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Dr. Jayne’s HIMSS Report – Tuesday

February 22, 2017 News No Comments

Today brought a less-stressful commute to HIMSS and easier parking. I started the day at Medicomp Systems (Booth 2303) playing their Quippe Virtual Experience game. Players use Quippe Clinical Solutions to solve a variety of problems. Responses are timed and high scorers receive prizes. They’re giving away Apple watches, so worth checking it out.

From there, it was over to CoverMyMeds (Booth 1214), whose business must be booming based on the size of their booth. They had mailed a scratch-off game card to my house and I left with a lovely parting gift – a beach ball, which was thankfully deflated. Normally I’m not into swag, but I’m thinking about bouncing it around the crowd at the next hospital medical staff meeting.


After that, I headed to the Interoperability Showcase, stopping by the MedData booth for a scone. Today’s flavors: lemon and blueberry. I spoke with a sales rep who was very engaging and it turns out he grew up just a few miles from where I live. We had a nice chat and I realized I’ve done some work for a couple of their clients, so it was nice to make a connection.

The Interoperability Showcase was buzzing with lots of demos. I spoke with Apex Data Solutions about some work they’re doing with the VA regarding data reconciliation. The reps were engaging and knowledgeable. The Showcase had some areas with clinical vignettes demonstrated by various vendor partners, so I checked out this one illustrating asthma care from telemedicine through hospitalization to discharge and outpatient management of complications. The reps did a great job, but I was a bit annoyed by the guy live-casting the entire thing, including the attendees. It’s one thing to catch people in the background of a photo, but it’s another thing to pan your phone around on a selfie stick getting close-ups of unwitting people who happen to be standing next to you and broadcasting them to the universe.


Jenn already scooped me with a picture of the giant Connect Four game at the PEPID booth, but I did stop by for a match. I liked this artwork at the Q-nomy booth.


I’m not sure what happened to the picture I took on the show floor, but I fell in love with the Ballo chair at Humanscale (Booth 1513). I’ve tried the exercise ball chairs and found them to be uncomfortable, but this one was very different. I’m seriously thinking about tracking one down when I get home. They also have wheeled workstations that adjust to a user’s height electronically, which makes users more likely to adjust them, therefore preventing ergonomic problems.

Vendors use a variety of gimmicks to get people into their booths – pens, stress balls, hot/cold packs, hand sanitizer, lip balm, candy, and more. DSS Document Storage Systems was screen-printing tee shirts in their booth, where eSolutions was holding a drawing for a Coach bag. NextGen has a giant Plinko game in their booth, while IBM Watson has live moss and some kind of fuzzy ground cover plants growing on displays in their booth. I haven’t seen too many people in costumes like we used to see on the show floor. Although it’s more professional now, I miss it.

I overheard two women speaking about the Disruptive Women luncheon, which they felt was well worth attending. I also overheard someone talking about vendor reps being rude on the shuttle bus, and naming them specifically. Apparently on yesterday’s morning shuttle, two of them refused to hold their laptop bags on their laps, placing them in seats next to them, which meant people who were trying to board the bus had to be turned away. If you’re wearing a vendor shirt and a name tag, don’t forget that makes you “on stage” in Disney terms. People notice when you’re doing things that aren’t courteous and kind and it might just cost your company business.


Liaison had some sweet badge ribbons at booth 5570. I’ll let you guess which one I chose.


Bottomline Technologies had their sponsor sign on display.


From the exhibit hall, I headed straight to Nordic’s HIMSS reception at Del Frisco’s Steak House. We had a lovely outdoor balcony and I made some new friends, including marketing guru John Pollard and data analytics expert Tim Grilley. They were great to talk with and Tim certainly impressed with the best bowtie and shoes of the day (although his wife apparently thinks the shoes would be more appropriate on a sixth grade girl with pigtails). His suit brought the accessories together nicely.


From there it was off to the New Media Meetup where I spied Jenn and some other social media glitterati. I always feel like the odd man out at events like that since I’m anonymous. I brought a friend with me who didn’t really understand the depth of what is going on with social media and healthcare IT, and by the end of the night, I think she was ready to start her own blog about dysfunctional vendors she works with.

After the Meetup, we headed to meet some friends for one last drink before crashing for the night. I’m averaging more than 10 miles of walking a day, so it’s definitely time for a break.

From HIMSS 2/21/17

February 21, 2017 News 12 Comments


From Hooligan: “Re: hot Epic news. They just quietly brought their App Orchard live. It was announced years ago, but it really only applied to customers that wanted to build their own app. This is Epic’s latest thinking on allowing third parties.”


From Skippy Snodgrass: “Re: Epic. They’ve upped their claims about clients making more money and seem to have found a way to involve either Allscripts or Cerner in almost every piece of booth décor. It’s one thing to have some fun in your booth, but I was surprised to see that messaging show up in the Interoperability Showcase… After a great presentation on the VA’s joint viewer project, I visited a demo that featured Epic, Cerner, and Siemens Healthineers. The Epic presenter’s monitor was set to a slide show that replayed the same competitive messaging from their booth on a loop. Maybe I’m naive, but it seemed to be in poor taste given the showcase is built for vendors to demonstrate their collaboration and commitment to bettering our industry. For their end of it, the Cerner and Siemens reps were unarmed – no fancy screensavers – you only saw a HIE diagram and a patient portal UI.”


From Flinty White: “Re: HIMSS. Spotted today at 2:30 pm near the I Drive entrance. Sometimes those feet need a little rest and a post-lunch nap is in order!” I agree. It’s nice to get out in the sun and take a break from the noise, glad-handing, and merchandising.


From HIT Girl: “Re: Mt. Auburn Hospital satellite clinic. Makes EHR training look like a bumpin’ party.” To which I would also reply, in my best J. Walter Weatherman (“Arrested Development”) voice, “And THAT’s why you use punctuation, like hyphens.”


It was a beautiful sunrise over Orlando this morning, although I didn’t fully appreciate it after the two hours of sleep I got.


Edifecs had a “What I Run” campaign that supports women, including offering a female-only event going on tonight.


It is comforting to know that should one of us attendees or exhibitors be stricken, there’s a clinician-staffed hospital right there on the show floor. Either that or we could get a makeover while awaiting the arrival of actual clinicians.


Intelligent Medical Objects has this cool coding timeline thing going on, where visitors were invited to record a notable health IT event on a sticky note and place it in its proper time location. People were really getting into it.


Then there’s this, wherein I reward slightly off-color behavior by unavoidably providing a link to those exhibiting it (pun intended).


The HipLink people were fun, as evidenced by the one on the right who used a stack of flashing pens to create a runway-like arrow leading into their booth. Her self-satisfaction is evident.


The trouble with spell-check is that any version of a word’s correct spelling gets the green light, even when (as in this case) it is spelled very, very wrong for the context in which it was used. This is a big mistake (literally, since it is looming large over the exhibit hall floor).


This is a smart giveaway from PerfectServe.


I asked the personable Zebu rep if I could take a photo of his cool, color-coordinated shoes. He obliged by slipping one off to give me a better angle.


Industry long-timer and WebPT CEO Nancy Ham held court in our booth, offering advice to women interested in career development or mentoring.


Strata Decision Technology is giving away this book, which looks very good. I’ll read it after the conference,

I bought some extra tickets to Bistro HIMSS, so I had lunch there today. It was pretty good and it was nice to escape the chaos, choose fresh food from a decent buffet, and enjoy a semi-quiet moment at a table and chair without being stink-eyed by would-be diners who can’t find anywhere to sit and silently implore you to get up and eat your dessert on the way out the door so they can slide in. Today it was cowboy steak, yellow rice, fresh vegetables, tortellini, rolls, and a few dessert items. Even the iced tea was pretty good.

I should mention that my frequent gripes about HIMSS that usually involve their juggernaut-like domination, cozy vendor financial relationships, and vendor-shilling and questionably knowledgeable media group, they really know how to make a conference run like a Swiss watch.

Random booth observations:

  • I saw a quick, over-the-shoulder demo of Meditech’s Web EHR. Apparently they re-built the LSS ambulatory product into an entirely new Web Ambulatory, while other 6.1 modules got a high-tech facelift to give a consistent presentation. I had to circle their booth three times each during three separate visits to finally get someone to make eye contact, but the guy who finally greeted me was friendly even though my enthusiasm had diminished considerably by then.
  • I had a fun talk with someone at the InstaMed booth about patient payments in the era of high-deductible plans that push more of the payment burden on them (and more of the collection burden on providers).
  • Arcadia Healthcare Solutions gave me an overview of their data aggregation, transformation, and analytics.
  • I saw a demo of Spok Care Connect, which greatly broadens the old Amcom Smart Web paging console product into a complete solution for secure communications, alarm notifications, critical lab value alerts, etc.
  • I saw a short overview of the Qvera visual interface engine, which is free to use on a limited scale.
  • I talked to a rep who predicted that Wednesday morning will be quieter and more deliberate as decision-makers emerge from the shadows to take a deeper look into products that they or their underlings have seen. The rep also said that Wednesday afternoon will be crazy since that’s like a vendor version of “Supermarket Sweep” as they all run around chucking cards at each other in hoping to explore partnerships or other B2B opportunities.


Vince Ciotti chose an interesting HIMSS badge.

Epic will enhance its MASS patient scheduling system, being tested by the VA in a $624 million contract, to allow disabled veterans to schedule appointments using Nuance-powered speech instructions.

Salesforce will integrate patient-generated data into its CRM and Health Cloud using Validic-powered integration.

Jvion, which offers a predictive engine, acquires the healthcare practice of competitor Predixion.


I heard the event was pretty fun, although I didn’t see most of it other than the band (which was as amazing as I expected). I had a little plate of food and that was fine, especially since the HOB’s house salad is one of my favorite things ever. I enjoyed spending private time backstage with Judy Faulkner and Andy Slavitt.


The House of Blues people said they were getting calls all week from people hoping to score a ticket to the event, which is funny since HOB had nothing to do with ticketing. We also had a few folks (tourists, I assume) who heard Party on the Moon rocking it out and tried unsuccessfully to sweet talk their way in. HOB said it had to be the hottest ticket in Orlando this week based on the constant inquiries they were receiving.

I hope to have photos and videos from our photographers soon. Meanwhile, here are a few shots sent over by attendees.







Nordic quickly put together a great teaser video of the event, to be followed shortly by a longer and more fully edited one. This one is really good, and it’s fun to hear Party on the Moon playing live from last night. Note in the video the Nordic-emblazoned ties they had made for the House of Blues Servers. I talked to two of the females who were wearing jauntily them around their heads “Karate Kid” style as their own form of flair, while I overheard one of the guys telling his co-worker (not sarcastically) that he loves his tie and wishes he could wear it to work at HOB every day.


Here’s how the finale looked from the stage, as captured by the band at 11 p.m. I expect there were some aching heads and feet in the convention center today. A lot of the behind-the-scenes HIStalkapalooza work is frustrating, annoying, and demanding, but I absolutely love watching people dancing joyfully and interacting with the band. My view of HIStalk is sitting alone in an empty room filling up an empty screen every day, so seeing people come together is the best part of the year. I’m most overjoyed when I see someone who is tentatively lingering just off the dance floor for the first few songs trying to overcome their fears, then tentatively yielding to POTM’s exhortations to get out there with the group and move in whatever way feels good to them. I see that moment of child-like rapture and human connection from a normally restrained healthcare IT person and it is magical. It’s hokey, but I feel like I helped them, in some small way, regain the freedom and lack of self-consciousness that they might have otherwise forgotten they ever had. I was proud of every dancer out there.

These photos just started arriving from our photographer:








Thanks to our hosts Barry Wightman, Julie Yoo, and Bonny Roberts. A couple of folks from Optimum Health IT spent forever getting the red carpet background assembled, then joined their co-workers in managing the check-in process. Brianne, Aly, Heidi, and Camille were all over the venue putting out fires. Lorre arranged the entire event and managed a maddening onslaught of issues that didn’t stop until about the time Party on the Moon started playing – I could see her glazing over from mental and physical exhaustion as well as hypoglycemia after a super-long day in which she had eaten only one early-morning banana due to lack of time.


Thanks to our special guests Judy Faulkner, Andy Slavitt, and John Halamka.


And of course, thanks to the sponsors who made this tenth and final HIStalkapalooza possible. Some of them are pledging their support and encouraging me to do it again at HIMSS18, but I’m not enthusiastic about it. It’s a lot of work, involves huge financial risk, and carries high opportunity cost without any real benefit except to attendees. Maybe I will re-engineer it into a different format that I can manage more easily.

Here are the HISsies winners as shown on stage Monday evening. I was sorry that Neal Patterson of Cerner declined to attend, but he’s not big on lifetime achievement awards, he said, since his work is a long way from complete.

Morning Headlines 2/22/17

February 21, 2017 Headlines No Comments

One in Four US Consumers Have Had Their Healthcare Data Breached, Accenture Survey Reveals

Accenture publishes a report concluding that 26 percent of US consumers have had their personal medical information stolen from technology systems. The report says that half of those impacted went on to become victims of medical identity theft.

Swedish CEO resigns in wake of Seattle Times investigation

Swedish Health Services CEO Tony Armada resigns following a Seattle Times investigative report exposing internal pressures to increase patient volumes and a deference to unnecessarily complex procedures that appears to be taking a toll on patient care.

athenahealth Partners with Specialty Medical Societies to Roll Out Network Medicine Health Campaigns

Athena will work with a series of medical specialty societies to create patient registries for various diseases that will be used by Athena to develop search algorithms capable of scanning the Athenahealth network, identifying at risk patients, and alerting their care providers of the risk.

EHR and Clinical Documentation Effectiveness

Nuance announces survey results from hospital IT and clinical leaders, finding that only 37 percent are confident that their organization will be able to realize the intended benefits of their EHR.

Dr. Jayne’s HIMSS Report – Monday

February 21, 2017 News No Comments


Monday at HIMSS was a blur of activity – it’s a good thing I make notes as I go. Due to traffic and parking issues, I didn’t quite make it to the keynote, but all was not lost since it put me in the right place at the right time to spot these Valentino boots.


As the hall opened, I spotted Judy Faulkner in the Epic booth doing what looked like a final walk-through. The HIStalk crew hit the floor handing out sponsor signs. I spotted the team at Orchestrate Healthcare admiring theirs. Healthfinch also had their sign prominently on display, right next to the fascinator hat created by Karen Hitchcock to wear to HIStalkapalooza.

The morning’s booth crawl revealed several vendors with people in white coats – will they never learn? One group of booth attendants looked like they were ready to work the Clinique counter at Nordstrom as opposed to telling us about hot new healthcare technology. I met up with HIStalk reader Evan Frankel and we stopped by the Hyland OnBase booth to see their magician, who continues to impress. After the usual card tricks and coin tricks, he did one with books and having the audience pick words from the pages, that left me speechless. It was probably in the top 10 of magic tricks I have seen.

Several vendors have downsized their booths (or at least it feels that way), including Greenway and Athenahealth. Hopefully they’re spending more dollars on research and development instead because the industry certainly needs it. The industry might also want to take a cue from the AMIA meeting and offer HIMSS-related childcare. We came around a corner and saw a young boy sitting curled up under the counter of the Meehealth booth. Even more unnerving than that was the hospital beds with patients in them at Masimo and the woman on the table at Novarad. It might be good for building your performance art or modeling resume, but it just seems weird.


I had a nice chat with the gentlemen at Ascent Testing Group, which hails from Fort Worth. They offer assistance to physicians in brokering genetic testing and provide easily interpreted reports. They were also engaging, easy to talk to, and a great example of what booth staff should be. We also passed the HP Enterprise booth (1979) with its charity cash grab chamber, but I wasn’t lured into being blasted with swirling money, even for charity. As the day wore on, I was wishing I had a pair of these nifty shoes spotted in the healthfinch booth because my feet were getting tired.


The HIStalk booth is amazingly located this year. I had a chance to stop by to chat with former Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD.

I ran into lots of people I knew in the hall, including informaticist extraordinaire Bill Hersh, but missed some old friends that have moved on from the industry. The happy hour at Orion Health featured New Zealand wines, which gave us a boost to head back to get ready for HIStalkapalooza. The party had a bit of a slow start due to traffic, but once Party on the Moon hit the stage, things picked up. It’s always great seeing readers having a good time and catching up with the people who keep me sane in this topsy-turvy industry. Of course, no HIStalkapalooza would be complete without my annual Matthew Holt dance party. As things wound down I headed out to get some much-needed rest.

Jenn’s HIMSS Report – Monday

February 21, 2017 News 1 Comment

My second day at HIMSS started off with the morning keynote from IBM CEO Ginny Rometty. I could have watched it from the comfort of the caffeine-fueled press room, but instead decided to join the masses in the Chapin Theater for overflow viewing. Rometty spent a good bit of time talking about IBM Watson and the work it is doing in major health systems and community hospitals alike, in the areas of both oncology and genomics. It seems to have come a long way from its “Jeopardy” roots.

It was a vendor speech at the end of the day, and so Rometty didn’t shy away from touting the "moonshot" ideas she and the company have for the technology. She also touched on AI, which I’m thinking might become a HIMSS17 buzzword over the next several days. She also mentioned blockchain and its potential, referencing the company’s internal work with the ledger tech and suggesting everyone take a look at the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project. (Check out HIStalk’s "Breaking Down Blockchain’s Potential" for a deeper dive into its implications for healthcare.)

Attendees wasted no time in queuing up for the exhibit hall just before its doors opened at 10 a.m. HIStalk somehow scored prime booth placement this year. Our booth, 4845, is just inside of the doors above, which has been such a blessing in terms of telling people how to find us and sneaking away for a few minutes to grab a bite to eat or use the restroom.

HIMSS has a DJ this year, which I find to be a lot of fun. I hear he takes requests, and so I’m trying to come up with health IT-related songs to ask for. Feel free to weigh in with suggestions in the comments. I’d love to create a playlist to share with readers.

My next stop, back in the Chapin Theater, featured a panel discussion on the challenges female executives face. HIMSS EVP Carla Smith, who is a great moderator, led a very conversational discussion on what it means to be the only woman in the room, how men can support a gender-diverse workforce, and the need for women to take a more proactive (or even aggressive) role in salary negotiations. It was a great session, and I was happy to see Ruben Amarasingham, MD represent the male perspective. He earned a round of applause when he told the audience that his physician-led company, Pieces Technologies, had achieved gender wage parity. (You could devote an entire session to how they achieved that, I’m sure.)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that EHealth Services Group CEO and chair-elect of HIMSS Denise Hines also offered many words of wisdom related to being a minority female CEO and business owner and the mother of seven kids. Her work-life balance advice was VERY strategic.

After that, I headed over the HIStalk booth to meet and greet readers and passers-by. It’s so nice to connect with the loyal folks that visit HIStalk on a daily basis. I only wish Mr. H could have been around to hear the many kudos he received. It seems that folks in this industry are really appreciative of the non-biased, tell-it-like-it-is voice he brings to this industry.

I attribute much of our booth’s activity to the Survival Kits the Arcadia Healthcare Solutions team shared with us. I wonder if they’re prepared to share more, because we’ve already gone through a few hundred.

The provider readers I had a chance to chat with — who included clinicians from the Netherlands, China, and Argentina — didn’t have any particular IT items on their exhibit hall shopping lists. Many seemed to be walking the floor to get a feel for what was out there. One gentleman explained that, unlike last year’s itemized list, his hospital is now more in the market for optimization services.

I had an hour and a half to spare, so I headed over to Pivot Point Consulting booth’s (723) for a foot massage and refreshments. It was the nicest break I’ve had at HIMSS in several years. I will definitely visit again today. Plus, I love the fact that they are donating to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as part of their HIMSS17 #GoesBeyond campaign.

Massages are apparently a thing this year, as I saw them at multiple booths on the show floor as well as outside of the exhibit hall. I may expand my horizons tomorrow and seek out a neck and/or back massage.

I ran into the folks at Pepid, whose booth was a ton of fun with oversize games like Connect Four, Jenga, and cornhole.

My brief exhibit hall walkabout included a quick pass around the Google booth. I don’t recall them having exhibited before. I managed to spy Karen DeSalvo, MD walking the floor by herself. I wonder if she was looking for the latest in population health tools?

It was nice to see the Aprima team proudly showing off their HIStalk sign. I hope to get by their booth tomorrow to find out how their solutions fit in with the HIMSS hospital crowd.

And then it was on to …


The Optimum Healthcare IT team did a great job of moving people through our check-in line. It was only after the party that I realized their lanyards included helpful skin cancer screening tips.

Our hosts, Bonny, Barry, and Julie did a fantastic job of greeting guests on the red carpet.

All of our guests seemed to have a great time. Health IT luminaries seen amongst the crowd included Judy Faulkner and Carl Dvorak from Epic, John Halamka from BIDMC, and Any Slavitt, formerly of CMS and now of Twitter. I was bummed I missed meeting him. He seemed to disappear after receiving his HISsies award (Hi, Jenn, Mr H here … Judy and Andy came backstage to hang out with me a little during and after the HISsies, so I apologize for stealing them from you since I know you were dying to meet them).

Speaking of awards, I had the privilege of running the slide deck while they were being given out. Above is my view from stage right.

I had the pleasure of meeting and dancing with the HIStalk Queen, a fresh-faced Allscripts rep who wowed the crowd at her first HIStalkapalooza. I hope she takes me up on my advice to wear her sash throughout the rest of the conference. It’s the best conversation-starter you could ask for, especially if you’re working a booth.

More to come tomorrow.

From HIMSS 2/20/17

February 20, 2017 News 6 Comments

Happy Presidents’ Day (or “Not My President’s Day” for protestors in some cities). George Washington has to share his Monday-convenient birthday celebration with those who followed him, but then again he probably doesn’t care since he’s dead.

I’ll have HIStalkapalooza items and the HISsies slides up tomorrow. It’s a bit late to finish up tonight.

I feel like trying to read the educational session descriptions in the The HIMSS Resource Guide is an eye test that I failed. The font size is as tiny as the lengthy disclaimers at the end of a credit card pitch.

Stymied about which companies are doing something interesting? It’s not too late to check out my HIMSS guide of HIStalk sponsors.


I was skeptical when someone told me that I should apply the Band-Aid-like product called moleskin to the pressure points of my feet to prevent HIMSS-induced blisters and chafing (of special interest to me since I made the tactical error of bringing a new pair of shoes). Darned if it didn’t work like magic – I just cut it to fit a couple of potential trouble areas and today’s endless walking didn’t bother me at all.


MedData’s scones were outstanding as usual, both the pumpkin and cranberry-orange ones they baked today.


InTouch Health had an actual pastry case filled with stuff, although I didn’t sample any.


Cerner was doing a podcast with HL7’s Chuck Jaffe when I walked by. The studio was pretty cool, with what looked like live TV news streaming on the monitors (not that we need more of that).


Access brought a huge well to its book to show support for its project to provide drinking water for a Liberian village, which as it notes is a lot more directly life-saving than most of what we do in healthcare iT. Stop by Booth #1778 and you’ll be supporting their cause.


CMS had a big booth.


Epic’s art is always whimsical, but this piece had steps that I assume were for photo ops.


Lifepoint Informatics was giving away energy drinks that were lined up like hyper little soldiers right in front of their HIStalk sign.


The magnificent psychic, magician, and comic Bob Garner was as entertaining and amazing as always in the NTT Data both. I will definitely see him at least a couple of more times this week. His patter is a bit darker and more daring than that of his contemporaries – I thought the guy beside me was going to bust a gut laughing.


Dear HIMSS-owned publication, John Halamka is one of the most recognizable figures and names in the industry you cover. How did this misspelling not raise an alarm somewhere in the editorial food chain? Yours in news accuracy, Mr. H.

Every year I have to peeve out about this – if you don’t have a clinical degree and an active license, you have no business wearing scrubs in your booth. You’re just annoying people who earned the right to wear them.

I’ve noticed that companies increasing mistakenly refer to “digitize” by saying “digitalize.” While the former is specific to computers (finger jokes aside), the latter’s primary definition involves titrating a person on the heart drug digoxin, another of those things that passes marketing muster while eliciting clinician eye-rolling.

A fun part of the conference is watching the small-booth vendors getting to know their booth neighbors. Provider attendees don’t realize how actively some companies seek out partnerships during the conference. A vendor told me today that they miss the days when the exhibit hall closed for lunch since that’s when a lot of the vendor-vendor networking took place and now it happens in full view of attendees.

Some booth notes. Just to recap my method, I travel the hall alone and casually dressed, with a badge title that does not represent me a decision-maker. I also don’t usually engage booth reps since I want to see how they react when I stand expectantly and make eye contact (since not all prospects are going to make the first move).

  • IBM Watson Health had a huge booth and presence at the conference, including giving IBM’s CEO the opening keynote slot (which I refused to attend on principle – vendor executives, especially those with zero healthcare background, don’t inspire me). It must have caused some panicky huddles when the story broke hours before her keynote that MD Anderson’s ambitious and expensive Watson project is in the toilet, at least temporarily. 
  • I was interested in Best Care, a Korea-based inpatient EHR whose monitors showed a cool-looking product that they are apparently trying to market to US hospitals. I tried to strike up a conversion with the stern guy standing there and he wouldn’t really talk to me. I tried again with another guy and all he said was that company is “from Korea, like K-pop” and then didn’t say anything else. I tried a third time in asking a different person on the other side of the booth if it was OK if a snapped a photo of the screen and they shooed me away. I think the company had best hire some US sales talent if they want to sell here.
  • Cerner had a monster of a booth.
  • I was thinking as I passed the Nuance booth that with all the hype about artificial intelligence, it’s now a given that computers can understand what we say with a high degree of accuracy. Imagine how Dragon would look to someone from the 1970s.
  • A vendor told me that just the light box for their modest-sized booth (the big rectangular sign that hangs above in their air space) costs $20,000. Their three-day exhibit expenses will be $200,000. They estimated that Cerner and the other big-booth vendors must be laying out $3-5 million to exhibit considering all the people they bring.
  • Georgia from Salesforce gave me a quick overview of the physician relationship part of Health Cloud.
  • I pledged to walk away from any vendor whose signs or patter include making a FHIR-related pun.
  • The exhibit hall appears to end in the 6700 block, but it actually keeps going into the 9000 range, with various non-vendor exhibits mixed in. HIMSS is so big that some exhibitors get stuck in no-man’s land where foot traffic is sparse and I’m afraid some of the vendors on that side are feeling left out of the action.
  • Some nice Healthwise folks said it’s different working with clients in Canada because they are more focused on social determinants of health and other factors that impact public health beyond just doctoring people up in the Jiffy Lube model of US healthcare.


SPH Analytics hires Amy Amick (nThrive) as CEO.

Morning Headlines 2/21/17

February 20, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Salesforce builds out ecosystem for Health Cloud, adds better patient targeting, risk scoring

Salesforce improves its healthcare-focused CRM product line, adding risk stratification and population segmentation tools.

NantHealth to Showcase New Oncology Solution Suite at HIMSS 2017 Annual Conference

NantHealth reports that it will be demonstrating its suite of oncology, medication adherence, and device connectivity tools at HIMSS.

HIMSS Analytics Launches LOGIC Discover Chrome Extension for Quick Visibility into Technologies Used by Healthcare Organizations

HIMSS introduces a new Chrome extension designed for vendor sales staff that, when viewing a healthcare organizations webpage, presents users with an overview of installed installed vendor products, hospital revenue and bed size, and physical location.

Conservatives See Obamacare Repeal Slipping Away

Efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare are moving slower than some GOP leaders had hoped as replacement bills in the Senate and House struggle to gain a consensus in either chamber.

Jenn’s HIMSS Report – Sunday

February 20, 2017 News No Comments

My journey to HIMSS started early this morning. I am the type of traveler who likes to arrive at the airport hours in advance so as to avoid the stress of last-minute traffic, parking delays, and check-in and security lines. I also enjoy taking the time to walk through the airport concourses to my gate. I reason that the exercise will do me good before I spend several hours sitting down. I was pleasantly surprised to find the ceiling of one concourse transformed into a rainforest-like canopy. The leafy, backlit branches of green and blue were accompanied by piped in birdsong and patches of ceiling monitors that resembled the sky. I imagine such an environment may have calmed my nerves if I had been nervous about flying.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find this private pod set up for nursing and pumping moms. I’m not sure how many are scattered throughout the airport, but I’m sure it beats trying to perform either task in a crowded public space. I’ll never forget watching a mother try to find an outlet and pump in the bathroom at the St. Thomas airport in the US Virgin Islands. Privacy was nowhere to be found. I’ve heard from more than one female colleague that such spaces should be made available at conferences like HIMSS. I’m not sure if there are any laws regulating this sort of thing, but I’d give big kudos to conference organizers that consider it.

My flight was full, which wasn’t surprising given that most of metro Atlanta’s school systems are out for winter break. As such, many families are making their way to Disney for the week. My flight was surprisingly free of HIMSS vendors, which has been the case in years past. I snapped this pick while boarding; I thought it was interesting that they promote being among the “Best Places to Work.” I wonder if any HIMSS exhibitors will have similar signage. If I were a prospect, that would certainly boost any confidence I might have in the company’s products and corporate culture.

HIMSS signage was everywhere. I was disappointed, though, in the lack of little ones already dressed up as their favorite Disney characters.

I had a fairly typical wait in the taxi queue, and a delightful ride to my hotel with Viviana of Quick Cab. It seems the taxi drivers are taking a cue from Uber when it comes to customer service. She was quick to offer me refreshments when I got in, and – thank goodness – swiped my card using Square rather than the more traditional card readers that never seem to work.

I’m staying in a modest, family-friendly hotel just a few minutes’ walk from the convention center, and an even shorter distance to the Pointe Orlando nightlife area. It has several dining options, all of which are very affordable, and the staff has so far been eager to please.

Flowers like these haven’t yet bloomed in my neck of the woods. They are certainly a nice contrast to the seedier, concrete and neon jungle that typically greets me when I travel to HIMSS in Las Vegas. Orlando’s weather definitely has me ready for spring!

Like Mr. H mentioned in his Sunday, update, the conference center was fairly quiet. There were a number of pre-conference symposia going on, but it looked as if they had all wrapped up by the time I walked over to pick up my press credentials.

It took me all of five minutes to run into a familiar face. It was great to catch up with Amanda Greene, one of HIStalk’s HIMSS patient advocate scholarship winners from a few years back. She has returned to represent the patient in that oft-used healthcare buzz phrase – “patient-centered healthcare.” I know it’s a growing (but still very much grassroots) movement aided in part by organizations like The Walking Gallery, the Society for Participatory Medicine, and the Personal Connected Health Alliance. Amanda recommended that I check out one such title on the subject, “Participatory Healthcare.” And so I headed over to the HIMSS bookstore …

I don’t know if this was the main bookstore or a smaller, satellite location. As readers of HIStalk Practice already know, I am a big bibliophile.

I came across the recommendation, plus a few others I might have to check out in the near future.

I have always envied Dr. Jayne for her HIMSS routine of checking out the conference with long-time friends and colleagues. It always sounded like such fun to hike around HIMSS with a buddy, and this year, I’m happy to say I got that chance for a few hours with my former college roommate and colleague Jessica Clifton. The day got even better when we ran into Ross Martin, MD a former HIStalkapalooza host who is now a program director at the CRISP (Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients) regional HIE in Maryland. He was kind enough to bestow upon Jess an honorary membership to the American College of Medical Informatimusicology.

And speaking of music … The night was still young, and so I hopped into a cab and scooted over to the Doyenne Connections meetup at the Caribe Royale. Not only were we serenaded by this female saxophonist, which I assume is a rarity, but we were sent home with Girl Scout Cookies – my new favorite HIMSS giveaway.

Though not quite as young, the night still had some life in it, and so I made my way back over to the Pointe Orlando area for Divurgent’s networking event at the Funky Monkey.

I’ve been to several Divurgent events over the last several years, and the team knows how to throw a good party. This year was no different, except for the fact that Amos the monkey held court in one corner of the restaurant. Where else but HIMSS?

After chatting with indie HIT consultant, freelance CIO, and HIMSS Social Media Ambassador Drex DeFord and friends, I decided to call the #HIMSSanity a night. (And I couldn’t resist the siren call of HGTV beckoning me back to my hotel room.) Plus, I need to rest up for tomorrow morning’s keynote and, of course, tomorrow night’s HIStalkapalooza festivities.

Dr. Jayne’s HIMSS Report – Sunday

February 19, 2017 News No Comments

I arrived in Orlando last night, allowing time to get together with some friends for a nice dinner before the craziness of HIMSS begins. We were happy to discover that we can walk back to our hotel from HIStalkapalooza Monday night, no designated driver or surge-priced Uber needed. After a nice walk around the Disney grounds this morning, we headed to the convention center for registration.


Most people enter the convention center from the International Drive side, which means they miss out on some of the things you can see coming in from the car park in back. The registration lines there were short (although the parking was pricey and hard to find – I hope it’s not a total gong show tomorrow.) In the registration lobby, they have a hydroponic garden growing a variety of lettuce, basil, kale, Swiss chard, and more.


From there, it’s up the escalators to the pedestrian bridge, where you can see the massive loading docks that facilitate arrival of the booths and equipment.


Parts of the exhibit hall were still wall-to-wall crates, even after 1 p.m. Sunday.


I’m traveling with a friend this year who has never been to a HIMSS in Orlando, so we went walkabout so she could get the overall layout of the convention center. It’s definitely got a more streamlined floor plan compared to Las Vegas with its basement booths. We came across the Wellness Pavilion, which consists of a handful of treadmills and elliptical machines. Because nothing says professional like hopping onto a piece of exercise equipment while you’re business casual with your HIMSS tote bag.


We came across this sculpture outside Hall F, right near the Wellness Pavilion. For those of you with clinical backgrounds, doesn’t it remind you of trabecular bone?

Just about the time I told my friend we’d have to lay bets on how long it would be before I ran into someone I knew, we ran across a friend of mine who built the first clinical data repository at the medical center where I did most of my training. It was good to catch up, but HIMSS is such a busy week that it’s difficult to get more than a couple of minutes with people sometimes.

From there, we headed up I-Drive to grab lunch at the Shake Shack, because sometimes you just need comfort food after you’ve already walked seven miles by mid-day. From there it was a quick swing over to the outlet malls, which were absolutely packed, then back for the HIMSS opening reception.


Usually the reception has some themed performers outside to welcome attendees – showgirls in Las Vegas, and last year flappers and gangsters in Chicago. This year there was a performer in the lobby that defies description – or at least defied description until we heard two attendees chatting on the way to the parking garage. One mentioned it was “A woman in a flowy dress on a stick flying through the air.” The other pondered, “Why am I not there?” I don’t know how else to describe it other than what they said, so I’ll let a picture be a thousand words.

The reception seemed to be a step up from previous years, with short drink lines and a good number of food stations. Choices included pad Thai, mini Caesar salads, antipasto cups, paella, and fish tacos. Dessert options included chocolate covered marshmallows and “Dragon’s Breath” popcorn chilled with liquid nitrogen and then served with your choice of toppings. Entertainment included a band with a woman playing some kind of virtual harp instrument that was strung from the stage above the audience, but I couldn’t get a good picture of it.

There were plenty of opportunities to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. The only downsides were the dimness of some parts of the room and there not being enough places to set your drink while you nibbled, but that’s par for the course for events like this. We did work our way into a table of clinical informaticists and met one who works at a hospital in Grand Cayman, so if you’re going to make new friends, that’s the kind of friend to make.

Over the course of the day I walked more than nine miles, so turning in relatively early seemed like a good idea. I definitely need to rest up for HIStalkapalooza.

Morning Headlines 2/20/17

February 19, 2017 Headlines 4 Comments

Opening Keynote: The Art of Deception: How Hackers and Con Artists Manipulate You and What You Can Do About It

HIMSS17 kicks off as white coat hacker Kevin Mitnick takes the stage to discuss emerging cybersecurity threats and how to detect and defend against them.

Touted IBM supercomputer project at MD Anderson on hold after audit finds spending issues

Auditors find that MD Anderson Cancer Center’s now stalled effort to employ IBM Watson in the fight against cancer was paid for with funds that were secured by hospital executives that intentionally sidestepped purchasing rules.

$5.5 million HIPAA settlement shines light on the importance of audit controls

Memorial Healthcare Systems (FL) pays $5.5 million to settle HIPAA violations after discovering that a former employee continued to use his login credentials to access more than 80,000 patient records without permission.

Forbes World’s Most Admired Companies

Cerner, CVS Health, St. Jude Medical Abbott Laboratories, and Aetna are named to Forbes Most Admired Companies list.

From HIMSS 2/19/17

February 19, 2017 News 7 Comments


It was pretty dead in the convention center today, which I assume means that those who paid for pre-conference sessions were dutifully and (hopefully enjoyably) attending them. Attire ranged from shorts to suits, reminding me that one of these days I’m going to show up wearing a tuxedo, which might be fun since I’ve never worn one (or perhaps the white dinner jacket variety would be cooler). I wasn’t interested enough to head back to the opening reception, so I have nothing to report about that. I’ve always found it to be a waste of time except as a convenient location to try to meet up with people for a dinner outing, which I’ve never done either.


There’s free WiFi in the convention center, named OCCC_Free or something like that. I Speedtested it and it was pretty good with low latency and a 5 mbps download speed, although that will likely degrade to a standstill when the place fills up. 


This is Paul, the friendliest and most efficient registration person I’ve seen. I wish Paul could be cloned and assigned to moving people through lines everywhere (like in airports). He greeted me like a long-lost relative and steered me to the kiosk, where a quick barcode scan from my phone’s copy of the registration email triggered printing of my badge. Then all I needed to do was pick up the pre-loaded backpack and it was done – no longer do you have to slide through the line stuffing your new bag with various publications, handouts, and addenda. HIMSS improves the process every year. Paul was the first person I encountered and he made me feel valued and welcome. He was working the entrance by the parking lot.


Caradigm always does great backpacks and the one’s the best. I’ll actually take this home for later use instead of stuffing it into a trash can somewhere between leaving the hall for the last time Wednesday afternoon and arriving at the airport. I like everything about it, including the color.


The exhibit hall is shaping up, although it was hot as blazes in there Sunday afternoon when we were setting up our microscopic booth (#4845). Luckily, it took us about five minutes. The HIMSS exhibit person helped us choose a great location even though we don’t have any HIMSS points and we always get the smallest, cheapest available booth. We’re on a corner near some far more impressive neighbors, although I guess it really doesn’t matter since we’re not selling or demonstrating anything.

I see the exhibit hall opens at 10 Monday morning and at 9:30 the next two days. Is it my imagination that it gets earlier every year, not to mention that it now doesn’t close for lunch like it used to? I say HIMSS should just ring the cash registers even harder by running the exhibits 24×7 during conference week – they are almost there already. HIMSS18 would be ideal since it’s in Las Vegas, where the casinos never close so that neon-stupored gamblers irrationally feed the profit engine all night long.


Here is our magnificently furnished HIMSS edifice, a study in cost-effective restraint. The back banner cost $30. The two pull-up signs were $79 each. The table drape was $40. The smokin’ doc standee was $80. Total cost: around $300, and all of it is reusable if I decide it’s worth packing and shipping back home (it all fits into two fairly small and light boxes that we just carry into the exhibit hall). Recall the results of my just-completed reader survey, which found that the most important reason people stop at booths is because of friendly, alert reps. That was a relief since that’s all we really have. Still, it’s fun when executives timidly inquire if it’s OK to take a selfie with the smokin’ doc, then beam proudly with their arm slung over the standee’s shoulder as we snap a picture for them and wonder exactly what they’re going to do with it.

A great thing about our booth location is that we’re just down from NTT Data, which will apparently again feature the amazing magician-psychic Bob. I watched jaws drop, tears flow, and people abruptly walk away in confused disbelief as last year as Bob told attendees things there’s no way he should know, such as, “Your mother died recently and was buried in a purple choir robe.”


We’re giving away those fantastic conference first aid kits from Arcadia Healthcare Solutions again to help attendees deal with the inevitable aches, blisters, and gastric upset that the conference creates. The box of them was sitting on our little table with this cute note.


Thirst-slaking isn’t cheap at the Orange County Convention Center. At least it was a 20-ounce soda and it was ice cold.


Remember the old days when badge ribbons were rare and those who had them were envied as movers and shakers? No longer – HIMSS puts out a rack full of them for anyone who wants one and vendors give them away, too. I think HIStalk may have been an innovator since I think I did this in around 2006 with some kind of snarky, long-forgotten saying that I was afraid would get me in trouble. I think it was the same year I was snapping a photo in the exhibit hall and someone from HIMSS scolded me.


I’m puzzled by this restroom sign. Are there times when the floor is wet and yet it isn’t slippery?


A reader tipped me off to an Orlando tourist area scam that’s been written up in the local papers. You come back to your hotel room and find pizza delivery flyers that have been flung under the door. Hungry and tired, you call in your order, which never arrives. The reason: there’s no such place – it’s just a thief’s phone to which you’ve just provided your credit card number. Google the restaurant name before ordering, like the non-existent La Boheme Pizza above. The second clue is that the number is often a mobile voicemail box that’s full, probably with messages from angry customers demanding to know why their imaginary pizza is taking so long. The reader is staying in a HIMSS hotel and has received two fake ads so far, while I have received one. Perhaps they should have just replicated a Domino’s or Papa John’s flyer and used their own telephone number to suppress suspicion, although maybe those places aren’t as appealing. The flyer also offers dine-in and carry out where the fraud wouldn’t work, but without an address, those are probably seldom chosen by hotel guests with cranky children wearing Disney ears or who are happily shedding their HIMSS badges for the day.


Akron Children’s Hospital (OH) hires Harun Rashid (Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh) as VP/CIO.

A reader tipped me off that five bidders are in the hunt to supply Nova Scotia with a provincial clinical information system: Allscripts, Evident, Meditech, Cerner, and Harris Healthcare.


A University of Texas System audit finds spending irregularities in the money-losing MD Anderson Cancer Center’s now-stalled $62 million IBM Watson-powered Expert Oncology Advisor project. The audit found that the system hasn’t even been piloted anywhere and contains outdated drug and clinical trials information, while on the financial side, MDACC  didn’t run a competitive bidding process, paid fees that were set just below the amounts that would have required board-level approval, and spent donated funds before they were received. 

We spent a chunk of time today hauling HIStalkapalooza stuff (banners,signs, etc.) to the House of Blues. It’s looking good for Monday evening. HOB is a pretty cheap Uber ride for those planning to imbibe. Doors open at 6:30, dinner and music start at 7:00, the HISsies will kick off at 7:45, and Party on the Moon will play from around 8:15 or 8:30 until 11:00. We usually don’t open the bar first thing because of the cost when most people are still filing in, but I’m going to bump up against the HOB minimum and figured I might as well start the drinks earlier and fancy up the menu at little. Please take a moment to thank the companies sponsoring the event – it’s pretty generous of them knowing they are funding the attendance of their competitors and non-decision-makers whose only common attribute is that they are fellow HIStalk readers.

Here’s an important note. As usual, we’ll lock the HIStalkapalooza doors no later than 8:30 and nobody (even invitees) will be allowed in afterward. Reason: each person who passes the HOB clicker guy costs me about $200, and I don’t like paying for someone to drop my for a quick drink on the way to somewhere else. I’ll be lucky to break even on the event and latecomers could push me into the red with little benefit to anyone.

I don’t have many Orlando recommendations, but I can say that I’ve been happy with these modestly priced restaurants where I had dinner the last three nights, all a short drive from the convention center: Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse, Ciao Italia, and Bahama Breeze.

From HIMSS 2/17/17

February 17, 2017 News 1 Comment

image image

Orlando weather is perfect, with lots of 80-degree sunshine and comfortably cool mornings at around 60. I took a long walk today around the North, South, and West parts of the convention center. HIMSS is in the oldest (West) part on the other side of International Drive from the others, opposite the Hyatt (formerly known as the Peabody, where the first HIStalkapalooza was held in 2008). Every HIMSS conference that I’ve attended in Orlando was on the West side except one, which I seem to remember moved across the street for just that one time right after the new part opened.


A vendor reader sent me an email that HIMSS unintentionally sent him that apparently acknowledges that the entire HIMSS membership database – not just those who registered for HIMSS17 – is being spammed with conference-related, paid vendor promotional emails (do you see the theme with HIMSS misdirecting emails?) The reader’s concern is that potential prospects might get alienated right before the conference, while mine is that an adult would write the term “btdubs” in referring to the shorter and more obvious (but less cutesy) “BTW.”

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The convention center was close to empty today, with just a few casually dressed boothers eating lunch in the vast open spaces they shared with setup people and equipment operators, the harmony of which for some reason made me happy.


You must arrive to the HIMSS conference days early if you want to spot this rare phenomenon – empty chairs and tables. These will soon be coveted by well-dressed IT nerds desperate to sit to gulp down their high-cost, low-quality, precariously-balanced salads or sandwiches, but who find themselves blocked by non-eaters camped out with their laptops, phones, and papers. I was speculating on this and arrived at the conclusion that conferences don’t want you sitting comfortably since that doesn’t pay the bills like forced marches through the exhibit hall.


Here’s what’s happening Sunday. The opening reception is right in the convention center this time instead of across the street at the Hyatt, which is nice because people were always getting lost trying to find it.


I don’t think the fire-breathing “Epic” on this convention center sign refers to the red-lettered one, but you never know given its penchant for whimsicality.


Perhaps it’s a testament to the inherent good-naturedness of humans that this unsecured but apparently important switch is placed right on the I-Drive sidewalk in front of the convention center. I pictured flipping it and watching the entire facility go dark.


Getting passers-by into your HIMSS booth requires having friendly, alert booth reps, according to the nearly half of poll respondents who said it’s the most important factor. You will see endless examples next week where companies have invested heavily in the low-percentage items, but failed to pay adequate attention to this most important one.

I always wonder what’s going on when I see an empty exhibit hall booth where a company didn’t show up. Did they change their mind, go out of business, get stuck somewhere snowy, or run out of money to send employees? Maybe I’ll keep a list and follow up afterward.

New poll to your right or here: what do you think the VA will do with regard to its EHR?


Welcome new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Ilum Health Solutions. The company, just launched by drug maker Merck, helps hospital improve infectious disease outcomes and antimicrobial stewardship via technology that helps clinicians stay connected to real-time health system patient data. It offers clinical decision support to maintain treatment pathway adherence, a Command Center Dashboard for case browsing and prioritization, and automatic creation of CLSI-standard antibiograms. It reports key measures from cases to cohorts, giving hospital leaders the ability to track performance such as patient outcomes, clinical pathway adherence, prescriber-level resource utilization, clinical outcomes from stewardship programs, rates of disease, antibiotic use trends, and automated NHSN AUR reporting. Hospitals benefit from reduced inappropriate antibiotic use and and variability in care that can lead to sepsis. Thanks to Ilum Health Solutions for supporting HIStalk.  


The Wall Street Journal says Theranos was down to $200 million in cash at the end of 2016, having burned through $700 million of investor money. The company had no revenue in 2015 or 2016, has no funds set aside for any lawsuit liability (at least $240 million in suits have been filed against it), and has yet to earn FDA approval to sell its only remaining product, the MiniLab testing machine. Imagine valuing a company with zero revenue at $9 billion before its bubble burst.


Connectivity vendor Ellkay acquires the assets of CareEvolve, which include its lab outreach portal and connectivity.



I will assume that Party on the Moon meant “can’t wait” in their Facebook update and are actually happy to see us all again. They’re going to be amazing.

An HIT Moment With … Brandon Palermo, MD

February 17, 2017 Interviews No Comments

An HIT Moment with … is a quick interview with someone we find interesting. Brandon Palermo, MD, MPH is executive director and chief medical officer, Healthcare Services and Solutions (HSS), Merck & Co. Ilum Health Solutions, which was launched this week, offers a technology-powered program that helps hospitals improve their infectious disease outcomes and supports antimicrobial stewardship programs.


What was Merck’s vision in creating Ilum Health Solutions?

Recognizing the critical role digital health can and should play in the fight against infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance, we saw an opportunity to leverage Merck’s expertise and resources to create an innovative solution that truly addresses the needs of patients and hospital customers. And, we wanted to do it with the same evidence-based approach and rigor that Merck applies to all areas of innovation.

So, we created Ilum Health Solutions, which provides an array of tools and services to help hospitals and health systems improve outcomes for conditions like sepsis and pneumonia, and implement key components of their antimicrobial stewardship initiatives. As quality standards from CMS and The Joint Commission continue to evolve in the area of infectious diseases, Ilum is focused on partnering with health systems to help meet and exceed their quality goals.

Ilum is part of Merck’s Healthcare Services & Solutions group and operates independently from Merck’s pharmaceutical products business.

How important is early recognition and evidence-based treatment of sepsis in hospitals?

Very important. Sepsis results in 750,000 deaths in the United States every year and is a major cost driver in health systems.

We know that following evidence-based pathways for sepsis can save lives, but it’s not that simple. These pathways call for interventions where time is critical, and early recognition of sepsis is a challenge that continues to vex health systems. I can tell you from my own experience as a practicing physician that this can be a huge hurdle.

We’ve already seen where our technology can move the needle. Preliminary results of a pilot study at East Jefferson General Hospital, which we presented last December at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Annual Forum, showed that our CDS product helped clinicians improve sepsis recognition and adherence to evidence-based care, leading to significantly improved outcomes and reduced resource utilization.

What is the best use of technology in supporting the responsible use of antibiotics?

Technology needs to give us antibiotic foresight, not just hindsight. A root cause of antibiotic resistance is the systemic overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics. While many factors account for this, a key issue is the lack of timely clinical information at the point of care.

Many stewardship programs in hospitals today only provide feedback on antibiotic prescriptions one or more days after the patient has already been started on an antibiotic. But it’s important to use technology to engage and guide clinicians in real time from the beginning when an antibiotic is ordered and to continue tracking pathway adherence as additional microbiology data become available. And it’s important to be able to support this within their existing workflows.

Technology also needs to effectively connect everyone on the stewardship team – doctors, nurses, quality managers, pharmacists, and healthcare executives.

What technologies does the company offer and what integration with existing systems is required?

Hospitals and clinicians need help accessing important data that are often buried within complex EMRs. In addition to the CDS product I mentioned, we also have a Command Center, which is an intuitive data dashboard. Together, these tools help promote early recognition of infectious diseases, adherence to evidence-based clinical pathways and initiation of appropriate interventions. They enable case monitoring and prioritization on both an individual and aggregate level and they provide automated outcomes reporting configured to hospital-specific initiatives to track program performance and impact.

Our collaborations with partner hospitals launch with two parallel tracks — benchmarking and integration. We assist with benchmarking to establish baselines and identify quality goals for improvement. During this time, we integrate to existing data feeds – ADT, lab results, orders, and med admin feeds – which are widely available in most health systems. The addition of our CDS solution can then leverage the integration work already completed, ensuring a simplified upgrade process. So Ilum can help hospitals identify and target areas for quality improvement. For example, antibiotic prescribing variability and C. diff rates, and provide tools to help achieve the desired outcomes.

What will the company’s focus be for the next five years?

Our plan is to build out disease modules for various types of infections using a value- and data-driven approach. We plan to expand to hospitals and health systems across the country and continue to bring key industry players together.

We have to keep generating evidence to show the value of what we’re doing. We can’t just say it works. We have to continue to show it works.

Morning Headlines 2/17/17

February 17, 2017 Headlines 1 Comment

City delays planned $764M record-keeping system at hospitals

NYC Health + Hospitals delays its $764 million Epic rollout after ending the year with a $779 million deficit. A hospital spokesman denies that the decision was financially motivated.

CommonWell Becomes First National Network to Use the Argonaut Project’s FHIR Specifications

CommonWell implements Project Argonaut’s FHIR specifications into its core services, allowing its customers to use FHIR-based outbound query and retrieval capabilities.

NHS Scotland Selects NextGate to Assign and Manage the Community Health Index (CHI) Unique Patient Identifier

NextGate is selected to implement a national master patient index system in Scotland.

Community Health Systems Announces Definitive Agreement to Divest Eight Hospitals

Steward Health Care (MA) acquires eight hospitals from Community Health Systems. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017, following regulatory approvals.

News 2/17/17

February 16, 2017 News 7 Comments

Top News


Financially struggling NYC Health + Hospitals pushes back its Epic project “a few months” with just two of 11 hospitals live.

A health system spokesperson refused to answer a reporter’s question about its original project deadlines and budget and completion estimates.

NYCHHC’s annual budget deficit is running at $800 million and is expected to swell to a nearly $2 billion annual shortfall by 2020.

Reader Comments


From Sporadic Emission: “Re: HIMSS. Just announced a new health IT dictionary. Perhaps it contains a definition for ‘interoperability,’ but it’s only available as a $43 paperback – not even as a PDF.” I wonder if it provides the definition of “HIMSS?”  


From Phinneas: “Re: Aventura. Shut its doors Wednesday with no employee severance.” Not true, the company says, although they did make some changes that  they will describe in more detail later. 

From Caughtinatrap: “Re: Curaspan, now Navihealth. Layoffs in Newton, MA with at least four executives let go.” Unverified. I couldn’t find a cached copy of the executive page to compare.


From Six Degrees of Wayne: “Re: Epic. Lars-Oluf Nielsen (who HIStalk had published a couple years ago left Epic to become CEO of iMDsoft) recently returned to Epic without much advance notice to lead the Implementation Division. Tina Perkins is apparently out of that role without much warning. Lots of drama. A quick check of the news seems to show that iMDsoft was acquired by another company not long after Lars started there. Sounds like an interesting dodge, and probably an even more interesting payday for the House of Nielsen.” IMDsoft was acquired by Harris Computer in December 2016, while the LinkedIn of Lars shows he left in November 2016 and rejoined Epic in January 2017 as SVP/chief implementation officer.

HIStalkapalooza Sponsor Profiles


Optimum Healthcare IT is a leading healthcare IT staffing and consulting services company based in Jacksonville Beach, FL. Recently named the Best in KLAS Overall IT Services Firm, Optimum Healthcare IT provides world-class consulting services in advisory, implementation, training and activation, Community Connect, analytics, security, and managed services – supporting our client’s needs through the continuum of care. Our excellence in service is driven by a leadership team with more than 100 years of experience in providing expert healthcare staffing and consulting solutions to all types of organizations.

At Optimum Healthcare IT, we are committed to helping our clients improve healthcare delivery. By bringing the most proficient and experienced consultants in the industry together to identify our clients’ issues, we work to explore the right solutions to fit their organization’s goals. Together, we identify and implement the best people, processes, and technology to ensure our client’s success.

By listening, we understand our clients’ unique needs and then select only the most qualified candidates for your organization – and then we constantly follow-up to make sure the consultants remain a perfect fit. Our team brings years of healthcare clinical, operational, and IT knowledge and takes the time to understand the uniqueness of your organization, working collaboratively with your staff to customize solutions that are specific and targeted to your needs. Without sacrificing quality, we are committed to providing world-class consulting services, at a reasonable cost. Our role is to act as trusted advisors to our clients – your success is our success.


Since 2005, Philips Wellcentive has driven quality improvement, revenue growth and business transformation for providers, health systems, employers, and payers transitioning to value-based care. Our highly scalable, cloud-based, and value-driven population health management solution provides long-term partnership services to impact clinical, financial, and human outcomes. Recognized as a leader in population health management in reports by IDC Health, KLAS, and Chilmark, Philips Wellcentive helps customers provide care management for more than 30 million patients and achieve more than $500 million annually in value-based revenue. Stop by booth 2105 at HIMSS; visit; and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.


Validic provides the industry’s leading digital health platform connecting providers, pharmaceutical companies, payers, wellness companies, and healthcare IT vendors to health data gathered from hundreds of in-home clinical devices, wearables, and consumer healthcare applications. Reaching more than 223 million lives in 47 countries, its scalable, cloud-based solution offers one connection to a continuously-expanding ecosystem of consumer and clinical health data, delivering the standardized and actionable insight needed to drive better health outcomes and power improved population health, care coordination, and patient engagement initiatives. To learn more visit, connect with us on Twitter @Validic, or stop by Booth #7281-33 at HIMSS.


Versus not only provides a multi-platform, scalable approach to RTLS, we have the software solutions, expert consulting and implementation services to ensure your project’s success. We are your partner for process improvement. Visit booth 1723 for a live demonstration of how we combine our KLAS-leading location accuracy with your existing Wi-Fi locating for enterprise visibility into your operations. And, see how our analytics drive process improvements that ultimately increase access and enhance the patient experience.


Clearsense is a data science company that offers a cloud-based analytics solution that works with any data source and can be rolled out in a fraction of the time required for a traditional data warehouse. Its real-time, cloud-based, subscription-priced, scalable system helps healthcare organizations respond to the pressure to use data to make better and faster decisions. Examples: reducing adverse events, improving patient flow, hitting quality and patient satisfaction targets, driving research, and managing cost and payment.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


I traveled to Orlando today. The airport was mobbed (only one shuttle is running between the terminal and gates as the other is being replaced in a months-long project) and baggage claim was a bit of a mess, but otherwise the weather is good and the condo I rented via VRBO is fabulous, maybe 1,500 square feet overlooking a lake with everything you could possible want (including a pool table) for far less money than a hotel. It’s supposedly within a half-mile or so walk to the convention center, although I got in late and haven’t ventured out yet. No offense to my fellow HIMSS attendees, but I’m happy to be able to escape the maelstrom, pop open a beer from the refrigerator after a long day, and either make an easy dinner or have it delivered without queueing up at the tourist trap restaurants where all the other badge-wearers expensively and loudly graze. Life is too short to start the day waiting in a breakfast or coffee line that’s moving slower than the new LinkedIn user interface.

I haven’t even looked at the conference schedule yet, so I guess that’s on the agenda sometime in the next day or two. I have scheduled no appointments, made no commitments to visit particular booths, or done anything else that would impede my ability to – like a child – wander around stopping to look at whatever catches my eye. On my must-do list, though, is the triumphant return of the world-class scones baked on site by MedData that I noticed in my HIMSS guide, truly the best giveaway I have ever witnessed (and eaten). It’s always a toss-up among their rotating flavors – is passion fruit better than orange? I shall be happy to weigh the evidence and report.


With the HIMSS conference, I’ll be skipping the usual news format and will instead tell you what I’m seeing and hearing, ignoring all but the most significant vendor announcements (which is probably 1 percent of them, the remainder just being a pointless PR stake in the ground). You can read or download/print my HIMSS guide, which tells you what my sponsors will be doing, including presentations, swell giveaways, and fun social events.

This week on HIStalk Practice: Metropolitan Center for Mental Health replaces paper with TenEleven Group tech. New York physicians begin to see the benefits of e-prescribing. CareSync prepares to launch new CPC+ protocols. Furhmann Health Center implements InboundMD. Answer Health on Demand joins Great Lakes Health Connect. Mental Health Center of Denver selects RxRevu e-prescribing software. Liberty HealthShare rolls out Salus Telehealth.


None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Allscripts announces Q4 results: revenue up 23 percent, adjusted EPS $0.14 vs. $0.13, beating revenue expectations but falling short on earnings. Shares dropped slightly in after-hours trading Thursday following the announcement. The company said in the earnings call that it sold one domestic Sunrise account in the quarter and another two in the UK. It has doubled annual bookings since the current executive team joined the company in 2012 even as the market changed from selling regulatory compliance to selling ROI. 


Market research firm Peer60 renames itself to Reaction, saying the old name was too confusing. I’ve seen “Peer360” countless times, so I get it. Plus it’s one fewer “small first letter” company to conform to my HIStalk journalistic style sheet that requires a capital first letter (except when I forget). I like Reaction, although Peer60 would provide more fruitful Google searches.

MIT and Harvard’s Broad Institute wins its patent battle over CRISPR genome editing technology, likely the most valuable biotechnology patent ever filed.


After Cigna terminates its planned merger with Anthem and instead sues Anthem for nearly $15 billion, Anthem responds by filing its own lawsuit seeking a restraining order to prevent Cigna from terminating the merger.



NHS National Services Scotland signs a multi-year contract with NextGate to replace its Community Health Index with a more up-to-date EMPI solution.


Hospital Sisters Health System (IL) signs a three-year contract with LogicStream Health for its clinical process measurement tools.

Maine’s HealthInfoNet HIE selects Orion Health’s Amadeus precision medicine and analytics software.

Announcements and Implementations


Nemours Children’s Health System (FL) integrates e-prescribing software for controlled substances from HID Global with Epic.


Health Catalyst develops the MACRA Measures & Insights resource application to help providers track and measure MACRA measures across the enterprise.


MCG Health will share its care guidelines and analytics with payers and providers via the InterSystems HealthShare data-sharing tool.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (MA) rolls out Data Diagnostics analytics software from Quest Diagnostics and Inovalon.

Aprima, EClinicalWorks, and NextGen Healthcare join the Surescripts National Record Locator Service.

Government and Politics

CMS publishes a proposed rule aimed at stabilizing the individual and small group markets that would cut the open enrollment period in half.

Meanwhile, House Republican leaders and new HHS Secretary Tom Price provide some details about their proposed ACA replacement that includes replacing subsidies with tax credits, reducing payments by 50 percent to the 31 states that expanded Medicaid to eliminate an open-ended federal entitlement in favor of a fixed grant, and encouraging insurance sales across state lines. They did not offer a side-by-side comparison, a breakdown of costs, or the number of ACA-insured people they estimate will continue to have coverage. Here is my bellwether – an HSA is not insurance, and neither is any plan whose maximum payout is capped. You buy insurance to prevent catastrophes, so I think by definition any plan that allows or requires someone to file bankruptcy because their insurance has been exhausted after receiving medically necessary care isn’t really insurance – it’s just premium payment assistance.

A federal appeals court strikes down a Florida law that prohibits doctors from asking patients if they own guns. Doctors opposed the law in considering gun safety questions an important part of public health screening. The court preserved one part of the law that bars doctors from discriminating against gun-owning patients.



CloudWave adds managed backup and security services to its OpSus Healthcare Cloud service line.

Epic will add care management technology from XG Health Solutions to its Healthy Planet population health management software later this year.



CommonWell wraps up integration of The Argonaut Project’s latest FHIR specifications with its data-exchange services, giving members the ability to use FHIR-based capabilities when accessing data across the network.


Japanese tea ceremony aficionado John Halamka will conduct “The Way of Tea” Monday from 3:00 until 4:00 in the Vital Images booth. It’s cool that Vital is honoring the Japanese roots of parent company Toshiba Medical in presenting a ritual that includes “a series of precise hand movements and graceful choreography, in a serene ‘Tatami Room’ within the Vital exhibit on the conference floor.” John will speak about Japanese culture and health IT afterward.


Interesting: 20th Century Fox created fake news sites to promote its new drama about a wellness spa that offers a phony disease cure, creating sites such as the “Indianapolis Gazette,” “NY Morning Post,” and even “” that offered clickbait fake stories such as “Utah Senator Introduces Bill to Jail, Publicly Shame Women Who Receive Abortions” and “BOMBSHELL: Trump and Putin Spotted at Swiss Resort Prior to Election.” Other stories claimed that the new administration had banned MMR vaccine and that the AMA had recognized that a third of the country is suffering from “Trump depression disorder,” intentionally phony and sensationalistic stories that were dutifully repeated on Facebook by clueless dolts and hyper-partisan groups (was that redundant?).

Sponsor Updates

  • Nordic releases a new podcast, “The importance of mentoring in healthcare IT.”
  • The Technology Association of Georgia includes Ingenious Med in its list of the Top 40 Most Innovative Technology Companies in Georgia.
  • LogicStream Health releases version 6.0 of its Clinical Process Measurement platform.
  • LogicWorks releases a new eBook, “Continuous Compliance on AWS.”
  • Orion Health announces that its Rhapsody Integration Engine is now in use at more than 640 healthcare organizations in 36 countries.
  • Gartner includes PerfectServe in its Market Guide for Clinical Communication and Collaboration.
  • Lexmark wins the healthcare market leadership award from Buyers Lab.

Blog Posts


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


EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 2/16/17

February 16, 2017 Dr. Jayne No Comments

One of my clients is going through some cultural change efforts and invited me to attend some of their management training sessions earlier this week. The first warning sign that things might not be as effective as anticipated was when I walked into the room and found the instructor arguing with some attendees, accusing them of being late. I thought it was odd because I was 20 minutes early. It turns out the calendar appointment was sent for the wrong time and the instructor was unaware. Once people showed her their calendars, she backed off, but that’s never a good way to start.

We had been told that we were expected to be “fully present” during the training sessions, to wear comfortable loose clothing for team-building exercises, and that we wouldn’t be able to use our laptops during the session, but that we’d be given frequent breaks to check in. What they didn’t tell us was that one of the facilitators would actually confiscate not only our laptops, but also our cell phones. Although I understood what they were trying to do, taking phones from a room full of physicians, some of whom were on call, isn’t a great plan. It also didn’t give a positive message about treating us like adults and trusting that we could avoid non-urgent texts and emails. What they didn’t realize is that half of the class was wearing smart watches, which still worked during the course. That was a good thing for a couple of the physicians, one of whom was called to surgery.

For the rest of us, though, we had to wait nearly three hours for a break, which I’d hardly call “frequent breaks.” Oddly enough, at the break I had a message from the CEO, who had forgotten my plan for the day and had been looking for me. He was extremely displeased at being unable to reach two of us that were in the training session. There must have been a phone call to the corporate training department after I checked in with him, because the “no devices” policy was relaxed after lunch. Guess what? Everyone acted like adults and there weren’t any more interruptions than there had been in the morning. We didn’t get out of our chairs the entire session, so I’m not sure what the request for loose clothing was all about, but I guess we’ll never know.

I’m a keen student of language, so enjoyed this Merriam-Webster announcement about the new words they’ve recently added to the dictionary. Healthcare and technology were well represented with additions such as: net neutrality; abandonware; EpiPen; and urgent care. The dictionary experts also remediated some items that I’d have thought were added long ago: ride shotgun, town hall, ping, and Seussian.

I’ve started getting some HIMSS-related marketing phone calls. Of course, they quickly turn into HIMSS-related voice mails because I don’t answer calls from weird area codes or people I don’t know. A couple of them have had people speaking so quickly I couldn’t figure out what they were saying or who they were working for without listening a couple of times – which is crazy, since I’m from a fast-talking part of the country and can usually keep up. I know exhibitors have access to our profiles, so it might be nice if you remotely coordinated your pitches with the interests of your target as well as making sure your callers can articulate so they are understandable.

The HIMSS-related mailing volume is down significantly this year. I’m sad to say I haven’t received anything truly eye-catching or even worth talking about. No poker chips, no oddly-shaped mailers to get my attention, no Orlando-themed marketing hooks. I suppose Las Vegas is an easier sell, but it would be easy to do a fun-in-the-sun theme. I’ve probably received less than a dozen pieces of mail total, but of course that doesn’t count the mailings that will arrive after I depart. It happens every year and you’d think they’d have figured out how to solve that problem by now.

HIMSS did send me an email with my “Corporate Member Focus Group Confirmation,” which was funny because I didn’t sign up for any focus groups. It just seemed like too much work this year, especially with their new policy around only allowing the first 12 arrivals to attend even though they may have extended more invitations than that. Planning to attend one takes a chunk of time out of your day. Although attendees receive a gift card for their participation, the invites I received weren’t compelling enough to make it worth the hassle.

I’ve also received some downright creepy emails from other HIMSS attendees, looking to build their networks or hawk their services. I don’t know what the exact agreements with HIMSS sharing data are, but one I received felt like an invasion of privacy. The sender must have had access to my mailing address as well as my email address because he made specific references to the part of the city I live in and how he would like to get together in town if I can’t meet with him at HIMSS. You can bet I’ll be paying better attention to any opt-out settings when I sign up for HIMSS next year.

What’s the creepiest marketing effort you’ve seen or experienced? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

Morning Headlines 2/16/17

February 15, 2017 Headlines No Comments

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Market Stabilization

CMS publishes a proposed rule aimed at stabilizing the individual and small group markets that would cut the open enrollment period in half.

Broad Institute wins bitter battle over CRISPR patents

MIT and Harvard’s Broad Institute wins its patent battle over CRISPR genome editing technology, likely the most valuable biotechnology patent ever filed.

Cybersecurity Actions Needed to Strengthen US Capabilities

A GAO report on federal information system cybersecurity readiness singles out EHRs and state insurance marketplaces as needing improvement to protect personally identifiable information from being compromised.

Anthem Files Suit Against Cigna Seeking a Temporary Restraining Order

After Cigna terminates its planned merger with Anthem and instead sues Anthem for nearly $15 billion, Anthem responds by filing its own lawsuit seeking a restraining order to prevent Cigna from terminating the merger.

Why you should donate your data (as well as your organs) when you die

Professors from the Universities of Cologne and Basel call for the development of a global system that would help patients donate their personal health data to research after their death in a way similar to the organ donor program.

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