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HIStalk Interviews Matthew Hawkins, President, Sunquest

February 18, 2016 Interviews No Comments

Matthew Hawkins is president of Sunquest of Tucson, AZ.

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Tell me about yourself and the company.

Sunquest is a market-leading provider of laboratory software to more than 1,700 laboratories. We help laboratories optimize their results to drive improved financial outcomes, improve patient safety, and work effectively across healthcare systems.

I have been with Sunquest for more than a year and a half now and love it. We have a great team of people here. We are headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, with more than 700 employees. I live in Tucson, where the business is headquartered, and thoroughly enjoy the company.

Software vendors selling standalone lab, pharmacy, and radiology systems have been hit hard as customers move to integrated offerings from Cerner and Epic or get bought by larger health systems that use those systems. How has that impacted your business?

I would emphasize that Sunquest continues to grow. Sunquest, as part of this growth, is absolutely committed to innovation and very focused on helping laboratories work effectively across an enterprise.

For example, Sunquest was a founding member of the CommonWell Health Alliance. We believe that interoperability across applications is very important. We don’t believe that any health system should have to sacrifice capability to select an enterprise. We think that our steadfast focus on helping laboratories do the best work they can outpaces the benefits of being part of an enterprise system.

Does the laboratory information systems business look simple until you understand what’s involved and the level of EHR integration that’s required?

On the surface, it could be perceived as easy. What actually is the case is it’s a very dynamic business. Laboratories play such an important role in the delivery of great healthcare.

Here’s a couple of stats that are surprising, but very important to understand. Laboratory testing represents typically less than two percent of overall healthcare spend, but influences more than 70 percent of all patient outcome and management decisions. Laboratory-related data makes up the majority of any patient’s electronic health record.

In some cases, there are basic blood tests, for example, that have become relatively simple to perform. In other cases, laboratory work is becoming increasingly sophisticated as our understanding of molecular and genetic science, for example, enables us to learn and understand so much more about a patient’s health.

Sunquest’s focus on laboratory excellence covers more advanced aspects of pathology, for example, in the cellular sciences — anatomic and microbiology, for example — as well as molecular and genetic testing capabilities. I feel that the next decade will enable us to know more about how to care for patients than any decade before. Hence, laboratories are becoming in some cases much more sophisticated operations than they’ve ever been.

Genetic and genomic data is a large amount of information that has to be immediately available in the work flow. How do you position the company against EHR vendors that may also see that as a market opportunity?

We see Epic and Cerner as nice electronic health record companies. The great news is that Sunquest integrates with them very effectively. We take large data sets — molecular and anatomic test results and now genetic test results — and can have those interpreted and put into a digestible report that can be inserted right into an electronic health record — for example, from an Epic or a Cerner or others — and be used in a clinical application to care for and treat a patient.

I would just emphasize that Sunquest’s commitment here is second to none. We’ve had a few recent acquisitions that I’d love to highlight, one of which is an investment — not a full acquisition yet, but an investment — that we’ve made in a business called GeneInsight, which is a genetic testing software platform developed by the folks at Harvard Medical School and the Laboratory for Molecular Medicine in Boston. It has been in continuous clinical use since 2005. Test result reports that are very complex and data-rich can be simplified and included in an electronic health record setting so that the ordering physician can use that to treat a patient.

What has changed in the almost four years since Sunquest’s private equity owners sold the company to a publicly traded industrial company, Roper Technologies?

Several things have changed. It’s a very exciting time at Sunquest.

We are financially backed by Roper Technologies. Roper Technologies is a publicly traded technology company listed on the New York Stock Exchange that invests for long-term growth and success of its businesses. We’re thrilled by that because that gives Sunquest a stable home.

In the last approximately year and a half since I joined Sunquest, we’ve had a considerable ramp-up in our internal product development efforts. We’ve invested heavily in product management and in product development. We have approximately 30 percent of our staff today that has been in and around a clinical setting or have clinical training and expertise. As a result of this last year and a half plus worth of effort, in 2016 alone, we plan to launch 15 substantial product upgrades, including two or three new product launches.

There’s a lot of things that have happened in the last few years since Roper acquired Sunquest. Many of these product upgrades include Web-based applications and support for the latest mobile devices. That’s what’s been going on organically.

We’ve also announced a new headquarters location for the business that promises very exciting things for our team members and employees, with great areas to collaborate and areas in which to work in an inspired setting in Tucson. We’re thrilled by that.

The other thing I would say that as far as Roper’s investment in the business, it hasn’t stopped. In fact, in the last 12 months, Roper — who is typically the acquirer of every company that it acquires and then will bolt them on or tuck them under the platform of various companies — has acquired three businesses that directly became part of the Sunquest platform. A business called Data Innovations, a business called Atlas Medical, and then a business called CliniSys, which is headquartered in Europe.

These acquisitions create across the Sunquest growing platform a unique breadth of capabilities that support laboratories in all of their facets, from connecting laboratories to very sophisticated lab instruments and equipment manufactured by the likes of Roche or Abbot or Beckman or others. Also, they help Sunquest solutions and Sunquest clients connect effectively to the healthcare communities, physician offices, and other places where — in the future and increasingly so — lab tests will be ordered and lab results will be shared with patients to improve the way patient care is delivered.

CliniSys has a large global footprint. How do you pair that up with the Sunquest offering for synergy or product alignment?

I’ll tell you a little more about Sunquest international business. That will bring this into a richer, more fulsome view.

Sunquest has approximately 1,700 laboratories that it works with. Nearly 200 of those are outside the United States and North America. Many are in Europe and in the United Kingdom.

For example, we have laboratory clients in the UK and in the Middle East that are a part of the Sunquest laboratory platform, and some in Australia. Sunquest also has a product called Sunquest ICE, which is an integrated clinical exchange solution that is in approximately 75 percent of the market in the UK, across several trust systems, et cetera.

The way we see CliniSys working closely with Sunquest, CliniSys has a market-leading presence in the United Kingdom for laboratory software. That will play very well working with the Sunquest Integrated Clinical Exchange product that will enable very efficient lab ordering and lab resulting back to the general practitioners in the United Kingdom.

CliniSys is also a market leader in France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. We think about CliniSys as being the Sunquest of Europe. We’re very excited about the opportunity to collaborate and identify ways that we can help our shared clients in the UK as well as new clients across Europe and other parts of the world take advantage of the efficiencies that our software can help deliver to those clients to emphasize the role of the laboratory in offering great healthcare services.

You made it clear in your introduction that Sunquest is a laboratory information system business, but at one time the company offered other software products, such as for radiology and pharmacy. Will that laboratory focus continue or would Roper consider non-laboratory acquisitions that might be paired with Sunquest products?

At Sunquest, our mission is to make healthcare smarter and patients safer. We believe that our focus on laboratories will enable those smart healthcare solutions. But in focusing on laboratories, we immediately see adjacent areas of focus as well that come into play and that we’re focused on organically as well as through Roper’s acquisition.

Let me highlight just a couple. One is, again, the advancement of precision medicine. It hasn’t historically played directly into the lab, but we believe it is absolutely becoming front and center in the way that patients will be treated. In the partnership today with GeneInsight, we are putting that software technology right into the heart of Sunquest and enabling those solutions to work for all of our clients.

Another exciting area that isn’t necessarily a core part of the lab today — but we believe will be and should be because of the incredibly important clinical data that laboratories produce — is in the whole world of analytics. We are launching a platform called Sunquest Analytics. We’re making significant investments in that platform, but in the future, that platform could also be bolstered by future acquisition opportunities aided by Roper as well.

Those are two examples of many that we’re focused on as we continue to round out Sunquest growing from a laboratory software platform to becoming a diagnostic solutions partner to the clients that we work with every day.

The industry is watching with fascination the train wreck that is Theranos. Do you think there’s lessons learned there for your business?

Absolutely. We believe that some lab tests — the basic lab tests and ones that don’t typically require a lot of consultative interaction with the pathologist — are likely to become more managed by a disruptive technology like a Theranos. There is probably a place in the market for those types of disruptive technologies for basic lab tests. We’re watching that very closely.

We also work with a number of high-performing, comprehensive laboratories that manage millions of lab tests and very sophisticated, complex cases every day. We see a segment of the market continuing to become more and more sophisticated given technology and clinical capabilities and understanding.

We’re excited about both ends of the market. We’ll continue to watch for and enable those disruptive technologies ourselves if we have the opportunity to do so, for the simple, direct-to-patient type testing capabilities. But for the comprehensive and complex test cases, we have comprehensive solutions that address those cases and enable the clients that we work with to manage those cases in a time-effective, cost-effective and patient safety-focused manner.

Where do you see the company in five years?

We see Sunquest continuing to grow and make significant headway in laboratory-related and diagnostic-related technologies that make healthcare smarter, improve patient safety, and deliver patient outcomes. The team members at Sunquest are truly inspired by our mission. We’re crazy enough to believe that, as we focus every day on serving our clients and on delivering innovative solutions, we can positively impact the lives of up to a billion patients. That’s our goal.

In five years, we see a company that’s passionate about serving our clients, committed to innovation in and around the laboratory that enables cost savings as well as dramatic work flow improvements that take direct costs out of the lab, but also dramatically impacts the indirect costs associated with downstream savings. For example, reduction in length of stay or reduction in returning to the hospital because patients weren’t diagnosed accurately the first time.

We’ll do this through dramatic improvements in the clinical applications around genetic testing and molecular testing. We’ll do this through the use of analytic information that’s produced by the laboratory to influence and help aid in physician diagnoses and patient outcomes. We’ll do this through helping health systems optimize the way they interact with laboratories. I’m very excited about the future for Sunquest.

Do you have any final thoughts?

We are really delighted that you would take the time to visit with us. I’m excited about being at Sunquest and about working with the team of very focused and dedicated people and helping to deliver solutions to our laboratory clients that make a difference in patients’ lives.

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February 18, 2016 Interviews No Comments

Morning Headlines 2/18/16

February 17, 2016 News 4 Comments

Hollywood hospital pays $17,000 in bitcoins to hackers who took control of computers

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center caves to the demands of hackers, paying a $17,000 ransom in bitcoin to restore access to its network. Hackers had initially demanded $3.6 million.

CMS and major commercial health plans, in concert with physician groups and other stakeholders, announce alignment and simplification of quality measures

CMS and insurance lobby group America’s Health Insurance Plans agree on seven sets of  clinical quality measures that will standardize quality reporting across multiple payers.

Cerner Downgraded to Hold at Everccore ISI, Price Target Cut to $52

Cerner stock continues to fall, closing 4.8 percent down at the end of trading Wednesday, after lowering its estimate on projected bookings and being downgraded from ‘buy’ to ‘hold’ by analysts.

The NHS’s future is digital – but not if we simply replicate poor paper processes

The Guardian analyzes the potential impact EHRs will have on NHS care delivery, noting that implementing improved business and clinical workflows within the new systems will ultimately dictate the value derived from the investment.

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February 17, 2016 News 4 Comments

Morning Headlines 2/17/16

February 16, 2016 News No Comments

Cerner Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2015 Results

Cerner reports Q4 results: revenue was up 27 percent to $1.2 billion compared to $926 million during the same quarter last year, adjusted EPS $0.61 vs. $0.47. Stock prices dropped 14 percent in after hours trading due to downward adjustments to bookings projections.

Under Armour Partners with IBM and SAP to Widen Connected Fitness Potential

Under Armour generated $53 million in revenue from its connected fitness initiative in 2015, up from $19 million in 2014, after acquiring digital health apps MyFitnessPal and Endomondo for a total of $560 million.

What The Flint Water Crisis Reveals About Public Health

Bill Frist and Karen DeSalvo, MD co-author a Forbes opinion piece reflecting on the Flint water crisis and the need for increased public health spending in the US.

Allscripts, Cerner and CPSI Brands Merit the Most Devoted Hospital Clients, Reveals 2016 Black Book HIT Loyalty Index

A Black Book report measures healthcare IT vendor loyalty from “2,077 crowdsourced hospital users” concluding that Allscripts, Cerner, and CPSI have the highest consumer loyalty in the EHR market.

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February 16, 2016 News No Comments

News 2/17/16

February 16, 2016 News 5 Comments

Top News

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Cerner reports Q4 results: revenue up 27 percent, adjusted EPS $0.61 vs. $0.47, beating expectations for both.  The company adjusted revenue projections slightly downward on lower bookings, with shares dropping 14 percent to below their 52-week low in early after-hours trading Tuesday. CERN shares were already down 21 percent in the past year.


Reader Comments

From Take the Cannoli: “Re: news. Why so little recently? Industry downturn?” We’re in the pre-HIMSS conference quiet period, where companies save their questionably interesting fluff “news” like fall squirrels stashing nuts in their cheeks, misguided into thinking that they’ll get more exposure by expelling their PR flatus during the conference. Nobody will be paying attention as piles of press releases go out all at once on Tuesday and Wednesday, screaming for attention but earning little of it in the self-congratulatory din. Maybe that’s how I could have gotten more sponsor support to expand the HIStalkapalooza invitation list – charge companies for 60 seconds on stage to read their overwrought press releases to the crowd like town criers.

From PointProf: “Re: CHI in Houston. Heard they had 50-hour Epic downtime. Wonder what the root cause was?” I saw some Reddit chatter that said it was a Citrix provisioning problem.

From Scuzi: “Re: ransomware. Breaking news tweeted from [publication name omitted].” They gushed their “story” out as “breaking news” early Tuesday evening, two-plus days after I wrote about it. I linked to the local newspaper that did the actual reporting whereas they didn’t, apparently hoping their readers won’t suspect that they’re just rewording articles from other sites. If you’re not doing actual journalism, at least credit your sources.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I’m growing weary of the words “solution,” “platform,” “suite,” and maybe even “system” since those terms don’t really add any value over just “software” except to marketing people trying to tart up their product or salespeople trying to paint a grander image of their zeros and ones. I’m interested in opinions on this.

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Susan Newbold, PhD, RN of the Nursing Informatics Boot Camp will be the celebrity guest in our Lilliputian booth (#5069) at HIMSS Tuesday from 10 until 11 a.m.

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Mrs. Spell’s North Carolina second graders are using the math stations we provided in funding her DonorsChoose grant request for small-group instruction. She added, “During my morning meeting about two weeks ago, my students were so excited to see the big brown box on the carpet knowing the ‘donors’ thought they were awesome again! I told them how much other people believed in them and that they wanted to share new math games and activities with them for their math rotations.”

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This company obviously has a selectively keen eye for detail, spelling HIMSS wrong but doing the “little-i” thing that HIMSS puts on its logo but nowhere else.

I bet HIMSS is glad that keynoter Peyton Manning quarterbacked the Super Bowl winning team, but not so thrilled that he’s simultaneously being dogged by allegations of HGH use and sexual harassment that threaten to tarnish his carefully created public persona. Maybe he’ll exit the HIMSS stage thanking God and Budweiser again.


Webinars

February 17 (Wednesday) noon ET. “Take Me To Your Leader: Catholic Health Initiatives on Executive Buy-In for Enterprise Analytics.” Sponsored by Premier. Presenters: Jim Reichert, MD, PhD, VP of analytics, Catholic Health Initiatives; Rush Shah, product manager analytics factory, Premier. Catholic Health Initiatives, the nation’s second-largest non-profit health system, knew that in order to build an enterprise analytics strategy, they needed a vision, prioritization, and most importantly buy-in from their executives. Dr. Jim Reichert will walk through their approach.

February 23 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Completing your EMR with a Medical Image Sharing Strategy.” Sponsored by LifeImage. Presenters: Don K. Dennison, consultant; Jim Forrester, director of imaging informatics, UR Medicine. Care coordination can suffer without an effective, cost-efficient way to share images across provider networks. Consolidating image management systems into a single platform such as VNA or PACS doesn’t address the need to exchange images with external organizations. This webinar will address incorporating the right image sharing methods into your health IT strategy.

February 24 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Is Big Data a Big Deal … or Not?” Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Dale Sanders, EVP of product development, Health Catalyst. Hadoop is the most powerful and popular technology platform for data analysis in the world, but healthcare adoption has been slow. This webinar will cover why healthcare leaders should care about Hadoop, why big data is a bigger deal outside of healthcare, whether we’re missing the IT boat yet again, and how the cloud reduces adoption barriers by commoditizing the skilled labor impact.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Vizient (the former VHA, UHC, and Novation that were combined in November 2015) completes its acquisition of the MedAssets SCM and Sg2 segments. Pamplona Capital Management announced in November 2015 that it was acquiring MedAssets for $2.7 billion but would keep only its revenue cycle management business, merging it with Pamplona-owned Precyse.

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Under Armour says its wearables business brought in $53 million in revenue in 2015, driven by its $560 million acquisitions of fitness apps Endomondo and MyFitness Pal. That company had $4 billion in revenue in 2015, 88 percent of that from clothes and shoe sales and 1.3 percent from Connected Fitness.

Privacy monitoring system vendor Protenus, started in 2014 by two Johns Hopkins medical students, raises $4 million, increasing its total to $5.4 million.

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For-profit hospital operator Community Health Systems announces Q4 results: revenue down 2.4 percent, EPS –$0.66 vs. $1.12, sending shares down 22 percent Tuesday. The company blames the results on a weaker flu season in 2015 and lower volume in its former HMA facilities in Florida. Above is the one-year share price chart for CYH (blue, down 72 percent) vs. the Dow (red, down 10 percent).

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Imprivata reports Q4 results: revenue up 18 percent, adjusted EPS –$0.09 vs. -$0.04.


Sales

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Saint Anthony Hospital (IL) and Cookeville Regional Medical Center (TN, above) renew their IT services contracts with McKesson.

The Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services (NY) chooses Netsmart’s CareRecord EHR.


People

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T-System promotes Robert Hitchcock, MD to chief strategy officer and Robin Shannon, RN to chief product officer.


Announcements and Implementations

A Black Book survey finds that hospitals using Allscripts, Cerner, and CPSI are the most loyal to their vendors. Black Book is murky about its methodology, saying only that it surveyed “2,077 crowd-sourced, hospital users” of unspecified job titles using unspecified selection methods. The company unconvincingly claims that it needed to create a loyalty index since metrics for customer affinity, repurchase intent, and client recommendations weren’t good enough to “understand the complexities of EHR customer behavior and underlying motivating forces” and that it “helps hospitals and physicians make better decisions based on customer insights,” not mentioning that dreaming up some new poll gives it something new to sell.

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Iatric Systems launches Analytics on Demand, which includes pre-built dashboards for quality measures, Meaningful Use, sepsis, and readmissions that are driven by mapped EHR data.

Wolters Kluwer Health announces the release of Health Language Enterprise Terminology Management Platform that standardizes and normalizes clinical, claims, and administrative data.

HCI Group will provide education and consulting services for organizations that want to improve their HIMSS EMR Adoption Model scores, named as the first EMRAM Global Education provider of HIMSS Analytics.


Government and Politics

A Forbes op-ed piece by Bill Frist and Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH triggered by the Flint water crisis observes that  the US ranks low in health and well-being despite spending $3 trillion each year on health, calling for Public Health 3.0 in which health professionals take civic leadership roles and business leaders participate in community health. It adds, “Our ZIP codes are a more accurate determinant of health than genetic codes. As a society, we have a collective responsibility to ensure that we are providing the conditions needed to make the healthy choice the easy choice for all members of our communities.”


Privacy and Security

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Magnolia Health Corporation (CA) notifies employees that “an unidentified third person impersonated our CEO” in obtaining an Excel worksheet that contained their personal information, including Social Security numbers and salaries.


Other

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A PICU medical director in Canada spends the day working as an RN in his unit. He summarizes, “As a physician I think we take for granted that we write an order and the work just gets done … After my day as an RN, I am going to suggest that all the residents who train on our unit do the same. I think there is a huge opportunity to learn how each person on a unit contributes to the care of one patient … RNs spend more time with patients than we as physicians do, having an understanding of how they care for a patient and experiencing a completely different view can only make us better physicians.”

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The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA opens an exhibit titled “Innovations in Healthcare,” sponsored by El Camino Hospital (CA).

Big companies are mining data about their employees to target health messages, identify those with poor credit scores those who may not take their medications, and even to identify women who may be planning pregnancy by looking at their birth control prescription records or snooping into their search history on employee wellness sites. Prominently mentioned are Castlight Health and Welltok, which aren’t bound by laws that prevent companies from analyzing the personal health information of their employees. Health management company Jiff tailors its wellness programs by employee personality type, deciding which of them will likely require a premium discount to participate in fitness programs. 

Great Lakes Health Connect will provide $250,000 in assistance to connect providers in Flint, MI and Genesee County to its network, earmarking $100,000 to link 40 physician offices, $90,000 for a dedicated implementation consultant, $50,000 for an analytics engine, and $10,000 for training.

Detroit’s Care Bridge care coordination system for patients who are covered by both Medicare and Medicaid isn’t working one year into the program scheduled to run three years, with lack of IT standardization and competitive concerns among its participants blamed as possible roadblocks.

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Lightning takes out the fire and alarm systems of Australia’s Robina Hospital, which apparently had no redundancy plan for its Ascom system. The hospital says it has moved the server to another site, thereby scorning the “lightning never strikes twice in the same place” fallacy.


Sponsor Updates

  • Besler Consulting publishes the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Special Report.
  • The local paper highlights Clockwise.md’s online check-in app in its coverage of a new Carolinas HealthCare Systems urgent care facility.
  • CoverMyMeds Director Scott Gaines joins the BioOhio Board of Trustees. 
  • Extension Healthcare nominates the winning University of Maryland Medical Center for two Intelligent Health Association awards.
  • The HCI Group releases a video on three things to consider during Cerner go-live planning.
  • Consulting Magazine interviews Huntzinger Management Group CEO and founding partner Robert Kitts.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
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February 16, 2016 News 5 Comments

HIStalk Interviews Steve Brewer, CEO, Galen Healthcare

February 16, 2016 Interviews No Comments

Steve Brewer is CEO of Galen Healthcare Solutions of Grosse Pointe Farms, MI.

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Tell me about yourself and the company.

I’m CEO of Galen Healthcare, based in our Chicago office. Somehow I guess I’ve turned into one of the old timers in this industry now [laughs]. I was just looking at my schedule and can’t believe I’m about to head off to my 22nd straight HIMSS, which is truly unbelievable. That’s a lot of booth time, a lot of bad carpet.

Galen is essentially a consulting and technology services company. What makes us unique is combining incredible clinical and domain expertise with some of Galen’s proprietary technology platform and tool sets. It’s a combination of those two things, which are a unusual for a firm viewed as a consulting company.

We were just named "Best in KLAS" in both of our core categories. I just arrived here last fall, so I get no credit for that other than really good timing.

Are you seeing results from the KLAS awards or do you expect to?

We are. We’re seeing a lot of inbound activity.

Galen is pretty well known in our core markets. We’ve done hundreds of clinical conversions and EHR optimizations across a bunch of platforms, but we’re a smaller private company, so I wouldn’t say that we’re broadly known throughout the industry. It’s certainly great for name recognition. We’re excited about showing up at HIMSS to leverage some of that, to let people know more about Galen.

What issues keep you busiest these days?

The history of the company is interesting. It was started about 10 years ago by three gentlemen — who I knew back then — who left Allscripts to start a services business. They saw that no matter how good of a job Allscripts did on their side of implementation, most of the clients were going through it for the first time. They hadn’t been through it before and needed assistance. That was the early days of Galen, helping out at some of the largest early EHR implementations in the industry.

What we’re seeing now is a shift. People who have made these huge investments in clinical and financial systems want to leverage those. Our work has shifted a lot up towards conversions, archival, and technical integration of systems, connecting to HIEs and others. There’s been a lot of consolidation and M&A activity in the industry. Having all these systems truly interoperable and moving data in and out of them, or shifting people from one system to another, has become a big part of our work effort.

How are customers using your service that allows them to store and access information from their retired systems?

It’s one of our newer services. We’ve been doing conversions for quite a while and are probably the leader in that space. When one of our large clients acquires a practice or merges with another health system, we for years have done a lot of that  hardcore technical and clinical mapping of the data to get them converted. What we’ve added now, since we have all their data, is the ability to archive and retire those legacy systems.

It varies across the board which systems they are going to. We have been involved in numerous conversions to Epic and Cerner. We have a lot of large Allscripts clients who acquire practices and retire some of the older systems from the practices they’ve just bought. It’s across the board.

What are the most common systems you’re converting from and to?

The largest ones have clearly been to Epic. We’ve had some recent activity with regard to Cerner and Meditech. You’ll see a lot of the ambulatory systems that have been in the market who maybe get caught up in a large Epic conversion, even though they might be very happy with the system they have, and the ambulatory system is going to go away as part of that Epic conversion. Standards or not, that integration and conversion is a pretty significant effort that most of those groups haven’t been through.

Who do you admire in the industry?

I’ve seen a lot in those 22-plus years when I headed off to HIMSS in San Antonio in 1995, so it’s been a few different iterations of companies that have been success stories.

I was involved in a company here in Chicago, Enterprise Systems, that went public, got acquired, and then got acquired again my McKesson. That was interesting. I was there in the early days of Allscripts and the growth and the innovation of leading EHR adoption in the industry was very impressive. It would certainly be hard to ignore what Epic has done over the last five or 10 years, one of the probably great business success stories — even beyond healthcare — in the US over that time period.

How do you approach the HIMSS conference as a vendor?

I’ve always enjoyed it. To me, it’s a great event where a lot of people come out in the industry. It’s certainly a hectic four or five days, but I find it to be a lot of fun.

At Galen, it’s a little different. We’re a small private company. We’ve enjoyed nice steady growth, but world domination or some billion-dollar market cap hasn’t been the strategy. The strategy has been to build a great company and attract super smart people who enjoy being here and who are proud of the work they do for their clients.

From that standpoint, we’re going to be in a 20×30 booth. Hopefully people will know about us and come see us. We know our clients will. We’ll look to continue our reputation and steady growth. You won’t see us in one of those mammoth, block-long, multi-story booths at HIMSS. It’s a little different event for a company like ours, but still exciting.

What should HIMSS attendees ask consulting firms they’re talking to in the exhibit hall?

There’s a lot of different flavors of consulting companies out there. From our standpoint, it’s the combination of the technology we bring to the table as well as the people. A lot of the bigger companies focus on the staffing effort and the professional services, which we certainly do, but we are typically combining that with technical services, integration, and the like.

People should focus on, what’s your history? What do your clients think about you, and specifically, what are they trying to get done? I mentioned our niches earlier around EHR optimization, conversions, implementations, and a lot of the other tool sets we bring to the table.

You see massive efforts in this industry, billion-dollar investments to put these systems in place, and now with HIEs and the like. Where many people are falling down is on the integration piece, on that last mile of connectivity to the practices. Those are the areas we focus on. We coexist well with a lot of the other traditional consulting companies that are out there that typically don’t focus on that.

Population health and information security are hot topics. What are you doing in those areas?

As you’ll see at HIMSS, everybody in some way or another is positioning themselves as a pop health company, or patient engagement, or analytics. They all intersect. Galen’s role in that is making the data that those systems need accessible and relevant to do true pop health and to do true analytics across cohorts and population bases. That’s really what we do.

A lot of this data is stuck in EHRs. It’s stuck in other systems. We’ve worked with a lot of those HIEs and pop health products to get the data in and out so that those systems can do their work.

Security is certainly a big focus of ours as well. Anybody in this industry has to be focused on it. Galen might manage those overall projects, but I wouldn’t position us as a security consulting provider. There are some folks who specialize in that exactly.

You’ve won some awards for being a good place to work, which is probably tough as a consulting company where folks are remote or travel a lot. How do you manage the people side of it?

It’s probably tied to what I mentioned earlier, that the culture’s a little different and our end game is a little different, which makes it a great place to work. We don’t have outside investors. We’re just excited about having a really positive work environment where people learn new skills and enjoy what they do. That’s reflected in the rankings.

You’re right, it’s a heavy travel job and it’s a very intensive job for our consultants, so we very much appreciate their time away from families and the like. We try and balance that load to make sure it’s a sustainable job for them. A big part of what we do on the technical services side can be done from our offices rather than on site at clients, which helps.

Give me three bold predictions for the next five years.

I’m not sure how bold these are, but after years of talk, I think we are finally going to see some very rapid movement in a few areas. 

First, the new payer models will be here for real. That is going to increase the shift in patient services to new settings of care, such as retail, urgent care, and ASCs. This will also speed up the already active consolidation amongst health systems in the market. 

Another area I see acceleration is in the blurring of the lines between payer and provider as these organizations come together to manage risk and control cost. 

Additionally, we will see a shift to the next phase of connected care, where the EHR is no longer the center of the universe, but rather just one of many data collection and feedback tools that need to interact seamlessly with other surrounding systems. 

For Galen, I think these trends will match up well with our focus on optimization of current platforms while our clients also prepare for this changing environment. These new initiatives will require deep integration, conversion, and project management skills to keep pace with the market and patient needs. We’ll look back and see if I got any of this correct, but in any case, we will continue to adapt our business as the priorities of our clients evolve.

And if you’ll allow me to pick a fourth bold prediction, I’ll take the Bears to win the Super Bowl next year.

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February 16, 2016 Interviews No Comments

Monday Morning Update 2/15/16

February 13, 2016 News 7 Comments

Top News

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Partners HealthCare (MA) announces that it made $13 million in operating profit on $3 billion in revenue in the most recent quarter and lost $38 million overall including investment losses. The CFO says its Epic implementation will negatively impact profit by $200 million over the next three years. Brigham and Women’s in December said it made $68 million in profit in FY2015 instead of the $121 million it expected, blaming most of the shortfall on unexpected Epic implementation costs. The Boston Globe reported in June 2015 that original cost estimates had been doubled to $1.2 billion.


Reader Comments

From Give Rodney Another Chance: “Re: job hunting tips. You ran something awhile back that I could use for the upcoming conference.”Steer clear of companies with these characteristics:

  • The CEO is a well-traveled hack or private equity hired gun whose historical talent is boosting the short-term bottom line to get the company sold before the wheels come off.
  • The CEO refuses to move to the city where most of the employees work.
  • The position is not located in a primary company office. Out of sight means out of mind, which is great until your ambitious peers conspire to stab your absent back.
  • The company demands that you sign a non-compete agreement that will make it tough to land the next job. My favorite strategy is from Dilbert: scan the non-compete into Acrobat, change the wording in your favor, then print it and sign it. Chances are the always-clueless HR department won’t notice that what you signed isn’t what they handed you.
  • Management isn’t smart enough to fix problems, so they harm the business with company-wide budget and travel freezes.
  • They company has laid people off, meaning executives failed with their hiring choices, strategy, or execution and will almost certainly do so again.
  • Executives with reserved parking spots. I loathe big shots who think they are better than everyone else.
  • Your interviewer is late, distracted, or someone you wouldn’t hang out with after work. You’re seeing them as good as they’re going to get.
  • You get a vague answer when you ask what happened to your predecessor or the company declines to name them for fear you’ll solicit their honest opinion about why they left.
  • Your prospective boss talks about himself or herself instead of you.
  • The executive team you would be joining has two people who are related or sexually involved. You, Sammy Hagar, serve at the pleasure of the brothers Van Halen.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Less than 20 percent of poll respondents are attending the HIMSS conference to attend educational and keynote sessions, with 75 percent of respondents naming networking and the exhibit hall as their primary draw (which explains where you’ll find the crowds). New poll to your right or here: if you had equivalent job offers on the table from the vendors listed, which one would you accept? I asked that poll question back in 2009, so it will be interesting to compare the results.

Northeasterners who are bundling up against wind chills of up to 40 degrees below zero can look forward to better weather in Las Vegas, which so far calls for mid-70s and sun every day.

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Mr. R’s Robotics Team 968 from California sent an update on their activities using the laptop we provided in funding their DonorsChoose grant request. The five students been doing technology in-services at the local senior citizen center and are creating their three-hour Saturday “Rookie Training Days” in which students in grades 4-8 will be invited to learn more about STEM and join their team. We also funded a second request from the team for machining tools to help them build their robots, for which they send “a million virtual thanks.” They are working after school and on weekends to finish their robot for an upcoming competition and closed with, “Wish us luck as we will soon embark to Los Angeles for competition, move on to Phoenix, and hopefully compete in the championships in St. Louis.”

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Ms. H, a speech-language pathologist in New York, received the USB CD drive we provided. She says, “Thank you so much for your generosity and supporting a low income school. This is a great, especially for these snowy indoor months. You have helped to make a difference in our classroom.”

I donated $100 to DonorsChoose in honor of one of my CIO webinar reviewers, which (with matching funds) provided five voice recorders for Mrs. Hendrickson’s Akron, OH elementary school class. She describes her project as, “They come from the most challenging places, experiencing some of the most heart-wrenching things, and they teach me way more than I teach them. They thrive in love and learn only after they realize someone cares about them. They come unmotivated and leave yearning to learn. They struggle significantly in reading-often 3-4 years below grade level. My students will use the Easi-Speak recorders to analyze their own reading. In order to increase reading skills they need practice figuring out their problem.”

Listening: indie pop from England-based Viola Beach. All four band members and their manager were killed Saturday when their car ran off an open drawbridge after a show in Sweden. 


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • CommonWell adds several new members, including HIMSS.
  • The President’s proposed and rejected $4.1 trillion budget would have given ONC an extra $22 million for interoperability work.
  • The Senate health committee  passes the Improving Health Information Technology Act that follows on the HELP committee’s recommendations.
  • The Department of Defense gives Leidos and Cerner a $51 million DoD EHR hosting contract over the protests of IBM, CSC, Amazon, and General Dynamics, saying the military needs Cerner’s broad data for managing population health and that Cerner wouldn’t allow them to connect to its systems in any other way.
  • Britain’s NHS announces a $6 billion push toward a paperless environment.
  • Medical practice operator One Medical Group buys the nine-employee company behind the Rise nutrition app for $20 million.

Webinars

February 17 (Wednesday) noon ET. “Take Me To Your Leader: Catholic Health Initiatives on Executive Buy-In for Enterprise Analytics.” Sponsored by Premier. Presenters: Jim Reichert, MD, PhD, VP of analytics, Catholic Health Initiatives; Rush Shah, product manager analytics factory, Premier. Catholic Health Initiatives, the nation’s second-largest non-profit health system, knew that in order to build an enterprise analytics strategy, they needed a vision, prioritization, and most importantly buy-in from their executives. Dr. Jim Reichert will walk through their approach.

February 23 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Completing your EMR with a Medical Image Sharing Strategy.” Sponsored by LifeImage. Presenters: Don K. Dennison, consultant; Jim Forrester, director of imaging informatics, UR Medicine. Care coordination can suffer without an effective, cost-efficient way to share images across provider networks. Consolidating image management systems into a single platform such as VNA or PACS doesn’t address the need to exchange images with external organizations. This webinar will address incorporating the right image sharing methods into your health IT strategy.


Sales

FamilyCare Health (OR) chooses Wellcentive’s population health quality reporting and care management solutions.


People

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Health management software vendor AssureCare names Yousuf Ahmad, DrPH (Mercy Health) as CEO. He had risen from SVP/CIO of Mercy Health to president and CEO, finishing his career there as SVP of system development.

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Verge Solutions hires Mark Crockett, MD (Best Doctors) as CEO.


Privacy and Security

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Another hospital is hit by ransomware as Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (CA) is locked out of its systems by hackers demanding $3 million to unlock its files. LAPD and the FBI are involved in the “internal emergency” that has lasted more than a week so far.

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A security researcher shows a conference group how he hacked into a hospital while sitting outside in his car, challenged by the Moscow hospital to test its cyber defenses. He couldn’t initially get past the hospital’s firewall, so instead he sat outside and cracked its Wi-Fi network, stole a poorly chosen network key, and then accessed medical equipment. He concludes that hospitals should make sure their medical equipment isn’t connected to a public network. 


Technology

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Chris Evert Children’s Hospital (FL) uses technology from its renovations contractor Skanska to send alerts to the construction crew if noise, dust, or vibration reach disruptive levels.


Other

Professional basketball player Dwight Howard gives pediatric patients at Memorial Hermann Health System a Google Cardboard-powered virtual visit to the home of his Houston Rockets, then surprises them by showing up in person.

A London newspaper profiles the making of autobiographical video exploration game “That Dragon, Cancer,” created by the parents of a five-year-old boy who died of cancer.

Here’s a pretty funny Athenahealth commercial called “What Do You Do for a Living?”

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A retired internist and self-proclaimed “dinosaur” says “the art of doctoring is dying” in a Washington Post op-ed piece. He says he would re-invent himself as a “confidentialist” who would take time to know a patient and “stand down the legions of specialists with their scalpels, catheters, and scopes; the backbone to stand up to bottom-line-toeing administrators and self-serving insurance executives and policy wonks.” He adds,

Physicians are now insulated from knowing too much about their patients. It is all about the technology, the testing, the imaging, the electronic health record, the data — once collected by the doctor, but now so regulated and overwhelming that paramedical professionals have been enlisted to record the so-called minutiae, the often rote information in which may lie important clues. Some of these may remain forever buried, the patient not wanting to share sensitive details with just anyone, especially someone who no longer makes eye contact, whose face remains buried behind a computer screen, who seems uninterested or just unskilled in reading body language — that downward glance, that shift in the chair, that half-swallowed response.

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A Russian scientist makes 48 million journal articles freely available ok Sci-Hub,  the academic version of Pirate Bay, saying she’s tired of not being able to afford the journal articles she needs for her work. She says, “Payment of $32 is just insane when you need to skim or read tens or hundreds of these papers to do research. I obtained these papers by pirating them. Everyone should have access to knowledge regardless of their income or affiliation. And that’s absolutely legal.” The article notes that she isn’t alone – prestigious universities say they can’t afford expensive journals and 15,000 scientists are boycotting publisher Elsevier, which not surprisingly is suing the researcher who claims Elsevier’s business model is illegal and immoral since it doesn’t pay the authors of articles it publishes.

England’s NHS will monitor Facebook for negative postings about hospitals and will intervene when indicated.

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CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt submits a great entry to #HealthPolicyValentines.

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Here are others I liked.


Sponsor Updates

  • TeleTracking celebrates its 25th anniversary.
  • Valence Health will exhibit at The Center for Healthcare Governance Winter Symposium February 14-17 in Phoenix.
  • Xerox Healthcare will host Regina Holliday at HIMSS16.
  • ZirMed will exhibit at the Healthpac 2016 Users Meeting February 18-20 in Savannah, GA.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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February 13, 2016 News 7 Comments

Morning Headlines 2/11/16

February 10, 2016 News No Comments

Obama budget would lift HHS spending to $1.1 trillion, entice Medicaid expansion

The President’s 2017 budget includes $82 million for ONC with $5 million earmarked for use on interoperability efforts.

Walgreens Threatens to End Theranos Agreement

As lab vendor Theranos works to resolve inspection issues discovered by CMS auditors, its primary customer, Walgreens, threatens to end the business relationship altogether.

What’s a $4.5B campus look like? Get a sneak peek

Cerner streams a live tour of the Kansas City campus is its currently constructing.  The project will add 4.7 million square feet of new office space at a cost of $4.5 billion.

HIMSS Submits Comments on NIST Cybersecurity Framework RFI

HIMSS responds to NIST’s recently published cybersecurity framework FRI, in which it applauds the effort, but calls for the framework to be a voluntary, private-sector led initiative that could be used as a tool to develop best practices around cybersecurity.

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February 10, 2016 News No Comments

Epic’s Remote Hosting Resurgence

February 10, 2016 News No Comments

Epic gets back to its roots – and attempts to keep up with the competition – with another foray into remote hosting services.
By @JennHIStalk

Rumors began swirling earlier this year when Epic purchased Mayo Clinic’s data center in Rochester, MN. The reportedly $46 million deal will see Mayo, which is scheduled to go live on Epic in 2017, lease back the 62,000 square-foot facility to Epic for at least the next four years. It’s a somewhat unconventional arrangement that signals that the company is ready to take hold of the remote hosting market.

It’s Identical to Self-Hosting

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Epic Senior Vice President Stirling Martin explains that, “In terms of the capability of the hosted systems, it’s identical to what a self-hosted organization would have. Our mission in hosting is to allow organizations to retain all of the same flexibility and configuration they would have if they were running the systems themselves. They still have a highly open platform for interfacing and integrating with third-party systems that they’re running in their own data centers or in third-party data centers.”

Remote hosting is not a new endeavor for Epic, which started out in that very field back in 1979. “About four years ago,” Martin explains, “we embarked on building a data center both for our own purposes and with an eye towards eventually doing hosting. We made the decision about 18 months ago to move forward and get back into remote hosting. Since that point, we’ve been building up infrastructure and working with early customers to get them onto the platform.”

Understanding the Options

Epic offers two hosting options. Full hosting — which includes the production systems, training, testing, and a disaster recovery copy in a geographically separate data center –  has so far been the most common request.

Standalone disaster recovery is another option. Martin notes that, “This is a great opportunity for organizations that may not have a second data center and yet want to ensure that they have a copy of their system up and running in a data center that’s geographically separate enough to be away from a natural disaster.”

He declined to give specific pricing numbers, though he did stress that pricing ultimately comes down to the size of the organization. “The number of concurrent users is the metric we talk about most,” he explains. “We factor lots of data points into the overall sizing equation – the different products they’re going to be using, if they have one hospital and a very large ambulatory practice or many hospitals and a smaller ambulatory practice.”

Clarifying the Customer Base

In making the initial announcement about its re-entry into remote hosting, the company said it would first offer the service to its medical group and small-hospital clients, potentially opening it up to large-hospital users later.

Martin says that the remote hosting service is open to all “members” of the Epic community. “Our mission in doing this was to provide our members with an additional hosting option,” he says. “We’ve probably got a little over 250,000 end users that will be hosted by Epic as these organizations roll out their systems. We have three healthcare organizations that are live in production with a couple more lined up in the coming months. All of the members that had signed up for Epic hosting are live in a non-production way, in that they’re building up the systems as part of their implementation activities. We’re preparing them for go-lives over the next six to 12 months.”

Martin adds that no customer is too small, at least from an Epic hosting standpoint. “The mission here is to provide a very scalable infrastructure that has both the capability to flex up to the very large organizations that we work with, as well as the ability to flex down to the very smaller organizations that we work with.”

He couldn’t comment as to the number of customers that will ultimately switch to Epic for their hosting services, though he did stress that, “feedback from sites that are live on it today is very positive.”

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Data Center Details

The data center’s infrastructure includes 100,000 square feet of space, buried under a nondescript hill above the floodplain on Epic’s campus and ready to accommodate added capacity as the need arises. Power generation capabilities are also underground, as is the infrastructure necessary to run critical systems.

The company is currently using a co-location facility as its secondary site until the Mayo data center can be brought up to speed. “With the purchase of that state-of-the-art data center,” says Martin, “we will migrate the existing disaster recovery systems up to the Rochester data center and then start using that as our secondary facility going forward.”

He adds that there is “tremendous redundancy falls in terms of the connectivity in the data centers to the Internet, as well as tremendous redundancy in the connections that we provision from the primary and secondary data centers to an individual health organization. We provision two diverse paths for the connectivity to ensure that there’s redundancy from each of the data centers to the health organization to make sure that no single fiber caught or telecom outage can take out all of the links at once.”

Catching Up with the Competition

Some industry insiders see Epic’s remote hosting resurgence as an attempt to keep up with Cerner, which has offered those services since 1999. Its winning DHMSM bid (with primary contractor Leidos) and the DoD’s $51 million decision to move the project’s hosting to Cerner headquarters makes the notion seem that much more valid.

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“Both vendors are investing heavily in this capability,” says Impact Advisors Vice President Lydon Neumann, “which will be difficult for other competitors to match in performance and breadth of service offerings. As for Cerner, they will continue to be a strong competitor and Epic’s entry into this market segment validates Cerner’s value proposition for this increasingly attractive hosting option. Epic and Cerner are creating a significant barrier for the other vendors in the market.”

Neumann adds that remote hosting is already bolstering Epic’s long-term prospects. “The market appears to be responding favorably to Epic’s entry into this segment. As a result, more customers and a broader segment of the market are now likely to consider Epic in order to leverage external capabilities and expertise, while gaining access to more technical services to properly maintain and enhance Epic’s enterprise solutions. Customers and prospects will also be increasingly proactive in aggressively reducing costs and will look to remote hosting to solve long-term challenges of managing and sustaining their technology infrastructure.”

The Customer Perspective

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FirstHealth of the Carolinas Vice President of Information Systems David Dillehunt took a look at Epic’s remote hosting service as part of the health system’s overall evaluation of replacement vendors. (The North Carolina-based health system is scheduled to go live on Epic on July 1, 2017.) “It didn’t impact our decision to leave McKesson. We were forced to make a change when McKesson decided to sunset the Horizon platform. Epic had not yet gone live with their first remote-hosting customer, so we elected to do the traditional on premise implementation. However, I would bet that, like most things Epic chooses to do, it will do this well and be able to deliver a solid, reliable hosting platform,” Dillehunt explains.

“I do think this will be very interesting to many potential new clients, and possibly to some older clients as well,” he adds, “particularly where there may be issues with space, power, off-site backup availability, etc. I for one do not feel that remote hosting is the magic answer, but I do believe it is one of many and should be evaluated just like any other major choice.”

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February 10, 2016 News No Comments

Morning Headlines 2/10/16

February 10, 2016 Headlines 2 Comments

Justification For Other Than Full and Open Competition

Leidos is awarded a $51 million contract to host its recently purchased Cerner EHR system.

Senate Health Committee Unanimously Passes Alexander, Murray Legislation to Improve Health Information Technology for Patients, Doctors, Hospitals

The Senate passes the Improving Health Information Technology Act, a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.). Alexander explains, “Our goal is to make our country’s electronic health record system something that helps patients rather than something that doctors and hospitals dread so much that patients are not helped”

Cerner Launches Developer Experience For SMART on FHIR Applications

Cerner launches a developer platform that will give third-party developers an opportunity to code with its SMART on FHIR API within a sandbox environment.

Skagit Regional Health approves $316 million budget; adds jobs

Skagit Regional Health (WA) will spend $72 million implementing Epic over the next 10 years.

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February 10, 2016 Headlines 2 Comments

News 2/10/16

February 9, 2016 News 4 Comments

Top News

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The Navy awards Leidos an additional $50.7 million for Cerner-provided hosting services for the DoD’s EHR as I reported here earlier, overriding the objections of IBM, CSC, Amazon, and General Dynamics. The announcement says the Cerner system can operate regardless of who hosts it, but its functionality would have been limited “to utilizing only DoD data, which greatly impacts the accuracy of analytics given the  much smaller population of data which, in turn, could negatively impact patient outcomes” and that Cerner refused to allow connection to its managed services. The document adds that third-party hosting “could adversely impact Cerner’s financial viability and competitive market advantage.” The DoD says the new award won’t increase the overall contract spending limit of $4.3 billion.


Reader Comments

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From Ickey Shuffle: “Re: Sandlot Solutions. Massive layoffs and the entire sales team was fired. They barely made payroll. Rumor is that ICW may buy the customer base.” Unverified. I reached out to board chair Rich Helppie but haven’t heard back.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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We funded Mr. Beeler’s DonorsChoose grant request for 13 environmental and science books for his high school class. He says many of the students at his Texas school go to work immediately after school and don’t get home until their work’s closing time, with only 14 percent of graduates going on to college, so he’s trying to motivate them. Mr. Chen’s class from Massachusetts also checked in to say they’re using the digital drawing tablet we provided to do sketches in Photoshop, then convert their ideas to CAD and then print them using donated 3D printers.

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Iatric Systems included a question about my HIMSS exhibit hall pet peeve (booth people playing with their phones) in their employee role-playing training for the upcoming conference In return, they donated $500 to my DonorsChoose project, which funded these requests:

  • 3D history and engineering puzzles for the STEM-focused high school class of Ms. Hayes in Charlotte, NC.
  • 26 sets of headphones for the elementary school computer lab of Mrs. Schmidt in Vero Beach, FL.
  • Three Kindle Fires and cases for the elementary school class of Mrs. Jones in Knoxville, TN.
  • Math manipulatives for Ms. VanZanten’s elementary school class in W. Valley City, UT.
  • Light experiment kits for Ms. Feeley’s elementary school class in Flushing, NY.

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I have zero interest in sports but had the Super Bowl turned on for background noise. It caught my attention when I heard an ad pitching a prescription drug for treating opioid-induced constipation. We must have one heck of a doped-up population if the constipation of long-term narcotics users justifies running a multi-million dollar 60-second Super Bowl ad. The drug industry estimates that it’s a $2 billion market as Americans seek a second pill to fix the problems caused by the first. The commercial didn’t mention the drug Movantik at all, probably to avoid the FDA’s requirements that it rattle off a long list of side effects (third pill, anyone?) Movantik costs $300 for a month’s supply. I wonder how many patients will seek a prescription for it because they’re having side effects from illegally obtained narcotics? A lot of what you need to know about what’s wrong with American healthcare is contained in this one paragraph.

On the jobs board: clinical software project manager, sales executive, interface engineer.

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The celebrity guest in our microscopic HIMSS conference booth Tuesday afternoon March 1 will be David Schoolcraft, an attorney with Ogden Murphy Wallace PLLC of Seattle, WA. Our “HIT Lawyer in the House” will be happy to say hello, talk about lawyerly HIT issues, or “just chat about how great HIStalkapalooza was.” Email Lorre if you are unnaturally funny, smart, or famous and want to prove it at our booth — it’s not like we’re drawing for Vespas or running a golf simulator on our $5,000 little patch of carpet, so about all we’ll have is a table to stand behind.


HIStalkapalooza

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HIStalkapalooza invitation emails have gone out from Eventbrite. That service provides some nice benefits: you’ll be able to check in quickly via a barcode scan, it will send reminders that you signed up, and it will allow those whose plans change to let me know so I can give House of Blues a better estimated headcount. I’ll also know who took up a spot without attending so I can invite someone else in their place next year (the no-show rate is always at least 40 percent).

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I wasn’t able to invite everyone to attend HIStalkapalooza since we needed one more sponsor to cover the cost for all the 1,700 or so people who wanted to come. I’m sorry if you didn’t receive an invitation. As usual, I invited all providers who expressed interest, then did the best I could with the people left on the list.

I had a mini-brainstorm this afternoon – since Eventbrite supports collecting online payment for tickets, next year I should simply charge the incremental price of attendance instead of just shutting down invitations once I hit the number covered by sponsors. Anyone who didn’t bother to sign up themselves or their guest who desperately wants to attend could buy a ticket for $150 or something like that instead of just being told they can’t come. My constraint is sponsor funding, not capacity, so we could handle a lot more people who are willing to pay their own way. I’ll consider that for next time.

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Just as a reminder:

  • Each attendee must have an emailed ticket to get through security. Walk-up registration will not be available (that’s a screen shot of my own ticket, which I signed up for just like everyone else).
  • Attendees cannot bring guests. I explained clearly that any guests needed to be signed up individually, just like when you buy any other kind of ticket.
  • I’m not keeping a waitlist since no-show rates were already built into attendance estimates. No additional invitations will be sent.
  • I can’t control your company’s spam filters or do the legwork to tell you while your email system didn’t allow the invitation to pass through. I’ll put up a page shortly that works like an airline’s standby list –  the truncated first and last names of each invitee will appears so you’ll know you were invited even though you won’t be easily identifiable to anyone else.

Like last year, the House of Blues doors will open at 6:30 and we’ll close the check-in table by 8:30. The event costs about $200 for each attendee who passes the House of Blues guy with the people-clicker, so swinging by after someone else’s party for a quick beer can wreck the already-stretched budget. Be there on time and you won’t have to listen to a muffled Party on the Moon from the casino outside the HOB’s walls.

You can follow along with whatever it is that people will tweet about the event using #HIStalkapalooza. I’m surprised that nobody has Twitter-bragged about getting an invitation.

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Several readers emailed to ask if we’ll have Longo Lemonade at HIStalkapalooza. I hadn’t heard of it, but figured industry long-timer Peter Longo would know (duh) so I asked him. It’s a game where you ask for a Longo Lemonade and then show the bartender how to make it if they’re stumped – apparently word has spread and many will need no further instruction. But for those bartenders who haven’t heard of it, here’s the recipe that will probably result in sugar-sticky bar surfaces all over the House of Blues:

Shake straight vodka with ice and pour into a shot class. Sprinkle a packet of sugar onto a napkin and dip a slice of lemon in the sugar to cover each side. Drink the shot and then eat the lemon slice.


Webinars

February 17 (Wednesday) noon ET. “Take Me To Your Leader: Catholic Health Initiatives on Executive Buy-In for Enterprise Analytics.” Sponsored by Premier. Presenters: Jim Reichert, MD, PhD, VP of analytics, Catholic Health Initiatives; Rush Shah, product manager analytics factory, Premier. Catholic Health Initiatives, the nation’s second-largest non-profit health system, knew that in order to build an enterprise analytics strategy, they needed a vision, prioritization, and most importantly buy-in from their executives. Dr. Jim Reichert will walk through their approach.

February 23 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Completing your EMR with a Medical Image Sharing Strategy.” Sponsored by LifeImage. Presenters: Don K. Dennison, consultant; Jim Forrester, director of imaging informatics, UR Medicine. Care coordination can suffer without an effective, cost-efficient way to share images across provider networks. Consolidating image management systems into a single platform such as VNA or PACS doesn’t address the need to exchange images with external organizations. This webinar will address incorporating the right image sharing methods into your health IT strategy.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Premier reports Q2 results: revenue up 17 percent, adjusted EPS $0.42 vs. $0.36, beating expectations for both but recording a GAAP loss of $54 million for the quarter.

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Mobile consumer payments vendor SwervePay raises $10 million in funding, increasing its total to $11.6 million. The company focuses on healthcare and auto-related services, which for appointment-setting and payments are not all that different now that I think of it.

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Cognizant announces Q4 results: revenue up 18 percent, EPS $0.69 vs. $0.59, falling short of revenue expectations but beating on earnings. Shares dropped on lower revenue guidance due to expected reduced technology spending. The company’s healthcare division, its second-largest in contributing 30 percent of total revenue, had a 23 percent revenue increase, still a slowdown from previous quarters. Cognizant acquired TriZetto for $2.7 billion in 2014.

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Human resources software vendor Zenefits fires founder and CEO Parker Conrad, informing employees that, “Many of our internal processes, controls, and actions around compliance have been inadequate, and some decisions have just been plain wrong.” Forbes estimates the net worth of 35-year-old Conrad at $900 million. The company, valued at $4.5 billion, has been accused of allowing unlicensed salespeople to sell medical insurance. Zenefits hired as its new CEO David Sacks, who co-founded Yammer (purchased by Microsoft for $1.2 billion) and who used the fortune he made as pre-IPO COO of PayPal to produce the movie “Thank You For Smoking.”


Sales

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Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System selects Strata Decision’s StrataJazz financial system.


People

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Leidos Health names Chris Freer (SPH Analytics) as sales VP.


Announcements and Implementations

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Skagit Regional Health (WA) posts 53 new IT positions with up 20 more coming in 2016 as it implements Epic, on which it expects to spend $72 million over the next five years.

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Phynd CEO Tom White attended a recent White House roundtable on technology jobs in rural America, including Phynd’s “Silicon Prairie” home of Kearney, NE. The session with 10 business leaders was hosted by Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.


Government and Politics

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The Senate health committee unanimously passes S.2511, the Improving Health Information Technology Act. Some of what the bill contains:

  • Reduce documentation burdens and allow non-physicians to document on their behalf.
  • Encourage EHR certification for technology used by specialty providers.
  • Create a health IT rating system reflecting security, usability, interoperability, and certification testing results that also incorporates user feedback.
  • Empower HHS OIG to investigate and punish data blocking.
  • Enlist data sharing networks to develop a voluntary model framework and agreement for information exchange.
  • Create a digital provider directory.
  • Require certified software to exchange information with registries that follow standards.
  • Directs the GAO to conduct a patient matching study within one year.
  • Require HHS to defer to standards created by Standards Development Organizations and consensus-based bodies.
  • Require HHS OCR to clarify provider misunderstanding about giving patients access to their own information and to publish best practices for patients to request the information. 

More details: the HELP committee’s revised summary and the Senate’s bill.

The President sends Congress a $4.1 trillion 2017 budget that would raise taxes by $2.6 trillion in the next 10 years. It includes HHS funding for the “cancer moonshot” and programs to address opioid addiction, but the big jump in federal red ink would come from Medicare and Social Security entitlement programs that are being overwhelmed with retiring Baby Boomers. The budget includes $19 billion for improving the cybersecurity of government IT systems. It doesn’t address the economic elephant in the room: that even a tiny increase in increase rates could add $1 trillion in annual costs just to service the cost of the existing massive federal debt.


Privacy and Security

A medical school professor says doctors need to stop complaining about EHRs patients shouldn’t obsess over medical records confidentiality because EHR-created databases will change the way medicine is practiced and lead to new cures. He says that simple data mining can find information “lying in plain sight, no invasive procedures or testing required. We could have found it years earlier if we had had the date.”


Technology

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Cerner launches the Cerner Open Developer Experience to allow developers to work with Cerner’s sandbox using SMART on FHIR.


Other

The British government will give NHS $6 billion to fund technology projects that will eliminate fax machines and paper, improve cyber security, create a new NHS website, and provide free wi-fi. Patients will gain online tools to schedule appointments, request prescription refills, and communicate electronically with their physicians. NHS hopes to monitor 25 percent of patients with chronic conditions remotely by 2020.

A tiny study finds that pediatricians who remotely evaluate children with fever or respiratory distress using FaceTime on an iPad perform just as well as those who conduct their examination in person.

A well-designed study of discharged heart failure patients finds that telemonitoring combined with health coaching didn’t reduce 180-day readmissions.

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Athenahealth’s Jonathan Bush, in a short interview, says that his aunt, Barbara Bush, donated $4 million in Athenahealth profits to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center. He says:

The irony is the Barbara Bush Hospital just bought Epic with that money and is building a monopoly to capture referrals that they don’t have the volume to do well. A lot of the stuff they do probably should be done somewhere else. I didn’t say all this to Bar. I said, “That’s just great,” pinching my fingernails under the table.

Weird News Andy says, “I expect it to be in ICD-11” after failing to find an ICD-10 code for the claim that a man in India was killed by a meteorite. WNA codes the encounter as, “W20.8XXA Other cause of strike by thrown, projected or falling object, initial encounter.”


Sponsor Updates

  • AdvancedMD makes its patient engagement solution available to users of its AdvancedPM technology.
  • The Nashville Post covers Cumberland Consulting Group’s move into performance improvement and revenue cycle.
  • Bernoulli participated in the IHE North American Connectathon Week in Cleveland.
  • ZeOmega launches a series of whiteboard videos about its population health management software.
  • Vital Images offers a zero-cost data migration service.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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February 9, 2016 News 4 Comments

HIStalk Interviews Kevin Johnson, MD, Chief Informatics Officer, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

February 8, 2016 Interviews 3 Comments

Kevin Johnson, MD is chief informatics officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (TN), professor and chair of biomedical informatics and professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University, and a filmmaker.

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Why is VUMC moving from McKesson Horizon to Epic instead of to McKesson Paragon?

We have enjoyed a long history with Epic as one of their first revenue cycle clients dating back to 1995. We had made a decision to upgrade our revenue cycle and billing system to a more recent Epic version for inpatient and outpatient billing. We also have Cerner’s lab system.

Our decision, therefore, was to migrate our revenue cycle, clinical, and lab environment to Epic/Epic/Cerner or Epic/Cerner/Cerner. Paragon is a system constructed with a different size and complexity health system in mind. Both Cerner and Epic were good choices for us, and after a thorough evaluation, we chose Epic for our clinical system.

What is your Epic implementation timeline?

One of Epic’s strengths is that they provide a timeline and coaching to help our team configure, test, train, and go live. We are following that timeline with a plan to go live with Epic in a big bang fashion in November 2017.

We are fortunate to have a large and talented IT group, of whom about 50 percent are migrating to the Epic project. We think that their knowledge about Vanderbilt systems and infrastructure, coupled with their knowledge about our leadership and their relationships with customers, will help us deliver this system on time.

How will the Epic system help VUMC with its current and future patient care initiatives?

We have big plans for this. I will say right off the bat that Vanderbilt is a lot like other organizations that have constructed a leading IT infrastructure. We have areas with better adoption and areas that still have unmet needs. We have dependencies on individuals, rather than teams, that put some of our best innovations at risk. And we have workflow challenges related to the need to interface, rather than integrate, some of our system components.

Going live with Epic will usher in an era with a more unified patient bill, better access to mobile tools for patients and providers, and point-of-care access to reports and other aggregate data. Epic will be a high-reliability transaction processing and core clinical system for us.

Vanderbilt has always had a distinctive strategy for IT. We are retaining our vendor-neutral operational record, so that we will have three ways to potentially extend our infrastructure.

First, we plan to work with Epic to solve new problems and to innovate when possible. Second, we are capable of adding onto Epic through the use of SMART/FHIR apps and anticipate doing so. For example, to pilot student and trainee projects. Third, we will use our vendor-neutral record, if need be, to bring up specific complex functionality not yet supported by Epic.

Our plan, though, is to use this to free up our most talented developers to innovate on unsolved challenges rather than using their expertise to keep up with regulatory or reporting demands.

Is Vanderbilt still doing work to match genetic and EHR information?

Very much so. We are actively involved with the EMERGE (electronic medical records and genomics) Consortium, as are a number of academic centers around the country. Probably the biggest innovation we’ve been able to demonstrate is how to weave drug-genome interactions into the point of care through a project called PREDICT that was internally funded.

We were incredibly honored to host the second of the Precision Medicine Initiative workshops last spring and to push on the agenda of interoperability while also considering numerous approaches to abstracting EHR information for this program. Through the efforts of Josh Denny, MD, the PheWAS method, where we use NLP on clinical documents — in addition to using structured data in the EHR — to figure out phenotypes and then scan for variants associated these phenotypes we have convincingly demonstrated the power of combining genomic and EHR data.

The world of developing predictive models for disease is literally exploding, as we know, and will continue to evolve as new and more relevant data types, such as images and sensor data, are added to the analytic ecosystem.

What is VUMC doing with population health management?

Like almost everyone, we’re learning how best to do anything in population health management. I think the key point we all must address is how little technology really does to improve population health management. What technology does well, so far, is help with the aggregation and communication of data and knowledge around performance.

What we need to do is move from communication to active decision support at the point of care, better involvement of patients in their health management, and hardwired processes to act on information being distributed that requires manual interventions. The people and process parts of managing health are simply underappreciated.  

What we’re doing at this point is building that infrastructure, in addition to scaling work people have done with diseases like ventilator-associated pneumonia and asthma across the enterprise. We are excited about working with Epic users who have done a lot with that environment and population health, such as the work Geisinger has led for years. We have a few innovative ideas that may or may not pan out.  

I do have to share with you one story. When I got my Apple Watch, the first thing I imagined is how we could push reminders to clinical providers of care, using an in-room beacon to know which patient and which provider were engaged in the encounter. Very cool, until I first looked at my watch in front of a patient, who said, “I’ll only be a minute. Sorry to keep you.” The watch, unfortunately, has a lot of baggage we would have to overcome.

It’s clear that there are some great opportunities afforded by technology, but that in the era of widespread EHR adoption and dissatisfaction, we need to be very careful.

What innovative products or companies have you seen lately that excite you?

Other than my fascination with the Watch? Along the same vein, I have great expectations for the Amazon Echo. It just feels like the right interface to do what I described above  — real-time reminders and query/response decision support — in a way that could be easily integrated into the encounter.

I’m also very intrigued by work being done to demonstrate SMART and FHIR’s potential. There are a ton of startups creating wonderful apps and data visualizations. I hope we can harness some of this energy to impact the provider- and patient-facing health information technology systems.

Another thing that really excites and scares me is the phenomenon of big data. There’s a great little video from the ACLU called “Scary Pizza.” It shows one side of a very interesting issue, which is how simple systems can evolve using data from a number of sources. The goal of the ACLU piece is to scare us into fear about a loss of privacy. That’s one angle.

Another angle is to view it as an informatics challenge. How can we provide this level of decision support in a more acceptable fashion? For example, what if there was a way to use data about a house configuration to decide that the house might be difficult for rehab after a stroke? What if there was a way to know that the home’s electricity had been off on a few occasions, thereby changing the suitability for a home ventilator? I imagine that these types of data will truly transform the patient-provider interaction in the next decade.

What has been the response to your movie "No Matter Where?"

The movie tries to help lay audiences understand the issues surrounding information sharing. It’s been a very successful run so far. We had showings in Ann Arbor, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and San Francisco as a part of the AMIA meeting last fall. We have screenings being planned now in Indiana, Oregon, and Oklahoma. We have sold more than 100 copies of the DVD and are working on getting the film shown on public television. I’ve been pleased by the response so far.  We’ll see how 2016 treats us.

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February 8, 2016 Interviews 3 Comments

News 2/3/16

February 2, 2016 News 1 Comment

Top News

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The White House will ask Congress to approve $1 billion for President Obama’s so-called “cancer moonshot.” Some of the areas to be funded within HHS are early detection via genomics, enhanced data sharing among institutions, and a virtual FDA Oncology Center of Excellence to review new combination products.


Reader Comments

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From Judo Chop: “Re: Florida Hospital and Athenahealth. This is part of the December announcement by its parent company Adventist Health System selecting Athenahealth. Florida Hospital will replace a combination of Epic ambulatory EHR that’s used in a handful of clinics, Cerner ambulatory EHR, and Allscripts (the old Misys product) PM. Most of the rest of AHS is using NextGen’s EHR/PM.“ Adventist announced in December that it will be deploying Athenahealth’s PM/EHR to 1,600 employed physicians.

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From Polecat: “Re: Meaningful Use hardship exception. The new form doesn’t even ask the EP or EH to submit documentation of their claimed reason.” Correct. I think we can assume that this wink-wink form means CMS will allow anyone to avoid EHR penalties. MU is an embarrassment to everyone involved at this point and even the government is trying to distance itself from it. Just check “EHR Certification/Vendor Issues” and you’re done.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Mrs. Haley from Georgia couldn’t wait to send photos of her special education and gifted students using the three tablets we provided in funding her DonorsChoose grant request. She took these photos the day they arrived, where she had already installed reading and testing apps.

Also checking in was Mrs. B from North Carolina, who just got word that we had funded her request for science activity tubs. She says, “I couldn’t believe the email I received with information about my project … I yelled out loud and other staff members came to my classroom to see what was going on … I try to purchase what I can, but it seems as if my money is not going very far these days. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. You have made one teacher very happy … You will never know if a future mineralogist, petrologist, or geologist will be inspired by these kits!”

I was thinking today: has anyone actually ever heeded the warning to, “If this is a medical emergency, hang up and dial 911” after hearing those boring, time-wasting phone tree warnings when calling everyone from a dermatologist to a drugstore?


HIStalkapalooza

HIStalkapalooza Sponsor Profile – Fujifilm

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With 16 years of industry-leading experience, our TeraMedica division remains independently focused on advancing VNA technology and healthcare interoperability while now leveraging Fujifilm‘s clinical capabilities. As the centerpiece of Fujifilm’s comprehensive medical informatics portfolio, Synapse VNA provides the industry’s leading image management solution. Fujifilm is proud to sponsor HIStalkapalooza. Visit us during HIMSS16 for all your medical informatics requirements, Booth #1024.

HIStalkapalooza Sponsor Profile – PatientSafe Solutions

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PatientSafe Solutions has mobilized clinicians and redefined clinical workflows for more than a decade. Meet our team in Booth #4257 to learn how our Clinical Communications platform improves patient care and satisfaction while decreasing costs. Meet us at HIMSS. Our team can’t wait for HIStalkapalooza this year. Look for us at the event to get your picture taken for the 2016 HIStalkapalooza video!


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Huron Consulting Group acquires 25-employee, Denver-based MyRounding, which offers a mobile rounding and survey tool for hospitals.

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Aetna announces that its profit jumped 38 percent in the most recent quarter, mostly due to its Medicare and Medicaid business, but says it lost money on its exchange-issued policies and warns that it has “serious concerns about the sustainability of the public exchanges.”

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Alphabet, the recently formed parent company of Google, surpasses Apple as the world’s most valuable company after reporting impressive numbers in its first detailed report. Alphabet made $4.9 billion in profit on $21.3 billion in revenue for the quarter. Share price jumped 8 percent on the news, raising the company’s market capitalization to $559 billion.

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Sunquest parent Roper Technologies reports Q4 results: revenue flat, EPS $1.82 vs. $1.85, missing estimates for both and issuing 2016 guidance below expectations. The CEO said in the earnings call, “We think we will have mid-single digit organic growth in Medical throughout 2016 and we think that will get stronger as the year goes on. Sunquest has a number of version changes and software release updates that are rolling out in the second half that will be quite beneficial. And then Strata, Data Innovations, and SoftWriters which are growing rapidly, will become organic in the second half. Verathon and Northern Digital are going to continue to grow at a relatively high rate in 2016. And then we closed on January 7 the CliniSys acquisition in the UK, which is a European hospital laboratory software provider, and it will add to our acquisition sales growth in 2016.”

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Machine learning vendor Digital Reasoning, which acquired Shareable on January 8 to create its healthcare business, raises $18.6 million, increasing its total to $53 million.

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A New York Times article questions whether it was wise for the struggling Theranos to hire star litigator and company director David Boies as its legal representative, given that he would be representing Theranos management as a lawyer while his responsibility as a director is to the company’s shareholders. It concludes,

The potential for conflict is particularly great. What if Ms. Holmes resists changes that would be in the interest of shareholders? What if the board decides that it is time for her to go — and she stands her ground? The board could do little more than throw up its collective hands under the current governance structure. Mr. Boies and the other outside directors could resign in protest. But why would anyone, particularly Mr. Boies, be a director on a board that lacked the power to make fundamental changes? Indeed, what is Mr. Boies thinking? He may be paid lots of money for his roles, but for someone so successful and savvy to put himself in a position that is bound to be problematic is puzzling.

Meanwhile, Theranos finds another foot to shoot in indefinitely delaying its October promise to allow Cleveland Clinic to validate its technologies and insisting that it won’t publish anything about those technologies in peer-reviewed journals until it receives FDA approval for all 120 of its tests.


Sales

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Joseph Brant Hospital (Ontario) chooses FDB MedsTracker MedRec for medication reconciliation.

Craneware signs a $7.5 million contract with an unnamed hospital operator.


People

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Seattle Children’s Hospital (WA) names interim SVP/CIO Jeff Brown (Lawrence General Hospital) to the permanent role. He holds three master’s degrees in business administration, executive management, and health informatics.

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Allscripts names Melinda Whittington (Kraft Foods Group) as CFO.

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CareSync hires Russell Dumas (Napier HealthCare) as VP of clinical operations, David Antle (BobCAD-CAM) as VP of client services, and Teri Spencer (GTE Financial) as VP of human resources.

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Cumberland Consulting Group hires Terrell Warnberg (QHR) as partner over its new performance improvement practice.

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The Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) appoints Epic President Carl Dvorak to its board and names David Muntz (GetWellNetwork) as senior advisor of public policy.

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Athenahealh hires Prakash Khot (Kaseya) as CTO.

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Laura Momplet, RN (Dignity Health) joins CTG as chief operations officer and chief clinical officer.

Employee health platform vendor Healthcare Interactive names John Capobianco (KickStart Partners) as president and chief marketing officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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Craneware will offer patient payment plan technology from VestaCare with its medical necessity and price estimation products.

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Premier announces that it will conduct Innovator Research using Medicare data from CMS’s Virtual Research Data Center. Premier’s research division will analyze episodes of care to identify best clinical practices for care improvement and cost reduction.

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A Surescripts study of New York providers finds that 93 percent of pharmacies can receive electronic prescriptions for controlled substances while only 27 percent of prescribers have the technology to issue them. It also finds that 58 percent of prescribers are issuing electronic prescriptions in general. New York’s I-STOP law requires that all prescriptions be transmitted electronically by March 27, 2016, meaning a huge number of prescribers need to take action in the next seven weeks.


Government and Politics

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio hires a consulting firm to figure out what to do about the city’s 11-hospital Health + Hospitals Corporation, which despite extensive city support is expected to run a deficit of $2 billion within the next three years. The health system hopes to convince more patients with commercial insurance to use its facilities than those of its competitors, all of which have similar ambitions.


Privacy and Security

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Australia’s Royal Melbourne Hospital says it hasn’t completely eradicated the Qbot malware that infected its Windows XP computers two weeks ago. The hospital says the virus mutated six times in a single day. The keystroke-capturing malware penetrated the hospital’s pathology computers via a Windows XP exploit, managing to evade detection by the hospital’s updated antivirus product.


Other

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A study finds that mobile text messaging increases medication adherence rates in chronic disease patients from an assumed baseline of 50 percent to 68 percent, although the sites that are screaming this out as big news failed to note that:

  • It’s a meta-analysis, meaning that instead of doing new research it just combines information from previously published studies.
  • The studies it reviewed involved fewer than 3,000 patients combined.
  • Texting results were measured only for a short duration.
  • The studies relied on what patients said they did rather than measuring what they actually did.
  • The text messaging in each study was not consistent as to frequency and style.

This is not newsworthy other than the fact that it was published in JAMA Internal Medicine, where it will reach a wide audience. It’s also surprising that the journal misspelled the name of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in its author affiliation section.

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Duke University Health System (NC) reports making a record profit of $355 million for 2015, explaining that, “For the three or four years leading up to this past year, we had made a series of investments in facilities and information systems that helped to relieve capacity constraints limiting growth … With our new IT capabilities, we are able to better manage care across the spectrum and become more efficient in that way.” The system said it made a lot of money by buying up oncology practices to increase inpatient volume.

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I received a survey link from HIMSS about its Learning Center, which sells thinly disguised advertising via its HIMSS Media business. Being a member of HIMSS means being inundated with its vendor-sponsored pitches, in this case disguised as “education,” where high-paying vendor members pay dearly to be hooked up with low-paying provider members in the “ladies drink free” business model. 

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The Virginia Tech professor who led the study proving that the water in Flint, MI contains dangerous levels of lead says public science is broken as university faculty members are pressured to get funding and to become famous. He explains, “Where were we as academics for all this time before it became financially in our interest to help? … Science should be about pursuing the truth and helping people. If you’re doing it for any other reason, you really ought to question your motives … Everyone’s invested in just cranking out more crap papers … when you reach out to them, as I did with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and they do not return your phone calls, they do not share data, they do not respond to FOIA … every single rock you turn over, something slimy comes out.”

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A Congressional investigation finds that despite the patient-focused claims of since-fired Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli, the company was gloating with delight at the profits it would make by jacking up the price of ancient drug Daraprim by 50-fold.

Weird News Andy titles this sad story “Out of the frying pan and into the fryer.” A patient with mental illness jumps out of a moving ambulance while being transported from a hospital and is struck and killed by a driver who then fled the scene.


Sponsor Updates

  • Catalyze co-founder and CEO Travis Good, MD will speak on “Excitement in Healthcare Regulation” at the 2016 Hosting Milestone Summit Series on February 4 in Las Vegas.
  • Divurgent will attend the South Carolina HIMSS Networking Reception & Dinner February 4 in Columbia.
  • FormFast gears up for HIMSS16.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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February 2, 2016 News 1 Comment

HIStalk Interviews Marc Probst, VP/CIO, Intermountain Healthcare

February 1, 2016 Interviews No Comments

Marc Probst is VP/CIO at Intermountain Healthcare of Salt Lake City, UT.

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You have a history of speaking out about Meaningful Use. How has your opinion of it changed over the last several years?

Meaningful Use came out as a stimulus package. Did it stimulate the economy and health IT? It clearly did. If that was the plan, it was successful. Did it get more EHRs in physicians’ offices and in hospitals? It clearly did.

Did it move healthcare dramatically to lower costs, or even incrementally, to lower costs and higher quality? It has not. It has a long way to go, and because of the way we approached it, with check-the-box certification and achievement of Meaningful Use, it just didn’t deal with the underlying challenges of things like standards of interoperability.

The last point on that is simply how much money we’ve spent for the value that we’ve gotten. It’s minimal. All along, I felt we should have dealt with that and that’s why I’ve been so outspoken, a thorn, probably, in the side of my colleagues at ONC.

What was your reaction to Andy Slavitt’s remarks at the JP Morgan Health Care Conference, and then in the follow-up CMS blog?

On one hand, it’s disappointing because we’d like to see the end of Meaningful Use. I don’t speak for every CIO, but the ones I know were kind of excited to see it end. It wasn’t achieving necessarily all the objectives we want to achieve, so that was the negative.

The good side is that the national conversations picked up around what is the value of Meaningful Use and how the program should be changed to become more effective. I think that’s positive. The water under the bridge is how much money we’ve spent and the steps we’ve taken to this point.

The optimist in me things we’re going to have a good conversation about it. We’re going to talk a lot more about outcomes and how organizations can achieve outcomes that are better with technology. If properly done, properly incentivized by the government or not disincentivized by penalties, I think we can make some really important strides.

How would you like to see Meaningful Use transition into something truly beneficial?

I’d like to see it become outcomes-driven. If I can prove to you that I have lowered the incidence of diabetes or some of the clinical outcomes that are associated with diabetes because I’ve used information systems and data to do that, that’s a good thing. It lowers cost for the country and improves healthcare.

If we can do that with diabetes, let’s go to heart disease. Let’s go to incidence of jaundice in or around birth. There’s so many areas we could focus on, and if we turned it to that direction, you’re going to have clinicians and technologists working together to leverage these tools we’ve put in place to improve care and lower cost.

That ought to be our outcome, not whether or not we placed 60 or 90 percent of our orders through CPOE. If we can shift that conversation and then the incentives around that, I can just see massive innovation and much more benefit come out of these systems.

Intermountain is just over two years into its contract with Cerner. How is the partnership going?

It’s going very well. I think like every other organization, our very first go-live was a learning experience. Having to help physicians and other clinicians understand how to use the system was a tad painful. It wasn’t easy. We were Intermountain Healthcare. We thought we knew everything, but we had a few things we had to learn.

We did that last March. We went live with our first two facilities on clinical and rev cycle. That was two hospitals and about 20 clinics. Then we went live in late October with two more hospitals much larger in size, one of them our second-largest hospital.

Then probably 60 more clinics and rev cycle and everything surrounding it. That one went much better because we had learned so much from our first implementation and we’re now ready to go much more quickly. We’re going to probably bring up probably 12 to 15 more hospitals in 2016. We know how to do it better now, so I would say it’s going very well.

If you had to pinpoint one lesson learned that you’d like to share with other CIOs and IT teams, what would that be?

Adequate resources on the clinical side to help physicians adopt their work flows, without a doubt. It wasn’t technical issues. Technically, this thing went swimmingly. It’s all around adoption, use of the system, and changing work flows.

Did you bring in any consultants to help with those initial implementations?

The second one we did. The first one we did all on our own with Cerner’s help. The second one we brought in Leidos, primarily, to really help us get it done. They were very, very helpful. We’ll use them going forward.

What’s the biggest lesson you think your end users have learned or are in the process of learning?

Just how involved they have to be. You must have leadership on all levels. We’re divided into regions and then those regions have multiple facilities in them. That local leadership has to participate. This isn’t something that can be done to them. It has to be done with them. As they participate, our success rate goes way up.

What sort of ROI are you looking to get from your partnership with Cerner?

I don’t think any of us have fooled ourselves into thinking it’s going to be cheaper than our self-developed systems. What we’re getting with Cerner is a much more comprehensive solution. That’s been really positive.

Given that we’ve built systems very unique to the needs of Intermountain, our concern in transitioning to a system we didn’t build was, would we be able to retain that level of … I hate to use the word interoperability … tightness between what we’re doing from data analytics and what we’re trying to do from a process and workflow perspective to obtain those levels of best practice care and cost that Intermountain is known for. It’s actually what drove us to Cerner, because we thought we had a much better chance of doing it with them than we might with one of their competitors.

To date, that’s become much less of a concern. We’ve achieved a lot. We’ve done a lot of work in enhancing the core Cerner model system to have more of those capabilities, so I think our ROI is with this more comprehensive system and the greater amount of data that it provides.

We can go to the next level of best practice care. We don’t think we’ve gotten there. We think we can build in a lot more activity-based procedures and cost mechanisms so that we can even better understand where we’re spending money and where we can lower our costs and improve our quality. That’s really been our focus and that’s where we see the ROI.

The expense of doing something like this … did we lower IS costs or workforce costs? We haven’t really focused on that and we won’t. We know the benefit comes from providing better care and doing it at a cost that’s lower than what we’re doing today.

What is Intermountain looking to accomplish from a population health management standpoint this year?

We’re building a digital health strategy, and so this year we’ll be looking at how to engage patients with portals, mobile, that kind of thing. We’re really building out the strategy on how to do that. To suggest in 2016 we’ll accomplish a ton, I don’t think so. We’re just getting our ducks in a row this year as to how we’ll pull it off.

However, from the data side, we’re looking at understanding where our opportunities are around population health. How do we get to value-based payment and how do we contract with physicians that are going to be moving to population health and value-based care? We’re working with Cerner with HealtheIntent to support that exercise, but we’re also depending upon our legacy electronic data warehouse and traditional analytics.

What will you be looking at on the HIMSS show floor this year?

Security’s going to be a big issue. In fact, I just got out of a meeting to have this call, an all-day meeting that’s got some big players in town talking security.

Also, I think anything around population health and more visible things like portals, mobile, and wearables, that kind of thing. That’ll be pretty interesting to me.

Plus, I’m looking forward to connecting with old friends. I’ve been in the industry a long time and it’s a pretty small one, all things considered. It’s a great industry.

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February 1, 2016 Interviews No Comments

Monday Morning Update 2/1/16

January 31, 2016 News 9 Comments

Top News

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CMS proposes a rule that would allow qualified entities – of which 13 have been approved so far — to provide or sell Medicare and private claims data to providers to support quality improvement. Only two of the qualified entities report provider performance nationally — Health Care Cost Institute and Amino. Physician practices (or employers paying for their services) would be able to review all-payer data for their patients.


Reader Comments

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From Eddie T. Head: “Re: CHIME’s patient identifier challenge. A 100 percent match is unrealistic. Even in countries with a national medical identifier the accuracy is about 95 percent. The 100 percent goal will get in the way of creating a real solution nationwide.”

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From AthenaAscending: “Re: Florida Hospital. Is replacing Epic’s PM/EHR with Athenahealth.” Unverified.

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From Unintended Consequences: “Re: AGH in Pittsburgh. Its Epic acute go-live has created medical care havoc in peripheral LTAC and SNF facilities that had relied on Allscripts Sunrise for order entry and results retrieval. They are not on Epic and have resorted to a 1980s paper requisition and lab retrieval system. Doctors cannot see a list of their patients. AGH’s command team has informed doctors that stat orders must be called in and cases ordered as consultations won’t appear on the consultant’s patient list.” Unverified. 


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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A reader asked me to post a single summary of my unsuccessful quest to obtain an electronic copy of my hospital stay information, which I’ve done here.

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A surprising 80 percent of poll respondents aren’t fans of the idea of the ONC-published EHR star rating that Congress is considering. Jacob Reider commented that it’s a terrible idea and is outside of the government’s role. Ross Koppel says summarizing complex systems with a single star rating is simplistic. Barbara Hillock thinks such ratings would be misleading since they would be driven by the expectations of customers who don’t always follow the vendor’s implementation recommendations. Meltoots commented that ONC and CMS need to stop getting in the way of patient care with new programs.

New poll to your right or here: how have recent statements from CMS affected your perception of HHS/CMS/ONC?

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

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Mrs. Johnson from Illinois sent photos of her kindergarten class using the math tools we providing in funding her DonorsChoose grant request. She says, “It was so generous of you to help us succeed in getting some of the tools we need to make learning math engaging and fun! The look in these kids’ eyes when I tell them we have something new that will help us learn is motivation for me. I couldn’t have provided these materials on my own and appreciate the support you have given.”

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Epic consulting firm BlueTree Network donated $1,000 to secure a spot at my CIO lunch at the HIMSS conference, which allowed me to fully fund these DonorsChoose teacher grant requests with the help of matching funds:

  • Science activity tubs for Mrs. B’s first grade class in Richfield, NC.
  • Three iPad Minis, cases, and a document camera for the second grade class of Mrs. Mann of West Newton, PA.
  • Electricity and magnetism activity tubs for Ms. Anderson’s fourth grade class in Phoenix, AZ.
  • Two Osmo gaming systems for Mrs. Boyd’s elementary school class in Chocowinity, NC.
  • Three programmable robots and engineering components for the new middle school robotics club started by Mr. Rector in Beebe, AR.
  • STEM challenge kits and for Mrs. May’s special education classes in Edgewater, FL.

HIStalkapalooza

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I have received over 1,200 requests to attend HIStalkapalooza, so I’m closing signups Monday. Sign up now or never. I’ll be able to invite most of the people who signed up. We’ll be handling invitations, RSVPs, reminders, and electronic check-in through Eventbrite this time and I expect the invitation emails will go out this week. This is where the annoying part of throwing a free party begins as it does every year when I vow that this year’s event will be the last because of the time and energy it requires:

  • People will email me asking if they can bring a guest. If you didn’t sign up your guest like the form clearly states, then they can’t come – it’s like going to an Adele concert or traveling on American Airlines –everybody needs a ticket, with the only difference being that HIStalkapalooza tickets are free.
  • I’ll hear from folks who claim to be the most loyal and careful readers who swear they mysteriously missed the dozens of times I’ve provided signup instructions and wanted to be added after the fact. Sorry, no, it’s only a party and your life won’t be ruined if you miss it because you couldn’t follow the rules everybody else figured out.
  • Vendor administrative assistants who don’t read HIStalk and who signed up bunches of their executives (who rarely actually show up) will start bugging us about why they haven’t received invitations. That’s actually already happened as the admin of one company keeps asking why her 23 executives haven’t been invited yet. This isn’t a company outing and we have more important things to do than swap party-related emails, so I’m hitting “delete” on those.

Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • CMS warns Theranos that its California lab practices are dangerous to patients and that it has 10 days to fix the problems or face suspension from Medicare.
  • Leidos announces that it will acquire the IT business of Lockheed Martin for $5 billion.
  • Cerner Chairman and CEO Neal Patterson notifies shareholders that he is being treated for soft tissue cancer.
  • A Texas hospital regains access to its EHR after being locked out for more than a week by ransomware.
  • Flint, MI-based Hurley Medical Center says it was hit by a cyberattack by hacker group Anonymous, which is protesting the city’s water crisis.
  • Big Bucks Equals Big Interest in CHIME’s National Patient ID Challenge.
  • McKesson’s Paragon Dilemma.

Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Capital BlueCross orders Theranos to stop performing blood draws in Capital’s storefront in Hampden Township, PA following a CMS investigation that found deficiencies in the California lab of Theranos that “pose immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety.”

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Xerox will split itself into two companies, responding to pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn to separate its $11 billion document imaging business from its $7 billion business process outsourcing. Xerox, which acquired Affiliated Computer Services for $5.6 billion in 2010 and will now basically spin it back off, has 104,000 employees who will be part of the new BPO company. Xerox announced Q4 results with the announcement: revenue down 8 percent (its 15th consecutive quarter of declining sales), adjusted EPS $0.32 vs. $0.31, beating earnings expectations.

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WeiserMazars acquires Lion & Company CPAs, which includes healthcare consulting among its offerings.

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Quality Systems (NextGen) announces Q3 results: revenue down 1.7 percent, EPS $0.16 vs. $0.16, missing on revenue but beating on earnings. Shares dropped nearly 20 percent Friday on the news. Above is the one-year share price of QSII (blue, down 20.7 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, down 1.34 percent). Five-year performance looks a lot worse, as Quality Systems shares dropped 67 percent as the Nasdaq gained 67 percent.

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The HCI Group acquires Houston-based Expert Technical Advisors.

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Philadelphia-based orthopedic practice The Rothman Institute and the University of Virginia Health System participate in a $4 million funding round for Locus Health, a remote care management company of which both organizations are customers.

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Meditech publishes its FY2015 annual report. Revenue was down 8 percent for the year (“primarily due to lower product bookings”) and net income dropped from $124 million to $70 million. Neil Pappalardo owns about $450 million worth of shares.  


Announcements and Implementations

Recondo Technology launches MySurePayHealth, which allows patients to estimate their out-of-pocket cost for a given procedure.

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An emerging technology site profiles Valdic co-founder and CTO Drew Schiller as part of its “Today’s Entrepreneur” series, in which he lists his top three lessons learned:  (a) if someone isn’t interested in paying for your product, ask them what they would pay for; (b) reputations follow you, so treat everyone well; and (c) we are so fortunate to be living in an era where it is this easy to start a new company and iterate on ideas.


Government and Politics

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Ashkan Soltani, senior advisor to White House CTO Megan Smith on loan from the Federal Trade Commission, announces that he has effectively been fired after just six weeks on the job when the Office of Personnel Security denies his security clearance. Soltani, whose White House assignment involved privacy, data ethics, and recruiting technologists for government service, previously won a Pulitzer prize as part of the Washington Post investigative team that revealed the extent to which the National Security Agency spies on American citizens.

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This might be the highest-profile bungling of the HIMSS acronym. Pedantic grammarians such as myself smugly note that HIMSS and HIPAA are “acronyms” as opposed to “initialisms” (acronyms are sounded out as words, while initialisms are pronounced as their individual letters, as in “CIA” or “IBM”).


Privacy and Security

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Scientific American’s “How Data Brokers Make Money Off Your Medical Records” contains no new information, but gives the public a glimpse at how companies are buying and selling their de-identified medical information. It mentions IMS Health, which takes in $2.6 billion per year by combining and repackaging information on 500 million people worldwide and then selling insights to drug companies and other to help them target sales. It repeats the now-obvious concept that it’s not hard to re-identify people by linking multiple databases. Drug company Pfizer spends $12 million per year to buy health data, but even its own analytics director says patients own their data, should be told how it’s being used, and should be given the ability to opt out of data that’s being collected for purely commercial purposes.


Technology

A Fast Company article describes the use of robots in long-term care, giving as an example Luvozo’s SAM “robotic concierge” that uses remote care staff. 


Other

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A good interview with WebMD’s dethroned founder Jeff Arnold, now CEO of Atlanta-based Sharecare, describes how the company uses individual results from its acquired RealAge health questionnaire to push content to users. Sharecare also offers personal health consultations via its AskMD app and publishes a voice-analyzing app to detect stress. On the downside, the company’s co-founder is the pseudo-medical huckster Dr. Oz.

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Kaiser Health News describes the enthusiasm patients of Newport Orthopedic Institute are expressing for the empathetic, automated post-surgery daily emails they receive from the practice’s HealthLoop system. The article provides an example of a knee surgery patient who responded to a system-generated, emailed question about calf pain, which triggered his doctor to see him immediately and diagnosis his dangerous blood clot.

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The Hurley Medical Center pediatrician who uncovered the human effects of the Flint, MI water crisis credits the hospital’s Epic system and EHRs in general for allowing her to quickly discover the increasing number of children with high levels of lead in their bloodstream. “If we did not have Epic, if we did not have (electronic medical records), if we were still on paper, it would have taken forever to get these results,” says Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH. She cross-referenced the abnormal blood levels to home addresses using geographic information system software to prove what was happening despite the denials of state officials. She is also adding an Epic flag to allow doctors to track those children for lead poisoning symptoms that can take years to emerge. Note once again the key involvement of a doctor trained in public health when discovering and responding to a regional crisis.

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Chester County, PA commissioners proclaim January 29 as R. James Macaleer Day, honoring the recently deceased local charitable benefactor and founder of Shared Medical Systems on his birthday.

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The US Army Reserve highlights the actions of three members of the 345th Combat Support Hospital of Jacksonville, FL who are deployed to Kosovo and who saved the life of a motorcycle accident victim while on leave in Greece. Those involved were Major David Whaley, who is a doctor of pharmacy; Colonel Edward Perez-Conde, brigade surgeon; and Major Kirk Shimamoto, a doctor of dental surgery. Perez-Conde says he considered using a pocketknife and ball point pen to relieve the victim’s pneumothorax, but, “we didn’t know how the police would react to a medical procedure using a pocketknife and we certainly didn’t want to go to jail.”

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Flint-based McLaren Health Care (MI) will centralize its 13 billing and collections offices, saying it lags in standardizing its revenue cycle processes but hopes it can increase revenue by $30 million by reducing denials and increasing collections. The health system also says it is working on integrating Cerner’s EHR and patient billing systems.

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An article describing how ad-supported publishers are “freaking out” over their readers using ad-blocking software provides an example in Modern Healthcare. The Interactive Advertising Bureau calls AdBlock Plus, which has been downloaded 500 million times, “unethical” and “immoral,” declining to note that publishers are producing content that few people are willing to pay for in any form, including by the viewing of ads.

A New Hampshire jury awards $32 million to a former Walmart pharmacist who claims she suffered gender discrimination in being wrongfully terminated for notifying the state’s board of pharmacy about the large number of errors the pharmacy was making, some of which the store manager inappropriately blamed on her. Mauren McPadden, who had worked for the company for 18 years, also says Walmart violated her HIPAA rights by accessing her PHI and telling co-workers that she had suffered a nervous breakdown. Walmart claims it fired her because she lost her pharmacy keys.


Sponsor Updates

  • T-System offers free tool to providers for documentation and diagnosis of influenza patients.
  • Valence Health will exhibit at the HFMA First Illinois Managed Care Meeting February 4 in Chicago.
  • Huron Consulting Group releases a new clinical research management briefing.
  • ZirMed will exhibit at the AAPAN Annual Forum February 1-2 in Laguna Niguel, CA.
  • Aprima launches its redesigned website. 
  • Caradigm completes the ConCert by HIMSS interoperability testing and certification program.
  • Sandlot Solutions will exhibit at the Louisiana Hospital Association’s Winter Leadership Symposium February 2-3 in Baton Rouge.
  • Surescripts will exhibit at the EHealth Initiative 2016 Annual Conference February 3-4 in Washington, DC.

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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January 31, 2016 News 9 Comments

Morning Headlines 1/29/16

January 28, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

2015/2016 Best in KLAS Winners: Software and Services

KLAS publishes its annual list of Best in KLAS winners. Epic takes the Acute Care EMR category. Cerner wins Acute Care EMR for community hospitals, while MEDITECH wins the community HIS category.

No patient records involved in possible NCH computer breach

NCH Healthcare System (FL) notifies its employees that two servers being hosted at Cerner’s Kansas City data center have been breached, exposing employee and medical staff credentialing information.

CPSI Announces Fourth Quarter and Year-End 2015 Results and 2016 Guidance

CPSI announces Q4 and year-end results:revenue of  $44 million for the quarter, down 4.5 percent from last year, EPS $0.30 vs. $0.60, missing estimates on both.

MidMichigan Health investing $55M for electronic medical record system

MidMichigan Health selects Epic to replace its existing Cerner and Allscripts EHRs, for a total project cost of $55 million that the health system expects will pay for itself within six years.

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January 28, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

News 1/29/16

January 28, 2016 News 2 Comments

Top News

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CMS warns lab company Theranos that its December inspection of the company’s California laboratory found deficient practices that “pose immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety.” CMS has given the company 10 days to prove that it has corrected the problems, threatening to revoke its Medicare certification otherwise. Theranos respondes that 90 percent of its lab work is done in its Arizona facility and says it has already fixed some of its California lab problems, including hiring a qualified lab director.

Walgreens, which seems anxious to wangle out of its deal with Theranos, has told Theranos it doesn’t want its samples processed in the California lab and has closed its Theranos Wellness Center in Palo Alto, CA. Walgreens admits only that it is “currently in discussions about the next phase of our relationship.”


Reader Comments

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From The PACS Designer: “Re: better cancer detection. Researchers at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Engineering have developed haptic gloves that can more easily detect potential types of breast cancer lumps through a new type of bendable sensor. The gloves cling more tightly to your fingers, thus improving the feel aspect of detection.”

From Pale Imitator: “Re: KLAS report on Soarian. You didn’t mention how Soarian is seen as an orphan product.” KLAS has stopped sending me anything about their reports, so I don’t mention them since I don’t even have a summary to review like other sites apparently get. For example, I noticed KLAS’s tweet that talked up Medicity’s “most improved vendor” performance in its year-end awards and clicked the link, but goes to a sign-up page that doesn’t even mention Medicity’s award, so I’m left with nothing. Back to your original comment, Soarian is an orphan product, of course, with only the timeline in question.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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FlexPrint donated $1,000 to attend my CIO lunch at HIMSS, which funded these DonorsChoose teacher grant requests:

  • A programmable robot for Mr. Fess’s elementary school class in Port St. Lucie, FL.
  • A programmable robot for Mr. Jewell’s  sixth grade engineering class in Beebe, AR.
  • Headphones for Ms. Garris’s elementary school class in Fayetteville, NC.
  • Math tools for Ms. Reynolds’s elementary school class in Springfield, MO.
  • Electronic circuitry kits for Mr. Shawver’s career pathways high school class in Taos, NM, in a project led by sophomore Zack, who wants to earn a Harvard doctorate in math and engineering.
  • Math games for Mrs. Dlouhy’s elementary school class in Las Vegas, NV.
  • STEM activities for Mrs. Newman’s second grade class in Indianapolis, IN.
  • A document camera and wireless printer for Mrs. Garcia’s elementary school class in New Haven, CT.
  • Dry erase boards and markers for Ms. Hughes’s elementary school class in Marietta, SC.

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QPID Health also donated $1,000, which funded these requests:

  • A Chromebook, mouse, and case for Mrs. Williamson’s English language learner class in Rentz, GA.
  • Science reading books for Mr. Beeler’s high school class in Houston, TX.
  • Two trumpets for the area’s first band program led by Ms. A in Dallas, TX.
  • Science learning centers for the kindergarten class of Ms. Estes in Franklin, TN.

This week on HIStalk Practice: Mississippi taps Teladoc for virtual firefighter care. Emerge Urgent Care opens as the "first telemedicine-based urgent care center in the US." Amazing Charts President John Squire lays out his vision for the problem-oriented medical record. RetraceHealth raises $500,000. AMA convenes disgruntled physicians for a town hall vent session in Seattle. PCPSs in Arkansas, South Dakota, and Iowa have it made – unless they’re female. Riverside Medical Group opts for an "always-open" model.

This week on HIStalk Connect: In England, the NHS partners with IBM, GE, Phillips, Google, and others to roll out several digital health pilot projects designed to objectively evaluate the benefit of introducing new technologies to care delivery. CMS sends a public letter to Theranos after discovering deficiencies during a routine lab inspection that could put patient safety in "immediate jeopardy." Texas Medical Center welcomes 13 startups to its TMCx accelerator program. Neurotrack raises a $6.5 million Series B to roll out an Alzheimer’s disease diagnostic tool that can detect cognitive impairment six years before symptoms present.


HIStalkapalooza

HIStalkapalooza Sponsor Profile – Clinical Path Consulting

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Clinical Path Consulting is dedicated to optimizing the benefits of digital healthcare. Our team of industry experts help healthcare providers take advantage of technology to make operations more efficient, meet regulatory requirements, and improve the overall quality of patient care. Our professionals have extensive experience with, and an in-depth understanding of, healthcare business processes and industry technologies. Our services range from EMR implementation, optimization, upgrades, and training to specialized services, including our Healthcare Reporting Lab and our Clinical Concierge Program.


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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McKesson reports Q3 results: revenue up 3 percent, EPS $2.71 vs. $2.04, missing revenue expectations but beating on earnings. Revenue in its Technology Solutions business dropped 8 percent on the sale of its nurse triage service and “anticipated revenue softness” in Horizon Clinicals. From the earnings call, John Hammergren says he’s pleased with the operating margin trends in the Technology Solutions business, citing the company’s focus on peer solutions, transactional offerings, imaging, and revenue cycle management. The transcript makes it seem that stock analysts tremble in Hammergren’s telephonic presence since they can’t seem to string together coherent sentences without Tourette’s-like verbal crutches. The Morgan Stanley analyst said “kind of like” a record 16 times in just three questions, such as, “It’s kind of like up 7 percent in the last kind of like 18 months, we’ve seen this growth in kind of like low to mid and even high teens,” while the ISI Group’s analyst, not to be outdone, used “sort of like” five times in his two questions.

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HCA announces Q4 results: revenue up 6.4 percent, EPS $1.40 vs. $1.19. The hospital operator made over $2 billion in profit in FY15.

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Anthem announces Q4 results: revenue up 7 percent, EPS $0.68 vs. $1.80, missing earnings expectations. The company says its insurance exchange policy volume ran 30 percent lower than it planned.

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CPSI announces Q4 results: revenue down 4.5 percent, EPS $0.30 vs. $0.60, falling short of expectations for both. 

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Telemedicine technology vendor SnapMD raises $5.3 million in Series A funding.


Sales

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The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services expands its use of Netsmart’s clinical and financial systems across its six psychiatric hospitals.

Orion Health signs two pilot project contracts with the French Ministry of Health.

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MidMichigan Health chooses Epic in a $55 million project that it says will pay for itself within six years. They went live on Cerner in early 2011 and choose Allscripts for ambulatory that same year. The change was most likely due to its 2013 affiliation with University of Michigan Health System, which invested in the Midland-based system with plans to undertake joint projects in telemedicine, clinical data analysis, and IT.

The Cal INDEX HIE selects Wolters Kluwer’s Health Language for terminology management.

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Steward Health Care Network (MA) expands its use of behavioral health access technology from Quartet Health, which has former US Representative Patrick Kennedy on its board.


People

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Joshua Lee, MD (Keck Medical Center) joins Loyola University Health System (IL) as VP/chief health information officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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Oracle announces Oracle Healthcare Precision Medicine, which it says connects genetic testing information to EHRs “for seamless clinical workflow and adoption.”

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Continuous wearable vital signs monitoring technology vendor Sotera Wireless’s database of de-identified monitoring data reaches 1 million hours, supporting evidence-based alarm management.

University of Michigan launches MS and PhD degrees in Health Infrastructures and Learning Systems, which will focus on IT-driven innovation and continuous improvement.

DrFirst releases a new version of its Rcopia system for e-prescribing, controlled substance e-prescribing, electronic prior authorization, medication history, and medication adherence.


Government and Politics

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ONC has a proposed rule in front of the White House that is described only as, “ONC Health IT Certification Program: Enhanced Oversight and Accountability.”


Privacy and Security

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NCH Healthcare System (FL) notifies employees that two of its servers hosted at Cerner’s data center have been breached, exposing employee and medical staff credentialing information. 

Fitbit will add security measures to its fitness trackers after hackers brag openly about stealing user account information that they use to scam the company. The hackers sell Fitbit login credentials online for between 50 cents and $5, explaining to buyers how to convince Fitbit support reps to send them a replacement for a claimed defective device they never actually bought using a Photoshopped Amazon receipt as proof of purchase. They then sell the devices.

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A short report by cloud security vendor Bitglass reminds us that one in three Americans were affected by a healthcare breach in 2015, with hacking and IT incidents making up 98 percent of the total. The big problem last year was loss of employee devices, but that was before the huge Anthem and Premera insurance company breaches that represented 80 percent of the affected individuals.


Other

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A doctor in Canada warns the public of physician rating site RateMD, claiming the company’s salespeople offered him extra-cost options to hide up to three suspicious reviews and display his banner on the pages of other doctors. To be fair, the company is straightforward about that (and its business in general) on its FAQ page. The real challenge for ratings sites is that the small number of self-selected people who post have had either a great or terrible experience that may not be representative. That plus the fact that anonymous posts can’t be verified, allowing anyone to post a review.

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KLAS announces its Best in KLAS winners for 2015/16. Epic won best Overall Software Suite, Impact Advisors won Overall IT Services Firm, and Medicity earned most-improved recognition. Some notable category winners:

  • Acute care EMR: Epic
  • Ambulatory EMR small practice: CureMD
  • Ambulatory EMR medium practice: Athenahealth
  • Ambulatory EMR large practice: Epic
  • Business intelligence/analytics: Dimensional Insight
  • Community EHR: Cerner
  • Community HIS: Meditech
  • ED: Wellsoft
  • HIE: Epic
  • Laboratory: McKesson
  • Patient accounting/patient management: Epic
  • Patient portal: Epic
  • Population health: IBM (Phytel)
  • Surgery management: Epic

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Dear Healthcare IT News: your ad-filled junk email pitches for HIMSS16 are using a “from” email of “Destination HIMSS15.” Thank you in advance for your prompt attention in this matter.

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The crack investigative team of a Louisiana AM radio station smugly discloses photographic evidence that doctors are wasting time using computers with an “absurd number of diagnoses and codes that total more than 18,000,” adding expert editorial comment opining that, “Remember that our tax dollars are going to buildings filled with bureaucrats who spend their days making rules and regulations that run our lives!” My question is this: does AM radio still exist?

A survey of doctors in Canada finds that 73 percent use office-based EHRs vs. 23 percent in 2006.

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The Orlando paper notes the swelling but untaxed annual profits of Florida Hospital ($330 million) and Orlando Health ($247 million) as “the hospital chains gobbled up what were once taxpaying businesses and property and brought them into the non-profit, tax-exempt fold.” The systems would have paid $50 million in property taxes alone if they weren’t non-profits. Both organizations not only avoid state income tax, federal income tax, and sales tax, but they also receive taxpayer money in the form of taxing districts in three counties. The article notes that Florida Hospital parent Adventist Health System “trades $4.5 billion in securities, mostly through bonds, hedge funds, and money market funds.”

Hospitals in China require non-emergent patients take next-number type tickets, providing a lucrative market for ticket scalpers. A woman who complained on state TV about offers to sell places in the hospital line for $700 says she was harassed afterward by the scalpers and is afraid to take her mother back to the hospital. Her summary would work equally well here even in the absence of scalpers: “My God, for average people to see a doctor takes so much money, so much energy.” 


Sponsor Updates

  • Ingenious Med’s Scott Pierce describes the company’s new consulting practice.
  • NTT Data is sponsoring the Northern California Chapter of HIMSS reception at HIMSS16 on March 1.
  • Iatric Systems takes the Best in KLAS top spot for patient privacy monitoring.
  • MedData will exhibit at the American Society for Anesthesiologists Practice Management Meeting January 29-31 in San Diego.
  • Premier recognizes Inova (VA) with its 2016 Premier Excellence Award.
  • InterSystems TrakCare wins Best in KLAS for Global (Non-US) Acute Care EMR.

Best in KLAS 2015/2016 Winners

Segment Leaders: Software
Cardiology: Merge
Claims and Clearinghouse: ZirMed
Emergency Department: Wellsoft
Global (Non-US) Acute Care EMR: InterSystems
Patient Access: Experian Health
Radiology: Merge
VNA/Image Archive: Merge

Segment Leaders: Professional Services
HIT Implementation Support & Staffing: Galen Healthcare
IT Advisory Services: Impact Advisors
Technical Services: Galen Healthcare
Value-Based Care Advisory Services: Premier

Category Leaders: Software
Cardiology Hemodynamics: Merge
Charge Master Management: Craneware
Clinical Decision Support – Care Plans: Zynx Health
Clinical Decision Support – Order Sets: Zynx Health
Clinical Decision Support – Surveillance: Wolters Kluwer
Decision Support – Business: Strata Decision
Enterprise Scheduling: Streamline Health
Labor and Delivery: Clinical Computer Systems/Obix
Medical Device Integration Systems: Capsule
Patient Flow: TeleTracking
Patient Privacy Monitoring: Iatric Systems
Quality Management: Nuance
Secure Messaging: Imprivata
Single Sign-On: Imprivata
Staff/Nurse Scheduling: GE Healthcare

Category Leaders: Services
Business Solutions Implementation Services: Xerox

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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January 28, 2016 News 2 Comments

News 1/27/16

January 26, 2016 News 5 Comments

Top News

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

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

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


Reader Comments

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

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


RxNorm Follow-Up

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

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

Julia Skapik, MD at the eCQI Resource Center adds:

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

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

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

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

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


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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

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

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

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


HIStalkapalooza

HIStalkapalooza Sponsor Profile – Healthwise

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


Webinars

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sales

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

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

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

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


People

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

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

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


Announcements and Implementations

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

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

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

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

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

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


Government and Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

Privacy and Security

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

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

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

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


Other

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

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


Sponsor Updates

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

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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