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Morning Headlines 6/10/16

June 9, 2016 Headlines 12 Comments

Electronic Health Records Company Settles FTC Charges It Deceived Consumers About Privacy of Doctor Reviews

Practice Fusion settles FTC charges that it misled consumers by soliciting reviews for their doctors without disclosing that the information would be publicly posted on the Internet, leading to patients unknowingly publishing their own sensitive patient information.

The Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016

The House passes the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act, exempting ambulatory surgical centers from MU and MIPS penalties.

Southcoast Health’s implementation of new electronic health record boosts South Coast region’s economy with an estimated $3 million in local spending

Southcoast Health (MA) says that its $100 million Epic implementation resulted in $3 million going back to the local economy in the form of hotel room, auto rental, gas, and dining costs for the Epic staff and consultants that helped manage the implementation.

Shkreli taunts feds, pleads not guilty to new charge

Martin Shkreli pleads not guilty to an updated indictment that added a new conspiracy charge to the list of criminal allegations against him.

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June 9, 2016 Headlines 12 Comments

News 6/10/16

June 9, 2016 News No Comments

Top News

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Practice Fusion settles with the FTC over charges that it misled consumers by asking for reviews of their physicians without adequately disclosing that those reviews would be posted publicly online. The reviews were published in 2012 as part of the company’s efforts to develop a public-facing healthcare provider directory. “Practice Fusion’s actions led consumers to share incredibly sensitive health information without realizing it would be made public,” says FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Jessica Rich. “Companies that collect personal health information must be clear about how they will use it – especially before posting such information publicly on the Internet.” The settlement, which seems to carry no fine, prompted the FTC to publish six privacy pointers, with perhaps the most relevant being, “Disclosures should reach out and grab consumers,” and “Don’t bury key facts in a hard-to-understand privacy policy.”


Reader Comments

From EMR Expert: “Re: Financial trouble in the Middle East. Like many other vendors in various sectors, Cerner, Epic and InterSystems are having tough times collecting their money from existing clients. One of the executives of those companies stated that their Accounts Receivables of the value of more than $15 million is overdue by more than six months. Support contracts are not being renewed and payments for implementation are not honored. It is a catch 22 situation when all their clients were oil rich and now cash strapped governments/government entities.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

This week on HIStalk Practice: AMN Healthcare acquires Peak Health Solutions. CancerLinq announces new collaboration and practice sign-up milestones. North Carolina Medicaid reform will include the development of a statewide HIE. South Carolina lawmakers pass telemedicine-friendly legislation. SingleCare partners with American Well. Closed-door meetings in Texas could lead to more telemedicine-friendly legislation. Medfx and Falcon Physician develop software for nephrology practices. FastMed Urgent Care rolls out TouchCare telemedicine services at 57 clinics. Tandigm Health Medical Director Leslie Saltzman, DO shares the hurdles physician groups face when implementing telemedicine tech.


Webinars

June 28 (Tuesday) 2:00 ET. “Your Call Is Very Important.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenters: Cyndy Orrys, contact center director, Henry Ford Health System; Brian Cooper, SVP, West Interactive. The contact center is a key hub of patient engagement and a strategic lever for driving competitive advantage. Cyndy will share how her organization’s call center is using technologies and approaches that create effortless patient experiences in connecting them to the right information or resource. Brian will describe five key characteristics of a modern call center and suggest how to get started.

Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Xerox launches Virtual Health Solutions, a new service line that will offer providers telemedicine consulting, interface design and development, and virtual clinic services.

Connecture, a technology company that builds online health insurance marketplaces, acquires ConnectedHealth, a benefits technology platform that helps employers chose health plans. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Southcoast Health (MA) reports that its $100 million Epic implementation boosted the local economy by $3 million, mainly through hotel room costs, car rentals, gas, and dining. Nearly a third of the health system’s budget for the project went to costs associated with expenses for Epic staff and consultants.

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Martin Shkreli jeeringly pleads not guilty to an updated indictment – one that adds a new conspiracy charge to original December allegations that he illegally took stock from a biotechnology firm he launched in 2011 and was fired from three years later. Not surprisingly, the “habitually unavoidable-for-comment Shkreli unloaded as he spoke to customers at a Manhattan Dunkin’ Donuts outlet while live-streaming on Periscope.” In related (and absurd) news, Shkreli blocks presumably reputable reporters from his Twitter stream, and lauds an upcoming satirical musical about his purchase of a $2 million single-copy Wu-Tang Clan album. It will no doubt give Hamilton a run for its money.


Announcements and Implementations

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Radiology Associates of Macon (GA) extends its RCM agreement with Zotec Partners.

Meditech develops a sepsis management toolkit for select EHR customers.

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St. Vincent’s Medical Center (CT) rolls out telemedicine services from Zipnosis.

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The Guam Dept. of Public Health and Social Services partners with Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles to roll out a specialty care telemedicine program for island residents.


Sales

Houston Methodist (TX), Meadows Regional Medical Center (GA), and Shore Medical Center (NJ) sign on for Unified Provider Management software from Phynd Technologies.


People

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North Mississippi Medical Center promotes Shannon Fryery to director of telehealth for North Mississippi Health Services.

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Callie Shaver (Greenville Regional Hospital) joins Jersey Community Hospital as HIM director.

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Ed Mercado joins Crux Quality Solutions as CEO.


Government and Politics

The VA fires three more administrators within the Phoenix VA Health Care System. Lance Robinson, assistant director at the Carl Hayden VA Medical Center; Brad Curry, chief of health administration service; and Darren Deering, DO the hospital’s chief of staff; were all terminated for “negligent performance of duties and failure to provide effective oversight.” The terminations come more than two years after the exposure of the cover up of a huge backlog in medical appointments that severely impacted veteran care.

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The House passes the Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act, excluding ambulatory surgical centers from Meaningful Use and MIPS penalties.


Innovation and Research

Cerner launches a one-year pilot study that will help determine whether patient’s genetic data can play a motivating role in promoting behavior change.

A Health Affairs study correlates the use of prescription drug monitoring programs with a 30 percent reduction in the rate of prescribing Schedule II opioids, a change that continued in the second and third years following the launch of the program.

A small Health Catalyst survey of hospital executives finds that 62 percent have between zero and 10 percent of their care tied to the value-based contracts CMS hopes to have hospitals converted to by 2018. Just 3 percent meet the CMS goal of 50 percent value-based reimbursement today, and only 23 percent expect to meet it by 2019.


Technology

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Avizia adds the patient-facing MyCare app to its AviziaOne telemedicine and secure messaging solution.

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Experian Health’s Coverage Discovery uncompensated-care alert tool can now integrate with Epic’s EHR.

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Influence Health develops new digital presence management technologies that include directory listings, reputation, and online provider review ratings tools.


Other

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Jennifer Lawrence signs on to play Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes in an Adam McKay-directed drama about the now-infamous blood-testing startup.

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A mother in Australia uses Siri to call emergency services when she discovers that her sleeping baby had stopped breathing. While the digital assistant may have contributed to saving the girl’s life, it likely had more to do with the mom’s administration of CPR, given that the ambulance took 20 minutes to arrive.


Sponsor Updates

  • Impact Advisors achieves top overall performance score in the KLAS Healthcare IT Advisory Report.
  • InterSystems and PDR will exhibit at AHIP June 15-17 in Las Vegas.
  • LiveProcess will exhibit at the SC Hospital Association Hospital Preparedness Summit June 8 in Columbia, SC.
  • MedData will exhibit at the Southern Coastal Emergency Medicine Conference June 10-11 in Kiawah Island, SC.
  • Medecision signs on as a founding member of the Accountable Care Learning Collaborative.
  • Navicure will exhibit at the Arizona NextGen UGM June 10 in Phoenix.
  • Nordic and Stella Technology will exhibit at the HIMSS New York State meeting June 16 in the Bronx.
  • Millward Brown names NTT Data to its 2016 Brandz Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands.
  • Obix Perinatal Data System will exhibit at the 2016 AWHONN National Convention June 11-15 in Grapevine, TX.
  • Experian Health will exhibit at the Georgia Society for Managed Care meeting June 12-14 in Jekyll Island.
  • PatientMatters will exhibit at the Ohio Hospital Association Annual Meeting June 13-15 in Columbus.
  • The SSI Group will exhibit at the Gulf States ASC Conference June 15-16 in New Orleans.
  • Catalyze achieves a second HITRUST CSF Certification.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
Get HIStalk updates.
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June 9, 2016 News No Comments

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 6/9/16

June 9, 2016 News No Comments

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Thanks to everyone who sent well-wishes about my recent hand injury. I’m happy to report that I’m recovering and have traded out the giant dressing for something more sleek – today I sported a Mickey Mouse themed bandage. I’m seeing patients tomorrow and am a bit nervous about hand hygiene, but our infection control nurse is on board with a plan. I’ll also be running with a scribe, so that will help. Laughter is good medicine and I appreciated one reader’s comment that at least I wouldn’t need to buy a foam finger to cheer my team at the ballpark.

From Florida Orange: “I was reading your post and this sentence jumped out at me: “I know my practice leans heavily towards patient satisfaction scores for determining provider compensation, and the idea that giving patients what they need (rather than what they want) can impact me negatively is always a consideration.” How is satisfaction calculated? HCAHPS scores? Press Ganey? Or Yelp reviews? And what factors make up patient satisfaction?” The methods used vary depending on whether an organization is a hospital or ambulatory group. I’ve actually seen groups use all of the above to assess patient satisfaction, plus other strategies such as anonymous waiting room surveys, online surveys, and more.

In my largely ambulatory world, the factors that come into play include: satisfaction with contacting the office (which may include appointment scheduling and availability); wait time in the office; friendliness and helpfulness of staff; whether patients felt their diagnosis and treatment was explained to their satisfaction; willingness to recommend the office to other patients; and more. My practice uses a third-party survey service that emails a link to the patient and we can see responses via a practice dashboard. They’re not anonymous and we contact anyone who doesn’t give us at least four out of five stars overall or offers narrative comments that are concerning.

Everyone likes getting good reviews, and the percentage of four- and five-star reviews impacts our bonus calculation, as does our ability to care for patients in a timely manner when they arrive. As a member of the executive team, I get an email notification when a patient activates the survey link. Sometimes this happens when I know the patient has to be driving home from the visit, which is amusing. All of our patients are emailed the survey at the time of check-out, even those that we know had less than optimal experiences. The times when we didn’t’ do well are the most important for learning and we really need that feedback.

Different organizations weigh the impact of their results in different ways. I worked with an organization a few years ago that lived and died by their Press Ganey statistics, even when the results didn’t make sense as far as supporting the organization’s overall goals. As organizations evolve along with our changing healthcare system, it’s going to be increasingly important for groups to evaluate their survey strategies on a regular basis. If processes have been improved and responses are flat, maybe it’s time to measure different elements.

Patient engagement is an increasing part of patient satisfaction, and at last week’s ONC Annual Meeting they launched a Patient Engagement Playbook. It’s designed to help organizations improve patient engagement via patient portal usage. The first phase encourages clients through the critical steps of making enrollment easy; activating features that patients want; allowing proxy access for caregivers; and integrating patient-generated health data. Physicians often resist the last item, so if you work with those who might fall into that category, a quick read might be in order.

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From Jimmy the Greek: “OK, Dr. Jayne, tell me why this patient portal view of lab results is useless. That’s right, campers, there’s no ‘normal range’ displayed.  Just how the hell is a non-clinician supposed to interpret these values?  Should I turn to Dr. Google?  Should I make a follow-up appointment with my doc to talk through the results?  Should I expect a phone call to discuss them? I have loads of data, but no way to turn the data points into useful information.” This goes right along with my recent post about trends in organizational patient portal release policies. The mere fact of releasing labs to patients doesn’t necessarily empower them, and without the right supporting information can lead to patient frustration or worry. I don’t immediately recognize this vendor, so I can’t tell whether there are other features that would help the patient understand their results such as hovering over them, but from other correspondence, Jimmy seems to be a pretty astute IT guy and would likely have picked up on something like that.

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Aprima is hosting its annual User Conference at the Omni Dallas Hotel August 5-7th. A piece on their blog caught my eye, since it quoted a client from a practice named “Serenity Now Psychiatric and Counseling Services.” That’s probably one of the best practice names I’ve seen in a long time. The write up also caught my eye since they’re offering a service project where attendees can assist with making blankets, gift bags, and other items for patients at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. I love seeing companies help the community.

Are you a vendor who gives back? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne

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June 9, 2016 News No Comments

Breaking Down Blockchain’s Healthcare Potential

June 9, 2016 News 2 Comments

HIStalk looks at the evolution of blockchain, barriers to adoption in healthcare, and its potential to truly put patients at the center of care.
By
@JennHIStalk

The blockchain concept, while not new, certainly suffers from a lack of healthcare-related glitz and glam, a dearth of bells and whistles that seems to have kept the wallets of Silicon Valley insiders tucked tightly in their pockets (or pocketbooks). Like its VC funding, healthcare headlines relating to blockchain are few and far between – a good indication that the concept has some ways to go before reaching critical mass.

Many automatically associate the word with bitcoin – that much ballyhooed digital currency that has tried time and again to take the world by storm. Those more in the know equate it to financial markets, where authentication and security are key. A small but growing number of IT insiders see it as an initially humble solution to healthcare’s many problems (cybersecurity, claims delivery, interoperability, etc.) – one that may mature into a more dazzling and potentially game-changing business process down the road.

Its true potential in healthcare and in any number of other industries will only be realized once stakeholders truly understand its nature, barriers to adoption, and potential, including moonshots and more down-to-earth applications.

Understanding What Blockchain is (and isn’t)

Definitions of blockchain abound, and, depending on the resource, can be either fairly easy to understand or almost too abstract to contemplate. Techopedia defines it as “a critical part of the bitcoin peer-to-peer payment system.” Investopedia goes a bit further, defining it as a “public ledger of all bitcoin transactions that have ever been executed. It is constantly growing as ‘completed’ blocks are added to it with a new set of recordings. The blocks are added to the blockchain in a linear, chronological order.” These summaries are, in fact, too narrow, given that a blockchain does not in fact have to be tied to bitcoin.

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“To begin with, blockchain is not equal to bitcoin,” explains PokitDok Chief Scientist Bryan Smith, who is ushering the healthcare transactions technology company into early blockchain adoption. “A blockchain, at its essence, is a distributed database containing records whose contents, authenticity, and security are guaranteed. It drives efficiency, protects rights through immutable records, and establishes a system of accountability – an imperative in the often murky world of healthcare claims and reimbursement.

“With blockchain,” he adds, “engaged participants could opt in to share information that they want to share. That data could be accessible to authorized parties through a variety of front ends – from a mobile device to a sensitive compartmented information facility. There’s no other database that exists with that kind of functionality.”

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Smith’s evangelism seems well founded. What provider, patient, or payer wouldn’t want access to a single database that could act as one source of truth for health data? Jerry Cuomo, vice president of blockchain technologies within IBM’s new cloud group, believes blockchain has the potential to consolidate disparate versions of the truth – a concept that would seem to play well with industry efforts around interoperability and a national patient identifier. “In the current world,” Cuomo says, “everyone is keeping their own version of the truth, their own system of record. When something comes in, everyone is working in silos. Each organization has to look at that transaction and determine if it matches their view of the truth. If not, they have to make it match by converting it to their preferred format. Those are all opportunities for things to go wrong. With a blockchain, you’re working across a replicated, encrypted, shared ledger that has an audit trail. It reduces the attack surface because now it’s just one ledger that everyone is sharing.”

Gauging its Potential

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Brian Behlendorf, executive director of The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger blockchain project, makes the concept, and its potential, more healthcare-friendly: “Blockchain technology could potentially revolutionize healthcare and the method in which every patient interacts,” he says. “Blockchain addresses concerns of security, scalability, and privacy of EHRs. The potential of blockchain technology, applied to healthcare, is a shared platform that decentralizes health data without compromising the security of sensitive information. A patient can user their own signature to unlock data to provide more secure access to medical information for use in treatment. The patient, by using their profile, has full control of their medical information and can select the information shared and viewed by providers. This model lifts the costly burden of maintaining medical histories away from hospitals. Eventually, cost savings will make it full circle back to the patient receiving care.”

Cuomo, whose team is working to develop blockchain pilots across a range of industries, envisions several “moonshot” applications for healthcare, including a patient-centered blockchain that would give providers limited access to a patient’s health record during time of service. “Just imagine a patient who is about to go into the hospital for an overnight stay,” he says. “The patient could set up a contract with the hospital, giving it 24-access to their healthcare records via blockchain. After the 24 hours are up, the hospital can’t add or make changes to that record, which reverts back to patient ownership. The patient sets the terms of who sees the record, for how long, and under what conditions. It becomes a truly patient-centered healthcare record that follows that patient from doctor to doctor.”

Cuomo also believes that new business models around healthcare blockchains are bound to spring up. “Imagine having the ability to advertise your healthcare information via your blockchain – to let organizations know that you’re interested in participating in clinical trials. You could proactively shop out your healthcare information to improve healthcare and better mankind. If those trials offer payment, you could theoretically offset the cost of your healthcare premium for the year. There’s no systematic way to do that today because your healthcare information is all over the place. In a blockchain and a corresponding ecosystem built up around that, patients might be able to more easily – and securely – contribute to medical research.”

From Big Ideas to Practical Applications

Moonshots often trump more practical use cases when a technology is just getting off the ground. While big ideas are essential to generating buzz around an up-and-coming innovation (Tricorder, anyone?), it is the less sexy application that ends up being a springboard for future headline-generating products and services. Where healthcare is concerned, blockchain may be poised to have the most immediate impact on the claims process.

“If you look at the healthcare ecosystem,” Smith explains, “there’s the patient, the insurance companies, and the providers. Sitting between each of them is some kind of intermediary. On average, processing a claim accounts for anywhere between 20 and 40 percent of the total bill. Overhead is significant, and it may be three months after a medical visit that you get an annoying bill that is often impossible to understand. Five years from now, we’ll see blockchain foster dramatic gains in economic productivity and authenticity much like the Internet introduced.”

Cuomo sees immediate potential in the area of dispute resolution. “A lot of these healthcare insurance environments are always dealing with disputes, often in the tens of thousands range,” he says. “It could be innocent things stemming from improper documentation. These things get held up in the system. They take time to resolve, and money isn’t flowing. When money isn’t flowing, it’s bad for everyone. You can’t pay your bill, people aren’t getting paid, etc. A blockchain could be used to enrich claims processing by tracking events. Those events could be used and consented on to be a source of truth – maybe not eliminating disputes, but reducing the time it takes to settle them. A great win-win for everyone.”

Behlendorf, who spent several years helping the White House and HHS use open-source software to drive adoption of shared medical records, also sees potential in blockchain’s ability to drive the sharing of patient records. “While we moved the needle substantially in our work on CONNECT and Direct,” he says, “there are still many who view patient data as their proprietary edge, not something that belongs to the patient. This is not just unfortunate and archaic; it is life-threatening when relevant health data isn’t shared.

“But, there are stakeholders who have a much greater interest in seeing a comprehensive record of patient care, and are in a connective position in the ecosystem. Insurers, for instance, will play a large role here, as well as the new wave of ACOs, and, by proxy, Medicare and the VA. Here, patient care and outcomes are comprehensively consulted, and the blockchain can provide not only a history of care (with permissions managed via keys), but it can also provide proof of authenticity for records shared between such organizations.”

Lessons Learned from Interoperability

Obtaining industry consensus on a common set of standards that levels the competitive playing field has historically been hard to achieve in healthcare. While Behlendorf, Cuomo, and Smith are certainly idealists in their take on the technology’s potential, they are also realists when it comes to calling out barriers to adoption.

“The barriers to adoption of information-sharing standards in the healthcare industry are many and difficult,” Behlendorf explains, “and few have to do with inadequate technology, but instead with alignment of incentives. What blockchain technology might do is introduce new players and new incentives to the market, thus potentially changing that landscape. It also introduces new risks, since we’re talking about widely shared data (even if encrypted), so we can’t be in a rush to implement. We’re very eager to work with the healthcare industry to investigate where we might see some early wins. The challenge, as always, is to find a set of stakeholders with enough of a common interest that they are willing to invest and collaborate. I’ve seen that first-hand in the healthcare industry, so I know it’s possible.”

Cuomo emphasizes the “network effect” necessary to get blockchain off the ground in healthcare. “It starts with a group of companies working together,” he says. “I think the network would be sparked by a set of influencers, like a set of major hospitals coming together, with sponsorships from one or more payers, which would motivate patients to come in and manage their health records via blockchain.

“But,” he adds, “therein lies the rub. That social pact has to be made. There has to be benefit for groups to come together. There’s a social side to it that’s probably more important. The technology facilitates businesses working together with less friction, with a heightened sense of trust and accountability, but you’ve got to agree on those things.”

Moving Ahead with Early Adoption

Smith is confident that every healthcare stakeholder – from providers to banks – will soon be evaluating how blockchain will impact their business processes. PokitDok, which itself is in the process of developing a blockchain system that Smith believes will significantly improve the security of sensitive health data while simultaneously making that data more readily accessible to authorized parties in real time. The company has also founded a Healthcare Blockchain Consortium to further evangelize the technology. While not quite ready to share specifics, Smith says that the consortium will “develop collective efforts to truly effect meaningful change in how healthcare is administered, delivered, and consumed worldwide.”

Cuomo and his team at IBM launched cloud-based blockchain services in April for healthcare, government, and financial services, and are working on internal and external proof-of-concept projects (including collaboration with the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project) that he hopes will further escalate healthcare’s interest.

Behlendorf also takes an early-days approach to moving forward with blockchain in healthcare, stressing that the Hyperledger Project is not a standards effort. “We are here to build software,” he says, “and in doing so, lift the blockchain ecosystem as a whole, across all industries. We would be very excited to see new members from the healthcare industry participate so that we can understand their needs, collaborate, and build the core platform. As open-source software communities have shown, those companies that participate end up with an operational advantage in understanding how this technology can transform their business. They also see their staff develop expertise in a domain that is difficult to simply buy or outsource. This is about building an ecosystem and everyone has new roles to play if they recognize that and invest in transformation.”

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June 9, 2016 News 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 6/9/16

June 8, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Connecture buys exchange competitor ConnectedHealth

Connecture, a technology company that builds online health insurance marketplaces, acquires ConnectedHealth, a benefits technology platform that helps employers chose health plans. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Will genetic tests help prevent chronic diseases?

Cerner launches a one-year pilot study that will help determine whether patient’s genetic data can play a motivating role in promoting behavior change.

Three more Phoenix VA officials fired in aftermath of wait-time, retaliation probes

The VA has formally fired three more administrators within the Phoenix VA Health Care System. Lance Robinson, assistant director at the Carl Hayden VA Medical Center; Brad Curry, the chief of Health Administration Service; and Dr. Darren Deering the hospital’s chief of staff were all terminated for “negligent performance of duties and failure to provide effective oversight."

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Are Associated With Sustained Reductions In Opioid Prescribing By Physicians

A Health Affairs study correlates the use of prescription drug monitoring programs with a 30 percent reduction in the rate of prescribing Schedule II opioids, a change that continued in the second and third years following the launch of the program.

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June 8, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 6/8/16

June 7, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Cerner’s Burke: Patterson is ‘fully engaged’

Cerner President Zane Burke reports that CEO Neal Patterson remains fully engaged in day-to-day operations as he undergoes cancer treatments.

Theranos Says Only One Percent of Results Affected; Some Doubt Tests

Theranos says that less than one percent of its blood test results have been voided or corrected, a clarification on earlier reports that it would need to cancel or amend tens of thousands of results.

‘Silicon Valley arrogance’? Google misfires as it strives to turn Star Trek fiction into reality

Verily, Google’s life science business unit, comes under fire as a number of its high profile projects flounder, including a cancer-detecting wristband and glucose-sensing contact lenses.

Back to Meditech: Delta Regional Hospital to Deliver Quality Care at a Lower Cost with Meditech 6.1

325-bed Delta Regional Hospital (MS) will implement Meditech, replacing Cerner.

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June 7, 2016 Headlines No Comments

News 6/8/16

June 7, 2016 News No Comments

Top News

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Vice President Joe Biden launches the Genomic Data Commons at the University of Chicago with $70 million from the National Cancer Institute. As part of the Cancer Moonshot and Precision Medicine initiatives, the commons will receive, store, and organize clinical and genomic data, and offer it to cancer researchers in user-friendly formats.


Webinars

June 28 (Tuesday) 2:00 ET. “Your Call Is Very Important.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenters: Cyndy Orrys, contact center director, Henry Ford Health System; Brian Cooper, SVP, West Interactive. The contact center is a key hub of patient engagement and a strategic lever for driving competitive advantage. Cyndy will share how her organization’s call center is using technologies and approaches that create effortless patient experiences in connecting them to the right information or resource. Brian will describe five key characteristics of a modern call center and suggest how to get started.

Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Cerner President Zane Burke tells the Kansas City Business Journal that CEO Neal Patterson “remains very active and involved” during his treatment for soft tissue cancer, for which he was diagnosed in January. “In many respects, this will help both him and us as he focuses on his next chapter at Cerner and for Cerner. I think … being a consumer of healthcare will have significant impacts as he comes back into the day to day. I think the consumer is going to have a much stronger voice as we move forward.”

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HCS moves to expanded office space in Wall Township, NJ.

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Hospital purchasing analytics startup Valify raises $2 million in Series A funding led by Frist Cressey Ventures and Step 5 Capital. The Frisco, TX-based company, which has raised $2.75 million since launching in 2014, will use the funds to hire additional sales reps and developers, and for R&D.

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Theranos reports that it has voided or corrected less than 1 percent of blood test results, seemingly a far cry from the tens of thousands of results it said it was planning to cancel or change last month. Perhaps the math adds up, though it’s not likely the secretive company will release exact numbers.

Madison, WI-based healthcare API vendor Redox joins the six-month Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (Cisco EIR) program in Silicon Valley.

Google’s Verily Life Sciences venture comes under fire as development of its much-hyped cancer-detecting “Tricorder” device, smart contact lens, and Baseline human health study continue to flounder. Several anonymous Verily employees claim that the Tricorder, originally scheduled for launch more than two years ago, has been touted internally more as a buzz generator than as a project capable of true clinical impact.


Sales

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The California Emergency Medical Services Authority signs a contract with Audacious Inquiry for the ONC-funded development of a Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies. The standards-based system will leverage the state’s existing HIE infrastructure when activated during disasters, and ultimately build new connectivity between providers .


People

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Virginia Mason Medical Center (WA) promotes former CIO and CFO Suzanne Anderson to CEO.

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Jay Lechtman (Quantros) joins Riskonnect as senior director, market strategy and development.

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Patrick Flynn (Phytel) joins Aventura as COO.

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Apple hires Rajiv Kumar away from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital (CA), presumably to work on healthcare-related activities. Kumar developed a HealthKit-enabled diabetes monitoring system last fall in his role as medical director of clinical informatics.


Announcements and Implementations

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Cardiology Associates of North Mississippi goes live on MedAptus charge capture software for services provided at North Mississippi Medical Center.

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Delta Regional Hospital (MS) switches back to Meditech, confirming a late-April reader rumor that the 325-bed acute-care facility was in the process of ripping out Cerner.


Government and Politics

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CMS issues a nearly 300-page final rule on MSSP ACOs outlining changes to the program’s benchmarking methodology, a new alternative participation option that encourages participants to enter performance-based risk arrangements sooner, and policies for addressing payment corrections.


Technology

Presidiohealth adds T-System’s EDIS software to its new PM technology for freestanding emergency centers.


Other

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This article highlights the social media fame several plastic surgeons have attained thanks to their love of Snapchat and penchant for posting graphic procedures. Michael Salzhauer, MD (aka Dr. Miami) attempts to put an educational spin on his soap opera-like snaps: “A good percentage [of those watching] are people either in the medical field or interested in pursuing careers in medicine — maybe 30 percent, based on the messages we get. Another 30 to 40 percent are people who are thinking about having surgery, either immediately or sometime in the future.”


Sponsor Updates

  • AirStrip President Matt Patterson will speak at MD&M East June 14-16 in New York City.
  • IDC ranks AirWatch as the largest enterprise mobility management vendor in terms of market share for 2015.
  • Aprima will exhibit at Sleep 2016 June 13-15 in Denver.
  • Audacious Inquiry offers its “Health IT Framework to Support Alternative Payment Models” for download.
  • Besler Consulting releases a new podcast, “How to Fix Common Physician Documentation Mistakes.”
  • CapsuleTech will exhibit at the HIMSS New York State meeting June 16 in the Bronx.
  • Carevive Chief Clinical Officer and co-founder Carrie Stricker, RN will speak at the Biennial Cancer Survivorship Research Conference June 18 in Washington, DC.
  • CitiusTech will exhibit at AHIP June 15-17 in Las Vegas.
  • CoverMyMeds will exhibit at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions June 11-13 in New Orleans.
  • Cumberland Consulting Group Managing Partner Rachel Wixson is featured in the Forbes self-made women issue.
  • Elsevier Clinical Solutions CEO Ron Mobed is featured in STEMconnector’s “100 CEO Leaders in STEM.”
  • Healthwise is honored with a 2016 When Work Works Award for its workplace strategies as part of the national When Work Works project.
  • Spok releases a new infographic highlighting customer success statistics and the ROI of communication technology.
  • Wellcentive will host its annual National Consultant and Analyst Summit June 8-9 in Atlanta.
  • The latest KLAS advisory report recognizes Nordic as a top performer, and The Chartis Group as one of the top five comprehensive firms.

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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June 7, 2016 News No Comments

Morning Headlines 6/7/16

June 6, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Dr Farzad Mostashari Explains the New ACO Benchmarking Rule

Former national coordinator Farzad Mostashari, MD comments on newly published ACO benchmarking rule.

Biden unveils launch of major, open-access database to advance cancer research

Vice President Biden announces formation of the Genomic Data Commons, an open-access cancer database that will help researchers collaborate and share information, as part of the administration’s Cancer Moonshot.

Forbes’ 2016 List Of America’s Richest Self-Made Women

Judy Faulkner comes in third on Forbes’ list of America’s richest self-made women, with a net worth of $2.4 billion.

Geisinger researchers profile overdose patients and predictors of death

Researchers at Geisinger Health System analyze EHR data of 2,000 patients admitted to the hospital for drug overdoses to create a risk algorithm capable of predicting which patients are most likely to die and experience other serious complications from their drug abuse.

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June 6, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 6/6/16

June 6, 2016 News 3 Comments

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I’m a little slow on the typing this week, owing to a little craft-related accident. Although I expect to make a full recovery, I’m glad I’m up to date on my tetanus immunizations. I’m also glad I wasn’t crafting alone, so I had someone to drive me to my office so my partners could get a good chuckle about taking care of me. I was selected to receive a patient satisfaction survey and was happy to give them five stars. My crafting buddy got a kick out of seeing what happens when a doctor phones ahead for their own urgent care visit and offered lots of moral support (and only a few snarky comments).

Fortunately, I had finished most of what I needed to do this weekend before the incident, so it was a good excuse to catch up on the Netflix mailers that have been mocking me from across the living room. I also spent some time editing a research article that a friend is working on. It’s around the release of test results (laboratory and radiology/diagnostic) through patient portals and how their use is impacting patient engagement and provider behaviors.

When I first started working on patient portals about eight years or so ago, there was a lot of anxiety about releasing results directly to patients. In particular, my physicians were concerned about being able to review results first and contact patients before they saw them on the portal. Our hospital brought in some “hired guns” to help us achieve clinician buy-in – a couple of CMIOs from hospitals that had done this previously and lived to tell. We ended up setting a pretty significant delay on the release of results to make sure we allowed for plenty of time for physicians to contact patients first.

A lot has changed since then, including physician attitudes. Meaningful Use set the expectation that visit summaries would be available to patients fairly quickly, and physicians were forced to respond. Additionally, organizations are sending full visit notes and other documentation to the patient, not just lab results or summaries. With my trip to the urgent care today, I had my visit note within an hour of arriving home. My colleague surveyed physician leaders at various institutions to obtain data on how they are releasing results. The data is interesting. Most hospitals still have delays, which coincide with the deadlines imposed by Meaningful Use. Some release inpatient labs sooner than outpatient, and some don’t release inpatient labs at all. The majority of respondents said that they don’t release sensitive lab results – sexually transmitted diseases, drug testing, genetic testing, etc.

Organizations were fairly split on the release of pathology results – some don’t release them at all, and others release but on a longer timeline, usually seven to 10 days. Several responded that they release but only based on a manual release process – no automatic triggers. A couple of respondents said they didn’t know what their institution’s release policy was and one respondent said they didn’t think there was a policy in place. One reply discussed the hospital’s plan to completely revamp their release strategy, with plans to immediately release non-sensitive blood testing and plain film radiology as soon as those tests are flagged with a final status.

In talking to my friend about her work trying to round up the results, she had some interesting stories to tell. Although many of the stories are anecdotal, they are interesting nonetheless. One hospital had decided to go to an immediate release policy and then had to go back on it, blocking release of labs from the Emergency Department. It seems that patients were getting their results from the lab before the ED staff had a chance to review and act on them, and there were several incidents of patients becoming aggressive because they knew results were available and hadn’t been addressed.

In addition to changes in how physicians address test results after the fact, the paper notes some changes to ordering behaviors. Respondents stated they were more likely to counsel patients on the potential significance of results at the time of ordering, so that the plan would be in place before the test was ever ordered. This would seem to be a big win for patient engagement, as well as for practice efficiency. I know I tended to do this when I was in traditional primary care practice, because shared decision making is a lot easier in the exam room than over the phone.

Patient portal access for adolescents continues to be a major issue, with some organizations locking out patients from ages 12 to 18. Some allow limited access for parents during the adolescent period, where others allow full parental access but require the adolescent to consent to it. Nearly all respondents grappling with the adolescent issue cited the concern that a chart with blocked information or hidden information would be a patient safety issue, although they acknowledge that there are state laws and other regulatory factors at play that make the situation difficult.

One of the other questions asked in her survey was around the ownership of the decision to release or not to release data, and when. She specifically asked whether that has changed since the institution of the patient portal. Most organizations have made changes to their release strategy and I would bet these strategies continue to evolve. In my opinion, the most significant change has been the addition of patient/family advisory groups to the discussion. We didn’t see that very often in the early days and it’s a welcome addition in my book. I haven’t edited a scholarly article in a while so it was a nice exercise, and hopefully my penmanship wasn’t too atrocious with my stiff index finger. She’ll be submitting it formally in a few weeks and I can’t wait to see it in published form.

For me, though, it’s back to Netflix. What’s your favorite streaming series? Like to binge watch? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne

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June 6, 2016 News 3 Comments

Morning Headlines 6/6/16

June 5, 2016 Headlines No Comments

McKesson Considers Separation of Information-Technology Unit

McKesson may sell its health IT business unit to focus efforts on its core drug distribution business. The business unit is valued at an estimated $5 billion. 

Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes Did Not Just Lose $4.5 Billion

Fortune’s Dan Primack argues that Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes never should have been listed as a billionaire by Forbes because her worth was based entirely on her ownership stake in a company whose value was set by “a small group of outside investors.”

Pioneering Data-Sharing Network Created to Accelerate Cancer Precision Medicine Development

Intermountain Healthcare, Stanford Cancer Institute, and Providence Health & Services launch a data-sharing network that will transmit genomic data from cancer research to help oncologists develop more effective treatment plans.

Potential Patient Information Breach at ProMedica Bixby and Herrick Hospitals

ProMedica Bixby and Herrick hospitals (MI) informs 3,500 patients that their records were breached after an internal investigation found that seven employees were accessing patient records without justification.

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June 5, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Monday Morning Update 6/6/16

June 5, 2016 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Rumors surface – again – that McKesson is considering selling or merging its McKesson Technology Solutions business unit in the face of drug pricing pressures. (As MCK Auto Pilot commented in March, laid off McKesson employees were already pontificating upon the likelihood of a near-term sell-off.) The Atlanta-based company cut 1,600 jobs – nearly 4 percent of its US workforce – that same month in an effort to cut costs after losing key pharma customers. MTS had $2.9 billion in sales in the last fiscal year, and an operating profit of $519 million. McKesson’s drug business had $188 billion in sales in the fiscal year and a profit of $3.6 billion.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Meditech. The Westwood, MA-based company basically created the healthcare IT industry in the 1960s and continues to provide its customers with "One Patient, One Record, One Bill, One Portal" systems at a sustainable cost. Clinicians designed the company’s shared, mobile, patient-centered Web EHR to deliver usability, with just-in-time relevant information displayed on easy-to-use personalized screens and a fast-track implementation plan that accelerates the time to value. Meditech is used by 250,000 doctors who are safely and effectively treating 100 million patients across all care settings with 100 percent utilization and high levels of productivity, paying attention to their patients rather than to their EHR. Meditech-using health systems have earned awards such as HIMSS EMRAM Stage 7, Magnet, Davies, Baldrige, and various "top hospitals" lists. Thanks to Meditech for supporting HIStalk.


Webinars

June 28 (Tuesday) 2:00 ET. “Your Call Is Very Important.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenters: Cyndy Orrys, contact center director, Henry Ford Health System; Brian Cooper, SVP, West Interactive. The contact center is a key hub of patient engagement and a strategic lever for driving competitive advantage. Cyndy will share how her organization’s call center is using technologies and approaches that create effortless patient experiences in connecting them to the right information or resource. Brian will describe five key characteristics of a modern call center and suggest how to get started.

Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD takes NantHealth public in a $91 million offering.
  • A federal appeals court rules against Epic, deciding that companies cannot force their employees to sign arbitration agreements that prevent them from filing lawsuits against their employer.
  • ONC reports that 84 percent of US hospitals had adopted a basic EHR by 2015, up from just 9.4 percent in 2008.
  • Forbes lowers its estimate of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ net worth to zero, down from $4.5 billion.
  • The Washington Redskins confirms that the medical records of thousands of NFL players have been compromised after a laptop belonging to one of the team’s trainers was stolen in April.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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TrueVation sells the Canadian rights to PatientPrep to Canadian EHR vendor QHR for $500,000. TrueVation, which has headquarters in the US and Canada, will continue to own and market the patient onboarding software in the US.

Fortune contributor Dan Primack challenges the magazine’s revised estimate of the net worth of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes (from $4.5 billion to $0), pointing out that its original estimate was way off the mark. “Like other founders of privately-held startups,” he says, “Holmes did not hold any liquid securities in her company. It’s possible that she sold some shares along the way ― as small secondary transactions alongside broader company fundraises ― to pay the mortgage or buy a car (even a nice car), but the vast majority of her holdings had little more than theoretical value. Elizabeth Holmes has plenty to worry about. Losing $4.5 billion that she never really had shouldn’t be one of them.”


Announcements and Implementations

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Glendora Community Hospital (CA) implements an e-forms solution from Access in its ER and admissions departments.

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Validic adds Finland-based Polar wearables to its digital health ecosystem of devices, wearables, and apps for corporate wellness programs and remote monitoring programs.

Intermountain Healthcare (UT), Providence Health & Services (WA), Stanford Cancer Institute (CA), and precision medicine software company Syapse form the Oncology Precision Network to share aggregated cancer genomics data and increase access to clinical trials, particularly for patients in underserved communities.

Cloud solutions and health IT consulting firm CloudWave (fka Park Place International) partners with Commvault to offer Meditech users data backup, archiving, and disaster recovery solutions.

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St. Luke’s Hospital (MN) implements SIS perioperative IT solutions to complement its Meditech EHR.

RCM vendor Rev-Ignition will offer its clients paperless billing solutions from PatientPay.


People

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Joel Sangerman (Option Care) joins Zillion Health as vice president of sales, managed markets. (You can read my May 2016 interview with Zillion President Bill Van Wyck here.)

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Jennifer Dangar (The Weather Company) joins Jackson Healthcare in the new role of chief of corporate operations.


Technology

Rennova Health adds electronic medication management software to its Medical Mime M2Select EHR for substance abuse treatment and behavioral health providers.

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Baltimore-based ICmed develops software to help families coordinate, document, and share health data and care plans.


Privacy and Security

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ProMedica Bixby and Herrick hospitals (MI) alert 3,500 patients that their medical records were inappropriately accessed by seven employees – three of whom have been fired. The hospitals have launched an internal investigation into the breach and implemented an auditing program that includes EHR monitoring tools.


Other

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The universe nearly implodes when Apple’s App store and several other services including ITunes goes down for seven hours on Friday. The company offered no explanation for the outage, leading several message boards to proclaim it had been hacked.


Sponsor Updates

  • First DataBank publishes FDB MedKnowledge Canada in Canadian French.
  • PatientMatters will exhibit at the Illinois Hospital Association Small & Rural Hospitals Annual Meeting June 8-9 in Springfield, IL.
  • Streamline Health and T-System will exhibit at the 2016 CHIA Convention & Exhibit June 5-8 in Long Beach, CA.
  • The local paper profiles the expansion of TierPoint’s data center in Milwaukee.
  • Valence Health will exhibit at the National Bundled Payment Summit June 7-9 in Washington, DC.
  • VitalWare publishes a client success story featuring a Chicago-based health system.
  • Wellsoft will exhibit at the NAFEC Annual Conference June 6-8 in Houston.
  • ZeOmega posts a new video, “The Future of Population Health Management and Value-based Care: The ZeOmega Perspective.”

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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June 5, 2016 News 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 6/3/16

June 2, 2016 Headlines No Comments

From $4.5 Billion To Nothing: Forbes Revises Estimated Net Worth Of Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes

Forbes lowers its estimate of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ net worth to zero, down from $4.5 billion.

Redskins: Laptop containing player data was stolen

The Washington Redskins have confirmed that the medical records of thousands of NFL players have been compromised after a laptop belonging to one of the teams athletic trainers was stolen in April.

A Foundation for Discovering Clinical Health IT Applications

ONC awards Boston Children’s Hospital a total of $275,000 in grants to lead the development of an online app store for FHIR apps.

Equation Acquired by MedAssets-Precyse

Equation, a financial and clinical healthcare analytics vendor, is acquired by MedAssets-Precyse for an undisclosed sum.

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June 2, 2016 Headlines No Comments

News 6/3/16

June 2, 2016 News 1 Comment

Top News

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Forbes revises the estimated net worth of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes from $4.5 billion to $0. The magazine named her the youngest self-made female billionaire in 2015. (Judy took the number-three spot this year.) Its estimate of her wealth is based on her 50-percent stake in Theranos, which Forbes values at $800 million. As Lorre mentions in her latest HIStalk Connect post, Holmes owns common stock, so there won’t be much left by the time investors cash out on preferred shares of the $724 million they invested.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

This week on HIStalk Practice: CMS opens up the CPC+ program to eligible primary care practices enrolled in Medicare ACOs. MGMA’s latest physician compensation survey shows continued uptick in primary care pay. ONC develops transparency dashboard to help providers comparison shop for healthcare IT. Care Management Solutions of Louisiana implements EQHealth Solutions population health management tech. Curmudgeonly bookstore owner gives Mr. H a run for his pet peeve money. Direct Urgent Care founder Caesar Djavaherian, MD offers thoughts on price transparency and the benefits of EHR-integrated digital stethoscopes.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Nokia completes its acquisition of Withings. CB Insights reports 2016 is on track for a record year in digital health deals and funding. Lorre reviews Paul Kalanithi’s memoir, “When Breath Becomes Air.” Houlihan Lokey’s Dmitry Krasnik shares his growth predictions for healthcare IT. Proskriptive’s Michael Hollenbeck shares his journey from sales leadership to startup founder.

Here is video from HIStalk Connect’s first meetup, held last week in Pasadena, CA. The event featured Stacy Bamberg, CEO of Veristride, who shared the journey of a young startup in developing a healthcare data analytics platform leveraging IoT via an insole wearable. Email Lorre if you’re interested in having HIStalk Connect sponsor your next meetup.


Webinars

June 28 (Tuesday) 2:00 ET. “Your Call Is Very Important.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenters: Cyndy Orrys, contact center director, Henry Ford Health System; Brian Cooper, SVP, West Interactive. The contact center is a key hub of patient engagement and a strategic lever for driving competitive advantage. Cyndy will share how her organization’s call center is using technologies and approaches that create effortless patient experiences in connecting them to the right information or resource. Brian will describe five key characteristics of a modern call center and suggest how to get started.

Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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MedAssets-Precyse acquires Salt Lake City-based analytics and consulting firm Equation for an undisclosed sum. MedAssets and Precyse were acquired by Pamplona Capital Management last year; full integration of the companies is expected to wrap up this year.

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EarlySense secures a $25 million funding round led by Israel-based Bank Hapoalim. The company, which has offices in Israel and Massachusetts, has raised $100 million so far. Its under-the-bed monitoring sensors are used in healthcare settings and as part of consumer health products like Samsung’s SleepSense tracker.

Patient rehab tech firm Moving Analytics raises $1.1 million in funding led by Launchpad Digital Health. The Los Angeles-based company will use the money to further develop its home-based cardiac rehab tool and to develop a complementary COPD product.


Sales

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Presbyterian Healthcare Services (NM) signs a three-year contract with MedeAnalytics for enterprise analytics services. PHS consists of eight hospitals, a statewide health plan, and multispecialty physician group,


Announcements and Implementations

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DirectTrust gives consumers secure-messaging access to its network of 58,000 healthcare organizations and 1.2 million email addresses.

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Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center reports positive results from its Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program, which included adoption of population health management software from Enli Health Intelligence. Outcomes included a 60-percent increase in foot exams and a 100-percent increase in Pneumovax screenings over a 12-month period.

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Medical University of South Carolina deploys Epic’s integration of Vidyo virtual visit software into Hyperspace and MyChart Web and mobile apps.

St. Joseph Medical Center joins the Greater Houston Healthconnect HIE.


People

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Dave Jansen (Sagacious Consultants) joins The Wilshire Group as senior consultant.

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Noel Allender (Jacobus Consulting) joins Leidos Health as Epic practice managing director.

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Bobby Tuli (Healthgrades) joins Geneia as head of product management.


Government and Politics

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ONC launches a new website focused on improving health IT vendor transparency that gives providers an opportunity to review mandatory cost and system limitation disclosure statements on products in the marketplace.

ONC awards Boston Children’s Hospital $275,000 as part of a $625,000 cooperative agreement announced at HIMSS that will help create a FHIR App Ecosystem. Boston Children’s will be tasked with developing an online app discovery site, which ONC hopes will simplify the process of publishing health IT apps, and the ability to discover and compare them.


Privacy and Security

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The paper and digital medical records of thousands of NFL players are stolen from a Washington Redskins trainer’s car during an April break-in. The thief absconded with a backpack containing a password-protected but unencrypted laptop that had copies of player medical records and medical exam results for NFL Scouting Combine attendees dating back to 2004. The bag also contained a zip drive and hard copy records of similar documents. According to the NFL, its electronic monitoring system prevented medical records in its EClinicalWorks EHR from being downloaded. No foul play seems to have occurred thus far as a result of the breach.


Innovation and Research

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CHIME concludes the Concept Blitz Round of its Healthcare Innovation Trust National Patient ID Challenge, and names two winning submissions that will each receive $30,000. The contest will now move on to the final round, which will award a $1 million prize to the winning team.

Researchers at Geisinger Health System (PA) analyze the EHRs of over 2,000 patients admitted to the hospital for overdoses during a 10-year period to look for patterns that may indicate a likelihood of death or complications. Not surprisingly, predictors of the most dire outcomes included higher prescription opioid use, concurrent chronic diseases and mental disorders, and use of other psychotropic medications.


Technology

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TigerText adds Honeywell scanning and bot technology to its messaging platform, enabling care teams to verify patient identity and pull data directly from the EHR.

Clinical Computer Systems will integrate its Obix Perinatal Data System with Meditech versions 6.15, 6.16, and beyond.

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Seniorlink develops care coordination and communications technology that connects ACOs, managed care organizations, and providers with caregivers.

Best Computer Systems adds DrFirst’s Backline communication and care collaboration technology to its BestRx pharmacy management system.


Sponsor Updates

  • AirWatch releases the latest episode of its Echo One podcast.
  • Bernoulli publishes a poster on alarm reduction it presented during the annual NPSF Patient Safety Congress last week in Scottsdale, AZ.
  • Besler Consulting renews its HFMA Peer Review designation for its transfer DRG Revenue Recovery service.
  • Bottomline Technologies announces new board members.
  • Crain’s Cleveland Business features Direct Consulting Associates.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the AAOE 2016 Annual Conference June 9-12 in San Francisco.
  • Extension Healthcare, FormFast, and InterSystems will exhibit at the E-Health Annual Conference June 5-8 in Vancouver.
  • Glytec highlights studies presented at the AACE Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress in Orlando.
  • The HCI Group EVP of Clinical Services Bob Steele is elected to the HIMSS Health IT User Experience Committee.
  • Live Process will exhibit at the AAMI 2016 Conference & Expo June 3-6 in Tampa, FL.
  • MedData will exhibit at the Advanced Institute for Anesthesia Practice Management meeting June 3-4 in Las Vegas.
  • Navicure publishes a new resource guide, “Getting Billing Right.”
  • Nordic will host the Qlik Healthcare Wisconsin Users Group Meeting June 9 in Madison, WI.
  • Obix Perinatal Data Systems adds two new videos to its “Ask the Experts” series.

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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June 2, 2016 News 1 Comment

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 6/2/16

June 2, 2016 News No Comments

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I was talking to one of my colleagues today, who reminded me that June 1 was the registration deadline for the Clinical Informatics Board Exam. The so-called “practice pathway” for clinical informaticists who haven’t completed fellowship training closes in 2017. I would encourage anyone who thinks they might want to be Board Certified and who falls under the grandfather provisions to give it a shot. Although we’re past the cutoff, you can still register (although the late fees climb from $400 to $1,600 over the next several months). AMIA is offering their Clinical Informatics Board Review Course live in August and September.

CMS held a webinar on Wednesday to talk about the Quality Performance category, which will account for 50 percent of the MIPS score in the first year of the new program. This will replace the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) for Medicare physicians. The blurb advertising the session talked about the goals for the category of simplifying administrative and reporting burdens for physicians. Frankly, whenever I see anything from CMS talking about so-called “administrative simplification” I have to laugh. The complexity of getting paid in our current environment has just become absurd. I’d like to see those in power truly consider what it would take to create a simple program that actually helps physicians deliver better care rather than creating more hoops to jump through. Whatever it might be, it’s certainly not 800+ pages long.

The ONC Annual Meeting also took place this week. Sessions were to focus on “three core commitments” of improving consumer access to health information, combating information blocking, and implementing national standards. They did live stream the sessions but I decided to instead spend my free time working on a project that actually made me feel fulfilled rather than just generally frustrated. I’ve taken up a new craft and it was great to engage my brain in something completely different from what I do most of the time. In addition to a finished project, I also walked away with some great new ideas for work – powerful evidence that getting away is a good thing.

Most of my Memorial Day weekend was spent seeing patients. I never know what my travel schedule will bring, so I often schedule myself for the holiday weekends so that my clinical work doesn’t interfere with consulting engagements. My partners don’t mind me working the holidays, that’s for sure. I was pleasantly surprised on Monday when our executive responsible for physician satisfaction showed up with barbecue. Although my team definitely appreciated it since we were extremely busy, the real tone of the day was set by the fact that most of my support team members were veterans with fallen comrades on their minds.

For the fifth or sixth time in the last several months, I had a patient ask me what I thought about concierge medicine. This particular patient was in her 80s and said she was tired of “getting the run around” from her doctor’s office and never being able to get in. She has been seeing us fairly often for various acute illnesses, so her care is already a bit fragmented. I know her physician and know that their practice certainly has struggles with staffing and capacity. For patients of means, concierge or other direct care models are definitely attractive. As much as people talk about not wanting to move to a two-tier health system like Canada and the UK, every time I have one of these conversations I feel like we’re moving in that direction.

It was in that frame of mind that I came across this NPR piece in which a young physician longs for the time “when physicians were ‘artisans.’” The interviewer mentions that the physician “must have known at the outset that wasn’t the way medicine worked anymore.” I’m not that much older than the physician in the story, and I can say without a doubt that when I went to medical school, I had no idea that clinical practice looked more like a hamster wheel than anything else. Fast forward and students have tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars in student loans, which makes some students drawn to higher-paying specialties for fear they won’t be able to get by in primary care.

The interviewer likens the pull of concierge or direct practices to the slow food movement. I do enjoy an heirloom tomato, but I think the analogy is a difficult one. The costs and complexity of healthcare have gotten so out of control, it’s nearly impossible for the average patient to be able to choose rationally between providers, facilities, and procedures. I know my practice leans heavily towards patient satisfaction scores for determining provider compensation, and the idea that giving patients what they need (rather than what they want) can impact me negatively is always a consideration. Sometimes we have to send people away unhappy, and I did have one of those situations this weekend. Fortunately, our physician leadership handles patient dissatisfaction with compassion and tries to help the patient understand why we advised a course of care different than what they wanted, but it’s never easy.

What’s your favorite artisanal or heirloom food? Email me.

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June 2, 2016 News No Comments

Morning Headlines 6/2/16

June 1, 2016 News 2 Comments

Judge Finds Michael Dell, Silver Lake Underpaid for Dell in 2013

A Delaware judge rules that Michael Dell underpaid shareholders more than $6 billion when he took the company private in 2013.

Transparency Requirements for Health IT Developers Will Help Providers Know More About Their Products

ONC launches a new website focused on improving health IT vendor transparency that gives providers an opportunity to review mandatory cost and system limitation disclosure statements on products in the marketplace.

National Solution For Accurate Patient Identification Appears Within Reach

CHIME concludes the Concept Blitz Round of its Healthcare Innovation Trust National Patient ID Challenge, and names two winning teams that will each receive $30,000. The contest will now move on to the final round which will award a $1 million prize to the winning team.

It’s Time to Unbreak Healthcare

Athenahealth launches its Unbreak Healthcare marketing campaign, designed to “jolt the industry into experiencing what is broken in healthcare,” through a series of short films, social media conversations, and a new web publication called athenaInsight.

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June 1, 2016 News 2 Comments

Readers Write: A Healthcare Merger, Acquisition, or Consolidation Doesn’t Have to Spell Disaster

June 1, 2016 Readers Write No Comments

A Healthcare Merger, Acquisition, or Consolidation Doesn’t Have to Spell Disaster
By Sandra Lillie

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Healthcare organizations are undergoing significant change to survive (and thrive) under new reimbursement models. Mergers, acquisitions, and consolidations of healthcare organizations are rampant. It is not surprising that health IT is under tremendous pressure to advance information strategies in support of their organizations in its ever-changing portfolio of IT systems.

Much has been discussed about the changes in adoption of EHR technology during M&A activities and the amount of due diligence involved. But what about the 80 percent of healthcare data that is unstructured and resides mostly outside the EHR? Nowhere is this scenario more complicated than the unique space known as medical imaging, which makes up the lion’s share of unstructured data and is the most complex to manage.

Today, health IT often oversees multiple PACS solutions in support of radiology and cardiology for their institutions. The variety of systems grows exponentially with organizations that are involved in M&A transactions, leaving very complex support environments for IT departments when there are multiple differing proprietary PACS systems that require unique IT infrastructures.

Evolving this diverse portfolio into an enterprise strategy that can flexibly adapt to change is paramount for both acquiring and divesting organizations. Including a vendor neutral archive (VNA) as part of this strategy can:

Liberate. Healthcare organizations have the opportunity to take back ownership of valuable clinical imaging content from PACS and make that information available in a patient-centered, aggregate manner to providers of care, where and when they need it, to deliver positive outcomes for patients.

Consolidate. In addition to the ability to consolidate and economize for storage, new hospitals and partners can more easily integrate into existing networks and gain access to systems. Fewer systems alleviate IT departmental stress. Additionally, when new hospitals are acquired, core VNA services are simply extended to the newly-acquired locations. New imaging studies from these locations are efficiently redirected to the VNA to aggregate all of the enterprise’s images centrally.

Aggregate. A VNA is intrinsic to the lifecycle management of the breadth of images associated with a patient. This can include radiology, cardiology, dermatology, ophthalmology, wound care, endoscopy, and many more in a patient-centered association. VNAs support the ability to integrate studies directly into the patient’s record in the EHR. This benefits everyone – the radiologist, the referring physician, clinicians, and the patient – because it brings vital and comprehensive patient information to the care team.

Divest. Ownership of these images also provides improved capability to segment images to accompany the divestiture of a facility from the hospital organization.

VNA selection criteria should include not only technology, but also:  

  • Experience. Select a VNA technology with a proven track record of vendor neutrality across a wide range of imaging vendors.
  • Diversity. Be sure the VNA product provides support for all images that exist outside of radiology and cardiology.
  • Visualization. Review enterprise image viewers that enable the seamless visualization of images across care stakeholders and settings.

Adopting VNA as part of an M&A strategy can accelerate the ability to adapt to or lead change.

Sandra Lillie is industry manager of enterprise imaging for Lexmark Healthcare of Lexington, KY.

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June 1, 2016 Readers Write No Comments

Readers Write: New State Mandates for Opiates Create the Next Wave of Requirements for EHRs

June 1, 2016 Readers Write No Comments

New State Mandates for Opiates Create the Next Wave of Requirements for EHRs
By Connie Sinclair, RPh

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New York’s I-STOP mandates have dominated health information technology news for the last three years. I-STOP requires electronic prescribing  for all prescriptions, which has driven most EHR and e-prescribing vendors to come fully up to speed on e-prescribing for controlled substances (EPCS). Now many of these same vendors are moving on to the huge task of rolling out their EPCS-compliant versions to prescribers in other states.

More states are expected to follow suit with their own legislative mandates, especially now that New York’s deadline has passed without earth-shattering problems. Indeed, Massachusetts and Maine have recently passed sweeping changes to address the opiate crisis, but in true federalist style, each state is addressing the problem in unique ways and are calling upon the EHRs and e-prescribing systems to fall into line in new and different ways.

Very recently, Massachusetts and Maine passed new laws that will limit the quantities of opiate prescriptions prescribed; require the prescribers to view the prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) under specific circumstances; and require the pharmacy to notify the prescriber via the EHR if lesser amounts of opiates are dispensed than what was prescribed. Most pharmacies do not have the ability to send messages of this type to the prescriber’s EHR, and EHRs are not equipped to receive them.

This notification requirement is similar to the biosimilar substitution notice required by several states and will require a different type of interoperability between pharmacy and EHR than what exists in practice today. Maine’s new law will also require EPCS for opiates and also impacts prescriptions for benzodiazepines. Massachusetts patients will have the ability to complete a non-opiate directive form which indicates that the patient does not want to be prescribed opiates. The prescriber must retain this form and rules have not yet been promulgated to describe how this information can be recorded in the “interoperable electronic health record.”

With all of these legislative mandates, it is clear that states and the federal government are reacting to the national epidemic of drug overdoses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half a million people died from drug overdoses from 2010 to 2014, the vast majority of which were from prescription pain medications and heroin. Put another way, 78 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Officials fear the death toll will continue to escalate, which is creating urgency for new laws and programs to address the situation.

One method that seems to be successful in addressing the opiate problem is the popular mandate to require PDMP viewing by prescribers. PDMPs are databases maintained by each state (except Missouri) of prescriptions for controlled substances. This information can help prescribers be more savvy about their patients who may be inappropriately seeking pain medications. This one feature alone goes a long way toward inhibiting the doctor shopping (patients who go from one practitioner to the next requesting new prescriptions).

Some states have the technology and laws to support PDMP data sharing with neighboring states to better address this problem. A few states have enacted laws to require or encourage the integration of state PDMPs into EHR systems and workflows. The federal government also is working to make PDMPs more interoperable with EHRs and each other.

Addressing opioid abuse is one of our nation’s top priorities. States will continue to introduce bills for new mandates to address the opiate crisis. The challenge for EHRs and practitioners is that each state seems to put its own twist on their laws, so that they impact a different subset of drugs or require different quantity limits or PDMP viewing time frames. Vendors will be challenged to keep up with this developing patchwork of regulation and determine how to facilitate workflows that will help their prescriber clients with compliance.

Connie Sinclair, RPh is director of the Regulatory Resource Center of  Point-of-Care Partners of Coral Springs, FL.

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June 1, 2016 Readers Write No Comments

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