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Morning Headlines 4/22/15

April 21, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Lawsuit: Long delay in getting VA medical records could be affecting crucial benefits

Seven disabled veterans have filed a lawsuit against the VA, claiming that they have waited between 10 and 24 months for copies of their medical records, and that the wait is causing delays in the veterans’ ongoing benefits applications. The suit asks that the VA produce the records within 20 days.

Judge issues temporary restraining order in Ebola nurse Nina Pham’s lawsuit

A Texas judge has halted efforts by Texas Health Resources to file a workers’ compensation claim on behalf of Nina Pham, the nurse that contracted Ebola while treating a patient at one of THR’s hospitals. The health system, which is being sued by Pham, claimed that a workers compensation claim would resolve many of the issues outlined in Pham’s lawsuit.

Color Genomics Sells $249 Breast Cancer Gene Test to Masses

Silicon Valley startup Color Genomics announces a $259 genetic screening test that evaluates a patient’s risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer by testing for 19 pertinent genetic mutations. The company is bypassing the FDA requirements that hindered 23andMe by requiring that a doctor order the tests and that results be explained by a trained genetic councilor.

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April 21, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

News 4/22/15

April 21, 2015 News 10 Comments

Top News

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Seven disabled veterans sue the VA, claiming that they’ve waited 10 to 25 months for copies of their medical records, delaying their eligibility for benefits.


Reader Comments

From CIO: “Re: patient engagement survey. Do CIOs really think they own it?” A HIMSS-sponsored poll finds that nearly half of health system CIOs believe they own patient engagement in their organizations, but I think there’s a definitional issue here. CIOs often mislabel the tools vs. the program when it comes to analytics, population health management, and patient engagement. The software is just one part of the initiative even though Meaningful Use muddies the picture with its purely technical requirements for patient engagement. I’m fairly certain CIOs don’t really believe they’re in charge of the entire program, but if they do, either they or their employer have a big problem. Non-clinicians (especially IT and marketing people) should not be trying to engage patients.

From Nasty Parts: “Re: Allscripts. What’s going on? Lots of recent senior departures: Diane Bradley, John Dragovits, Peter Mcclennen, Perry Sweet, and Chad Baugh, to name a few.” Unverified. The LinkedIn profiles of all of these folks still list Allscripts as their current employer, although I’ve found that in general people don’t update their profile until they get another job.

From Little Suzie: “Re: [publicly trade vendor name omitted]. I’ve heard from a not-necessarily-reliable source that they may be acquiring [publicly trade vendor name omitted]. True?” Lips are typically and justifiably sealed when publicly traded companies are involved in M&A talks. This one would be huge. I don’t see the synergy, but the first vendor is on a roll and the second is wheezing, so it’s possible that a fire sale is being discussed.

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From Pirate Wench: “Re: interesting sexual harassment lawsuit against a healthcare IT executive.” It’s juicy, but keep in mind you’re reading only one of the inevitable two sides of the story. The lawsuit, filed by a demoted employee, says Quality Systems, Inc. (parent of NextGen) protects its male employees who harass female employees. The real story will be how the lawsuit is disposed of, which I strongly suspect will be by a sealed settlement since a trial would be unpleasant for both sides.

From Candid Cameron: “Re: females at HIMSS. I saw a big drop in booth babes, which I think is due to pressure from publications such as HIStalk. I’d like to see recognition of companies with at least 40 percent female executives or 40 percent female speakers at the conference.” I’m wary of assuming intentional bias (gender, age, nationality, etc.) in observing executive team demographic composition, but it would be interesting to see the percentage of VP-and-up females in each company.


DonorsChoose Project Updates

This isn’t directly related to healthcare IT, so feel free to skip on down to the next section if it’s not your thing.

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Our DonorsChoose project donations have jumped as another company offered a $500 donation in return for 20 minutes of Dana Moore’s time by telephone and our anonymous matching vendor agreed to match this donation as well. That brings our total to $8,000. I’ll be funding new projects as a result. Meanwhile, above is another of the many teacher thank you emails I received, this one from a kindergarten classroom for which we donated a projector. I was so moved that when I saw that Mrs. Henry had an open grant request for an AV cart to house their new projector that I funded that as well.

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Meanwhile, here are a couple of student-written thank you notes from an earlier project we funded. DonorsChoose defaults the option to receive student notes to “yes” when you fund a project, but I unchecked it this last time because it’s a fair amount of work for the students and we funded so many projects I would be overwhelmed by all their notes anyway. Still, it’s gratifying to hear from the students who are actually benefitting from the donations.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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One of the more disturbing things I saw at the HIMSS conference was people running around wearing giant red noses, courtesy of a Walgreens fundraiser for children’s poverty. I like the cause but not the noses, which make me think of Stephen King’s evil clown in “It.”


Webinars

April 22 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Microsoft: The Waking Giant in Healthcare Analytics and Big Data.” Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Dale Sanders, SVP of strategy, Health Catalyst. Microsoft has been quietly reengineering its culture and products to offer the best value and most visionary platform for cloud services, big data, and analytics in healthcare. This webinar will cover the Healthcare Analytics Adoption Model, the ongoing transition from relational databases, the role of new Microsoft products such as Azure and Analytic Platform System, the PowerX product line, and geospatial and machine learning visualization tools. Attendees will learn how to incorporate cloud-based analytics services into their healthcare analytics strategies.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Israel-based drug maker Teva will pay $512 million to settle charges that it paid competitors $200 million to delay rollout of a generic version of its sleep disorder drug Provigil. The company  also offers an unsolicited $40 billion bid to acquire generic competitor Mylan, which recently moved its headquarters to the Netherlands to avoid US corporate taxes and to take advantage of anti-takeover laws.


Sales

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St. Luke’s University Health Network (PA) chooses Strata Decision’s StrataJazz Continuous Cost Improvement.

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University of Florida Health (FL) chooses Visage Imaging’s Visage 7 Enterprising Imaging Platform for both Shands and UF Jacksonville.

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Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth (MA) selects Voalte for caregiver communication and secure texting on personal smartphones.

IntegraMed Fertility chooses the Patient Pulse portal from Anthelio Healthcare Solutions.

University of Vermont Medical Center chooses ReadyDock’s disinfecting device docking station for its NICU.

Erlanger Health System (TN) will implement an unnamed $100 million EHR, replacing the current system that the CEO says is the #1 source of hospital dissatisfaction. I found their RFI online, which says they are running Siemens Invision in the hospital and GE Centricity in most of the practices, but I didn’t run across anything that says which system they’ve bought.

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital (CA) chooses Summit Healthcare’s Provider Alert solution for ambulatory information sharing.


People

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Awarepoint names Thomas Warlan (Medlee) as SVP of software engineering.

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Besler Consulting hires John Slaby (Siemens Healthcare) as VP of product strategy and Heather Swanson (Wolters Kluwer) as regional VP.

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Ahmed Haque, ONC’s director of the office of programs and engagement, will join former National Coordinator Farzad Mostashari’s Aledade.

Source Medical names a new leadership team that includes former executives of Dell, Allscripts, and NextGen.


Announcements and Implementations

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Extension Healthcare announces upgrades to its alarm management solution that include enhanced voice-annunciated alarms, enhanced RTLS-enabled care team availability, extended iOS and Android device support, and a way for physicians to view their patient’s care team members and contact them securely from outside the hospital.

LabCorp will launch a direct-to-consumer lab testing business to compete with drug chains and other competitors that have offered those services for years, many of which were using LabCorp to draw and process their samples. Patients won’t need a physician’s order if their state permits them to request their own lab tests. LabCorp hasn’t said which tests it will offer or how they will be priced. Sounds great for patient empowerment, but then again, so did the idea that drug companies should be allowed to advertise directly to potential patients.

Netsmart enhances its vendor-agnostic HIT Value Model that helps providers develop IT adoption strategies and benchmark progress.


Government and Politics

Congress finally acts on a 2004 GAO recommendation to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards to prevent identity theft despite CMS complaints about the effort involved. The mandate was included in the SGR doc fix bill.


Technology

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Software vendors always state that you legally don’t own their software – you’re just licensing it. Tractor maker John Deere takes it to the next level, telling the Copyright Office that farmers aren’t actually buying their tractors, they are instead purchasing an implied lifetime license to the John Deere software that runs them. It’s an important argument as companies try to favorably position their products as being software that end users or potential competitors can’t tinker with under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

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Color Genomics announces a $249 saliva test kit that detects 19 genetic markers for breast and ovarian cancer. The company, sensitive to the limited population for which screening is indicated and the potential patient concerns about the results, requires that one of its designated physicians order the test and then provides a board-certified genetic counselor to explain what the results mean. Similar tests were priced at up to $4,000 until the US Supreme Court denied a competitor’s assertion that nobody else should be able to perform such testing since it held a patent for naturally occurring genetic sequences such as the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.


Other

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Emails exposed in the Sony Pictures breach show TV huckster-physician Dr. Oz trying to get Sony to sign him up as a pitchman for its wearables line, although his interest seems entirely commercial rather than medical.

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Health Catalyst SVP David Burton, MD provides six predictions in an HFM Magazine article: (a) health systems and payers will address at-risk contracting as strategic thinkers, bet-hedgers, or ostriches with their heads in the sand; (b) population risk evaluation will shift from reviewing actuarial buckets to being driven by delivery systems that focus on improving specific clinical areas where they can perform optimally; (c) virtual shared accountability networks will form as ACOs and clinically integrated networks realize the cost of out-of-network services; (d) the emphasis on quality and safety improvement will spur development of analytic software and best practices starter sets; (e) providers will focus cost reduction efforts on the 80 percent of patients for whom evidence-based guidelines apply; and (f) sponsors will seek more flexible analytics systems that can respond more quickly to external changes.

Reporter Joe Goedert shares my disdain for turning marketing and PR people loose to make illogical decisions, specifically as related to the HIMSS conference: (a) CPSI not only changing its name questionably, but providing a confounding buzzword-heavy and thoroughly unconvincing explanation of the need to do so; (b) an unnamed analytics vendor that bussed reporters offsite for a roundtable discussion but then informed them that the discussion was off the record and nobody could leave until it was over, which means it was a complete waste of their work time; and (c) President Bush and HIMSS telling reporters 90 minutes before his keynote that his remarks and the softball questions asked by HIMSS CEO Steve Lieber (the guy who wrote him a huge check – his speaking fee is around $150,000) were off the record.

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A vendor friend gave me a $200 Microsoft Band smart watch at the HIMSS conference. I gave it a try yesterday but put it back in the box after an hour or so. It is huge, bulky, and rigid (since it has a touch screen) to the point I couldn’t even get it under the cuff of my long-sleeved shirt and it barely fit around my wrist besides. It has a continuous pulse monitor, which is interesting but of marginal value for most people, and it pops up calendar and message alerts provided you’re willing to leave your phone’s Bluetooth turned on at all times. I gave it to an initially enthusiastic friend for a second opinion and got the same feedback: it’s cool, but not cool enough to be worth permanently hanging a heavy handcuff on your wrist even though it packs the heart sensor, GPS, light sensor, skin temperature sensor, and galvanic skin response measurement. I think my friend may end up reconsidering, though, after using it for a workout and seeing the results in Microsoft Health.

A judge issues a temporary restraining order that prevents Texas Health Resources from filing a worker’s compensation claim on behalf of Nina Pham, the Ebola nurse who is suing the health system. THR says such a claim should settle her issues and that Pham’s claims against it are unjustified since she’s an employee of one of its hospitals, not the corporation itself, and she’s not suing the hospital. 

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Weird News Andy says “Some day my prints will come – you can bank on it.” A NEJM case study profiles a woman whose chemotherapy treatments caused her fingerprints to disappear, which she discovered when her bank’s biometric ID system rejected her transaction.

I’m sure WNA would have caught this story: an Irish bank presses charges against customers who discovered that a temporary bug in the bank’s ATM software allowed them to withdraw more cash than they had in their accounts, inspiring one woman to make 115 ATM withdrawals totaling $60,000 in one afternoon to pay a Nigerian man to donate a kidney to her father.


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicity Network 5.6x earns Healtheway Vendor Validation.
  • CenterX Co-Founder and CEO Joe Reinardy will moderate a session on real-time benefit verification and electronic prior authorization at this week’s CBI conference in Philadelphia, PA.
  • Kareo announces a new version of its outsourced billing solution.
  • SyTrue publishes a story  about how healthcare organizations are unlocking the value of unstructured data.
  • Accreon’s work on the NB Cancer Network project is nominated for a 2015 Kira Award.
  • ADP AdvancedMD offers “Recent enhancements to the EHR charge slip.”
  • CommVault posts the second part of its series on “Disaster Recovery: Past, Present, and Future.”
  • Aventura posts a brief explanatory video on awareness computing.
  • Caradigm staff offer reviews of HIMSS, one featuring a great pic of HIStalk friend Regina Holliday.
  • CareSync offers “The Top 6 Reasons Why CareSync is For You.”
  • CitiusTech exhibits at Bio-IT World 2015 through April 23 in Boston.
  • ZeOmega releases its annual content update of best practices in evidence-based medicine care management.
  • Columbus CEO ranks CoverMyMeds as a Top Small Employer Workplace in Central Ohio.
  • Culbert Healthcare Solutions offers  “A Consultant’s Perspective: Teach ‘Em How to Fish.”
  • HIMSS15 attendees help Divurgent raise $5,000 for Lurie Children’s Hospital.
  • Peer60 offers a new report on mobile health and patient engagement.
  • Burwood Group is named to The Channel Company’s CRN Tech Elite 250.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

 

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April 21, 2015 News 10 Comments

HIMSS15 Patient Advocate Recap – Carly Medosch

April 21, 2015 News 3 Comments

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This year was my first time attending the HIMSS conference. I definitely like to be prepared, so I took advantage of the pre-conference materials such as guidebooks, maps, and an hour-long webinar orientation in the week before the event.

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I knew McCormick Place was a large venue and I knew HIMSS would have a lot of attendees, but when I walked in Sunday afternoon, I felt like yokel in the big city for the first time “Golly gee, this sure is a big building!” And that was just the lobby of the North Building – one of four (plus a hotel) that make up McCormick Place.

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I spent most of Sunday on the hunt for a suit jacket that would become my very first Walking Gallery jacket. In fact, Regina Holliday would be painting it in the HIStalk booth during HIMSS! The jacket had to be perfect because I plan to treasure it for years to come, but it also had to be stylish since I intend to wear it every chance I get. As a patient suffering from a variety of symptoms that include pain, fatigue, and brain fog, it’s important to me to look my best as a way to compensate.

Although I have an undergraduate degree in design and a masters in business, my symptoms often cause me to feel inadequate. In a crowd of healthcare professionals, I still often struggle to be taken seriously as “just the patient.”Never mind the fact that my 21 years of daily on-the-job experience often exceeds that of other healthcare professionals.

Garment bag in hand, I arrived for the first party of HIMSS — the speakeasy-themed opening reception. It was impossible to spot anyone I might know in the huge, dark ballroom. Eventually I met Vincent McGee, a healthcare IT executive from Atlanta. He later emailed me to say that one of the highlights of HIMSS was the conversation we had. Later, I found Colin Hung, someone I have known online for years but never met. In fact, earlier this year, Colin volunteered to call my mom and walk her through the live stream set up so that she could watch me in a keynote panel at Stanford. These types of friendships exemplify social media and the online health community for me.

At the end of the party, I finally met up with Regina. Of course she had been held up on the way to meet us, recording an impromptu interview calling for everyone in America to request their medical records on July 4!

Next, I was on to a glitzy party at the top of Wit hotel, where I met up with friends and basically ate my weight in cheese and bread. This event was notable as a place where I finally met #HITsm maven Mandi Bishop. I was warned that these parties have a reputation for people drinking too much and getting a little “handsy.” I am grateful to my friends for allowing me to tag along to some parties, never making me feel out of place for not being an HIT insider and, of course, not getting handsy! I only had one drink and turned in early because I had a long, busy Monday ahead of me.

In Chicago, I used the city bus and the subway system to get around. Monday morning I walked a block, picked up a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts, and caught the city bus for the mile ride to McCormick. I didn’t know anybody at the Walgreens / Alex Gourlay keynote, but I made friends with the gentleman sitting next to me, who had attended all the way from England. We discussed the pros and cons of the NHS vs. the American healthcare system. After the keynote, I offered donuts to the people sitting near me. Then it was off for the exhibit hall.

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I ended up spending most of Monday and Tuesday in the exhibit halls, and even then I was not able to walk past every section, let alone visit even a fraction of the booths. In fact, there was allegedly an entire disaster response section with a tractor-trailer that I never even saw.

The exhibit halls, occupying the North and South Buildings of McCormick Place, totally blew my mind for a number of reasons. In a past life as a graphic designer, some of my work involved designing exhibit booths—of course these were the standard backdrops and pop-ups. The booths at HIMSS ran the gamut from these small, standard types to truly massive structures, many of which had two levels and included large conference tables or enclosed rooms for discussing business deals.

In the weeks prior to the conference, I was surprised at the volume of direct mail I received, each full-color glossy postcard extoling the virtues of one booth or another and describing the fabulous prizes I could enter to win when I visited. This all seemed extremely lavish to me, especially since I know many people dealing with chronic illness who are unable to work and struggle every month covering basic expenses such as $4 prescriptions. The Walgreens keynote mentioned their program to donate a vaccine to an underprivileged person in a third-world country for each customer who purchased their vaccine at Walgreens. I wonder how many vaccines could be provided with the money spent at HIMSS?

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In fairness, I should say that once I experienced the exhibit floor, the lavish giveaways seemed more practical. I certainly made sure I attended my pre-booked appointment at the Mirth booth. How did I decide to book this 30-minute demo? They promised a Fitbit fitness tracker to every person who completed their demo. I am happy to report that they treated me fairly, explaining their products to me and giving me the Fitbit without complaint.

The really neat thing about demos like Mirth’s was that it afforded me a rare opportunity to experience HIT tools from the provider side, something I’m not likely to see an my next checkup. I’m sure that for many vendors, offering prizes and giveaway offers better ROI than large, flashy booths. As a consumer and a patient, I want vendors to keep their costs as low as possible. I am not convinced that a gigantic booth at HIMSS actually pays off.

I was definitely concerned about how vendors would react my presence. I was “just a patient” and I definitely did not have thousands or millions of dollars to spend on their products. Thankfully, Mr. HIStalk reassured me prior to the conference that he would happily call out any vendor who treated us especially poorly. It’s not that I wanted to get people in trouble, but fear of reenacting the shopping scene from the movie “Pretty Woman” kept playing through my head.

Luckily the vendors I visited at HIMSS pleasantly surprised me. I did have one vendor tell me not unkindly that they didn’t have anything that I would be interested in seeing.

Only two unpleasant experiences stand out in my mind. One day I was behind two very unsavory sales dudes as they discussed their annoyance at having their time wasted talking with someone who obviously was not going to make a purchase. Luckily for those guys, I did not see what company they represented. Another instance was when I tried to enter a prize drawing and was met with a bit of a sneer from the woman working there. It might have just been a matter of luck, however, because fellow HIStalk patient advocate scholarship winner Amanda told me that she did not have very pleasant interactions with many of the vendors.

I was relieved that the most common reaction to my presence was a little confusion and then mostly excitement. On Wednesday I had several hours of demos booked with people interested in my opinion and expertise as a patient. I was also lucky to know a handful of people from previous events or from Twitter who were happy to introduce me to other vendors. Some positive reactions that stand out in my mind are those from the Dell booth, the Panasonic booth, and of course the CTG booth who provided the registration badges for the patient advocates.

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It was such an honor for me to be interviewed by Joe Lavelle and Rayanne Thorn at the CTG booth. I laughed when they thanked me for taking the time to tell my story. As I explained, it’s easy to talk, but the real honor is when someone is willing to listen. We came up with the idea to have a patient for every booth at HIMSS16. Will your organization step up and sponsor a patient?

There were two cool things about the Dell booth. Instead of the usual swag (most of which probably ends up in the trash), Dell had glue guns and flower petals so visitors could make colorful, sparkly flowers which would then be donated to Brooke’s Blossoming Hope for Childhood Cancer Foundation which provides fun headbands to children who’ve lost their hair from chemo. The Dell employees were also really excited to hear that HIStalk had sponsored patients to attend HIMSS. They enthusiastically told me about programs where Dell used feedback from actual patients.

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While checking out products on the outside of the Panasonic booth, I got called over by an acquaintance to try out their Connected Patient Room Solution. They had a display with information, education, and entertainment for the patient and their caregiver. The system also featured audio technology that could be used to isolate sounds for patients sharing a room (or just those with alarm fatigue). I have no idea how it works, but if you are directly under the speaker, you can hear music (or other audio), but as soon as you shift a bit, you can’t hear anything. The sound also has the effect of drowning out the other noises in the room.

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The Sonifi Health booth had similar types of displays for patient education and entertainment. They had modules with specifics on medications, and the program could also utilize videos as part of the discharge process. I appreciated that they had an RN on staff to help with education and engagement. From my months in the hospital, I know that nurses interact far more with patients than anyone else, although they often don’t get the respect they deserve within healthcare.

The most creative swag was from Nick Adkins, who (lacking a booth) wandered HIMSS wearing a kilt and handing out pink socks with mustache designs to promote his HIPAA-compliant video service Reel Dx. I was happy to trade donuts for socks with Nick and his business partner.

I was pleased that HIMSS had a Connected Patient Gallery, but the actual experience left me disappointed. At one point, they were using the theater to run a trivia game about Walgreens. On another visit, I tried to find someone from Patients Like Me, but only found a video, no actual humans. I spotted some devices to record blood glucose, weight, blood pressure, etc. but the vendor (who admitted their products weren’t capturing the older, less techie demographic) got agitated when I persisted in asking why something like a scale needed to use a smart phone anyway. My older, less techie relatives barely leave their house, and I’m sure transmitting the data via dial up would suffice, if necessary. This strikes me as a prime example of a business not really understanding or caring about their customers. It’s worth noting that I did not see any patients in the Connected Patient Gallery on any of my visits.

Overall, I’d give HIMSS a B rating. The event was way too big. I’m concerned about the professionals there to make important business deals for their organizations. There’s no way to keep everything straight and the pace and atmosphere is exhausting and confusing. The keynotes were mostly overly optimistic, glossy commercials presented by rich white men. We need to see more patients on stage. The options for food were so expensive and the lines so long that at one point my favorite booth giveaway was cucumber water. I’m not sure why the transportation was such a problem — Chicago has a train, a subway, and city buses, along with shuttles to nearly every hotel, taxis, and Uber cars. I’m concerned that health IT purchases are being made by people willing to wait an hour for a taxi or pay 4.5x surge pricing for an Uber rather than walk to the curb to catch a bus for $2.

The best parts of HIMSS for me all involved people. My favorite thing was meeting up with old friends and making new ones. I loved vendors who were genuinely excited to talk to a patient. It was an honor to be able to tell my story and to represent patients who could not attend. I had a lot of fun live tweeting and was especially happy when my “normal” followers (non-HIT) thanked me for the coverage. The best swag I brought home was the stack of business cards and new connections for future advocacy opportunities.

The buzzword for HIMSS seemed to be interoperability. I also heard a lot about engagement and compliance. Hopefully the campaign to bring more patients next year takes off. I think many vendors want to involve patients, but are genuinely baffled about how to do so. I hope that with the presence of more patient advocates at HIMSS, vendors will begin to understand that they must learn how to engage with patients and that we need them to comply with their oaths to serve us.

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April 21, 2015 News 3 Comments

Morning Headlines 4/21/15

April 20, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Health insurance startup Oscar gets unicorn valuation with $145 million in new funding

Oscar Health, a tech-focused health insurer in New York that offers free telehealth visits and free activity trackers to its customers, raises a $145 million funding round on a $1.5  billion valuation in only its second year of operation.

Fiscal Year 2016 proposed Inpatient and Long-term Care Hospital policy and payment changes (CMS-1632-P)

CMS publishes its proposed 2016 policy and payment changes, which includes a 1.35 percent penalty for hospitals that have yet to attest under the Meaningful Use program, and new reporting requirements that will help align MU’s clinical quality measures reporting with the Inpatient Quality Reporting program, in an effort to ease the administrative burden on hospitals.

CMS commits $3 billion to modernize Medicaid-enrollment systems

CMS will spend $3 billion to make permanently adopt changes introduced in 2011 that established a 90 percent reimbursement rate for costs expenses associated with building state Medicaid eligibility and enrollment systems, and 75 percent reimbursement rates for ongoing costs associated with maintaining the systems.

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April 20, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 4/20/15

April 20, 2015 Dr. Jayne 1 Comment

HIMSS Wrap-up and Final Fashion Commentary

I’m still recovering from HIMSS. Apparently there was a lot of craziness at the hospital while I was gone, but I’m grateful to my second in command who handled all the issues. That lets me know that they’ll be in good hands down the road.

I’ve been going through my notes and arranging follow up with a handful of vendors that caught my eye. I’ve also been sorting through the scads of business cards I collected and am trying to remember who I met at which events. The week was quite a whirlwind.

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From Bright Lights, Big City: “Re: my boots. As requested, here’s a better picture. They are one of my favorite pairs of boots (my blue suede ones are killer too). Thanks for the compliment on HIStalk. I was totally flattered. The House of Blues was so much fun!” Mr. H and Lorre outdid themselves with the event. Although I wasn’t an official shoe judge, after discovering these boots I’m thinking that next year we need a “Jayne wishes she had my shoes” sash to hand out. I’m also thrilled that she responded to my plea for a photo of the boots. It’s fun to connect with readers, even if it’s just email. It also lets us know you’re actually keeping up with HIStalk, unlike the two guys at the bar at the House of Blues who had never heard of Mr. H or Dr. Jayne.

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Although Nordic’s Drew Madden won our official shoe contest, a reader emailed a picture of this pair of blue suede shoes that he snapped at the NextGen party. I’m thinking they could be a contender next year. Drew also sported an inlaid wood tie clip and I’m thinking we need to add some additional categories for best accessories.

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I’m declaring HIMSS 2015 to be “The Year of the Sock.” I saw more fetching hosiery this year than ever before. Special mention goes to Colin at the Patient IO booth. The socks were kind of a teal/aqua color with several accent colors below the shoe line, and coordinated perfectly with his bow tie and pocket square. His described his companies app as being “like Legos for patient engagement,” which drew my attention when I was fading partway through the exhibit hall.

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Speaking of bow ties and pocket squares, the Aventura team had it going on all week long with different combinations every day. The ties, pocket squares, sweaters, Converse sneakers, and strappy sandals spotted at the booth were perfectly matched to their specific shade of orange, as were their giveaway candies. I didn’t know you could Pantone match M&Ms, but they just might have done it. I heard they also had cufflinks that honored their owl mascot, but I missed them.

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After my final lap around the show floor, it was time to head to the airport. I chuckled at the seat sign which promised no extra charge for payment by credit card since I was charged a processing fee every time I used an actual taxi. Usually I’m just changing planes at Midway and hurrying to another gate, but this time I had time to stop for lunch and more hydration at Harry Caray’s. I was people-watching when a vendor rep I haven’t seen in a while stepped up to the host stand. I waved him over and we caught up over a burger. He’s starting a new venture soon and I can’t wait to hear more about it.

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The other bonus of arriving at Midway early was being able to help welcome in an Honor Flight group from Kansas that was changing planes in Chicago. Honor Flight sends veterans to Washington, DC to visit their respective war memorials. This looked to be largely a group of World War II veterans. Travelers stopped and lined up a good way down the terminal, applauding as each veteran deplaned. The applause followed them down the concourse as they passed different gate areas. Many of their family members and escorts were moved to tears and I was as well. This generation sacrificed so much and being able to thank some of them really put the week in perspective.

My flight home had multiple vendor reps still in booth attire, including scrubs. Everyone appeared tired and I almost had to use my doctor skills when a passenger nearly dropped her bag on our row while trying to get it in the overhead bin. “Heavier than I thought” almost caused a head injury, which makes no sense on an airline that checks bags for free. Based on the backpack (carry-on number three for her), she was a HIMSS attendee. Maybe a first timer – HIMSS is the one event I take my expandable suitcase to, because you never know what you might bring back. Thank goodness the folks at Medicomp agreed to ship the six gallons of popcorn I won playing Quipstar. As a reminder for those of you who are not road warriors: If you can’t lift it, it’s not a carry-on.

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The in-flight Wi-Fi allowed me to file most of my expense report before landing and I also had a chance to get caught up on email. One of my readers had reminded me on Monday that running would be my sanctuary this week. It had me wondering how many steps are in a HIMSS. Although I didn’t participate in the BYOD wellness challenge, I can state with confidence that it’s at least 65,000. I don’t know exactly because I didn’t wear my Garmin to HIStalkapalooza, so all that dancing didn’t get captured. I’m not sure on mileage since the data from the Garmin (29.2 mi) doesn’t match Garmin Connect (50.4 mi). I’m more inclined to believe the wrist unit, but I’m glad Garmin isn’t building healthcare software.

How many steps were in your HIMSS? Email me.

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April 20, 2015 Dr. Jayne 1 Comment

DonorsChoose Fundraising Project at the HIMSS15 Conference

April 20, 2015 News 1 Comment

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Dana Moore, SVP/CIO at Centura Health, offered to give vendors 20 minutes of his full attention during the HIMSS conference in return for a $500 donation to support classroom projects via DonorsChoose. Seven companies signed up, plus another company that wishes to remain anonymous offered to match the money pledged. Dana said it was the best hours he spent at the conference.

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The project made $7,000 available to help teachers. The grant requests I funded with the money (some of which I announced previously) are as follows, some of them made possible because of available matching funds from other donors such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

  • Two Fire HD devices for a middle school reading program in San Diego, CA.
  • A projector for a kindergarten class in Erie, PA.
  • Professional development books for kindergarten teachers in Charlotte, NC.
  • A Chromebook for an elementary school class in Toppenish, WA.
  • Algebra calculators for a high school class in Auburn, WA.
  • A sand and water table for K-2 children, all with multiple disabilities, in Rosamond, CA.
  • Headphones for K-2 classes in Portland, OR.
  • A drawing tablet for the iPad for grades 3-5 in Lockhart, TX.
  • Three iPad Minis for a sixth grade class in Oklahoma City, OK.
  • A television and wall mount for presenting Spanish learning materials for a middle school in Magna, UT.
  • Speech therapy learning tools for a speech pathologist for an elementary school in Hawkinsville, GA.
  • Two Chromebooks for web-based reading and writing programs for an elementary school in Springfield, OR.
  • A science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) bundle for an elementary school in Herminie, PA.
  • Studio furniture for a TV show news set for a high school in Atlanta, GA
  • An iPad Air 2 and strategy workbooks for an elementary school in Phoenix, AZ.
  • A Chromebook for a high school in Gilroy, CA.
  • An iPad Air 2 with classroom management tools for a high school in Conway, MO.
  • A microphone and recording equipment for creating video documentaries for an elementary school in Pea Ridge, AR.
  • Teacher lodging expenses for attending a national educator’s conference for an elementary school in Greenville, SC.
  • Math learning centers for an elementary school in Wilder, ID.
  • Math learning centers for a kindergarten in Chicago, IL.
  • An iPad Mini for teacher professional development for an elementary school in Memphis, TN.
  • A STEM bundle for a second grade class in East Islip, NY.
  • A Surface Pro 3 for math practice for deaf students in Grades 4-5-6 in Seatac, WA.
  • Seven laptops with robotics programming tools for an elementary school in Tukwila, WA.
  • A Surface Pro 3 and iPad Mini for math exercises for an elementary school in Seatac, WA.
  • Six iPad Minis for math practice for an elementary school in Auburn, WA.
  • Math problem solving centers for an elementary school in Fort Walton Beach, FL.

Dana Moore’s Recap

I wanted to give a report on my experience at HIMSS meeting with companies who each generously donated $500 to DonorsChoose.org.

In order to give some perspective, it is important to note that Centura is in the early stages of replacing our current EHR with Epic. Two areas of focus for me related to the Epic implementation were supplementing our training and go-live support and helping us jumpstart our Connect program.

With that background, here is a brief synopsis of each of the companies I met with at HIMSS. Please remember that I had 20 minutes with each firm, so these are impressions and not endorsements.


Leidos

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Full disclosure: we currently are working with Leidos.

Scott and team were checking in on the team in place at Centura and then we discussed our potential needs on training support and Connect. We had a very casual conversation due to the current working relationship.


QPID Health

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Early Wednesday, I ran into a colleague from Colorado and we were discussing our never-ending pursuit of analytics. We both commented how great it would be if our HIE could find a company that could jump start such efforts. Enter QPID. Their platform seems to be an answer to the problems I had been discussing earlier and they are currently working with two HIEs as well as numerous health systems.


Nordic

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Drew and the team at Nordic were very informative on their experience supporting health systems implementing Epic. We discussed our challenges and will be having further discussions with Nordic on the areas where we may need assistance.


TeraRecon

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Full disclosure: we currently are working with TeraRecon. 

This was a reminder that every organization needs to have regular meetings with all of their current partners to ensure they fully understand the solutions offered. Paul and his team quickly outlined a way we could potentially leverage our current solution to reduce our interface costs with Epic as well as bring outside images into the organization in a more efficient manner than is happening today. Follow up meetings are being scheduled.


Serra Health Consulting

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Loyal readers will remember Mr. H writing that one donor was planning to teach me how to make balloon animals. Serra generously wanted to make a donation and also donated their time since I was behind schedule.


EDCO

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One of the issues we have at Centura is indexing of scanned documents, especially with our clinics. While we will be dramatically reducing the number of scanned documents with the implementation of Epic, it will never go to zero. EDCO appears to be a solution to help. They offer several solutions from total outsourcing of scanning to outsourcing the indexing of the documents. EDCO does not sell a document management system and we are not in the market for one. Their solution seems to be a good fit to solve an issue for us so further meetings are being scheduled.


Physician Network Advantage

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PNA was on my list of people to talk to at HIMSS so I was excited to see them on my calendar. My interest was on their Connect offering and how they might help Centura jumpstart our efforts. If you are an Epic client and considering offering Connect, ask John to show you their eight-foot long Visio on the Connect process. It is impressive and sobering at the same time.


I had a lot of fun meeting with everyone and came away with follow up for the team at Centura. I want to apologize to all of the people who patiently waited for me when I fell behind schedule due to travel time between booths.

The most exciting part of this experience is that we raised $7.000! Thank you to the companies listed above and to the anonymous donor who matched everyone’s contributions. I would also like to thank Mr. H and Lorre for all of their work to make this happen.

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April 20, 2015 News 1 Comment

Morning Headlines 4/20/15

April 19, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Kaiser Permanente to put IT campus in Midtown Atlanta; create 900 jobs

Kaiser Permanente will build a $20 million medical information technology campus in Midtown Atlanta, spanning 150,000 square feet and resulting in 900 new jobs.

The Problem With Satisfied Patients

The Atlantic takes the ACA’s patient satisfaction mandate to task, suggesting that if hospitals and providers are overly concerned with patient satisfaction, they might avoid having unpleasant but necessary conversations about weight loss and smoking status, and instead spend money on flashy satisfaction wins like valet parking and VIP programs.

CPSI Announces Formation of Evident, LLC

CPSI rebrands itself as Evident, and rebrands its EHR as Thrive EHR, which it says will scale to meet the needs of the 100-300 bed hospitals and help it penetrate that market.

EY Telemedicine Adoption Model Unveiled at HIMSS Conference

Ernst & Young creates a Telemedicine Adoption Model that establishes seven stages of telemedicine maturity based on technology used, integration with core IT systems, and specialty services included.

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April 19, 2015 Headlines 1 Comment

Monday Morning Update 4/20/15

April 18, 2015 News 7 Comments

Top News

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Kaiser Permanente chooses midtown Atlanta for a $20 million IT campus that will create 900 jobs.


Reader Comments

From Justa CIO: “Re: HIMSS. Do you think it’s becoming irrelevant for people in HIT leadership roles? I find it much less compelling since I can find product information or call someone who has experience with something without being away for a week and spending thousands of dollars of my employer’s hard-earned money while plugging away at real issues. I would like to know what you and others think. Your coverage is excellent – it was enough to make me post this question as I realized that the only things I miss was networking and your choice party.” I’m mixed on the value of attending the conference. Networking can be overrated if you aren’t a vendor selling something – I sometimes think CIOs should stop talking to each other entirely (except to check vendor references) and do creative rather than imitative things since healthcare IT sometimes looks like lemmings following each other off the cliff. HIMSS is efficient in bringing people together so they can schedule time together, but otherwise it’s a horribly inefficient mess of social events, glitzy exhibits, job seeking, and glad-handing and you might be better off just buying the education session recordings (which are included free with conference registration). I’m not convinced that the non-profit health systems that spend fortunes to send people there (often more as a personal reward than a business necessity) show measurable ROI or demonstrate care improvement as a result. Here’s a challenge to health system CIOs that I will report anonymously if you respond: list the immediately actionable items you took away from the conference that you couldn’t have done without attending. Or, the actions you took in the past year that were driven entirely by your 2014 HIMSS attendance. Our HISsies “best CIO” winner John Halamka keeps BIDMC running despite his non-attendance this year.

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From Texas Rules: “Re: Next Wave Connect healthcare-specific social collaboration solution. It continues to purge staffers – Drex DeFord and most of the Seattle team are gone.” Drex’s LinkedIn profile indicates that he left the company in February. I asked Chairman Ivo Nelson, who replied,“ It’s pretty common for startups to go through some turnover in the first few years. As you know, I’ve been through this before and getting the right team in place is a sign of health, not illness. Next Wave Connect has steadily grown its staff and will continue to grow this year. We have a good team in place under the leadership of Jim Jacobs and I’ve been very pleased with our progress. Just our March To HIMSS campaign garnered over 15K hits and MyCHIME is has been a huge success.”

From Concerned Tester: “Re: [health system name omitted]. An IT director is under investigation for accepting an Aruba vacation from their [vendor name omitted] rep. That director and his former boss hid a problem with orders that didn’t match after an EHR upgrade. He also pushed out an update that broke the connection to the HIE that caused slowdowns and lost data. The good news that the vendor is being kicked out and Epic will happen in 10 months, but the bad news is that the director was successful in getting them to switch to the previous vendor’s HIE.” I’ve omitted names since I couldn’t verify, but I’m interested in who’s doing the investigation.

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From Magnum PI: “Re: Meaningful Use data from Jamie Stockton at Wells Fargo Securities. The numbers don’t seem to match what CMS provides. I also thought CMS stopped including vendor names in their numbers due to ongoing inaccuracies.” Jamie provided this response: “The only hospitals that needed to attest for Stage 2 in 2014 were the ones that originally entered the program in 2011-12. That cohort of hospitals is 2,600 facilities (vs. the 4,800 that have registered for the program through today). If we look at net attestations (adjusting for the fact that sometimes more than one vendor is listed by a hospital when they attest and therefore one hospital occupies multiple rows for the same attestation year in the CMS spreadsheet), then we calculate that 1,800 hospitals have attested for Stage 2, which roughly matches the number your reader quoted. If you just took 1,800 and divided it by 2,600, then you would get about 70 percent of hospitals having successfully attested for Stage 2. I probably need to make that 70 percent number much more clear in the future and we also need to add a line to the bottom of our Stage 2 table that adjusts the gross number of attestations (which was 2,900) down to the 1,800 net. When we look at vendor success rate, we are excluding the hospitals that have switched vendors since 2011-12. If we didn’t, Epic would have a 130 percent success rate because many McKesson, Meditech, and Siemens hospitals that first showed up in 2011-12 with those vendors have subsequently switched to Epic and would not be in the denominator of the calculation for Epic. Excluding all 400 hospitals that have switched vendors, we get to an average vendor success rate of 55 percent. Obviously that penalizes vendors in their success rate if they have lost market share, but I think that is OK. There is a reason that the hospitals moved away from them. At least with the February data set that powered our most recent analysis, CMS continued to publish the vendor names associated with each attestation.”

From The PACS Designer: “Re: medical 3D printing. At the Washington University School of Medicine, cardiothoracic surgeons are using 3D printing to prepare for heart operations. Recently they used the 3D method to prepare for a difficult heart repair for a 20-month-old toddler at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I feel sorry for the housekeeping people who had to discard all the junk HIMSS conference attendees left in the overflowing trash cans of their hotel rooms at checkout. Every year most of the booth swag and handouts that seemed worth grabbing in the exhibit hall fail to earn their luggage space back in the hotel, so rather than pack it and haul it home, it’s easier to just chuck it. Somewhere in Chicago there’s a landfill full of Caradigm-provided HIMSS backpacks, although I actually brought mine home since it’s a nice one. I also brought back the pair of insulated coffee mugs that First Databank cheerfully provided.

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Arcadia Healthcare Solutions provided the most useful handout ever, a conference essentials pack that included a bottle of water, a coozie, breath mints, ibuprofen, foot bandages, antacid tablets, and vitamin C fizzy drink powder.

The conference reminded me of an observation I had years ago after sitting in on a variety of VC and executive meetings. Mid-level executives and startup CEOs always wear impeccable suits and frown at everything to make sure people take them seriously, while the folks with real money and power wear casual clothes and joke around because they’ve earned the ability to do whatever they want and don’t care what the suited second string thinks. I like that a lot. Big-time VC guy Peter Thiel famously says that his fund will never invest in a technology company whose CEO wears a suit.

Speaking of the conference, I didn’t hear any comments or see any tweets quoting something interesting that was said by the keynote speakers. Did I miss anything by not attending any of them? I’m also interested in more definitive comments about what you liked and didn’t like. Did you go to any educational sessions? Did you meet anyone who was particularly impressive or obnoxious? What vendors raised your interest?

Here’s an odd expression I’ve heard quite a few times over the years: “a piece of software.”

Phrases that need to be expunged from the healthcare vocabulary: mobile health, population health, and patient-centered. All of those be assumed when talking about health. They don’t require being defined as a separate novelty category as they once might have been.

I was annoyed at a video interview with Karen DeSalvo conducted by a young HIMSS Media person with unstated credentials (she includes nothing about education or background in her LinkedIn profile) who repeatedly referred to the national coordinator (and acting assistant secretary for health)  as “Karen.” Even if she’s your BFF, she should be referred to as “Dr. DeSalvo” when interviewing her on video – that shows basic respect for her education, role, and age. 

Thursday beat Wednesday’s HIStalk readership record with 14,658 page views from nearly 11,000 unique visits.

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The folks who didn’t attend HIMSS expected their workload to be about the same last week, although a fourth of them admitted that it’s easier when their bosses aren’t around. New poll to your right or here: if you attended the HIMSS conference, how would you grade it?

Lorre has posted some of the interviews DrFirst did at the conference. Here’s one with our HIStalkapalooza host, Forward Health Group’s Barry Wightman.

Here’s another DrFirst HIMSS conference interview, this one with DrFirst CEO Cam Deemer on the one year delay of mandatory electronic prescribing in New York.

For those who attended HIStalkapalooza: what would you do differently? How would you make it more attractive to potential sponsors for a 2016 version? I haven’t decided if I’ll do it again next year, but Lorre has confidently placed a hold on a Las Vegas venue thinking I’ll re-up.

Listening: The Suffers, big-horns Gulf Coast melting pot soul from Houston. This is your chance to tell people about a great band they’ve never heard, but will almost certainly like once they do.

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor xG Health Solutions of Columbia, MD. The clinician-led company brings to the national market healthcare transformation tools and knowledge developed by Geisinger Health System. The company offers care management services (including population health analytics) and offers help with transition to a fee-for-value environment. XG Health solutions announced at the HIMSS conference EnrG, a suite of advanced interoperability software modules that use Geisinger-developed care models to improve acute and chronic care management, connecting via SMART on FHIR to work seamlessly with any FHIR-enabled EHR (the initial partners are Athenahealth, Cerner, and Epic). The evidence-based care modules address procedures and conditions such as CABG, hip fracture, COPD, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. EnrGRheum, which addresses rheumatologic diseases, will be released in Q3 2015 with six additional apps following. Thanks to xG Health Solutions for supporting HIStalk.


Webinars

April 22 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Microsoft: The Waking Giant in Healthcare Analytics and Big Data.” Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Dale Sanders, SVP of strategy, Health Catalyst. Microsoft has been quietly reengineering its culture and products to offer the best value and most visionary platform for cloud services, big data, and analytics in healthcare. This webinar will cover the Healthcare Analytics Adoption Model, the ongoing transition from relational databases, the role of new Microsoft products such as Azure and Analytic Platform System, the PowerX product line, and geospatial and machine learning visualization tools. Attendees will learn how to incorporate cloud-based analytics services into their healthcare analytics strategies.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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CPSI renames its EHR business line Evident. or at least that’s what the verbose yet uninformative press release suggests. It will continue to run its services business under the TruBridge name. The Evident name seems rather generic, not particularly relevant, and likely to get lost in Google searches. Apparently the CPSI name survives as the parent and in the company’s Nasdaq listing. Vince Ciotti tipped me off with the photo above that he took in the HIMSS exhibit hall.

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Streamline Health reports Q4 results: revenue up 1.2 percent, adjusted EPS –$0.04 vs. –$0.13. Shares dropped almost 7 percent Friday on the news. Above is the one-year price chart of STRM (blue, down 49 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 20 percent).


Announcements and Implementations

Tallksoft launches its Survey+ patient survey app that allows medical practices to benchmark their patient experience and practice performance.

Cerner will offer Healthwise health education content to Millennium users and via its HealthLife Engagement module.

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Ernst and Young announces development of its Telemedicine Adoption Model.


Government and Politics

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The estimated cost of opening the new Denver VA hospital rises to over $2 billion vs. the original VA estimate of $630 million. It’s also two years behind schedule.

The Atlantic says hospitals are chasing CMS patient satisfaction scores that focus on making people happy rather than making them well, encouraging hospitals (even those with low clinical ratings) to redirect funds toward putting in valet parking, live music, and VIP loyalty lounges. They’re also scripting nurse interactions to troll for higher survey scores and tying clinician pay to the results even though everybody knows that the patient isn’t always right. A previous version of the survey allowed comments, where patients complained that their dying roommate was making too much noise and that their sandwich didn’t contain enough pastrami. Experts worry that hospitals trying to appease patients might avoid talking to them about unpleasant topics such as losing weight, seeking mental health treatment, or stopping smoking. Most amazing is that patients with the highest reported satisfaction had higher hospitalization rates, higher costs, and a higher mortality rate.


Other

Here’s the final installment of Vince Ciotti’s vendor revenue review for 2014, this time covering small-hospital vendors.

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I missed that Athenahealth’s Jonathan Bush tweeted this last Tuesday, including a HIStalkapalooza photo taken back stage at the House of Blues.

The latest drug of abuse: amphetamine-based ADHD drugs such as Adderall (aka “mommy crack” or “productivity in a pill”), which mostly young career go-getters are using to increase career competitiveness through short-term improvement in focus and attention. Interestingly, the anonymous executive profiled in the New York Times article is a health IT startup CEO, who says she has no choice but to take the drug because it is “necessary for the survival of the best and the smartest and the highest-achieving people.”


Sponsor Updates

  • HCS sponsored the “Arc of Monmouth Walk and 5K” on the Asbury Park Boardwalk in New Jersey last week and raised more money than all other teams for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Strata Decision Technology will add Yale-New Haven Health’s quality indicators into its StrataJazz platform to help providers understand the high cost of quality variation.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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April 18, 2015 News 7 Comments

Dr. Jayne at HIMSS 4/16/15

April 16, 2015 Dr. Jayne No Comments

I’m home but still playing catch-up with my HIMSS experiencing. As I was triaging my inbox, I found a gem about a new patient engagement product. It wasn’t a great release and didn’t even mention the vendor showing it at HIMSS. Who sends dry press releases during HIMSS and doesn’t even mention the conference? I’m sure the visibility on this one was pretty low.

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The highlight of my day Tuesday was running into a good friend while waiting for the show to open. His cup caught my eye and we had a nice catch-up until heading into the fray. The show floor was pretty busy. The creepiest booth was in the Interoperability Showcase, where one of the hospital displays had two people sitting in a hospital bed together. One was wearing a baseball cap and looked totally bored. The same display area also had a guy walking around in a hospital gown with a sign around his neck, pushing what looked like a vital signs monitor machine. Very strange.

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I saw HIStalk sponsor signs at Sunquest and Santa Rosa as well as at Healthfinch, where I had a great demo from Debbie. Healthfinch is one of what feels like only a handful of products that actually makes physicians’ lives easier, so I salute them. I stopped by the Enovate booth to see if they had anything new – we use their pediatric computer carts and they’re super cute. I was hoping they’d have a new animal offering this year and they promised to send some literature.

Venturing back into the bowels of the hall to the HX360 area, there were quite a few empty booths. One of my colleagues joked about creating a fake wireframe and sitting at their booth just so we could have a rest. We did use their chairs while I caught up on email. My goal was to check out MediVu, who had emailed me about their startup. Although their message said they had “no fancy giveaways or fancy parties to invite you to,” they were warm and welcoming as I chatted with CEO Robert Baldwin about their product’s dynamic icons. They did offer me some mints in a test tube, so they passed the southern hospitality test as well. I like to follow startups – I’m still following one that I first saw at HIMSS in 2011. They haven’t made the big time, but they’re still at it.

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McCormick Place failed the southern hospitality test, with overflowing trash cans and recycle bins. They also committed the “here’s a trash can but no corresponding recycle bin” faux pas, which makes me crazy. It’s not like they’ve never hosted a convention before, you know?

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They did, however, have an actual working pay phone near the lower-level restrooms, so that’s something.

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I spotted these shoes in the 900 aisle. Although they’re attractive, I think the gentleman she was talking to made a more responsible shoe choice.

I tried several times to connect with specific vendor reps as I roamed the aisles. My success rate was zero for three –people had stepped out of their booths and the response of those left behind was highly variable. IMO (Intelligent Medical Objects) gets the prize for best response. First they asked if I would like them to try to find the person or whether they could help me, then offered refreshments while they looked for him. The second two vendors will remain anonymous to protect the guilty – one didn’t bother to ask what I wanted, saying, “He’s out of the booth, but I can help you,” which wasn’t true since I was just there to see pictures of his new baby and catch up. The third just said, “I have no idea where he went, but it was a while ago” and left it at that. Vendors take note: you should have a plan for this because I bet it happens a lot. Other “booth teams behaving badly” included the guys from Intel, who were leaning on the door of the Medicomp booth and preventing people from getting in or out.

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Humetrix had surfing rubber ducks at their booth.

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I headed to the HIMSS Bistro in the afternoon to stalk the CMIO lunch. This sign on the sky bridge reminded me of the need to proofread. It looked like the CMIO group was having a great discussion, but I was a little disappointed by the small number of women at the table, one of whom was Lorre. She has promised to send me her notes from the discussion – I bet it was a good one and would have loved to attend if there was any way to stay anonymous.

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Epic had their traditional quirky art. I really like this guy, though – I would totally buy him. Insight Enterprises had a life-sized “Operation” game in their booth, but I couldn’t get a picture of it because of the crowd around it. I visited with my good friends at RemitDATA for a few minutes. They helped talk me off the ledge after I was accosted by aggressive vendor reps on the way there. One was stepping into the aisle, randomly shoving literature at people in complete disregard to their “no thank you” or corresponding lack of interest in their product. Another actually grabbed my hand and tried to pull me into the booth. When I told a colleague about it, he also commented on the aggressive nature of some of the reps, saying, “It was like they were on an attack vector.”

After that, it was time to head back to the hotel and change for the evening’s parties. The bus to the hotel was much faster this time, but still with the same people rushing the front as soon as it stopped. I got ready quickly and the cute boots I brought sat unused as I knew I wasn’t going to make it through the night without serious pain. I cabbed it over to the New Media Meetup at Gino’s East with a friend. The Chicago-style pizza was the perfect way to fuel before a big list of events, but I was bummed that I didn’t have a paint pen to add my “Dr. Jayne was here” to the walls.

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From there it was off to the “HIMSSandHers” networking event, sponsored by XX in Health and Edifecs. They generously donated $5 to Bright Pink for everyone who tweeted a pic from their event. Do you like my selfie? There were several other parties that night including Nordic and NextGen. I caught up some friends at the end at Tavern on Rush, where I was confused by the fact that they have a pair of sparkly Louboutin heels in a rotating Plexiglas box behind their bar. I’m sure there’s a story there.

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By the end of the night, I was ready for a trip to the spa as this bakery display advertised, but alas there was still more HIMSS ahead of me. Next up: I’ll post my HIMSS wrap-up after the weekend.

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April 16, 2015 Dr. Jayne No Comments

From HIMSS 4/16/15

April 16, 2015 News 8 Comments

My headline isn’t exactly accurate – I’m still in Chicago, but I didn’t wend my way back to McCormick Place this morning since I just wasn’t interested enough to bother. Instead, I caught up on some work, bought some clothes at Macy’s on State Street (my favorite store anywhere), and had dim sum in Chinatown.

Interesting: HIMSS scratches Atlanta and New Orleans off the cities list for future conferences, saying they can’t handle the growing attendance. That leaves only Orlando and Las Vegas as HIMSS conference locations since HIMSS had already expunged Chicago permanently (for the second time, in fact, as a result of two different tiffs – once over nasty exhibit hall workers and the second because RSNA got better Chicago hotel room rates). Exhibitors won’t be thrilled since both Orlando and Las Vegas have ample distractions that keep attendees doing something fun instead of trudging the exhibit halls like swag-seeking zombies. I really dislike Las Vegas, but there’s nothing like being handed stripper cards on your way to an educational session. If HIMSS were a stock, it would be split – other than vanity and economy of scale, it would be a lot more interesting and manageable as two separate conferences.

I thought of another company that is growing quickly based on announcements and appearance: Validic.

This week on HIStalk Connect: A number of enterprise health IT Apple Watch apps are unveiled during this week’s HIMSS conference. CMS publishes data suggesting that up to 66 percent of rural US hospitals failed to generate a single patient portal visitor during MU1 attestation. Partners Healthcare joins forces with Samsung to develop a series of remote patient monitoring solutions. Researchers at Vanderbilt University develop genetically engineered microbiome capable of tricking mice into thinking they are not hungry. 

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I was surprised to see this photo tweeted by Athenahealth showing Jonathan Bush returning to his company’s Monday night party with the shaving cream from his HIStalkapalooza-applied pie still on his face. We provided him with cleanup facilities, so I can only assume he wore the foam as badge of honor.

The final HIStalkapalooza count from House of Blues was 788. We invited 1,465, meaning that 46 percent of them didn’t attend. That’s a frustrating part of trying to plan an expensive per-person event, which I fortunately anticipated in assuming a no-show rate of 40 percent in signing the House of Blues guarantee. I’ll try not to think about the fact that the incremental cost of having more than 100 extra folks would have been zero since I was charged for them anyway. At least it’s not like last year when each of those no-shows prevented someone else from coming, although we would have let some walk-ins enter had we known about the no-shows ahead of time.

HIStalk had 13,500 page views on Wednesday, which I believe is a record.

Jenn reported an encounter with the “Epic police” this week. Epic was demonstrating in the Interoperability Showcase and Jenn (who had a HIMSS conference press pass) snapped a photo of what Epic was publicly displaying. Someone from Epic came up, said nobody’s allowed to take pictures of Epic’s screens, and then demanded that the photo be deleted from the camera while they stood there to verify. That sounds like Soviet-style overstepping big time, especially since Jenn was attending as a journalist – if you are showing your product on the big screen, if HIMSS doesn’t prohibit picture-taking in the exhibit hall (which they don’t any more as far as I can after reviewing the attendee agreement), and if the person taking the photo doesn’t work for an organization that has signed a confidentiality agreement with Epic, then I don’t believe Epic people have any legal basis for detaining attendees and demanding that they delete photos. Claims of friendly and open interoperability just don’t jibe with clearly evidenced paranoia and legal muscle-flexing. I think there’s enough Epic out there that whatever national secrets are contained on their screens have already been exposed.

Nordic did some live interviews during the HIMSS conference. Here’s one with Lorre.

Here’s Nordic’s interview with one of our patient advocate scholarship winners, Carly Medosch. We’ll have a writeup from each of them next week. Carly had a flare-up of her condition on Wednesday that required her to visit the ED, so I’ve suggested she write up that experience as part of her narrative as a HIMSS conference patient advocate.

I’m not sure what my HIMSS takeaways are. The focus seemed more on “doing” rather than “buying.” The first glimmer of patients turning into consumers showed itself. Big health systems have gotten bigger and are dealing with electronically absorbing their acquisitions. Every vendor has figured out interoperability according to themselves, yet every provider struggles to get the patient information they need that resides elsewhere. Everybody seems sick of Meaningful Use. What’s your answer to “HIMSS15 was the year of the …”?

I took some of the photos DrFirst took at HIStalkapalooza and turned them into a video (with marginally cheesy royalty-free music that I bought for the occasion for $18 just to stay legal). I’ll probably post more later and I have video from the event coming as well.

Dana Moore had a great time meeting with folks who donated to DonorsChoose. He’ll be writing up what he learned and liked for next week’s HIStalk.

I’ll be back to normal HIStalk writing this weekend for the Monday Morning Update after traveling back Friday. I’m interested to hear your thoughts about the conference this week.

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April 16, 2015 News 8 Comments

Morning Headlines 4/17/15

April 16, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Jonathan Bush on MU: A big joke that is actively unproductive

Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush calls the Meaningful Use program a big, fat joke and says of interoperability that the word has bee “beat up so bad, I don’t know if anyone knows what it means anymore. “ He goes on,, “preventing patients from getting their information is borderline immoral.”

Telehealth dropped from 21st Century Cures bill, sources say

The House committee responsible for drafting the 21st Century Cures bill has reportedly removed language that would have mandated that Medicare pay for telehealth services.

Healthcare Data Breaches Increasing, Require Action

Researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research say that 29 million medical records were exposed in data breaches between 2010-2013, and given the rapid expansion of EHRs in healthcare, the incidents were likely to increase.  

The Combined Effect of the Electronic Health Record and Hospitalist Care on Length of Stay

Researchers find that the the increase in hospitalist programs has had a more significant effect on reducing length of stay for patients than the increased use of EHRs, but that the combined effect of the two were also substantial.

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April 16, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Jenn’s HIMSS Day 4 4/15/15

April 16, 2015 News 2 Comments

The end of my fifth HIMSS marked the first time I’ve ever had a flight cancelled. My unexpected stay in a Howard Johnson 20 minutes from O’Hare with just the clothes on my back and the electronics in my HIMSS book bag gave me extra time to mull over the rest of my HIMSS experience.

The fourth and final day of the conference for me was a bit more scheduled, with a few media briefings and a good chunk of time spent walking around the exhibit hall in one last attempt to get a flavor for what this year’s product offerings were all about. Buzzwords seen on booths and heard in show-floor conversations included value-based care, population health management, interoperability … the usual. Not much has changed in that area from an exhibit hall perspective, with the exception of EHRs no longer being the big-ticket item. They have turned into the backbone for everything else.

I chatted with the folks from Health Care DataWorks, which spent the bulk of its HIMSS promoting a variety of knowledge packs, pre-built dashboards build into its enterprise data warehouse that address 16 hospital areas including ER, OR, and patient-related analyses. HIStalk contributing author and Cedars-Sinai CIO Darren Dworkin made an appearance at a HCD roundtable early in the week to discuss how the health system used HCD business intelligence and analytics to achieve HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 status..

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The folks at biometric identification company M2sys caught up with me to show me their first foray into mobile health. The RightPatient platform includes a mobile health app and wearable integration server that caters to both consumers and providers. The server takes data from consumer wearable devices and delivers it to the appropriate EHR, while the accompanying mobile app is the first I’ve seen that combines many most of us already have on our phones – personal health record, appointment scheduling, activity tracking, medication reminders, alerts, mood and health monitoring, and health games, to name a few. It can even be configured to accommodate the health data of multiple family members, with all data seamlessly transferred to their provider’s EHR.

I’ve been fairly vocal about the problem of having too many patient portals to log into, so it’s interesting to see the similar problem of having too many apps figured out via the aggregation of many into the distillation of one. President Michael Trader tells me that the platform will launch in July, with a mental health version already in the works.

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My last show-floor one-on-one was with the Xerox and HealthSpot team. I have been interested in the HealthSpot remote-consultation kiosk for some time, and was happy to get a personal tour. My big question for CEO Steve Cashman was, “How is this a better option than picking up my phone while at home for care via a telemedicine app?” He confidently told me that going to a kiosk location offers benefits that a telemedicine app can’t match: reimbursement; a pipeline of HealthSpot physicians who also work for local hospitals and health systems; better quality of care; regulatory benefits (he kept bringing up the fact HealthSpot can operate in Texas); and automatic integration of health data via Xerox back-end technology into the patient’s EHR. The company is looking to launch its kiosks in 25 Rite-Aid stores in June. I’d definitely like to give it a try if they ever come to Georgia.

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My inaugural visit to the Interoperability Showcase was an interesting one. The area was divided into a number of different “vignettes,” scenarios of patient care featuring family members going through different medical events. After a brief introduction by a healthcare IT magician in a central seating area, audience members dispersed to one of the vignettes, where we listened to three different docents run through the technologies involved in that particular family member’s diagnosis and treatment.

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I decided to visit the oncology/clinical trials visit of 38 year-old patient Isabel, which involved technologies from Epic, InterSystems, and the CDC. As any hard-working member of the press would do, I whipped out my camera phone to document my experience, only to have the Epic rep immediately tell me that no pictures were allowed. He even followed me out of the presentation afterwards to ask that I delete any screenshots I may have taken. The one above is the only one I managed to get.

I walked over to a different vignette to see if they were as strict with their photography restrictions, only to find out they had no problem with photography. I snapped a few shots, but did notice that the rep working the video screen logged out of whatever application he was demoing as I snapped away. The whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth. Isn’t interoperability at its core about sharing data?

A few other random observations as I attempt to wrap up my coverage:

Interviews with Dana Moore: I heard from Lorre that it was his most worthwhile HIMSS experience, and it was certainly in demand. I love knowing that money raised from Mr. Moore’s time and expertise is going to a good cause like Donors Choose. It’s great to work for an employer that places importance on helping others. I saw several other companies highlighting their charitable efforts, including Dell and QuadraMed. HIMSS attendees also got the chance to spin Divurgent’s vibrantly colored Trivia Charity Wheel. Their spins helped the company raise $5,000 for Lurie’s Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

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Customer service in the Windy City: It was fantastic, especially at McCormick Place. Everyone had smiles on their faces, and one security guard even chased after to me to ensure I went the right way to the West Hall.

Size and scope of the conference: I found the exhibit hall strangely confining despite its expansiveness. The press room was too far away from the exhibit hall to warrant my making the trek once or twice a day for a free meal, reliable WiFi, and quiet workspace to gather my thoughts and plan my show reviews. I’m not sure who thought putting zero restrooms in the exhibit hall would be a good idea – it certainly wasn’t for me. Like Mr. H and 35,000+ of our closest friends, I probably spent more time walking from point A to point B than in meetings, talking with vendors, or attending keynotes combined. For the record, I went through 10 Band-Aids on my poor blistered feet over my four days there.

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Exhibitors: I managed to run into HIStalkapalooza sponsors Divurgent and Sagacious Consultants during my exhibit hall trek. Both teams kindly squeezed together for group shots. I can’t wrap up conference coverage without mention our gracious neighbors in the exhibit hall – Medisas and Oxford Healthcare IT. The Medisas team put up with a variety of shenanigans in and around the HIStalk booth, while the Oxford team kept us well fed with their daily buffet of Chicago-style hot dogs and Garrett’s popcorn.

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Overall, I felt like I barely scratched the surface of what the show had to offer. I didn’t make it to any educational sessions other than Monday’s keynote, a similar experience to many of the providers I spoke to. It seems most people prefer to spend their time at HIMSS connecting with colleagues, and visiting vendors they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get to throughout the year. Perhaps next year I’ll take a different approach and spend most of my time in sessions rather than on the show floor. Given that it’s in Las Vegas, I can only hope the House of Blues there will be happy to host our next HIStalkapalooza. I hear Lorre is already entertaining sponsorship requests.


Contacts

JenniferMr. H, Lorre, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan

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April 16, 2015 News 2 Comments

Dr. Jayne at HIMSS 4/15/15

April 15, 2015 Dr. Jayne No Comments

I’m way behind on my writing, mostly due to the overwhelming nature of the exhibit hall coupled with entirely too many social events. I had decided to walk to McCormick Place Monday morning but abandoned my quest after the first half mile due to the drizzle. I was joined on the bus by two women who joked about the window curtains, saying that if they were rock stars they’d close them and kick back. If they were rock stars they’d have couches and tables rather than the flimsy cup holder that turned my bottle of Diet Coke into an ankle-seeking missile.

They joined me in rolling our eyes at the people on the bus who jumped up and rushed the front as soon as the bus stopped. I’m not sure what happened to waiting until those in front of you exit, but that wasn’t the only bus ride where that happened. I had been trying to time my arrival to the opening of the exhibit hall, but was early since I decided to catch the shuttle at the Hilton. I picked up some breakfast and was nibbling a sandwich and juggling my stuff. I want to offer a profound thank you to the gentleman who gave me his chair and proved that manners still exist.

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Shortly after that, I saw a tweet from Jessica Kahn that highlighted images of women at HIMSS with the hashtag #overit. Sex definitely still sells, as proved by a vendor event I attended that featured scantily-clad Go-Go dancers. I did overhear several attendees comment that they thought there were fewer “booth babes” than in previous years. The wildest thing I remember seeing was in 2011 when one vendor had contortionists on stage in their booth. As a clinician, it was fascinating, but still not appropriate.

I did make it to a couple of sessions, but none of them had anything earth shattering. Monday’s agenda was aggressive and included hitting several booths before making my way to play Quipstar at the Medicomp Systems booth. The amount of work that goes into putting together a full-scale working game show set is huge. Their backstage area hosts a variety of technology that keeps the game up and running. I’m not sure how many trucks it takes to haul it, but the infrastructure of their two-story booth is pretty impressive.

My performance as a contestant, however, was not impressive. Despite winning the double-points bonus question, I finished second and will be taking home six gallons of popcorn, which I’m sure my staff will enjoy. The real prize was their donation of $1,000 to Wings of Hope. Nominated for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, they set up field bases in developing nations. The bases help build clinics and schools, and establish air ambulance service for rural areas. As a non-sectarian, non-political organization, they can often work in areas that will not accept other charities. They also operate a Medical Relief and Air Transport Program in the US that flies children for medical treatment free of charge.

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I returned to Quipstar later in the day to escort Jonathan Bush to the booth. He played for the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation against former ONC Deputy National Coordinator Jacob Reider. St. Boniface Haiti Foundation helps bring healthcare, education, and community development to the people of Haiti. The highlight of the round was seeing them take a selfie together. The contest was also full of entries for my “things I thought I’d never hear at HIMSS” list, but they were throwing them out too fast for me to jot them all down. Dr. Reider won the round, earning $300 cash which he added to the Medicomp donation to Engeye, which is dedicated to improving health and education in Uganda.

Later I stopped by the Dell booth to put together some cute headbands for Brooke’s Blossoms. They will go to pediatric cancer patients. We always like hearing about HIMSS events that benefit others, so if you have pictures or write-ups, feel free to share them. I wanted to hit several other booths, but was struggling mightily with the floor plan, mostly due to confusing booth numbering and crazily staggered aisles.

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I left the exhibit hall early to get ready for HIStalkapalooza and was glad that I did since the bus ride to my hotel involved nearly 45 minutes of bumper-to-bumper traffic. Luckily the taxi to the House of Blues was much quicker. I had the opportunity to chat with my Secret Crush, David Dieterich, who was admiring my escort’s crushed velvet jacket. Although my crush initially bought my cover story, I’m pretty sure he figured out my secret identity.

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The third floor at the House of Blues was the place to be for dinner, with minimal buffet and bar lines. I snagged a front row seat to enjoy the music while having dinner with a couple of friends. Although I couldn’t experience the sponsor opera boxes because I didn’t have a wristband, they looked cool. After dinner, it was time to grab some pecan pie and head to the dance floor for the HISsies.

As an avid baker, I enjoyed Judy Faulkner’s comments about liking to bake pies. She said she was reluctant to put the pie in Jonathan Bush’s face because it would be an insult to the pie. BTW, apple is her favorite. Once the HISsies were over and the pie was abused, Party on the Moon took the stage. They were even better than I remembered and I hope we can make them a permanent fixture. I overheard several hysterical comments throughout the night, including one attendee’s remark that the lead singer looked like the love child of Farzad Mostashari and Usher.

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I admired many footwear choices, lamenting the fact that I just can’t do stilettos anymore. I wish I could have gotten a better picture of the red boots above — they were phenomenal. If the owner sees this, please send me a picture and description for my wish list. I could probably tolerate those for a couple of hours. Since I listened to my Shoe Advisor’s pronouncement that “wedges win every time,” I was able to stay on the dance floor until the bitter end, then hit two after-parties before collapsing at The Palmer House.

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A reader shared a pic of the Athena Cloud Party, describing it as “insane.” I’m wondering if Jonathan Bush had any comments to make about HIStalkapalooza? I know there were plenty of other events Monday night – send your best pics and a description and I’ll run them next week.

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April 15, 2015 Dr. Jayne No Comments

From HIMSS 4/15/15

April 15, 2015 News 9 Comments

From Canuck: “Re: British Columbia EMR. Big implementation gone sour with a reported $125 million spent so far with nothing to show. This story barely touches upon the issues encountered thus far, issues we’ve all seen in other similar projects.” British Columbia parts ways with IBM two years into a 10-year, $700 million project that remains 85 percent incomplete. The health minister still expects to get the project done on time and budget, which is ridiculously optimistic given government IT performance worldwide even when it doesn’t involve dumping the prime vendor. Perhaps the US Department of Defense should notice that its big EHR bidders haven’t performed well in comparable but much smaller projects outside the US, although fault is often hard to assign to either government or prime bidder incompetence. I can’t name a single big government IT project that was delivered on time and on budget, but I can name a bunch that were abandoned with no benefit whatsoever.

From Due North: “Re: NantHealth. Cancelled their HIMSS conference presence at the last minute, eating the huge deposit. Everyone I knew there is gone.” Unverified, but new President Bob Watson was available only in the private meeting rooms over by HIMSS Bistro, which I happened to see while having a lakefront lunch there today. 

Here’s an interesting rumor I heard today from a fairly good source: Karen DeSalvo will reportedly leave her HHS position in a couple of weeks. I hope it’s not true because she’s a credit to public service and has in her short tenure done a very good job in walking the ONC tightrope that tries to balance innovation, public health, and Meaningful Use. The source suggested that Micky Tripathi turned down an offer to serve as interim, which would be a surprising offer given that he’s brilliant but not an MD like all of the National Coordinators so far. I’m almost always a cynical sourpuss when it comes to industry leadership and yet I find myself hoping she not only continues as National Coordinator,  but is given more federal responsibility despite serving within a lame duck administration. The rumor wasn’t clear, so perhaps there’s a bigger role for her within HHS, such as with CDC or NIH. Or maybe it’s not true at all. Feel free to ask her after her Thursday morning HIMSS keynote if you’re still in Chicago. She gets my vote for whatever she wants to do, as does her predecessor Farzad.

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Here’s Regina Holliday’s latest artwork, which she painted right in the HIStalk booth this week. It’s in honor of HIStalkapalooza, with the pie representing the one Judy Faulkner presented to Jonathan Bush and the beauty queen sash indicating, “We are your biggest fans,” which Regina said she heard repeatedly from folks at the event in reference to HIStalk.

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I met one of our HIStalking scholarship winners today when Lorre introduced me to Mélanie Péron, our representative from Paris. She cried, hugged, and expressed endless appreciation for the opportunity to attend the conference representing patients. She triggered instant insight on what it takes to be successful as a patient advocate. We healthcare people are used to geeks calmly presenting reams of worksheets, but we are justifiably easily moved by people who can tell a heartbreaking or inspirational story, who get fighting mad at injustice or incompetence, or who tug at our hearts with sadness when the industry in which we work in caused harm to their loved ones or failed to prevent it. We all know it could have been us our our family members on the wrong end of a bad but unfortunately not uncommon healthcare experience. Maybe that handful of people we brought to Chicago are dwarfed by the 43,000 others here who are more interested in finding expensive dinners or selling systems, but their activism keeps us all honest and pushes our faces to the mirror of what’s wrong with healthcare that only we can fix. It’s brilliant. I’m glad they were in Chicago this week and I’m anxious to hear their thoughts about the big business aspects of a sometimes indifferent care delivery system that they’ve now witnessed firsthand.

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Our HIStalk friend Marty Mercer says HIStalkapalooza is the best party he’s ever attended, possibly because he was being fawned over by two members of Party on the Moon.


Today’s Conference Notes

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I started my day with a visit with HealthLoop. They were handing out badge ribbons indicating “Empathologist” because they create electronic connections to patients that make them feel connected and engaged in a high-touch way, including scripted electronic check-in. The messaging extends the patient experience before and after the planned encounter, such as sending pre-surgical patients a daily reminder by phone or email to get up and walk around or otherwise prepare for their procedure or to recover from it afterward. It boosts patient satisfaction while delivering patient education. It can even route patients automatically to doctor rating sites and collect survey information for patient-reported outcomes. It was a quick but positive look.

I then stopped by Medfusion, which offers a free “portal of portals” in aggregating multiple portals into its vendor-agnostic one. It was pretty cool in that it can tie together multiple portals to look like a single one to the patient, displaying everything via a slick app. Vendor- and provider-specific portals are really ridiculous in this day and age where every patient would have to manage 10 of them to keep up (and instead never bother to log on at all), so combining them all visually is about the best we can hope for at present.

Next I visited Influence Health, whose EHR-agnostic product brilliantly combines patient engagement, provider marketing, and a patient portal. Consumer choice means providers need to selectively market their services and it’s interesting how Influence Health does it with a consumer user interface that is as familiar as Facebook and Outlook. The company seems to get the connection between clinical patient engagement and provider marketing better than anyone. I only saw a short demo, but it looked solid and smart to me.

A reader asked me to check out Patient Route, way back on the no-man’s land of the HX360 pavilion (which was maddeningly difficult to navigate even with booth number in hand – it literally took 20 minutes to find them even though I was within 100 feet of their little stand). They do some kind of predictive throughput and staff modeling based on historical and real-time information, although I have to say the pitch I was given was not particularly well thought out or informative. About all I heard is that the Brigham is using it to push more surgeries to their suburban hospitals where they get paid more for the same work and don’t have capacity limitations. They didn’t give me enough information to form an opinion.

I checked out MedCPU and was guardedly impressed. The company’s clinical decision support product brings in the usual HL-7 data but also decomposes the free text information that forms most of the available patient data, using natural language processing, text extraction, and a clinical context engine. It turns all of that text into discrete information that is used to provide EHR warnings via a Citrix DLL, so that it sits in the EHR window but separate from it and thus requires no integration effort. It gives clinicians warnings of conditions that are far too subtle for normal field-based CDS to detect. My “guardedly” adjective refers only to the fact that I want to talk to a live site, which the company is arranging. If it works as billed, it’s really well beyond the rather primitive CDS such as drug-drug interaction warnings and drug-lab contraindications. Eyal Ephrat, MD has a track record that instills trust, having founded E&C Medical Intelligence (now PeriGen, which does great work). He and I got a bit deep into the bowels of their patented technology and I want to learn more from actual users.

A reader suggested I look at Innovatient, which offers in-room entertainment, patient assignment, and some nurse call system overlap. I can’t say it struck me as offering anything not already readily available from Oneview, GetWellNetwork, and other vendors, but they have 10 live sites and maybe there’s more than I noticed.

Another reader wanted me to look over Patientco. I can’t get too excited about patient bills and payment options, but if I did, I would love it. They print easily understood bills (designed using sound psychological principles right down to the colors used) and make it easy for patients to settle up online. Patientco is about as cool as billing can get and customers are seeing higher collections and patient satisfaction from using it.

Yet another reader asked me to check out Healow, part of eClinicalWorks. I don’t have much of a reaction – it seemed to be a basic phone-powered portal into a provider’s eCW system with some wearables connectivity built in.

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NextGen had this cool, computer-controlled waterfall that actually spelled out words and presented pictures using only water patterns. It was bizarre but fascinating.

Today’s MedData scones: banana-maple and pumpkin. My Fitbit can’t count enough steps to offset the calories I took in enjoying them.

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HIMSS requires exhibitors to refrain from heading out before Wednesday’s 4:00 exhibit hall close time, but plenty of them (HIStalk included) were boxing up well before then.

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Some strange Epic booth art.

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Epic’s KLAS results posted on their booth walls shows Cerner second with no green at all, Allscripts flailing around in the middle spot, and Meditech dropping precipitously toward the all-red CPSI bottom feeder level.

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This is pretty amazing. Centura SVP/CIO Dana Moore met with interested vendors today at a price of a $500 donation to DonorsChoose in return for 20 minutes of his uninterrupted time (which was matched by a generous, anonymous vendor so that we raised $6,000 for needy classrooms today). I expected Dana to nod politely and check his watch constantly from boredom, but instead he told Lorre that it was the best two hours he’s ever spent at a HIMSS conference. Every one of the six vendors had a solution to one of his current problems and one of them had a solution that he didn’t even know existed. His positive experience makes me think we should replicate it on a larger scale at some point, carefully matching provider executives with vendors based on needed, available solutions.  


HIStalkapalooza Photos from DrFirst

Thanks to DrFirst for providing photography and videography at the event. I’ll probably turn some of the many great photos into a video slideshow or something since it’s great for folks to see themselves having fun. As much as I fussed for many months about the effort and personal cost exposure of running the party, it felt worth it to see the crowd responding so positively to the HISsies and the band.

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I’ll get back to a more regular posting schedule since I’ll pass on returning to the conference Thursday. It’s been a long week.

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April 15, 2015 News 9 Comments

Morning Headlines 4/16/15

April 15, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Bipartisan Senate ends flawed Medicare payment formula

On Tuesday, Senate passed the SRG replacement bill that cleared the House last week, winning 92 – 8 bipartisan support.

GE Healthcare: We’re leaving the hospital EMR business

At HIMSS, GE Healthcare reportedly confirms rumors that it will phase out its Centricity EHR business line, but then later this week introduces a new financial management  product under the Centricity line.

Health IT chief DeSalvo urges more patients to seek access to electronic records

ONC chief Karen DeSalvo, MD spends part of her week at HIMSS defending her recent decision to remove the minimum 5 percent threshold for patients who view, download, or transmit their medical record.

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April 15, 2015 Headlines No Comments

Jenn’s HIMSS Day 3 4/14/15

April 15, 2015 News 2 Comments

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My third day at HIMSS started off with the #HITchicks tweetup at the HIMSSpot in between the exhibit halls. A group of about 50, including a smattering of men, attended to talk and tweet about the role of women as patient advocates and the highlights of HIMSS15 thus far. It didn’t take long for the “booth babe” conversation to take off, with one audience member shouting out HIStalk for bringing attention to the unfortunate trend a few years ago, and consistently calling out those companies that choose to hire pretty faces in tight-fitting spandex to shill their products. I thought it was especially fitting that me, Lorre, and friends of HIStalk added the badges below to our HIMSS15 wardrobes. Kudos to HIStalker Steve Blumenthal, business and corporate law attorney at Waller Lansden, for supplying them. He’s got a pretty sharp sense of humor for a lawyer.

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The tweetup had not one but three highlights for me: University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers CIO Sue Schade – CHIME’s CIO of the Year – stopped by the voice her support for the group. Kym Martin, a four-time breast cancer survivor and patient advocate (not to mention the lovely wife of HIStalk Blues Brother Ross Martin, MD), shared her story of patient advocacy and journey as a four-time breast cancer survivor. Last but not least, ONC National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD stopped by to share her experience as a woman who has worked in academia, public health, and now on the national political stage.

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My next stop was the ONC press briefing, where staff gave a run down of the office’s accomplishments over the last year. Interoperability and partnerships were definitely the overarching theme. DeSalvo took the briefing as an opportunity to announce the availability of $1 million in grant funds to support health IT projects for the Community Interoperability Health Information Exchange Program. The program will award funds to 10 organizations, including those that are not eligible for MU incentives. Applications for the program are due June 16.

We didn’t get too far into the Q&A before someone brought up the patient engagement crowd’s (including Farzad Mostashari, MD’s) uproar over the decision by CMS to change the Stage 2 requirement so that providers now have to show that one patient, rather than 5 percent of their patients, accessed their information online. DeSalvo calmly stressed that ONC is absolutely committed to ensuring that patients have access to their health data, adding that she is encouraged that a dialogue is taking place on the issue. She also reminded reporters that this is a proposed rule, and that formal comments on the rule are encouraged. I understand why some might call this a step backward for the MU program, but I can’t help but think many providers are breathing sighs of relief. You can’t force people to use the Internet, especially those that don’t have access to a computer or reliable WiFi. As DeSalvo reiterated throughout her response to this question, the true challenge will be a cultural one, not necessarily one solved by technology, which is why it’s so important for the ONC to partner with other federal agencies as they attempt to evolve their focus beyond EHRs.

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My next stop after a quick lunch in the press room as at the Emdeon booth, where I moderated a panel discussion with Emdeon’s Gene Boerger and CareCloud’s Albert Santalo on fueling product innovation with big data. I was slightly jealous of the stylish and super-comfy shoes the Emdeon staff were sporting, not to mention the cushioned carpet in their booth. I enjoyed wandering around both sides of the exhibit hall afterwards, snapping pictures of those that had unique designs, catchy marketing gimmicks, and bustling crowds.

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My remaining time at the conference was spent at our booth, where I got the chance to witness The Walking Gallery converge, courtesy of HIStalk’s good friend Regina Holliday. I especially loved the vibrant color of Farzad Mostashari, MD’s jacket. Let the data flow ….

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My day concluded with a quick stop by the Patientco party, where I ran into Caroline Wood and Sherry Farrugia of Georgia Tech. Talk soon turned to a company called Evidation Health, launched last month by GE Ventures and Stanford Health Care to improve health outcomes with evidence-based digital health tools. Their excitement about the startup was palpable, so I may have to crash the road trip they’ve got planned to go out there later this year.

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After that it was on to the Edifecs #HIMSSandHers meetup, where I happily talked shop with Politico’s Ashley Gold. I left with a T-shirt and a selfie stick, my favorite piece of HIMSS swag so far. Despite being thoroughly exhausted, I’m already looking forward to seeing what my final day of HIMSS will bring.


Contacts

JenniferMr. H, Lorre, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan

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April 15, 2015 News 2 Comments

From HIMSS 4/14/15

April 14, 2015 News 11 Comments

From Thinking Ahead: “Re: HIStalkapalooza. How can we sponsor next year’s event?” Contact Lorre. I think this year’s sponsors feel they got their money’s worth since it let them have a “party within a party” that offered cool exposure that impressed prospects, but didn’t cost them much since the fixed costs were spread over several sponsors. I question my sanity in assuming so much work and financial risk just to throw a free party where I don’t know all of the attendees, but for at least one evening per year, it almost seems worth it. I haven’t fully decided about doing it again next year.

From Donnie Brasco: “Re: Epic. Announced that Care Everywhere is free until 2020. The $2.35 per patient per year Epic to non-Epic exchange fee was eliminated. Haven’t heard start date or other details.” Epic was taking in only a tiny bit of revenue anyway, and given the negative (and often inaccurate) press as well as the occasional Congressional scorn, it’s a smart move to just waive the small fee rather than defending it.

From GE Hellcare: “Re: Centricity Enterprise. Announced as retired during HIMSS. No more inpatient EHR. They haven’t decided whether to sell it to another company or retire it.” I hadn’t heard that, but then again it’s not exactly a force to be reckoned with either way.

From Tom Terrific: “Re: MedCity News referring to HIStalk as ‘the National Enquirer of health IT.’ I may never read that site again!” I was peeved that a snarky report that recapped HIStalkapalooza made it sound like HIStalk is some kind of tabloid journalism site that isn’t respected or trustworthy, which seems a bit ungrateful given that the writer enjoyed their evening at my expense and filled some of their news space recapping the Jonathan-Judy portion of it (which, now that I think of it, sounds a lot more like ‘National Enquirer’ celebrity gossip masquerading as news than anything I write). I’ll compare experience, issues analysis, news relevancy, and rumor accuracy with anyone.

From Lincoln: “Re: Allscripts. I heard UCI is dropping Sunrise for Epic, the last of the UCs to do move there.”

Centura Health SVP/CIO Dana Moore’s dance card is filled for his 10 until noon time slot in our booth Wednesday, but if you’re willing to donate $500 to DonorsChoose to get 20 minutes of his undivided attention, Dana says he’s willing to stick around later. Remember that we also have an anonymous vendor that is matching that amount, so each 20-minute taker sends $1,000 to underserved classroom projects. One vendor’s executive says she doesn’t really have anything to pitch to Dana, so she’ll use her time to teach him how to make balloon animals. See Lorre in the booth Wednesday morning.

News: the Senate passed the SGR doc fix bill late Tuesday without ICD-10 additions, requiring only the President’s signature to avoid cutting doctor payments (at the expense of adding another $141 billion to the deficit).


Announcements That Are Kind of Interesting

  • Arcadia Healthcare Solutions announces $13 million in new funding.
  • InstaMed offers its payment network customers the ability to charge patients using Apple Pay.
  • Identity management vendor CrossChx raises $15 million.

Today’s Conference Notes

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We had The Walking Gallery in our booth this afternoon. Each painted jacket tells a story of suffering and loss amidst a struggle with a sometimes uncaring, bureaucratic, paternalistic, or inefficient medical establishment. You should care because it’s about patients and we’re all a patient at one time or another – working in healthcare doesn’t protect you or your family from its problems.

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Our favorite attorney Steve Blumenthal (on the right) hung out in the booth today and handed out swag. He tried to get approval to give away little bottles of whiskey since his company is in Nashville, but being lawyers, they scotched the idea (no pun intended) fearing mass litigation from conference attendees who might injure themselves in an alcoholic stupor. He made himself a badge labeled “HIStalk Booth Babe” that featured a silhouette of a reclining obese male (he’s pointing at it in the photo). He says he’s pretty funny for a lawyer but it’s not exactly a high bar, so I’m not sure if the “bar” part was an intentional pun.  

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I still haven’t received any of the HIStalkapalooza photos or video folks were taking for us, but here’s a great band shot from Nordic. Guys loved those red dresses. I should have Lorre check the band’s rider and production details to see if they intentionally installed a hair-blowing fan to make the angelic-sounding ladies look more model-like – I noticed their tresses were undulating fetchingly in the apparently intentional stage breeze.

Want to see the big HIMSS conference keynoters? Plan on sticking around longer than you should since HIMSS backloads the big guns – George Bush is at 4:30 Wednesday and Karen DeSalvo isn’t until 8:30 Thursday morning after everybody who has real work to do is already back doing it.

I remember when vendors weren’t allowed to offer food from the exhibit hall, not even packaged candy. Now you can get just about everything – I’ve had margaritas, mini hot dogs (the sauerkraut was smelling up the adjacent booths), and of course the amazing scones from MedData – my favorite was on tap today, peach with passion fruit icing. Seriously good. I would have had a second one with my HCI-provided beer except they ran out. MedData even delivered some scones to our booth. I’ve heard a scary rumor that Las Vegas doesn’t allow ovens in the exhibit hall and that’s a problem for next year’s scone supply.

Tip: if you want to take UberX back to your hotel, they can’t pull into the taxi loop at the door and the app won’t let you call a car – instead, walk a block or two to the right and then place your Uber request. Even with surge pricing I was able to get back to Bridgeport for $13 this afternoon.

I meant to check out NantHealth since last year I couldn’t figure out what they do even after the booth people tried to explain it to me (clearly they didn’t really know either). I haven’t found their booth so far.

The companies that seem to be on a growth rocket ride, at least from their conference presence, include Access and CoverMyMeds. I’m sure there are others, but those made my radar.

Speaking of growth, here’s a project for all you analytics people. Get copies of the HIMSS exhibitor guide from the previous couple of years. Assign weighting factors to each vendor in the exhibit hall that are both positive (bigger booth, more desirable location, consecutive years of exhibiting) and negative (dropping out of exhibiting or taking a smaller booth). Who is trending up or down? Who stopped showing up at all? How many first-timers returned? How many companies shot their financial wad on one big HIMSS presence and then sank without a trace?

I took a look at Medhost’s YourCareEverywhere, which is sort of a patient portal for hospitals that run its systems. It looked pretty good.

I thought Marshfield Clinic had given up trying to turn its CattailsMD ambulatory EHR into a commercial product, but they’re back with a new cloud-based version. I watch part of a demo and it looked OK but nothing special. I don’t know why with all the EHR vendors out there someone would buy from a provider, but Farzad was checking it out, so maybe it’s cooler than I thought. They only ever sold 34 Cattails systems and now those users have to move to the new one.

PeraHealth says it has grown a lot and they list a bunch of big-name academic medical centers as customers for its Rothman Index patient early warning system.

The Anthelio folks say they’ve grown a lot. I liked them.

I got a quick look of PerfectServe’s slick Synchrony secure communication app. They’re planning to expand it to cover nurses.

I sat through part of a demo of Oneview Healthcare, which offers a cool tablet-controlled in-room patient display where patients can order meals within their prescribed dietary restrictions, input questions that employees are prompted to answer, view educational material (which can be prescribed by clinicians), and a lot more that I couldn’t stay to see. It’s worth a look.

It was bad enough that the exhibit hall is divided into two wildly non-linear sets of booths, but today I found that way down on one side is a real no-man’s land housing the cybersecurity, disaster recovery, and HX360 tracks. You go through some depressing loading dock type doors into what looks like a truck garage and there are a bunch of nondescript booths, mostly free of people, energy, and buzz (although the Leidos cybersecurity speaker had a pretty good crowd). I felt bad and strolled through all the aisles trying to raise spirits by just having a visitor poking around, but the reps had mostly already flatlined their interest and were counting down the minutes until quitting time. I figure some of the products back there surely have a chance to be eventually successful, but the HIMSS setup as so awful that it was creepy just hanging around back there, so I bailed. Here’s how remote it was: there were a ton of empty soft couches, tables, and chairs with no takers. Haul that messy barbeque sandwich there at tomorrow’s lunch and you’ll have a place to eat it instead of spilling it on your shirt and shoes.

I saw a display that offered, in large letters, a “Wellenss Kiosk.” I didn’t have the heart to snap a photo to run here.

Speaking of food, we had a great CMIO lunch today in Bistro HIMSS in the Lakeside building near the exhibit hall. The buffet was really good, the lake view was nice, and it was comfortable and reasonably quiet. Anybody can stroll up and buy lunch for $24. Thursday’s menu sounds excellent and we have a handful of leftover tickets, so maybe I’ll buy someone lunch if I’m in the mood. The CMIOs seemed to enjoy getting together today with Lorre.

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Cerner takes direct aim at Epic on one of its booth signs.

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This prize must have had the nerds salivating.

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Clever badge ribbons.

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I thought I might learn something about the just-announced IBM Watson Health, but this guy was way over my head with P53 genetic variants.


HISsies 2015 Winners

The winners are here.

More Wednesday. I’m taking a look at products claiming to be innovative for patients and families. Let me know if there’s anything else I shouldn’t miss.

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April 14, 2015 News 11 Comments

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