Recent Articles:

News 8/13/14

August 12, 2014 News 3 Comments

Top News

image

The White House creates the US Digital Service, a new program that will recruit the “country’s brightest digital talent” to provide strategic guidance on major IT projects like Healthcare.gov and iEHR. Mikey Dickerson, an ex-Google engineer credited with saving Healthcare.gov, has been tapped to run the service. As a deputy federal CIO, he will work with similarly titled Lisa Schlosser in her role of policy, agency oversight, and accountability. The new service will ultimately consist of 25 experts brought in on two- to four-year term appointments to help agencies plan, improve, and fix IT programs. It will be financed with existing funds in 2014, and scale in 2015 as outlined in the President’s FY 2015 budget.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Cerner jumps to the top spot of the Kansas City Business Journal‘s Top Private-Sector Employers List due in large part to the addition of 1,550 local employees in the past year. That’s not counting the 16,000 it will need to hire to fill its planned $4.5 billion Three Trails Campus, or the unknown number it may create in the coming years as a result of the Siemens acquisition.

image

National staffing company Jackson Healthcare acquires Sullivan Healthcare Consulting, which focuses on improving the performance of the hospital perioperative suite through surgery benchmarking, scheduling, staffing, sterile processing, and surgery IT implementation. SHC will serve as a complementary service line to Jackson Healthcare operating companies Premier Anesthesia and Jackson Surgical Assistants.

image

Hospital administrators at Emerson Hospital (MA) attribute the facility’s operation-margin gains and service-line upticks to an increase in outpatient services. Though IT upgrades in the mammography department have led to the need for fewer patient visits, referrals from other places for Emerson’s new, higher-quality mammographies have made up for the decline.

image

Healthcare IT firm Priority Consult acquires business intelligence and analytics software developer Balanced Insights to form Cordata Healthcare Innovations. The new company will use Balanced Insight’s technology as a starting point for a new generation of patient navigation and tracking applications. Priority Consult president and CEO Gary Winzenread will serve as Cordata’s president and CEO, while Balanced Insight founder and CEO Tom Hammergren will serve as CTO.

image

Population health and workflow technology company Acupera secures $4 million in financing from Lightspeed Venture Partners. It will use the Series A funding to scale its product development team and add to its customer implementation group.


People

image

Travis Crenshaw (United Surgical Partners International) joins Foundation Healthcare Inc. (OK) as CIO.


Announcements and Implementations

image

University of Colorado Health selects Zix Email Encryption to provide consolidated, secure email to 18,000 users across its system, which includes University of Colorado Hospital, Memorial Health System, and Poudre Valley Health System.

image

Allegheny Valley Hospital (PA) becomes the first in the state to equip its paramedic team with iPads. The pilot project has so far enabled AVH ER physicians to observe 12 patients on their way to the hospital. The hospital paramedic team will present the results of the project to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which is considering rolling out similar programs across the state.

image

Providence Medical Center (KS) selects the GroupOne Health Source One Rate platform of medical billing and EHR implementation services for 40 of its providers. PMC will use the OneRate platform to facilitate integration of physician practices into its multi-specialty network across the greater Kansas City area.

UnityPoint-Allen Hospital and Black Hawk-Grundy Mental Health Center in Iowa announce they will begin electronically sharing patient records early next year.

image

St. Joseph Mercy Health System launches a telemedicine service from MDLive that provides real-time physician appointments 24 hours a day, seven days a week via video, phone, or app. Patients are connected with a SJMHS or MDLive physician who can offer treatment evaluation and advice, and e-prescriptions.

image

Halifax Regional (NC) launches the HalifaxHealthLink patient portal, which follows the successful rollout of the FollowMyHealth portal for patients of Roanoke Clinic, Roanoke Valley Internal Medicine, and Halifax Regional Cardiology.

image

The Willis-Knighton Physician Network (LA) selects InteliChart’s Enterprise Patient Portal to serve as a single portal solution for its system of network clinics. Physician Network Administrator Greg Gavin noted that “[a] vendor-neutral patient portal that provides a single source solution for our patients as well as a consistent brand across the entire Willis-Knighton System were top priorities in selecting a solution” to improve communication, coordinate care, and facilitate patient healthcare goals.


Government and Politics

image

ONC launches a website designed to collect feedback on its proposed interoperability roadmap. Stakeholders have until September 12 to provide their thoughts and comments, after which ONC will present aggregated feedback to the Federal Advisory Committee for its input and recommendations. An updated version of the roadmap will be posted for public comment early next year.


Research and Innovation

image

Creative England announces a £1m fund for small and medium enterprises in the North, Midlands, and Southwest regions designed to stimulate creative and digital innovation in UK healthcare. Four new programs will open as part of the fund. The first is the West Midlands Interactive Healthcare Fund, which will offer five £50,000 investments to support projects that focus on improving quality of care, caring for people with dementia, supporting people with long-term conditions, and data visualization. Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis and the fund will close on Oct. 31, 2014.

image

A new report finds that using a touchscreen EHR to support and monitor a national antiretroviral therapy program in Malawi faced challenges similar to that of EHR adoption in the U.S.:

  • Implementing a point-of-care EHR has been more challenging than initially anticipated.
  • The success of a POC system ultimately depends as much on a commitment from system users as on the technologies employed.
  • Poor adherence to system use will result in incomplete data.
  • Health workers will not adopt a system if they do not find sufficient value in it. Consequently, the primary challenge is to identify and address the value proposition for the user. This is an iterative process that requires a commitment to regular and ongoing dialog with the users if this paradigm shift to POC system use is to be sustainable.

Technology

image

Reports surface that Apple is in HealthKit development talks with providers at Mount Sinai, Johns Hopkins, and the Cleveland Clinic, as well as with Allscripts. Cleveland Clinic CIO William Morris says the clinical solutions team is experimenting with HealthKit’s beta and is providing feedback to Apple. Representatives from the other three organizations have not yet chimed in.

image

Simple Medical Software Inc. releases the SimpleRounds app to help providers better communicate and collaborate on patient care. Developed by SMS founder Rubén Zamorano and Manuel Martinez, MD the app features secure text messaging, billing manager, physician directory, rounds manager, patient census, and sign-out manager.


Other

image

The local paper highlights the new $1.3 billion Parkland Memorial Hospital, one of the first “digital hospitals” in the U.S. The hospital, set to open in May 2015, will feature $80 million worth of digital technology including touch-screen way finding kiosks, smart beds, baby tracking devices, and hand-held communication devices for nurses, as well as an integrated digital system controlling nearly every aspect of its operations. CIO Fernando Martinez points out the hospital will be similar to a smart home: “All the digital devices in a smart home can talk to each other because they’re connected to a common hub. That’s not unlike what we do, only we’re much bigger.”

image

Irish health service officials find that the number of patients waiting more than a year for hospital treatment surged 600 percent between December 2013 and May 2014. They have not formally addressed the spike, but have noted they are addressing the issue “in the face of significant financial challenges.”

image

Jersey City Medical Center (NJ) reveals that a computer disk containing 2011 Medicaid patient information was lost in June when a package sent via UPS failed to arrive. The unencrypted disk contained an undisclosed number of patients’ names, and many of their Social Security numbers and birth dates.

image

This article highlights the success of the Maryland Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP) HIE, which has seen patient searches by providers jump from under 10,000 in late 2012 to nearly 55,000 as of last month.


Sponsor Updates
  • Capsule discusses why timing is everything with vital signs.
  • Rochester Regional Health Information Organization (NY) and HealtheConnections RHIO of Central New York are live on eHealth Technologies’ Image-Enabled Results Delivery.
  • The Advisory Board Company offers its ready-to-present slides on the surgical services market trends for 2014.
  • OhioHealth upgrades its Infor Cloverleaf solution to V6.0.
  • Aventura client Hunterdon Healthcare System’s Greg Melitski will explain how they met their ED workflow challenges at the Optum Client Forum in Chicago, August 18-21.
  • Streamline Health is participating in the Allscripts ACE 2014 Conference, which kicks off today.
  • Wolters Kluwer ProVation offers a white paper entitled “ICD-10: The Gift of Time.”
  • Black Book names Allscripts “Best of the Best” Ambulatory EHR vendor for interoperability.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 12, 2014 News 3 Comments

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 8/11/14

August 12, 2014 Dr. Jayne 2 Comments

clip_image002

Several readers were in contact this week to share their stories of what is going right in healthcare IT as well as to sympathize with my experiences in the trenches. Others tried to guess the location of the lighthouse – no one has nailed it yet and I’m reluctant to give up my favorite beach just yet.

From Northern Lights: “I wanted to share what we are doing based on big data. Evidence has shown the outcomes are better if the mother carries the baby for at least 39 weeks. We’re working to reduce the number of elective births before 39 weeks to zero statewide! My little ‘ole community hospital captures the expected due date from the mother at the first maternity encounter. Then we programmed the scheduling system to not allow scheduling of elective inductions or C-sections before the 39-week threshold. Rocket science, I know, but our hospital hasn’t had elective early deliveries in over a year.” She went on to say that a couple of the providers were afraid this would cause problems with vacation schedules, but accepted it once they saw the evidence. These are the kinds of interventions we should be doing with big data. I appreciate your sharing it with me.

From The Other Jane: “I saw Mr. H’s post about OBs having to take down the photos of the babies they’ve delivered, even when the photos in questions have been provided by the babies’ mothers. It’s sad that HIPAA is so restrictive.” I agree – I hadn’t seen that article before I read the Monday Morning Update. Most of our OB offices still have a baby board, so I forwarded the article to a couple of my colleagues. I thought our compliance offers were uber-conservative, but they haven’t caught onto this one yet. I doubt they read HIStalk and I’m going to pretend that I didn’t see the article.

I forwarded it to a couple of friends out of state as well. One sent back a copy of the consent form they keep on the checkout desk for parents who want to drop off a picture. Another said they’re skirting under the premise of implied consent and the parents have to physically place the picture on the bulletin board. The article mentioned fertility clinics not wanting to “out” parents who used an egg donor. I’m guessing that parents in that situation might not be so apt to give their infertility specialist a picture to post in the first place if they have that concern.

As a family doc who had a solo practice in a small town, I had to get used to patients who didn’t care about showing off their problems in the supermarket checkout lane. Patient privacy took a back seat to impromptu consultations or the chance to avoid a co-payment.

My favorite privacy violation took place one year during the Founders’ Day parade, when I was riding on the hospital’s float. A patient’s wife called over the crowd to tell me how much better her husband’s hemorrhoids were doing. No one batted an eye or looked shocked, which tells you a little about life in a small town.

Over on HIStalk Connect, Dr. Travis has written a fair amount about mobile fitness trackers and applications to promote health and wellness. I have used Garmin devices to track my runs for nearly five years. Unfortunately, my current one’s specifications for being waterproof didn’t stand up to my recent beach activities. I tried to resuscitate the patient using a Tupperware container full of rice, a Ziplock bag with silica gel, and even prayer, but it could not be saved.

I only use a fraction of its capabilities and use the same routes all the time, so I thought I’d test drive using a regular sports watch and manually logging my activities on the GarminConnect website. Even though I had the same data points, there was something less satisfying than having all the details for each unique run. I hadn’t realized how much I had subconsciously bought into the concept of the quantified self until I could no longer track my activities.

I could have done an out-of-warranty replacement for my GPS, but I decided to instead go for something newer and smaller. The process of trying to find the “right” device was daunting to say the least. One of my vendor friends turned me on to the DC Rainmaker blog, which had some great device comparisons that ultimately helped me make up my mind. I’ve never used a Fitbit or any of the other activity trackers, but ended up selecting a running watch that also has those capabilities. It was actually the battery life that made me choose that device over a similar one, but I thought I might have fun with some of the other features.

I braved the back-to-school tax-free shopping madness and it’s on the charger for tomorrow morning. I can’t wait to wear it to work. The inactivity indicator tells you to MOVE when you’ve been sitting more than an hour. I think that feature might become an integral feature for Meeting Monday.

What do you use to track your activities or quantify yourself? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 12, 2014 Dr. Jayne 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 8/12/14

August 11, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Nuance fourth-quarter forecast misses expectations

Nuance downwardly revises its Q4 earnings forecast to $500 million or $0.24 per share, well below analyst expectations of $0.34 per share, driving stock prices down 10 percent in after hours trading.

White House launches ‘U.S. Digital Service,’ with HealthCare.gov fixer at the helm

The White House launches a new program, the US Digital Service, that will recruit the “country’s brightest digital talent” to providing strategic guidance on major IT projects like Healthcare.gov and iEHR. The department will be run by Mikey Dickerson, the engineer credited with saving Healthcare.gov.

Lawsuit Filed After Doctor Diagnosed Homosexuality as "Chronic Condition"

A Los Angeles man is suing his primary care provider for documenting “homosexual behavior” as a chronic condition in his medical record, and for subsequently failing to remove it when a compliant was made. The practice was given a year to remove the entry, but reported in a court document that “due to the highly complex software used in creating an electronic medical record,” the code could not be completely removed.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 11, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 8/11/14

August 10, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Massachusetts will keep state-based health website

Massachusetts officials have announced that the state will move forward with a plan to rebuild its failed health insurance exchange, rather than migrating to the federal exchange.

Oracle Sues Oregon Over Health Insurance Exchange

After overseeing the development of the worst-performing health insurance exchange in the country, now-fired Oracle Corp. is suing the state of Oregon for $23 million plus interest that it claims it was owed but never paid.

Google Fit Preview SDK now available

Google unveils the developer kit for its recently announced health data aggregator service, Google Fit.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 10, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Monday Morning Update 8/11/14

August 9, 2014 News 5 Comments

Top News

image

Massachusetts will upgrade Massachusetts Health Connector instead of piggybacking on Healthcare.gov, officials decide. The state will replace fired contractor CGI, to which it has paid $52 million, and replace it with Optum. The struggling site has cost $108 million so far.


Reader Comments

From Chris: “Re: jaded by the industry. We vendors are jaded too because it is a very difficult industry to serve. Fat cat EMR vendors have stolen from hospitals for years for very little value or improved outcomes. Then ACA just dumps millions into the hands of the same vendors, starving those innovating and trying to change a culture from the ‘80s. We have to deal with absurdities like IE7 (and IE8, 9, 10, and 11) while we push boundaries with iPad. There is so much apathy and very little standardization and consistency from one hospital to the next. You have to laugh at the amount of money that’s being spent to convert to electronic medical records and protect privacy. Paper wasn’t so bad after all and it was certainly cheaper. Until human behavior changes and the FDA starts protecting our food supply, we’re just fooling ourselves about improving healthcare.”

image

From Sticky Clicky: “Re: Habersham Medical Center. Which EHR forced them to return their Meaningful Use payments due to lack of capability?” They’ve been running Meditech forever, I believe. The hospital spent $3 million on software upgrades and attested for Stage 1, but later found that “a statement we made to CMS that it would work was in error” so they returned the $1.5 million in incentive money.

From Equitable: “Re: a recent vendor raising debt funding. I’m guessing it’s because they failed to raise equity after hiring Blair to try. Investors were concerned about the viability of an e-prescribing vendor at this point in the market.”

image

From Certified: “Re: LabCorp. Nationwide systems down as of noon Friday. Radio silence from corporate. Why aren’t they at Starbucks informing customers by Gmail? They can afford elite collection agencies, but their IT systems are primitive.” Even LabCorp.com is down as I write this Saturday evening and their portal log-in page returns an internal server error. That’s some major downtime.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

image

Two-thirds of poll respondents think the federal government should develop EHR interoperability standards and make them mandatory. New poll to your right (or here):  which EHR vendor is best positioned to support population health management?

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

image
image
image
image
image
image


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Cerner announces that it will acquire the healthcare IT business of Siemens for $1.3 billion in cash as Siemens finally unloads the business it bought in 2000 for $2 billion, making Cerner the biggest vendor in the industry in terms of revenue. Cerner’s interest is buying a captive audience for conversion to Millennium, incorporating patient data from the legacy systems of Siemens into a population health management system, and using R&D to blur the line between diagnostic and therapeutic equipment and IT systems in a post-EMR world.
  • Six Wisconsin health systems announced their affiliation to manage populations and earn business, including sharing patient information from the Epic system used by all six to deliver care and manage patients across institutions.
  • The annual EHR report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finds that HITECH-incented hospitals and practices have rapidly implemented basic EHRs, but few are using them comprehensively and only a tiny percentage of users are ready for Meaningful Use Stage 2.
  • HHS OIG released a report that said ONC’s certification program doesn’t focus enough security issues ,such as enforcing password complexity and managing user privileges.
  • The State of Vermont ends its $83 million health insurance exchange contract with CGI, saying the site still isn’t fully functional.
  • Allscripts announces Q2 results that meet analyst expectations.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Voalte will open Voalte Labs, an independent research center, in its home town of Sarasota, FL. It will be run by Don Fletcher, PhD, the company’s chief scientist.

image

From the Allscripts earnings call:

  • President and CEO Paul Black says the company will benefit “as clients look for solutions that are both interoperable and fully integrated, something Allscripts’ open platform is uniquely positioned to provide.”
  • The company’s one Sunrise hospital sale in the quarter was to a 78-bed hospital.
  • Black says the company’s new “fusion” technology will integrate parts of dbMotion, Sunrise, TouchWorks, and Pro.
  • The company blames reduced revenue vs. 2013 on “a continued shift toward subscription software arrangements.”
  • Maintenance revenue dropped as customers moved off MyWay.
  • The company blames flat transaction revenue on Medfusion, which cancelled its agreement with Allscripts claiming it wasn’t getting paid and that Allscripts was urging its portal users to switch to Allscripts acquisition Jardogs, now called FollowMyHealth.
  • The company is targeting Siemens customers now that its business will be acquired by Cerner.
  • Allscript expects international business to double as a percentage of total revenue, from 5 percent to 10 percent.

image

The CEO of Siemens Healthcare, quoted in the announcement that it will sell its health IT business to Cerner, said:

We have continuously invested in our HS-portfolio and achieved significant progress on the technology side. At the same time, we realized that business success of our hospital information systems could not always keep pace with our competition. Additionally an increasing number of country-specific requirements, such as resulting from US healthcare reform, make it increasingly challenging to achieve sufficient scale effects. Going forward we will focus on the development of information systems that support our businesses in laboratory diagnostics as well as imaging and therapy.


People

image

Patient data monitoring app vendor Conversa Health appoints Peter Levin, PhD (US Department of Veterans Affairs) to its board.


Announcements and Implementations

image

Google announces availability of preview version of its Google Fit software development kit. It allows programmers to access a user’s fitness history as recorded on Android-powered apps and sensors. Google Fit is scheduled for a fall release.


Government and Politics 

image

Oracle sues the state of Oregon, claiming that the Cover Oregon health insurance exchange owes it $23 million for using its software. This follows the state’s announced intentions to sue Oracle for the $134 million it paid it to develop the site, which never went live because of problems. According to a state spokesperson, “The state fully expected to end up in litigation over Oracle’s failure to deliver." Oracle says the state failed to define system requirements, focused on the site’s appearance instead of its functionality, and failed to hire a systems integrator. Oracle adds that state officials went on a 60-day day retreat to define specifications but “returned empty-handed.” Legal experts say the state probably won’t win its lawsuit against Oracle because of the state’s weak contracting practices and the fact that its actual contract is with Dell, which paid Oracle time and materials as a subcontractor. Meanwhile, the state is planning to dump Cover Oregon and use Healthcare.gov after spending $250 million in federal taxpayer money on the failed website.


Innovation and Research

Here’s how surgeons use TedCas’s Microsoft Kinect-powered user interface in the OR.


Texas Health Resources / CVS MinuteClinic Affiliation

image

CVS Caremark and Texas Health Resources announced an affiliation three weeks ago to provide convenient primary care services such as medication counseling, chronic disease monitoring, and wellness programs at CVS/pharmacy stores and MinuteClinic locations. The organizations hope to keep people healthier and out of the hospital and ED. I spoke to Barbara Adams, VP of Innovative Technology Services for Texas Health Physicians Group / Texas Health Resources about the relationship.

She says the driver for THR was to increase its access points. She said, “We have 250 clinics in DFW. We wanted to be able to refer after-hours patients so they don’t have to go to the emergency room. Many of the THR ED patients don’t have primary care doctors.”

Minute Clinic is staffed by nurse practitioners. Texas law requires physician supervision in the form of a review of 10 percent of charts. CVS will pay THR’s physicians for providing that supervision. THR also may gain referrals if patients choose them from the list MinuteClinic provides.

CVS is using a homegrown EMR but is moving to Epic, which THPG already uses. For now, the organizations will exchange information using Surescripts. The NP can push a message into THPG’s Epic system and the organizations can exchange CCDs over the HISP. Once CVS goes live on Epic next year, message exchange will be directional using Epic’s Care Everywhere.


Other

image

TechCrunch profiles five-employee PicnicHealth, which offers a $39 per month personal health record that is populated from information the company obtains by performing manual records requests for a person’s encounters. The fee also includes ongoing digitization of new records, synching with patient portals, and unlimited records delivery to doctors. The company’s official address is a San Francisco apartment.

image

HIPAA worries are causing obstetricians to remove “baby boards” that feature photos of babies they’ve delivered from their office walls. An OCR representative confirms that the practice is illegal even if the family sends the picture for that purpose since “implied consent” doesn’t count.

A new regulation in India requires doctors to write prescription in all capital letters to avoid sloppy cursive handwriting that was causing medication errors.

image

A California pathologist is charged with embezzling $500,000 from the pathology company that promoted her to CFO, with one of her first accomplishments being to give herself a raise from $226,000 to $739,000.

Weird News Andy says this story involves a million-dollar typo. A family who purchased  health insurance through Nevada’s health insurance exchange finds themselves on the hook for $1.2 million in medical bills related to premature birth of their daughter because of an incorrectly entered date of birth. The state has already fired Nevada Health Link’s contractor Xerox, who says the only way to add a newborn is to cancel the family’s policy and start over.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

 

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 9, 2014 News 5 Comments

Morning Headlines 8/8/14

August 7, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Allscripts announces second quarter 2014 results

Allscripts reports Q2 results: a nine percent increase in quarterly bookings drove revenue up two percent, to $354 million. Adjusted EPS EPS $0.09 vs. $0.05, meeting analyst expectations.

More Than Half of US Hospitals Have At Least A Basic EHR, But Stage 2 Criteria Remain Challenging For Most

A Health Affairs study finds that only 5.8 percent of hospitals are currently able to meet all of the MU Stage 2 criteria.

Walgreens stock smacked after tax inversion out

Walgreens acquires overseas pharmacy chain Alliance Boots in a move many assumed would be followed by a tax-dodging transfer of its headquarters out of country. Instead, Walgreens announced that it would keep its headquarters in the US, leading to a 14 percent drop in its stock price.

Health Information Technology in the United States: Progress and Challenges Ahead, 2014

RWJF publishes a report on the EHR incentive program and the state of EHR adoption across the US.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 7, 2014 Headlines No Comments

News 8/8/14

August 7, 2014 News 16 Comments

Top News

image

Six Wisconsin health systems that cover 90 percent of the state create a network to share resources, manage populations, and attract the business of employers, insurance companies, and individual insurance holders. All of the 44 hospitals owned by the unnamed network’s members use Epic and will share their Epic EHR information to manage populations and deliver care across facilities. The systems are Aspirus, Aurora, Bellin Health, Gundersen, ThedaCare, and UW Health. The board chair of the network says the members chose a virtual affiliation because working out the financial and administrative details of a merger would have taken too long.


Reader Comments

From Pink Slip: “Re: hospital IT department layoffs. Do  you agree that the number seems to be increasing, or am I just noticing the announcements more?” That’s a good question to pose to readers, who are welcome to provide their thoughts. I asked the Advisory Panel about layoffs recently and few reported any, so I’m skewing toward it being perception more than reality.

image

From Frazzled CIO: “Re: Cerner. Our hospital announced the same day of the Cerner-Siemens announcement that we’re in discussions to acquire another hospital. We’re Cerner and they are Siemens. The announcement may have sent me over the edge if I hadn’t already been alerted through HIStalk of the potential deal and pondered the potential impacts ahead of time. Awesome work and thank you.” I will pass those thanks along to the readers who alerted me months before it happened and then provided thoughtful analysis Tuesday when it was announced. The “analysis” run by other sites was generally lame and dull, showing a remarkable lack of insight in gravely pontificating that Cerner should keep Millennium as its showcase platform (were they seriously thinking that Cerner would be tempted to lead with Soarian?) or that Cerner paid too much (they bought the Siemens IT business at the fire sale price of one year’s revenue, most of it probably recurring since Siemens isn’t selling much, and those customers can’t bolt short term.) The financial risk to Cerner is low as long as they don’t let the Siemens mess distract them.

image

The Siemens business needed to be bought because they had trashed it in the 10 years they owned it, as is often the case when a big company jumps into healthcare IT because it seems like easy money and because it makes their executives fell Silicon Valley-ish. I will repeat my mantra: only three companies (Epic, Cerner, and Meditech, although CPSI might logically be included) are serious competitors in the hospital core systems market and all three (a) built most or all of their products on a single platform; (b) sell and support one core system; (c) rarely acquire companies; and (d) haven’t themselves been acquired. Cerner breaks what would have been my fifth rule since they aren’t privately held, and now that they are buying the Siemens business, they will violate my third rule as well and we’ll see how that goes. Siemens was waiting to fall – events of similar importance that may happen one of these days that would put the industry into a similar frenzy are (a) Judy Faulkner retires and hands off Epic to her successors; (b) the retirement-age owners of Meditech decide to sell it given lagging market performance and the chance to cash out at the top; (c) Allscripts throws in the Sunrise towel because of infrequent sales, poor ambulatory integration, and a missed DoD contract if that happens; and (d) DoD’s selection makes Cerner, Epic, or Allscripts a household word but threatens to suck the energy out of them with endless government bureaucracy and implementation challenges.  

image

From Brian Yeaman, MD: “Re: Cerner acquires Siemens. In my longstanding history with Cerner as a major client in interoperability and around HIE an population health for nearly a decade, we’ve seen Cerner commit and engage deeply around interoperability. We’ve had great success with Cerner native solutions as well as acquired solutions and their ability to support all platforms while integrating the best of both worlds regarding the front and and back end for HIE, Long Term Care, reporting, Direct and other EHR integration have empowered tremendous success in our efforts in Oklahoma. I’m very confident that this will be a big win for existing and new Cerner clients via Siemens alike. Cerner’s efforts to enhance interoperability and the entire care continuum and care regions like Coordinated Care Oklahoma just took a quantum leap, in my opinion, to the good.” Brian is chief administrative officer of Coordinated Care Oklahoma. I think it’s a good deal all around. Siemens was not that great of a vendor, hoarding its legacy system recurring revenue and pretending the world hadn’t changed since the swinging SMS 1980s. Its customers would have been faced with abandoning the company’s antiquated core systems at some point anyway since Siemens did little beyond half-heartedly dangling the unattractive Soarian bait in front of them with no bites. Cerner will force Siemens customers to finally make a long-term choice, hopefully soothing the pain of the ripped-off Band-Aid with attractive Millennium pricing and conversion assistance.

image

From Holly Mathews: “Re: Epic. Putting the health back in healthcare—that’s been a big initiative of mine at Epic for the past three years. It finally seems like preventative care is coming to the forefront of EMR attention or at least it’s slowly being pieced together. There is absolutely more emphasis on what folks are to doing to maintain a healthy lifestyle. To a new Epic customer today I responded, ‘Yes, we do integrate with Fitbit.’ There is a genuine desire to promote and manage not just the patients who are sick. I work at Epic as a project manager, but I also race bikes on a professional cycling team. Last week I won a stage at the Prairie State Cycling Series in Chicago. I thought it was pretty cool. :) Epic will ultimately help drive the shift of medical practice paradigms to focus on and manage active lifestyle choices.” My favorite part of Epic is the youthful, idealistic enthusiasm of its mostly 20-something very smart employees with no pre-Epic healthcare experience who jump in with both feet, have fun, and work hard. My stock in trade is jaded, world-weary cynicism formed by many years of being ground down by clueless executives, dysfunctional vendors, and healthcare decisions made by everybody except patients and clinicians, so it’s fun to see new optimistic new blood who think they can change the world and who in fact just might, no matter who they work for.

From OGMD: “Re: Practice Fusion. Don’t even mention their name on HIStalk – cover them on HIStalk Practice. The only docs I know that use it are one-doc practices too cheap to purchase a best-of-breed EMR. They still use paper charts because Practice Fusion comes with no training and is not robust enough to go entirely paperless.”  

From LFI Masuka: “Re: patient portals. The government mandates them, but patients will go online when it’s convenient or necessary. Kaiser’s success didn’t come from government mandate – they have things set up where it’s a bigger hassle to not use the portal than to use it. Most healthcare organizations don’t have such comprehensive control of the patient experience. My PCP is on Centricity, my specialist in the same clinic is on paper, and the local hospital is on an old version of Meditech. There’s a rudimentary RHIO trying to aggregate everything. As a patient, what compelling reason do I have to use a portal on any of these systems? I might trend some vitals or use it more if I had emergent health issues, but that won’t push the mandated numbers. We are throwing millions of dollars at technology in search of a problem.”

From Curious and Curiouser: “Re: patient portal opt-in. People are building the field to plug into the CCD format, but not actually placing the question anywhere it can be answered, essentially making every patient opt-in. What is your readers’ experience with opting in/out of portals? Are they asking the question or just opting everybody in to meet their numbers? It bothers me that the patients’ wishes aren’t being taken into consideration.”

image

From The PACS Designer: “Re: Apple. Reports suggest that the iPhone 6 could be announced on September 9.” 


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

image

This week on HIStalk Practice: Dr. Andy rants about the review of systems and checklist solutions. Telemedicine’s future in small practices comes into question. Big-box retailers continue to encroach on the business of primary care. Patients go the Priceline route for non-emergency care. Over 100 medical groups call for delay of the Open Payments system. Physician and EP Stage 2 MU attestations continue to underwhelm. Mark Gettleman, MD leaves brick and mortar for mobile and online at Goofy Gettwell Pediatrics.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Dr. Travis discusses the overlooked direct primary care segment of digital health and why he’s excited to see what new technologies it spawns. The FDA publishes draft guidance reducing its regulatory oversight on a large segment of Class I and II medical devices. Doctors On Demand raises a $21 million Series A to expand its national telehealth platform. Researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin link text message-based reminders with improved preoperative instruction adherence. 

image

I almost never look at HIStalk readership stats, but May always starts the summer slowdown that runs through September. Surprisingly, the numbers jumped sharply up this past May despite mostly routine news and the rise has continued through June and July to record levels. Tuesday’s Cerner-Siemens announcement drove record single-day traffic with 10,600 visits from 7,800 unique people – I run HIStalk on a high-powered dedicated, rack-mounted server (geek alert: Xeon E3 four-core CPU, dual 7,200 RPM primary disks, 120GB SSD for MySQL databases, 16GB DDR3 memory, CentOS 64-bit Linux) and the page still took forever to load on Tuesday afternoon when the site was slammed. Visits in the past 30 days exceeded 150,000 and the number of unique people reading is 38,000, more than double the July 2013 total. I get an amazing amount of support from readers, sponsors, and contributors and I’m glad to see the numbers reflect that.

Listening: new from Mary Lambert, an eloquent and empowering 25-year-old Seattle singer-songwriter with a heartbreaking history of sexual abuse, body image problems, and bipolar disorder whose dark and emotional live performances often elicit tears from her audience. Lyrics: “Girls like us are hardly ever wanted, you know. We’re used up and we’re sad and drunk and perpetually waiting by the phone for someone to pick up and tell us that we did good. Well, you did good. I know I am because I said I am. My body is home.” If that’s not your thing, the new Godsmack rocks – my hand is tired but happy from desk-drumming.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Allscripts announces Q2 results: revenue up 2 percent, adjusted EPS $0.09 vs. $0.05, meeting analyst expectations for both.

image

Practice Fusion acquires Ringadoc, which it calls a “telemedicine platform” and “next generation patient-doctor communication tools” vs. Ringadoc’s self-description as “medical answering service software.” The appeal to Practice Fusion — other than the fact that its CEO is an investor and mentor to the now-acquired company — is that Ringadoc is testing a doctor consultation service for consumers, although it seems to be phone-based rather than online.

image

The private equity firm that has owned healthcare product research vendor MD Buyline since 2011 sells the company to contract management solutions vendor TractManager.

image

Valence Health says its first-half revenues are up 51 percent year over year and it has added 10 clients so far in 2014. Headcount has risen 150 percent in three years to 470 and the company just leased 125,000 square feet of new office space in Chicago.

image

Walgreens announces that it will spend $15 billion to complete its acquisition of a European pharmacy and beauty company, but will surprisingly decline the resulting opportunity to declare its headquarters offshore to save a fortune in US taxes because of expected protracted IRS challenges and consumer backlash. The stock market’s reaction: shares dropped 14 percent. Meanwhile, the CIO of Walgreens hopes to leverage IT to meet the company’s goal of cutting operating expenses by $1 billion annually as it expects annual revenue to jump to $130 billion in the next two years.

image

Doctor on Demand, which offers $40 video visits, raises $21 million in a Series A round, with Sir Richard Branson as one of its investors. The company is recruiting doctors to staff its service, touting flexible shifts, $200K income for full-time work, no overhead, malpractice coverage, the ability to work from anywhere with Internet access, and easy-to-use paperless technology that is “more like applications they use personally than traditional medical software.” Sounds like the job-frustrated Dr. Jayne should work some shifts and report back.

image

Optum-owned QSSI, which was called in to save Healthcare.gov, will be the lead office tenant at a new Columbia, MD downtown office project scheduled for completion in July 2016.

image

CoverMyMeds will lease 64,000 square feet of office space in Columbus, OH to handle its expected growth from 70 to 180 employees in the next few years.

image

DrFirst secures $10 million in debt financing, which it will use to expand its development resources and prepare for international expansion.


People

image

Peter Csapo (VHA Inc. and McKesson before that) joins Accretive Health as SVP/CFO as the struggling company prepares to restate its financials.

image

CompuGroup Medical US promotes Werner Rodorff as CEO/SVP, replacing Norbert Fischl.


Announcements and Implementations

MModal joins athenahealth’s More Disruption Please program, adding its Fluency Direct and Fluency Flex mobile solutions to the MDP Marketplace.

Medicity and athenahealth will improve interoperability between their systems.

image

T-System donates T Sheets to QuestCare Clinic, a Dallas-area non-profit urgent care clinic. It is operated in partnership with Watermark Community Church and sees patients without requiring ID, insurance, or appointment, asking only for a $10 donation.

Children’s National Health System (DC) goes live on MedAptus’ dual-code ICD-10 solution for 600 physicians and 400 nurses.


Government and Politics

A VA hospital social worker and union president who claimed in May that her hospital was keeping secret patient waiting lists says the hospital harassed her after she met with a White House representative in July by taking her desktop PC away for a week to encrypt it.

A review of 2013 AHA hospital survey data finds that only six percent of hospitals met Meaningful Use Stage 2 criteria. The actual number is probably even lower because the authors looked only at EHR capabilities, not actual usage in tricky areas such as sending summaries of care and allowing patients to access their own information. The study also did not take into account where hospitals stood with regard to 2014 Edition criteria.


Other

A former Epic employee posts details of the company’s “cryptic raise/bonus black box,” explaining that the normalized results from ranking each employee against co-workers in the same role are sent to the compensation team that assigns raises. This person was hired right out of college at $60K and earned bonuses of $16K and year-end raises of 18 percent and 10 percent. The annual salary of the employee, who was probably 24 when he or she left Epic two years later, was $84K. 

image

Can Sanjay Gupta, MD please get back to his medical practice and ask CNN to return to its regularly scheduled programming of cute cat videos and celebrity gossip?

image

An internist writes in a NEJM article what it’s like coordinating the ambulatory care of a newly diagnosed cancer patient. In the 80 days from the time the internist told the patient about a liver mass until the day it was removed, the patient saw 11 other clinicians, had 11 office visits other than with the internist, and underwent five procedures. The internist communicated with those other clinicians via 32 emails and eight telephone calls, adding another 12 calls with the patient or the patient’s wife. He concludes that such coordination is essential for patient safety, but is difficult since it involves distributed teams of people who don’t know each other and the healthcare system was not designed to support collaboration. The internist was modest enough to not point out that neither he nor his employer (Weill Cornell Medical Center) were paid a penny for all of his efforts.

image

The annual Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report on EHRs finds that:

  • Two-thirds of hospitals have received HITECH money, but few of them can meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 criteria.
  • 59 percent of hospitals are using at least a basic EHR, quadruple the percentage of just four years ago, but only 26 percent have a comprehensive EHR and that number has increased only 3.6 percent since 2010.
  • Of the physician practices that received a Medicare EHR incentive check in 2011, 12 percent didn’t get one in 2012.
  • Of the physician practices earned a Medicaid EHR incentive payment in 2011, 61 percent did not in 2012.
  • The only hospitals that fell on the wrong side of the “digital divide” are critical access and small rural hospitals.
  • Health information exchange is still in its infancy, with barriers being privacy and security, competition concerns, and lack of physician demand.
  • Most hospitals use their EHR to create organizational performance dashboards, but only about half use them to identify care gaps and allow doctors to query their data directly. The key barrier is lack of EHR dashboard and query functionality.

image

Weird News Andy speculates that patent trolls are getting bolder given this newly issued patent for this innovative process: (a) a patient calls a doctor’s office; (b) the receptionist records their information and asks the doctor if they want to talk to the patient; (c) if so, the receptionist calls the patient back, transfers the call to the doctor, and adds the recording of the call to the patient’s file. The article points out the infamous MMRGlobal/MyMedicalRecords, which sent threatening letters to practices who dared speak to their patients by telephone without paying it a license fee.


Sponsor Updates

  • Aperek posts highlights of its attendance at the AHRMM conference.
  • Blanchard Valley Health System extends its Wellcentive PHM initiative by instituting a Nurse Care Navigation program that nets significant ROI.
  • Boston Software Systems publishes a white paper on avoiding five myths of EHR migration and eliminating the chaos.
  • MEA|NEA uses the importance of a good website as an example of the importance of technology to growing a business in a recent blog post.
  • PerfectServe posts an article titled “The Changing Role of the Physician.”
  • Aprima kicks off its user conference in Dallas.
  • ADP AdvancedMD spotlights three smaller private practices using its cloud solution to stay clinically and fiscally efficient.
  • Kareo suggests six steps to take in hiring the right staff for a medical practice.
  • NextGen Healthcare announces a new name for its November user group meeting, NextGen One.
  • Premier Health (OH) discusses how it solved the challenges and complexities of payer pre-certification by deploying Passport Health’s OrderRite.
  • SRSsoft will participate in the American Society for Surgery of the Hand conference September 18-20 in Boston.
  • Allscripts shares what “Open” means for healthcare and why it’s so important.
  • IHT2 offers an infographic, “Analytics: The Nervous System of IT-Enabled Healthcare.”
  • Susan Niemeier questions whether the new cool thing is always the smart choice when it comes to technology on Capsule’s blog.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

clip_image002

Of course the big news around the IT corridors today was the announcement of Cerner’s purchase of the Siemens Healthcare IT business. We are using solutions from both parties in at least some fashion. I’m not going to say exactly which ones (or respond to a reader comment asking specifically what systems I use) because I’d like to keep my day job. Let’s just say we have multiple hospitals that we’ve acquired over time and thus have a variety of systems in play.

We’re consolidating, which made the announcement more interesting although it’s not clear at this point how the marriage will impact us. If we decide to chuck everything and move to a different vendor entirely (always possible, but I’m not sure we can scrape up that much cash) it might be a moot point. Unfortunately, so many of our users have grown accustomed leveraging multiple systems to get the work done that the idea of a single vendor isn’t as sexy as it once was.

There was exactly zero discussion of the merger in the physician lounge, which didn’t surprise me. Unless they have stock in a given vendor or were involved in a selection process, some of our providers are oblivious to what system they’re actually using. We’re one of those cutesy organizations that gives every system an acronym used in a branding campaign to assist with user buy-in. I once had a user tell an auditor that our vendor was “SMILE” because we had used that acronym for a go-live.

Coupled with the fact that some of our systems are from vendors that acquired other products that we already owned and morphed them into a suite of quasi-connected pieces under a single name, it’s a wonder we can keep track of everything that’s in place.

For those users who do care that we use multiple systems, one benefit of consolidating our vendors would be a more consistent user experience. We already do a fairly good job of interfacing the data from system to system so that users don’t have to duplicate data entry, but it would be nice to have a more uniform look and feel. I’ve been through several product demos as part of the consolidation effort and have to say that even among vendors purporting to be single system, the look and feel can vary dramatically depending on whether they purchased components or built the system from scratch.

In the same set of comments, Brian Too asked how physicians want technology to reconcile the “tactical” needs of point of care IT support with the “strategic” needs of population health and statistical capabilities. “How do you make the physician interactions with an EMR low-friction while still gathering enough information, of sufficient quality, to support the strategic imperatives?” The answer is a difficult one. The key is in finding an easy way to enter discrete data that physicians don’t perceive as “clicky” or overwhelming.

I’m personally holding out hope for voice-to-data in which narrative can be parsed to identify discrete elements. Physician notes could appear like the dictations they’re accustomed to, but the data could sit underneath, ready for the picking. Technologies are getting closer and closer, but we’re still not to the point where we can pull it off in the way physicians expect.

Even with the slickest user interface, most of our providers still perceive data entry as being something they shouldn’t have to do (even though they did it in the paper world, only with a pen). I think it’s a factor of the volume of data they have to enter now compared to the pre-MU, pre-ACO era.

He also asks: “How much of current physician griping is more about having lost a certain amount of workplace control versus serious mismatches between software capabilities and real workflow needs?” Particularly among ambulatory physicians (and especially among those whose practices have been acquired by a hospital or health system) loss of autonomy may be the majority of the problem. Many organizations do not do a great job with the change management piece of the EHR transition. I see them doing a similarly bad job in transitioning purchased practices from independent to employed models, especially when the organization desires to standardize workflows or centralize certain practice functions.

When we hire new physicians coming out of training, I don’t hear anywhere near the level of complaining that we do when we acquire practices. Most new physicians have used EHRs during training and they’re used to the limitations, so whether they’re using one system or another it doesn’t seem to be as much of a big deal. You’d think we get more complaining from our most tenured physicians, but we actually don’t. The most vocal and unhappy of our providers are in the 45- to 55-year-old range. They’re generally proficient users, but they also have the highest expectations for what the system should be able to do and don’t like it when it doesn’t deliver.

At this point my perspective is so warped, I’m not sure what an ideal EHR would look like. For more and more physicians, the ideal EHR looks like a scribe.

What is in your ideal EHR? Email me.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

 

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 7, 2014 News 16 Comments

Morning Headlines 8/7/14

August 6, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Practice Fusion buys startup Ringadoc in telemedicine play

Practice Fusion acquires Ringadoc, an after-hours call routing system that it says will play a vital role in its plans to roll out a full telehealth platform for its customers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

ONC lays down 10-year interoperability plan milestones

ONC interoperability manager Erica Galvez outlines details from the office’s 10-year interoperability plan during Wednesday’s HIT Policy Committee meeting.

M*Modal Partners with athenahealth to Empower Physicians with Speech-Based Clinical Documentation

MModal joins athenahealth’s More Disruption Please program, bringing natural language processing functionality to athenahealth’s customer base.

UW Health, five other providers enter statewide partnership

In Wisconsin, six health systems representing 44 hospitals, all of which run Epic, have created a state-wide partnership that will share emerging best practices around IT, research, care management, and patient experience. The new partnership is also launching its own insurance plan backed by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Blue Priority network.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 6, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Readers Write: Make It Happen

August 6, 2014 Readers Write 4 Comments

Make It Happen
By Mike Carr

image

I’ve been in healthcare IT for more than 25 years. While I’ve known and appreciated the impact we have on people’s lives, I had a recent personal experience that made me see the impact of what we do firsthand and reminded me of why we do what we do.

Unfortunately, my mom suffered a severe stroke in June from which she never recovered.  I was at the hospital with her for almost six days.  During that time, I got to know the nursing staff, therapists, neurologists, and palliative care team pretty well. This was an amazing team of healthcare providers and the best I’ve seen in all my years in healthcare – every one of them. They all treated my mom like she was part of their family. 

The entire palliative care team took the time to meet with our family to explain that my mom probably wouldn’t recover and the options we had. Almost everyone, including the chief neurologist, had tears in their eyes. This amazing group of people really cares about their patients.

During my mom’s remaining time in the hospital, all of her medical information, including any significant changes in her condition, was available to me whenever I asked. The EHR, PACS, etc. was all at her bedside. 

On one occasion, when I requested that she get additional pain medication beyond the standing order, the nurse immediately entered the request into the system. The doctor approved it and entered the order from his mobile device and my mom had her medication from the medication cart in about five minutes. To make that possible, someone understood the importance of a patient getting pain medication quickly, reviewed the relevant processes, integrated those systems, developed the workflows, and implemented the technology to make it all happen. 

I think it’s important, on a daily basis, to keep in mind why we do what we do and our role in making it happen. The medication order example is just one small example of how we can help improve patient care, but it made a huge difference for my mom at the time. The recent experience my family and I had with this amazing group of healthcare providers and their ability to effectively use technology to make decisions and treat patients made a very difficult time a little easier.

Shortly after my mom passed away, someone sent me this. I think these are pretty good words to live by.  

clip_image002

- Regina Brett

The one thing I would add: and make it happen. By understanding the importance of what we do and its impact on patients and clinicians, we can take the steps to review the processes, integrate the systems, develop the optimal workflows, and implement the technology to make it all happen.

Mike Carr is director at Aspen Advisors of Pittsburgh, PA.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 6, 2014 Readers Write 4 Comments

Readers Write: How to Actually Get Patients to Engage with a Portal

August 6, 2014 Readers Write 9 Comments

How to Actually Get Patients to Engage with a Portal
By Zach Watson

image

From increased interoperability requirements to percentage benchmarks for online patient usage of digital assets, Meaningful Use Stage 2 has several requirements that are making eligible professionals sweat. Let’s address the latter of the two.

From a high-level view, getting more than five percent of patients to download, transmit, or view health information online should be low-hanging fruit. But as the Mayo Clinic famously found out, simply creating this type of functionality doesn’t guarantee engagement. Of a reported 240,000 patients who signed up for portal accounts, less than 12,000 had actually logged in 2013. In contrast, Nashville’s own Vanderbilt experienced significant success with getting patients to interact with their portal. During 2012, they reported 193,969 unique logins.

And for truly outrageous engagement numbers, one need look no further than Kaiser Permanente. A reported 4.4 million of Kaiser’s 9.1 million members use the online portal.

Meeting Stage 2 engagement requirements is doable. The disconnect arises from providers simply implementing technology without truly integrating it. Online portal access should be introduced in the context of the patient-physician relationship, not as an extra feature that patients can access should the compulsion strike.

Here are three actionable methods for crossing the five percent chasm:

  1. Get a mobile app. It’s well known that electronic health record functionality varies by product, so it’s natural that patient portal capabilities will too. Part of granting patients greater access to their medical records lies in the intuitiveness with which they can retrieve said information. If they are asked to type in a username and password from the web browser on their phone, it’s unlikely they’ll go through the trouble. Mobile applications are becoming standard across all business verticals because they are formatted for ease of use. If a patient portal doesn’t come with a mobile app for patients to download, the physician implementing it should demand one. Kaiser launched their mobile app in 2012. Patients downloaded it over 450,000 times last year.
  2. Do a walk-through. Patient satisfaction is inherently tied to interaction with the physician or other clinician. To create an environment in which patients will be receptive to new information, have a knowledgeable staff member walk patients through how to login and use the portal. Explain the benefits of scheduling appointments and refilling prescriptions online. Perhaps even have the patients navigate the portal for 60 seconds or so to make sure they’re comfortable finding all the information. Will this affect clinic time? Yes. Will it help meet Stage 2 criteria? Absolutely.
  3. Create some marketing. It doesn’t have to be anything too spectacular, but some signs in the waiting room detailing the benefits of patient portals can certainly spark some interest from patients who are waiting.

This type of online access isn’t unexplored territory. Patients already enjoy this freedom with their bank accounts, credit reports, and so on. They want to be able to schedule appointments online. Make sure they know that they can.

Who knows, maybe they’ll download the app while they’re in the waiting room.

The key is to embrace patient portals – and other information technology for that matter – as a foundational element to the way healthcare works going forward. It’s already a reality. Patients simply need to be shown how easy it is to use.

Zach Watson is an analyst at TechnologyAdvice of Brentwood, TN.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 6, 2014 Readers Write 9 Comments

Readers Write: Why Payers Are Seeking More Consumer “Likes”

August 6, 2014 Readers Write 1 Comment

Why Payers Are Seeking More Consumer “Likes”
By Scott Rotermund

image

It’s no secret that payers are not well liked among consumers. In fact, recent data shows that only seven percent of consumers trust their health plan, only slightly better than the likes of oil and tobacco companies.

Additionally — and maybe even more importantly — when looking for health advice, only 18 percent of consumers turn to their health plan, which is startlingly close to employers at 12 percent. With a reputation for being stuck in concrete towers locked away from the real world, health insurance companies are increasingly working to connect with consumers and up their likability.

In their defense, health insurance companies earned a sour reputation of being the evil ogre denying claims because of how the market defined their role. It was a check and balance in the clinical system of physicians prescribing care and health plans assessing the value of it.

Now, with the rollout of Obamacare — be it good or bad — the payer’s role has changed along with its business model. Health plans are looking at the entirety of their populations rather than those seeking treatment. That is going from the 15 percent of its population that is in the “sickcare” system at any given time to 100 percent of the population, a startling and overwhelming change.

This shift is driven by the moral and economical desire to 1) prevent people from sliding into the sickcare system by keeping them healthy, and 2) build brand loyalty to retain low risk members. Retention is a primary focus for health insurance organizations, as the health insurance industry is now similar to the car insurance industry. People can shop around and receive premium reductions for good health just as they do for good driving. Innovating and transforming the customer experience is more important than ever as consumers are empowered to choose the payer of their choice.

How does an entire industry change its reputation from being the school principal to class president? It starts by building an emotional connection and providing something that genuinely impacts their life. It’s not passing out free one-size-fits-all t-shirts, but connecting with consumers on an individual level and getting them to take action.

Playing a more active role in optimizing consumers’ health is a huge leap for payers and inherently may not be immediately welcomed by consumers. Here are some down and dirty tips for health plans looking to become the cool kids in healthcare:

  • You can’t appease the masses. Take a personalized approach to supporting consumers in achieving their health and wellness goals. Similar to what we are seeing in the clinical setting with personalized medicine, personalized healthcare will have a greater impact and results. This is challenging when you managing a population of millions, which leads into the next tip.
  • If it works … partner with it. Some national plans have allocated millions into wellness and prevention programs and have not seen significant uptake. Take a card from cross industry collaborations like Apple and Mercedes and forge partnerships with companies that already have the asset or relationship you are looking to build. Companies that have a consumer mindset and can deliver an experience that may be outside a health plans’ expertise. Today’s on-demand, multi-mobile consumer expects to have a solution that speaks directly to them, about them. By leveraging a health optimization platform to deploy a personalized, interactive experience, payers have an effective and efficient way to support consumers in improving their health. Plus, a true integration platform will allow payers to plug in existing programs such as video health coaches or other digital resources so those investments to date pay off too.
  • Provide optimal rewards for optimal health. While one may assume that it’s human nature to take care of yourself, its been proven that incentivizing consumers for healthier behaviors pays off for everyone. In a recent survey, 96 percent of consumers said they would be healthier if rewarded. From premium reductions to badges, incentive-based tools can be the extra motivation consumers need to make a healthy choice or address chronic decisions. Payers can build a more “rewarding” relationship with consumers by celebrating both participation and outcomes with their members.

These activities are helping payers power up their relationship and the health of their population. Consumers will soon view their insurers as health advocates guiding them through an increasingly complicated healthcare system and toward a healthier way of life. 

Scott Rotermund is co-founder and chief growth officer of Welltok of Denver, CO.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 6, 2014 Readers Write 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 8/6/14

August 5, 2014 Headlines 2 Comments

Cerner to Acquire Siemens Health Services for $1.3 Billion

Cerner announces that it will acquire the health IT division of Siemens for $1.3 billion, confirming rumors that have been circulating since late April.

Premier, Inc. continues growth trajectory with acquisition of Hospira’s TheraDoc

Premier announces that it will acquire TheraDoc, Hospira’s clinical surveillance business, for $117 million in cash. Hospira acquired the business themselves in 2009 for an undisclosed sum.

MModal Completes Financial Restructuring, Emerges from Chapter 11

After nearly five months, MModal officially emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, reducing its debt by 55 percent in the process.

New California Not-for-Profit to Operate Statewide, Next-Generation Health Information Exchange

California will launch a state-wide HIE, founded through $80 million in seed funding from Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross. The funding will sustain the exchange for its first three years of operations, after which it will charge subscription fees to providers and insurers to fund continued operations.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 5, 2014 Headlines 2 Comments

News 8/6/14

August 5, 2014 News 14 Comments

Top News

image

Cerner announces its intention to acquire the assets of Siemens’ health information technology business, Siemens Health Services, for $1.3 billion in cash. Cerner Chairman and CEO Neal Patterson told HIStalk that “the broad driver is the post-Meaningful Use era” and the large R&D budgets of both companies. The combined organizations will have 20,000 employees, 18,000 client facilities, and $4.5 billion in annual revenue. Cerner expects the transaction to close in Q1 2015.

image

Lorre took notes during the announcement call:

  • The Siemens customer attrition rate has been improving. Cerner will give them a clear path to a stable future and help get them there. Some percentage of those customers would have ended up with Cerner anyway.
  • When asked why the Siemens business is worth acquiring now when it was shopped previously with no takers, Cerner EVP/CFO Marc Naughton implied that Siemens cut the price and was waiting for a strategic buyer that wouldn’t leave its customers hanging.
  • Two Cerner executives will join the leadership team of Siemens. Only the client experience and administrative functions will be combined in the short term.
  • Siemens has had flat revenue for a couple of years and Cerner will boost that. Siemens has invested a lot of overhead in an unnamed project that didn’t accomplish anything – it will be cut immediately.
  • Neal Patterson, asked why this acquisition will work when so many other large ones haven’t, said Siemens knows what it’s doing and can expand, especially in population health management, specifically with regard to interoperability and openness.
  • International support will be evaluated country by country.
  • Asked why he was suddenly open to an acquisition, Neal said that IT is now ubiquitous and government incentive money is running out. IT will be pressured to meet mandates and provide measures. Cerner will evolve to population health and become a bigger part of the new middle. Cerner is building the most integrated EHR with integrated revenue cycle. Neal said he didn’t have a lot of enthusiasm about the transaction initially, but he went back to the two questions (would it slow Cerner down and can Cerner win over Siemens customers).
  • Neal said much of the industry’s healthcare IT talent comes from Cerner, so they have resources to draw from.
  • Neal said Siemens is a good asset with great talent at a fair price. They are passionate about innovation.

Reader Comments

image

From Anon: “Re: Siemens. I read that the company is the largest application hosting vendor in healthcare. Any truth to that? It might add credence to Cerner’s bid.” I wouldn’t be surprised since they’ve been running remote hosting (or is that “offering cloud-based SaaS solutions?”) since the timesharing 1970s. That would provide a guaranteed revenue stream, at least until clients move off those legacy platforms, the pace of which might well be accelerated by the change of ownership.

From Black-Scholes Supermodel: “Re: Cerner acquiring Siemens. If that happens, I will take you to the biggest steak dinner ever at Gibson’s at HIMSS, wear a pink tutu, and dance on the table until I get thrown out.” That’s from a July 23 email to me from a very good equities analyst joking about my running the improbable Cerner-Siemens rumor yet again on HIStalk (going back into May). Now that I have both dinner and entertainment to look forward to at HIMSS, I’ll share the analyst’s logic: (a) Cerner says they don’t need to buy market share because their products are good enough on their own; (b) Cerner  integrates everything except a few ancillary plug-ins and doesn’t want more product lines; (c) Cerner already has ample opportunity in the rip-and-replace market, which it estimates at 2,000 customers, so it doesn’t need a fast track into the Siemens legacy business. The analyst concludes that Cerner buying the old SMS means that Cerner’s growth is stagnating and it needed to ignore its long-held principles to feed the beast.

image

From HIS Junkie: “Re: Cerner acquiring Siemens. Looks like the John G magic could not work. He gave it a good try, but this was a sinking ship for over a decade. Let’s see, Siemens bought it for about $2 billion, gets 1.3 back … that’s only about $100 million per year loss! ..and it’s a great opportunity for Epic. Adds another 500 or so prospective clients to the mix.” Siemens destroyed quite a bit of corporate value, not to mention it paid way too much for SMS in the first place back in 2000, a 73 percent premium over SMS’s share price at the time. The division’s annual revenue today is the same as it was in 2000 and Siemens was anxious to unload the company for just 1x revenue.

From HealthITPundit: “Re: Cerner acquiring Siemens. So Judy Faulkner got Neal to bite! It was her plan all along that if Cerner bit more thank it could handle, Epic would be the last vendor standing. This will be an interesting corporate integration as any in this space. If Cerner is successful, they bought their market share. If they crash and burn, Judy is a genius. All the other verboseness about the win-win-win is a diversion from the truth. It’s all about stopping Siemens clients jumping to Epic. Gosh, I wish I thought of it!” That’s a solid observation. Cerner gains inside access to a large contingent of prospects who are sitting on primitive platforms. Cerner will be whispering “Millennium” in a soft and sexy voice while Epic bangs on the outside door. They won’t all go Cerner and some of the existing recurring revenue they contribute is already built into the $1.3 billion acquisition price, but they should be less-expensive customers to get onto Millennium and some of them are outside the traditional big-hospital demographic of both Cerner and Epic, plus both Cerner and Siemens offer hosting and operational support that is Epic’s weak point. 

From Dave Lancaster: “Re: Cerner acquiring Siemens. What impact might this have on smaller systems where both companies have competing products, such as their integration engines (Cerner OPENEngine vs. Siemens OPENLink)? Soarian and Siemens Rx et al. have some form of OPENLink embedded in them as their messaging services applications.”

From Kermit: “Re: Cerner acquiring Siemens. Nice HIStalk shout-out on this story.” That was nice – a few sites get their ideas from HIStalk and virtually none of them admit it, so thanks to Forbes.

From Old Malvernian: “Re: Cerner acquiring Siemens. Who do you think will be laid off beyond those from last month? John Glaser will probably get a big payday, as did Marv when he closed the Siemens deal in 2000. The other top execs will get an easy letdown, as most contracts have a nice acquisition clause. The Germans will be repatriated and employed. Those left hold the flaming bag of poo will be the H1B staff, offshore contractors, and worldwide rank and file. Siemens is the third largest employer in Chester County, PA. I wonder what the revised ranking will be?” Corporate support departments are sure to take a quick and painful hit: HR, marketing, and finance. The technologists and support people should be OK until product decisions are made. Those working in the hosting group should be in great shape. Sales could go either way – the company doesn’t seem to be selling much, so it’s tough to make an argument to spare sales from a shakeup. Every acquiring company says “business as usual” while drawing up long lists of those to be executed.

image

From Himster: “Re: MModal COO Ronald Scarboro. Word on the street is that he has resigned effective immediately. No official statement from the company.” MModal verifies that Ron has left the company.

image

From SQSUX: “Re: Sunquest. I’ve heard that more tenured folks are out the door. VP of HR is out and global client relationship manager has resigned.” Verified.


Vince Ciotti told me in late April that he was hearing rumblings about Cerner acquiring the health IT business of Siemens. He apologized for being wrong when it didn’t happen the following week, then emailed later to say he was hearing it again. I thought he might be right, so I saved this piece he sent me a couple of weeks ago so he could get the appropriate recognition when it happened.

Cermens? Siener??
By Vince Ciotti

Now that Siemens has officially announced that their HIT division is up for sale, the rumor about Cerner being a potential buyer becomes more interesting. The potential deal represents a huge shake-up in the HIS industry. Below are a few implications of what this deal could mean to the many parties involved.

Cerner

  • ProFit. After the $106M settlement with Trinity Medical Center in North Dakota at the end of last year, Cerner might have started looking for a replacement for its ProFit patient accounting system. When Siemens put its HIT division on the market, Soarian’s revenue cycle system must have seemed like a dream come true. Soarian’s clinicals still face several challenges (e.g. in the EDIS and ambulatory EHR arenas), but the revenue cycle module is relatively complete and working reasonably well, so for Cerner, the billion euro ($1.4B) price tag Siemens is asking might be reasonable in light of potential future litigation.
  • Data center. To its credit, Cerner has built two large data centers in Kansas City, many miles apart, which gives them reasonable protection against Midwest tornados. However, students of history might remember the New Madrid earthquake of 1812 that literally shook the whole state of Missouri. There was no Richter scale then, but scientists estimate it was between 7-8 points, and a re-occurrence today would cause unimaginable damage throughout the region. Acquiring Siemens’ super-modern data center in a different seismic zone would give Cerner the best backup protection of any US remote hosting vendor.
  • Sales team. Between them, Cerner and Siemens have the two best sales and marketing organizations in the industry. Both firms have grown to over a billion dollars in annual revenue thanks not only to their powerful new sales teams, but equally potent “account executives” who manage clients after the sale and sell new modules and systems, implementation assistance, consulting (totally objective, of course…), outsourcing, etc. These two combined teams would be able to sell screen doors on submarines, let alone HIS systems and services.
  • #1 vendor in revenue. We have been tracing the top HIS vendors’ annual revenue for many years for several leading HIS journals, and by our calculations, adding Cerner’s $2.9B in 2013 revenue to Siemens’ ≈$1.4B (what they’re asking for their IT division is probably about equal to its annual revenue) would create a $4.2B giant, a billion dollars larger than current industry leader McKesson. The merger would put Epic in third place, at “only” $1.7B

Siemens Clients

  • Soarian clients. One could imagine an interesting face-off between Millennium HNA and Soarian Clinicals at new prospects, but HIS-tory tells us that Cerner will probably stick to its Millennium HNA core system for future hospital sales, building an “integrated” interface to Soarian Revenue Cycle. What the deal means for Soarian clinical clients is an interesting question – Cerner would eventually try to convert them to Millennium, probably as individual contracts (from 10-12 years in duration) come up for renewal.
  • Invision and Medseries4 clients. Siemens recently assured the hundreds of clients on these aging HIS systems that Malvern would be supporting them for many more years, but will Kansas City? Again, the contract duration would probably determine how long they offer to support these individual hospitals: long-term contracts with many years to run would be supported the longest, while shorter-term agreement might get pressured to convert off of them earlier, lowering Cerner’s costs to support these legacy systems and increasing Millennium sales.

Competition

  • Epic. Should stand to gain enormously in future competitive situations as Siemens’ clients go to market, as Epic’s tidal wave of victories over the past five years continues. This is especially true at IDNs with large physician practices, where Epic still rules with its extremely functional and totally integrated ambulatory EHR and PM systems. Siemens had promised to add an integrated ambulatory EHR and PM system to Soarian, but the slow delivery of this costly R&D project could be one of the main reasons the parent company is selling its HIT division.
  • McKesson. The sunset of their large-hospital Horizon system has left them out of most large hospital sales for years and they are only beginning to make headway with Paragon in the mid-sized hospital market of 300-500 beds. The real question is how long it will take them to upscale Paragon to compete with Cerner and Soarian in the high-end market of 500+ beds. I should be fully retired (and maybe even deceased!) before that occurs, so I’ll leave that prediction to other pundits.
  • Allscripts. Would now rank in fourth place in terms of annual revenue at ≈$1.4B. Their solid ambulatory EHR and PM systems should sell well under Paul Black’s ex-Cerner leadership. However, the lack of true integration with the Eclipsys-based hospital EHR will be a weakness that the Cerner/Siemens sales reps will hammer upon.
  • GE. Oddly, their recent victory over Siemens in the bidding war for the French-based Alstom may have been a contributing factor in Siemens’ decision to sell its US HIT division to deepen its capital reserves. GE’s ambulatory solutions continue to perform well, but they have not made a hospital sale with their ex-IDX Centricity Enterprise system in recent memory, but rather have lost clients to Epic repeatedly. Now if Alstom has an EHR system…

Historical Precedents

Ironically, the only vendor acquisition of this size was when Siemens itself acquired SMS in 2000 for ≈$2B, not a bad profit for Jim and Harvey, who started SMS in 1969 with a $5M loan from savvy Wall Street investors. Prior to that, it was McKesson’s acquisition of HBOC in 1998 for a $14B stock swap that had topped the charts, although the subsequent financial scandal caused that stock value to drop precipitously. Aside from these two mega-deals, other large acquisitions that put the Siemens bid in perspective include include:

  • Allscripts buying Eclipsys for $1.35B
  • NTT Data acquiring Keane for $1.2B
  • GE gobbling up IDX for $1.2B

However, these other deals didn’t involve one HIS vendor buying another, each with a competing array of HIS products and services. That’s what makes the potential of Cerner acquiring Siemens’ HIT division an unprecedented industry shake-up, in that it will impact over 1,000 hospitals with these two vendors’ complex array of systems installed. Should make some interesting reading on HIStalk for many years to come!


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

image

Premier, Inc. will acquire clinical surveillance software vendor TheraDoc from Hospira for $117 million in cash. TheraDoc has 1,000 facility customers. The price reflects around 10 times the company’s operating earnings, according to the announcement. Hospital acquired TheraDoc in 2009 for $63 million. Premier’s SafetyAdvisor is similar in analyzing data for hospital-acquired infection and for antimicrobial stewardship programs.

image

MModal exits Chapter 11 bankruptcy following financial restructuring and debt reduction of 55 percent.

image

Imprivata announces Q2 results: revenue up 34 percent, adjusted EPS –$0.81 vs. $0.01, falling short on earnings expectations.

image

The slide continues for the wildly hyped Castlight Health, with shares closing down another 4 percent Monday to $11.70 vs. March’s IPO day close of around $40. That’s a stunning 70 percent drop in less than five months. Above, it’s (obviously) CSLT in blue and the Dow Jones Industrial Average in red. Even at the fire sale price, the company is frothily valued at $1 billion, or 36 times revenue. The company announced last week that two of its directors have quit and the COO is leaving at the end of September, coinciding with its Q2 report that listed a $22 million quarterly loss.

image

McKesson shares closed Monday at an all-time high. You would have made 10 times your investment had you bought shares in the post-HBOC disaster days of 2000.


Sales

image

Providence Health & Services (WA) and Greenville Health System (SC – above) choose Infor Healthcare, which includes supply chain management and execution.

The Navy Medicine Operational Training Center (FL) selects AtHoc for mass notification and command-wide communications.


People

image

PatientSafe Solutions names Peter Longo (Health Gorilla) SVP/chief revenue officer.

image 

Jason Jobes, associate director of revenue cycle solutions at The Advisory Board Company, is named to the Board of Examiners for the 2014 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which is managed by NIST.  

image

Genome informatics vendor DNAnexus names David Shaywitz, MD, PhD (Theravance) as chief medical officer.

image

David Levin, MD (Cleveland Clinic) joins Nordic as chief medical officer.


Announcements and Implementations

DataMotion launches Direct Community Web Portal, which allows hospitals to meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 transition of care objectives by securely transferring PHI from one care setting to another. Affiliated providers aren’t required to use Direct or to run a certified EHR – the portal include a CCD viewer.

American Heart Association launches an Open Innovation Challenge for Midwestern startups with ideas about how to help people prevent or manage cardiovascular disease or stroke. The 10 best ideas move on to a crowdfunding competition and the top three then pitch to judges and investors in Chicago in November. The winner gets a $20,000 grant and whatever crowdfunding money they raise. Applications are due on September 12.

EHNAC releases new criteria for its HIE Accreditation Program that include the Texas program. EHNAC is a non-profit organization that accredits HIEs on their use of standards to achieve quality and trust.

image

California Integrated Data Exchange, funded by $80 million from Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross, announces plans to develop the Cal Index statewide HIE. Cal Index says it will go live in late 2014 with 9 million records online. The initial funding covers the first three years of operating expenses, after which the HIE plans to sell subscriptions. Note the business model: insurance companies are paying, which makes sense since they get access to data and their costs should go down with better care coordination. Finally there’s a business case for running an HIE.

IMedicor launches a cloud-based dental EHR.

Mississippi Medicaid launches a clinical data repository, provider portal, and MPI using technology from MedeAnalytics.


Government and Politics

image

Vermont ends its relationship with CGI and gives Optum a no-bid contract to take over Vermont Health Connect, saying CGI repeatedly missed deadlines and the site still isn’t fully functional. The state says the cost of the insurance exchange will probably exceed the $83 million CGI was to be paid, of which Vermont has already written checks for $57 million (97 percent of which comes from federal taxpayers). The state’s chief of health reform said in response to questions about hiring Optum without bidding out the work, “The state RFP process takes forever … we are undoubtedly going to get hammered. I don’t care.”

The Affordable Care Act is boosting the bottom lines of both for-profit and non-profit hospitals as newly insured patients use more orthopedic, oncology, and maternity services. Insurance companies are spending more than they expected, with Cigna’s CEO saying that health insurance exchanges aren’t sustainable unless more people, especially healthier ones, sign up through them.

image

CMS temporarily suspends use of its Open Payments system that shows payments made to doctors by drug and medical device companies. CMS found that a batch of payment records from an unnamed company had assigned payments to the wrong doctor by including an incorrect state medical license number. The system isn’t live yet, although doctors are able to verify their information.

image

An HHS OIG review finds that ONC’s former temporary certification program (ATCBs) didn’t ensure that certified EHRs were retested, didn’t include a training program to ensure that  testers were qualified, and didn’t look hard enough at security-related issues such as password complexity and user privilege changes. ONC replied that ATCBs are extinct and full certification now features improved security and privacy features, to which OIG commented, “We do not agree that the 2014 Edition EHR Certification Criteria sufficiently address our security concerns regarding the Temporary Program.”

image

Habersham Medical Center (GA) is struggling financially after voting in September 2013 to pay back $1.5 million in HITECH EHR incentive money it found it hadn’t qualified for and for borrowing $37 million for expansion and facility improvements. The CEO found that the 53-bed hospital had attested for the first incentive payment without having the necessary software despite having spent $3 million upgrades, leading to his dismissal of the IT director and sending CMS its money back.


Innovation and Research

Accenture and Philips develop proof-of-concept software that allows people with ALS and other nerve diseases to control Philips products using their brainwaves, along with existing capabilities to use voice and eye commands.

image

More promise of using technology in cancer treatment: a startup that develops oncology drugs by artificial intelligence and big data gets its first drug into human trials.


Other

image

The AMA tweeted the above graphic that references a magazine’s survey. The survey’s methodology wasn’t stated, which would have been nice since some of the percentages involve subsets of other questions and the devil is in the details. It also wasn’t stated if the survey involved self-selected online respondents, the validity of which is nearly zero.

image

In England, The Royal Free Hospital uses OpenText’s content management product to import paper-based progress notes and link them to Cerner Millennium.  

image

A crematorium in England installs a Digital Autopsy center run by software company iGene London. It uses a multi-slice CT scanner to create a 3D image that a pathologist can examine on a tablet.

A Russia-based crime ring is found to have stolen 1.2 billion Internet username/password combinations and 500 million email addresses using botnets.

Local governments in China say GE Healthcare’s telemedicine projects are floundering because their equipment is too expensive at over $300,000 per installation, adding that GEHC tried to sell less-expensive equipment to take market share away from Siemens but ended up competing with its own distributors.

image

Weird News Andy performs a literature review of robot nurses. Around 150 “welfare facilities for the elderly” in Japan are using Palro robots that remember names, faces, and previous conversations. Gizmodo profiles the RIBA-II robot nurse. Pittsburgh-based robotics firm RE2 releases a new line of robots that can mimic human movement to perform repetitive processes and lift heavy objects. The upcoming Disney movie “Big Hero 6” features an engineer who transforms a robotic nurse into a fighting machine with pop-out wings and a projectile fist (which could be useful for robotic nurses assigned to urban EDs.)


Sponsor Updates

  • Beacon Partners will exhibit at the Siemens Innovation Conference August 10-13 in Tampa, FL.
  • A blog post by Brad Levin of Visage Imaging addresses how radiology can improve productivity and quality.
  • Health Catalyst CMO Bryan Oshiro shares his wake-up call that solid data can save lives.
  • Greenway extends special pricing for Engage14 in Dallas September 4-7.
  • Greenway suggests how to select the clinical quality measures for a primary care practice.
  • ICSA Labs certified HIStalk sponsors Medfusion and Wellsoft in July.
  • HealthTronics posts its event schedule through the end of the year.
  • InstaMed launches its bi-coastal billion transaction infrastructure.
  • Premier Medical PC (AL) selects McKesson Business Performance Services.
  • Craneware and Shriners Hospitals for Children are co-presenting this week at AHRMM14 on automation of supply and pharmacy management processes.
  • Allscripts announces speaker information and agenda for ACE 2014 in Chicago August 12-15.
  • Valence Health is moving into larger office space in Chicago with plans to hire an additional 500 employees by 2019.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

 

125x125_2nd_Circle

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 5, 2014 News 14 Comments

Cerner To Acquire Siemens Health Services for $1.3 Billion

August 5, 2014 News 7 Comments

image

image

Cerner announced this afternoon that it will acquire the assets of Siemens’ health information technology business, Siemens Health Services, for $1.3 billion in cash.

According to a statement from Cerner Chairman and CEO Neal Patterson, “We believe this is an all-win situation for the clients of both organizations and all of our associates and shareholders. Through more than $4 billion of cumulative investments in R&D, Cerner has established a strong market standing and is positioned for continued growth. Siemens’ health care IT assets provide additional scale, R&D, an impressive client base, and knowledgeable and experienced associates who will help Cerner achieve our plans for the next decade. In addition, the alliance we’re creating will drive the next generation of innovations that embed information from the EMR inside advanced diagnostic and therapeutic technologies, benefitting our shared clients.”

I spoke to Patterson ahead of the announcement. He said, “Siemens could not keep up with the need to innovate across the continuum,” adding that Cerner looked carefully at how its business would fit into Cerner’s. “If it slowed us down, we weren’t going to touch it. If we didn’t think it would have a huge value proposition, we weren’t going to touch it.”

Patterson added, “The broad driver is the post-Meaningful Use era” and pointed to the $650 million combined annual research and development spend between the two companies. The companies will also jointly fund a $100 million alliance to perform development activity around diagnostic and therapeutic medicine. “IT systems are important to Siemens’ healthcare modalities,” he told me. “We will go much deeper than the workflow level.”

Patterson summarized, “This is a win-win-win across the board. Siemens clients will get a lot of value. We will partner on their core healthcare business. Lots of our clients use both systems in different capacities.”

image

Cerner says it will continue to support Siemens’ platforms and will support Soarian “for at least the next decade.”

John Glaser, PhD, CEO of the Siemens unit, said in a statement, “We are excited to join with one of the most competitive companies in health IT today, and a recognized leader in innovation. Siemens cares deeply about its clients and believes Cerner is the best organization to fully support their health IT needs going forward. The knowledge and strength of our combined resources opens up great possibilities for future collaboration and development, which is exciting for all of us. And our clients will benefit from our alignment with a company that has such a strong historical and future commitment to rapid innovation.”

The combined organizations will have 20,000 employees, 18,000 client facilities, and $4.5 billion of annual revenue. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015.

HIStalk has featured rumors of the acquisition going back to early May, when Vince Ciotti was the first to tip me off to the rumors.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 5, 2014 News 7 Comments

Morning Headlines 8/5/14

August 4, 2014 Headlines 5 Comments

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s Oversight of the Testing and Certification of Electronic Health Records

An OIG investigation finds that the ONC’s EHR testing and certification standards do not test EHR security features enough to adequately ensure that patient information is protected.

State will replace CGI, health exchange vendor

Vermont is the next to join a growing list of states that have fired CGI as their primary health insurance exchange firm. Starting in September, development responsibilities will be handed over to Optum as part of a $5.7 million deal.

Actionable Recommendations in the Bright Futures Child Health Supervision Guidelines

A new study published in Applied Clinical Informatics finds that only 20 percent of the preventative health care guidelines followed by US pediatricians are defined in a way that would allow them to be integrated into EHR clinical decision support tools.

DeSalvo says providers, hospitals on track for EHR Stage 2

With just 10 eligible hospitals attesting for Stage 2 MU thus far, national coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, reports “We know from past experience with meaningful-use Stage 1, for example, that people wait to attest until the eleventh hour,” adding “It seems on track with where we expect it to be, and we’re watching it closely.”

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 4, 2014 Headlines 5 Comments

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 8/4/14

August 4, 2014 Dr. Jayne 5 Comments

clip_image002

I took some much-needed time off this week to try to gain perspective on where my career is going. What was once a pretty fun job has become a bit of a grind.

Ten years ago, we felt like we were doing cutting-edge work to transform patient care and help physicians deliver better outcomes. We were in the EHR business for the all the right reasons and were able to implement systems and functionality we needed when we needed them.

A good chunk of my responsibilities have been taken over by Meaningful Use. In our world, this has caused us to take workflows that were already improving patient care and then micromanage them to death. Maybe it’s the actual Meaningful Use certification requirements or maybe it’s the way our vendor has implemented them, but we may never know which is to blame. It’s probably a combination of both.

Either way, physicians and end users are unhappy with the volume of documentation they now have to do. They complain that it’s not really helping them in daily patient care.

As the CMIO, I take those concerns seriously and often personally. Although I have workflow experts and an advisory board backing me up, I’m the one who ultimately approves all clinical workflows before they’re implemented and all clinical system changes before they’re coded. If our vendor’s workflow is clunky and we don’t identify the potential problem before it goes out the door, that’s on me.

Our administration understands that sometimes we’re going to miss problematic content. They also understand that some of the MU requirements are so specific there’s just not a way to make them less annoying.

Our physicians are less understanding, however. I’m the one who has to deal with their concerns, complaints, and threats to quit. That’s not something they really train us to deal with anywhere along the CMIO training path, assuming we’ve actually been trained other than in on-the-job fashion.

I’m still relatively early in my career, but I’m wondering if I can take another 10 or 15 years of this. Considering my particular hospital situation, the bloom is definitely off the rose. I’m thinking about throwing my hat into the ring at another health system. The thing that makes me somewhat hesitant, though, is the thought that it could be just the same, if not worse, anywhere else.

How do you truly screen a potential employer or supervisor to know if they’re really visionary or just saying what they need to in order to get a position filled? I’ve had a couple of bosses that I would walk through fire for. It’s difficult to top that. At this point, however, I’d settle for someone who knew what he was doing and had the conviction to do the right thing rather than the easy thing or the politically expedient thing.

We’re in the middle of evaluating vendors for a massive system overhaul. I’m not sure our current leaders will survive, depending on which vendor is selected. That could be an opportunity for me to help move the remaining players around in a way that will rejuvenate some of our key players. Or it could be a reason for team members to jump for fear that they won’t make the cut. I’ll know more about what this is going to look like in six or eight months. Right now, we’re in a special kind of limbo.

It was good to get away, but increasingly difficult to completely unplug. There’s so much going on that it’s tempting to just peek at email, but I know better. One minute will quickly become one hour if you let yourself look.

When I got back in town last night, I had multiple voice mails from one ambulatory director with increasing anxiety in her voice because I wasn’t calling her back or returning her emails. Apparently she didn’t listen to my outbound message or pay attention to my out-of-office message that I wasn’t going to be on the grid.

I picked out two books before I left and they were an interesting contrast. I like southern fiction and the first one, The Hurricane Sisters, was available from my library’s e-book site. I checked it out for my iPad. It started with a lot of key southern elements, but I was shocked when I reached the point where Google Glass played a role as a significant plot device. Times are certainly a-changing! It was a quick read, not the best book ever, but good in the moment. I was pleased with my choice and it took my mind off things as I headed out of town.

The second one, On Call in Hell: A Doctor’s Iraq War Story was not exactly your typical beach read. It’s pretty graphic as only a book about Marines in combat can be, but I was amazed at the ability of the author and his colleagues to maintain their humanity and occasionally a sense of humor in the ultimate adverse conditions. Regardless of your feelings about war in general, reading about the experience puts everything in a different perspective.

One of the ideas that author Richard Jadick emphasizes is to be constantly improving one’s situation, whether it’s basic survival (sandbagging the forward aid station so you don’t get shot while caring for casualties) or figuring out better techniques to treat the wounded. It’s a powerful concept. It’s not about finding solutions to the chaos all around, but about figuring out your own sphere of influence and improving what you can within that space.

I’m taking that thought back to the office with me this week to see what I can do with it. I’ve already got a list in my head of what’s in my sphere of influence and what’s not, and some ideas on what we might be able to change for the better. I’m feeling pretty rejuvenated, but all that will change Monday morning when I finish tackling my inbox.

Have a transformative vacation story? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 4, 2014 Dr. Jayne 5 Comments

HIStalk Interviews Jan De Witte, CEO, GE Healthcare IT

August 4, 2014 Interviews 5 Comments

Jan De Witte is president and CEO of GE Healthcare IT.

image

Describe your job.

I run our healthcare IT business globally. I would summarize it as four big categories. Enterprise imaging. Care delivery management — care pathways inside the hospital in the departmental areas and ambulatory care. Population health management, our joint venture with Microsoft in the Caradigm company. Then financial management, revenue cycle management, and cost analytics or margin management. 

We have different global product managers that run these categories. We commercialize and implement our systems pretty much across the world, with the US as the main market. The US makes up more than 60 percent of our business activity.

 

What is the status is of the Healthymagination project?

Healthymagination started several years ago. It is a focus of GE and GE Healthcare to drive outcomes in healthcare, specifically cost, productivity, and clinical quality outcomes.

As of two or three years ago, that program has matured in the sense that it has changed, shifted how we do product management on our equipment and our software. Our product managers start with outcomes in mind and then develop technologies that drive those outcomes. Before, we often — like many other companies — developed great technology without necessarily touching the outcomes that our customers needed. 

That’s how I would say Healthymagination has morphed from initiative several years back to today — a different culture and capability within our project management.

 

Siemens is another multi-national conglomerate and they apparently want out of the healthcare IT business. How do you see GE Healthcare IT positioning itself going forward against competitors that focus exclusively on healthcare IT?

On the Siemens-specific question, I’ve gotten questions from both customers and our employees.

There’s two elements to be asked. First, GE Healthcare, my mother company, is fully committed to driving outcomes in healthcare. If you look at the challenge for healthcare, it’s information technology that is going to be the big enabler to drive both productivity and quality. Going back to what we said on Healthymagination, we’re more than ever committed to building out our healthcare IT capabilities to fulfill that mission to make a difference in healthcare.

For the second dimension, I’m sure you’ve heard about the industrial Internet and Jeff Immelt’s commitment to building out GE’s software capabilities. What’s true in healthcare is true in many other industries. The next generation of driving improvement is going to be linked to data, analytics, and using those insights to drive better processes. From Jeff Immelt down, there’s more commitment than ever to be a significant player in software.

Those two together — my direct manager and Jeff Immelt — are fully committed to building out our healthcare IT capability. Close to half of GE’s software activity. Getting a lot of help and support from our San Ramon center of excellence to build out capabilities.

 

Describe how the industrial Internet fits into what you’ll be doing differently within your software areas.

Let me start with the vision of the industrial Internet. The way we put it is minds to machines can bring intelligence to machines or through machines that generate data, no matter which industry you look at. Process improvements, if you only take one percent, it’s tremendous value you can generate.

The vision of GE is, let’s complement our deep capabilities in developing excellent machines with deep software capabilities to complement those machines, take the data that comes off these machines, and make either the machines or the process around the machines more efficient. This can go from reading data from jet engines and understanding how to make them operate at higher fuel efficiencies to taking planning information from train scheduling and optimizing, planning, and routing and asset utilization in railway operations.

I’ll come to healthcare in a minute, but the commitment of GE is translated into our center of excellence in San Ramon on the West Coast, where we have about a thousand engineers today building out a cloud-based platform which we call Predix. Essentially it is all the next-generation cloud-based platform capabilities that either myself or colleagues of mine in other GE businesses will leverage to build analytics and workflow solutions on.

Very concretely, the industrial Internet initiative of GE is providing me, as a healthcare IT leader, with next-generation platform capabilities that over time will be reflected in the re-platforming of some of my current legacy applications, or brand new analytics applications that we’re building on the Predix platform right away.

 

How do you see the role of Centricity and how will that change with the industrial Internet?

Centricity is essentially the umbrella brand across the breadth of our portfolio. A couple of years back, we made a decision to focus the Centricity portfolio on what internally we called the next innings in healthcare. It’s clear over the past five-plus years that the whole healthcare industry has been focused on digitization — turning film into digitized information, turning paper into digitization with fax systems and with EMR systems. That’s only the first stage in any industry that goes through an industrialization phase.

We decided, from an R&D perspective, to start focusing on the next innings, which is going to be about analytics and workflows. We start to see today the next inning taking shape. 

Within the Centricity portfolio, if I  look at our Centricity enterprise imaging solutions, today those solutions are focused on enhancing diagnostic speeds and diagnostic confidence. Not just within one department, but across the enterprise, even across regions or countries. The same for our care delivery management, whether that’s Centricity anesthesia or peri-op solutions or ambulatory EMR. They are increasingly becoming systems to enable predictive care pathways. Our revenue cycle management solutions are increasingly becoming risk and profitability management tools.

With our products, all of them, our R&D is focused on providing analytics capabilities and workflow capabilities in these tools rather than digitizing. The Predix platform is a service-oriented cloud-based platform that is enabling us to build out the analytics capabilities, to build out the right user interface and user experience, and to build out the security capabilities that we are needing in that next generation of IT solutions for healthcare.

 

Are we in a post-EMR era and moving to analytics, connectivity, and the power of the network?

The short answer is yes. We are, definitely. I hear that from many of our customers. It started one or two years back when they said, we’ve invested a lot of money in bringing in a great EMR. We have realized today that we are not really changing our operation yet. In fact, in some cases, our physicians are less productive than we thought because they spend more time inputting data into systems.

There’s a little bit of a disappointment of the realization that the EMR is, I would call it, the necessary evil to enable the real phase of information technology, which is turning all of that data into actionable insights, and then using those insights into different workflow applications that enable caregivers to collaborate with each other across the different departments and even across geographies.

I see and I hear from my customers that there’s need for next generation. Everybody at this point is talking about population health management, which I think is the ultimate of workflow and analytics at the healthcare system level.

 

Along those lines, the work that GE Healthcare was doing with Intermountain was going to result in a lot of that, but they’ve moved to Cerner. What was the result of that partnership and why didn’t it continue?

The results or the intellectual property of the partnership today is to a large extent sitting into Caradigm. If I look at the models around clinical data structures, analytics, and protocol adherence type applications, all of that is in Caradigm.

The choice of Intermountain to go to Cerner, frankly I will not comment too  much on. It was essentially a choice on how they wanted to implement some of the intellectual property into their operation. The work that we’ve done over the years with Intermountain, the intellectual property, is sitting into Caradigm today, with many of the leaders that were on the project now in Caradigm.

 

Is GE Healthcare IT happy with Caradigm’s progress?

We’re very happy with Caradigm. Caradigm today is still, to a large extent, what we call the Caradigm Intelligence Platform. The ability to get to the data, wherever it is. Then you have the Caradigm analytics and the Caradigm population or care management suite of applications.

When we started Caradigm, we had all three components in mind. The first two go back to what we were doing with Intermountain. The population or the care management part, at that point already we were co-developing with Geisinger — care management applications for the Geisinger Health Plan. When we started Caradigm, we never gave too much visibility to it, although it was part of Caradigm on the formation of the company.

Over the past two years, much to our surprise and probably delight, the need for population health management has taken off way faster than what we assumed. We were well positioned. We have stepped up our focus on building out that suite of applications.

We’re very happy with Caradigm because it feels like we were at the right time in the right place in the industry. It’s very early days for population health management. We feel we have a very good and broad set of applications that enable population health management, from getting to the data to understanding your cohorts to setting up care management programs and linking into wellness and home health.

At the same time, when I look at population health today, there’s a lot of people who are claiming to have solutions. I consider 2014 and 2015 as the period where there’s going to be the selection made between PowerPoints and proof points. I see Caradigm as a company that will have the proof points. Everybody has the PowerPoints today. Over the next 12 months, we’ll figure out who has the real proof points of having solutions, analytics, and workflow that enable population health management and tremendous impact on the cost of healthcare.

 

Are your health system customers asking you to help guide them in operational improvement and population health management?

There’s a mix. I’m pleasantly surprised that many of the integrated delivery networks, which are the first ones getting on board, have brought on board people that have the right vision and the right capability.

My perception is that the need for consulting is lower than what I would have said three years ago. We bring with our technology the basic implementation consulting, but from a strategy consulting — how to set up population health management — I perceive most of the leading implementers today, having brought on board good people, smart people that know how to do that. Many of them have been experimenting. They now want to leverage technology to enable the rollouts on a broader scale.

 

What are the most innovative projects you’re working on that will come to fruition in the next two or three years?

We are very much focused at this point on building out our cloud capabilities, specifically in the imaging area. This is the area where we’ve leveraging to the fullest the new capabilities that GE has built in San Ramon.

At the last RSNA, we launched Centricity 360, a case exchange capability that complements our imaging capabilities. We’re further building out that case exchange capability to true collaboration capabilities that seamlessly enable institutions to collaborate together, to collaborate with affiliated and non-affiliated caregivers. First in the imaging diagnostic space, but with the technology, the platform itself is extendable to any form of collaboration. That’s one where we have the first betas.

At the next RSNA, we’ll come out with the next generation. It has the promise of bringing true cloud capabilities to healthcare and being a big enabler of allowing a very flexible way for caregivers to collaborate with each other.

 

Do you have any concluding thoughts?

On top of our vocabulary is outcomes. With your question on Healthymagination, what this industry needs is outcomes, not necessarily more technology. Specifically in the US, a lot of money has been spent putting technology in place. The industry has not fully gotten the outcomes for that yet in terms of productivity and quality. That’s where we’re focused.

At GE, we have the benefit of seeing different industries, also seeing how different industries have gone through different phases. I see today a lot of parallels in healthcare versus what I saw happen in airlines in the ‘90s. I’m 15 years with GE, all of it in healthcare. Before I joined GE, I was in other industries. It’s exciting to see that healthcare today is going through the same transition that other industries have gone through. Digitization and then using all that information to enable networks to operate as networks and to turn data into insights and better decisions.

I think the next 10 years in healthcare are going to be probably the most exciting ever. For those people working in the IT side of healthcare, it’s probably the best job in the world for the next decade, using technology to totally change the industry for the better.

Forums like HIStalk … the more we can enable and pump up people in IT to drive the healthcare industry, the more we’ll be part of something beautiful. This industry will not look the way it looks today 10 years from now. That’s a given.

View/Print Text Only View/Print Text Only
August 4, 2014 Interviews 5 Comments

Founding Sponsors


 

Subscribe to Updates

   

Search


Loading

Tweets

Report News and Rumors

No title

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

Archives

Sponsor Quick Links

Platinum Sponsors


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold Sponsors


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow

Reader Comments

  • Robert D. Lafsky M.D.: Apple Medical ID: I entered my info on my iPhone....so do I have this straight--text-entered med list only? No link to...
  • Mobile Man: Wow. Good to hear this type of take!...
  • All Hat, No Cattle: Billy Beane! I agree that was an inspired choice for a speaker. Someone who has actually used data to change an entire i...
  • Eddie T. Head: I am confused exactly what problem is the participation of IHC supposed to solve? Is the DoD health system siloed in way...
  • Huskydoc: Is Intermountain actually live on Cerner's software? If not, Cerner deserves props for sheer audacity if nothing else....

Text Ads