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Morning Headlines 10/24/16

October 23, 2016 Headlines 2 Comments

Yesterday’s major outage was brought to you by hacked IoT devices

Friday’s widespread internet outage has been attributed to a botnet made up of unsecure, Internet-connected consumer devices, such as cameras, DVRs, and routers running a DDoS attack against the servers of Dyn Inc., a internet management company that monitors and routes internet traffic.

ASU, Mayo alliance seeks to transform health care

Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University are creating a new curriculum that will address the clinical, legal, and administrative issues involved in care delivery under one curriculum.

athenahealth’s CEO Jonathan Bush on Q3 2016 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

During its earnings call, Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush reports that it added a record 5,092 providers in Q3, but acknowledged that bookings growth hasn’t kept up with expectations due to a drop in Epocrates revenue and elongated sales cycles in the industry.

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October 23, 2016 Headlines 2 Comments

Monday Morning Update 10/24/16

October 23, 2016 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Friday’s major Internet outage appears to have been the result of a cyberattack launched by a botnet that targets Internet-connect devices. A scan last week found 11.3 million IP addresses of infected devices, many of them DVRs and IP cameras manufactured by China-based XiongMai Technologies.

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The distributed denial-of-service attack was launched against Internet routing company Dyn, which is one of several that host the Domain Name System that translates text Web addresses to IP addresses.

Some speculate that Friday’s outage may have been a test to see if US election technology could be disrupted on November 8.

I saw no mention of hospitals that were affected, although it’s likely some were.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Few poll respondents say their organizations are doing anything to prepare for Medicare’s 2019 switch of patient ID numbers. Glen says the change seems like “bureaucratic masturbation” since it won’t improve his care or reduce costs, but the point is that Medicare cards will no longer enable identity theft by exposing Social Security numbers.

New poll to your right or here: which inpatient EHR vendor’s marketing program is most effective?


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Athenahealth’s Q3 results beat earnings expectations, but fall short on revenue.
  • HIMSS announces IBM CEO Ginni Rometty as the HIMSS17 opening keynote.
  • St. Joseph health (CA) pays $2.14 million to settle HIPAA violations in which a misconfigured server containing Meaningful Use data exposed patient information to Internet searches.
  • Shares of IRhythm Technologies, which offers continuous skin patch monitoring of cardiac arrhythmias, jump 53 percent on the company’s IPO day.
  • Industry groups respond mostly positively to the newly issued MACRA final rule.
  • FDA approves an ultrasound sensor for Android smart phones developed by Philips.

Webinars

October 25 (Tuesday) 1:30 ET. “Data Privacy/Insider Threat Mitigation: What Hospitals Can Learn From Other Industries.” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Robert Kuller, chief commercial officer, Haystack Informatics; Mitchell Parker, CISSP, executive director of information security and compliance, Indiana University Health. Cybersecurity insurers believe that hospitals are too focused on perimeter threats, ransomware, and the threat of OCR audits instead of insider threats, which are far more common but less likely to earn media attention. Attendees will learn how behavior analytics is being used to profile insiders and detect unusual behaviors proactively and to place privacy/insider risk within the risk management matrix.

November 8 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “A CMIO’s Perspective on the Successful 25 Hospital Rollout of Electronic Physician Documentation.” Sponsored by Crossings Healthcare. Presenter: Ori Lotan, MD, CMIO, Universal Health Services. UHS rolled out Cerner Millennium’s electronic physician documentation to its 6,000 active medical staff members — 95 percent of them independent practitioners who also work in competitor facilities — across 25 acute care hospitals. UHS’s clinical informatics team used Cerner’s MPage development toolkit to improve the usability, efficiency, communications capability, and quality metric performance of Dynamic Documentation, embedding clinical decision support and also using Nuance’s cloud-based speech recognition product for the narrative bookends of physician notes. This CMIO-led webinar will describe how UHS achieved 70 percent voluntary physician adoption within one month of go-live, saved $3 million in annual transcription expense, and raised EHR satisfaction to 75 percent. It will include a short demonstration of the software that UHS developed to optimize the physician experience.

November 9 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “How to Create Healthcare Apps That Get Used and Maybe Even Loved.” Sponsored by MedData. Presenter: Jeff Harper, founder and CEO, Duet Health. Patients, clinicians, and hospital employees are also consumers who manage many aspects of their non-medical lives on their mobile devices. Don’t crush their high technology expectations with poorly designed, seldom used apps that tarnish your carefully protected image. Your app represents your brand and carries high expectations on both sides. This webinar will describe how to build a mobile healthcare app that puts the user first, meets their needs (which are often different from their wants), creates “stickiness,” and delivers the expected benefits to everyone involved.

Contact Lorre for webinar services. View previous webinars on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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From the Athenahealth earnings call following a revenue miss that sent shares down nearly 6 percent on Friday:

  • The company added a record 5,092 providers in Q3.
  • The company’s expected 30 percent bookings growth for the year is behind “as the lack of sense of urgency in the market has elongated the sales cycle” and Epocrates revenue was lower.
  • Jonathan Bush says the MIPS program changes provider focus to “the operational cost of managing quality” and closes out the focus of the past six years, requiring a change in product approach.
  • Bush says the company is building a new EDI platform that will be more reliable, more stable, and less expensive for adding new network connections.
  • Bush said when asked about revenue growth and hiring, “You could look at the provider adds … as the great men of Monty Python like to say, I’m not dead, actually feeling much better.”
  • University of Toledo is still the company’s only larger-hospital inpatient EHR customer.
  • Bush says there’s not value-based care being delivered despite a lot of talk. “Obamacare was extremely incremental this idea of an ACO that takes the first two percent itself and gives you half of the incremental savings 18 months after you generate them when it is done calculating them. Even if the calculation is wrong, you still have to accept it. If you generate savings for three years, they reset your base at the new lower number. It is a crap game to play, so not many people really play it. There are a few companies that are standalone, independent to the hospital systems, that have more to gain. The economic rents doesn’t come out of their own. The other problem is most of the ACOs that are affiliated with us know that the savings would come out of the hospital.”
  • Bush summarized, “The big news, of course, is that I have been promising to tell you if I ever thought that there was no chance of making 30 percent bookings growth, I never had to because there is always a chance. There is no chance. The reasons behind it are fundamental shift in the market, a shift that inspires us and that gives us more confidence in our ability to differentiate ourselves from traditional software, install it and run the traditional way.”

Decisions

  • Jennie Sealy Hospital (TX) switched from GE PACS to Philips in August 2016.
  • Little River Memorial (AR) will change payroll and time attendance from Healthland to ADP in January 2017.
  • Rockcastle Regional Hospital (KY) went live with Kronos HR, time and attendance, and payroll in September 2016.

These provider-reported updates are provided by Definitive Healthcare, which offers powerful intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and healthcare providers.


Announcements and Implementations

Brigham and Women’s Innovation Hub and Evidation Health will work together to measure the impact of digital health solutions on outcomes.


Privacy and Security

From DataBreaches.net:

  • Baystate Health (MA) says five of its employees clicked on a phishing email link disguised as an internal memo, giving hackers access to their accounts that contained emails with the information of 13,000 patients.
  • Seattle Indian Health Board notifies 800 patients that a breach of an employee’s email account exposed their information to an unknown hacker. The organization says it will “implement more structured password management and control measures” and is working on a project to “move all staff to a more secure email system.”

Other

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Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University will build a new medical school adjacent to Mayo Clinic Hospital in Scottsdale, AZ that will also offer a certificate and master’s degree in the science of healthcare delivery. The organizations also plan to open a medical technology innovation accelerator. Groundbreaking is scheduled for 2017.

In Ireland, a hospital blames a system upgrade for sending doctors lab results that had been performed up to 20 years ago.


Sponsor Updates

  • Agfa HealthCare’s enterprise imaging will participate in RSNA’s Image Sharing Validation Program.
  • Experian Health will exhibit at the HFMA First IL Fall Summit October 24-25 in Oakbrook Terrace.
  • HIMSS names Patientco CEO Bird Blitch chair of its Revenue Cycle Improvement Task Force.
  • PatientMatters will exhibit at the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association Annual Meeting October 26-28 in Marana.
  • TierPoint joins the Amazon Web Services Partner Network.
  • Verscend will exhibit at AHIP Medicare and Medicaid October 23-27 in Washington, DC.
  • Visage Imaging will exhibit at the SIIM Wisconsin Regional Meeting October 24 in Madison.
  • ZeOmega will exhibit at the AHIP National Conference on Medicare, Medicaid & Duals October 23-27 in Washington, DC.
  • ZirMed will exhibit at the National Association for Home Care & Hospice Annual Meeting October 23-25 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.

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October 23, 2016 News 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 10/21/16

October 20, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

athenahealth, Inc. Reports Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2016 Results

Athenahealth reports Q3 results: revenue climbed 17 percent to $276.7 million adjusted EPS $0.35 vs. $0.15, missing revenue projections and sending share prices down two percent on the news.

This is why you shouldn’t believe that exciting new medical study

An article on journalists that cover healthcare topics warns readers that the press tends to cover published studies without considering whether the underlying research findings are meaningful. The article notes that of 101 studies published in journals claiming to have identified a new therapy that was very promising, only five of those therapies made it to market within a decade, and only one went on to be extensively used.

Keynote Speaker: Ginni M. Rometty

HIMSS announces that IBM CEO Ginni Rometty will be a keynote speaker at HIMSS17, as the company works to build a viable health IT product with its Watson technology.

Study: With Medicaid, ER visits remain high for two years

An MIT study finds that people enrolled in Medicaid significantly increase ER use for at least two years after they first sign up.

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October 20, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

News 10/21/16

October 20, 2016 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Athenahealth announces Q3 results: revenue up 17 percent, adjusted EPS $0.35 vs. $0.15, beating earnings expectations but falling short on revenue.

ATHN shares dropped slightly on the news. They’re down 7 percent in the past year.


Reader Comments

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From CMIO: “Re: Text2Codes. It’s a pretty cool web app that extracts / annotates ICD-10 and CPT codes from copied and pasted free text.” The Web-based tool offers a free trial.

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From Excretory Gland: “Re: NIST/HHS conference on security. If the feds can’t get this one correct, what hope do we have?” A Twitter search of the misspelled hashtag turns up thankfully few recent instances of its recommended use.

From Media Maven: “Re: press party at HIMSS. I see HIStalk on the list as attending an event in which companies pay to speed-date members of the press.” I’ve never heard of the event. I’m not a fan of paying a third party to earn face time with so-called journalists who are mostly interested in scarfing down free drinks in return for a vague obligation to promote those companies that would otherwise not earn their attention. The promoter, oddly enough, is “a lifestage media and marketing company focused on parents and families.” Sounds like a waste of vendor money to me, a questionable display of journalist ethics, and something I will avoid entirely.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Here’s a DonorsChoose donation opportunity for CIOs and other hospital senior IT professionals. An anonymous HIStalk supporter will donate $10 for each response (up to 200) to a short survey covering hospital cybersecurity. Respondents will also receive a copy of the results. Senior hospital IT executives with cybersecurity responsibilities can complete the survey  in 5-7 minutes. Thanks for supporting DonorsChoose.

This week on HIStalk Practice: South Florida Behavioral Health Network selects ODH’s Mentrics behavioral population health management technology. GE announces the winning communities of its HealthyCities Leadership Academy Open Innovation Challenge. Acuity Eye Specialists goes live with CareCloud. ICD-10 still gives some practices (and payers) problems. Westmed Medical Group selects Bridge Patient Portal capabilities. Pyramid Healthcare taps Qualifacts for behavioral health tech. Florida stakeholders reignite telemedicine talks. CDPHP and CapitalCare Medical Group launch Acuitas Health. Culbert Healthcare Solutions President Brad Boyd focuses on restructuring physician compensation in a value-based world.


Webinars

October 25 (Tuesday) 1:30 ET. “Data Privacy/Insider Threat Mitigation: What Hospitals Can Learn From Other Industries.” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Robert Kuller, chief commercial officer, Haystack Informatics; Mitchell Parker, CISSP, executive director of information security and compliance, Indiana University Health. Cybersecurity insurers believe that hospitals are too focused on perimeter threats, ransomware, and the threat of OCR audits instead of insider threats, which are far more common but less likely to earn media attention. Attendees will learn how behavior analytics is being used to profile insiders and detect unusual behaviors proactively and to place privacy/insider risk within the risk management matrix.

November 8 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “A CMIO’s Perspective on the Successful 25 Hospital Rollout of Electronic Physician Documentation.” Sponsored by Crossings Healthcare. Presenter: Ori Lotan, MD, CMIO, Universal Health Services. UHS rolled out Cerner Millennium’s electronic physician documentation to its 6,000 active medical staff members — 95 percent of them independent practitioners who also work in competitor facilities — across 25 acute care hospitals. UHS’s clinical informatics team used Cerner’s MPage development toolkit to improve the usability, efficiency, communications capability, and quality metric performance of Dynamic Documentation, embedding clinical decision support and also using Nuance’s cloud-based speech recognition product for the narrative bookends of physician notes. This CMIO-led webinar will describe how UHS achieved 70 percent voluntary physician adoption within one month of go-live, saved $3 million in annual transcription expense, and raised EHR satisfaction to 75 percent. It will include a short demonstration of the software that UHS developed to optimize the physician experience.

November 9 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “How to Create Healthcare Apps That Get Used and Maybe Even Loved.” Sponsored by MedData. Presenter: Jeff Harper, founder and CEO, Duet Health. Patients, clinicians, and hospital employees are also consumers who manage many aspects of their non-medical lives on their mobile devices. Don’t crush their high technology expectations with poorly designed, seldom used apps that tarnish your carefully protected image. Your app represents your brand and carries high expectations on both sides. This webinar will describe how to build a mobile healthcare app that puts the user first, meets their needs (which are often different from their wants), creates “stickiness,” and delivers the expected benefits to everyone involved.

Contact Lorre for webinar services. View previous webinars on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Allscripts acquires CarePort, which connects acute care providers to post-acute care providers. Terms were not disclosed. The company had raised $3.13 million in four funding rounds.

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IRhythm Technologies, which offers continuous skin patch monitoring and data analysis of cardiac arrhythmias, prices its IPO shares at $17.00, valuing the company at $300 million. First-day trading on Thursday saw shares jump 53 percent.  

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Decision analytics vendor TrendShift acquires population health management vendor Health Data Intelligence, which the Columbus, OH business paper described in a July 2016 profile as a four-employee company that had raised just $125,000.

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Inhaler technology vendor Propeller Health raises $21.5 million in a Series C funding round, increasing its total to $50 million. 

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The Partners Connected Health Symposium and HIMSS-owned Personal Connected Health Alliance will combine their conferences into a single Connected Health Conference next year, with Joe Kvedar, MD serving as program chair. HIMSS, its mHealth Summit, and Continua Health Alliance were rolled into PCHA in April 2014. HIMSS hired Patty Mechael, PhD as EVP of PHCA in June 2016.


Sales

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Midland Health (TX) chooses Cerner’s clinical, financial, and population health management systems. They will apparently replace Medsphere’s OpenVista.

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In England, King Edward VII’s Hospital chooses the modular enterprise imaging solution of Vital Images. 


People

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Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (VT) promotes Steve Cummings, BSN, MBA to VP of information and support services and Jon Farina to chief compliance and security officer. Both were involved in the hospital’s Cerner implementation.

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Enterprise mobility solutions vendor Kony hires Cem Tanyel, MBA, MSc (TriZetto) as EVP/GM of global services.


Announcements and Implementations

Allscripts adds licensed health information from Healthwise to its EHR products via Infobutton integration.

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HIMSS again awards the prized first-day conference keynote slot to a vendor executive, this time IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. I expect the Watson hype to be thick since the company has bet the Big Blue farm on selling it into healthcare. HIMSS hasn’t announced its Thursday political keynote speaker, but Mr. Wonderful and Robert from “Shark Tank” will close the show Thursday long after most attendees have departed, which is a shame since they’ll be the most interesting.

Accenture Federal Health Services contracts with Sutter Health and Validic to guide an ONC-funded pilot project to study how patient-generated health data can be delivered to care teams and researchers to improve outcomes.

ENHAC will replace its privacy and security accreditation criteria with HITRUST CSF provisions and controls, allowing EHNAC to offer both its own accreditation as well as that of HITRUST CSF. 

Kareo adds prescription drug cost comparison information and coupons to its Kareo Clinical EHR using information from GoodRx.


Privacy and Security

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September’s breach report from Protenus finds that while an average of 25 breaches per month occurred in the first half of 2016, the number has jumped to 39 per month for July, August, and September. Forty-one percent of September’s breaches were insider incidents, of which over half were intentional. Thirty-two percent of the September breaches were due to hacking, with five victims specifically stating they were hit with ransomware.

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From DataBreaches.net:

  • The email accounts of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta and former Secretary of State Colin Powell were breached by hackers believed to be working for the Russian government when both men clicked on a phishing email (disguised as a Google password theft warning) that contained a Bitly-shortened link pointing to a URL that embedded their encrypted Gmail account information. Their exposed emails ended up on WikiLeaks.
  • A medical practice in Canada is hit with ransomware, with no report of whether the ransom was paid.
  • A laptop stolen from a benefits management company exposes the insurance information of 7,242 people, although the files contained only basic demographic information.

Innovation and Research

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ONC awards Keith Marsolo, PhD of Cincinnati Children’s a one-year, $378,000 interoperability grant to develop standards and methods to populate clinical research systems with EHR information. Marsolo’s team hopes to create one-click access from the EHR to externally hosted electronic case report forms systems, pre-populating standard data elements.


Technology

Rush University Medical Center says use of RTLS at its Rush River North physician practice has reduced patient wait times in a pilot project of 350 patients. Patients are tracked throughout their visit via RTLS badges, with alerts sent to providers if they’ve waited longer than 10 minutes. The system also tracks equipment and notifies staff when rooms need cleaned.

Non-profit Trek Medics International offers Beacon, an SMS-based emergency medical dispatch system for countries that don’t have 911-type service. It allows requests for emergency assistance to be directly routed to any nearby trained responder. The company says most countries have the key components needed — young adults with phones and cars – and communities can create their own grassroots service. They’re working in Dominican Republic and Tanzania.


Other

An MIT study finds that people newly covered by Medicaid not only don’t cut back on their ED usage, but actually increase it significantly for at least the first two years, disputing the belief that insured patients would see primary care doctors instead of using the ED for routine care. The study found that the newly insured had a 13.2 percent higher likelihood of making visits to both an ED and primary care doctor, suggesting that the two types of visit are “more complementary, not more substitutable.”

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In India, the owner of a 1,000-bed hospital in which 22 patients died in a fire is arrested along with four hospital officials. The politically connected owner started a university with schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, and biotechnology. The hospital did not have a mandatory fire certificate.

The Charlotte newspaper profiles the ED usage reduction efforts of Community Care of North Carolina, which mined the Medicaid ED bills of Charlotte-area hospitals to identify the 100 most frequent ED users (at #1 was a homeless alcoholic who made 223 ED visits in 15 months). Most of the frequency flyers had behavioral health issues and some were visiting multiple EDs, with one patient being seen in three EDs in a single day. The team that started monitoring high-risk patients to help them find primary care doctors and obtain social services won the Hearst Health Prize for significantly reducing unnecessary ED and inpatient visits. The program faces shutdown, however, after North Carolina’s Medicaid reform left it without a contract.

A new Ohio law requires providers to provide a written estimate of charges, expected insurance payments, and the patient responsible portion of the bill 48 hours before providing non-emergency services. It also requires insurers to respond promptly to the inquiries of providers who need to know what insurance will pay so they can tell their patient.

A reporter’s review of “our addiction to medical hype” finds that “we reporters feed on press releases from journals and it’s difficult to resist the siren call of flashy findings” even though only 3,000 of the 50,000 medical journal articles published each year are of adequate quality for patient care use. The article quotes sources indicating that $200 billion in worldwide research spending is wasted on poorly designed or redundant studies.

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Weird News Andy says a patient featured in a journal case study didn’t have a ghost of a chance. A man who eats a hamburger doused with ghost pepper puree and then tries to quench the fire by quickly drinking six glasses of water ends up with a torn esophagus from the ensuing vomiting. WNA provides helpful advice: “If it looks like one of Satan’s organs has prolapsed, you might want to reconsider eating it.”


Sponsor Updates

  • HCI Group will sponsor a session at the Health Informatics New Zealand conference November 1-3 in Auckland.
  • Ingenious Med will exhibit at Anesthesiology 2016 October 22-26 in Chicago.
  • InterSystems will exhibit at the Partners Connected Health conference October 20-21 in Boston.
  • Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at the EClinicalWorks National User Conference October 20-24 in Orlando.
  • Frost & Sullivan recognizes Influence Health with its 2016 award for enabling technology leadership.
  • Learn on Demand Systems donates servers and other hardware for computer science student use at Hillsborough Community College.
  • AHIMA will use Meditech’s EHR in its Virtual Lab to train and test future medical professionals.
  • Medicomp Systems releases a video describing the ways in which its technology can help providers transition to MACRA.
  • Netsmart will exhibit at the National Association of Home Care’s annual meeting October 23 in Orlando.
  • Obix Perinatal Data System will exhibit at AWHONN New Hampshire October 24 in Dover.

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.

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October 20, 2016 News 2 Comments

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 10/20/16

October 20, 2016 Dr. Jayne No Comments

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It’s been a busy week as people begin to digest the contents of the MACRA Final Rule. Most of the physicians I’ve spoken with are worried specifically about what they need to do in order to meet requirements for 2017. It would be a mistake, however, to not spend some time planning for 2018 and beyond. CMS will increase the number of outcome metrics as time passes, while also increasing the weighting applied cost measures. CMS is also making changes in the Medicare Shared Savings Program. Although 2017 may seem to be a low-risk year where providers can take it easy, in reality 2017 should be a year where providers work to maximize their performance in preparation for future years.

Providers are going to be increasingly graded on performance and if they’re not honing their skills they’re going to be behind. Our favorite Geek Doctor, John Halamka, weighed in on the Final Rule as well:

Think of MIPS not as four separate categories (quality measurement, cost control, practice improvement, and wise use of IT) but as a single program focused on rewarding clinicians for improving quality and penalizing clinicians for non-participation. There are only a few ways to change clinician behavior – pay them more, improve their satisfaction and help them avoid public humiliation (like poor quality scores posted on a public website). MIPS pays them more, consolidates multiple other government programs, and provides flexibility to give clinicians every opportunity to make their quality scores look good.

As much as everyone has been waiting for the Final Rule, it’s not entirely final. It was released as a final rule with comment, which means that we have 60 days to continue to weigh in. There’s still the opportunity for our feedback to be heard by those who will make subsequent rules and those who will tweak this Rule as it is applied. We’ve seen from previous iterations with Meaningful Use and other federal programs that the only constant is change.

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I had the privilege this week of lunching with some former co-workers. We all worked together on a large health system’s EHR implementation project starting more than a decade ago. Although we try to get together quarterly, it gets more and more difficult unless we plan it months in advance. We’re all still in healthcare, although we’ve branched out into consulting, quality improvement, program management, and interoperability roles. Two of the group have come full circle and are again helping the large health system with an EHR implementation as they perform a massive rip-and-replace of all clinical and financial systems.

It was gratifying to learn that although much time has passed and it’s a different system, many of the processes we created are being dusted off and used to help the practices navigate the transition. Regardless of the type and scope of the project, the change leadership and governance pieces are essential and fairly timeless. It sounds like it’s been a bit frustrating for my colleagues who are on the ground, as the organization has lost some of its institutional memory. The current project is being handled as an IT project that has a couple of clinical advisors, rather than as a clinical / operational project with IT support as we had done in the past. They’ve already experienced massive scope creep, delays, and cost overruns.

There are also issues with IT leadership not understanding the needs of a large provider organization. They actually tried to tell the provider group that they “won’t be allowed to onboard any new physicians or practices during the transition period,” which is over 18 months long. That statement alone shows a fundamental lack of understanding of what is going on in healthcare today, as providers are being consolidated into larger organizations either willingly or in response to fear. I can’t imagine telling a CEO he can’t onboard new physicians, but apparently it happened. I’m betting the follow up phone call to the CIO was interesting, to say the least. When you’re spending upwards of a third of a billion dollars on a project, impeding strategic growth probably isn’t the best idea.

Back when we were doing our original implementation, we needed a full-time person to go around and do some periodic retraining for providers. We had the opportunity to hire a retired IT staffer who had been a physician liaison and was dearly loved. The powers that be told us we couldn’t justify a full-time position, so we brought her on as a contractor. I laughed out loud when I heard today that she is still there, eight years later. Maybe that position would have been justified after all.

The health system is wrangling with the same issues that we fought with the original EHR, including how to handle private/community physicians that want to be on the platform but don’t want to pay for it, as well as how to support the infrastructure. Where we were worried about making sure everyone had adequate bandwidth via DSL or T1, now they’re working to upgrade everyone to fiber. They’re still dealing with patient consent around interoperability as well as difficulties with patient matching and provider attribution. Although they’ve made some headway on those issues, the core problems still remain tricky.

Another theme with the group was trying to maintain some kind of work-life balance given the continuing chaos that healthcare reform and ensuing technology requirements has created regardless of role. I remember when we started, the understanding was that we’d do this rollout for 18 months and then go back to our original jobs. The organization quickly realized that it was unlikely for that scenario to play out. A decade later we’re not only still at it, but most of us are leading teams of people dedicated to the ongoing support of healthcare IT and clinical transformation. Some of us are still burning the candle at both ends, which although sustainable for a few years, starts to wear on you when you’ve been doing it nonstop.

By the time we get together again, it will be 2017 with all the MIPS and APM-related excitement that brings. It will be a new year for penalties and incentives, with new clinical quality measures, new carrots, and new sticks. It’s been great to have a core group of friends who can support each other as we go through this, venting about our respective situations and the challenges we face. Looking at what’s coming down the road, we’re going to need each other to stay sane.

Email Dr. Jayne.

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October 20, 2016 Dr. Jayne No Comments

Morning Headlines 10/20/16

October 19, 2016 Headlines No Comments

AMA Commends ONC Steps to Enhance Oversight and Transparency of Electronic Health Records

AMA announces its support of ONCs Enhanced Oversight and Accountability final rule, which former AMA president Steven Stack, MD says will promote vendor “accountability for the performance, reliability, and safety of certified health IT.”

IBM Is Counting on Its Bet on Watson, and Paying Big Money for It

The New York Times profiles IBM’s continued effort to monetize its Watson business unit, which experts describe as a moonshot project that could still take years before it returns value for the company.

Examining The HHS Projections For 2017 Marketplace Enrollment

In a Health Affairs article, Timothy Jost, JD discusses the HHS projections for public exchange enrollments for 2017, and highlights some reasons why the projected 13.8 million enrollments may be inflated.

New System Shortens Patients’ Wait Times

Rush University Medical Center (IL) is using real-time patient location technology to reduce patient wait times at their outpatient clinics.

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October 19, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 10/19/16

October 18, 2016 Headlines No Comments

$2.14 million HIPAA settlement underscores importance of managing security risk

St. Joseph Health (CA) will pay $2.14 million to settle potential HIPAA violations after OCR found files containing PHI used to attest for meaningful use were publically accessible through internet search engines.

St. Jude Medical Forms Cybersecurity Advisory Group

Following accusations that its medical devices contain potentially life threatening cybersecurity vulnerabilities, St Jude Medical announces that it is forming an internal cybersecurity advisory group.

FDA rules allow medical device makers to keep injuries under wraps

An investigative report from the Star Tribune finds that the FDA has created a program that lets medical device makers report adverse events late, sometimes years after the fact, and then reports those issues to doctors with summaries that keep the details out of view.

UnitedHealth Group Reports Third Quarter Results

UnitedHealth Group reports Q3 results: revenue is up 12 percent to $46.3 billion and earnings are up 19 percent to $3.6 billion.

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October 18, 2016 Headlines No Comments

News 10/19/16

October 18, 2016 News 11 Comments

Top News

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St. Joseph Health (CA) will pay $2.14 million to settle OCR charges that it exposed the information of 32,000 patients for a full year in 2012-2013 when it brought a server online using default security settings that allowed its contents to be viewed via Internet searches. The exposed files had ironically been created to document the health system’s Meaningful Use participation, so some of the MU money it presumably earned from HHS because of those files will go right back to HHS as punishment for exposing them.

OCR found that the contractors that SJH hired to assess its PHI security did their work “in a patchwork fashion” that failed to meet the requirement of performing an enterprise-wide risk analysis.

The health system paid $7.5 million earlier this year to settle a class action lawsuit filed by patients whose information was exposed.

SJH had previously reported the theft of unencrypted PHI-containing devices in 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014 as well as a 2014 incident in which an employee failed to delete a PHI-containing Excel worksheet tab before sending it to an investment firm.


Reader Comments

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From Greek Goddess: “Re: Epic. The same publication that ran the R&D nonsense with Judy’s ‘trust me’ as verification seems to publish whatever Judy says. The latest contains the usual sound bites about industry misinformation about Epic and the tired narrative that it doesn’t have a marketing department.” They were obviously typing with velvet gloves. This 1998 article quotes Judy as saying that she was increasing Epic’s sales and marketing budget by 70 percent because “we want to be very big,” also mentioning the hiring of an advertising department and marketing director. In 2015 I reported a reader’s observation that at least eight former Epic employees identify themselves on LinkedIn as having done Epic marketing and one of them says she reported directly to Judy (“leading in-house marketing team,” she says). Epic hired a high-powered lobbying firm awhile back as well. I think the people who write for the HIMSS-produced publication (which lives in a picture-perfect fairytale HIT land in which seldom is heard a discouraging word about HIMSS-paying vendors) are so pleased with themselves at earning Judy’s rare attention that they simply uncritically regurgitate whatever she tells them, which makes that publication an Epic favorite for planting “news” that is really just Epic disputing any negative industry impressions about the company. Make no mistake: Epic is not naive about marketing and sales even though they might do it differently – all those gazillion-dollar contracts didn’t just happen because a health system CEO cold-called 608.271.9000 and asked to speak to any available 23-year-old programmer.

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From The Truth Hearst: “Re: Zynx Health. Laid off 50 percent of the company last week, including all of finance and marketing, perhaps to either fold the company or roll it into one of the other Hearst entities.” The company provided this response to my inquiry:

Zynx has taken the necessary steps to better position itself in a changing healthcare market. We are aligning our solutions, clinical expertise, and content capabilities to meet the needs of the shifting marketplace and new requirements with emerging value-based payment models. With the changes in the marketplace, the difficult decision to eliminate positions was necessary. However, new opportunities have opened as we deploy an interdisciplinary team of professionals to provide more comprehensive support for our products and services to each client. We believe Zynx will be better equipped to innovate as the healthcare market requires and that these changes will not only make Zynx stronger in this new marketplace, but also, and more importantly, provide better service and support to our valued clients. We are definitely not folding and look forward to another 20 years of market leading innovation and solutions.

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From Nasty Parts: “Re: Extension Healthcare. An executive tells me the company has been sold with an announcement forthcoming.” Unverified. Nasty Parts has a pretty good rumor-sniffing track record.

From Big ‘Un: “Re: HIStalk links. I notice some refer to a click counter rather than a direct link. What does that do?” It’s interesting to me how many times readers click on links to new sponsor web pages or webinar sign-up pages, which tells me what kind of information readers want (and how well or how poorly I present it). That’s all I use it for. A recent webinar announcement got more than 1,300 clicks to the sign-up page, for instance, and the ratio of how many of those actually registered to attend tells me whether the abstract and learning objectives were on point. Mentioning a new sponsor usually gets 200-400 readers to click over to the company’s webpage to learn more, which tells me the kinds of technologies that pique the curiosity of readers. Beyond my self-improvement efforts, the invisible click counter, which is run from a free PHP script I found on the Internet, does absolutely nothing.

From Jock O’ Lantern: “Re: fitness trackers. Do you think their lack of success in improving health will hurt sales?” No, since companies will continue to market them smartly (which is to say slightly deceptively). Fitness trackers and apps make few people healthier, but they play to the vanity of buyers who fancy themselves as possessing the willpower to change their lives and their mental outlook once they just buy more jock gear so they can look like the sweaty-yet-sexy models in the fitness tracker ads. Accurate ads would show several of the devices stashed in the underwear drawer along with unworn yet stylish exercise clothes while the owner — who moans about having too little time for exercise — spends the entire evening eating Cheetos, watching TV, and interacting with pretend Facebook friends. We’re going to muster one mushy militia if it ever comes to that.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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I’ve corrected my Monday mistake in listing Southwest General Hospital (OH) as moving from McKesson to Cerner next year. They’re already a Cerner shop – it’s Southwest General Hospital (TX) that’s changing systems. Sometimes Google magnifies rather than resolves my confusion over multiple hospitals that share a name.

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Protenus. The Baltimore company’s privacy monitoring system detects inappropriate EHR user behavior (with 97 percent accuracy and thus few false alarms) to proactively identify potential HIPAA violations in helping hospitals avoid huge OCR settlements and jury awards. Examples: EHR users who inappropriately access a VIP’s records; employees who snoop through the files of friends or estranged family members; employees who use patient information to file fraudulent tax returns; hackers who obtain user credentials by phishing and then move freely through patient records; contractors who use their access for unauthorized purposes; and laptop thieves who gain EHR access. Protenus learns how each user normally works instead of trying to apply simple rules to detect their unusual behavior, then provides alerting and collaboration tools that enable quick resolution instead of waiting the average 200 days it otherwise takes providers to detect and fix inappropriate access. IT folks benefit from the elimination of expensive managed services, lightweight data integration of any number of systems, and the option to run it in-house or hosted. The company was founded by Robert Lord, a former Hopkins medical student, medical researcher, and hedge fund analyst; and Nick Culbertson, MD, who earned two bronze stars during his eight-year service as a Green Beret sergeant with the 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and helps run an East Baltimore veteran support group. Read the Johns Hopkins case study or Robert’s Readers Write article. Thanks to Protenus for supporting HIStalk.

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Here’s a look at the privacy monitoring and incident tracking system of Protenus.

Listening: new from Avenged Sevenfold, polished, literate heavy metal in their first album since 2013. They sound great for a band that’s gone through more drummers than Spinal Tap. Pretty cool lyrics.


Webinars

October 25 (Tuesday) 1:30 ET. “Data Privacy/Insider Threat Mitigation: What Hospitals Can Learn From Other Industries.” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Robert Kuller, chief commercial officer, Haystack Informatics; Mitchell Parker, CISSP, executive director of information security and compliance, Indiana University Health. Cybersecurity insurers believe that hospitals are too focused on perimeter threats, ransomware, and the threat of OCR audits instead of insider threats, which are far more common but less likely to earn media attention. Attendees will learn how behavior analytics is being used to profile insiders and detect unusual behaviors proactively and to place privacy/insider risk within the risk management matrix.

November 8 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “A CMIO’s Perspective on the Successful 25 Hospital Rollout of Electronic Physician Documentation.” Sponsored by Crossings Healthcare. Presenter: Ori Lotan, MD, CMIO, Universal Health Services. UHS rolled out Cerner Millennium’s electronic physician documentation to its 6,000 active medical staff members — 95 percent of them independent practitioners who also work in competitor facilities — across 25 acute care hospitals. UHS’s clinical informatics team used Cerner’s MPage development toolkit to improve the usability, efficiency, communications capability, and quality metric performance of Dynamic Documentation, embedding clinical decision support and also using Nuance’s cloud-based speech recognition product for the narrative bookends of physician notes. This CMIO-led webinar will describe how UHS achieved 70 percent voluntary physician adoption within one month of go-live, saved $3 million in annual transcription expense, and raised EHR satisfaction to 75 percent. It will include a short demonstration of the software that UHS developed to optimize the physician experience.

November 9 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “How to Create Healthcare Apps That Get Used and Maybe Even Loved.” Sponsored by MedData. Presenter: Jeff Harper, founder and CEO, Duet Health. Patients, clinicians, and hospital employees are also consumers who manage many aspects of their non-medical lives on their mobile devices. Don’t crush their high technology expectations with poorly designed, seldom used apps that tarnish your carefully protected image. Your app represents your brand and carries high expectations on both sides. This webinar will describe how to build a mobile healthcare app that puts the user first, meets their needs (which are often different from their wants), creates “stickiness,” and delivers the expected benefits to everyone involved.

Contact Lorre for webinar services. View previous webinars on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Adobe sues MedAssets (via its new owner nThrive) for copyright infringement, claiming that MedAssets distributed Adobe’s ColdFusion web development tool in its CodeCorrect product despite having a license for internal use only.

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Home-centered clinical trials management vendor Science 37 raises $31 million in a Series B funding round, increasing its total to $38 million. The founders are dermatologist Belinda Tan, MD, PhD and Noah Craft, MD, PhD, who was chief medical officer of VisualDX.

UnitedHealth Group, which is pulling out many insurance exchanges because too many expensively sick people signed up, books Q3 revenue of $46.3 billion and a profit of $3.6 billion, with the CEO (whose shares are worth $356 million) saying the company will in 2017 “deliver more value to the health system overall.” 

Three post-acute care software vendors – Casamba, HealthWyse, and TherapySource – announce their merger under the Casamba nameplate.

The SEC declines to prosecute Harris Corp. after its auditors reported to the SEC that they found evidence that the fired CEO of its Carefx China subsidiary had in 2011-2012 bribed Chinese government officials with as much as $1 million to earn nearly $10 million in business. Harris acquired Carefx for $155 million in cash in 2011. The SEC fined the executive $46,000 and Harris sold its healthcare business to NantHealth in mid-2015. The executive, Ping Zhang, PhD, is now SVP of product innovation and CTO of MedeAnalytics.


Sales

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The Dubai Health Authority signs a collaboration agreement with GE Healthcare for hospital predictive analysis, efficiency, and training.


People

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Nancy Ham (Healthagen Population Health Solutions, an Aetna Company and Medicity) joins physical therapy EHR  vendor WebPT as CEO.

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Congratulations to interoperability expert Keith “Motorcycle Guy” Boone of GE Healthcare for completing his master’s in biomedical informatics from OHSU.


Announcements and Implementations

Nuance announces GA of a new version of its Dragon Medical Advisor real-time computer-assisted physician documentation system.

HCS integrates document exchange interoperability technology from Kno2 into its Interactant system to support care transition and care coordination with referring hospital partners.

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Long-term care EHR vendor PointClickCare releases an integrated smartphone app for skin and wound assessment and documentation.

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AHIMA will offer a health informatics certification credential in early 2017 to candidates with (a) a bachelor’s degree and two years of informatics experience; (b) a master’s degree with one year of experience; or (c) a master’s in health informatics. Like certification programs offered by HIMSS and other industry groups, the credential’s value is clear to the organization being paid to issue it (and the alphabet soup of other certificates AHIMA sells) but much less obvious to those who might receive it. Someone who has earned a master’s in health informatics doesn’t need to pass an AHIMA test to prove their knowledge for an employer who is probably more interested in experience and capabilities anyway. If I were interviewing a candidate for a non-technical position, I would place zero value on trade group certification. Actually, I would probably place negative value on them since I would question the motivation of a possibly insecure and under-qualified candidate who is proud of a credential that was earned by completing a single multiple choice test that has a high pass rate. CHIME’s certified healthcare CIO is the silliest one I can imagine – what health system CEO would value that credential when hiring a CIO? (perhaps only a certified healthcare CEO if there is such a thing, which I sincerely hope there isn’t). Organizations make a lot of money preying on the personal insecurities and educational shortcomings of ambitious people with generous disposable income or employer educational expense reimbursement programs.

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Healthgrades releases its annual hospital evaluation report. The company also announces Risk IQ, a questionnaire-based tool that allows consumers to evaluate their personal risk for six common surgical procedures.

MModal launches a risk adjustment solution suite that helps optimize chart documentation to improve HCC charge capture.

LifeImage releases version 5.0 of its image-sharing platform, which adds real-time collaboration, FHIR support, and more extensive integration of information from PACS, VNA, and clinical systems.

Agfa HealthCare announces a new version of its Enterprise Imaging platform that includes new migration tools, image management and workflow rules, live streaming and virtual conferences, and multi-specialty imaging.


Government and Politics

An investigation by the Minneapolis paper finds that FDA has allowed drug device manufacturers to hide reports of patient harm, either by rolling individual reports up into a generic summary or accepting years-overdue reports. A former FDA official who created a search engine called Device Events to track medical device performance says doctors might behave differently if they knew how many incidents were reported.

Wisconsin state inspectors cite a veterans home for dozens of medical errors, some of them related to incorrect transcription and employees confused by new software. An LPN who administered 100 units of insulin instead of the ordered 12 units said she attended training but then went on vacation, with her supervisor advising upon her return that she should just “wing it.” Nurses interviewed by the inspectors said the rollout was poorly handled.


Privacy and Security

St. Jude Medical forms a cybersecurity advisory board following published claims that its medical devices are vulnerable to hacking.

From DataBreaches.net:

  • Rainbow Children’s Clinic (TX) reports to HHS that it was attacked by ransomware on August 3, exposing the information of 33,000 patients to an unknown hacker and resulting in the permanent loss of some patient records.
  • Medi-Cal plan provider CalOptima reports its second breach in two months after discovering that a “departing” employee downloaded patient information to an unencrypted USB drive that was later returned.

Technology

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Philips earns FDA approval for an ultrasound sensor for Android-powered mobile devices, enhancing its Lumify ultrasound diagnostic solution to allow clinicians to perform heart, lung, and OB/GYN ultrasound without an ultrasound cart. It costs $200 per month.


Other

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Weird News Andy wonders whether this story really happened. An Oregon hospital quarantines its ED after treating a woman with hallucinations, after which the two deputies who brought her in as well as her caregiver and a hospital employee also began hallucinating for reasons unknown. They’re thinking her medication patch might have been spewing active ingredients all over the place.


Sponsor Updates

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  • Attendees of Experian Health’s annual Financial Performance Summit put together 1,000 hygiene kits and collected 200 pairs of socks for Nashville charity.
  • GE Healthcare will work with India-based Tata Trusts to train 10,000 students for healthcare technology careers.
  • Aprima earns high ratings for its RCM services in a KLAS specialty report highlighting ambulatory billing services.
  • Bernoulli CEO Janet Dillione is included in the 17 female health IT company CEOs to know.
  • Besler Consulting releases a new podcast, “Strategies for navigating bundled payments.”
  • Carevive Systems will host a half-day symposium on non-small cell lung cancer October 26 in Philadelphia.
  • CoverMyMeds will sponsor the CBI Electronic Benefit Verification & Prior Authorization Summit October 25-26 in San Francisco.
  • Consulting Magazine includes Cumberland Consulting Group and Divurgent on its list of fastest-growing firms.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at AAP 2016 October 22-25 in San Francisco.
  • Iasis Healthcare streamlines documentation processes with FormFast technology during its EHR transition.
  • FormFast will exhibit at CHIMA October 24-25 in Edmonton, Alberta.
  • Healthwise will exhibit at the EClinicalWorks National Conference October 21-24 in Orlando, FL.

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.

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October 18, 2016 News 11 Comments

Morning Headlines 10/18/16

October 17, 2016 News No Comments

Biden outlines five-year plan for ‘cancer moonshot’

Vice President Biden delivered his final status report on the administration’s cancer moonshot, laying out a five-year plan and reiterating the need for continued funding from Congress and private organizations.

A laboratory in your pocket

In The Lancet, Eric Topol, MD discusses the value that digitally connected point-of-care diagnostic tests would have locally and in resource-poor remote regions of the world.

Obese soldiers get £100 Fitbits in battle of bulge: Servicemen failing Army fitness tests are handed high-tech calorie-counting bracelets to help them lose weight 

In England, overweight soldiers facing discharge for failing the Army fitness test are being issued Fitbits to help them get back in shape.

Medical College spins out startup

A local paper covers RPRD Diagnostics, a spinoff from the Medical College of Wisconsin developing DNA tests to match patients with the pharmaceuticals that will work best for them.

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October 17, 2016 News No Comments

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 10/17/16

October 17, 2016 Dr. Jayne No Comments

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Everyone in informatics circles has been buzzing about the release of the MACRA Final Rule. As is typical for CMS, it came out on a Friday afternoon. I know a lot of people were hunkered down reading it, me included. I did what I could with it Friday, but on Saturday I had a previous commitment to teach some team-building sessions as part of a local outdoor classroom program.

The type of change that MACRA is trying to drive and the stresses it is going to place on healthcare delivery organizations will require that organizations have high-functioning teams. They’re also going to require intense project management and active management of resources and outcomes. Although many organizations have already figured this out and have robust programs in place (or have hired consultants to do the dirty work), there are numerous organizations that are just trying to figure out what their first steps should be.

When you place stress on teams like these MACRA-related projects are certain to do, teams will either rise to the occasion or they will fall apart. Although some people throw their hands up and just watch things devolve, there are active ways to manage team dynamics and to get your people in the right place so they’re well prepared to take on new challenges.

The program I staffed this weekend brought out many of the types of issues that organizations need to be thinking about as they evaluate how they will handle MACRA-related tasks and who will be responsible for executing them.

Our program brings together people from different backgrounds and throws them into a situation that is unfamiliar for most of them. This year’s group had about 50 participants from all different disciplines – healthcare, manufacturing, communications, technology, and a couple of college students. Even if we have participants coming from the same organization, we mix them up so they’re not working together.

They’re placed in group of five to eight with people they’ve never met and they have to handle a variety of objectives. It’s outdoor classroom with camping and survival skills. Some of the participants may not have done so much as roasting a s’more, so we provide several coaches for each group to help them through the process.

The course starts with an indoor session with a few outdoor elements where they practice basic team skills, and then we follow up with the actual outdoor weekend portion. Their first task was to come up with a team name and motto. We use a variety of exercises to work them through the stages of team development – forming, storming, norming, and performing.

My team definitely had some forming issues because only two of them had arrived by the time the session started. The ability to get to meetings on time continues to be a major issue for a lot of people, which makes it challenging to be a high-performing team. Once the rest arrived, we had some rehashing and revising of the team name, but the team was able to eventually move forward once the late arrivals understood that they couldn’t complain about decisions that were made when they failed to perform.

The teams learned some basics of outdoor cooking and assigned members to roles, identifying leaders and supporting members. When you’re headed out into the woods for a weekend, it’s key to know who is responsible for what. Just like complying with federal regulations, if someone drops the ball, everyone suffers, and having clear chain of command and documented responsibilities makes things easier. The teams are provided with a series of tasks that they have to complete prior to the outdoor portion, and I thought I lucked out when I had someone who immediately volunteered to set up conference calls and meetings to get everything taken care of in the interim.

They met once by phone and once in person during the two-week gap, learning some important lessons on logistics when only half the group showed up in person. The other half was at another meeting place, because leadership failed to recognize that “meet at the XX restaurant by the mall” wasn’t specific enough since there were four different locations of the chain in close proximity, including one actually in the mall. How many times do we have situations like this in healthcare IT? The team thinks they have a clear plan and everyone voices understanding, but it turns out there were multiple ideas about how things were actually going to happen. Although it wasn’t that big of a deal when you’re just dealing with a voluntary team-building program, it’s a huge deal when you have miscommunications around federal requirements and regulations.

There was some last-minute planning, but it appeared they had everything figured out prior to their arrival for the weekend. Unfortunately, one-third of their team was late, leading to delayed setup since people were bringing different pieces of equipment. Across the meadow, the other team I was cross-coaching had arrived and began to set up in a disciplined fashion. Their only glitch was not having their team tee shirts done on time, which they remediated with some ad-hoc spray painting. I was doubtful when they pulled out the cans as to how well it would work, but when they pulled out a drop cloth, rubber gloves, and pre-cut stencils, my doubts were laid to rest. It may have been last-minute, but it was well planned and well executed.

In working with both teams, it was clear that one was more successful. In trying to dissect the reasons behind that success, the major factor was that they put the good of the team beyond their individual needs. They were up early each morning to take care of team tasks, where my team had issues getting out of their tents. I definitely earned my coaching stripes this time around since I had to roust grown adults out of their tents two mornings in a row. I also had to pull out some camping magic when my team failed to follow some of the cooking instructions and their dinner was in jeopardy. Luckily my other team had prepared extra charcoal and had extra supplies, which I was able to borrow to bail my team out. Again, in most of our organizations, we’re running so lean we can’t count on a bail-out. We have to be organized and in command of the situation.

I was hoping that my primary team would see what was going on with the other team and rise to the occasion. Although some team members started to get the message and get with the program, others either didn’t see the possibilities in front of them or maybe just didn’t care. Sometimes we see that, when organizations have enrolled wary participants. Hopefully those that didn’t fully embrace the program learned something along the way and can find elements of the program to take back to their home organizations. I know I learn something every time I put on this program and there are always different challenges to be overcome and different personalities to work with. I come back to my work energized with new tricks and techniques to try to motive my teams.

We’re definitely going to need energy and motivation to make it through MACRA-related reforms and all the sub-projects that will entail. Although I was tired from a couple of nights of sleeping on the ground and herding cats, I’m ready to tackle the rest of the Final Rule.

What kinds of strategies do you use for team-building? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

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October 17, 2016 Dr. Jayne No Comments

Readers Write: Ready or Not, ASC X12 275 Attachment EDI Transaction Is Coming

October 17, 2016 Readers Write No Comments

Ready or Not, ASC X12 275 Attachment EDI Transaction Is Coming
By Lindy Benton

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As electronic as we are in many aspects of business – and life in general – oftentimes healthcare providers and payers are still using paper for claim attachment requests and responses. With the ASC X12 275 attachment electronic data interchange on the horizon, the need for utilizing secure, electronic transactions will soon be here.

Let’s look at the claim attachment process.

  1. A claim attachment arises when a payer requests additional information from a provider to adjudicate a claim. This attachment is intended to provide additional information or answer additional questions or information not included in the original claim.
  2. In many instances, the process for sending and receiving attachments is still largely done via a manual, paper-based format.
  3. Paper-based transactions are slow, inefficient, and can bog down the revenue cycle. Additionally, paper transactions are prone to getting lost in transit and are difficult if not impossible to track.
  4. The ASC X12 275 transaction has been proposed as a secure, electronic (EDI) method of managing the attachment request while making it uniform across all providers and payers.

The ASC X12 275 can be sent either solicited or unsolicited. When solicited, it will be when the claim is subjected to medical or utilization review during the adjudication process. The payer then requests specific information to supplement or support the providers request for payment of the services. The payer’s request for additional information may be service specific or apply to the entire claim, the 275 is used to transmit the request. The provider uses the 275 to respond to the previously mentioned request in the specified time from the payer.

Both HIPAA and the Affordable Care Act are driving the adoption of these secure, electronic transaction standards. HIPAA requires the establishment of national standards for electronic healthcare transactions and national identifiers for providers, health insurance plans, and employers. In Section 1104(b)(2) of the ACA, Congress required the adoption of operating rules for the healthcare industry and directed the secretary of Health and Human Services to “adopt a single set of operating rules for each transaction” with the goal of creating as much uniformity in the implementation of the electronic standards as possible.

Providers and payers will be required to adopt these standards at some point and it will happen sooner rather than later, so it’s time to be prepared.

The final specifications and detail for the EDI 275 transaction were supposed to be finalized in January 2016, but that has yet to happen. Both the American Health Association and American Medical Association have urged the Department of Health and Human Services to finalize and adopt the latest 275 standard, so with that kind of backing, it’s only a matter of time until the 275 transaction standard gains momentum and comes to fruition.

EDI 275 is coming. The question is, will you be ready?

Lindy Benton is president and CEO of Vyne of Dunwoody, GA.

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October 17, 2016 Readers Write No Comments

Readers Write: Exploring the EMR Debate: Onus On Analytics Companies to Deliver Insights

October 17, 2016 Readers Write 1 Comment

Exploring the EMR Debate: Onus On Analytics Companies to Deliver Insights
By Leonard D’Avolio, PhD

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Late last month, a great op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal called “Turn Off the Computer and Listen to the Patient” brought a critical healthcare issue to the forefront of the national discussion. The physician authors, Caleb Gardner, MD and John Levinson, MD, describe the frustrations physicians experience with poor design, federal incentives, and the “one-size-fits-all rules for medical practice” implemented in today’s electronic medical records (EMRs).

From the start, the counter to any criticism of the EMR was that the collection of digital health data will finally make it possible to discover opportunities to improve the quality of care, prevent error, and steer resources to where they are needed most. This is, after all, the story of nearly every other industry post-digitization.

However, many organizations are learning the hard way that the business intelligence tools that were so successful in helping other industries learn from their quantified and reliable sales, inventory, and finance data can be limited in trying to make sense of healthcare’s unstructured, sparse, and often inaccurate clinical data.

Data warehouses and reporting tools — the foundation for understanding quantified and reliable sales, inventory, and finance data of other industries – are useful for required reporting of process measures for CMS, ACO, AQC, and who knows what mandates are next. However, it should be made clear that these multi-year, multi-million dollar investments are designed to address the concerns of fee-for-service care: what happened, to whom, and when. They will not begin to answer the questions most critical to value-based care: what is likely to happen, to whom, and what should be done about it.

Rapidly advancing analytic approaches are well suited for healthcare data and designed to answer the questions of value-based care. Unfortunately, journalists and vendors alike have done a terrible job in communicating the value, potential, and nature of these approaches.

Hidden beneath a veneer of buzzwords including artificial intelligence, big data, cognitive computing, data science, data mining, and machine learning is a set of methods that have proven capable of answering the “what’s next” questions of value-based care across clinical domains including cardiothoracic surgery, urology, orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery, otolaryngology, general surgery, transplant, trauma, and neurosurgery, cancer prediction and prognosis, and intensive care unit morbidity. Despite 20+ years of empirical evidence demonstrating superior predictive performance, these approaches have remained the nearly exclusive property of academics.

The rhetoric surrounding these methods is bimodal and not particularly helpful. Either big data will cure cancer in just a few years or clinicians proudly list the reasons they will not be replaced by virtual AI versions of themselves. Both are fun reads, but neither address the immediate opportunity to capitalize on the painstakingly entered data to deliver care more efficiently today.

More productive is a framing of machine learning as what it actually is — an emerging tool. Like all tools, machine learning has inherent pros and cons that should be considered.

In the pro column is the ability of these methods to consider many more data points than traditional risk score or rules-based approaches. Also important for medicine is the fact that machine learning-based approaches don’t require that data be well formatted or standardized in order to learn from it. Combined with natural language processing, machine learning can consider the free text impressions of clinicians or case managers in predicting which patient is most likely to benefit from attention sooner. Like clinical care, these approaches learn with new experience, allowing insights to evolve based on the ever-changing dynamics of care delivery.

To illustrate, the organization I work with was recently enlisted to identify members of a health plan most likely to dis-enroll after one year of membership. This is a particularly sensitive loss for organizations that take on the financial responsibility of delivering care, as considerable investments are made in Year 1 stabilizing and maintaining the health of the member.

Using software designed to employ these methods, we consumed 30 file types, from case management notes, to claims, to call center transcripts. Comparing all of the data of members that dis-enrolled after one year versus those that stayed in the plan, we learned the patterns that most highly correlate with disenrollment. Our partner uses these insights to proactively call members before they dis-enroll. As their call center employs strategies to reduce specific causes of dissatisfaction, members’ reasons for wanting to leave change. So, too do the patterns emerging from the software.

The result is greater member satisfaction, record low dis-enrollment rates, and a more proactive approach to addressing member concerns. It’s not the cure for cancer, but it is one of a growing number of questions that require addressing when the success of an organization is dependent on using resources efficiently.

The greatest limitation of machine learning to date has been inaccessibility. Like the mainframe before it, this new technology has remained the exclusive domain of experts. In most applications, each model is developed over the course of months using tools designed for data scientists. The results are delivered as recommendations, not HIPAA-compliant software ready to be plugged in when and where needed. Like the evolution of computing, all of that’s about to change.

Just hours after reading the Gardner and Levinson op-ed, I sat across from a primary care doc friend as she ended a long day of practice by charting out the last few patients. Her frustration was palpable as she fought her way through screen after screen of diabetes-related reporting requirements having “nothing to do with keeping [her] patients healthy.” Her thoughts on the benefits of using her organization’s industry-leading EMR were less measured than Drs. Gardner and Levinson: “I’d rather poke my eyes out.”

I agree fully with Drs. Gardner and Levinson. The answer isn’t abandoning electronic systems, but rather striking a balance between EMR usability and the valuable information that they provide. But I’ve been in healthcare long enough to know clinicians won’t be enjoying well-designed EMRs any time soon. In the meantime, it’s nice to know we don’t need to wait to begin generating returns from all their hard work.

Leonard D’Avolio, PhD is assistant professor at Harvard Medical School CEO and co-founder of Cyft of Cambridge, MA.

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October 17, 2016 Readers Write 1 Comment

Readers Write: ECM for Healthcare Advances to HCM (Healthcare Content Management)

October 17, 2016 Readers Write No Comments

ECM for Healthcare Advances to HCM (Healthcare Content Management)
by Amie Teske

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Industry analysts project healthy market growth for enterprise content management (ECM) solutions across all industry sectors. Gartner’s 2016 Hype Cycle for Real-Time Health System Technologies places ECM squarely along the “plateau of productivity” at the far, right-hand side of the hype cycle curve. This essentially means that ECM software has succeeded the breakthrough in the market and is being actively adopted by healthcare providers.

This is good news for ECM users and technology suppliers, but what’s next for ECM in healthcare? To remain competitive and leading edge, ECM solutions at the plateau must evolve for the sake of customers and the marketplace in order to maintain business success. There is more good news here in that ECM solutions are evolving to keep pace with healthcare changes and demands.

Up to 70 percent of the data needed for effective and comprehensive patient care management and decision-making exists in an unstructured format. This implies the existence of a large chasm between resources and effort expended by healthcare delivery organizations (HDOs) on EHR technology to manage discrete data and the work yet to be done to effectively automate and provide access to the remaining content. ECM solutions are evolving in a new direction that offers HDOs an opportunity to strategically build a bridge to this outstanding content.

Healthcare content management (HCM) is a new term that represents the evolution of ECM for healthcare providers. It is the modern, intelligent approach to managing all unstructured document and image content. The biggest obstacle we must overcome in this journey is the tendency to fall back on traditional thinking, which drives health IT purchases toward siloed, non-integrated systems. Traditional methods for managing patient content have a diminishing role in the future of healthcare. It’s time to set a new course.

An HCM Primer

  • HCM = documents + medical images (photos and video. too).
  • The 70 percent of patient content outside the EHR is primarily unstructured in nature, existing as objects that include not only DICOM (CT, MRI) but also tiff, pdf, mpg, etc.
  • ECM has proven effective for managing tiff, pdf and a variety of other file formats. It is not, however, a technology built to handle DICOM images, which represent the largest and most numerous of the disconnected patient objects in question.
  • Enterprise imaging (EI) technologies have traditionally been responsible for DICOM-based content. These include vendor neutral archives (VNA), enterprise/universal viewers, and worklist and connectivity solutions that are unique to medical image and video capture.
  • Leveraging a single architecture to intentionally integrate ECM and EI technologies — enabling HDOs to effectively capture, manage, access and share all of this content within a common ecosystem — is referred to as healthcare content management or HCM.

Although the market is ready for HCM and many HDOs are already moving in this direction, it is important to know what to look for.

Critical Elements of HCM

Although it is the logical first step, HCM encompasses much more than simply unifying ECM and EI technologies together into a single architecture to enable shared storage and a single viewing experience for all unstructured content, DICOM and non-DICOM. Just as important is workflow and how all document and image content is orchestrated and handled prior to storage and access. This is essentially the secret sauce and the most difficult aspect of an HCM initiative.

ECM for healthcare workflow is geared to handle back office and clinical workflows associated with health information management, patient finance, accounts payable, and human resources, for example. The intricacies of these workflows must continue to cater to specific regulations around PHI, release of information, etc. All this to say that the workflow component of ECM is critical and must remain intact when converging ECM with EI technologies.

The same goes for workflows for enterprise imaging. EI workflow is optimized to handle image orchestration from many modalities to the core VNA or various PACS systems, medical image tag mapping/morphing to ensure image neutrality and downtime situations, for example.

These workflow features should not be taken lightly as health systems endeavor to establish a true HCM strategy. Do not overlook the need for these capabilities to ease the complexities inherently involved and to fully capitalize on any investment made.

Guidance for HCM Planning

Consider the following recommendations as you plan an HCM approach and evaluate prospective vendors:

  • Be wary of an archive-only strategy. A clinical content management (CCM) approach is primarily an archive and access strategy. The critical element of workflow is fully or partly missing. A word of caution to diligent buyers to ask the right questions about workflow and governance of unstructured document and image content before, during, and after storage and access.
  • Always require neutrality. Changing standards is a given in the healthcare industry. HCM should be in alignment with the new standards to ensure all document and image content can be captured, managed, accessed, shared, and migrated without additional cost due to proprietary antics by your vendor. An HCM framework must have a commitment to true neutrality and interoperability.
  • Think strategically. A deliberate HCM framework offered by any healthcare IT vendor should be modular in nature but also able to be executed incrementally and with the end in mind. Beginning with the end in mind is slightly more difficult. The modularity of your HCM approach should allow you to attack your biggest pain points first, solving niche challenges while preserving your budget and showing incremental success in your journey toward the end state.
  • Consider total cost of ownership (TCO). If a common architecture and its associated cost efficiencies are important in wrangling your outstanding 70 percent of disconnected patient content, you cannot afford to take a niche approach. It may seem easier and cheaper to select a group of products from multiple niche vendors to try and solve your most pervasive siloed document and image management problems. Take a careful look at the TCO over the life of these solutions. It is likely the TCO will be higher due to factors which include the number of unique skillsets and FTEs required for a niche strategy.
  • Demand solution flexibility and options. Your HCM approach should provide extensive flexibility and a range of options and alternatives that are adaptable to your unique needs. Software functionality is important, but not the only criterion.

Your HCM approach for strategically managing all unstructured patient content should allow you to:

  • Start small or go big, solving one challenge or many.
  • Establish a common architecture with a unified content platform and viewing strategy for all document and imaging content.
  • Enable unique ECM and EI workflows, not simply storage and access.
  • Hold one technology partner responsible – “one throat to choke” – for easier overall performance management and administration.

Providers of all shapes and sizes must take a thoughtful and deliberate approach when evaluating document and image management solutions. There is much more involved than simply capture and access. Because this category of technology can enable up to 70 percent of your disconnected patient and business information, you cannot afford to make a decision without carefully considering the impact of HCM on your healthcare enterprise, immediately and over time.

Amie Teske is director of global healthcare industry and product marketing for Lexmark Healthcare.

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October 17, 2016 Readers Write No Comments

Morning Headlines 10/17/16

October 16, 2016 Headlines No Comments

A Letter from CMS to Medicare Clinicians in the Quality Payment Program: We Heard You and Will Continue Listening

CMS publishes its final MACRA rule.

Faulty ID methods led to surgical error at St. Vincent Hospital

Substandard patient identification procedures at St Vincent Hospital (MA) are being blamed after surgeons accidently remove the wrong kidney from a cancer patient receiving treatment at the hospital.

New e-health record system to debut at Fairchild

A local paper covering the DoD’s Cerner rollout at a hospital on Fairchild Air Force Base notes that Cerner will interface with, rather than replace, many of the legacy systems currently in use.

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October 16, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Monday Morning Update 10/17/16

October 16, 2016 News 1 Comment

Top News

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HHS publishes the final MACRA rule (2,204 pages, although much of it is draft comments with responses) with a 24-page executive summary (provided the executive in question understands a lot of jargon in sentences such as, “We are finalizing the method to calculate and disburse the lump-sum APM Incentive Payments to QPs, and we are finalizing a specific approach for calculating the APM Incentive Payment when a QP also receives non-fee-for-service payments or has received payment adjustments through the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, PQRS, VM, or MIPS during the prior period used for determining the APM Incentive Payment”) and a website explaining it.

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CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt summarizes the rule:

Other than a 0.5 percent fee schedule update in 2017 and 2018, there are very few changes when the program first begins in 2017. If you already participate in an Advanced APM, your participation stays the same. If you aren’t in an Advanced APM, but are interested, more options are becoming available. If you participate in the standard Medicare quality reporting and Electronic Health Records (EHR) incentive programs, you will find MIPS simpler. And, if you see Medicare patients, but have never participated in a Medicare quality program, there are paths to choose from to get started. The first couple of years are aimed at getting physicians gradually more experienced with the program and vendors more capable of supporting physicians. We have finalized this policy with a comment period so that we can continue to improve the program based on your feedback.

Like every other notable EHR-related legislation, the final rule came out on a Friday. Industry groups seemed mostly happy with it.


Reader Comments

From The Hurricane: “Re: [vendor name omitted]. Laying off half its employees and being folded into of the parent corporation’s entities.” Unverified. I’ll keep my eye out.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Nearly 60 percent of poll respondents spend little to no time in their workday talking about patients and their needs. New poll to your right or here: How much work is your organization doing to prepare for Medicare’s 2019 issuance of new ID numbers to replace SSN?


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • The Department of Defense moves back its first Project Genesis Cerner go-live from December 2016 to February 2017 and says it will involve only one Washington hospital rather than the originally planned two, although the project’s 2022 completion date remains unchanged.
  • A hedge fund operator and $100 million Theranos investor sues the company for securities fraud.
  • A court orders Parkview Hospital (IN) to release its chargemaster prices and insurance company discounts after an uninsured patient says his bill, which the hospital sent off to collections, is unreasonable because insurers don’t pay the full price he’s being sued over.

Webinars

October 25 (Tuesday) 1:30 ET. “Data Privacy/Insider Threat Mitigation: What Hospitals Can Learn From Other Industries.” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Robert Kuller, chief commercial officer, Haystack Informatics; Mitchell Parker, CISSP, executive director of information security and compliance, Indiana University Health. Cybersecurity insurers believe that hospitals are too focused on perimeter threats, ransomware, and the threat of OCR audits instead of insider threats, which are far more common but less likely to earn media attention. Attendees will learn how behavior analytics is being used to profile insiders and detect unusual behaviors proactively and to place privacy/insider risk within the risk management matrix.

November 8 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “A CMIO’s Perspective on the Successful 25 Hospital Rollout of Electronic Physician Documentation.” Sponsored by Crossings Healthcare. Presenter: Ori Lotan, MD, CMIO, Universal Health Services. UHS rolled out Cerner Millennium’s electronic physician documentation to its 6,000 active medical staff members — 95 percent of them independent practitioners who also work in competitor facilities — across 25 acute care hospitals. UHS’s clinical informatics team used Cerner’s MPage development toolkit to improve the usability, efficiency, communications capability, and quality metric performance of Dynamic Documentation, embedding clinical decision support and also using Nuance’s cloud-based speech recognition product for the narrative bookends of physician notes. This CMIO-led webinar will describe how UHS achieved 70 percent voluntary physician adoption within one month of go-live, saved $3 million in annual transcription expense, and raised EHR satisfaction to 75 percent. It will include a short demonstration of the software that UHS developed to optimize the physician experience.

November 9 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “How to Create Healthcare Apps That Get Used and Maybe Even Loved.” Sponsored by MedData. Presenter: Jeff Harper, founder and CEO, Duet Health. Patients, clinicians, and hospital employees are also consumers who manage many aspects of their non-medical lives on their mobile devices. Don’t crush their high technology expectations with poorly designed, seldom used apps that tarnish your carefully protected image. Your app represents your brand and carries high expectations on both sides. This webinar will describe how to build a mobile healthcare app that puts the user first, meets their needs (which are often different from their wants), creates “stickiness,” and delivers the expected benefits to everyone involved.

Contact Lorre for webinar services. View previous webinars on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.


Decisions

  • Southwest General Hospital (TX) will switch from McKesson to Cerner in July 2017.
  • Central Peninsula General Hospital (AK) went live with an Infor Lawson human resources system in October 2016 and will follow with time and attendance and payroll go-lives in November.
  • Fisherman’s Hospital (FL) will go live with a Paycom Human Resources System in October 2016.

These provider-reported updates are provided by Definitive Healthcare, which offers powerful intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and healthcare provider


Government and Politics

A military-focused reporter’s article on the delay in the initial rollout of MHS Project Genesis at Fairchild Air Force Base (WA) says the DoD’s new Cerner system will be interfaced to legacy systems that include AHLTA, the ancillary department systems of CHCS, and CliniComp’s Essentris. It doesn’t indicate how or when those systems will be phased out by Cerner.

Intuit and CMS release Benefit Assist, open source software that determines eligibility for income-based government benefits.


Privacy and Security

From DataBreaches.net:

  • The Russians that hacked into the Democratic National Convention servers used a phony Gmail security update message that lured users to reset their passwords, then sent them to a phony log-on page that stole their credentials.
  • The Vermont Health Connect insurance marketplace exposes the information of 700 users due to a payment contractor’s mistake.
  • Vermont’s attorney general reaches a settlement with software vendor Entrinsik to provide more explicit instructions for its business intelligence tool, which when users run reports from their browsers, sometimes creates temporary files that are not automatically erased and fails to warn users of their existence.

Innovation and Research

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CB Insights publishes a list of digital hospital technology vendors.

A UK psychiatric hospital pilots Oxehealth, which analyzes streaming video to monitor vital signs with no attached sensors and alerts staff if a patient appears to be at risk.


Other

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Surgeons at St. Vincent Hospital (MA) remove the healthy rather than the cancerous kidney of a patient after a mix-up with another patient’s CT results. Investigators also found several problems with patient ID bracelets, with a patient’s son receiving his father’s bracelet and another observed being taken to X-ray without any bracelet at all. They also noted that one patient had been registered with another patient’s name and was assigned two medical record numbers.

Texas authorities free the convicted murderer of a four-year-old boy because the county can’t afford to pay his medical bills. The inmate spent 967 days in incarceration in running up $19,000 in medical expenses, nearly 20 percent of the prison’s total annual medical budget. A local resident weighs in with the opinion that he should be just allowed to die untreated in jail as a cost for committing a crime.


Sponsor Updates

  • T-System, Vital Images, and VitalWare will exhibit at AHIMA through October 19 in Baltimore
  • .TierPoint presents “Hackers, Superstorms, and Other Disruptions” October 19 in New York City.
  • Valence Health, Verscend, and ZeOmega will exhibit at AHIP’s National Conference on Medicare, Medicaid & Duals October 23-27 in Washington, DC.
  • Visage Imaging will exhibit at Health Connect Partners October 19-21 in Chicago.
  • Wellsoft will exhibit at the ACEP Scientific Assembly through October 19 in Las Vegas.
  • ZirMed earns Frost & Sullivan’s 2016 Technology Innovation Award for revenue cycle management.
  • Zynx Health will exhibit at the 2016 Meditech Physician and CIO Forum October 20-21 in Foxborough, MA.

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.

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October 16, 2016 News 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 10/14/16

October 13, 2016 Headlines 3 Comments

Trends in Hospital Inpatient Drug Costs: Issues and Challenges

Hospitals spent 40 percent more on inpatient drug costs in 2015 than they did in 2013, a change attributed to rising drug prices, rather than an increase in patient volume.

Software ‘freeze’ after network failure at St George’s

In England, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust freezes all ongoing software installs after aging computers and unreliable core software systems, like Microsoft XP, lead to a system-wide network outage.

One of the physicists behind the Higgs boson has made an algorithm to replace the pill

A physicist turned entrepreneur launches a birth control app that tracks the daily temperature of users with the impressive result of helping women avoid pregnancy 99.5 percent of the time, making it as effective as the pill or condoms.

Revised HIPAA Security Risk Assessment Tool Now Available

ONC updates its HIPAA Security Risk Assessment Tool, offering a 156-item questionnaire that evaluates HIPAA compliance by walking users through a series of questions about typical organizational activities.

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October 13, 2016 Headlines 3 Comments

News 10/14/16

October 13, 2016 News 8 Comments

Top News

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The Department of Defense announces that the first go-live of its MHS Genesis implementation of Cerner is scheduled for February 2017 at Fairchild Air Force Base (WA), moved back from the originally planned December 2016 date that involved two test sites. Three other Washington military hospitals will follow no earlier than June 2017.

The DoD says it pushed the schedule back to give it more time to develop interfaces to legacy systems and for system testing, as well as to allow implementing speech recognition and transfusion management. The project’s budget and planned completion date of 2022 have not changed.


Reader Comments

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From Redacted: “Re: Epic certification. Users are now required to complete proctored exams every five years for each application they’re certified in. As a consultant, it’s not the worst thing in the world for them to remove other certified people from the pond, but I have 10 certs and their time estimate is 6-8 hours for each (doubled between the assessment and booster training). Seems like a huge pain.” Unverified, although the forwarded document above appears genuine.

From Boy Blunder: “Re: Epic‘s 2016 release. My TS contact says there was a two-month period in early 2016 where the entire development division pivoted to fixing issues with the 2015 release, delaying 2016 projects. She tells me we should not upgrade to 2016 for a while because the key features won’t be added until months after the initial release, delaying the discovery and fixing of the kinks we usually find.” Unverified.

From Booster: “Re: Epic’s Boost program. It’s an attempt by Epic to provide consulting services to customers deploying new functionality or optimizing their systems. The concept has been around for years, but was only recently formalized. Boosters tend to be less available and are rarely around for more than a short engagement, with most of them on their way out of the company and working somewhere other than Madison (less than one year). It’s good in theory, but cannot get off the ground because Epic employees have such short half-lives and aren’t compensated competitively to retain them.” Unverified.

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From Little David: “Re: Hillary Clinton’s HIMSS14 speech. Did we get $225K of value?” It appears that the Secretary’s rack rate was $225K per speech, so HIMSS paid the same as everybody else. On the question of value, I’ll side with readers who observe that while we claim we want to hear selfless keynotes from patients, the size of the HIMSS crowd is always directly proportional to the fame of the presenter and Hillary (and Bill the year before) packed the house. I didn’t attend her presentation since I was tired of being at the conference before her Wednesday keynote slot, but I summarized it back then as:

I didn’t hear much about Hillary’s Wednesday keynote other than (a) it was extremely short; (b) like any skilled politician, she didn’t really say anything other than predictably lauding the work of the crowd that brought her there and kissing up to HIMSS. I would have been mad about waiting an hour or two to squeeze into the huge room for her talk given its lack of substance. Hillary’s rumored minimum speaking fee is $200K plus expenses, so she took home a big paycheck in addition to potentially impressing would-be Presidential voters who were apparently happy just to bask in her celebrity.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Healthlink Advisors. The St. Petersburg, FL-based consulting firm was founded by industry long-timer and former SVP/CIO Lindsey Jarrell, who hand-picks the people he (and the company’s client base) wants to work with based on their experience, passion, integrity, accountability, and commitment to social responsibility. Areas of practice include IT operations performance acceleration (leadership coaching, interim management, contract negotiation, application and technology rationalization, roadmaps); engagement (IT governance, system selection, program management, product and sales strategy development); and transformation (future state definition, consumer and digital engagement). I’m fascinated that one of the company’s core values that employees make healthy choices, which it supports by offering healthy foods at meetings, holding meetings while walking, requiring mandatory vacation time away from work, and insisting that no emails being sent after 10 p.m. or while the employee is on vacation. I also liked this insightful nugget in its “have fun” core value – “people leave managers, they don’t leave companies.” Thanks to Healthlink Advisors for supporting HIStalk.

This week on HIStalk Practice: Chinese Community Health Care Association moves forward with enterprise master patient index tech. Telemedicine companies offer free consults to victims of Hurricane Matthew. NextGen’s Cherie Holmes-Henry and Charles Kaplan offer advice on “Readying the Revenue Cycle for MACRA.” GMed develops patient check-in software for gastroenterologists. AmeriGroup partners with LiveHealth Online for telemedicine services in New Jersey. Health Fidelity co-founder Anand Shroff helps physicians understand the implications of risk adjustment. Zoom+ launches chat-based telemedicine app. Encompass Medical Partners gets into the IT maintenance and security game.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Pager raises $5.2 million. Proposal deadlines loom for the Stanford Medicine X | Withings Precision Research Challenge. Eccrine Systems closes $5.5 million in Series A financing. Bill Evans joins Rock Health. Charlie Rose focuses on artificial intelligence.


Webinars

October 25 (Tuesday) 1:30 ET. “Data Privacy/Insider Threat Mitigation: What Hospitals Can Learn From Other Industries.” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Robert Kuller, chief commercial officer, Haystack Informatics; Mitchell Parker, CISSP, executive director of information security and compliance, Indiana University Health. Cybersecurity insurers believe that hospitals are too focused on perimeter threats, ransomware, and the threat of OCR audits instead of insider threats, which are far more common but less likely to earn media attention. Attendees will learn how behavior analytics is being used to profile insiders and detect unusual behaviors proactively and to place privacy/insider risk within the risk management matrix.

November 8 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “A CMIO’s Perspective on the Successful 25 Hospital Rollout of Electronic Physician Documentation.” Sponsored by Crossings Healthcare. Presenter: Ori Lotan, MD, CMIO, Universal Health Services. UHS rolled out Cerner Millennium’s electronic physician documentation to its 6,000 active medical staff members — 95 percent of them independent practitioners who also work in competitor facilities — across 25 acute care hospitals. UHS’s clinical informatics team used Cerner’s MPage development toolkit to improve the usability, efficiency, communications capability, and quality metric performance of Dynamic Documentation, embedding clinical decision support and also using Nuance’s cloud-based speech recognition product for the narrative bookends of physician notes. This CMIO-led webinar will describe how UHS achieved 70 percent voluntary physician adoption within one month of go-live, saved $3 million in annual transcription expense, and raised EHR satisfaction to 75 percent. It will include a short demonstration of the software that UHS developed to optimize the physician experience.

November 9 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “How to Create Healthcare Apps That Get Used and Maybe Even Loved.” Sponsored by MedData. Presenter: Jeff Harper, founder and CEO, Duet Health. Patients, clinicians, and hospital employees are also consumers who manage many aspects of their non-medical lives on their mobile devices. Don’t crush their high technology expectations with poorly designed, seldom used apps that tarnish your carefully protected image. Your app represents your brand and carries high expectations on both sides. This webinar will describe how to build a mobile healthcare app that puts the user first, meets their needs (which are often different from their wants), creates “stickiness,” and delivers the expected benefits to everyone involved.

Contact Lorre for webinar services. View previous webinars on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Axial Healthcare, which mines a database of 100 million patient cases to give insurers insight into risky pain care practices, raises $16.5 million in a Series B funding round, increasing its total to $26 million.

Nordic completes a minority recapitalization and announces plans to offer equity participation to all employees starting in 2017.


Sales

Providence Health & Services chooses LogicStream Health’s Clinical Process Measurement.

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Meditech customer Hays Medical Center (KS) will implement the company’s Web EHR.

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Cerner customer Olathe Health System (KS) will add Millennium Revenue Cycle and the RxStation automated drug dispensing system.

Insurer Highmark will implement Welltok’s CafeWell Rewards program for its Medicare Advantage policyholders.


People

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Family medicine practitioner Doug Spotts, MD takes a full-time role as chief health information officer at Evangelical Community Hospital (PA).

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Ascension SVP Mike Schatzlein, MD will resign effective December 31, 2016 to focus on his role as chair for the Nashville-based Center for Medical Interoperability. The non-profit was formed in 2015 with a $10 million grant from the Gary and Mary West Foundation, with membership focused on hospitals.

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Population health management technology vendor Altruista Health hires Munish Khaneja, MD, MPH (EmblemHealth) as chief medical officer.

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Zillion hires Cheryl Morrison Deutsch (Kronos) as chief experience officer.


Announcements and Implementations

T-System announces EVolvED, a low-cost, quickly implemented ED documentation system that combines T-Sheets paper documentation with a best-of-breed technology solution.

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Adventist Health System goes live on Imprivata’s PatientSecure palm vein biometric identification system.

InstaMed achieves PCI SSC Point-to-Point Encryption Standard version 2.0 validation for protecting credit card payment data, the first company in healthcare to earn that recognition.

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Portland, OR-based clinic model insurer Zoom+ launches a free medical chat service for its members that provides advice, diagnosis, treatment, prescriptions, and visit scheduling, with the chat transcript being added automatically to the EHR. I’m not sure if the apparently missing “with” in the “chat our doctors for free” page above is a mistake or intentional hipster wit.

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National Decision Support Company will debut its CareSelect Imaging decision support solution at RSNA, offering expanded Appropriate Use Criteria.


Government and Politics

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ONC and HHS OCR update their HIPAA Security Risk Assessment tool.

CMS will review MACRA-required documentation and hold regional meetings with practices in trying to reduce the clinician administrative burdens involved.


Privacy and Security

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Canada-based online medical advice startup Ask The Doctor becomes the first healthcare company to accept Bitcoin, providing users with extra privacy over charging services on their credit card. I can’t find any mention of how much the company charges to answer questions.


Innovation and Research

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Women who avoid having sex on the days a physicist’s temperature tracking app says they are fertile avoid pregnancy 99.5 percent of the time, offering the same reliability rate as oral contraceptives and condoms and much better than the 75 percent success rate of the rhythm method alone. The company is in Sweden, which is probably a good thing since its claims might otherwise interest the FDA and the lawyers of unexpectedly pregnant women.


Other

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A study of mobile health apps finds a crowded market in which downloads are limited and  declining, users aren’t willing to pay, newcomers have saturated the market, and 78 percent of publishers make less than $100,000 per year from their entire healthcare app business. Most app-related revenue comes from sales of sensors or other required hardware. Features seen as easiest to implement that have the highest user impact are personalized messages, dashboards, and the delivery of educational content. Publishers see their best hope of success as addressing users with chronic illnesses, but insurance companies haven’t shown much interest in getting them involved. Still, it’s a growing market even if it’s more competitive and selective.

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In England, St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust freezes all software rollouts following a June 6 infrastructure failure in which its Cerner-provided downtime system didn’t work. The trust is out of storage capacity, can’t perform backups, runs Windows XP on 2,000 PCs, and has network stability problems.

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An American Hospital Association report finds that hospitals spent nearly 40 percent more on drugs for each inpatient inpatient in 2015 than they did in 2013 due to higher drug prices rather than increased volume, saying that the price jumps “appear to be random, inconsistent, and unpredictable.” Prices increased from 52 percent to 3,263 percent for the 10 drugs on which hospitals spent the most money, with even the journeyman drug acetaminophen recording a 135 percent price increase from 2013 to 2015. It’s interesting to me that a couple of decades ago, the field of pharmacoeconomics was created to make sure drugs delivered outcomes commensurate with their cost, which turned on a light bulb over the heads of drug companies that realized they could price based on those same outcomes rather than simply defend a markup based on their research and manufacturing costs. These top 10 drugs are all old, work inarguably well for mostly specific uses, and have little competition. The pharmacoeconomics model then supports high prices and thus high drug company profits.

The local paper covers the November 1 Epic go-live at Vernon Memorial Healthcare (WI), which is working with Gundersen Health System (just writing that even with a different spelling makes me think of the police chief in “Fargo” or The Swede in “Hell on Wheels,” yah).

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I ran across an article that mentioned Twine Health, which I’ve written about a couple of times. The company’s team-based coaching and primary care app offers shared action planning among patients, coaches, and clinicians; secure messaging; real-time population monitoring; and analytics. Practices can use its system for $1 per patient per month for up to 1,000 patients. The company has raised $6.75 million in a single December 2015 funding round. The founders are serial entrepreneur and former MIT professor Frank Moss, PhD  and John Moore, MD, PhD.

A UCSF hospital medicine professor makes his case for “clinician data scientists” to analyze complex and sometimes inconsistently entered EHR patient information. He suggests training in clinical systems, data extraction, report writing, and statistical methods.

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Cerner can honestly say that the company sits at the intersection of “Health Care” and “Information Technology” as it names the streets of its new campus. Other avenues are named after medical scientists and computing pioneers.

Eighty volunteers from HCA’s IT division participated in a 36-hour “Hack the Community” hackathon in Nashville this week, supporting local non-profits with limited technology resources.


Sponsor Updates

  • Florida State University recognizes Vyne CEO Lindy Benton with its 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award.
  • Forward Health Group COO Subbu Ravi will serve on panel discussing Wisconsin state health IT initiatives at a Wisconsin Technology Council innovation lunch in Madison on October 18.
  • Iatric Systems will exhibit at the Hospital & Healthcare IT Fall Reverse Expo October 19-21 in Chicago.
  • Momentum Partners includes ID Experts in its list of top 10 private cybersecurity companies to watch in Q3 2016.
  • Impact Advisors will exhibit at the Scottsdale Institute CIO Summit October 13-14 in Scottsdale, AZ.
  • Optimum Healthcare IT posts a white paper titled “The Problem (and Solution) With Data Governance.”
  • InterSystems, Intelligent Medical Objects, NVoq, PatientKeeper, Streamline Health will exhibit at AHIMA October 15-19 in Baltimore.
  • Kyruus will exhibit at the HMA Fall Forums October 19-22 in Laguna Beach, CA.
  • MedData will exhibit at the ACEP Scientific Assembly 2016 October 16-19 in Las Vegas.
  • Meditech Senior Manager Corinne Proctor Boudreau will speak at the Western Pennsylvania Healthcare Summit October 14 in Pittsburgh.
  • Nordic will sponsor Piedmont Healthcare’s Southeast User Group Meeting October 18 in Atlanta.
  • NTT Data announces its return to Chip Ganassi Racing Teams.
  • Obix Perinatal Data System will exhibit at the ACOG Annual District II Meeting October 21 in New York City.
  • Recondo Technology will present at the Michigan HFMA Fall Conference October 17 in Plymouth.
  • Experian Health will present at NEHAM October 17-18 in Providence, RI.
  • Red Hat accepts speaking proposals for Red Hat Summit 2017 through December 2.
  • The SSI Group will exhibit at the AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention & Expo October 16-19 in Nashville.
  • Sunquest Information Systems will exhibit at ASHG 2016 October 18-22 in Vancouver.
  • Sutherland Healthcare Solutions VP and Global Health of RCMS Healthcare Tina Eller will speak at the Region 2 HFMA Fall Institute Conference October 20 in Verona, NY.

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.

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October 13, 2016 News 8 Comments

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Reader Comments

  • Riyengar: Wonder what the market is for stand-alone scheduling..it seems most HIS provide a built in component....
  • FLPoggio: Re: Streamline & DSS - DSS offers products and services to government and commercial clients based on the VA’s Vis...
  • RL: Re: EHR Nomad. I wouldn’t completely give up on the idea of migrating some data into Allscripts. To the point Mr...
  • FLPoggio: Fred, Couldn't agree more. From my HISTalk piecein 2013: "The real world keeps changing. Yet many of the predictive ...
  • CC: Thank you for refusing to give in to that patient's demands for an antibiotic. Too many providers are pressured into pre...

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