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Morning Headlines 6/9/16

June 8, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Connecture buys exchange competitor ConnectedHealth

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

Will genetic tests help prevent chronic diseases?

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

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

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

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

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

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June 8, 2016 Headlines 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 6/8/16

June 7, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Cerner’s Burke: Patterson is ‘fully engaged’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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June 7, 2016 Headlines No Comments

News 6/8/16

June 7, 2016 News No Comments

Top News

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


Webinars

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

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sales

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


People

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

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

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Patrick Flynn (Phytel) joins Aventura as COO.

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


Announcements and Implementations

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

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


Government and Politics

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


Technology

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


Other

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


Sponsor Updates

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

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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June 7, 2016 News No Comments

Morning Headlines 6/7/16

June 6, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Dr Farzad Mostashari Explains the New ACO Benchmarking Rule

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

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

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

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

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

Geisinger researchers profile overdose patients and predictors of death

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

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June 6, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 6/6/16

June 6, 2016 News 3 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Email Dr. Jayne

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June 6, 2016 News 3 Comments

Morning Headlines 6/6/16

June 5, 2016 Headlines No Comments

McKesson Considers Separation of Information-Technology Unit

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

Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes Did Not Just Lose $4.5 Billion

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

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

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

Potential Patient Information Breach at ProMedica Bixby and Herrick Hospitals

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

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June 5, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Monday Morning Update 6/6/16

June 5, 2016 News 2 Comments

Top News

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


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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


Webinars

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

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


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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

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


Announcements and Implementations

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

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

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

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

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

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


People

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

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


Technology

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

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


Privacy and Security

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


Other

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


Sponsor Updates

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

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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June 5, 2016 News 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 6/3/16

June 2, 2016 Headlines No Comments

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

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

Redskins: Laptop containing player data was stolen

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

A Foundation for Discovering Clinical Health IT Applications

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

Equation Acquired by MedAssets-Precyse

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

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June 2, 2016 Headlines No Comments

News 6/3/16

June 2, 2016 News 1 Comment

Top News

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


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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

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

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


Webinars

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

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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

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

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


Sales

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


Announcements and Implementations

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

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

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

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


People

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

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

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


Government and Politics

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

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


Privacy and Security

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


Innovation and Research

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

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


Technology

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

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

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

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


Sponsor Updates

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

Blog Posts


Contacts

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

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June 2, 2016 News 1 Comment

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 6/2/16

June 2, 2016 News No Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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June 2, 2016 News No Comments

Morning Headlines 6/2/16

June 1, 2016 News 2 Comments

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

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

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

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

National Solution For Accurate Patient Identification Appears Within Reach

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

It’s Time to Unbreak Healthcare

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

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June 1, 2016 News 2 Comments

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

June 1, 2016 Readers Write No Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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June 1, 2016 Readers Write No Comments

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

June 1, 2016 Readers Write No Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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June 1, 2016 Readers Write No Comments

HIStalk Interviews Lisa Maki, CEO, PokitDok

June 1, 2016 Interviews 2 Comments

Lisa Maki is co-founder and CEO of PokitDok of San Mateo, CA.

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Tell me about yourself and the company.

I’m the co-founder and CEO of PokitDok. We’re a digital health company providing an open platform of APIs streamlining the business of health.

Explain how APIs work and the types commonly found in healthcare.

I started in software back in 1989, working on pre-Windows DOS versions of consumer and enterprise-facing software. I did that at Microsoft. Over the years, as software evolved into many industries, health included, it became clear that you needed services that would connect different siloed sources of data, different siloed sources of functionality, so that the enterprise IT professional software developers could create seamless business, user, and consumer experiences across all those silos.

How that shows up in healthcare increasingly is a set of APIs that can give access to interoperability, exchanging data between the EHRs and others in the form of standards that FHIR supports. APIs like ours that connect you to insurance X12 EDI or eligibility, claims, benefit enrollment, pre-authorizations.

The beauty of an API is it can be integrated anywhere into new digital or existing products. It doesn’t need to dictate your user experience. It can integrate into it and provide that service as you think best fits your business model or your user experience.

Non-technologists might think that APIs are pain-free and foolproof, providing instant interoperability. What are the challenges involved, both technical and non-technical?

APIs are intended to do the underlying infrastructure or operating system heavy lifting for software developers and IT professionals. It doesn’t remove work. It still assumes that you’re doing some work on your side to build the product or integrate it into the product.

In the case of our APIs that connect to insurance companies for access to X12 EDI services, eligibility and claims, those insurance companies — that’s over 400 now — still change their endpoints, those things we’re connecting to, often on a daily basis. 

Part of the value that we provide software developers is we keep track of that. We detect it. We adapt to it. We manage that so software developers don’t have to. They have one endpoint they can go to and they can get access to all those insurance companies, all those services. The value we provide is managing that complexity on the back end.

But that software developer still has to integrate that into their own software, perhaps into a very complex system on their side. Maybe they service multiple EHRs, multiple practice management systems, in one single healthcare system, especially with consolidation. That can be very challenging and a lot of work.

It’s not an instant solution. It does a lot of the heavy lifting to get to that solution.

We also provide an identity management API that is not open like our others. We want to talk to you first because it is complex. Sometimes we assist our customers to put in an identity management solution across their health system because they have several instances of the same person in many different repositories. That identity management solution gets them to one instance of it.

But yes, there’s work involved. It’s not a switch. It’s not an on and off.

How do companies or systems that offer APIs coordinate software changes so that the end-to-end functionality won’t be broken?

It starts at the heart of how you architect your APIs. If you are architecting your APIs such that it requires a change in configuration every time — say in our case, an insurance company changes their endpoint or their gateway — then you haven’t done a good job architecting. That’s the bottom line. We have architected our APIs so that we can handle those changes and not put that burden on the users of our APIs. There can be exceptions to that, but a large part of our value is removing that burden.

There are things that we can’t control, like downtime of the insurance companies or changes for our identity management solutions. For example, I can’t control whether or not Cerner, Epic, or Allscripts is changing something about your installation, but I can certainly architect it to remove the majority of the heavy lifting. That onus is on all of us who are API providers. We have to architect that correctly.

We also have to provide open and transparent dashboards for our customers. For developers, one of the things we provide — and encourage any other API provider to also give their customers — is transparency all the way through the development process. You’re making an API call. You should know exactly where that API call is in the process. If something is being held up, you should know where in the system and where in the call, for what reasons, and get all of that feedback in real time.

That’s something we provide our development customers. If it’s downtime of a major insurance trading partner, they should be able to communicate that to their customers in real time with transparent information. For things we can’t control like that, it’s the goal to be as transparent as possible so that our customers can as well.

Much of the interoperability barrier is cultural rather than technical. What elements of trust or permissions have to be built into APIs so that data can move freely?

You hit the nail on the head. There are no technical reasons why we can’t have interoperability in healthcare. There are absolutely no technical reasons. Most of these technical obstacles have been solved back in the 1990s in other industries that are equally complex. Financial — heavily regulated, very complex — has addressed these issues.

You have to have a will to achieve a business model and create a business model that rewards interoperability and openness instead of closed systems. Most of the time, we’re overcoming habit. We’re overcoming misinformation around security and compliance. There’s confusion over what the P for HIPAA stands for. It stands for portability. There’s a lot of behavioral issues that have to be overcome to achieve the interoperability that we all want.

A lot of progress is being made. The progress is being made because the market has shifted. Any time you see someone like us and a company like PokitDok going into a market like healthcare … we’re not healthcare experts. We’re technology experts who want to make the tools available so that people who are experts in healthcare can create the patient onboarding experiences and the business models they need to support their business in this changing market.

We come in because there has been a market shift, like you see with consumers moving to  high-deductible plans. All of a sudden consumers are starting to change their behavior. They have to pay for it out of pocket. They’re demanding more transparency and service at the point of scheduling or checking in before they have the procedure. That’s a huge market shift.

In order for health systems to respond to that, to compete, to protect their revenue cycle stability instead of seeing their former reimbursement revenue now go to collections, they need new tools. They need the ability to schedule, check eligibility, and take a payment in real time, both mobile and Web-based. That’s what we respond to. 

The market shift is overcoming any behavioral or former business model resistance, both from EHR and API providers.

What healthcare APIs are most commonly used and most needed?

There are not a lot of APIs available in healthcare that would fit my definition of a developer-ready open API. We are one set. FHIR is certainly another, early but evolving and getting a lot of interest. There are certainly your standard developer APIs, when you’re creating that new product from software technology providers.

Early efforts from CommonWell and other alliances are attempting to provide API access. EHR vendors like Cerner and others are looking to release access to APIs. Even sandboxes represented by Athena, Epic, Allscripts, or Greenway are heavily business model controlled API sets. They require a lot of heavy lifting, a lot of time and interaction in a sandbox before you can take something to market quickly.

Today’s software developers who are building truly innovative solutions for either their own or for their customers in healthcare expect modern API experiences, not sandboxes. Not long, lengthy vetting processes to get something to market. We’re seeing some interesting things from companies like Redox who are doing intra-EHR interoperability. There’s some interesting things from companies like PatientPing. I’m excited by this because they’re following more of the modern developer standard and expectation for open APIs. I think the market will follow.

Most of the handful of surviving hospital EHRs use a 1990s style client-server architecture at best. Are those companies up to the task of creating scalable, secure APIs that use more modern technologies than their own products?

It’s a huge cultural shift for those companies. My co-founder and I both come from companies like Microsoft and Apple and various startups. We’ve released product into many industries and now healthcare for the past 10 years. It’s going to take an immense amount of leadership in those companies to prepare them for this shift.

It must and will happen. New technologies are showing up every day that will make the shift for them whether or not they’re ready. If I were in those leadership positions of those companies, I would be starting parallel projects with people who are used to those sorts of open and technologically advanced environments, cloud-based Web services. I would start that now if you haven’t already and I would start it really fast, because it is coming and it’s likely that with your current systems, all you will be doing is migrating them over.

You will need a different set of people familiar with with building and supporting those systems. If you haven’t already started it, then starting it today would be your next best bet.

I would also partner. You’ve got companies like Microsoft who are trying to build API-driven architectures that do much of the heavy lifting, even compliance and security, into the fabric of Azure, their cloud offering for healthcare enterprise development. You’re going to see a lot more of that.

EHRs also have to get clear on what part of this they are going to own moving forward as the business shifts to the cloud. Which part will be owned by companies like Microsoft, Google, Oracle, and IBM that will be built into the cloud fabric. You want to get clear on that quickly because it affects your strategy.

Where do you see the company going in the next five years?

We want to be the house for all healthcare enterprise business transactions. We hope to achieve that in five years. That’s our big goal. There are a lot of unnecessary ones that add friction and operational cost to healthcare enterprise today that we hope to remove and then there are new ones that we hope to add.

There’s no reason why our healthcare customers — and this is what we provide them today — shouldn’t be getting up-to-date and real-time business outlooks and intelligence off of all their business transactions today. There’s no technical reason why they can’t have it. That’s what we deliver and that’s what we want the entire healthcare industry to be enjoying from its business and ultimately clinical transactions on a daily basis.

Do you have any final thoughts?

I love what you’re doing. These sorts of conversations, as the industry is going through such a massive market and technical shift, are super-important. More of us talking about what is technically possible and identifying, as you’ve astutely said, the behavioral and business impediments to healthcare enterprise moving forward to deliver the kinds of patient, provider, and business experiences it needs to. Those are the right topics.

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June 1, 2016 Interviews 2 Comments

Morning Headlines 6/1/16

May 31, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Adoption of Electronic Health Record Systems among US Non-Federal Acute Care Hospitals: 2008-2015

ONC reports that 84 percent of US hospitals had adopted a basic EHR by 2015, up from just 9.4 percent in 2008, though pediatric and psychiatric specialty hospitals still trail with 55 percent and 15 percent adoption, respectively.

Pontiac General Hospital Selects OpenVista Healthcare IT Platform

Pontiac General Hospital (MI) will implement Medsphere’s OpenVista EHR, a commercialized version of the VA’s open source Vista EHR.

Local health departments brace for funding loss amid Zika standoff

In July, the CDC will cut $45 million in emergency public health funding from health districts in all 50 states after Congress fails to pass a bill to fund Zika-related work .

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center completes recruitment for pediatric migraine study using Curelator Headache

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (OH) will use an app designed by digital health startup Curelator to research migraine triggers in adolescents.

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May 31, 2016 Headlines No Comments

News 6/1/16

May 31, 2016 News 7 Comments

Top News

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An ONC survey finds that 84 percent of US hospitals were using at least a Basic EHR at the end of 2015, a nine-fold increase since HITECH was adopted in 2009, although adoption by psychiatric and children’s hospitals lags. A Basic EHR must have the capability (even if the physician doesn’t actually use it) of accepting physician orders, recording meds and allergies, documenting encounters, recording problem lists, and viewing lab and imaging results.

Someone tweeted out what an inarguably great thing this is, but for the $31 billion in taxpayer bribes that were required to make providers use the same EHRs they were otherwise avoiding like the plague, maybe we should expect a bit more than just market penetration and instead look at outcomes, access, and data portability. I’m not so sure that I as a patient feel any safer, better cared for, or more appreciated as a customer just because I’ve seen some spotty,  half-hearted technology use amidst the still-mountainous piles of provider paper.


Reader Comments

From Burnt Steak: “Re: Epic’s mandatory employee arbitration clause. Whose side would you take?” I really dislike the idea of mandatory arbitration, especially when it’s buried (as it is with most retail contracts, like for credit cards and cell phone service) in small print. However, a lack of willingness to walk away means those employees or customers accept the terms offered. I have limited respect for employees who complain about their jobs, go on strike, or file employer lawsuits – they should prove their point by finding a better job elsewhere. The market will quickly tell them if they are underappreciated, and if it turns out nobody else is willing to give them more money or benefits, that should be a clue that they are sitting precisely at the intersection of supply and demand for their services and shouldn’t embarrass themselves further by complaining. You’re not going to make yourself look better by griping about the employer (or your spouse or the city that you live in, for that matter) that you freely chose.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Mrs. McCullough says her Georgia kindergartners are using the six Kindle Fires we provided in funding her DonorsChoose grant request to engage with reading and math apps and to participate in a weekly learning center, where they listen to stories and play phonics games.

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It’s hard to accept rampant healthcare inefficiencies and indifference when people in many US cities can place an Amazon order by noon and receive it by bedtime that same day. Although maybe there’s hope from companies like Capsule, a just-launched New York startup that delivers prescriptions by bicycle at no extra charge and that uses technology for refill requests, medication instructions, and patient communication, although the founders wisely decline to label the company as the inevitable “Uber for drugs.”

I finally had my appointment with a new doctor (actually, her PA) last week for my annual physical, following the miscue from a few weeks back where I showed up for my appointment, filled out a mountain of paperwork, and waited for some time before being told that the doctor was out of the office for previously scheduled surgery (they said they tried to call me earlier, but had incorrectly entered my phone number). This time wasn’t perfect, either – all of the paperwork I had completed previously (medical history, insurance information, NPP, etc.) had been mysteriously lost, meaning I had to fill out the clipboard full of forms all over again. To add insult to injury, the PA either didn’t see or didn’t use the information, repeating questions about allergies, meds, smoking status, and other topics that I had already documented minutes before but that hadn’t yet been entered into their Practice Fusion free EHR. At least the EHR wasn’t intrusive during the visit (since she mostly documented on paper) and the e-prescribing worked OK.

My latest linguistic peeve: the use of “unpack” as a synonym for “explain,” which doesn’t save syllables or add nuance and is therefore pointless other than to make self-aware authors feel smugly clever.

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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Webinars

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

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


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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DrFirst acquires Meditech consulting firm The IN Group, saying the acquisition will allow DrFirst to help its customers make the most of their healthcare IT investments. 


Sales

MD Anderson selects Nuance’s Dragon Medical and PowerScribe 360 for physician documentation as part of its Epic rollout. MDA will also use services from Epic consulting firm Physician Technology Partners, which the announcement says is now owned by Nuance.

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Pontiac General Hospital (MI) chooses Medsphere’s OpenVistA EHR. The financial turnaround of the hospital, which has filed bankruptcy twice as Doctors Hospital of Michigan, is being led by 25-year-old Sanyam Sharma, whose computer scientist parents started eligibility software vendor Infrahealth and put him on the payroll when he was 14. He’s now EVP of the company and heads up Sant Partners, a company his parents created to buy Pontiac  following his father’s discovery as a consultant that the hospital had extensive revenue cycle problems. 

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Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center chooses Strata Decision’s StrataJazz for decision support, cost accounting, and contract analytics.


People

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Home monitoring technology vendor Sentrian hires Bryan Ness (Wellcentive) as chief revenue officer and Molly Cogan (Wireless Life Sciences Alliance) as VP of marketing and communications.


Announcements and Implementations

Liaison Technologies will launch its Alloy Health cloud-based integration service in Europe.

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Peer60 publishes “Hottest Trends in Medical Imaging IT (UK).”

UPMC (PA) signs its third agreement with organizations in China, collaborating with for-profit First Chengmei Medical Industry Group to offer clinician training and to advise the hospitals on hospital operations, including IT.

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Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (OH) will use the Curelator Headache app to study the factors that precede migraine headaches in children and adolescents. The study’s 60 participants will use visual data entry tools to document emotional, dietary, physical, and environmental factors in 2-3minutes per day to show them their associated migraine triggers so they can make lifestyle changes. The app is commercially available in a limited-functionality free version and as a $50, six-month subscription that includes trigger tracking.


Government and Politics

A Congressional stalemate forces the CDC to cut emergency public health funding in many cities—including lab services, mosquito control, and disease surveillance — to free up money to address the Zika virus. It’s amazing given the amount of federal money that is wasted on low-quality, unneeded, and sometimes questionably billed hospital care that CDC has to choose which outbreak to fund with a fixed few million dollars.

China’s FDA reverses its push toward making non-prescription drugs available online, ordering e-commerce provider Alibaba to tell its vendors – include drug store chains — to immediately stop selling OTC drugs on its online marketplace.

In other Alibaba news, Hong Kong regulators say the company violated takeover rules in its 2014 investment in pharma data and barcode tracking company CITIC 21CN (now known as Alibaba Health Information Technology) because the deal included buying a medical technology company from a shareholder who was also the brother of the company’s vice chairman, giving the company an unfair advantage. The acquisition raised some eyebrows at the time because Citic 21CN’s small amount of revenue came from sales to the Chinese government and both companies have Communist Party and military leaders as investors. The acquisition and subsequent rise in Alibaba’s share price made Chen Xiaoying, wife of a former general, a billionaire. She bought a $68 million home two days before the deal was announced. 


Privacy and Security

The ED physician staffing service used by two Carondelet hospitals in Arizona notifies 1,000 patients that their information was disclosed when an ED logbook was stolen from the car of one of its doctors.


Technology

USA Today summarizes a report indicating that telehealth usage would increase if it was more affordable to hospitals and if medical studies prove that it works. I think it’s time to separate vendor-provided telehealth (online services that connect cash-paying patients with whatever doctor the vendor has available in the belief that patients think all doctors are equal) versus using the technology to interact with the patient’s trusted ongoing provider in a more convenient way. Some patients and conditions can be treated by a doctor in a speed-dating type of consultation where they don’t know anything about the patient except what they can learn by asking a few quick questions, but few would argue that an encounter of that type will be as successful as having a virtual visit with their regular provider who is armed with their medical records (although “successful” to most patients means, “I got the prescription I wanted.”)


Other

A man presenting to the ED with atrial fibrillation is successfully treated after the team notices his heart rate-recording Fitbit and determines that his AF was triggered by a seizure, therefore making him a candidate for electrical cardioversion. The case was described in a journal article that is mildly entertaining while not being all that medically useful since AF is treated all the time without consulting the patient’s wearable and instead asking them their history.

A London newspaper profiles a hepatitis C patient whose only hope for survival is the new drug Harvoni, which has a 95 percent cure rate at an astonishingly high price. The man finds a doctor in Australia who imports a cheaper version of the drug from India and China, where drug company Gilead Sciences was forced to license the manufacture of local versions since those governments say Harvoni is almost identical to older, cheaper drugs and therefore won’t pay for it. The doctor tests the imported drug’s purity and mails it to patients who pay his consultation fee. Some NHS doctors will work with such “buyer’s club” patients since NHS can’t afford to provide the drug to everyone who needs it and buying prescription drugs from other countries isn’t illegal in England. However, the British pharma trade group says patients who buy drugs offshore are stifling innovation and taking away treatments intended for poor countries. US insurers and governments are struggling to pay for Harvoni, which costs $1,125 per pill and $95,000 per treatment. The same pill in India costs $10.

Here’s a pretty funny “EHR in the exam room” video from Athenahealth that I ran across while looking for something else. 

The Wall Street Journal profiles the use by Northwell Health (NY) of an evidence-based calculator that assesses the likelihood of strep throat, respiratory infection, and deep-vein thrombosis based on physician answers to questions popped up in the EHR and then guides appropriate ordering of medications and tests. A medical school professor overseeing testing of the software in Wisconsin primary care clinics says physician participation in the optional program  is low, however, because “there is a big backlash against clinical decision support.” 

The speaker at a Memorial Day ceremony in Anthem, AZ is Bill Krissoff, MD, a since-retired orthopedic surgeon who shuttered his practice following the 2006 death of his Marine son in Iraq. He joined a Marine Corps medical battalion at age 60, deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan “to finish Nathan’s unfinished tasks” in serving on the resuscitative surgical team as primary or assisting surgeon for 225 serious casualties.

Weird News Andy finds it ironic that “smart” tampons double as a blood collection tool that allows women to track their reproductive health via an iPad (WNA snickers right about there). I can’t decide if this is a great use of technology or the moment where we collectively jumped the quantified-self shark.


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
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May 31, 2016 News 7 Comments

Morning Headlines 5/31/16

May 30, 2016 Headlines No Comments

Jawbone has stopped producing its fitness trackers and sold the remaining inventory to a third party

Jawbone stops manufacturing its line of UP fitness trackers but makes no announcement suggesting that it will exit the market entirely.

Doctors Test Tools to Predict Your Odds of a Disease

The Wall Street Journal profiles Norwell Health’s (NY) use of a clinical decision support tool that scrubs EHR data and predicts which condition the patient being treated most likely has before lab or imaging tests are ordered.

A New Way to Report College Sexual Assault

The New York Times profiles Callisto, a startup that hopes to improve sexual assault reporting on college campuses with a website that lets college students file sexual assault reports online.

Intel backs AI-powered analytics startup Lumiata in $10M funding round

AI startup Lumiata raises a $10 million Series B fund from Intel Capital. The company is building algorithms to quantify and manage risk within population health programs.

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May 30, 2016 Headlines No Comments

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