording booth visitors’ visions of their value-based population health futures, FHG will also provide demonstrations of five new PopulationManager products, including innovative pre-packaged FastForward PopulationManager solutions for chronic care, acute episodes, behavioral health, bundled payments, and national standards reporting. Fresh oranges, too. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Titus Regional Medical Center (TX) remains without its EHR several days after its servers are hit with ransomware.
  • The Senate’s HELP committee releases draft legislation that it will consider on February 9 that includes streamlining government EHR requirements, charging ONC with publishing an EHR star rating system, increasing interoperability efforts, and creating an ONC-led committee to drive creation of a national health IT infrastructure that includes accurate patient identification.
  • An investigative report finds that Practice Fusion originally expected to go public next year with a valuation of $1.5 billion, but plans and expectations have changed with the decline in the stock market.
  • Leidos is rumored to be close to taking over Lockheed Martin’s IT and services businesses.
  • UnitedHealth Group announces that it lost $720 million selling insurance plans on the exchanges in the fiscal year and expects losses to continue, but reports stellar performance from its Optum services business.
  • OCR clarifies the provider requirements for giving patients copies of their medical information, suggesting that it will step up its enforcement efforts.

Webinars

None scheduled soon. Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Cloud and managed services vendor TierPoint acquires Midwest competitor Cosentry, expanding its operations to 38 data centers.

image

Pre-launch digital medicine vendor Akili raises $30.5 million to continue development of its video game-like cognitive disorder diagnosis and treatment apps.


People

image

Hearst Health promotes Kevin Daly to president of its Zynx Health business.


Announcements and Implementations

image

Athenahealth customer University of Toledo Medical Center (OH) will help the company develop inpatient capabilities based on its acquired RazorInsights and WebOMR systems, which will be retooled to create an AthenaNet cloud-based hospital system. I’m not certain which systems UTMC uses, but I think it’s McKesson for both ambulatory (HAC) and inpatient (the ancient McKesson Star).


Government and Politics

image

I finally heard back from the Office for Civil Rights about the complaint I filed in July 2015 against a large, Epic-using, EMRAM Stage 7 academic medical center that refused to give me an electronic copy of my medical records (they told me, “We only do that for doctors.”) The letter acknowledges the hospital’s responsibility to give me what I requested, but concludes with, “We have determined to resolve this matter informally through the provision of technical assistance to the hospital,” thus closing my complaint. I still don’t have an electronic copy of my information seven months after requesting it and the hospital will apparently see no repercussions for refusing to provide it. OCR’s insistence last week that it will zealously protect patient rights to receive their own medical information seems to be bureaucratic chest-thumping rather than a commitment to actually meting out punishment for intentional non-compliance, at least from this N of one.


Privacy and Security

A patient of an Indianapolis hospital complains about receiving calls demanding that she make payments on her pacemaker, apparently originating from a con artist spoofing the hospital’s caller ID.

A Utah women is arrested for entering narcotics prescriptions for herself by logging as a doctor into an old computer at the Intermountain clinic where she previously worked as an administrative assistant. She wrote 260 prescriptions for 62,000 doses for which insurance paid $26,000. At an average of nearly 250 pills per prescription, you would think the pharmacy might have become suspicious.


Other

A Scripps Translational Science Institute study finds that smartphone-powered biosensor monitoring did not improve outcomes for patients with hypertension, diabetes, or arrhythmias. The study’s methodology was decent although it used data from 2012.

Nabil El Sanadi, MD, president and CEO of Broward Health (FL), commits suicide. 

image

A 54-bed hospital in rural Georgia that hired a local car dealer as its turnaround CEO faces closure again after paying big money to the CEO and experts he brought in. The CEO was paid $480,000 per year on contract (quadruple the pay of his predecessor) with checks made out directly to his Ford dealership. He paid millions to bring in employees and contractors with connections to Duke University, where he had studied, including a reported $458,000 over five years for the CIO. Employees claim his hired gun experts were driven by data rather than patient needs. The hospital faces closure if the locals don’t approve a tax increase.

image

An editorial in NEJM warns of “research parasites” who “use another group’s data for their own ends” and who might not understand the differences in multiple datasets that they combine. It recommends that researchers start with an original idea rather than a me-too concept and then find collaborators with whom to share data, work together to create new hypotheses, and jointly publish their findings. I can’t decide if this is sound thinking or egotistical data-hoarding by academics more interested in furthering their careers than making patient-contributed datasets available for the public good.

Weird News Andy says this doctor was uber-rude. A fourth-year neurology resident at Jackson Health System (FL) is suspended pending an investigation after a video of her attacking an Uber driver goes viral with several million views. The apparently intoxicated doctor hopped into an Uber car that someone else had called, refused to get out, beat the driver, and threw all of his belongings into the street while cursing at him. Police responded but filed no charges after she told them (while crying) that she would lose her medical license if arrested.


Sponsor Updates

  • T-System and VitalWare will exhibit at the HFMA Region 11 Healthcare Symposium January 24-29 in San Diego.
  • Wolters Kluwer Health publishes an e-book titled Integrated Clinical Decision Support: Accelerating Adoption of Evidence-Based Care for Optimal Outcomes.
  • Valence Health will exhibit at the HFMA Tri-State Institute January 27-29 in Memphis, TN.
  • ZeOmega will exhibit at the Strategic Analytics for Population Health event January 25-26 in Orlando.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 24, 2016 News 14 Comments

Morning Headlines 1/22/16

January 21, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Virus hits TRMC computers

Ransomware has been blocking EHR access at Titus Regional Medical Center (TX) since January 15, sending all hospital operations back to paper. “It’s just like in the 1970s, before electronic medical records. Everything is on paper and people are serving as runners. There’s no automation,” explains the hospital’s public information officer. There is currently no estimate for when the system will be back online.

VA chief to Congress: You can’t fire your way to excellence

VA Secretary Robert McDonald testifies before Congress that he has fired 2.600 VA employees since he took office 18 months ago, and that he is now working to turn the organization into the number one customer-service agency in government, primarily through new IT projects

Clarifying, Eliminating and Enforcing Special Enrollment Periods

CMS updates its rules on special enrollment periods for insurance exchanges to crack down on those that “remain uninsured and then decide they need health insurance when they get sick.”

Time for a Patient-Driven Health Information Economy?

An NEJM opinion piece calls for APIs that could help establish a patient-controlled health record infrastructure, citing reluctance of providers to share medical records with patients, despite HIPAA and HITECH mandates.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 21, 2016 Headlines No Comments

News 1/22/16

January 21, 2016 News No Comments

Top News

image

The Senate’s HELP Committee will not vote on the House-passed 21st Century Cures act in its entirety, but instead will review it as seven separate bills. The committee will vote on an EHR bill on February 9 that covers unnecessary physician documentation, patient records access, information blocking, and EHR certification standards. In the draft legislation that was just published:

  • HHS will establish goals to reduce EHR regulatory and administrative burdens.
  • ONC will create voluntary EHR certification criteria for specialties, including pediatrics.
  • ONC will make materials submitted by software vendors to earn certification publicly available.
  • Vendors of certified software will be required to attest that they do not practice information blocking.
  • ONC will publish an EHR star rating system that includes security, usability, interoperability, and testing  results. One-star vendors will be required to follow a corrective action plan and can be fined or decertified if they don’t improve their rating. The government will reimburse users for the cost of decertified products.
  • HHS OIG will be empowered to investigate claims of information blocking by vendors or providers, with vendors subject to fines and providers liable for an unspecified “sufficient deterrent.”
  • ONC will convene groups to create a trusted exchange framework for interoperability.
  • HHS will publish a provider digital contact information index.
  • ONC will create a 25-member HIT Advisory Committee to develop standards and to set the agenda for a national health IT infrastructure, including privacy, accurate patient identification (an effort that will be overseen by the GAO), and de-identification.
  • HHS will define a common data set for public health reporting.
  • ONC will certify software using patient usability criteria, including giving patients access to their information in a single longitudinal format and giving them the ability to add to their information and share it as desired.

Reader Comments

image

From Company Contact: “Re: HIMSS Analytics. The revised version looks like a search engine, returning information in a tightly nested and unreadable spreadsheet. For the fees companies pay, it’s a shame that some engineer got into their heads to change the format. “


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

image

Ms. Aguiar made a passionate plea for tablets and electronic flash card software for her Florida third graders, saying, “I truly believe they can and will succeed despite what society, prejudice, or others might think about them … my students don’t have have access to technology, which automatically puts them behind their high-income peers.” We funded her DonorsChoose grant request, about which she reports, “You have made a tremendous impact on our classroom and our success. Because of you, we now have access to technology in our room and now have the ability to access websites, games, and books online. We can now say that we are competing against our peers in a fair way.”

My fundraising lunch will be Wednesday of HIMSS week from 11 to 1. Vendors who donate $1,000 to DonorsChoose get to make a short pitch to the assembled CIOs and enjoy a social lunch following. CIOs from John Muir Health, Contra Costa Health Services, University of Colorado Health, Centura, UC Irvine, and several other health systems are donating their time to raise money for a worthy cause. Contact Lorre for donation instructions (the money is paid directly to DonorsChoose) and a seat at the table. I’ll mention the donations here as well.

image

Thanks to consulting firm Optimum Healthcare IT for joining my CIO lunch. Their $1,000 donation funded these DonorsChoose teacher requests with matching funds from third-party foundations:

  • A programmable robot kit for Ms. Stokes’ elementary school gifted class in Charlotte, NC
  • Three iPad Minis and cases for Mr. DePhillips’ elementary school class in Herminie, PA
  • A programmable robot, vehicle building kit, iPad Mini, and case for Mrs. Bierhals’ elementary school class in Ruffs Dale, PA
  • STEM manipulatives for Mrs. Lee’s kindergarten class in Tucson, AZ
  • A wireless whiteboard, two iPad Minis, cases, and four science books for Mrs. Petrisko’s elementary school class in Herminie, PA
  • A 26-book library for Ms. Stitt’s elementary school class in Charlotte, NC
  • A listening center and 48 math skills books for Mrs. Gadsden’s kindergarten class in Durham, NC

This week on HIStalk Practice: Physiotherapy Associates rolls out the Athletic Trainer System EHR. University of Pennsylvania physicians find that fitness trackers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. AllMeds rebrands and expands RCM offerings. De-identified health data means big bucks for business and a lack of confidence for consumers. CareCloud CEO Ken Comée recaps Practice Profitability Index findings. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine officially launches its telemedicine service. CMS tightens up on Healthcare.gov’s special enrollment periods. Panorama Orthopedics & Spine Center COO Lance Goudzwaard shares the benefits of virtual scribe technology.

This week on HIStalk Connect: The FDA publishes guidelines outlining postmarket cybersecurity requirements for medical device manufacturers. Scripps Translational Science Institute publishes results from one of the largest clinical trials measuring the effectiveness of remote patient monitoring conducted to date, finding no improvement to outcomes, overall service utilization, or cost of care. Patrick Soon-Shiong announces his own "Cancer Moonshot 2020" in conjunction with the President’s SOTU cancer moonshot announcement. Researchers from the University of Illinois unveil a new implantable brain sensor that monitors pressure and temperature, but that is made entirely of materials that break down naturally in the body over time, eliminating the need to remove implants.


HIStalkapalooza

image image

Last call: if you want to come to HIStalkapalooza, fill out the request form. I will almost certainly be able to invite everyone who asks, which hasn’t been the case in most years. Remember that I’m sticking with Monday night even with the screwy Las Vegas HIMSS schedule that is driven by casino greed, so you can make Michael Dell’s 5:00 p.m. keynote (if you care enough to bother, which I can’t say I do) but not the opening reception that runs the odd hours of 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. I guarantee that my event will be much more fun and memorable.

HIStalkapalooza Sponsor Profile – Wellcentive

image

The business case for quality has never been stronger. Incentives, penalties, risk, and market competition is at an all-time high. Is your organization positioned for success relational to quality, revenue, and transformation? Since 2005, Wellcentive has partnered with organizations to ensure successful transitions to value-based care. Our solutions are consistently ranked as a top performers by KLAS, IDC Health Insights, Chilmark, and Black Book. Stop by booth #468 and network with professionals leading some of the most complex transformations being witnessed today. Lastly, in the spirit of care, for every minute you spend with us, Wellcentive will donate $1 to impact the 20 million (or one in five) Americans living with an autoimmune disease. As a Histalkapalooza sponsor, join us and last year’s HIStalk King Wellcentive’s Gabe O for the party of the conference


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Free EHR vendor Practice Fusion hired investment bankers to explore a 2017 IPO last year, but its plans may have changed due to poor stock market conditions, according to the New York Times. JPMorgan originally estimated that the IPO would value the company at $1.5 billion based on revenue growth assumptions that the company later reduced. Practice Fusion, which has raised $149 million, expected to lose $26 million on revenue of $46 million in 2015. Found Ryan Howard was replaced as CEO in November 2015 by the promoted Tom Langan, who has no CEO experience.

image

Agfa Healthcare buys a 27 percent equity position in My Personal Health Record Express, which offers the Minerva data aggregation platform.

image

Reuters reports that Leidos is finalizing a $5 billion deal to acquire Lockheed Martin’s government IT business.


Sales

Tuba City Regional Health Care (AZ) chooses Allscripts Sunrise and Care Director for its 73-bed hospital and clinics.

Neighbors Emergency Center, which operates 12 freestanding emergency departments, chooses T-System’s EDIS.

image

Centegra Health System (IL) expands its use of FormFast electronic forms to Centegra Hospital-Huntley.

Easter Seals Southern California chooses Netsmart’s EHR for providing services to 6,000 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Military Health System selects McKesson’s InterQual for utilization management.


People

image

Pamplona Capital Management names Joel Hackney, Jr. (Avintiv) as CEO of the new company created by the merger of its holdings, MedAssets and Precyse.

image image

Identity resolution vendor CrossChx hires former HHS CTO Bryan Sivak and former ONC chief medical officer Jacob Reider, MD for part-time, unstated roles.

image

WEDI names Charles Stellar (AHIP) as interim president and CEO.


Announcements and Implementations

image

Ireland-based patient engagement and clinical workflow technology vendor Oneview appoints two new board members following its $13 million capital raise in December.

image

Wolters Kluwer announces that it gained 113 customers for its procedure documentation system ProVation MD in 2015 and signed agreements with 86 healthcare facilities to replace the retired EndoWorks by Olympus, which named ProVation MD as its preferred replacement.

Experian Health announces its largest-ever Q3 results with 66 newly signed contracts and additional product selection by 192 customers.

Athenahealth, eClinicalWorks, Epic, NextGen Healthcare, and Surescripts are named as the initial implementers of the Carequality Interoperability Framework that was released in December 2015.


Government and Politics

CMS tightens up Healthcare.gov’s special enrollment period policies to eliminate “unintended loopholes,” such as people switching or dropping plans mid-year for purely financial reasons. CMS will reduce the number of those periods, clarify that a consumer’s relocation must be permanent to be eligible for move-related plan changes, and warns that it will audit consumer-entered information for accuracy. CMS helpfully clarifies that “special enrollment periods are not allowed for people who choose to remain uninsured and then decide they need health insurance when they get sick.”

image

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald testifies to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, outlining plans to transform the VA as the #1 customer service agency in government. Among his goals is to transform the VA from “sick care” to “healthcare.” He also wants to “bring our information technology infrastructure into the 21st century” and listed the IT-related goals above.

ONC announces that Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System VP/CIO Vindell Washington, MD will join the organization as principal deputy national coordinator.


Privacy and Security

image

Titus Regional Medical Center (TX) loses access to its EHR for several days when its database servers are hit with ransomware, which demands payment to restore access to the information. The hospital doesn’t know when it will get its systems back following the January 15 incident, explaining, “It’s just like in the 1970s, before electronic medical records. Everything is on paper and people are serving as runners. There’s no automation.”

The malware that took down the pathology department of Australia’s Royal Melbourne Hospital has been identified as a new variant of the Qbot worm. The department is still running Windows XP PCs and its laboratory information system runs on Windows Server 2003. Both products have been retired and are no longer supported by Microsoft. Qbot had a moment of fame in 2014 when security experts found that it had compromised 500,000 computers after being distributed from infected web pages, with its apparently Russian authors having stolen login credentials for up to 800,000 bank accounts.


Other

Two-thirds of hospitals don’t expect precision medicine to have much of an impact on their organizations in the next five years, according to a fairly small survey by Health Catalyst that also finds that few providers are adding genomic capabilities to their EHRs.

image

A NEJM opinion piece by Ken Mandl and Zak Kohane of Harvard and the SMART program observes that providers have mostly ignored their requirement under HIPAA to give patients copies of their medical records, often because they are protecting their competitive position. It adds that document exchange via C-CDA failed because it wasn’t standardized and Blue Button hasn’t matured. It urges IT purchasers to demand a patient-controlled solution powered by open APIs.

A study in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that people who spend less on healthcare after switching to high-deductible medical insurance aren’t shopping for care more wisely – they just use less of it because it costs them more. That throws water on the theory that people who are paying out of their own pocket seek lower-cost providers.

image

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors proposes that its member journals (Annals of Internal Medicine, NEJM, JAMA, and others) require authors to share the de-identified patient data from clinical trials they used.

image

A San Franciso startup whose app allows women to easily obtain birth control seems to be crossing a telemedicine line it may not realize exists. Women fill out an online form that includes the brand name of product they want, a doctor reviews their information and issues a prescription, and the birth control product arrives within two days and is refilled automatically going forward. The patient never actually interacts with the doctor.


Sponsor Updates

  • InterSystems will exhibit at the IHE North America Connectathon 2016 January 25-29 in Cleveland.
  • Leidos Health will exhibit at the CHIME Spring Forum January 28-29 in Las Vegas.
  • KLAS recognizes LifeImage as the market leader in image exchange.
  • MedData will exhibit at the Texas Hospital Association Annual Conference January 21-22 in Dallas.
  • Direct Consulting Associates will exhibit at the IHE North American Connectathon 2016 January 25-29 in Cleveland.
  • EClinicalWorks releases a new podcast on the benefits of RCM at HCA.
  • Healthgrades announces the 2016 Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence recipients.
  • Patientco will exhibit at HFMA’s Annual Revenue Cycle on January 22 in Foxborough, MA.
  • Porter Research helps to develop the Institute of Health Information Technology’s annual HIT workforce report, and Navicure’s latest ICD-10 survey.
  • Red Hat is recognized as a leader in two Forrester research reports ranking private cloud software suites and hybrid cloud management solutions.
  • Sagacious Consultants releases the latest edition of its Sagacious Pulse newsletter.
  • The SSI Group and Streamline Health will exhibit at the HFMA Region 11 Healthcare Symposium January 24-27 in San Diego.
  • Summit Healthcare will participate in the IHE North American Connectathon January 25-29 in Cleveland.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 21, 2016 News No Comments

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 1/21/16

January 21, 2016 Dr. Jayne 1 Comment

I’m not always able to practice what I preach. Last week was one of those weeks. Our practice is experiencing a wild growth spurt and my last patient care day was one for the record books. Not only did we see more patients than we’ve ever seen in a single day, but we had several ambulance transfers and other critical situations. 

I admit that my charts got out of hand, even with a scribe joining me partway through the day. At least 90 percent of the notes were done before the end of the day and all of them were done within 24 hours, but I had to spend some evening time going through and doing a final review and locking them.

Normally our “default” settings are great, but as I was reviewing, I discovered that partway through the day that my “award-winning, cloud-based EHR” began documenting a negative male genitourinary Review of Systems on all patients, even if they were female. Of course they’re not having any problems in their male organs, because they don’t have any.

I’m not sure what went haywire, but I had to stop my review process and call in the experts. Our practice’s staff tinkered with it for a while and then contacted the vendor. We still don’t have an answer. Although I can manually correct them, I’d rather not have to go through scores of charts if there’s a quick fix. In my consulting practice, I see a lot of physicians that quickly click through their documents without reviewing them, so this is a great cautionary tale for me to use in the future.

In the meantime, I’ve had plenty of diversion with dozens of people emailing me the CMS blog backpedaling on comments about the end of Meaningful Use. At least they made it crystal clear that they’re not eliminating MU and that we’re still stuck with it for the near term.

Although it was about as nice of an “oops, we take that back” post as I’ve seen, I take issue with their comments on offices being “wired.” As we all know and as I’ve said time and again, just because technology is present doesn’t mean anyone is using it or that it is useful at all. Most of us in the clinical trenches have used EHRs that have been decent and those that have been soul-suckingly bad. The fact that they’re “wired” has nothing to do with our outcomes.

I have several close friends that ran Level 3 Patient-Centered Medical Home practices using only pen, paper, and Excel – and with a level of efficiency and improved outcomes that would put many EHR-based practices to shame. Of course, that level of performance requires not only skilled staff, but individuals who are dedicated, compassionate, and believe in the practices and their missions.

It becomes harder to retain that level of staff when they become demoralized by a poor product or a good product with a poor implementation. I’d like to see people who should know better stop using computers as a proxy indicator of whether a practice is moving in the right direction or not.

clip_image002

I didn’t make the list for the HIMSS16 Social Media Ambassadors. I shouldn’t be surprised because my use of Twitter and Facebook has been at low tide for months. But I found coverage of the announcement rather funny, in that it says that they are “credentialed by HIMSS to cover the conference.” I didn’t know you could be credentialed for social media – perhaps a license to Tweet?

Regardless, I’ll be covering the conference in my usual style, with scheduled strolls through the exhibit hall accompanied by real, live providers and in-the-trenches users of healthcare IT. The reasons I’m not all over social media became clear in another piece, this one featuring tips from the Ambassadors. Medicity’s Brian Ahier @ahier talked about only following “five or six hundred folks” but that he tries to read “every tweet of the people I follow.” There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to be that active in the Twitterverse, even when I multitask while hitting the treadmill.

Lately on the treadmill I’ve been working on some required Continuing Medical Education content for my primary specialty certification. I’m six years into a 10-year Maintenance of Certification cycle. Although at least one Board has somewhat put MOC on hold, mine hasn’t. I like to try to get the arduous (and wholly irrelevant) required module out of the way early in the year so I don’t have to sweat it later. In response to my comments last week about there being Clinical Informatics “LLSA” CME hours offered at HIMSS16 (my that was a lot of acronyms in one sentence!) I heard from a couple of readers.

One lamented the fact that there are virtually no approved LLSA hours relevant to clinical informatics unless you can attend one of the AMIA conference or HIMSS. It costs thousands of dollars to attend these conferences (most of the registrations are pushing $1,000 on their own) and they’re not always ideal venues for learning. Although I learned a great deal at the AMIA symposium, many of the non-LLSA sessions were more valuable to me as an informaticist than the approved courses. I also learn better when I can focus at home rather than being in a hotel meeting room with hundreds of other people some of whom are having sidebar conversations or moving around and being distractions.

Another reader complained about the costs of HIMSS in general and shared his hope that perhaps in the future the conference will become the irrelevant part of the week since there are so many events outside of the actual proceedings (did someone say HIStalkapalooza?)

Another reader shared some of his correspondence with the American Board of Preventive Medicine, who certifies a good chunk of the Clinical Informatics diplomates. The Board staffer commented that they had planned for AMIA to provide more LLSA-approved CME by this point. My response to that is that it’s irresponsible for a certifying board to rely on a third party to provide credits unless there is a contractual obligation to do so. At least my primary certifying board has its act together and provides adequate content (volume wise – some of it may be irrelevant depending on your practice) on its own.

HIMSS also responded to my difficulty in being able to find information on the LLSA sessions. Unfortunately, three staffers sent me a link that didn’t take me anywhere helpful. One did send a PDF with the schedule and instructions which was very helpful. Although many of them overlap, they also mentioned that after the meeting they will be posting the sessions online so that we can access them as “enduring materials.” That will help for those of us who wanted to attend multiple sessions at the same time.

There are now over 1,000 of us who are certified in clinical informatics, so for those of you in the latest class of Diplomates, welcome to the CME/LLSA party.

clip_image004

A reader who knows my fondness for shoes shared a link to this church recently completed in Taiwan. It’s supposed to draw more women to attend, but I’d also be on the lookout for fetishists.

Do you have your shoes picked out for HIStalkapalooza? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 21, 2016 Dr. Jayne 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 1/21/16

January 20, 2016 News No Comments

Postmarket Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices

The FDA publishes cybersecurity guidelines for medical devices, outlining requirements for manufacturers to conduct postmarket risk analysis, and conduct timely corrective and preventative action.

Senate won’t take up House’s 21st Century Cures Act

The Senate will not move the 21st Century Cures Act forward, citing disagreements over how to pay for the bill.

Oscar Health Raising Giant Funding Round led by Fidelity

Fortune reports that insurance startup Oscar Health is in the process of raising another massive funding round led by Fidelity, with $150 million already committed. Oscar Health has already raised $325 million in the two years since its launch.

A prospective randomized trial examining health care utilization in individuals using multiple smartphone-enabled biosensors

Scripps Translational Health Institute publishes findings from a six-month control trial designed to measure cost savings and quality improvements associated with the use remote patient monitoring technologies. Researchers found no difference in cost of care, resource utilization, or clinical outcomes.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 20, 2016 News No Comments

CIO Unplugged 1/20/16

January 20, 2016 Ed Marx 2 Comments

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine personally and are not necessarily representative of current or former employers.

Teams Redux

One of the biggest secrets to success is no secret at all. Often discussed, rarely employed: a killer team is the key to work and life.

At 20 years old, I was nose-to-nose with hardened combat veterans, many of whom had served multiple tours in Vietnam. My platoon sergeant and squad leaders had been in the Army longer than I was alive. The medals on their chests weighed more than I did. But there I was — their platoon leader.

I could hardly spell engineer, yet I was the leader, inspecting my troops. I was so insecure it took all I had to maintain eye contact while I evaluated them to ensure their combat readiness.

I was ill prepared, but desperate to learn. I quickly realized that if it were left to me, our platoon would fail. I had to rely on my non-commissioned officers to be successful.

I respected them, gave them plenty of room, and listened before making decisions. They made me look decent and saved me on more than one occasion.

It paid off. Third Platoon (vertical construction), Bravo Company, 244th Combat Engineer Battalion became one of the best in our Army command. At an early age, I stumbled on the secret to success. It was all about the people around me. Organization success was predicated partially upon my success. My success was predicated on my soldier’s success. That was the ultimate foundation. It all began with the team.

I have had the privilege of leading numerous teams in my civilian career. We did all sorts of crazy good things. At first the teams were small, but the size was irrelevant. We accomplished tasks with speed and precision. While our contributions may have been minor in the big scheme, we were contributing to our organizations’ success. Little did we know we were also contributing to our personal and career success.

I recall the Whiz Kids in Cleveland. Named after a book I read on the young leaders that transformed our automobile industry, my focus became team building. None of us fit the mold. We were so young and adventurous but passionate with vision balanced by a “get your hands dirty” mentality.

I managed to land fighter pilot and rotary wing pilots. I recruited young gun consultants looking to leave the road to spend time with family. There was a nurse ready to leave the hospital floor. Finally, the techie who wanted to change the world. We read books together and spent significant time with one another’s families.

We inherited a very poor IT organization. Within four years, we quadrupled customer satisfaction to best of class levels. We helped the organization achieve significant clinical and business outcomes. Gartner even made our IT turnaround a case study.

In Dallas, our organization required a new team. We had strong individual performers, but not the team needed for sustainable success. So we retooled. We became more social; more appreciative. We spent time team building off site and simultaneously insisted on personal and professional improvement. We began to gel as a team.

We won numerous industry accolades acknowledging the role of IT in clinical and business outcomes and became a “Best Places to Work” organization. It was a rush.

We are building this same kind of leadership team today. We have a hefty goal. The only way to transform a city is to first have the foundation of an amazing team. Our roles as healthcare technology leaders are too critical and impossible for one person to handle.

We all need help. Leaders that fail are typically the lone wolves who refuse help. They view the strength of their team as something to fear. Their insecurities and pride suffocate them despite the amount of oxygen immediately available.

These attributes on successful teams transcend the workplace. I am grateful to be on sport teams and community teams that accomplished things that no individual could have done on their own.

I am accused of arrogance. I am accused of self-centeredness, seeking glory for myself. The ironic thing is that I’ve never claimed that my organizations’ or sport successes were about me. Trust me — I always give credit to the team.

I have tried to lead on my own and I failed. I have sought glory and found myself alone. I am the first to remind people that left on our own, we will fail. Through the years, I’ve recognized that as with most things, pride hampers adoption. The meek will inherit the earth.

The only way for us to be good stewards of our roles and responsibilities is to get help. Reach out to others. Make those hard decisions and build a team that is better together than anyone by themselves. A team that accomplishes more than ever would be possible on their own. A team that puts organizational goals before personal aspirations.

Want to accomplish amazing things? Build and pour yourself into your team.

Ed encourages your interaction by clicking the comments link below. You can also connect with Ed directly on LinkedIn and Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 20, 2016 Ed Marx 2 Comments

Readers Write: What EHR Vendors Need to Know About Implementing Minnesota’s Electronic Prior Authorization Law

January 20, 2016 Readers Write No Comments

What EHR Vendors Need to Know About Implementing Minnesota’s Electronic Prior Authorization Law
By Tony Schueth

image

It’s January 2016 and electronic prior authorization (ePA) is now “required” by law in Minnesota. There has been surprisingly little fanfare about this deadline, and it’s my observation that most electronic health records (EHRs) and providers are not ready to comply. Here’s what EHR vendors need to know about implementing Minnesota’s law, also known as MS §62J.497.

It’s not necessarily a mandate. Minnesota really wants clinicians to do PAs electronically using standards from the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP), but there are no penalties for non-compliance. According to a state fact sheet:

  • “Starting January 1, 2016, prescription drug authorizations – including prior authorizations (PA) and formulary exception requests – must be exchanged electronically, using the NCPDP SCRIPT Standard version 2013101.”
  • “The law does not require prescription drug PA and/or formulary exceptions. However, for those entities subject to the law, if PA requests and responses and/or formulary exception requests and responses are exchanged, starting January 1, 2016, they must be exchanged electronically based on the NCPDP SCRIPT Standard version 2013101.”
  • No later than January 1, 2016, drug prior authorization requests must be accessible and submitted by health care providers, and accepted by group purchasers, electronically through secure electronic transmissions. Facsimile shall not be considered electronic transmission.”

While the language is very strong, the statute doesn’t definitively say that every single PA must be done electronically.

State officials acknowledge they may be out in front of everyone else: “technological updates to enable this functionality can take time, and manual methods for prior authorization may need to be used until electronic functionality is available with all partners.” Kudos to Minnesota for showing leadership.

Should you wait?

Despite Minnesota’s lack of a true mandate, I wouldn’t recommend waiting for the regulatory axe to fall in Minnesota. The paper-, fax-, and phone-based prior authorization (PA) process is time-consuming and burdensome to physicians and expensive for payers. In contrast, ePA promises efficiencies.

It’s early in the adoption cycle, kinks need to be worked out, and implementation isn’t uniform. That said, pharmacies and prescribers ultimately will prefer ePA over current processes to help keep pace with the PA requirements associated with the increasing number of drugs used to treat the rising number of the chronically ill. Furthermore, large integrated delivery networks will select EHRs that are compliant with the statutes and regulations in their service area. These EHRs must be able to handle transactions, such as ePA, regardless of site of care.

What about e-prescribing of controlled substances?

Minnesota has had 62J.497 on the books to mandate e-prescribing for all prescriptions effective since 2011 and the state has some of the strongest e-prescribing adoption in the country. We have heard anecdotally that Minnesota has a goal of having all controlled substance prescriptions being electronically prescribed by the end of 2016. While that appears to be just a goal, there are two aspects of controlled substances prescribing that should be kept in mind.

The first is that e-prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) is permitted both at the federal and state level. Even so, the facts about the legality of EPCS are often surrounded by confusion. Because of this misperception and the fact that there are no penalties for non-compliance, demand by prescribers is just beginning to appear. But that is changing.

The second is interfacing with the state’s prescription monitoring program (PMP), which is up and running under the auspices of the state’s board of pharmacy. All dispensers (pharmacies or providers that dispense from their offices) licensed by the State of Minnesota must report on a daily basis all controlled substance II-V and butalbital prescriptions that were dispensed. To satisfy the reporting requirements, all EHRs should be able to interface with the PMP to provide the necessary information.

New York takes a different approach

What is interesting is the contrast of Minnesota’s electronic prescribing and ePA “mandate” with New York’s I-STOP. The spirit (and language) of the rules are very similar for both states, except, of course, that I-STOP doesn’t mention ePA. The key difference is that I-STOP articulates the penalties for non-compliance. New York has the right to impose professional misconduct penalties (including fines and possible license revocation) for non-compliance with I-STOP.

As a result, it appears that most EHR vendors with clients in New York have enabled their products to handle e-prescribing – including EPCS – and have emphasized their readiness.

I applaud both states’ efforts to lead and urge EHR vendors not to wait until the last minute to roll out products in either state. Your customers will appreciate it. Furthermore, your competitors will have solutions available for those who aren’t either prescribing electronically or facilitating ePA yet.

Tony Schueth is CEO of Point-of-Care Partners of Coral Springs, FL.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 20, 2016 Readers Write No Comments

Morning Headlines 1/20/16

January 19, 2016 News No Comments

EHR Incentive Programs: Where We Go Next

CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt and National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD publish a blog post outlining the planned future of the EHR Incentive Program, noting that the transition to MACRA will change the focus from rewarding the meaningful use of EHR systems to “rewarding providers for the outcomes technology helps them achieve.”

Despite exchanges, UnitedHealth Group beats Q4 earnings estimates

UnitedHealth Group reports Q4 results: revenue of $43.6 billion beat analysts estimates and topped the insurers $33.4 billion revenue from the same period last year. UnitedHealth’s insurance exchange plans accounted for $720 million in losses between 2015 and 2016.

Digital Reasoning Acquires Health Tech Provider Shareable, Launches Health Care Business

Digital Reasoning, a cognitive computing vendor, acquires Nashville-based Shareable for an undisclosed sum. Shareable’s mobile clinical documentation apps, clinical systems integration engine, and cloud-based middleware platform will be integrated into Digital Reasoning’s existing data analytics platform.

Health service to begin electronic patient referrals

In Ireland, a nationwide electronic referral program will go live in March resulting in 95 percent of practices and all hospitals being able to exchange referrals electronically. Additionally, nearly all hospitals will be able to exchange diagnostic and and scanned images.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 19, 2016 News No Comments

News 1/20/16

January 19, 2016 News 4 Comments

Top News

image

A CMS blog post by Administrator Andy Slavitt and National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD says the administration has been “working side by side with physician organizations” to change the EHR incentive program. They will propose MACRA-based regulations that will:

  • Reward providers for patient outcomes
  • Allow providers to use IT in the way that works best for them
  • Promote open APIs
  • Focus on real-world interoperability goals while not tolerating data blocking.

Slavitt and DeSalvo warn that, despite their seemingly inadequately planned and oddly timed exuberant comments:

  • Existing standards are still in effect as required by law
  • MACRA covers only Medicare Eligible Providers and not hospitals or the Medicaid program
  • MU Stage 3 remains in effect

Reader Comments

From See Me CMIO: “Re: NEJM article on intrusive, standardized patient visit requirements and EHR checklists. Cerner with Dynamic Documentation returns us to the old-school way and away from the tyranny of physician documentation templates. Our go-live of Cerner Ambulatory created angst by physicians using template- and list-driven EHRs from NextGen and eClinicalWorks (especially younger ones who never knew pre-EHR documentation) who were uneasy with a system that instead presented them with basically a blank sheet of paper. Dyn Doc allows the open-ended interview style described in the article, with the need for reminders accomplished on the health maintenance section, the best of both worlds. However, template-driven systems may work better for specialists such as colorectal surgeons and orthopedists who would be slowed down by an open-ended interview.” 

image

From EMR Expert: “Re: Cerner. Bid $23 million for the EMR tender of 1,095-bed King Fahad Medical City in Saudi Arabia vs. Epic’s $126 million. Only Epic’s price was similar to what it would have bid in the US. Why is Cerner overcharging its US customers compared to oil-rich Saudi Arabia?” “Oil rich” is an oxymoron these days as the barrel is almost worth more than the oil it contains, but I don’t know why Cerner would so significantly undercut Epic’s apparently predictable bid in a two-horse race. Going back to the petroleum theme, it’s like my local gas station whose price is 20 cents per gallon less than everyone else’s – why not go only five cents lower in undercutting competitors while still pocketing the difference?

image

From Not from Monterey: “Re: Centra Health of Central Virginia. A good source tells me they’ve chosen Cerner, ditching McKesson if my memory serves me correctly.” Unverified. They are a Horizon and Pathways shop going back many years.

image

From NantWatch: “Re: NantHealth. Patrick Soon-Shiong says he intends to ‘merge’ NantOmics and NantMobile (the recently rebranded NantMobileHealth) into NantHeath the first half of this year as a part of the ‘Moonshot 2020’ initiative, though he has a tendency to change his mind on a whim, so who knows if this will happen. Predictable internal power struggles have begun.” Unverified.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

image

We funded the DonorsChoose grant request of Mrs. Nelson, who asked for science kits for her Alabama elementary school class (her “highest poverty” school has only old, outdated books). She reports, “When they heard the news that we were getting funded, they all cheered in excitement! They were counting down the days until they could see our science kits come in by mail. When they finally arrived to our classroom, my students chimed in perfect sync, YESSSSSS! We opened them immediately to see all of the contents inside. As I read the descriptions of the science kits and showed them the parts, they smiled, cheered, and gleamed with anticipation!” The students are using the electrical activity tub to study and build circuits and next week they will use that knowledge to begin studying renewable and non-renewable energy sources.

An anonymous reader sent $50 for my DonorsChoose project. I couldn’t find any projects that amount would fully cover even with matching funds, so instead I completed the donations already received for Mrs. Azorr’s elementary school class request for dry erase markers, pockets, and earbuds for math practice and, in a second project, printing supplies for Mrs. P’s class in Roanoke, VA.

Listening: new from The Strumbellas, a six-piece band from Canada whose music is somewhere between spare, catchy alternative and pop bluegrass. It didn’t seem promising, but I ended up liking it. I’ll note the untimely passing of Glenn Frey (even though I’d take a root canal over listening to the Eagles any day) as well as the death of another 60-something musician, glam band Mott the Hoople drummer Dale Griffin. It was all Nektar for me at the gym today and those guys are in their late 60s as well. One might argue that 1970s-era musicians were our Greatest Musical Generation and we’re losing them way too fast.  


Webinars

None scheduled soon. Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Digital Reasoning acquires mobile clinical documentation vendor Shareable (formerly known as Shareable Ink). Digital Reasoning vaguely describes its work as “cognitive computing,” of which I could learn no more since its horribly designed website takes several minutes to load, vastly exceeding the limits of my curiosity.

image

UnitedHealth Group beats Wall Street expectations for Q4 revenue and earnings despite losing $720 million in the fiscal year selling insurance on federal and state exchanges, a much bigger loss than it originally expected. The company warns again that it may stop selling policies on the exchanges next year. Meanwhile, UHG’s Optum business generated earnings that were up 50 percent.

image

Three-month-old Malaysia-based doctor appointment booking startup BookDoc takes an unspecified investment from the royal family of Brunei. The company says it has “the highest pre-seed and seed funding valuations ever in the technology start-up history of Asia.”

image

Public relations firm Weber Shandwick acquires Nashville-based healthcare marketing firm ReviveHealth.

image

Johnson & Johnson will eliminate 3,000 positions in its medical device business, an action it optimistically euphemizes as, “to strengthen its go-to-market model, accelerate the pace of innovation, further prioritize key platforms and geographies, and streamline operations while maintaining high quality standards.” In other words, the little people it will fire are the problem, not the still-employed executives who hired them in the first place and then apparently mismanaged them to the point that the company is better off with 3,000 empty chairs.

image

In Spain, NTT Data will work with Everis Health and local hospitals to develop a new medical analytics service technology that will apply knowledge to ICU patient data streams.

image

Sentry Data Systems will acquire Agilum Healthcare Intelligence. Both companies offer data analytics solutions.


Announcements and Implementations

Divurgent and General Dynamics partner to offer security solutions to healthcare providers.

Ireland’s Health Service Executive announces that within a few months all of the country’s hospitals will be able to receive electronic referrals, 95 percent of physician practices will be able to send them, most hospitals will be capable of sharing x-rays electronically, all 19 maternity units will run a single computer system, and all of Ireland’s 43 medical labs will share information via an electronic network.

AdvancedMD launches AdvancedEPCS for electronic prescribing of controlled substances.

image

CHIME launches the year-long, $1 million prize National Patient ID Challenge to develop some kind of technology workaround to the lack of a national patient identifier. I have a lot of questions: (a) where did CHIME get $1 million to spend on an R&D project? (b) can any algorithm truly hit 100 percent accuracy without requiring patients to sign up for something new? and (c) if the best submission still isn’t commercially feasible with 100 percent accuracy, does the submitter get the million dollars anyway? Not to mention (d) who has the deep pockets to fund a possible solution with only the hope of earning a winner-take-all prize? (actually there’s a $30,000 prize after the second round, but still …) Perhaps CHIME is actually hoping that someone will launch a third-party registration service since a national health ID isn’t illegal – it just can’t be funded using federal money. I admire the initiative, but I would be somewhere between surprised and shocked if the winner’s solution earns broad adoption.


Government and Politics

image

The VA pays the director of its Danville, IL system $86,000 to resign and keep quiet after he complains to the Merit Systems Protection Board about being charged with threatening to fire a co-worker who reported him for doing little work, having sex with a female VA employee, and then bragging about his conquest to the female employee’s daughter, who also works for the VA. The daughter complained that she didn’t want to hear details about her mother, after which the director sent her a letter that said, “Would you like to live the rest of your life without a mom to be there for you and (redacted word) or would you prefer to have (her) available and happy in my company?’

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie kills a bill that would have required the state’s non-profit hospitals to pay city fees to help cover the cost of municipal services. Oddly enough, the New Jersey Hospital Association collaborated on the bill, hoping to avoid individual lawsuits brought against its member hospitals from cities demanding they pay their fair share. Or as the association’s CEO phrased it while comically avoiding saying the word “tax” in the same sentence as “hospital,” “for hospitals to support their host municipalities with added community contributions.”


Technology

image

The Rite Aid drug chain rolls out proximity beacons to its 4,500 stores in the largest such implementation in a retail setting. The app sends advertisements and offers (“contextual experiences”)  to the smartphones of in-store shoppers. I bet HIMSS will have it running by next year’s conference.


Other

image

I’m not sure what the British reporter (its political editor, of all things) who wrote a newspaper story titled “Strike all you like, doctors – technology will soon take away your power” expected, but he seems to be whining that doctors disagreed with his highly questionable conclusions, including his belief that people running around wearing Fitbits (which he spelled wrong) will upend “a profession reluctant to give up its position as the keepers of knowledge.”

image

Former Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman provides an interesting career bio to the Chicago Tribune. I wasn’t as interested to read about his investments in vendors of shoes, tea, and solar roofs as I was his recap of  his Allscripts days:

Then I went to a company called Enterprise Systems, which was in the healthcare business. Privately held. They asked me to come in as CEO. I took it public a year after arriving, and then a year later we sold it to the medical information company HBOC at a wonderful valuation … after we sold, I went to a company called Allscripts. Allscripts got to Series J financing [that is, the 10th round], which very few living people ever do. You have a lot of enemies, and you’ve burned through a lot of cash, and that’s when I arrived. We bought just over 60 percent of the company for $6 million … Then we went to work creating the first electronic business that prescribed at scale. We became the leading electronic health record provider in the country on the ambulatory side. Two years later, I took the company public at a $2 billion valuation.

image

In Australia, the pathology department of Royal Melbourne Hospital goes to manual processing when malware infects its computers running Windows XP, whose support and security updates ended on April 8, 2014. Given the infected location, I would bet that those PCs were running software that is regulated as a medical device and therefore can’t be upgraded without the software vendor’s approval.

image

A Health Affairs study identifies the 50 US hospitals with the highest markups, of which 49 are for-profit and 20 are in Florida. Their list prices averaged 10 times their reported costs, meaning out-of-network or cash-paying patients get stuck trying to cobble together enough money to pay bills inflated with a 90 percent profit margin. The authors suggest policy changes that could include: (a) requiring hospitals to publicly post their charge-to-cost ratio; (b) forcing hospitals to apply the same markup to all services rather than selectively jacking up areas like anesthesiology; (c) setting a maximum allowed markup for a given patient; (d) requiring hospitals to offer their lowest negotiated rate to everyone; or (e) requiring insurers to use the same payment method (such as DRGs) but allow the actual payment to vary by insurer based on negotiated rates. 

image

A BMJ blog post from a palliative care doctor and David Bowie fan thanks the late musician for leaving an allegory-laden final album, for dying with dignity at home instead of in a hospital, and for inspiring patients to strive for a good death as the end of a good life.

I was thinking about NASA’s use of telemedicine for space station astronauts, which I assume must not involve Houston-based Johnson Space Center since the Texas Medical Board would otherwise find a way to shut it down.


Sponsor Updates

  • PeriGen publishes a white paper titled “The Future of Electronic Fetal Monitoring.”
  • Health Facilities Management publishes a Field Report detailing how Trinitas Regional Medical Center reduced the severity of injuries due to assault with Versus Staff Assist.
  • Bottomline Technologies will sponsor Leadership Seacoast, a nonprofit that educates and informs future community leaders. Vice President of Services and Operations Jill McFarland will participate in the organization’s 2016 class.
  • ZeOmega’s Jiva PHR earns ONC HIT 2014 Edition Modular EHR certification.
  • Capsule Tech will participate in the IHE Connectathon January 25-29 in Cleveland.
  • The local business paper features CareSync in an article on venture capital funding.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
Get HIStalk updates.
Send news or rumors.
Contact us.

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 19, 2016 News 4 Comments

Morning Headlines 1/19/16

January 18, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Privacy experts say Coburn op-ed misses the mark

Privacy experts respond critically to an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal last week by former Senator Tom Colburn, MD’s in which he argues that “HIPAA makes it difficult for researchers to tap into large caches of clinical and genomic data shared across multiple institutions or firms, and then share their findings more broadly.”

50 hospitals charge uninsured more than 10 times cost of care, study finds

A Health Affairs study analyzing Medicare-certified hospital data from 2012 and 2013 finds that 46 of the 50 hospitals with the highest overall markup on care delivered to out-of-network or uninsured patients are members of for-profit health systems, and that 20 of 50 operate in Florida.

Cerner again teams up with KC-area startup

Cerner partners with local Kansas City startup Infusion Express, an outpatient IV therapy company, to reduce IV treatment costs among its employees and reduce absenteeism by a forecasted 5,000 hours annually.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 18, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 1/18/16

January 18, 2016 Dr. Jayne 3 Comments

My inbox lit up last week after Andy Slavitt’s comments about the end of Meaningful Use. My clients were asking for immediate analysis of “the new rules,” but among friends, the emails were more along the lines of, “Did I miss a memo somewhere?”

I think Slavitt is overly optimistic in stating that MU will be replaced by “something better,” because ONC and CMS haven’t done such a great job of making things better in the modifications and revisions we’ve seen already. Frankly, I’m not sure they even understand the definition of “better” as it might be applied by a practicing physician.

Some of the emails had links to articles which either took the comments out of context or overly simplified the situation. That’s not surprising given the fact that we live in a society driven by sound bites, tweets, and Snapchat. Even if CMS wants to make the program go away, it may not be able to do it without a little bit of legislative assistance. MU is tied into the MACRA law, with MU being one of the elements contributing to the physician performance score that will drive payment adjustments.

I also take issue with his comments that, “We effectively have technology in virtually every place where care is provided.” That’s not really true – I know of quite a few primary care practices that still haven’t made the leap, largely because they’re in rural areas and are too busy actually caring for patients to deal with what they consider government nonsense.

One of my best friends from residency is one of those physicians, who has been in solo practice for many years and just splurged on the “luxury” of hiring a physician assistant to help support the practice since she’s been on 24×7 call for nearly a decade. We’re still lacking EHR in many care settings (home health, and nursing homes, anyone?) Not to mention that even though we may have computers in offices, that doesn’t mean that they’re used effectively or that they’re doing anything actually improve patient outcomes.

In my consulting practice, I see dozens of clients who may be meeting the letter of the law through workarounds and administrative processes, but who aren’t using their expensive EHRs to do anything truly meaningful. The ways in which vendors exploit vagaries in the requirements are often shocking. The CMS Frequently Asked Questions are sometimes confusing and occasionally contradictory, so I imagine it’s tempting to use what loopholes you can find.

I spend a lot of time counseling clients that, although they may be able to check the box for attestation, they’re cheating themselves and their patients out of the improvements that systems were intended to drive.

Some of my correspondents had conflicting thoughts on what the end of MU as we know it might do to the EHR industry. One was adamant that it would cause market consolidation since there are too many products out there that are certified but not terribly useful. Another felt that it would cause the return of diversity to the market, as vendors could focus less on certification and more on functionality and the ability to deliver improved patient care outcomes.

I tend to think that we’re headed for more consolidation due to economic and other factors. It won’t be easy to tell whether the proposed demise of MU really played a part.

It’s unclear how this will impact vendors who aren’t at risk for consolidation. Will this allow them to shift some of their development dollars back to usability and needed enhancements that were placed on the back burner due to certification requirements? Or will they still be dealing with regulations and calculations, but just in different forms? My physician friends that work in the vendor space share horror stories about the number of people vendors have dedicated just to keep up with ever-changing regulations. It’s not only federal, but state and payer regulations, too. The burden is endless, just as it is for providers in the trenches.

Personally, I’d like to see the regulators go after other parts of the health delivery system and spend some time regulating them in a way that will help all of us. Want to mandate that physicians include lab data with LOINC codes in their EHR? Then maybe you should require the lab vendors to transmit LOINC codes with their results. I spend a lot of time helping clients manually code around this issue because the lab vendors refuse to send codes.

That to me seems unconscionable — to force providers to clean up after other vendors who are in a better position to do something to make things better for patients. Want interoperability and portability? Force nationwide or multi-state lab vendors to standardize their various business units onto a single lab compendium rather than forcing EHR vendors and customers to code around it.

Let’s mandate that home health agencies, therapy providers, and other ancillaries also adopt electronic records and start communicating with us in a way that fits our new workflow. I still receive handwritten, barely legible reports from home health and PT providers, yet I’m held to the standard of doing everything in discrete and codified data.

While we’re at it, let’s also look at extended care facilities, nursing home providers, and everyone else that touches patients. Let’s back off on the providers and invite everyone else to the party, whatever ONC and CMS decide it should be.

What do you think of expanding Meaningful Use to other entities? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
January 18, 2016 Dr. Jayne 3 Comments

Subscribe to Updates

Search


Loading

Text Ads


Report News and Rumors

No title

Anonymous online form
E-mail
Rumor line: 801.HIT.NEWS

Tweets

Archives

Founding Sponsors


 

Platinum Sponsors


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold Sponsors


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow

Reader Comments

  • geekrph: Simple economics and basic math are no match for organizational politics, arrogance, and the drive for self-preservation...
  • FCGeez: Sandlot...you're killing me Smalls!!!...
  • Brian Too: Re: Hiring a P-T analyst for the cost of a F-T analyst These situations are caused by a policy or process that is on...
  • #superbowlbowels: I had similar thoughts about the OIC commercial, which was followed later by a pink intestinal mascot "gut guy" running...
  • George W: Quick correction: Skagit Valley is in Washington, not Alaska...

Sponsor Quick Links