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HIStalk Advisory Panel: Analytics Success

February 11, 2014 Advisory Panel 3 Comments

The HIStalk Advisory Panel is a group of hospital CIOs, hospital CMIOs, practicing physicians, and a few vendor executives who have volunteered to provide their thoughts on topical industry issues. I’ll seek their input every month or so on an important news developments and also ask the non-vendor members about their recent experience with vendors. E-mail me to suggest an issue for their consideration.

If you work for a hospital or practice, you are welcome to join the panel. I am grateful to the HIStalk Advisory Panel members for their help in making HIStalk better.

This question this time: What are examples of major operational or clinical successes your organization has experienced in the past year from using analytics or data reporting tools?

No operational successes of any kind as our medical staff as well as administration does not even know the meaning of analytics nor what to do with it. We lack even the basic reporting capabilities needed to know our observation and LOS. We did well with core measures and scored high and used that as a marketing tip, however we did not use any sophisticated tools to get there. The physicians do not get any personal performance data to look at to compare with their peers and are not used to looking at their own data at all. It is part of the reason why I believe the institution failed so miserably and ended up being acquired by a lager hospital chain.

Improved GI lab throughput. Reduction in the use of blood products. Improvements in GI Billing process. Improvements in GI DNKA.


Hard to know what success we have had from using analytics. If we decide, based on environmental scans and analytics to to focus on, say, total joint replacement, there will never be a time when we can say, "Ah, that was the right decision", even if your hospital is still afloat, or doing well. It may be that another service line or focus or workflow or supplier would have been better. Analytics comforts us into thinking we aren’t making a WAG, but there aren’t answers in the back of the book. On the more micro level, cost-benefit does help balance the budget.

Over the past year we deployed reporting tools to our front-line providers, departments, sites, divisions and company-wide providing actual results compared to our goals for people, service, cost, quality, access, and primary care flow. Particularly in service and access we improved performance compared to baseline and moved closer to (and in some cases exceeded) goals. Patients report improved experiences and appointing wait times have come down. There’s probably a link between the two improvements. 

We used some basic reporting tools to identify high risk patients who are overdue (e.g. diabetic with A1C over 8 not seen in six months). We then tried multiple methods of outreach and found email, letters and robocalls had minimal impact on this group. We finally found  success with having our call center staff call them during the late afternoon when there was low incoming call volume. Turns out they responded very well to real people calling them who could make their appointments right then!

No use of data beyond mandated reporting: MU, Core Measures, etc.

Using a SaaS population health data analytics tool, which blends CMS claims and EMR clinical data, to identify leakage of ACO patients outside our Network, which identifies opportunities for providing services not currently offered by our network in order to capture the lost revenue and reduce the expense to the CMS Medicare program.

We’ve been able to push an Analytics Dashboard to each member of our clinical leadership team that allows them to have real-time data as to the patients on their units, the patients that were discharged yesterday, and so on. Dramatically reducing the turn-around time for actionable data and ‘teaching them how to fish” has resulted in greater satisfaction amongst them and allowed my folks to focus on other projects instead of grinding out repetitive reports.

Minimizing the readmission rates in our high risk population such as those who had an MI or uncontrolled diabetic states  – two major clinical categories. Minimizing ER visits of high risk patients

We have set up a few transitional care clinics where we try to work with patients, post discharge, to ensure that they get/take their meds, get in to their PCP’s office as ordered, and generally try to get them compliant with their treatment plan in order to keep them out of the hospital again. (Basically, trying to prevent re-admits). We are using a number of tools and reports to generate data to assist with this process, but we are investigating new ones (e.g., PHM systems) that are specifically designed to do this.

Data on our clinical initiatives to improve clinical performance on readmissions, VTE prevention and early recognition of clinical deterioration have been very helpful in terms of showing benefits of these projects.

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February 11, 2014 Advisory Panel 3 Comments

Morning Headlines 2/11/14

February 11, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

Why the EHR Market Is Poised for Disruption

An EHR market analysis from concludes that both the inpatient and ambulatory EHR market’s are poised for disruption and consolidation.

Key number in today’s Castlight IPO filing

Castlight Health discloses its financial performance in an updated IPO filing, revealing multi-million dollar net losses during each of the past two years. The new financial data raises into question Castlight’s hope of a $2 billion public valuation.

EHR-based screening program for AAA cuts the number of at-risk men by more than half

A study conducted by researchers at Kaiser Permanente finds that by implementing EHR-based clinical alerts, abdominal aortic aneurysm screening rates can be significantly improved. The alerts prompted providers to order a screening anytime an unscreened 65-75 year-old male with a history of smoking was seen. The alerts led to a system-wide reduction of unscreened patients from 51.74 percent to 20.26 percent.

Stage 3 MU now in the making

The ONC’s MU workgroup will submit its draft recommendations for Stage 3 on February 14th.

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February 11, 2014 Headlines 1 Comment

HIStalk’s Guide to HIMSS14 Meet-Ups

February 10, 2014 News No Comments

We are pleased to share information on HIStalk sponsors that are not exhibiting at HIMSS14 but would be happy to schedule one-on-one meetings during the conference.


Accreon, Inc.  

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Gareth Kenton, sales leader

We do look forward to connecting with you in our meeting space at the conference. Accreon is a healthcare technology and business services firm focused on integrating and managing health information.

We assist healthcare organizations to: achieve interoperability by integrating their IT eco-system; establish an analytical environment that empowers learning, agility, and performance resulting in improved outcomes, finances, and satisfaction; and enhance IT innovation by providing knowledgeable healthcare expertise and tools to bring solutions to market faster.

Accreon has delivered services and built solutions across North America for healthcare provider organizations, government entities, medical device companies, and EMR vendors.

Mention you were referred to Accreon through HIStalk and receive 15 percent off any resulting business established at HIMSS.

ADP AdvancedMD   

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Jim Elliot, vice president of marketing

ADP AdvancedMD executives will be available at HIMSS to discuss the impact that big data and business intelligence will have on the private physician and how ADP AdvancedMD is addressing the needs of medical practices. They also will be available to address what key challenges doctors are facing in 2014, including Meaningful Use adoption, weathering the implementation of ACA within the industry and its impact on patient population and reimbursements, preparing for the switch to ICD-10, and juggling everyday issues and challenges to ensure today’s claims will get paid in a reasonable amount of time.

Aspen Advisors   

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Dan Herman, founder and managing principal

Aspen Advisors is a world-class professional services firm dedicated to helping healthcare delivery organizations enhance processes and streamline operations through the strategic and effective use of technology.

From strategy to execution to optimization, our core services have been tailored to help address industry priorities:

  • Reduce operating costs
  • Implement and realize the full benefit of Electronic Health Records
  • Transition from volume to value
  • Harness the power of data and analytics
  • Enable the connected community
  • Position for the future of revenue cycle management

Ultimately, our goal is to help you realize the value of your IT investments and continue to improve the effectiveness of your organization in improving the patient experience of care and the health of populations, while reducing the per capita cost of healthcare.

BlueTree Network  

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Nicole Meidinger, VP of sales and business development

BlueTree has built a network of over 400 specialized and trusted healthcare IT experts. Our fresh model attracts and supports the best talent and allows us to offer customized and flexible solutions to health systems.

Here’s an overview of our unique model which has helped us to become the premier Epic consulting group:

  • Quality verification – BlueTree employs a thorough process to vet quality and identify niche expertise. We secure targeted recommendations from clients and peers to ensure the excellence of all BlueTree consultants and identify perfect matches for our clients’ needs.
  • Remote support network – BlueTree created a unique web platform that connects consultants and customers, helping them share expertise and engage each other in remote support or targeted small projects. This provides a cost-effective, flexible alternative to the standard onsite consulting model.
  • Specialized service lines – BlueTree helps consultants innovate valuable new service lines and share in all revenue they generate. This attracts the very best talent and allows BlueTree to offer unique, customized solutions that keep up with the ever-changing world of healthcare IT.

At BlueTree, our philosophy centers on providing and recognizing value. We have some of the strongest healthcare IT people around and have been fortunate to work with incredible healthcare organizations. We enjoy collaborating with our clients to create custom solutions to difficult problems. Feel free to get in touch by phone or email with any questions or opportunities.


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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Stephane Vigot, president
877.872.0027 ext.153

Caristix technology serves to simplify the development, deployment, and maintenance of healthcare applications for hospitals. We’re building products that help vendors and hospital become more productive. Carisitix enables interoperability and gets your software systems playing well together.

Visit us at the Interfaceware booth 2229 to get a look at out latest software and discuss how we help you get control of the HL7 interface lifecycle.

Coastal Healthcare Consulting  

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Amy Noel, CEO
Gay Fright, EVP of Business Development

Coastal Healthcare Consulting, Inc. (“Coastal”) has been a premier provider of healthcare IT consulting services since 1995. We are a national firm based in the Seattle area. We have a proven track record of performance having completed more than 850 projects, for more than 80 clients, and were awarded “Best in KLAS,” clinical implementation, supportive for 2005-2009.

We began the company with a focus on  providing EMR implementation services for healthcare clients. We have expanded our services to include the major EMR vendors, additional vendor partnerships, legacy support, and project management.

Connance, Inc.   

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Brian Graves, vice president of marketing and communications

Connance brings world-class predictive analytics and insights from hundreds of clinical settings to transform the performance of financial processes at hospitals, physician groups, and outsourcing organizations. Connance solutions sustainably increase cash flow, reduce operating costs, and improve policy compliance in self-pay, denial management, charity, and outsourcing processes. With clients like Centura Health, CHRISTUS Health, Florida Hospital, and Geisinger Health System, Connance is changing the expectations of financial executives.


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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Ann Marie Brown, EVP of marketing

Craneware (AIM: CRW.L) is the leader in automated revenue integrity solutions that improve financial performance for healthcare organizations. Craneware’s market-driven, SaaS solutions help hospitals and other healthcare providers more effectively price, charge, code, and retain earned revenue for patient care services and supplies. This optimizes reimbursement, increases operational efficiency, and minimizes compliance risk.

By partnering with Craneware, clients achieve the visibility required to identify, address and prevent revenue leakage. Craneware Revenue Integrity Solutions encompass four product families: Access Management & Strategic Pricing, Audit & Revenue Recovery, Revenue Cycle, and Supply Management. To learn more, visit and

Culbert Healthcare Solutions   

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Brad Boyd

Culbert offers comprehensive management consulting services for physicians, hospitals and healthcare systems to improve the delivery of patient care in today’s challenging environment.

Culbert’s seasoned healthcare professionals possess strong patient access, clinical and revenue cycle operations experience combined with IT vendor focused expertise which uniquely qualifies the firm to select, implement, and optimize technology solutions in complex healthcare organizations.

Cumberland Consulting Group   

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: David Vreeland, partner

Cumberland is hosting a hospitality suite at the Hyatt Regency (formerly the Peabody) during the conference. Cumberland Consulting Group, LLC is a national technology implementation and project management firm serving ambulatory, acute, post-acute and long-term healthcare providers, health plan and payors, and life sciences companies. Through the implementation of new technologies, Cumberland helps health organizations nationwide advance the quality of services they deliver and improve overall business performance.

For more information on Cumberland, visit


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To schedule a meeting:

Bob Janacek, CTO,, 973.452.5321
Andy Nieto, health IT strategist,, 502.905-0230
Hugh Gilenson, director business development, healthcare,, 201.417.1090

DataMotion provides HIPAA-compliant solutions using strong encryption techniques for secure email and file transfers containing PHI. We are also an ENHAC accredited Health Information Service Provider (HISP) delivering Direct Secure Messaging services via 18 EHRs including EPIC’s EMR.  We help EHRs and HIEs certify for 2014 ONC-ACB using DataMotion Direct as “relied upon software”.

The DataMotion Direct solution allows vendors of certified health IT products to rapidly certify their solutions and enable providers to meet MU2s Direct Secure Messaging requirements. Capabilities include:

  • Interoperability for Direct Secure Messaging
  • Support for both incoming and outgoing messages
  • Routing of CCD/CCDAs through DataMotion’s HISP and exchanged via XDR

You can meet with us at HIMSS by contacting Bob Janacek, Andy Nieto, or Hugh Gilenson.


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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Connie Smith, marketing

Since 2000, Etransmedia has developed and delivered integrated cloud-based software and services to hospitals, health systems, and physicians nationwide. Etransmedia’s solutions include revenue cycle management service, the Connect2Care software platform which includes an integrated EHR/PM, financial analytics, care coordination, and patient engagement.

Etransmedia is committed to providing the right solutions to build an effective community of care, driving revenues and efficiencies for ambulatory, acute and diagnostic facilities, and increasing the availability of information to providers making critical care decisions. Etransmedia serves over 12,000 providers and 40,000 users.

Etransmedia is the recipient of seven consecutive Inc. 500/5000 awards, and three consecutive Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Awards.

Greencastle Associate Consulting   

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Joe Crandall, director of client engagement solutions

Greencastle consultants are agents of change. Our people have the skill and the experience necessary to assume leadership and take responsibility for the success of large-scale clinical projects and business initiatives.

Founded by US Army Rangers in 1997, Greencastle specializes in bringing a sense of purpose to the task of furthering the missions of hospitals, health systems, acute care centers, clinics, medical practices, ambulatory care providers, and other healthcare organizations. We realize the potential of change through disciplined teamwork, innovation, and systematic methods.

With loyalty and integrity as our compass, we partner with healthcare organizations to complement the existing expertise and passion of your teams. Our change agents inspire people, help them perform, and get results. We maximize the value of change for healthcare organizations. By implementing mission-critical solutions, Greencastle helps hospitals increase revenue, reduce costs, and improve patient outcomes.

Hayes Management Consulting 

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Pete Butler, president/CEO

Hayes Management Consulting is a leading, national healthcare consulting firm focused on healthcare operations. This includes strategic planning, interim leadership, revenue cycle optimization, clinical optimization, project management, IT consulting, and preparation for federal initiatives such as ICD-10, Meaningful Use, and HIPAA compliance.

We also provide software such as MDaudit and other proprietary tools to ensure our clients are operationally efficient. We won’t have a booth but would like to meet you!

LightSpeed Health, Inc.   

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Michael Justice, president

LightSpeed Health is a healthcare software and services company focused on solving IT related issues for ambulatory practices. We are experts in archiving and migrating EMR/EHR and PM systems, our archive systems have been deployed in the largest physician networks in the country, in over 15 states. We work with health systems to develop and execute the IT strategies related to physician practice acquisition – data migration, clinical and financial interfacing (HL-7 and X-12), implementation support, training, workflow analysis, and ongoing user support.

Our team has particular expertise in Allscripts Enterprise and GE Centricity EHR and PM systems.

Specialties: EMR/EHR data archives and migration, Allscripts Enterprise EHR and PM systems, GE Centricity EMR and PM systems, EMR/EHR selection and implement support, and EHR/PM facilities management agreements.

The Loop Company

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact:  Gino Johnson, founder and managing director

The Loop Company is a research advisory firm with more than 20 years experience helping healthcare technology organizations grow their business. Our focus is on delivering actionable strategic and tactical learnings to help your organization successfully launch new products/services, enter new target markets, win more new business, and build loyal customer relationships.

What we do:

  • Collaboratively design customized qualitative feedback loop mechanisms to help your organization understand how it is being perceived in the marketplace, by your customers and prospects.
  • Advance organizational improvement across all areas of your business including: sales, marketing, positioning/messaging, brand awareness, product development, roadmap validation, operations, installations/implementation, support, account management.


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To schedule a meeting:

MedAssets (NASDAQ: MDAS) is a healthcare performance improvement company focused on helping providers realize financial and operational gains so that they can sustainably serve the needs of their community. More than 4,200 hospitals and 122,000 non-acute healthcare providers currently use the company’s evidence-based solutions, best practice processes and analytics to help reduce the total cost of care, enhance operational efficiency, align clinical delivery, and improve revenue performance across the care continuum.

For more information, please visit


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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Debbi Gillotti, vice president and general manager

nVoq provides a cloud-based speech recognition platform (SayIt) exclusively endorsed by the AHA. We support real time dictation for any EMR as well as voice-enabled workflow through automated shortcuts and scripting. SayIt can be used on both Windows and Mac OS computers.

SayIt in Healthcare is sold exclusively through channel partners. Unlike other vendors in this industry, nVoq has no direct sales force and does not provide transcription services.  We want to grow, not compete with, our reseller network.

We welcome inquiries from app developers, EMR resellers, and HIT services firms interested in becoming channel partners. We’re also happy to make contact directly with providers or IT leaders to discuss your requirements and connect you with one of our certified resellers.

Talk to us about building a SayIt practice or using the SayIt SDK to voice-enable your applications platform. Learn why SayIt from nVoq is the sensible alternative for your organization.

Visit for more information.


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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Chrissy Braden, director of business operations

pMD develops software that is powerful, flexible, reliable, and easy-to-use. pMD’s mobile charge capture solution enables physicians to enter billing charges anywhere, at anytime from iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. pMD eliminates the tedious paper processes and administrative elements that burden doctors and their practices, while reducing charge capture lag from weeks to less than a day.

Charge capture is unbelievably easy with pMD’s advanced code search functionality, which gives providers a quick and convenient way to select customized codes. pMD’s ICD-10 Converter automatically maps codes in one click and allows customers to incorporate the ICD-10 code system instantly or incrementally. Additionally, pMD’s secure messaging allows physicians to send sensitive information quickly and securely, all directly from within the pMD app.

The pMD team is committed to developing the best solution on the market and providing superior customer service.

Prominence Advisors   

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Bobby Bacci, president and CEO

Prominence Advisors will be hosting an event for current and prospective customers on Tuesday evening. Anyone interested in attending can get details by using the email

Refreshing: that’s the word that comes to mind when talking about Prominence Advisors. This fast-growing healthcare IT consulting firm is doing things differently and finding new ways to apply technology, strategy, and analytics within the healthcare industry.

Proximare Health   

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Shawn Wagoner, president

If patient access, leakage, and referral management are words you are hearing a lot of lately please take time out to learn how Proximare has helped several organizations with these challenges. Our product was developed in collaboration with clinicians and operations leaders over a decade ago at one of the largest systems in Chicago and has managed over two million patient transitions to date.

Sample Client Results:

  • Referral processing time was reduced from three months to 5.5 days
  • 22 percent of referrals were screened out as inappropriate
  • Referral volume increased sevenfold with fewer employees needed to manage it.

QPID Health   

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Amy Krane, marketing
Connie Thompson, sales

EHRs offer huge promise and great challenges. But as any clinician will tell you, it’s frustrating and time consuming to get the patient story you need for a specific clinical encounter. QPID solves that problem.

Developed and proven through use by thousands of clinicians at the Mass General and other leading hospitals, QPID finds and delivers digests of relevant patient history from anywhere in the patient’s record. From structured data fields and free-form text notes. And across EHRs, HIEs and other data repositories.

Learn why QPID users say “I can’t believe I ever practiced without this.” If you’re ready to optimize your EHR, let’s talk.

Virtelligence, Inc.   

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Akhtar Chaudhri, CEO and founder
Nicole Francen, marketing communications specialist

Virtelligence, a national healthcare and IT consulting firm, offers a unique consulting model that provides a results-driven partnership with clients and a work environment that offers colleagues a path for professional growth unequaled in the industry.

Key Service offerings include:

  • Strategic guidance and project management
  • Software implementation and optimization
  • Software development and integration
  • Revenue cycle optimization
  • Clinical transformation
  • Meaningful Use and ICD-10 projects

Virtelligence consultants have practical hands-on expertise and training with major healthcare and technology vendors, including: Allscripts/ Eclipsys, Cerner, Epic, MEDITECH, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Lawson.

Virtelligence has earned national recognition and numerous awards for being a rewarding work place and delivering lasting client successes: Best Places to Work in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area, HCI 100, Inc. 5000, and the Minnesota Business Journal’s Fast 50.

Vonlay LLC       

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To schedule a meeting:

Contact: Casey Liakos, director of client relations

Since 2009, Vonlay has been handpicking the best application, technical service and development experts from across the HIT ecosystem to work with our clients. And we are proud of the results: a creative, supportive, hardworking company that has a deep commitment to client success.

Vonlay has a unique focus on technology, leadership, and design in the Epic space and beyond. We’ve helped new clients build strong foundations with their implementations. We’ve helped established clients innovate and create a competitive edge with staffing, portals, development, and reporting services.

For more information visit

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February 10, 2014 News No Comments

Readers Write: Little Data

February 10, 2014 Readers Write No Comments

Little Data
By Greg Park

2-10-2014 7-09-35 PM

Today’s topic is the methods by which employees and partners obtain information to perform their function, or as I like to call this, the Push vs. Pull method of information dissemination.

Let’s step inside the way-back machine to observe how this was accomplished in 1986.

I was cutting my HIT teeth first as a computer operator and then as “do-everything” guy at a mid-sized hospital in Philadelphia. There were few standards and no one with HIT degrees. You learned from the vendors, by reading technical manuals, and by putting out fires.

My first big hospital project was implementing Shared Medical Systems Spirit platform, which was SMS’s first turn-key mini platform. This led to managing other tertiary clinical applications and methods of creating information.

Each new platform we installed was bundled with standardized reports focused on daily activities, DNFB accounts, and payments by patient type. All reports were QA’d by vendor and staff prior to go-live to certify accuracy. These standard out-of-the-box reports were the lifeblood of staff’s workflows, and believe me, I would hear it if they weren’t delivered by 6:00 a.m.

Reporting exploded as data became richer and tools emerged to create specialized ad-hoc reports. Soon we were creating ER patient flow analysis, profitability by attending physician, nurse staffing by patient acuity, and then linking data between disparate platforms.

Life was good, but we were killing thousands of trees each month. End users were happy because the process of creating these ad-hoc reports was very personal. I would sit with end users to analyze their needs against the data collected. When required, we would add new data fields and workflows to collect that information accurately in our various platforms. Finally we would validate output structures, ensure accuracy, and finally schedule the reports for the desired timeframe.

Each day or week or month, the report would print. As time marched along into the 1990s, we downloaded all reports into our content management platform. Now all reports were readily accessible and audit trails let us know exactly who was (or was not) reviewing their reports.

My formative years were spent in this way understanding need, locating data, and constructing formats to enable user workflows. These were the “Push” years, because it was our responsibility to ensure the report, spreadsheet, or database was created and pushed to users and business partners in a timely way.

Somewhere in the mid-1990s it became clear that something was changing. During a PeopleSoft implementation, I noted that disk space and CPU resources were significantly more robust than the platforms I had encountered. Data could be kept almost indefinitely and sophisticated queries could be run in real time rather than waiting for a day-end process. The writing was on the wall, but the major HIT platforms would take years to catch up. Many hospitals still operate like its 1985, some with basically the same HIT platforms.

The rest of this writing involves relaying the conversations I have had with my customers, so if this is not your experience, please chime in.

Most new EMRs are fashioned with limited standard reports. End users have become the focal point in the process of generating all reports. Generating reports and pushing them to their intended audience has become an anachronism. Let’s call this new method the “Pull” method, because users are expected to pull the data themselves. In this Pull method, users access report writing tools and pull data on their own terms as needed. To the system designers, this must have been intended as empowerment, but for many users it is a speed bump that did not exist before.

This Pull method can be implemented in various ways. In some, the IT department creates general templates for users to enter query parameters. This works fairly well, but does not address those reporting situations where the timing of data generation is critical. The report will look different if run on August 31 as opposed to September 10, and sometimes this is a problem.

Another method is to provide the user with a full query interface. Now end users are playing the role of IT analyst. Maybe this is fair and is a reflection of how IT is part of everyone’s jobs today, but it can be problematic when users select the wrong data or create a query that is particularly taxing to the EMR or its reporting database. In this world, we have a real problem of focusing on the wrong data, or worst yet, not focusing on the data at all.

For the moment (because I know that once HIT is exposed to big data this will change) patient accounting and general finance are your biggest data consumers. From my perspective, they seem particularly annoyed with this new Pull mentality. Many of these users access these new systems exclusively to generate their own reports.

For me, life is always about balance, and I think both the Pull and Push methods have their place. Pull methods are fine in some scenarios, assuming your end users know how to data mine and construct data exports. But when the situation is time sensitive, I want tools that Push information to responsible parties. This means end users are immediately notified the information exists, that it is readily accessible, and that they are expected to review it immediately.

I know this topic is not at the top of your mind considering MU, ICD-10, and all of your other requirements, but think about it during some downtime and consider whether you are doing your best to get the right information to the right people at the right time.

Greg Park is director of enterprise solutions for Dbtech of Edison, NJ.

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February 10, 2014 Readers Write No Comments

Readers Write: How Many More Reasons Do You Need?

February 10, 2014 Readers Write No Comments

How Many More Reasons Do You Need?
By Tom Furr

2-10-2014 6-32-40 PM

The US Postal Service recently raised the cost of a first class stamp to $0.49, a 6.5 percent increase. Darrell Issa, the Congressman chairing the committee that approved the rate hike, admits, "This rate hike and the ones sure to follow will only push more and more private sector customers to stop using the mail altogether. The rate increase poses a direct threat to the 8 million private sector jobs that are part of the mailing industry as businesses shift from paper-based to electronic communication and mailers are priced out of business."

Think about it. If you had a supplier that said, “We are losing money because nobody really needs our product any more, but we are raising our prices so we can try to hang on a little longer,” how much longer would you stay with them? Or if I told you that your COGS was going up 6.5 percent and you had no alternative in vendors or processes, you might start looking at your business model and thinking about a way to work around that vendor.

In addition, bulk paper costs are expected to rise 2.5 to 6 percent over the next year. I can promise you that your vendors are not going to absorb those costs. If you are responsible for collecting payments from patients on behalf of hospitals and practices, it is a stone cold fact that you are going to see your costs rise next year. I wish I had better news for you, but unless you change something soon, you are going to have some very hard choices to make.

Once choice you can make now is to look at shifting to an online solution that allows you to present patient statements and collect payments easily. It’s not just what you need, it’s what patients want. I was talking to Allen Warren of A&H Billing last week and he explained that he adopted online bill pay because that’s what he prefers when he pays his bills. “When I talk to folks in this business, I ask them, ‘How do you pay your bills?’”, he said. “The funny thing is they all sort of laugh when they think about it. It seems so obvious when you step back from it.”

It’s no secret that I have been looking to drive online payments for our partners, but when the USPS admits that today more than 60 percent of Americans are paying their bills online and their response is to raise rates, how is that good business? It’s going to make consumers look for ways to not use their service. The question is do you want to go for that ride to the bottom with them? I know I don’t, and while I used to look at companies that offered online bill pay as innovative, I now just look at them as sensible.

The cost of postage is going up, the cost of paper is going up, and consumers want to pay their bills online. How many more reasons do you need?

Tom Furr is founder and CEO of PatientPay of Durham, NC.

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February 10, 2014 Readers Write No Comments

Readers Write: The Symbiosis of Care: The Re-Emergence of Professionalism and the Patient Satisfaction Impact

February 10, 2014 Readers Write No Comments

The Symbiosis of Care: The Re-Emergence of Professionalism and the Patient Satisfaction Impact
By Paul Weygandt

2-10-2014 6-25-44 PM

As a physician, it’s second nature for us to make sacrifices for the betterment of others, whether that entails missing the first half of your daughter’s soccer game to listen to a husband who is losing his wife to cancer or working 80 hours a week.

Having been in these situations, I can honestly say – and I believe the vast majority of physicians would agree – it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. It is an unconscious reaction to another person who is in emotional or physical pain. In many ways, being a physician is instinctual – you automatically prioritize others’ needs over your own. And again, quite honestly, in my many years of practicing medicine, I rarely had to deliberate on where I needed to be – when you’re a physician, you just know.

The ability to provide care may come as second nature, but things like using ICD-10 compliant clinical documentation do not. It is no secret that changes in regulatory policies are placing new pressures on physicians and taking our focus away from patient care and practicing the art of medicine. Regulatory requirements are directly impacting the physician-patient relationship. 

While capturing data on the patient experience is important, evaluating the physician experience and then acting on that data is of equal value. According to a recent American Medical Association/Rand study on physician satisfaction, quality of care is inextricably tied to professional satisfaction, and many obstacles to high-quality care are seen as major sources of dissatisfaction. The converse is also true. Any major source of physician dissatisfaction is an obstacle to high quality care.

We’ve found ourselves in a Catch-22. Government regulations are designed to improve patient outcomes, but they are doing so at the expense of those who are providing that care. The two most visible groups in healthcare are patients and physicians, and right now both are suffering under the burdens of a poorly designed system. Patients feel neglected and physicians feel like cogs in a wheel or workers on the healthcare assembly line, devastating medical professionalism and negating the patient benefits of that professionalism.

The ramifications of this situation are severe. After all, everyone has a breaking point. When 60 percent of physicians admit they would retire if they had the means to do so, it’s no longer just an isolated incidence of one or two hospitals’ poor processes or a few old physicians struggling to embrace new technology that is causing the problem. This has become an epidemic that is threatening to decimate our physician community across the country. It isn’t just a handful of luddites refusing to change with the times; it is something much deeper that is cutting at the very core of the medical profession and the physician’s vocation.

Now we’re back to that second nature ability that physicians possess. Physicians willingly made the conscious decision to dedicate their lives to others — to sacrifice for others. They didn’t pledge themselves to filling out onerous paperwork or to looking at a computer screen instead of into the eyes of their patients. It is time for the innovators, particularly those in the health IT community, to listen to physicians, conduct pain tests or do an Apgar score of sorts to closely monitor the health of the profession, and suggest new solutions that can begin to alleviate the discomfort of a sick healthcare system.

If non-essential busy work and non-patient demands can be decreased or eliminated, I think we will find that, once again, that physicians are able to spend their days caring for their patients. Addressing and fixing the myriad of non-clinical issues facing physicians will allow a rebirth of professionalism. That professionalism is, in turn, the basis for high quality care and patient satisfaction.

Paul Weygandt, MD, JD, MPH, MBA, CCS, FACPE is vice president of physician services of Nuance Communications of Burlington, MA.

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February 10, 2014 Readers Write No Comments

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 2/10/14

February 10, 2014 Dr. Jayne No Comments

I’ve made some really good friends in health IT over the last couple of years. One of them shared a great story from a recent get-together he hosted. It made me chuckle enough to want to share it.

We had another family over for a the Super Bowl last week, which was really just a kid-friendly play date and some chatting as the game was awful and the adults were slap-happy from being snowed in with their kids for the last several days. 

“So I am thinking about interviewing for for the new chief medical information officer job at the hospital" said one of the docs, who is a hospital-based physician.

"You mean informatics, right?" said the pernicious techie, cringing at yet another sentence starting with “so.”

"Yeah, sure. So that would be exciting. I am just afraid of being the complaint desk for all Vendor issues. Do you think there is a way to integrate Vendor A and Vendor B?" he said, looking at me, even though the two other adults (which makes three out of four) are employed physicians at the same hospital.

"You can integrate any two things, but the question I would ask is, ‘What things do you feel need to be concatenated for the benefit of patient care and physician happiness?’ since just combining data recklessly can be worse than what you currently have," said the now aghast techie, who wonders whether current employees are being paid to interview for positions they are unqualified for.

"Well, it is a part-time job and I think it would be cool to help improve workflow at the hospital," said the hospitalist.

"Sure, I mean, great. It is really progressive for the hospital to go after a CMIO position. I mean, for them, this is big stuff. I have some friends who are CMIOs that maybe you can speak to. One even finished her sub-specialty Boards recently. The other is an ER doc, but he also has a degree in computer science."

My friend concluded that there is a significant gap between what needs to happen in clinical informatics and what will likely happen. I see this more often than I would like.

I recently helped a local hospital craft a job description for a CMIO-type position. Like many others, they refuse to call it what it is, and instead are hiring for a “Medical Director of Informatics – Ambulatory.” The job description looked good and they posted it. I was shocked when they immediately narrowed the field down to two in-house candidates, both of whom are hospitalists with virtually no ambulatory experience.

Only one had any formal informatics training and that was a three-day continuing education course focusing on public health informatics. The hospital has over 150 employed ambulatory physicians and I was surprised that none of them made the short list. They have been on EHR for half a decade and have a handful of strong physician champions who would have been great in the role. I’m sure there are other political factors at play, but I can’t imagine what they would be that the organization would risk going with an unproven commodity with minimal experience.

My friend had the same sentiment about his party guest. “Why would a hospital that has invested over $20 million in the past five years in inpatient and outpatient technology, keeps buying up practices, and is undergoing a shift to PCMH & ACO across the board leave its CMIO position up to people who have absolutely no idea what they could do, should do, or can do in that role? When do we accept that the needle won’t be moved very far in improving any of the triple-aim’s intended targets?”

Since it was Super Bowl Sunday, he drew the analogy that it is similar to thinking that a baseball player is also a good ping-pong player because they are both sports. I agree with his conclusion that this is a problem for physicians who lack real representation in technology and for administrators who are clueless to the practical requirements of IT in their environments.

I’ve seen a couple of articles recently on the importance of developing effective leadership in healthcare organizations. Leaders need to not only be confident and inspiring, but they also need to know the material at hand. That’s difficult to do when you’ve never practiced in the environment you’re trying to lead. I’m not saying you can’t learn it, but starting in a position where the deck is stacked against you is a challenge.

Let’s suppose my local hospital chooses to hire one of the hospitalist candidates. He is being set up to fail, as the employed physicians will immediately claim that his lack of ambulatory experience makes him unqualified. Even as a practicing outpatient physician, my first physician champion role led to claims I was inadequate because I didn’t see as many patients as my peers or my patients weren’t as sick as theirs. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be thrust on the scene as a hospitalist.

My initial advice for this physician who thinks that part-time informatics work might be “cool” would be to dig deeper into the job description and determine areas of strength and weakness. Even though this physician would be just beginning his informatics career and therefore would not be eligible to sit for the Clinical Informatics board exam, I would encourage him to attend the AMIA board review course, as it is does a great job illustrating the breadth of material that falls into our realm. He could also choose one of their 10×10 courses to dig further into areas where his employer wants him to focus.

Should he actually be offered the job, I would recommend pushing to have these kinds of courses paid for as part of the informatics role, as well as dedicated time for continuing medical education (CME). When I took my first informatics post (part-time), I was able to use standard physician continuing ed hours and funds to accomplish this. However, when I went full time, that week of CME time and the money that went with it vanished in their initial offer and had to be negotiated back into the agreement.

It was good catching up with my friend. I usually see him at HIMSS but he’ll miss it this year unfortunately. He did have some good advice for me, however, in response to my recent question about how administrative physicians decide whether it’s time to give up practice:

You asked if you should give up treating patients recently. My advice: no, you should not stop treating patients. You should instead redefine who your patients are. No longer should you spend time with booboos and flu shots and diabetes. You should now look at the sick hospitals, clinics, and IPNs (there are still some out there) that really need a checkup, a care plan, and an intervention. Your patients are out there and your patients are very ill. They may even compensate you, and like the great feeling you get when you catch appendicitis early, you will change the health of your patients in ways we will benefit from for years to come.

I really appreciate the pep talk and have to say it came just at the right time. Listening to his story, I remember what it was like being a fledgling informaticist. It makes me want to go out and win one for the Gipper.

Have a health IT pep talk to share? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

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February 10, 2014 Dr. Jayne No Comments

Morning Headlines 2/10/14

February 10, 2014 Headlines No Comments

athenahealth Management Discusses Q4 2013 Results – Earnings Call Transcript

athenahealth holds its Q4 earnings call, during which CEO Jon Bush discusses plans to start marketing products to hospitals, and outlines future projects for integrating services with Epocrates.

Leading Pharmacies and Retailers Join Blue Button Initiative

The BlueButton+ network grows to include data from a number of major retail pharmacies including Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and Kroger.

CMS extends 2013 EHR attestation deadline for EPs, certain hospitals

CMS extends Meaningful Use 2013 attestation for EPs by one month. The new deadline is March 31, 2014.

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February 10, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Monday Morning Update 2/10/14

February 8, 2014 News 16 Comments

2-8-2014 3-16-29 PM

From EpicConsulting: “Re: Epic going into the consulting business. What’s being said internally at Epic is that the program will be limited to employees with 4+ years of experience, it will provide some location independence, and the intention is to undercut in price most of the Epic consulting industry. It’s an attempt to give Epic employees less incentive to quit, sit out their one-year non-compete, and then come back doing the same job making twice the pay for half the hours. Epic has talked about doing this for years, formerly calling it Ongoing Services, but hasn’t actually gone this far until now. Consulting firm reaction has been, ‘Why would you want the same person who dug you into a hole to be the one to dig you out?’ but can they compete when Epic sells services at $75 per hour and they’re billing $150? Would a CIO pay double for a non-Epic voice? Will hospitals gain negotiating power with another option in the market? Fun question, too: will KLAS rate Epic’s consulting and will companies like Nordic, Sagacious, etc. score higher than Epic itself?” All unverified, but interesting.

From Please Please Me: “Re: HIStalkapalooza. I’ve never requested an invitation, so I’ve never been refused. But it sounds like fun and you guys are great to do that – don’t let the poor souls who don’t get in discourage you.” Inga reminded me that despite reader Gary’s insistence that he didn’t get an invitation for three years straight, we sent one to every single person who registered in 2013 and 2011, and I’m pretty sure we invited everyone in 2012 as well. Gary either didn’t register in time those years or his company’s spam filter trashed our emailed invitation, which happens a lot (and creates extra work for us because people always email us wanting individual assistance.) Demand this year was unprecedented – it will be the largest HIStalkapalooza yet, but around 900 more people asked for invitations than we have available. And to address the most commonly asked question, sorry, but we have no way to accommodate guests even though I’m sympathetic to those who want to attend with a spouse or friend – we’ve already had to turn away hundreds of loyal HIStalk readers.

2-8-2014 8-38-18 AM

Two-thirds of poll respondents haven’t been promoted in the last two years. New poll to your right: generally speaking, are the vendors and products named in the “Best in KLAS” report really the best ones? You won’t win favor for your position by simply clicking yes or no, but you might if you click the Comments link after voting to explain your rationale.

2-8-2014 9-02-48 AM

I mentioned that I decided to run an occasional ad at the top of the HIStalk page only so I can donate most of the proceeds to the DonorsChoose, which supports teachers whose classrooms need help buying books and supplies or paying for educational projects. I’m indifferent at best toward most charities (including hospitals) because they are inefficient, ineffective, and overly generous with executive compensation, but years ago my research led me to DonorsChoose and it has become (along with the Salvation Army) my charity of choice. I’ll be funding the first projects this week and updating the HIStalk giving page so we as readers and sponsors can feel good about the results – you’ll be able to see project details, status, photos, and the teacher’s letter of thanks and description of the outcome. I’m really excited about this. You are making it possible by reading HIStalk, for which I am grateful.

Listening: Blondfire, a Michigan-based dreamy indie pop brother-and-sister band that has new album coming out Tuesday.

2-8-2014 2-08-04 PM

Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor MEA | NEA of Norcross, GA. The company’s cloud-based solutions allow health plans and providers (both medical and dental) to electronically request and deliver images and documents that would previously have been printed and mailed. FastAttach improves revenue cycle management by allowing providers to submit documents to support their electronic medical claims via a Windows-based application that’s compatible with all practice management and revenue cycle systems. FastAttach also allows providers to quickly and securely respond to RAC and other audits through the company’s participation in Medicare’s Electronic Submission of Medical Documentation program (esMD) using the CONNECT gateway to send scanned images, print capture, screen capture, uploads, files, and mobile capture. Thanks to MEA |NEA for supporting HIStalk.

HIMSS Conference Social Events

Send us your event details if it’s a good one (i.e., free food and drinks at minimum) and you promise that all HIStalk readers are welcome to attend, even if they work for your most hated competitor as a given reader might well do.

2-8-2014 10-36-25 AM

Nordic is sponsoring an open house at King’s Bowl Orlando, International Drive, Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. Email to sign up.

Upcoming Webinars

February 12 (Wednesday) 1:00 p.m. ET. Healthcare CO-OPs and Their Potential to Reduce Costs. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenters: David Napoli, director of performance improvement and strategic analytics, Colorado HealthOP and Richard Schultz, VP of clinical care integration, Kentucky Health Cooperative. Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (CO-OPs) were established by the Affordable Care Act as nonprofit health insurance companies designed to compete in the individual and small group markets. Their intended impact was to provide more insurance options for consumers to pay for healthcare.

February 13 (Thursday), 12 noon ET. Advancement in Clinician Efficiency Through Aware Computing. Sponsored by Aventura. In an age of information overload, a computing system that is aware of the user’s needs becomes increasingly critical. Instant-on roaming for virtual and mobile applications powered by awareness provides practical ways to unleash value from current HIT investments, advancing efforts to demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs and improve clinical efficiencies. The presenters will review implementation of Aventura’s solution at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center.

February 18 (Tuesday), 1:00 p.m. ET. Epic 2012 Training and Support: Building Your Team. Sponsored by MBA HealthGroup. The webinar will present a case study of creative staffing solutions for an Epic 2012 upgrade at an academic medical center, describing the institution’s challenge, its out-of-the-box solution, and the results it obtained working with a consulting firm.


I’m hearing buzz about REST and FHIR Web-based programming coming from various vendors and from ONC. It sounds important for future healthcare IT development and interoperability, so I decided to look up the concepts since I don’t know anything about them. This is my cartoonish, stick-figure understanding that certainly could use more informed (but simple) explanation from knowledgeable readers about what it means in healthcare and who’s using it.

REST (representational state transfer) is the architecture that runs the Internet, where your browser sits there waiting for you to enter data or click a button and then something cool happens. Applications developed using RESTful programming respect the fact that the Internet works perfectly fine without individual programmers screwing around with tricky or proprietary techniques. Your browser knows how to process your Amazon order even though you don’t know or care how Amazon’s servers are set up, the Firefox people didn’t customize their browser to work with, and Amazon didn’t develop its site so that it only works with Firefox. REST-built systems can interact with each other with minimal overhead. It’s pretty much the opposite of how most healthcare applications were built, in other words, since it presumes that all boats are equally floated when applications work and communicate in a common way using existing infrastructure and methods, making life easier for programmers and users alike.

FHIR (fast healthcare interoperability resources, pronounced “fire”) is an HL7 framework that further defines REST for specific building blocks for developing healthcare applications. Applications developed using FHIR are theoretically easier to develop and support, are inherently interoperable, and follow Web standards.

I’m not as interested in the technical underpinnings as the possible benefits. REST and FHIR concepts are new to healthcare IT and probably aren’t ready for prime time. I can understand why vendors would be cautious about chasing trendy standards that not only threaten their proprietary existence but also could go out of fashion faster than the Harlem Shake, but it’s still an interesting design that could make life better for everyone (including patients and providers) if everybody used it.

This is the cue for an reader who is unbiased, technical enough to understand what all this means strategically, and blessed with the ability to describe it simply (but not simplistically) to enlighten the rest of us who just want stuff to work.

iHealth 2014 Report

2-8-2014 9-07-37 AM
2-8-2014 9-06-52 AM

The only conference I attend regularly is HIMSS for a variety of reasons  — cost, time required, and often because I don’t even know when or where a given conference is being held with enough lead time to plan. I always invite readers to provide a summary of their experiences.

Here’s ADG’s writeup of AMIA’s iHealth conference:

iHealth 2014 was a good excuse to get away from the cold and snow of wherever you were and come to Orlando for some warm rain. Farzad Mostashari in particular was seen immediately after the PBS-style fireside chat of the four previous national coordinators without a bowtie and in the company of a couple of cute kids. Getting the four on the same stage was a logistics coup and they were immensely personable. The two with the initials “DB” — David Brailer and David Blumenthal — cheerfully referred to each other as DB1 and DB2. Their themes included the coming penalties for non-compliance with MU, and DB1’s very sharp insights, which included the observation that he expects FDA regulation of EMRs within “single digit” years. Their advice to the current ONC coordinator Karen DiSalvo seemed to be a version of “buckle up.” DB1 in particular was praised by the others for his sharp organizational and entrepreneurial skills in getting the office started on the right foot.

We came to Orlando to get practical advice (and to get out of the cold, see above) and there is some comfort that all are struggling — large and less-large, academic and less-academic — with rapid change. Most noticeable was a sharp divide between the academics and the operational types, with the academics suggesting that if you do the right things, the “regulators will catch up,” which is an actual quote. The operational types knew that regulators will deny payment for any failure to cross the T and dot the i and that their organization would be out of business for lack of money by the time the regulators “caught up” to the “right thing.” There was a terrific dinner hosted by AMIA for recent diplomates of the board of Clinical Informatics, and we discovered we all have frighteningly similar backgrounds and tastes. Blackford Middleton, chair of the board of directors of AMIA, gave an excellent short toast. There were no grand insights, but lots of one-on-one incremental gains from each other, and HIStalk was mentioned at least a couple of times from the stage(s).

2-8-2014 9-54-04 AM

Jim Hansen of Lumeris / Accountable Delivery System Institute knows I like what we call “Judy-isms,” little nuggets of cynical wisdom from Epic’s Judy Faulkner. He culled these from last week’s HIT Policy Committee meeting:

  • “Be careful about prescriptive standards. If there was a usability committee for the iPhone, there wouldn’t be one.”
  • “We see a huge international move to EHRs without incentive money. We can’t test it here, but would it have happened anyway?”
  • “With regard to Meaningful Use and providers saying, “I paid for an EHR, therefore you as the government owe me,” I think of girls on dates and I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

2-8-2014 2-33-17 PM

Brian Ahier provides the full text of the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act that proposes to move the Meaningful Use program into the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System.


From athenahealth’s Friday earnings call:

  • Jonathan Bush talked up athenaCoordinator for Enterprise, “our first truly hospital-facing service” that will tie together the company’s services for pre-certification, pre-registration, scheduling, and population health management. It will cost hospitals 1 percent of revenue.
  • “The on-ramp that is turning out to be Epocrates” will be enhanced to include secure text messaging, a provider director, and clinical decision support tools and the rollout of Epocrates Prime that will allow non-physician secure messaging participants and referral capability.
  • New company locations include Austin, Atlanta, and San Francisco.
  • Sales to small hospitals, the only underperforming area, will be better supported by teams that include operational analysts rather than just a single salesperson.
  • Bush, responding to an analyst’s question about how cost-shifting to patients will affect the company, said, “As long as they don’t become uninsured self-payers and they keep their financial selves tangled up in impossible-to-understand bureaucratic health plans, which is now the law of the land, it doesn’t hurt us.”
  • Bush says the company may need to create a patient-facing division because patient portal use is low industry-wide.
  • In describing the company’s patient engagement efforts, “The goal is to just do everything possible for the doctor over the cloud, to the patient, at home where they get better answers to clinical questions. Like tell me about your diet and your life and all the things you need to know for the doctor, all your smoking, your seatbelts, your sex life. All those things are much easier to talk about at home or in private than sitting in the freaking waiting room, or worse, on that butcher paper with your knickers off. So we’re going to use the social good created by all of our increasingly sophisticated patient outreach to be way better than we are.”
  • Enterprise Coordinator will include the patient facesheet from athenaClinicals and clicking on the patient’s name, even by a practice that doesn’t use athenahealth, will launch a session of the hospital’s EHR.
  • Bush described the company’s future strategy as, “The goal here is to get into the front door and the back door of the hospital and work our way through the wards and departments with cloud-based services that allow them to virtualize, get business from more places, and focus more of their resources on actual clinical care. Other places we need to go is we need to go to patients. So every patient in America needs to have something in their wallet and something on their wrist, some sort of 2D barcode or in their iPhone that says, ‘This is me. Zap this thing and pull me up on athenaNet if I’m unconscious.’ So that’s some sort of patient outreach. I don’t know if it’s a partnership with the big dogs out in California, the Facebook or whatever — maybe I have to meet the Zuck, who knows. And then the other one is to get into the finance side. So health plans have been largely kind of strapped down and held still by regulation. They can’t be responsive to their customers. They need new ways of underwriting healthcare and a partner that could bring a claimless healthcare network where nobody sends a claim or receives a claim. All of this is instantaneous intelligence built into the wire. That should be us.”
  • In summarizing 2013, Bush said, “That wraps up a fantastic year. And over the last few days, we have given out beautiful crystal things, checks, and stock options. And if that wasn’t enough, we gave a few people hangovers so that they knew that what they had done in 2013 and then we took all their needles and returned them to 0. And we noticed last night that you all got excited about how the year went and the stock went up. And we want you to know that we have turned our needles with you to 0. We have a very long way to go and it is only to us about how we journey. There will be a healthcare Internet and we will be the ones who have created it. ”

Speaking of athenahealth, ATHN shares jumped 25 percent on Friday, the second-largest percentage gain on the Nasdaq, after Thursday’s earnings announcement, valuing the company at $6.5 billion. A $10,000 investment five years ago would be worth $52,000 today.

CMS extends the deadline for EPs to attest for MU 2013 by a month to March 31, 2014.

2-8-2014 3-50-08 PM

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announces that several drug chains have pledged to support or expand their use of the Blue Button initiative to allow patients to access their prescription information: Walgreens, Kroger, CVS Caremark, Rite Aid, and Safeway. Walgreens, always the technology leader in retail pharmacy and arguably in healthcare, says it will adopt BlueButton+ guidelines to allow customers to share their data and use third-party health applications.

2-8-2014 4-14-28 PM

The Federal Trade Commission approves a settlement with IP-based video camera vendor TRENDnet over a software vulnerability that allowed anyone to view a camera’s live feed over the Internet without a password. One marketed use of the secure video systems is monitoring hospitalized patients.

In England, a privacy group criticizes West Suffolk Hospital after it reports 20 documented breaches since 2010, including seven in 2013. All of breaches last year involved paper records that were filed or mailed incorrectly.

Weird News Andy includes an actor’s name pun in titling this story, “He’s a Lauriette.” A German doctor diagnoses a patient’s cobalt poisoning caused by a broken artificial hip after recognizing its symptoms from an episode of the TV series “House.” The doctor says he’s not thrilled at being called “the German Dr. House” since he finds rude behavior unacceptable, but concedes, “It’s important to be nice, but you don’t get patients healthy just by being nice.”

Sponsor Updates

2-8-2014 3-14-17 PM

  • Clinical Architecture announces Symedical for the iPad, which provides mobile access to map administration.
  • John Gomez of JGo Labs is working with investment bankers interested in investing in healthcare IT companies with $5 million to $30 million EBIDTA, a proven business model, and good revenue growth. He’ll be available to meet with interested companies at HIMSS. 


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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February 8, 2014 News 16 Comments

Morning Headlines 2/7/14

February 7, 2014 Headlines No Comments

athenahealth, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013 Results

athenahealth reports Q4 and full year 2013 results: $595 million total annual revenue, representing a 41 percent increase year-over-year. A Q4 adjusted EPS of $0.57 vs. $0.29 beat analysts estimates and drove shares up 19 percent in after hours trading.

Former TX hospital CFO charged with health care fraud in Tyler court

The former CFO of Shelby Regional Medical Center (TX) has been indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with health care fraud violations for falsely attesting to Stage 1 Meaningful Use.

Army, Air Force Tap Goodwill Industries to Scan and Send Records to VA

The Army and Air Force have contracted with Goodwill Industries to begin scanning and transmitting copies of departing service members’ medical records to the VA.

Gov sees fix for failed Mass. health care website

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick apologizes to residents over the states problematic health insurance exchange website. Development of the site was managed by CGI Group, the same company that was responsible for

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February 7, 2014 Headlines No Comments

News 2/7/14

February 6, 2014 News 6 Comments

Top News

2-6-2014 8-50-45 PM

Athenahealth reports Q4 results: revenue up 48 percent, adjusted EPS $0.57 vs. $0.29, beating analyst expectations for both and sending ATHN shares up 19 percent in after hours trading Thursday. Above is the one-year performance of ATHN (blue) vs. the Nasdaq (red).

Reader Comments

2-6-2014 11-18-52 AM

From OnTheFringe: “Re: KLAS. Sponsoring a Best in KLAS TweetChat Friday. Oh my, I think I might have a few beers and fire up my Twitter account.”

2-6-2014 11-49-01 AM

inga_small From Faithful Sponsor: “Re: HIStalkapalooza attire. While I did not make the cut to attend HIStalkapalooza 2014, one of my executives did and I wanted to touch base to see what the theme was this year.” Let me start by saying that no one is sadder than Mr. H and me that we were not able to accommodate all our faithful readers and sponsors due to capacity limitations. The only HIStalker more sad than us is probably Dr. Jayne, who was unable to score an invite for her “+1,” a gentleman that Dr. Jayne assures me  is terrific, even if he did just cancel his HIStalk subscription over the perceived snub. Next year I am proposing we rent Soldier Field so we have plenty of room for anyone (though I suppose we might need to wear snow suits.) As for this year, we will once again be seeking contenders for the Inga Loves My Shoe contest, so please bring your A game. Overachievers who are able to pull off the whole package may be in the running for HIStalk King or Queen. If that’s not specific enough, here’s a good rule of thumb: leave the “just off the exhibit floor” company golf shirt in your hotel room and come adorned in something fun, flirty, and suitable for sipping Ingatinis. You’ll see some long gowns, a tux or two, plenty of cocktail dresses, and the occasional pair of blue jeans. It’s going to be fun.

From Gary: “Re: HIStalkapalooza. Rejected third year in a row. I have concluded that this is a hand picked, very political event, your own version of the Good Ole Boy network.” Every year I swear I’ll never do another HIStalkapalooza because of the endless complaining about who gets invited and the time and energy it takes to wade through hundreds of emails begging for (or demanding) invitations, insistence on bringing uninvited guests, or asking me to personally repeat event details that have already appeared several times in HIStalk. The event is a really nice, free party for maybe 1,000 people and neither the sponsor nor I get anything out of it except a ton of work, but somehow we end up being the bad guys when demand for invitations exceeds supply. The invitation process is clear and hasn’t changed since 2008: employees of non-profit providers (hospitals, practices, universities – hardly “political”) who request invitations come first. This year a huge number of providers signed up, leaving around 1,000 others without spots no matter how cool they are or how much I like them. It’s no different than a popular show or sporting event – not everybody is going to get a seat. Next thing you know scalpers will be lined up outside of the House of Blues.

Speaking of HIStalkapalooza, every year at least 40 percent of those invited don’t show up. This year I’m keeping a database of no-shows who don’t let me know in advance so that I can give someone else their spot – that will be the last HIStalkapalooza invitation they’ll get. A few invitees have already emailed to say their plans have changed and I really appreciate that.

From Reader: “Re: HIStalk. Thank you again for the wonderful service you offer our healthcare industry. So many of us wake up each morning to stay informed to the latest news via HIStalk. I am amazed at how well your content remains timely, fresh, and complete. We hope to see you at HIMSS, where we will release the next generation of our solution. Wishing you continued success in 2014.” Thanks. I don’t usually have enough time to watch demos at the HIMSS conference, but I will try to swing by at least briefly and anonymously.

From Silent: “Re: Epic. Going into the consulting business. This will greatly disrupt the current vendor marketplace.” Unverified.

From WildcatBelievers: “Re: The University of Arizona Health Network’s Diamond Children’s Hospital. Went live on Epic in November, recently put together this fantastic video with special guest band American Authors to celebrate the tremendous and impactful work they are doing to improve the lives of the children of Arizona.”

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

A few HIStalk Practice highlights from the last week include: Epic, eClinicalWorks, and Allscripts own 30 percent of the physician EMR market. Physician practices are far from ready for ICD-10. HHS finds that few health centers have the capacity to meet MU data sharing objectives. Reimbursements remained flat in 2013 for existing patient visits and declined for new patients. EHR alerts show promise in changing physician behavior when treating obese and overweight children. Dr. Gregg recommends taking time to step across the divide to reinvigorate your viewpoint. Culbert Healthcare’s Brad Boyd offers tips for optimizing clinical documentation. Thanks for reading.

2-6-2014 9-43-34 PM

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor CitiusTech, a leading healthcare technology services and solutions provider with 1,400 professionals (including 500 certified in HL7) serving over 50 leading healthcare organizations. The company has grown 55 percent year-over-year for the past five years and has won awards for being a great place to work. Its BI-Clinical healthcare business intelligence and clinical decision support system has been deployed at over 1,200 provider locations, with pre-built clinical, financial, operational, and regulatory reporting apps and 600 pre-built KPIs. Services include software product engineering, professional services, QA and test automation, and technology consulting. Specific practice areas are Meaningful Use compliance, interoperability, BI, consumer health, care management, and cloud and mobile health.  The company serves all healthcare markets – vendors, hospitals, medical groups, medical device companies, HIEs, health plans, and pharma. Thanks to CitiusTech for supporting HIStalk.

Here’s an overview of CitiusTech.

HIMSS Conference Social Events

Aventura, Nordic Consulting, Avent, and IHS Consulting will host the Row 1800 block party from 4:00-6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 25. All will be serving food and drinks and Aventura will feature a magic show at booth 1831. All hated competitors are welcome.

Upcoming Webinars

February 12 (Wednesday) 1:00 p.m. ET. Healthcare CO-OPs and Their Potential to Reduce Costs. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenters: David Napoli, director of performance improvement and strategic analytics, Colorado HealthOP and Richard Schultz, VP of clinical care integration, Kentucky Health Cooperative. Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (CO-OPs) were established by the Affordable Care Act as nonprofit health insurance companies designed to compete in the individual and small group markets. Their intended impact was to provide more insurance options for consumers to pay for healthcare.

February 13 (Thursday), 12 noon ET. Advancement in Clinician Efficiency Through Aware Computing. Sponsored by Aventura. In an age of information overload, a computing system that is aware of the user’s needs becomes increasingly critical. Instant-on roaming for virtual and mobile applications powered by awareness provides practical ways to unleash value from current HIT investments, advancing efforts to demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs and improve clinical efficiencies. The presenters will review implementation of Aventura’s solution at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

2-6-2014 9-37-29 PM

Private equity firm Thoma Bravo acquires supply chain solutions vendor Global Health Exchange.

2-6-2014 1-27-57 PM

Praesidian Capital invests $8.3 million in Etransmedia Technology.

2-6-2014 1-29-56 PM

Alere announces Q4 results: adjusted revenue up two percent, ajusted EPS $0.68 vs. $0.55, beating estimates. Net product and services revenue from Alere’s health information solutions segment was flat.

2-6-2014 1-30-53 PM

Bottomline Technologies will pay $8 million for Rationalwave Analytics, an early-stage predictive analytics company.

From Cerner’s earnings call:

  • The company signed 25 contracts over $5 million in the quarter
  • President Zane Burke says half of the market will reconsider their EHR supplier in the next few years, most of them will choose Cerner or Epic, and Cerner’s win rate against Epic has doubled in the past three years.
  • Cerner says it replaced 18  ambulatory competitors in signature accounts.
  • It says it sold an HIE to a 600-bed Epic hospital because Epic was “was unable to effectively connect to other systems.”
  • The company says providers are consolidating and Cerner hospitals are buying smaller ones at quadruple the rate of Epic hospitals.


2-6-2014 1-31-50 PM

FirstHealth of the Carolinas selects Truven Health Unify for population health management.

2-6-2014 1-32-56 PM

Bozeman Deaconess Hospital (MT) will implement Merge Healthcare’s VNA and interoperability solutions.

Metro-North ACO (PR) selects eClinicalWorks Care Coordination Medical Record to advance its physician-led ACO objectives.

Adventist Health System selects HealthMEDX to automate Adventist Care Centers, its long-term care division.

2-6-2014 1-39-21 PM

Genesis Medical Center (IA)  will implement Wolter Kluwer Health’s ProVation Medical software for cardiology procedure documentation and coding.

Covenant Health Systems (MA) adopts MedeAnalytics’ analytics platform to manage population health for its employees.

Athens-Limestone Hospital (AL) selects Besler Consulting to assist in the identification of Medicare Transfer DRG underpayments.

Providence Health & Services and Swedish Health Services (WA) will implement care transition and utilization review solutions from Curaspan Health Group, as well as Xerox’s Midas+ Care Management platform.


2-6-2014 1-03-52 PM

Axiom EPM hires David Janotha (Loyola University of Chicago Medical Center) as VP of healthcare.

2-6-2014 8-59-17 PM 2-6-2014 9-01-32 PM

Parallon names Scott Armstrong (OptumInsight) SVP and Wendy Penfield (Intellect Resources) as AVP, both in revenue cycle consulting services.

2-6-2014 9-06-26 PM

Surgical supply chain software vendor Solstice Medical hires Todd Melioris as CEO.

Announcements and Implementations

2-6-2014 1-44-43 PM

Geisinger Health System (PA) deploys Courion’s identity and access management solutions.

St. Luke’s University Hospital Network (PA) implements Get Real Health’s InstantPHR patient portal, which will be connected to Caradigm’s HIE platform.

HIMSS announces a Latin American version of its annual conference that will be held September 18-19 in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Government and Politics

The Army and Air Force contract with a division of Goodwill Industries to scan and transmit to the VA the service treatment records of veterans discharged this year.

2-6-2014 8-43-51 PM

The DoD and VA collaborate to develop a way for the VA to review the scanned images of the DoD electronic medical records of disability claimants.

2-6-2014 10-16-45 PM

Farzad Mostashari tweets out a section of the proposed SGR bill that would roll Meaningful Use and PQRS incentives into a new value-based payment system that would start in 2017.  Additional language would require EHRs to be interoperable.

The former CFO of Shelby Regional Medical Center (TX) is indicted for Medicare fraud, charged with falsely attesting that the hospital met Meaningful Use requirements for 2012. The hospital was mostly paper-based, but ordered its software vendor (eCareSoft) and employees to manually enter information into the EHR months after discharge to earn $786,000 in incentive payments. The hospital was part of a now-defunct for-profit chain that collected $18 million in Meaningful Use payments before being dismantled after reports of serious patient care issues.

The governor of Massachusetts apologizes for the state’s dysfunctional insurance exchange website as a non-profit research firm finds the site loaded with “technical infrastructure and data stability problems.” The governor says that contractor CGI, which was also responsible for, was  not reliable and relieved CGI overseer University of Massachusetts Medical Center of further responsibilities.


New York officials report that the state’s online database for drug prescriptions has reduced doctor shopping by 75 percent since its August 2013 implementation.

The World Health Organization postpones the rollout of ICD-11 until 2017, two years later than planned.

Sponsor Updates

  • AirWatch opens an Australian headquarters in Melbourne.
  • Allscripts announces the general availability of Sunrise Version 14.1.
  • Jed Shay, MD shares how his use of AdvancedMD’s EHR and PM services have contributed to improved cash flow, productivity, and patient tracking.
  • T-System files a patent application for an ICD-10 feedback feature that helps clinicians document for ICD-10 without an interruption in workflow.
  • Huron Healthcare will integrate predictive analytic technologies from Connance into its revenue cycle solutions.
  • Russell Green, VP of research operations and engagement manager for Porter Research, discusses the mixed messaging of HIEs in a blog post.
  • Kelsey Creveling from Sagacious Consultants clarifies changes in the Safe Harbor regulation in a blog post.
  • MyCatalyst will use Liaison Healthcare’s Data Management platform for its myCatalyst Provider Portal and Population Health Reportal solutions.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne


The pre-HIMSS mail bonanza has started. It seems a little earlier than last year. Today’s winner is GCX Mounting Solutions, whose “scratch and win” card fell victim to the Postal Service’s automated mail handling machines. A fair number of mailings arrive mangled every year. I wonder if the marketing and promotional companies ever consider doing a test mailing to make sure their items will arrive as intended?

Several vendors have shared invitations to their client appreciation parties and I’m looking forward to writing them up. I haven’t heard from very many EHR vendors, so either they don’t want sassy women in fabulous shoes to attend or they’re just behind. Inga will be sharing invitations from those vendors willing to open their events to HIStalk readers. I appreciate their willingness to let everyone share in the fun. After slogging through 500,000 square feet of exhibit space and 1,200 exhibitors, the opportunity to unwind and partake of a cocktail is more than welcome.

Something I’ll be on the lookout for in the exhibit hall: devices that use the new Corning antimicrobial Gorilla Glass. When I think about all the devices I come into contact with each day in the hospital compared to the variable handwashing behavior of some of my colleagues, it seems like a good idea. I see more people wiping down equipment at the gym than I see on the wards and that’s not a good thing. I haven’t seen any evidence-based reports on how well it works, so if you have any inside scoop, let me know.

The World Health Organization is postponing the rollout of ICD-11. Originally slated for 2015, it will be delayed until 2017. Hopefully this will quiet those voices advocating that we skip ICD-9 and go straight to ICD-11. ICD-10 was approved in May 1990 and first came into use in 1994, so based on the historical timeline, the United States should be ready for ICD-11 in 2038. Thank goodness I’ll be retired by then.


Several readers emailed about this week’s Curbside Consult on wearable tech. One mentioned the lack of interest in a mobile healthcare enterprise device. Manufacturers are focused on selling directly to the masses, but it would seem like there is a place for enterprise devices in the Accountable Care or HMO spaces. Another lamented the lack of integration among devices — “I feel like a nurse with 50 devices being a kangaroo.”

When I was in residency, we used to refer to the group of pagers that you had to wear when you were on call as the Batman Utility Belt. There was the on-call pager, the code team pager, and your personal pager. You also had to carry the elevator keys (because who wants to run up 17 floors when a patient needs CPR?) Throw on a bulky cell phone, and if you were extra lucky, the labor and delivery pager, and you were ready to go. I almost forgot – some also had a Palm Pilot, although I was partial to the Pocket PC.

We’ve certainly come a long way. Some of us are down to one device if we work in a BYOD environment. I’m still toting a corporate phone and a personal phone, but it certainly could be worse. Have you been able to shed the utility belt? Email me.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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February 6, 2014 News 6 Comments

Morning Headlines 2/6/14

February 6, 2014 Headlines No Comments

New MGMA research: industry coordination lagging; less than 10 percent of physician practices ready for ICD-10

According to a new study from MGMA, less than 10 percent of physician practices have made significant progress on their transition to ICD-10.

EHR incentive payments soar beyond $19 billion

$19 billion in EHR incentive payments have been distributed thus far, with 88 percent of all eligible hospitals and 78 percent of eligible providers having received a share.

Innovative Collaboration to Address Shared Challenges in Health Care

Kaiser Permanente and the VA have announced that they will pool resources and develop best practices for key emerging fields such as genomics, population health, and telehealth.

A.G. Schneiderman Applauds Success Of New York’s Innovative Program To Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse

A law in New York that requires pharmacists to update on online database anytime a narcotic prescription is filled, and then requires physicians to check the database prior to issuing new prescriptions to patients, is being credited with reducing "doctor shopping" by 75 percent. The same law mandates state-wide e-prescribing by March 2015.

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February 6, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Morning Headlines 2/5/14

February 5, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Castlight Health Files $2 Billion IPO

Castlight Health, a health benefits management vendor working to increase cost transparency with web-based consumer tools, has filed IPO registration paperwork with the SEC for a stock offering expected to reach a $2 billion valuation. Castlight was founded by athenahealth co-founder and current US CTO Todd Park.

Imprivata Confidentially Submits Registration Statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for Initial Public Offering of Its Common Stock

Imprivata, a KLAS leading for Single Sign-on solutions vendor, confidentially files IPO registration papers. A press release from the company reports that they will execute the stock offering once the SEC has finished its review.

2013 Healthcare Provider Innovation Survey

A recent HIMSS survey measuring the state of innovation within provider organizations finds that cost reduction is the focal point of innovation initiatives for most respondents. With EHR optimization in full swing, providers are now reportedly making progress implementing systems for population health management, patient follow-up, predictive analytics, clinical decision support, and care coordination.

Cerner Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013 Results

Cerner announces Q4 and 2013 year end results: Full year bookings were $3.77 billion, up 20 percent from 2012. Adjusted Q4 EPS $0.39 vs $034, meeting analyst expectations.

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News 2/5/14

February 4, 2014 News No Comments

Top News


Castlight Health files plans for an IPO that values the company at $2 billion. The employee health management software company was formed in 2008 with now-US CTO Todd Park as a co-founder.

Reader Comments

2-4-2014 1-26-07 PM

inga_small From Jack Flash: “Re: Dick Derrick. The HCIT world will miss the smiling face of Dick Derrick of eClinicalWorks, who announced his retirement after 40 years in our business.” Dick was kind enough to share with Mr. H and me that he remains “addicted” to HIStalk and will continue reading in between his travel, volunteering, and family time. He also asked us to send his best to his industry friends.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Supporting HIStalk as a Platinum Sponsor is Aperek (pronounced uh-PARE-ik) which you may remember as Mediclick (with earlier roots in Global Software) since the healthcare-only, all US-based company changed its name along with introducing new products in November 2013. The Raleigh, NC-based company offers highly ranked solutions for supply chain, financials, mobile, technology, spend aggregation / contract management, and implant tracking. CEO Mike Merwarth explained in my interview last week that 80 percent of a hospital’s supply expenses are managed by clinical people rather than materials management professionals (particularly in the OR, where high-dollar implant products are used) and thus aren’t touched by typical ERP packages. A new Aperek solution is Pulse, an iPad app designed for clinicians who record implant item usage in the OR. Hospitals are looking at the supply chain and thus to Aperek to get their costs under control. Thanks to Aperek for supporting HIStalk.

HIMSS Conference Social Events

inga_small Send us your event details if it’s a good one (i.e, free food and drinks at minimum) and you promise that all HIStalk readers are welcome to attend, even if they work for your most hated competitor as a given reader might well do. Inga and Dr. Jayne especially like free cocktails and are happy to give your company a shout-out if we have the chance to stop by.

2-4-2014 10-17-40 AM

Divurgent will be sponsoring a Havana Nights themed event at the Funky Monkey (International Drive) Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday. Click here to register.


Upcoming Webinars

February 5 (Wednesday) 1:00 p.m. ET. Healthcare Transformation: What’s Good About US Healthcare? Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: John Haughom, MD, senior advisor, Health Catalyst. Dr. Haughom will provide a deeper look at the forces that have defined and shaped the current state of U.S. healthcare. Paradoxically, some of these same forces are also driving the inevitable need for change.

February 12 (Wednesday) 1:00 p.m. ET. Healthcare CO-OPs and Their Potential to Reduce Costs. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenters: David Napoli, director of performance improvement and strategic analytics, Colorado HealthOP and Richard Schultz, VP of clinical care integration, Kentucky Health Cooperative. Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (CO-OPs) were established by the Affordable Care Act as nonprofit health insurance companies designed to compete in the individual and small group markets. Their intended impact was to provide more insurance options for consumers to pay for healthcare.

February 13 (Thursday), 12 noon ET. Advancement in Clinician Efficiency Through Aware Computing. Sponsored by Aventura. In an age of information overload, a computing system that is aware of the user’s needs becomes increasingly critical. Instant-on roaming for virtual and mobile applications powered by awareness provides practical ways to unleash value from current HIT investments, advancing efforts to demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs and improve clinical efficiencies. The presenters will review implementation of Aventura’s solution at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Cerner announces Q4 results: revenue up 12 percent, adjusted EPS $0.39 vs. $0.34, meeting analyst expectations.


ZappRx, developers of a mobile e-prescribing platform, secures $1 million in additional funding.

2-4-2014 1-30-39 PM

Imprivata confidentially submits a draft registration statement with the SEC to conduct an IPO.

2-4-2014 1-31-32 PM

Streamline Health Solutions completes its acquisition of Unibased Systems Architecture.

2-4-2014 1-32-26 PM

Endo Health Solutions completes the divestiture of HealthTronics to Altaris Capital Partners for total consideration of up to $130 million.

BlueStep Systems, a clinical platform provider for the long-term and post-acute care market, merges with  BridgeGate Health, a system integration provider.


2-4-2014 1-34-40 PM

Spectrum Health (MI) selects PerfectServe’s Clinician-to-Clinician and DocLink platforms for direct and secure clinician communication.

The 14-hospital Baptist Memorial Health Care System selects Voalte smartphones for system-wide caregiver communication.



2-4-2014 8-02-56 AM

HIMSS awards CACI International’s Keith Salzman, MD its 2013 Physician IT Leadership Award.

2-4-2014 1-36-23 PM

AT&T appoints Eric Topol, MD ((Scripps Health) chief medical advisor.

2-4-2014 1-37-24 PM

CTG Health Solutions hires Linda Lockwood (Encore Health Resources) as its advisory services solutions director.

2-4-2014 11-29-53 AM

HIMSS names Pauline M. (Hogan) Byom (Mayo Health System) the recipient of the 2013 SHS/HIMSS Excellence in Healthcare Management Engineering / Process Improvement Award.


Colette Weston (ADP AdvancedMD) joins Aviacode as VP of client services.

Emdeon hires Randy P. Giles (Coventry Health Care) as CFO/ EVP of finance, replacing Bob A. Newport, Jr.

Announcements and Implementations

The University City Science Center in Philadelphia begins accepting applications for its Digital Health Accelerator, which will provide up to $50,000 in funding and other benefits for as many as six companies in the digital health or HIT sector.

2-4-2014 1-40-14 PM

Fleming Island Surgery Center (FL) goes live with Anesthesia Touch from Plexus Information Systems.

Bread for the City (DC) and the Family and Medical Counseling Service (DC) implement The Guideline Advantage, a quality improvement program that leverages population health management tools from Forward Health Group.

Government and Politics

CMS authorizes laboratories to provide patients with direct access to their lab reports, rather than requiring patients to obtain results from their physicians.

2-4-2014 9-49-33 AM

A veterans advocacy group calls on the VA and DoD to take aggressive steps to reduce the remaining backlog of 400,000 disability claims, deliver on the long-promised joint VA/DoD EMR, to standardize VA claims forms, and to encourage VA raters to process claims correctly the first time.


Innovation and Research

2-4-2014 12-56-58 PM

Hospitals rank cost reduction as their top innovation priority, according to a HIMSS/AVIA survey on healthcare provider innovation. The report also reveals that chief innovation officers are not yet mainstream roles within hospital and health systems, though 64 percent of organizations with annual revenues of at least $5 billion have a chief innovation officer. Though dedicated funding for innovation is modest, providers are making progress implementing innovative solutions related to population health management, patient follow-up, predictive analytics, clinical decision support, and care coordination.


2-4-2014 1-17-48 PM

HIMSS expects more than 1,200 exhibitors at this year’s conference and will offer longer exhibit hall hours with more overlap between education sessions and no mid-day break.

Weird News Andy titles this story “A Shot for a Shot.” A startup invents a device that it claims can stop bleeding from a gunshot wound in 15 seconds. It injects dozens of tiny sponges into the wound, or as the article breezily written for those skimming rather than actually reading, “like a tampon for bullet wounds.”


Sponsor Updates

  • PACS blogger Dr. Dalai banters with Brad Levin of Visage Imaging about the latter’s suggestion that a savvy hospital IT department could assemble its own PACS system from off-the-shelf components.
  • NCQA certifies that Verisk Health’s Quality Intelligence solution contains HEDIS Certified Measures that are ready for 2014 HEDIS reporting.
  • Oracle Health Sciences will integrate medical speech recognition technology from Nuance Communications with its e-clinical software.
  • MedHOK achieves NCQA certification for its HEDIS Certified Measures in 360Measures.
  • TriZetto launches a collaborative care solution powered by Wellcentive to facilitate payer/provider collaboration in accountable care initiatives.
  • PeriGen introduces Category II Management Algorithm, a free web-based tool to support the management of patients in labor during FHR category II.
  • Coastal Healthcare Consulting introduces Convergence, an offering that combines NextGate’s Enterprise Master Index with Coastal’s project implementation.
  • HIMSS selects InterSystems HealthShare as the official health informatics platform for the Intelligent Hospital Pavilion at the HIMSS14 conference.
  • Gartner positions Informatica as a leader in its January 2014 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Platform-as-a-Service report, based on ability to executive and completeness of vision.
  • Elsevier introduces MethodsX, a concept methods journal that provides researchers a home for their unpublished works, allowing them to receive public credit and citations.
  • First Databank commences publishing of an initial draft of New York State Acquisition Cost drug prices.
  • CareSync is selected as a finalist in the Community category for the 2014 SXSW Interactive Awards for its efforts in building meaningful communities for patients, their families, and care teams.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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Morning Headlines 2/4/14

February 3, 2014 Headlines 3 Comments

HHS strengthens patients’ right to access lab test reports

HHS announces changes to both HIPAA and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 that will result in patients being able to access their laboratory results directly from the lab, rather than from the doctor that ordered the tests.

Can Healthcare IT (HIT) Deliver Value? (Part II)

David Levin, CMIO of Cleveland Clinic, discusses the ROI of health IT projects and concludes that health IT project planning tends to focus on building ideal workflows rather than realizing cost reductions or outcomes improvements. He says “if you don’t know where you expect to achieve value and you don’t have a specific plan to get there, you probably won’t.”

Health information for more than 40,000 Unity members missing

Researchers at University of Wisconsin lose an unencrypted hard drive containing the personal information of 40,000 Unity health insurance customers. The researchers had the hard drive because they were working with Unity on a benefits analysis project.

Exploring the Value of Health IT on HIMSS14 Exhibition Floor

HIMSS releases new details on the HIMSS14 Exhibit hall. New exhibits include: a startup showcase hall for first-time HIMSS exhibitors, an Intelligent Medical Home model demonstrating home monitoring solutions and real-time data exchange between the medical home and a mock hospital unit, and a revamped interoperability demonstration.

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February 3, 2014 Headlines 3 Comments

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 2/3/14

February 3, 2014 Dr. Jayne No Comments


News is always pretty slow leading up to HIMSS, but I’m pleased to see things are picking up a little. We learned over the past couple of days that Apple leadership met with the Food and Drug Administration to talk about mobile medical apps. Rumor has it that Apple is working on a health-monitoring smart watch. Insiders are debating whether this was a fact-finding mission or a mission to try to push an existing application through the process.

Neither Apple nor the FDA have responded to comments as far as I can tell, but the news just broke on Friday, so there’s still time. We’ve heard the iWatch rumor before from a couple of different angles. Reports last year covered the announcement by Corning Glass Technologies that it had created bendable glass. Other companies have developed Bluetooth watches. Most speculate that the watch will link to an iPhone and will run iOS. Some sources have the number of product developers working on the project at more than 100.

Apple better get it in gear because the recent patent agreement between Google and Samsung might make Android devices more competitive. There are already several on the market. Having the companies play together nicely rather than litigate each other to death will put an interesting spin on things. Samsung also struck a licensing deal with Ericsson that addresses patent issues with GSM, UMTS, and LTE standards for both networks and devices.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m interested in wearables, but they have to look good. After years on the wards and in the emergency department, I finally gave up my waterproof dive watch for something more grown up looking. Even if it was cool, I don’t think I’d want to wear something that looks like I’ve strapped an iPod Nano to my wrist. I don’t want to look like an old Dick Tracy cartoon. Most of the current offerings fall into that category.

Hot news this week, though, is that there will be new offerings for Google Glass including prescription-ready frames and detachable sunglasses. They’ve also partnered with eye health insurer VSP to train eye care providers how to fit the device and attach it to frames. I might consider trying if it I could get it mounted on my own sassy frames rather than the relatively sci-fi looking standard Google Glass platform.

Speaking of less-fashionable tech, it may not look glamorous but I’m intrigued by Fin, which is a ring-like accessory worn on the thumb to capture gestures meant to control phones, radios, TVs, and other Bluetooth-enabled devices. It reminds me of vintage Bakelite jewelry. I’m not opposed to wearing something a little more towards the geeky side if it’s not intended to replace a “normal” accessory.

A photo on the Fin site showed a child wearing it as a substitute for a gaming joystick. That got me interested in the potential for wearables for children. One interesting device that was shown at the Consumer Electronics Show was Sensible Baby’s SmartOne real-time sleep monitor, which can relay information on a baby’s temperature, sleep position, and movement to a smartphone or tablet. Alerts can be customized for the infant’s developmental stage. Unfortunately, the product’s blog features a photo of a man watching a baby sleeping on his stomach, which flies in the face of current medical advice that babies should be put to sleep on their backs.

I think my favorite wearable tech of the week is June, a monitor for ultraviolet exposure. It can be worn on a bracelet or attached to clothes or other accessories. It ties to a smartphone app and alerts the wearer when a particular UV exposure threshold is reached. I’ve been devoted to my SPF 70 for years because I have a fine line between being ghostly pale and turning into a lobster. If it’s released before summer, I’d consider giving it a try.

What’s your favorite wearable tech? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

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February 3, 2014 Dr. Jayne No Comments

Morning Headlines 2/3/14

February 2, 2014 Headlines No Comments

Castlight Health files secretly for IPO

Castlight Health, a web-based healthcare benefits management platform, files for an initial public offering. The company was founded by Todd Park, former US CTO and Athenahealth co-founder, in 2008 and is rumored to be seeking a $2 billion valuation.

Athenahealth accepts incentives deal, picks Austin for expansion

Athenahealth finalizes plans to open offices in Austin, TX after agreeing to a 10-year $670,000 incentives package offered by the City of Austin and a $5 million in incentive package from the State of Texas.

iWatch + iOS 8: Apple sets out to redefine mobile health, fitness tracking

Apple will introduce a new core health and fitness app in its next iOS release. The app will reportedly track activity, calories burned, vitals, hydration levels, and blood glucose levels. While current iPhone’s do not have the hardware necessary to capture some of the metrics reported, like blood glucose, there have been persistent rumors suggesting that the iWatch may introduce this hardware.

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February 2, 2014 Headlines No Comments

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Reader Comments

  • Looking Deeper: Re: both your 2009 thoughts about EHR data (in which you mentioned "collection clerks known as doctors and nurses") and ...
  • Jan Roberts: Beautiful, Ed. Life is about creating special moments - thank you for sharing. Jan...
  • Tasha Mayfield: I had this exact convo regarding physicians and the quality of their documentation that is the data. Just as there are t...
  • Julie Sykora: Ed--belated congrats to you! Was really liking your philosophy, you approach to work and play UNTIL I read Julie's post ...
  • U2fan: Great story and very applicable to work life, but I'm wondering if the princesses thought that the Edge was waiting in ...

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