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News 4/4/14

April 3, 2014 News 4 Comments

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HHS releases a draft report from its FDASIA work group that includes a proposed strategy and recommendations for an HIT framework for maintaining appropriate patient protections and avoiding regulatory duplication. It reaffirms FDA’s position that its regulation is appropriate only for medical devices and not clinical software (including clinical decision support tools.) The report ponders the question of how a conformity assessment program (product testing, certification, and accreditation) might work and whether the government should play a role. It also recommends creating the Health IT Safety Center, seeking input on how it should be operated to share incidents, lessons learned, and user experience, also suggesting that third-party tests or reviews might play a role. The report describes three categories of health IT products:

  • Products for admin HIT functions, such as software for billing, scheduling, and claims management  that pose little patient risk. No FDA regulation is proposed.
  • Clinical software for health information and data management, medication management, physician order entry, electronic access to clinical results, and most clinical decision support software. No FDA regulation is proposed.
  • Products with medical device functionality, such as computer-aided detection software, software for beside monitor alarms, and radiation treatment software. FDA would continue to regulate products falling into this category.


Reader Comments

From Harry-O: “Re: NTT Data-supported Indy car. I’m pleased that we are no longer a client. While I understand that vendors need to market their products, those of us in the trenches are struggling to survive and pay their (for the most part) exorbitant support fees. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could find a way to market and reduce costs at the same time? What a waste, paid for by a hospital near you.”

inga_small From Perky: “Re: ICD-10 delay. Does anyone have an inkling as to how things are going to proceed with such things as CQM reports and MU 2 demonstration/certification with the delay of the ICD-10?  As I try to think this through, my head sort of explodes. If they are going to continue to require ICD-10 codes for the CQM, PCMH, and MU 2 reports, then how are the codes going to get entered if we are not using them for billing? If they decide to stick with the ICD-9 for CQM, PCMH, and MU 2 reports, what happens with the certification process? If we are not allowed to use ICD-10 until after October 1, 2015, what happens with all of the products that are already certified to use ICD-10? Are they expected to rewrite their reports using ICD-9? Do they then need to go through the certification process again?” Unfortunately Perky just hits the tip of the iceberg with his list of questions and CMS may not have enough disk storage to adequately address all the new FAQs. CMS has been been oddly silent on the whole issue all week, suggesting that  no one at the agency saw the delay coming. One of the first steps towards clarity will be the issuance of a final rule for the new ICD-10 deadline. If anyone wants to stab at Perky’s questions, please share.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Assuming this isn’t your first time reading HIStalk, you contributed to the 8 million visit milestone. Thanks.

inga_small A few highlights from HIStalk Practice this week include: AMA remains tight-lipped about the ICD-10 delay. Physicians in academic settings report higher compensation when more time is spent seeing patients versus performing research. Specialists who are late in adopting EHRs may struggle to meet Stage 2 patient portal requirements. European Union GPs report that interoperability issues, a lack of regulatory framework, and inadequate resources are the biggest barriers to adopting ehealth tools. The GAO recommends CMS expand its benchmarks for assessing Medicare physicians. Dr. Gregg contends that HIT’s next big role is to motivate change in consumers that will drive transformation in providers. Thanks for reading.

This week on HIStalk Connect: IBM partners with the New York Genome Center to research genetics-driven brain cancer treatments with Watson. Rock Health’s digital health funding report recaps a record-breaking $700 million in funding in Q1, its strongest investment quarter to date. Airstrip acquires San Diego, CA-based Sense4Baby, a startup from the West Health Institute that markets wireless fetal monitors.


Upcoming Webinars

April 9 (Wednesday) 1:00 p.m. ET. Think Beyond EDW: Using Your Data to Transform, Part 1 – Avoiding Analysis Paralysis. Sponsored by Premier. Presenters: Kristy Drollinger, senior director of population health analytics, Fairview Health Services; J.D. Whitlock, corporate director of clinical and business intelligence, Catholic Health Partners; Sean Cassidy, general manager of information technology services emerging business unit, Premier, Inc. Are you ready to invest in an integrated data platform? Do you have a strategy to make the information accessible and actionable? How will enterprise data warehousing transform care delivery? There’s more to data analytics than simply deploying an EDW. Learn what goes into becoming an information-driven enterprise in the first webinar in this series.

April 16 (Wednesday) 11:00 a.m. ET. Panel Discussion: Documents, EMRs, and Healthcare Processes. Sponsored by Levi, Ray & Shoup. Presenters: Charles Harris, senior technical lead, Duke University Health System; Ron Peel, technical advisor, LRS; and John Howerter, SVP of enterprise output management, LRS. IT department in hospitals implementing EMRs often overlook the role of document-driven workflows. Prescriptions, specimen labels, and discharge orders, and other critical documents must be reliably delivered with minimal impact on IT and clinical staff. This panel discussion will discuss the evolving use of documents in the “paperless/less-paper” environment.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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GE Healthcare will acquire CHCA Computer Systems, the Canada-based developer of the Opera software application for OR management and analytics, of which GEHC Is a distributor.

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MModal reaches an agreement with the majority of its bankruptcy creditors to cut its debt by over 55 percent, which is about $350 million. Investor’s Chair sitter Ben Rooks provides some financial perspective about the company in answering a reader’s question in his “Health IT from the Investor’s Chair”.

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IMS Health Holdings, which sells de-identified patient prescription information, goes public in an IPO that values the company at over $6 billion.

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Practice software vendor edgeMED acquires revenue cycle management company Physician’s Billing Alternative.

ZirMed acquires the payment processing, patient eligibility, and patient estimation business owned by TransEngen.

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Pharmacy automation vendor Aesynt, which operated as McKesson Automation until its November acquisition by Francisco Partners, acquires Italy-based pharmacy IV technology vendor Health Robotics.

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TreeHouse Health makes a six-figure cash investment in LogicStream, a provider of clinical decision support tools.


Sales

A healthcare quality collaborative headed by San Jose Clinic (TX) selects CompuGroup Medical’s CGM Enterprise suite for community health practice management.

Memorial Health Care System (TN) and St. Vincent Health System (AR) select MedAptus Professional Charge Capture for automated coding and billing.

Visiting Nurse Service of New York chooses Crescendo from Delta Health Technologies for homecare business management.

VNA of Albany and Visiting Nurses Home Care (NY) choose Homecare Homebase.

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Oconee Medical Center (SC) adopts PeraHealth’s PeraTrend platform as its real-time clinical decision support tool.

The Center for Diagnostic Imaging (NJ) will implement Healthec’s HIE platform.

Craneware signs multi-year contracts with two unnamed hospitals in the Eastern US for about $6.9 million.


People

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PatientSafe Solutions names Cheryl D. Parker chief nursing informatics officer.

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Nextech appoints Ron Kozlin (Pilgrim Software) CFO.

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CareCloud names Lee Horner (Eliza Corporation) chief sales officer.

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Baylor Scott & White Health appoints 11 new members to its senior leadership team, including Matthew Chambers (Scott & White Healthcare) as CIO.

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Aaron Karjala, CIO of the troubled Cover Oregon online marketplace, becomes the fourth top manager to resign his post.


Announcements and Implementations

Cherokee Regional Medical Center (IA) goes live on its $2 million Epic system.

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Qatar’s Al Khor Hospital and Al Daayan Health Centre go live on Cerner.

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Hudson Valley Hospital Center launches its MyHVHC patient portal.

Emory Healthcare and Grady Health System join the Georgia HIN.

The Spanish Catholic Center (DC) implements Forward Health Group’s PopulationManager and The Guideline Advantage. 


Government and Politics

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CMS issues a Daily Digest Bulletin that summarizes the newly passed Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, Noticeably absent is any mention of the ICD-10 delay. The Bulletin notes that “more information about other provisions will be forthcoming.”


Innovation and Research

The New York eHealth Collaborative and the Partnership Fund for NYC call for applications for the second class of the New York Digital Health Accelerator, a program that will give up to 10 early- and growth-stage companies $100,000 each to advance their digital health technology efforts.

Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital (TX) offers patients a chance to virtually visit the Houston Zoo, located across the street from the hospital, from their hospital beds using Google Glass.


Other

4-2-2014 7-16-11 PM

inga_small I suppose this constitutes a bad day at the office, at least if you are the tree trimmer who is recovering after the chainsaw he was operating kicked back into his neck.

The local paper covers the plight of a 25-bed critical access hospital in Arkansas, whose February computer fees of $63,000 contributed to a loss of $142,000. Administrators expect a $1.2 million EHR incentive check in May, but those funds will be used to pay off  EHR vendor Healthland, which did not require the hospital to pay until it received its MU check.

Mercy Technology Services, the information backbone of the Mercy healthcare system, will market its services to other Epic users as the first provider accredited in the Epic Connect program.

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A KLAS report on ICD-10 consulting services (with the unfortunately timed subtitle “Who Can Help in the Eleventh Hour”) ranks The Advisory Board highest for overall ICD-10 consulting performance, followed by Aspen Advisors. Optum and 3M earned the highest scores for on-site training.

The majority of health organizations participating in a HIMSS Analytics survey report having a formalized EHR governance structure in place with a structure that involves a cross-functional, multi-disciplinary advisory board or committee. The biggest EHR governance challenges are physician engagement and adoption.


Sponsor Updates

  • 3M completes its acquisition of Treo Solutions, a provider of data analytics and business intelligence to providers and payers.
  • Analyst firm IDC names Covisint a “major player” in worldwide federated identity management and single sign-on.
  • Medworxx Solutions and Leidos Health will offer providers help with patient flow performance and analytics.
  • Allscripts recognizes its customer Citrus Valley Health Partners (CA) for being one of the first organizations in the country to meet the 2014 MU Stage 2 requirement for electronic transitions of care, which it accomplished using Allscripts dbMotion.
  • Wellcentive will demonstrate is population health management platform at this week’s AMGA meeting in Grapevine, TX.
  • Biztech profiles ICSA Labs and its work certifying security products.
  • The Health Catalyst team explains how population health management solutions lead to overall better health care.
  • MedAssets president and CEO John Bardis headlines the SEMDA 2014 Conference as the Gala speaker May 7-8 in Atlanta.
  • A local paper interviews Summit Healthcare founder and CEO Ted Rossi, who shares details of the company’s history and growth.
  • A KLAS report on HIEs finds that 100 percent of InterSystems HealthShare customers have made HealthShare part of their long-term plans and say they would purchase HealthShare again.
  • Craneware conducts its annual Executive Industry Leadership Survey to measure revenue integrity priorities.
  • ADP AdvancedMD, Intelligent Medical Objects , The SSI Group and NextGen issue statements following the passage of the ICD-10 delay legislation.
  • Kit Check adds Medi-span integration to its Trusted Pharmacist Medication Checks software.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

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I seem to be rounding up lots of federal issues this week. Monday opened with an extremely heated discussion involving a hospital laboratory director, our medical group operations VP, and me. To make a long story short, one of our hospitals is refusing to play nicely in bringing a bidirectional interface live for our employed physicians. Although many of our physicians use a large national reference laboratory (mostly due to payer requirements) we have a handful of physicians who are being held captive because they are located in the hospital medical office building. The terms of their lease prohibit external vendors from picking up samples at the office after hours, which basically locks them out of the market. Since the practice specializes in OB/GYN and has a high volume of office-collected specimens, they’re stuck using the hospital’s lab and pathology services.

Although the hospital initially agreed to a bidirectional interface so the practice could meet its requirements for both structured data and CPOE, it is now balking under the excuse that a bi-directional interface isn’t “required” for Meaningful Use. They want the practice to figure out some way to create magic with electronic ordering that prints to paper requisitions and an unsolicited results interface. The orders can’t match up automatically, which makes a mess of all the numerators and denominators unless staff manually matches the results. I explained to the lab director in my best primary care voice that a bi-directional interface isn’t entirely about MU, but rather actually has a great deal to do with patient safety.

He didn’t seem to care that it would help close the loop on orders, making sure results were received and catching misses through electronic reporting. He actually suggested providers should use an accordion file and duplicate copies of the requisition. What century is this person living in? I understand competing priorities and limited budgets, but these are our employed physicians that we placed in the hospital building in good faith.

I thought at one point I was going to have to perform a stroke assessment on the operations VP. He made some threats about calling the hospital CEO to discuss breaking the lease and the lab guy still didn’t flinch. It was brinksmanship like I haven’t seen in a long time. I know the hospital CEO well and would love to be a fly on the wall when he calls the lab director and tells him to get it in gear. The bigger picture includes hundreds of newborn deliveries and even more GYN surgeries. Given the practice’s revenue boost to the hospital, I would bet money that the lab director will be singing a different tune by next week.

I’ve also been wrangling entirely too many consultants and administrators regarding the now-approved ICD-10 delay. We’re breathing a sigh of relief on the inpatient side because our hospital vendor still hasn’t delivered decent software. On the ambulatory side, I’m just aggravated, though. Our vendor worked extremely hard to deliver solid product and we’re upgrading very soon. I think of all the “real” enhancements they could have done to the software with the development dollars that they pumped into getting ICD-10 ready and out to the client base with ample time for everyone to upgrade.

Speaking of the legislation, did anyone read the whole thing? I did read the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014” and there were a couple of other gems that snuck in under the cover of the SGR patch. I love the fact that the Government Printing Office uses an old-school type face for the header on legislation. Check out Section 111, which gives hospitals some relief from the so-called “two-midnight rule” through March 2015. Of course “evidence of systematic gaming, fraud, abuse, or delays in the provision of care by a provider” can trigger an audit regardless.

Sections 205 and 206 include abstinence education and funding for the PREP personal responsibility education program. I know there are some sassy seniors out there, but I fail to see how throwing this in with the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act” makes logical sense. They should have called it the “Protecting Medicare, Serving Special Interests, and Tidying Up Odds and Ends Act.”

Fifteen million dollars for pediatric quality measures is in section 210. One of my favorite add-ons is section 216, “Improving Medicare policies for clinical diagnostic laboratory tests.” It requires laboratories to report their private payer contractual rates and test volumes to assist in establishing Medicare rates. So much for a free market (although we knew that was long gone with Medicare already.)

Another favorite (which I almost missed because of the mind-numbing and sleep-inducing effects of federal legislation) is section 218, which promotes evidence-based care by requiring physicians to use clinical decision support before they order certain radiology imaging studies. CDS modules can be part of certified EHR technology or independent. Eventually outlier physicians will require prior authorization before they can order studies. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water after MU2, there are more sharks circling. I hope the EHR vendors can code fast enough to keep them at bay.

The ICD-10 delay is in section 212, if anyone is interested. I gave up after page 31. A reader gave me my laugh of the day about the delay:

Dear Dr. Jayne,

I have three young boys and one of them is always winding up in the ER. This year alone we’ve already had boy vs. coffee table, boy vs. Evel Knievel bicycle jump, and boy vs. monkey bars. Every time our insurance pends the claim and sends me a letter asking for verification that the injury was not work-related or due to a motor vehicle accident. I wish they could figure out that if the boys are 4, 7, and 10 they’re probably not on the job. A quick skim of the ER note would give them the rest of the information. I was looking forward to ICD-10 because maybe the more specific codes would give the insurance company what it wanted in the first place. I guess I’ll have to wait another year to find out. Hopefully we’ll be less accident prone by then.

Those descriptions remind me of Struck by Orca and I’m thinking maybe a companion volume is in order. What’s your reaction to the ICD-10 delay? Email me.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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April 3, 2014 News 4 Comments

News 4/2/14

April 1, 2014 News 7 Comments

Top News

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Implementation of ICD-10 will be delayed until at least October 1, 2015 (it’s up to HHS to set the exact date, apparently) as the Senate approves (64 to 35, with 60 votes required) a hastily assembled bill intended to once again delay the SGR-mandated 24 percent physician pay cut for another year, the 17th time it has been delayed rather than repealed and replaced. Nobody claims to know how the one-sentence ICD-10 language ended up in the otherwise unrelated bill. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) declares that the “doc fix” violates the just-passed Bipartisan Budget Act since there’s no money to pay for it. The patches have cost taxpayers an estimated $150 billion. The President signed the bill Tuesday. Several organizations expressed disappointment that ICD-10 was delayed and the AMA says it is “deeply disappointed” that the Senate kicked the can down the road again rather than repealing SGR instead of addressing Medicare physician payment reform. HIMSS didn’t announce a position on the delay, but CHIME said it wasn’t happy about the industry’s wasted efforts and the unknown aspects of the delay. A few sages predicted this could happen: the HHS big wheels declaring at the HIMSS conference that ICD-10 would not be delayed further are civil servants, not legislation-making members of Congress.


Reader Comments

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From Minnesotan at Heart: “Re: Mayo Clinic in MN, AZ, and FL. Looks like they are looking at Epic and Cerner from this article in the employee newsletter.” According to the March 28 newsletter, Mayo will implement a single-instance EMR at all campuses and has narrowed the field to Cerner and Epic for demos.

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From Vince Ciotti: “Re: Indy Car Grand Prix in St. Petersburg, FL. I took this picture of the NTT DATA car.” Many readers would have been jealous of the obviously great weather in Florida had spring not finally kicked off in some places.

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From Todd Hatton: “Re: Saint Luke’s Health System. We have gone live on Epic inpatient clinical applications on March 28 at our seven metropolitan hospitals in a big-bang fashion. Applications implemented are ClinDoc, Stork, Rover, Haiku, Cantu, Orders, ASAP, Willow, Radiant, OpTime / Anesthesia. SLHS implemented on the Linux database platform. New wrap-around applications are Perceptive Software integrated document imaging, Nuance eScription partial dictation integration, Perigen fetal strip integration, and iSirona medical device integration for anesthesia, ventilators, and bedside monitors in ED, surgery, ICU, and NICU. Things are going well.” Congratulations to the Kansas City area SLHS, where Todd is associate CIO and is no doubt proud of the team that made it happen. A seven-hospital big bang Epic go-live is quite an accomplishment.

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From Plausibility: “Re: Meditech. We are looking a vendor-agnostic solution that pulls contextual information from the patient’s record. I am concerned that Meditech will block access to its data. Has anyone used a solution like this without having Meditech block the information or have advice on encouraging them not to?”

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From The PACS Designer: “Re: iPhone 6. Rumor has it there will be two designs, a 4.7-inch phone and a 5.7-inch phablet.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Navicure. The Duluth, GA-based company offers worry-free clearinghouse and payment solutions built for physician practices, supporting expanding health systems by accelerating and protecting practice cash flow, decreasing A/R days, providing enhanced eligibility verification, improving staff productivity, and giving patients tools to manage online statements and payments. The company serves over 50,000 providers, offering them a “3-Ring Policy” guaranteeing that support calls will be answered within three rings. Thanks to Navicure for supporting HIStalk.

I found this YouTube video overview of Navicure. 

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I sent $50 Amazon gift cards to three randomly chosen readers who responded to my annual survey, but Lorre noticed that two other readers had written in that if they happened to win (they didn’t), they wanted their prize donated to my favorite charity, DonorsChoose. I was touched, so this is for you, Andrew Gelman of PDR Network and Pam Landis of Carolinas HealthCare. I funded an amazing DonorsChoose project with your $100. I found a grant program underwritten by Autodesk that helps pay most of the cost for certain classroom equipment, and your $100 bought – you won’t believe it – a $2,669 MakerBot 3D printer, supplies, and support package for Mr. Fraustro’s architecture, engineering, and construction classes at high-poverty John A. Rowland High School in Rowland Heights, CA.


Upcoming Webinars

April 2 (Wednesday) 1:00 p.m. ET. A Landmark 12-Point Review of Population Health Management Companies. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Dale Sanders, SVP, Health Catalyst. Learn the 12 criteria that a health system should use to evaluate population health vendors and to plot its internal strategy, then see the results of grading seven top PHM vendors against these criteria. No single vendor can meet all PHM needs. The most important of the 12 criteria over the next three years will be precise patient registries, patient-provider attribution, and precise numerators in patient registries.

April 9 (Wednesday) 1:00 p.m. ET. Think Beyond EDW: Using Your Data to Transform, Part 1 – Avoiding Analysis Paralysis. Sponsored by Premier. Presenters: Kristy Drollinger, senior director of population health analytics, Fairview Health Services; J.D. Whitlock, corporate director of clinical and business intelligence, Catholic Health Partners; Sean Cassidy, general manager of information technology services emerging business unit, Premier, Inc. Are you ready to invest in an integrated data platform? Do you have a strategy to make the information accessible and actionable? How will enterprise data warehousing transform care delivery? There’s more to data analytics than simply deploying an EDW. Learn what goes into becoming an information-driven enterprise in the first webinar in this series.

April 16 (Wednesday) 11:00 a.m. ET. Panel Discussion: Documents, EMRs, and Healthcare Processes. Sponsored by Levi, Ray & Shoup. Presenters: Charles Harris, senior technical lead, Duke University Health System; Ron Peel, technical advisor, LRS; and John Howerter, SVP of enterprise output management, LRS. IT department in hospitals implementing EMRs often overlook the role of document-driven workflows. Prescriptions, specimen labels, and discharge orders, and other critical documents must be reliably delivered with minimal impact on IT and clinical staff. This panel discussion will discuss the evolving use of documents in the “paperless/less-paper” environment.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Imprivata files for a $115 million IPO, planning to list its shares on the NYSE. According to the SEC filing, the company lost $5.5 million on revenue of $71 million for the year ended December 31, 2013, with 83 percent of its revenue driven by the OneSign single sign-on product that has 2.6 million licensed healthcare users and another 740,000 outside of healthcare. The S-1 registration statement also notes that the company uses a development firm in Ukraine with obvious exposure as Russia threatens. The fine print notes that BIDMC CIO John Halamka was given options worth $140,700 as a company director.


Sales

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Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center (FL) chooses Authentidate’s InscrybeMD telehealth solution to manage chronic disease patients in a partnership with Bethune-Cookman University.

ViaQuest’s Clinical Services Division (OH) will use Netsmart CareManager for its planned Health Home.

Ministry Health Care (WI) selects Besler Consulting to assist in the identification of Medicare Transfer DRG underpayments.


People

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Patty Griffin Kellicker (Humedica) joins Hayes management Consulting as VP of marketing and communications.


Announcements and Implementations

St. Francis Hospital’s (CT) use of ReadyDock’s storage, charging, and disinfecting system for mobile devices gets coverage on the local TV station.

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Brigham and Women’s Hospital (MA) will expand its use of scribes to operate its EMR, at least until that system is replaced. According to CMIO for Health Innovation and Integration Adam Landman, MD, MS, MIS, MHS, “It lets me sit next to the patient and focus 100 percent of my attention on the patient. There are a few patients who don’t want the scribe involved in their care, and then I ask the scribe to leave.”

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TigerText says it will cover up to $1 million in fines if its customers are charged with violating HIPAA secure messaging requirements.


Government and Politics

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A GAO audit finds that Department of Defense is lousy at estimating long-term system costs, with its TMIP-J battlefield EHR (which includes the frontline portions of the AHLTA, CHCS, and DMLSS systems) being by far the most wildly underestimated. DoD estimated its cost at $68 million in 2002, but they’ve spent $1.58 billion on it so far.

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Indiana’s professional licensing agency asks the state’s ethics commission to review a Board of Pharmacy decision that allows Walgreens pharmacists to use workstations that aren’t located behind counters in its “Well Experience” program. The pharmacy board’s president at the time the request was approved was a Walgreens manager. Consumer groups expressed concerns that pharmacists might leave the area and expose confidential computer or label information to customers.


Technology

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Retired Akron, OH cardiologist Terry Gordon, who advocated placing automated external defibrillators in public areas, is working on a scavenger hunt-type game app that would encourage high school students to locate and report the AED locations to a central database so emergency responders can direct 911 callers to them in a cardiac emergency.


Other

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In New Brunswick, the government’s $16,000 subsidy of the $24,000 Velante EMR sold by a for-profit venture of the New Brunswick Medical Society ended Monday. Expected physician enrollment was running well behind expectations through the end of February. The medical society partnered with a vendor who then contracted out system development to a New Zealand company.

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Epic offers its usual April 1 merriment, declaring that it will immediately discontinue Meaningful Use support to allow clients to claim Stage 2 hardship exemptions, KLAS realizing that it has always spelled CLASS incorrectly, and Epic funding research into how to pronounce the name of its business intelligence suite Cogito but advising to just call it “ree-POR-ting” for now.

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A new JAMA-published study finds that 19 of the 50 largest drug companies have at least one academic medical center leader on their boards, paying them an average of $313,000.

The chairman of an England-based CMIO-type organization says his organization can’t say anything negative about their software systems because vendors will sue them. “Our pockets are not deep enough to confront the legal departments of the suppliers,” he says, suggesting that instead trusts contact each other before buying.  

Weird News Andy titles this story “To Make You Feel Better.” Hearing-impaired California consumers who called the listed 800 number to receive help signing up for health insurance are surprised to hear, “Welcome to America’s hottest talk line.” The site’s incorrectly listed number was for a sex chat line. A Covered California spokesperson denied that its site listed the wrong number despite the local TV station’s screenshot clearly showing it. A Sacramento newspaper had made the same mistake previously, running a number that was one digit off and sending prospective subscribers to the same service.


Sponsor Updates

  • Brad Levin, GM of Visage Imaging, contributes an AuntMinnie.com post titled “The Time is Now for Deconstructed PACS.”
  • SyTrue is selected to present at the Healthcare Documentation Integrity Conference in Las Vegas, NV July 23-26, offering “Your ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide’ to Medicine’s ‘Tower of Babel.’”
  • PerfectServe discusses clinician exhaustion and offers three steps to eliminate the problem.
  • Harris Corporation’s FusionFX Patient Portal earns 2014 Edition Modular Ambulatory and Inpatient Certification from ICSA Labs.
  • Health Care Software posts its event calendar through October.
  • ESD celebrates 24 years in healthcare IT.
  • Etransmedia Technology’s Direct Care Coordinator receives ONC-ACB certification.
  • DrFirst and Insight Software partner to offer e-prescribing to eye care providers.
  • First Databank will summarize research findings on drug pricing benchmarks at two pharmaceutical conferences in April and May.
  • WebInterstate Inc partners with Liaison Healthcare to integrate its MediMatrix mobile imaging solution to multiple EMRs.
  • MedAssets continues to support clients in preparation of ICD-10, saying the transition is “when” rather than “if.”
  • Deloitte Analytics senior advisor Tom Davenport expounds on the findings of the strategic planning required for big data to be of use.
  • Wellcentive will demonstrate its population health management platform during the AMGA conference in Dallas, TX April 3-5.
  • Perceptive Software creates a blog to recap Inspire 2014 in Las Vegas April 4-9.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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April 1, 2014 News 7 Comments

Monday Morning Update 3/31/14

March 29, 2014 News 7 Comments

Top News

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The Washington Post reports that Maryland has such little hope that its $126 million health insurance exchange will ever work that it will be shut down permanently and replaced by Connecticut’s system. Nobody’s willing to talk about what the new system will cost, especially the politicians who botched the first one that crashed minutes after it was turned on. The only refreshing aspect about Maryland’s folly is that it was Noridian Healthcare Solutions that it had to fire instead of CGI and it’s also the first state to admit defeat and start over. Connecticut’s system was developed by Deloitte, which seems to be the only company that consistently delivered for those states that decided they couldn’t use the federal exchange.


Reader Comments

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From Bruce Kee: “Re: patient privacy case. It’s a sticky situation.” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, while a county executive running for governor in 2010, received and shared information about a patient who was sexually assaulted at a county mental health facility as he and his political consultants tried to deflect criticism of four deaths that had occurred there. The attorney hired by the county explained in the draft response why the patient’s information should not be released to the newspaper, saying, “They and I are bound by laws and regulations governing, among other things, the confidentiality of certain information. What should we do? Should we disregard the rights of patients? The legal and ethical obligations imposed upon us? Please — please consult with someone familiar with the laws and regulations governing the disclosure of the information you seek.”  

From Vas DeFerence: “Re: cloud EHR vendors. A know of a practice that wants to switch systems ASAP, but can’t get their data even though their contract gives the practice ownership of it. The SaaS-based vendor won’t provide it or give the practice access, so the practice is actually thinking about manually printing out 80,000 charts to PDF. How are other practices and vendors dealing with SaaS-based database lock-in?” The obvious answer would be to sue the vendor, but that takes time and money the practice probably doesn’t have. The second would be to call the vendor out publicly and hope the possibility of negative publicity action heightens their data export enthusiasm. I’ll offer to be the intermediary if the practice wants to give me details on the record so I can get the company’s response. My pessimistic expectation is that the vendor doesn’t really know how to deliver on its promise and has little incentive to figure it out until the seat it occupies gets a bit hotter. Mass export capability should be part of certification given ONC’s push for interoperability, the practice’s equivalent of Blue Button that allows them to move to a new system without endangering patients by losing their information.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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The huge amount of taxpayer money spent on dysfunctional health insurance exchanges is more the fault of bureaucrats rather than of contractors such as CGI, poll respondents said 51 percent to 29. New poll to your right: have you seen personal benefit from an HIE as a patient / consumer? I understand that maybe you wouldn’t necessarily know, but even then that’s the marketing challenge of HIEs.

My latest grammar peeve: specifying times as “EST,” which is wrong through November 2. Just say “Eastern” or “ET” year-round if you don’t want to be bothered with the seasonal intricacies of “EDT.” The only “standard time” in the summer is in Arizona, which confusingly but sensibly doesn’t observe Daylight Saving Time and therefore remains on MST all year.

Listening: ReVamp, operatic metal from the Netherlands featuring my favorite female singer, Floor Jansen (After Forever, Nightwish).


Upcoming Webinars

April 2 (Wednesday) 1:00 p.m. ET. A Landmark 12-Point Review of Population Health Management Companies. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Dale Sanders, SVP, Health Catalyst. Learn the 12 criteria that a health system should use to evaluate population health vendors and to plot its internal strategy, then see the results of grading seven top PHM vendors against these criteria. No single vendor can meet all PHM needs. The most important of the 12 criteria over the next three years will be precise patient registries, patient-provider attribution, and precise numerators in patient registries.

April 16 (Wednesday) 11:00 a.m. ET. Panel Discussion: Documents, EMRs, and Healthcare Processes. Sponsored by Levi, Ray & Shoup. Presenters: Charles Harris, senior technical lead, Duke University Health System; Ron Peel, technical advisor, LRS; and John Howerter, SVP of enterprise output management, LRS. IT department in hospitals implementing EMRs often overlook the role of document-driven workflows. Prescriptions, specimen labels, and discharge orders, and other critical documents must be reliably delivered with minimal impact on IT and clinical staff. This panel discussion will discuss the evolving use of documents in the “paperless/less-paper” environment.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Morgan Stanley places Cerner on its list of 44 companies whose stock fundamentals make them attractive for being acquired. 

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TrueVault, which offers a programming API allowing software developers to store and use patient information in a HIPAA-compliant manner, raises $2.5 million in seed funding. The Mountain View, CA-based company charges $0.01 per programming call to its service. 


Government and Politics

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A consultant hired to review Vermont’s insurance exchange lists problems that include changing federal expectations, inexperienced consultants provided by CGI, and putting political cronies in charge. It’s a well done and easily understood report, although I suspect that engaging a consulting firm to evaluate even a successfully executed project would result in a similar list.

A proposed California referendum that would increase the state’s $250,000 limit on non-economic malpractice awards adds two unrelated items added to make it more enticing to voters based on focus group response: requiring stringent drug testing of hospital-based doctors and mandatory use of a doctor shopping database that is already available but that nobody uses because it’s clunky. The special interests will be out in force: trial lawyers love the prospect of higher awards that will encourage them to represent injured patients instead of just turning them down as not being worth the effort, hospitals say the change will cost billions, and the guy pushing the database nobody uses was upset that he got only $250,000 when a doctor-shopping drug abuser ran over and killed his two children.

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Check out C-Span video of the doc fix/ICD-10 delay being approved by voice vote, suspending the House’s own rules and skipping the recorded vote that would indicate who voted yes and no. The “no” votes sounded louder than the “yes” votes to me but the Chair gets to decide, not to mention that voice votes require legislators to be physically present, which isn’t common, and are usually used only for non-controversial issues for which support is nearly unanimous. The voice vote means the two-thirds majority wasn’t required, leading experts to say that both parties feared it wouldn’t pass otherwise by the April 1 deadline, the day after Monday’s Senate vote. Since the one-sentence ICD-10 delay got tacked on for some reason, it also passed without any kind of discussion or thoughtful process. An example of the political motivations comes from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who explained her support as, “The Republicans will say this is because of the Affordable Care Act, and I just don’t want to give them another opportunity to misrepresent what this is about.” Democrats want the SGR repealed, but Republicans say they haven’t offered a proposal on how the country will pay for it, leading in the regular “patches” that have prevented what would have been $160 billion in taxpayer savings over the past 10 years as the law requires.

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HHS releases a security risk assessment tool for small to medium physician practices. It’s available for the desktop, iPad, or as Word documents.


Innovation and Research

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Doctors in the Netherlands save the life of a 22-year-old woman by replacing most of her skull with a plastic one they created using 3-D printer. It’s refreshing that among all of the wildly overhyped technologies, 3-D printing has come out of nowhere and is solving big problems cost effectively.


Other

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I thought this subject line of the promotional email from Next Wave Connect described either late-breaking news or fresh emanations from their in-house psychic related to Monday’s scheduled Senate vote (who also irrationally capitalized “Delayed”). Nope, it was just “click here’ bait for people who require assistance in comprehending what a one-year delay would mean to them (is it really that hard to figure out?)

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Northern Berkshire Healthcare (MA), which operates 36-bed, 129-year-old North Adams Regional Hospital and its affiliates (visiting nurse service, hospice, and three practices) files Chapter 7 bankruptcy and shuts down the hospital due to declining revenue. The state’s attorney general, who is from the same town, has announced an investigation of the hospital’s board. Protestors showed up at the empty building, seemingly more interested in the loss of union jobs than any immediate danger to public health triggered by closing a facility short on patients. A court ordered competitor Berkshire Medical Center to take over the ED on Friday, but shortages of supplies and staff led it to delay the ED re-opening until Monday. The CEO of the state hospital association summarized the situation as, “Changes are taking place both in how care is paid for, and also how care is delivered. Not all hospitals will continue to operate as they used to. Possible solutions for this could include redefining what a hospital is to maintain basic services for a community, or cross-subsidization within a larger health system.” He didn’t mention the more Darwinian solution that needs to be on the table given healthcare costs: if you’re not providing a service the market demands or someone else is doing it better, shut down.

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I saw a few mysteriously belated tweets about a 2013 Accenture study (complete with the usual cartoonish infographs for people too busy to actually read words) of what patients expect of drug companies, which concluded that: (a) patients want to hear directly from drug companies, preferably as they begin taking a new drug; (b) they want free stuff, like discounts or rewards; (c) two-thirds are willing to trade their personal information to get the aforementioned free stuff. The conclusion is that pharma has not met expectations for more actively engaging with its customers. What’s wrong with the study: (a) it was an online survey that is by definition skewed toward heavy online users who don’t have anything better to do than fill out surveys; (b) Accenture didn’t include the actual survey questions, which I expect were heavily suggestive of demonstrating unmet demand since Accenture sells consulting services to drug companies panicking that their Facebook page isn’t clever enough; (c) it didn’t compare non-online communication options (telephone or mail, for example) but instead just asked respondents to choose from several online technologies;  and (d) surveyed consumers almost always express an interest in something that’s free that they end up ignoring completely when it’s actually made available in response to questionable survey results (see: personal health records). My unscientific conclusion of what consumers want from drug companies: (a) discounts; (b) notice of any new information about the drugs they take; and (c) follow-up information about use, side effects, warnings, etc. a few weeks after starting a new chronic medication. They don’t want drug companies bugging them on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday, March 30 is National Doctor’s Day, which means that hospitalists and ED docs will be about the only ones who get thanked directly since their peers won’t be working.

A Financial Times article warns that the concept of “big data” has consultants, entrepreneurs, and governments drooling, but Google Flu Trends is a good example of putting too much faith in easily collected data of unknown meaning. Everybody focuses on correlation rather than causation — just because people with the flu Google the word “flu” more often doesn’t mean that everyone who Googles “flu” has it. It also points out a common misperception: bigger data sets of uncertain selection bias aren’t as predictive as smaller data sets that are free of sampling bias, with an example being the prediction that Landon would convincingly defeat Roosevelt for President in 1936, which was based on 2.4 million mailed survey responses that turned out to be wildly wrong compared to 3,000-respondent survey that was more carefully designed. The article concludes that giant databases have people clamoring for information that statistical methods can’t always deliver.

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Two ED registrars at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center (NY) are arrested for selling information from electronic patient files to rehab centers and personal injury attorneys, with one patient receiving a call from an ambulance-chasing lawyer while still sitting in the ED.

The founder of sexually transmitted disease testing app Hula says he won’t change the company’s name despite protests from Hawaiians, but he now understands the cultural insensitivity of company marketing materials that refer to “getting lei’d.”


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect

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March 29, 2014 News 7 Comments

News 3/28/14

March 27, 2014 News 12 Comments

Top News

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The House of Representatives approves, by an unusual voice vote, a hurriedly presented bill that would delay the mandatory implementation of ICD-10 until at least October 1, 2015. The bill, presented Wednesday and approved Thursday, primarily addresses a Sustainable Growth Rate fix that would prevent the 24 percent reduction in physician Medicare payments that will otherwise occur on April 1. The ICD-10 date change was contained in a single sentence in the bill, which will become law if it’s approved by the Senate on Monday and then signed by the President. HHS has been insisting the deadline wouldn’t change after two previous delays, providers and vendors should have been ready given the generous lead time and remaining six months, and most organizations agreed that it was time to rip the Band-Aid off and just do it. Now a delay gets snuck into an unrelated bill and pushed to approval in less than 24 hours, most likely by politicians who didn’t have a clue about what they were voting for. The bill proves how ineffective Congress can be – they can’t figure out how pay for fixing SGR, so they delay its implementation, and despite HHS claims that ICD-10 is vital, it’s easier to keep delaying it than to reach an actual decision about its merit.

 


Reader Comments

3-27-2014 11-22-52 AM

From The Reverend: “Re: another MU question. Thanks for posting question about the exemption letter. I’m also confused by the statement at the top of the exemption form that, ‘If you successfully met Meaningful Use in 2013, you will be excluded from the payment adjustment and do not need to submit a Hardship Exception Application for Payment Year 2015.’ I betcha this is a brilliant tactic to bring costs for the program under control. Providers current with MU will see an opening to ignore this year’s reporting period since the one percent penalty is off the table and ultimately fewer providers will get that final year payment.” I’m not sure what CMS’s intentions were with its handling of the exemption process, but I bet plenty of providers will take advantage of the reprieve.From Seymour Bush:

“Re: Atlantic article series on EHRs. This gentleman’s comments are a fun counter to industry hype.” According to Nebraska-based family practice doc Creed Wait, MD:

The saying is, “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.“ The saying is not, “Build a different mousetrap, pay out 19 billion dollars in incentives to use the mousetrap, mandate its use by law and punish those who fail to adopt it. Then shove the world kicking and screaming against their will through your door” … For the federal government to mandate the use of EMRs by every physician out there just because it works at the VA would be like telling the entire world, “OK, we made it to the moon. Now it is your turn. Any country that has not put a man on the moon within the next five years will be bombed. Every country that complies with this mandate will get a check for $1B. For those countries who fail to comply with this mandate, shelling will begin at 1:00 a.m, five years from today.” …The EMR had become the primary influence in the interview. The dynamic had changed. The patient and I were now both in the room to feed the hunger of the software … Physicians used to write their orders and clerks would enter these data into the computer. Under the new mandates, the physician is now a data entry clerk. What’s next? Is each hospital CEO going to be required to spend two hours a day manning the switchboard?

From Dim-Sum: “Re: DoD EHR. DoD looked at Judith’s big Kaiser win, calculated additional funds for development of a down range medicinal solution, and added a chunk for COTS vendors to certify their teams for Tier 1,2 & 3 support. That figure, for all practical purposes, is $5.5 billion USD. The SI prime wants 40 percent of the pie. COTS EHR vendors will want $1.8 billion USD . Does anyone see the math does not add up? To add to the confusion and muffled numbers is the fact that a CMMI 3 firm will come in and state that COTS can’t create or engineer a down range solution, so they will want $500M – are we seeing a trend here? COTS EHR vendors cannot fathom Agile Scrum, let alone CMMI 3 mediocre results, Everyone forgets that software vendors in the US usually charge 16-20 percent of original software list for ongoing annual support — those numbers are included, so the hopes and dreams of the average EHR vendor is shattered. They will have to come down by $0.5 billion, round down their fee so they can recoup recurring revenue of 20 percent ($200 million a year) of the leftover amount to secure a more realistic number of $800 million. Your SI buddies want COTS vendors to be realistic, stop your silly dreams – you never heard of SPAWAR (Latin meaning “Beltway ONLY.”) SIs deserve the cash because they have no idea how to develop competitive software, so they want your knowledge on the cheap, they are program managers, they are the conduit in to the psyche of the DoD. The DoD does not value software, they value stability and sustainability and salute predictability. That is why it is so hard for COTS vendors to believe that the DoD blew $10+ billion USD for the monstrosity they have today and are hoping COTS EHR vendors can save the day.”

From Bill O’Sayle: “Re: FDA recalling McKesson’s anesthesia software. Both Cerner and Epic (for example) now have products to consume medical device data straight into their EMRs (i.e. Cerner iBus). Do you think this means then that EMRs with such capability are now at risk of such a recall? I can’t see Cerner putting their PowerChart install base at risk of a recall just so they (Cerner) can claim medical device integration. But if this is the logic of the FDA, then that seems to be the case, no?” The lab software model is that the instrument interface requires FDA’s approval, but the system that uses its information doesn’t (except for blood banking systems). I’m speculating, without knowing the details, that McKesson’s anesthesia product may have medical device integration built in, which puts the whole product within FDA’s purview. But given my “without knowing the details” disclaimer, I’d be interested to hear from someone who knows more than I.

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From HIMSS EHR Association: “Re: EHR Developer Code of Conduct. A correction to Mr. H’s thoughts on the McKesson/FDA matter. The EHRA  strongly recommends that all vendors developing EHR products, regardless of membership in the EHRA, adopt the Code of Conduct. However, it is not a condition of membership in the EHRA. The 17 vendors that  adopted the Code of Conduct as of February were recognized at HIMSS14. Since then, three additional vendors have adopted the Code. The EHRA is hosting a webcast on Friday, March 28 to educate more vendors on the elements included in the EHR Developer Code of Conduct and the benefits of adoption.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga_small Highlights from HIStalk Practice this week include: Dr. Gregg asks if being OK is OK and notes that the hard part isn’t achieving perfection but learning to be OK with OK. CMS warns EPs of possible system delays as providers submit MU attestation data by the March 31 deadline. The American Academy of Ophthalmology launches IRIS Registry, a centralized data repository that aggregates outpatient clinical data from EHRs. Epic, eClinicalWorks, and Allscripts claim the biggest shares of the ambulatory EHR market. Naval Branch Health Clinic Albany (FL) offers secure messaging services through RelayHealth. AHIMA warns that the use of copy and paste functionality in EHRs should be permitted only in the presence of strong technical and admin controls. While checking out these stories, why not sign up for the spam-free email updates so you won’t miss something important? Thanks for reading.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Six senators send a letter to the FDA seeking clarification over medical app regulation. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will expand the use of Google Glass by ED clinicians after finishing a successful three-month trial. Reflexion Health raises $7.5 million to expand development of a Microsoft Kinect-based platform designed to support physical therapists and their patients.

I had some site problems over the weekend through Wednesday, which caused some downtime and the temporary disappearance of some posts and comments. Hopefully it’s all fixed now. Geek details: the webhost monitors web traffic and noticed IP traffic containing HIStalk’s server password, leading them to discover a root trojan that would have allowed its creator to take control of the server. That required building a new virtual server and migrating all the settings and large MySQL databases over to an environment containing fresh installs of PHP and Litespeed, which often brings up odd permissions and database problems. It’s been quite a pain – I watched the site and the open support ticket for 15 hours on Saturday alone and slept only a couple of hours, but problems delayed the actual migration until Tuesday evening.


Upcoming Webinars

April 2 (Wednesday) 1:00 p.m. ET. A Landmark 12-Point Review of Population Health Management Companies. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Dale Sanders, SVP, Health Catalyst. Learn the 12 criteria that a health system should use to evaluate population health vendors and to plot its internal strategy, then see the results of grading seven top PHM vendors against these criteria. No single vendor can meet all PHM needs. The most important of the 12 criteria over the next three years will be precise patient registries, patient-provider attribution, and precise numerators in patient registries.

April 16 (Wednesday) 11:00 a.m. ET. Panel Discussion: Documents, EMRs, and Healthcare Processes. Sponsored by Levi, Ray & Shoup. Presenters: Charles Harris, senior technical lead, Duke University Health System; Ron Peel, technical advisor, LRS; and John Howerter, SVP of enterprise output management, LRS. IT department in hospitals implementing EMRs often overlook the role of document-driven workflows. Prescriptions, specimen labels, and discharge orders, and other critical documents must be reliably delivered with minimal impact on IT and clinical staff. This panel discussion will discuss the evolving use of documents in the “paperless/less-paper” environment.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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AirStrip acquires the assets of wireless fetal/maternal monitoring provider Sense4Baby and licenses the technology from the Gary and Mary West Health Institute.


Sales

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Southern Illinois Healthcare selects CPM CarePoints, ExitCare, Mosby’s Nursing Consult, and Mosby’s Skills from Elsevier.

Gracepoint Management (FL) will implement the Plexus Revenue Cycle Management service from Netsmart across its network of 48 behavioral health and drug and alcohol treatment centers.


People

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TeleTracking Technologies hires Susan Whitehurst (Joint Commission Resources) as managing director of consulting services.

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Innovative Consulting Group names David Kissinger (Leidos Health) regional VP.

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Wellspring hires Matthew Joyce (Stout Risius Ross) as SVP of sales.


Announcements and Implementations

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Bradley Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center (TN) begins transitioning to PointClickCare EMR.

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Henry Ford Health System (MI) joins the Michigan Health Connect HIE.


Government and Politics

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The HHS OIG finds that a federal database for tracking Medicaid fraud isn’t working as intended, with 17 states and the District of Columbia failing to provide information on providers banned from billing Medicaid. The database also contains missing National Provider ID numbers and  names of “terminated” providers who are actually dead.


Technology

Medicity earns a patent for its technology for connecting referral networks and another for its technology to centralize communications between providers and patients using cloud-based mobile technology.


Other

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Continua Health Alliance announces availability of its 2014 Design Guidelines.

The eHealth Initiative launches its 2020 Roadmap to guide the transformation of the nation’s healthcare system by 2020. The roadmap will focus on recommendations tied to Meaningful Use, system interoperability, care delivery transformation, and a balance of innovation and privacy.

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Online second opinion service Best Doctors launches the Medting medical exchange.

Weird News Andy calls this story “dueling paramedics.” A woman being transported by ambulance for possible stroke gets out of the ambulance after the two paramedics started arguing bitterly about a personal issue. WNA also observes the skyrocketing healthcare salaries in Cuba, where huge percentage boosts will give nurses an income of $25 per month, while physician specialists will earn $67 per month, up from $26.


Sponsor Updates

  • HealthMEDX hosts its user group meeting next week in Branson, MO.
  • CommVault publishes a white paper highlighting findings of a nationwide survey of healthcare IT managers, which suggest that healthcare data from a variety of sources could overwhelm the healthcare delivery system.
  • HCS announces that all of its Interactant modules meet ICD-10 standards.
  • Craneware hosts a series of one-day user group meetings in advance of its October Revenue Integrity Summit in Las Vegas.
  • PDS provides details of its 2014 Tech Conference October 22-23 in Madison, WI.
  • Nordic Consulting CEO Mark Bakken will deliver the keynote address at Madison’s startup incubator Gener8tor’s winter premiere night on April 3.
  • Wolters Kluwer Health enhances its UpToDate App for the Android mobile platform.
  • Kareo CEO Dan Rodrigues discusses his company and the power of cloud computing for small- to medium-sized practices.

 


EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

Everyone at the hospital is buzzing about the possibility that ICD-10 will be delayed as part of the legislation addressing the Medicare physician payment cut. Both CHIME and AHIMA have come out against the ICD-10 provision, stating that delaying it would negatively impact innovation and health care spending.

Athenahealth’s VP of government affairs, Dan Haley, quickly blogged about it in response. His main assertion is that a delay would only reward vendors who didn’t work hard enough to meet deadlines which have been published well in advance. His secondary point is that for the legislature to delay ICD-10 after the head of CMS has said multiple times that there will be no further delays is akin to a child receiving dessert after his parent had previously told him no.

As much as I’d hate to see my colleagues and their employers suffer when their vendors are not ready, it may take something this dramatic to really thin out the vendor herd. We’ve known this deadline was coming for a very long time and for vendors to still be unable to meet it is inexcusable. We can blame it on MU and the fact that we have a perfect storm of governmental requirements massing to hit us all at once. We can blame it on all kinds of things but the bottom line is that many vendors have delivered despite all those factors.

I don’t have a crystal ball to see how this is going to morph as it works its way through Congress, but it just goes to show that there’s never a dull moment in health IT. Many of my colleagues are already using it as an excuse to stop working on ICD-10 even though the legislation hasn’t been signed. In the words of Julia Roberts as Vivian Ward: “Big mistake. Big. Huge.”

Speaking of mistakes, several readers have written about the issues mentioned in Monday’s Curbside Consult. One of the problems I encountered was an issue with having multiple aliases in a hospital’s patient portal. A reader pointed out that issues like this are not only patient safety issues, but can also play into national safety:

I’m sure you’ve seen the articles about the so-called “Boston Bomber” entering the US undetected because he spelled his name differently than what was on the official watch list (Tsarnayev v. Tsarnaev). Seriously? The CIA was confounded by the unexpected insertion of the letter “y” into a person’s name … a person on a monitored watch list?  Seems incredible. If the CIA can’t figure out how to address probable name variances, then I’m not so surprised that your large academic medical center can’t figure out how to fix an alias name in its EMPI.

Other readers sent their own stories of IT systems run amok not only in healthcare, but in other industries as well. The pace of change is so great that little things like accuracy and completeness can’t seem to keep up. As long as the majority of people think technology is the solution to everything, I don’t see things slowing down.

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I haven’t mentioned shoes or wine in a while, so I was excited to find this piece about a way to remove the cork from a wine bottle using only a man’s dress shoe.  The article contains an engineering explanation of the fluid dynamics responsible for it working. Unfortunately ladies’ heels don’t work well due to the angle of the sole, so Inga and I are out of luck. If you’re looking for a few good laughs, however, make sure you check out the comments section.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect

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March 27, 2014 News 12 Comments

News 3/26/14

March 26, 2014 News 3 Comments

Top News

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The GAO looks at HIE efforts in four states and  finds a lack of sufficient health data standards, variations in privacy rules across states, difficulties matching patient records,  and concerns over covering exchange costs. GAO recommends that CMS and the ONC develop and prioritize specific actions to advance HIE and develop milestones with time frames to gauge progress.

 


Reader Comments

From The Reverend: “Exemption letter. A little mentioned part of the exemption that was offered up as “Vendor Certification Issues” for Meaningful Use 2 is that it requires the vendor to provide the EP with a letter. There is no guidance on what the letter must contain, who it needs to come from (vendor CEO, sales person, tier I tech support), or how to attach it to the exemption itself, but it a required (marked with a *) part of the exemption. The exemption also requires the EP to list the exact version they are currently running…which is obviously not the 2014 certified version (*because if it was, we wouldn’t be applying for the extension.) I am quite certain I am not the only concerned/confused person about this. It sure seems like it may be hard to extract this ‘letter of shame’ from the vendor. Can you help me?” If anyone can offer The Reverend some advice, please share.

 


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga3 Mr. H is taking the night off, hopefully doing something fun, meaning I’m flying solo. Thanks for reading.


Upcoming Webinars

April 2 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. A Landmark 12-Point Review of Population Health Management Companies. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Dale Sanders, SVP, Health Catalyst. Learn the 12 criteria that a health system should use to evaluate population health vendors and to plot its internal strategy, then see the results of grading seven top PHM vendors against these criteria. No single vendor can meet all PHM needs. The most important of the 12 criteria over the next three years will be precise patient registries, patient-provider attribution, and precise numerators in patient registries. 


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Healthcare data analytics firm IMS Health expects to set its IPO price at $18 to $21 a share, giving the company a valuation of up to $6.97 billion.

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Cloud storage provider Box looks to raise $250 million in an IPO. For the year ending January 31 Box reported revenue of $124.2 million with losses of $168.6 million. 


Sales

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Prime Healthcare Services’ Roxborough Memorial Hospital (PA) selects Wellsoft EDIS.

Baptist Health Care (FL) signs a multi-year agreement with MedAssets for multiple cost management and operational efficiency solutions.


People

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Physician connectivity platform provider Updox hires Pat Bickley (Health Care DataWorks) to lead product management.

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Xerox names Robert Zapfel (IBM) president of Xerox Services, replacing the retiring Lynn Blodgett.

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Marc Krellenstein (Relay Technology Management) joins Decision Resources Group as SVP/CTO.

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Health Revenue Assurance Holdings appoints Dennis Veasman (MModal) SVP of business development and sales.


Announcements and Implementations

Aprima Medical and Etransmedia announce an upgrade program for Etransmedia customers using the Allscripts MyWay platform. Etransmedia customers, which include providers that purchased MyWay through Costco, have the option to become an Aprima client, or, to use the Aprima system but remain a hosted client of Etransmedia. Both options provide current Etransmedia customers with one free Aprima licenses for each existing MyWay license.

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ProHealth (WI) utilizes consulting services from Perficient to become the first healthcare system to produce reports and data out of Epic’s Cogito data warehouse in a production environment.

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St. Francis Health System (OK) will go live across its 70 physician offices in May and at its hospitals in June.

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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launches Flip The Clinic, an initiative meant to transform the average doctor visit to be more satisfying. The idea is to have the Flip The Clinic website serve as a hub for patients, providers, and other stakeholders to share ideas for improving the physician visit experience so that it’s more satisfying for patients and optimizes physician expertise. After reading Dr. Jayne’s latest Curbside Consult I’m hoping she will evaluate the site and share her opinions.

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The South West Alliance of Rural Health’s Portland Hospital (AU) implements TrakCare Medication Management from InterSystems.


Government and Politics

Provider uncertainty is slowing implementation of the Designated Test EHR Program according to a representative from Meditech, which is one of three companies serving as test vendors. The ONC admits receiving a “decent amount” of questions on the program and says documentation is being developed to guide providers. Meanwhile, John Valutkevich, Meditech’s manager of interoperability initiatives notes that the ONC information already exists but many physicians and staff “don’t even know where to start.” I did a quick surf of the both the CMS and HealthIT.gov websites and I wasn’t able to locate relevant details, so I’m not surprised that providers are confused. Not for the first time I’m left to conclude that CMS and the ONC have plenty of “opportunities” to improve navigation on their sites.

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HHS announces it strategic plan for 2014-2018 which includes an objective to meaningfully use HIT to improve healthcare and population health. Some of the noted HHS-supported initiatives include the promotion of HIT and standards through the MU programs; support for remote patient monitoring and telemedicine technologies; and promotion for programs such as Blue Button to engage and empower patients.

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Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative CEO Micky Tripathi tells participants at a Federal Trade Commission workshop that HIT and HIE are “beginning to take off” now that the market is better rewarded for their adoption. He also warns that the industry is now seeing “a lot of tension” over the appropriate role of government in Stage 2 and Stage 3. I don’t know the full context of Tripathi’s statement but it seems the “tension” is less about the government’s role and more about what objectives and measures should be included and what tweaks should be made to the timing of the program. After all, doesn’t the government’s “role” include “owner” of the MU program?


Innovation and Research

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Analysis by West Health Institute finds that widespread medical device interoperability could eliminate $36 billion in waste in the health care system and increase clinician efficiencies. Direct cost savings could be driven by avoiding redundant testing and reducing adverse events.


Other

EHR usage in small physician offices has helped spur overall EHR adoption to 61 percent, according to an SK&A report on physician office EHR use.

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Disturbing: a Topeka, KS man opens a dumpster in his office complex and finds discarded medical records, complete with patient names and social security numbers. Perhaps not coincidentally a document scanning service also has an office in the same complex. The state attorney general’s office have removed the charts for further investigation.

The Federation of State Medical Boards consider a telemedicine policy that would require physicians to be licensed in the state where the patient is located and would require the same standards of care for both virtual and face-to-face encounters. Opponents of the proposal believe the licensing requirement creates an unnecessary barrier to telehealth expansion and adoption.

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University (MD) and George Washington University (DC) claim their flu tracking method using Twitter was 93 percent accurate during the last flu season when compared to CDC-collected data. Google’s Flu Trend tool was recently criticized for overestimating flu prevalence by more than 50 percent.

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Some features of EMRs are unintentionally contributing to patient harm according to the recently released Maryland Hospital Patient Safety Program Annual Report. The report notes that the Office of Health Care Quality “received numerous reports of adverse events in which IT system omissions or glitches contributed to adverse events.”


Sponsor Updates

  • Healthx will add InstaMed Member Payments to its member portal solution.
  • Madison Magazine names Vonlay to its list of best places to work in technology for employers with over 100 employees.
  • CareVia will integrate its remote patient monitoring capability with the Harris FusionRX healthcare integration platform.
  • Surescripts awards e-MDs its White Coat of Quality award for applying best practices to the use of e-prescribing technology.
  • PatientPoint will deliver its population health management solutions with HealthTronics IT solutions for urologists.
  • Consulting Magazine names Akhila Skiftenes of Aspen Advisors and Ryan Uteg of Impact Advisors to its list of 35 Rising Star consultants under the age of 35.
  • Vecna, a provider of patient self-service solutions, will add Fujitsu’s PalmSecure technology to Vecna’s On-Site Registration solution.
  • TriZetto recommends that organizations identify the top ICD-9 codes used in their highest dollar claims to reduce claim rejections after the ICD-10 transition.
  • Health Catalyst profiles Texas Children’s Hospital and how the organization used Health Catalyst’s late-binding Enterprise Data Warehouse and analytics apps in its Pediatric Radiology department to improve patient care and achieve $400,000 in savings.
  • Health Catalyst hosts a two-day Healthcare Analytics Summit September 24-25 in Salt Lake City.
  • Dallas Business Journal names MedAssets to its list of 2014 Healthiest Employers.
  • CareTech Solutions serves as a technology sponsor for IABC Detroit’s Renaissance Awards, which honor the best in business communication in Southeast Michigan.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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March 26, 2014 News 3 Comments

Monday Morning Update 3/24/14

March 22, 2014 News 11 Comments

Top News

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Three Detroit hospital systems – Beaumont, Oakwood, and Botsford – announce plans to merge into an eight-hospital, $3.8 billion system, citing shared electronic medical records as one of their four goals.


Reader Comments

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From Tom: “Re: McKesson’s FDA Class 1 recall. The description of their product Anesthesia Care could generically be applied to almost any EMR/EHR/CIS vendor’s AIMS product and yet the FDA’s decision-making clearly does not apply to vendors equally. Also I wonder how the regulation of CDS would affect a hospital who develops their own CDS?” FDA’s highest-level recall of McKesson Anesthesia Care may be sending a message that the agency considers even software-only clinical decision support to be high risk. McKesson defines its product as an anesthesia information management system, which it also calls an “anesthesia EMR.” McKesson sought and received FDA premarket clearance apparently because the system collects data from physiologic monitors. McKesson did a voluntary recall of its product in March 2013 after a customer reported that the software pulled up the wrong patient’s information, with two other customers reporting later that it had lost medical history comments and misconnected to a physiologic monitor, affecting one patient in each instance. Some thoughts:

  • McKesson Anesthesia Care is a software-only system that does not control medical devices. It collects and uses information from patient monitors. Other than that, it’s like any other high-acuity, unregulated EHR (surgery, ICU, ED, etc.)
  • FDA would not have been involved if the patient monitor connection hadn’t pushed the product into its regulatory arena. FDA regulates software that makes independent patient decisions or connects to regulated devices, with the idea being that those systems are devices working on their own rather than simply providing guidance to users.
  • Software vendors usually hide contractually behind the “professional judgment” test that says even if their software gives incorrect information or bad advice that harms patients, the clinical professional who uses the system makes the final decision and is solely responsible for the result.
  • The danger to patients is the same as for any other clinical decision support or even EHR software. Mixing up information between patients could be disastrous any time software is presented information or recommending actions. However, high-acuity systems give users less time to make important decisions, so that probably should be a consideration in determining patient risk.
  • McKesson planned to announced a Class II recall (meaning the problem wasn’t likely to cause patient harm) but FDA overrode that proposal and initiated a Class I recall indicating that patients could be harmed.
  • McKesson notified users almost immediately when the first problem was reported in March 2013, but FDA’s recall didn’t go out until a year later.
  • It’s not clear what users of the system should do as an alternative, or what action they may have taken since the original McKesson notification last year.
  • Vendors of systems that perform equally critical functions that aren’t connected to medical devices can take whatever action they want if they are faced with the same problem since their software isn’t regulated by FDA. Other than to avoid legal exposure, they could arguably not inform customers at all.
  • McKesson is a member of the HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association, a trade group that requires them to sign the EHR Developer Code of Conduct asserting, “We will notify our customers should we identify or become aware of a software issue that could materially affect patient safety, and offer solutions.” The other inpatient EHR vendor members are Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, GE, NextGen, and Siemens.
  • McKesson backed legislation introduced last month (along with athenahealth, IBM, and trade groups) that would reduce “unnecessary regulatory burdens” by limiting FDA’s oversight of “low-risk health IT, including mobile wellness apps, scheduling software, and electronic health records.” 
  • FDA is running late in producing a report that it says will explain its position on regulation of clinical decision support systems.

From LochnessMonster: “Re: McKesson. Reduction in force 3/20/14, roughly 300 under Pat Blake organization (uncertain number).” Unverified, but reported by multiple readers, one of them saying that the targeted areas were Horizon and Paragon.

From Bootay: “Re: vendor-convened panels. You should participate or report the results.” I don’t think so. I’ve seen many times where properly objective people turned into fawning, attention-starved glad-handers just because some company tries to buy their love by inviting them to be a speaker or advisor. It makes my skin crawl to see the obvious mutual sucking up as mutually expectant backs wait to be scratched.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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A slight majority of respondents don’t think patients should have a greater role in the HIMSS conference. New poll to your right: who’s most responsible for the problems with health insurance exchanges?

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor ScImage (pronounced sye-image). The Los Altos, CA-based imaging and informatics company offers solutions that include enterprise imaging, radiology, cardiology, Echo PACS, ECG, cloud PACSEMR content management, vendor-neutral archive, and a Web-based DICOM exchange. Case studies include Missouri Baptist Medical Center’s cardiology PACS, Blessing Hospital’s enterprise PACS, and US Air Force’s cardiology consultation program. The privately held, employee-owned, debt-free company says it has never sunsetted a product or required a forklift upgrade. According to a physician at Cedars Sinai Heart Institute, the company’s products are the “ultimate value proposition” to its cardiology practice. Thanks to ScImage for supporting HIStalk.

Here’s ScImage PACS consolidation overview I found on YouTube.

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Teach for America teacher Ms. A sent pictures of her students using the Chromebook that we as HIStalk readers provided to her first grade classroom in Maryland via DonorsChoose. They’re using it to access online reading and math programs.


Upcoming Webinars

April 2 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. A Landmark 12-Point Review of Population Health Management Companies. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Dale Sanders, SVP, Health Catalyst. Learn the 12 criteria that a health system should use to evaluate population health vendors and to plot its internal strategy, then see the results of grading seven top PHM vendors against these criteria. No single vendor can meet all PHM needs. The most important of the 12 criteria over the next three years will be precise patient registries, patient-provider attribution, and precise numerators in patient registries.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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WelVU, which offers a personalized patient education application, raises $1.25 million in an initial seed round.


People

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Effingham Health System (GA) promotes Mary Pizzino to CIO.

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CHIME promotes Keith Fraidenburg to EVP/chief strategy officer.


Announcements and Implementations

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Physicians at Jupiter Medical Center (FL) are piloting the use of email alerts and status updates when their ACO patients are seen in the ED or urgent care center. The press release is poorly written and the product has a confusing name: MicroBloggingMD. I saw their booth at HIMSS and thought it was yet another doctor writing a blog.


Government and Politics

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Connecticut officials say Massachusetts owes the state $10 million of the $45 million in federal money it received to build its struggling Massachusetts Health Connector. The original grant called for Massachusetts to share its technology plans with other New England states, but those other states realized they could get their own federal money for building exchanges and went their own way, with Connecticut receiving $140 million, Rhode Island $113 million, Vermont $168 million, and Massachusetts a total of $179 million. Massachusetts says the money wasn’t intended for the other states – they were added on to the grant application at the last minute after pressure from the White House and Governor Deval Patrick to make Massachusetts a model for the rest of the country. Access Health CT’s CEO says that unlike the dysfunctional, CGI-built Massachusetts exchange, their Deloitte-created one works fine, adding, “Some states were trying to build a Maserati. We built a Ford Focus. It might not be as glamorous, but it runs. It can get you to the store.”


Technology

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Google is a bit touchy over Google Glass, having previously urged its users to avoid the “Glasshole” label by not being “creepy or rude.” Now it shares “The Top 10 Google Glass Myths,” the one above being notable considering that people (some of them Glassholes, no doubt) are already using it in patient care. Google published the statement on Google Plus, which means almost nobody other than its own employees will see it.


Other

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Duke University Health System (NC) will pay $1 million to settle charges that it overbilled the government by unbundling claims and billing for PA services in heart surgery. Duke says its mistake wasn’t intentional, but instead “resulted from an undetected software problem and through possible misapplication of certain technical billing requirements.” A former Duke employee had filed the whistleblower lawsuit.

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In England, the local newspaper reviews the 2012 Meditech go-live at Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust that caused delays in cancer treatment, lost appointments, and cost the hospital $2 million in revenue. It mentions the project review, which found that delivery targets weren’t specific, penalties clauses were vague, and the 18-month timetable was unrealistic given that the system had never been implemented in the UK. Taxpayers got stuck with $17 million in cost overruns on top of the budgeted cost of $49 million.

A two-doctor cardiology practice in Texas will pay $3.9 million to settle Medicare fraud charges for conducting unneeded procedures. Authorities requested data from 100 nuclear tests that had been performed, but the doctors provided only 37, saying their computer had crashed and the other results were lost. The investigators found that 19 of the 37 tests had been interpreted incorrectly and 75 percent of them were performed wrong. The same foreign-born doctors were part of a group that settled for $27 million in a 2009 Medicare fraud case.

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Stanford Hospital & Clinics and its former collections agency are expected to pay $4.1 million to settle charges that the information of 20,000 ED patients was posted online for nearly a year. Stanford says it encrypted the information sent to the agency, but that company forwarded it to get help creating a graph and the worksheet ended up on a student homework site.

A Motley Fool review of mobile health in China, which a Brookings Institution report says will be worth $2 billion per year by 2017,  says the three publicly traded companies that will benefit most are IBM, Microsoft, and Lenovo. It says the market won’t behave as it does here because Chinese medicine has different workflows, the language is hard, cloud-based security is a tough sell, and Apple’s mobile devices are much less popular than Android ones. It misses some facts: (a) most mHealth companies aren’t publicly traded; (b) those three companies are so large that whatever happens with mHealth in China isn’t going to move the share price; (c) it touts Microsoft as having implemented “a single, cloud-based system” that turns out to be the nearly forgotten HealthVault; (d) it predicts Lenovo’s success because it makes hybrid devices (laptop/tablet) that run Windows 8 and because it bought Motorola and found itself owning 11.8 percent of the smartphone market in China, although the article fails to mention Lenovo’s huge benefit: it’s a Chinese company.  


Sponsor Updates

  • Health Data Specialists will exhibit at the Cerner Southeast Regional Users Group March 30 – April 4 at the Sheraton Sand Key in Clearwater Beach, FL.

Exhibitor Costs at the HIMSS Conference

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Readers had asked for details on what it costs a company to exhibit at the HIMSS conference. I greatly appreciate the vendor executive (let’s call him “Larry,” just to keep things anonymous) who provided complete information from last month.

Booth construction: $132,000
Booth space (20×40): $26,000
Booth power and connectivity: $20,000
Breakfast briefing: $11,000
Hospitality suite: $15,000
Printing: $6,000
Giveaways: $4,000
Booth graphics: $2,500
Buying the attendee list: $1,800

Including some other smaller costs, the company’s total expense was $222,000. That doesn’t include employee salaries or travel costs.

Larry says he’s happy with the outcome. The company had 400 people visit the booth for meetings or to see a demo. About half of those had been scheduled in advance, which is an efficient way to meet with prospects, and the other 200 were walk-ups who might become prospects. He also sees value in the employee bonding experience and being able to learn from attendees.

It’s the same as for attendees, in other words: HIMSS benefits from putting interesting people in the same place at the same time. The attendees derive their value from each other.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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March 22, 2014 News 11 Comments

News 3/21/14

March 20, 2014 News 5 Comments

Top News

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Transcription and software vendor MModal files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection less than two years after being acquired by One Equity Partners for $1.1 billion. The company, which lists its assets and its liabilities between $500 million and $1 billion,  says it is in “constructive discussions” with its lenders and bondholders regarding the terms of a consensual financial restructuring plan and expects to continue normal business operations throughout the restructuring process.


Reader Comments

From Experienced CIO: “Re: reader survey. I had to write to admire how many ways you politely declined to go down rabbit holes and chase information that is not within your (broad) span of knowledge. You are great at delivering what you know and show a comprehensive understanding of the business. Thus, I welcome your personal opinions and commentary. I also recommend that you discontinue HIStalkapalooza, which is a wonderful gesture when you were smaller, but has become unmanageable. Just invite everyone to get together at a cash bar and it will take care of itself in a year or two. Good job, well written, and you stick to your knitting. That is why your publication is so popular.” I appreciate the comments. I like the idea of a simpler, cheaper HIStalkapalooza, having initially envisioned a big parking lot or park with kegs of beer, grill-your-own hot dogs, and a band. Dr. Travis from HIStalk Connect wanted me to put something like that together for startups at HIMSS, but the idea didn’t come up until too late. I’m considering options for next year. Party planning isn’t my core competency.

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From Arcanity: “Re: your poll about professional certifications on your business card. I think this guy takes the cake.” Looks like either a big ego or a small … well, you know. Diplomate-ically speaking, his business card must be the size of a poster board.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga_small A few of the stories you may have missed this week on HIStalk Practice: CMS offers a free online tool to help small practices transition to ICD-10. Over 60 percent of practices don’t plan to participate in an ACO. A reader suggests that Practice Fusion, CareCloud, and ZyDoc might follow Castlight’s IPO lead within the year. The potential costs associated with information loss during the ICD-10 transition could be substantial. Four major insurance carriers tell the AAFP they’ll be ready for ICD-10 by October 1. NCQA intends to raise its PCMH recognition standards in 2014. Thanks for reading.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Castlight Health shares soar 149 percent on the day of its IPO. Physician-only social networking site Doximity reaches 40 percent market penetration with US physicians. SharePractice launches a mobile app designed to let doctors use crowdsourcing to collaborate on and rank the best approaches to treating specific conditions. Dr. Travis dissects the recent failings of Google Flu Tracker and its implications on big data at large.

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor NYeC (New York eHealth Collaborative). NYeC is New York State’s not-for-profit public resource for healthcare IT, facilitating the EHR transition for providers and improving healthcare for all New Yorkers. Its activities include the SHIN-NY HIE; NYeC Regional Extension Center serving the upstate region and Long Island; the multi-state EHR-HIE Interoperability Workgroup; and the Patient Portal for New Yorkers that will go online this year. It runs the New York Digital Health Accelerator along with the Partnership Fund of New York City, supporting early- and late-stage digital health companies working on care coordination, patient engagement, predictive analytics, and workflow management. Chosen companies, which are required to have a New York presence, receive $100,000 in upfront funding and participate in a leadership program of healthcare leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors for the five-month term. Applications for the 2014 class are due April 11. The class of 2013 included ActualMeds, Aidin, Avado, CipherHealth, Cureatr, MedCPU, Remedy Systems, and SpectraMedix. Thanks to NYeC for supporting HIStalk.

Here’s my free “how not to look stupid” tip of the week: don’t reply to business emails on your phone. I see this constantly: the sender doesn’t notice incorrect spellcheck changes, they write barely intelligible terse text that makes little sense, and the tiny keyboard makes it too much trouble to make desirable changes to the subject or to the “Sent from my iPhone” email signature that indicates they are dashing off a reply on the fly while doing something else. You would be better composing a more thoughtful reply on a real computer later unless it’s an emergency.


Upcoming Webinars

April 2 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. A Landmark 12-Point Review of Population Health Management Companies. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Dale Sanders, SVP, Health Catalyst. Learn the 12 criteria that a health system should use to evaluate population health vendors and to plot its internal strategy, then see the results of grading seven top PHM vendors against these criteria. No single vendor can meet all PHM needs. The most important of the 12 criteria over the next three years will be precise patient registries, patient-provider attribution, and precise numerators in patient registries.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Augmedix, a startup building clinical applications for Google Glass, secures $3.2 million in venture funding.

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CitiusTech announces an investment partnership with General Atlantic. The company, which works with 50 healthcare organizations worldwide, reported 2013 revenue growth of 51 percent.

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HIMSS acquires Harrogate, England-based conference promoter Citadel Events, renaming it HIMSS UK.

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Social health management vendor Welltok acquires wellness game developer Mindbloom.

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Procured Health, which offers software that manages hospital purchases of medical devices, raises $4 million in a Series A round.


Sales

The New England Healthcare Exchange Network will implement the Ability Secure Exchange Platform across its member hospitals and provider sites.

Mercy Orthopedic Hospital Springfield (MO) selects Emmi Solutions for patient engagement.

Adventist Health Hospitals (CA) will deploy Aperek Ellipse for real-time anytime spend visibility and analytics.

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BJC Healthcare (MO) selects Health Language to assist with its transition to ICD-10.


People

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Clinovations promotes Kevin Coloton from COO to president.


Announcements and Implementations

Methodist Healthcare (TN) deploys MedAptus Professional Charge Capture for inpatient coding and billing.

La Clinica del Pueblo (DC) goes live on Forward Health Group’s PopulationManager and The Guideline Advantage.

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The Nashville paper profiles RoundingWell, the patient engagement software company launched by the founder of bulk email software provider Emma. It uses EHR-generated information to send patients questions, education, and guidance from a proprietary content library developed with Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and The Center for Case Management. A tiny study found that patient engagement rates were at 60-70 percent over 90 days, with the average patient having eight risks identified that it says wouldn’t have been addressed otherwise.

Aprima offers Etransmedia customers running Allscripts MyWay a conversion to Aprima Patient Relationship Manager, hosted by either Aprima or Etransmedia.

HealthEast Care System (MN) goes live with an early intervention program for heart failure patients that uses patient engagement technology from Pharos Innovations.

Catholic Health System (NY) deploys Juniper Networks Meta Fabric, an open standards-based architecture for data centers. 

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Sanford Health (ND) completes the installation of  RTLS technology from Sonitor Technologies and Intelligent InSites at Sanford’s soon-to-be-opened Moorhead clinic.


Government and Politics

OIG testing of the 28-hospital Indian Health Services computer network reveals inadequate security and significant network vulnerabilities. OIG hackers were able to gain unauthorized access to the IHS web server and an IHS computer, as well as obtain user account and password data and records in the IHS file system.

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The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Responses and ONC launch an initiative to promote the use of HIT in emergency medical services.

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ONC announces that its open source popHealth tool to process electronic clinical quality measures has been certified as a 2014 edition EHR module.

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Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber fires the head of the state’s health authority and asks Cover Oregon to replace its senior management team, including the CIO and COO, following an independent investigation. Cover Oregon remains the only state whose exchange, which cost $200 million, hasn’t enrolled a single person after its planned October 1 rollout failed. The report concluded that the state’s managers had too much confidence that Oracle, which has been paid $160 million so far, could deliver what it promised.


Innovation and Research

3-20-2014 11-31-49 AM

Harvard University Medical School researchers find that use of the EarlySense monitoring system on a medical-surgical unit was associated with a significant decrease in length of stay, code blue events, and ICU stay times. EarlySense uses a sensor that is placed under a patient’s mattress to detect potential adverse events, as well as monitor heart and  respiratory rates and movement.

A study finds that facial recognition software beats humans at detecting patients who are faking pain, with accuracy of 85 percent vs. 55 percent.


Other

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An ONC-commissioned review of nine RECs finds that their most difficult challenges are poor EHR product usability and the “unsavory” business practices of some vendors. Other struggles include physician resistance to EHRs and the MU program, sustainability of RECs once federal funds are depleted, and difficulties communicating often confusing details of the MU program. The authors also note three best practices that emerged for helping providers achieve MU:

  • Maintain strong partnerships with the community
  • Hire technical employees who that have a mix of IT skills, clinical understanding, and general business understanding
  • Work with a physician champion.

The Business Journals names its “10 Markets with the Strongest Brainpower”: Washington DC, Madison, Bridgeport-Stamford, Boston, San Jose, Durham, San Francisco-Oakland, Raleigh, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Colorado Springs.

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Supply chain software vendor Global Healthcare Exchange, acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo a week ago, reportedly lays off 130 of its 500 employees.

Google CEO Larry Page, speaking at a TED conference in Vancouver, touts the sharing of medical records, saying, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone’s medical records were available anonymously to research doctors? We’d save 100,000 lives this year. We’re not really thinking about the tremendous good which can come from people sharing information with the right people in the right ways.” He described losing his voice because of an undocumented condition and finding thousands of people with the same problem after posting a description online.

St. Luke’s Health System (ID), which lost an antitrust lawsuit filed when it attempted to buy a physician group and used its Epic system as one of the benefits, receives a $10 million legal bill from the the hospital, surgery, center, and attorney general that successfully sued it.

Cerner is among 23 Kansas City-area employers recognized for their commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality.

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Doctors in England using Skype to check on a home dialysis patient notice her husband collapsing in the background and send an ambulance to help the 70-year-old man, who was later found to have bowel cancer.


Sponsor Updates

  • ScImage will deliver its PICOM365 PACS with Cedaron’s CardiacCare.
  • Direct Consulting Associates joins the HIMSS Innovation Center in Cleveland as a Supporting Collaborator.
  • CommVault will add 250 jobs in the next three years at its 275,000 square foot headquarters under construction in Eatontown, NJ.
  • Pandodaily.com spotlights Validic and its data pipeline solution for healthcare.
  • GetWellNetwork sponsors the 28th annual National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic March 30-April 4 in Snowmass, CO.
  • Emdeon CEO Neil de Crescenzo tells the Nashville Business Journal that his company has hired 100 people in the last six months.
  • AdvanceNet Health Solutions will add the CoverMyMeds ePostRx automated prior authorization solution to its enterprise pharmacy management platform.
  • Summit Healthcare partners with Indigo HIT to offer complimentary services to enable clients with streamlined and scalable CCD integration.
  • Kareo adds Rignadoc to the Kareo Marketplace to help physicians with phone triage.
  • ICSA Labs certifies First Databank’s MedsTracker as a 2014 Edition Ambulatory and Inpatient Modular EHR.
  • The Ethisphere Institute names Premier a 2014 “World’s Most Ethical Company” for the seventh consecutive year.
  • Angela Hunsberger, senior consultant for Hayes Management Consulting, discusses the need to balance security and usability in patient portals.
  • Healthcare services firm Accreon partners with identity management solution provider NextGate to deliver services and technology for enterprise data awareness and exchange.
  • RelayHealth Financial releases RelayClearance Plus 5.0, a pre-service financial clearance solution that includes an eligibility benefits detail viewer.
  • Clinithink launches its suite of CLiX Online Solutions to translate unstructured clinical narrative for real-time use.
  • TeleTracking Technologies names Hill-Rom a licensed reseller of TeleTracking’s asset and temperature tracking software, while Hill-Rom extends re-sale rights to TeleTracking for its hand hygiene compliance solution.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

I spent all day Tuesday at yet another continuing education class to recertify a life support certification. This is the last one until summer, so I’m glad to have a break.

I understand why they require us to stay certified, but the odds of my actually having to participate in a code situation in the hospital are pretty slim based on my clinical practice patterns. I’m more likely to have to use basic CPR at the supermarket than any of the other skills, which I guess is a good thing. This year I took the “independent study” course, which included an online pre-course as well as the in-person practice and skills testing sessions using a computerized mannequin.

In some ways, the certification seems like a racket. This week confirmed my thoughts. The health system I work for has a master license to be able to train staff on adult cardiac life support because they require most of the clinical staff to maintain certification. I have no idea how much that master license costs, but I know that the individual certification fee is $220 because I had to pay it out of pocket.

In a quirk of rule-making, since I’m not employed by the hospital in a clinical service line (my Emergency Department work is through a third-party contracting firm), there isn’t a department to cost it back to. Apparently neither the administration or IT cost centers are valid for the education department to use, which makes me nervous that someone thinks administration and technology don’t need continuing ed.

At other hospitals (such as the one where I take my pediatric course) the fee for the all-day course includes the textbooks and lunch, but ours doesn’t. I’m a girl who knows how to brown bag and I don’t mind not being allowed to keep the books because I’m never going to look at them again. Neither of those are that big of a deal, but the twist at the end of this course was unbelievable. When we turned in our evaluations at the end of the day expecting to pick up our certification cards, we were asked to pay an additional $2.25 (in cash) for the actual card. Talk about unbundling!

Hospitals are infamous for nickel and diming patients. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that they’re now doing it to the medical staff and the independent contractors who fill the positions they can’t staff on their own. When I registered for the course, I had to wait until my check had cleared to actually schedule it and borrow the text books. I thought that was a little weird, especially since I’ve been on staff for more than a decade and they know where to find me if the check bounced, but I understand not everyone is that reliable. Incidentally, the pediatric hospital takes online payments for their courses, so they don’t have the check cashing issue.

My suggestion to the education department was to just raise the course cost to $222.50 (or even $225) so that they’d have the full payment up front and not ask for cash at the end of the course. I was told that the clinical departments only allowed $220 for the course and the reason they charge for the card was because the “regular employees” don’t actually need the card, they just need a statement from the education department that they had passed the course. Only “external” attendees need the card, hence the extra charge.

I guess external is a nicer way to say that I’m an irregular employee, or to possibly admit that our hospital is so cheap they won’t pay $2.25 for the 20 or so “external” attendees who take the course each year. Or that they’re ignoring the cost savings of recycling textbooks that they’re charging individuals for.

I’m afraid that as healthcare reform evolves, this is only going to get worse. Our hospital has hired a fleet of financial staffers to micromanage every facet of patient care (without admitting they’re telling physicians how to practice medicine) at the same time they’re cutting positions for nurses and patient care technicians. They were already in the business office, where I did battle over the fact that I can only order one printer cartridge at a time (despite the fact that they’re cheaper in a two-pack) due to new purchasing rules. They were already on the hospital floors, where we have to bar code scan every gauze pad and bandage we touch. Now they’re even in CPR class.

We are the embodiment of penny-wise and pound-foolish. I’m curious about the trends our readers are seeing in the hospital or clinic. Has everyone gone as mad as my employer seems to have gone? Are we headed towards the level of care seen in other parts of the world, where patients are expected to provide their own bandages and meals? Email me.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

 

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March 20, 2014 News 5 Comments

News 3/19/14

March 18, 2014 News 2 Comments

Top News

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The comment period opens for a CMS proposal that would allow it to recoup improper PQRS and e-prescribing incentive payments in a four-year project that would look for errors, inconsistencies, and gaps related to data handling, program requirements, and clinical quality measure specifications.


Reader Comments

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From Cupola Dogs: “Re: Epic Emeritus Program. Interesting.” Forwarded documents describe a program in which Epic will offer vetted, independent “Epic Emeriti” (Epic-experienced retirees who are least 55 years old) who will help customers as Epic subcontractors. It’s an interesting concept, especially considering that the average Epic employee is probably under 30. Obviously most of the Emeriti will come from hospitals, where experience is considered an asset rather than a liability. Maybe Epic is finally acknowledging that while industry newcomers can follow a carefully documented project plan, sometimes it’s nice for nervous customers to have someone who has walked in their shoes standing beside them.

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From TooMuchCoffee: “Re: Mass Health Exchange. Cuts ties with CGI Federal. There has been a lot of finger-pointing over the poor-performing sites, but the one common factor in the lousy sites is the lousy contractor CGI Federal, period. WA state was done by Deloitte and is doing fine.” My cynical suspicion is that the combination of governmental and contractor incompetence creates a lot of dysfunctional software that neither party wants publicized. The insurance exchange sites just happened to be public-facing and political, ensuring that their problems make the papers.

From Parker: “Re: McKesson. Still struggling to find a major health system on their Horizon product to convert to Paragon in order to prove to the naysayers that Paragon can manage complex systems. Atlantic Health was going to, but now is not going to move until they see more progress before making a final decision.” Unverified. It’s tough to get customers to switch to a different product offered by their incumbent vendor without their at least going out to the market first, so that may be causing indecision. It’s also tough to convince them to stick with a vendor who’s retiring the product they bought, which will require a painful new implementation no matter whose product they choose. That’s not a reflection on Paragon, just the reality of why most customers aren’t going to be thrilled, especially the larger ones that can afford to buy another system instead of accepting a free one.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor VisionWare. The Newton, MA company provides a healthcare-focused data management platform that provides world class operational and analytical integrity. Its Master Data Management solutions address data management, integration, and data visualization. VisionWare’s Patient 360 brings in information from a variety of enterprise systems (including retired ones) to provide providers, payers, and HIEs a 360-degree view of a person (patient, member, or customer) and meet the needs for Meaningful Use Stage 2, ACO reporting, and fee-for-value reporting. Provider 360 manages provider engagement, credentialing, referral management optimization, and relationship management. Specific solution components include an EMPI, provider registry, data verification, data visualization, and data governance. Long-time friend of HIStalk Paul Roscoe joined the company as CEO in January after running The Advisory Board Company’s Crimson analytics unit and Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group. Thanks to VisionWare for supporting HIStalk.

Listening: reader-recommended Lake Street Dive, skilled jazz/soul featuring amazing vocals and a female upright bass player who rocks it. They even sound great in a driveway.


Upcoming Webinars

March 19 (Wednesday), 1:00 p.m. ET. The Top Trends That Matter in 2014. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenters: Bobbi Brown, VP and Paul Horstmeier, SVP, Health Catalyst. Fresh back from HIMSS14, learn about 26 trends that all healthcare executives ought to be tracking. Understand the impact of these trends, be able to summarize them to an executive audience, and learn how they will increase the need for healthcare data analytics.

April 2 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. A Landmark 12-Point Review of Population Health Management Companies. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Dale Sanders, SVP, Health Catalyst. Learn the 12 criteria that a health system should use to evaluate population health vendors and to plot its internal strategy, then see the results of grading seven top PHM vendors against these criteria. No single vendor can meet all PHM needs. The most important of the 12 criteria over the next three years will be precise patient registries, patient-provider attribution, and precise numerators in patient registries.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

3-18-2014 1-32-20 PM

AbilTo, a provider of behavioral health telehealth services, closes a $6 million Series B round.

Castlight Health signs a deal to turn Leapfrog Group’s 2013 hospital survey information into report to help consumers understand hospital performance.

Varian Medical Systems will acquire the oncology team imaging collaboration software product of Atlanta-based Velocity Medical Solutions.

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Bloomberg Businessweek profiles CrowdMed, where patients whose unusual conditions have stumped their local doctor post their the symptoms and offer a reward for a correct diagnosis. The site says 180 people have gone through the process, with 80 percent of them reporting that they received a useful diagnosis.


Sales

The Veterans Health Administration Midwest Health Care Network will deploy Lexmark’s Perceptive Software Acuo VNA to consolidate medical image storage.

Meridian Health Systems ACO (CA) selects Halfpenny Technologies to provide analytics modules and an interface engine for exchanging lab information.

3-18-2014 1-34-07 PM

Capital Regional Medical Center (MO) selects Summit Healthcare’s Exchange technology to enable CCD integration and Direct messaging.

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Saint Peter’s Healthcare System (NJ) selects athenahealth’s athenaOne EHR, PM, and communication system.

Health Choice (TN) selects Valence Health to build a clinically integrated network for population health management and clinical integration.

UNC Health Care (NC) chooses FrontRange HEAT for its newly consolidated service desk, replacing ServiceNow.

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New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NC) chooses Strata Decision Technology’s StrataJazz for cost accounting, budgeting, planning, forecasting, management reporting, and productivity improvement.

Valley Hospital (NJ) will upgrade to Meditech 6.1, including the company’s new CCU/ICU application.


People

3-18-2014 10-06-09 AM

R. Andrew Eckert (CRC Health Group/Eclipsys) joins TriZetto Corporation as CEO.

3-18-2014 9-03-10 AM

CynergisTek hires Erin Fulton (T-System) as VP of operations.

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NexTech names Eric Nilsson (Surgical Information Systems) CTO.

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Home health and hospice EMR provider HealthWyse appoints Graham Barnes (HealthyCircles) CEO.

3-18-2014 1-39-39 PM

Lois Rickard (Press Ganey Associates) joins Streamline Health Solutions as SVP/chief people officer.

3-18-2014 1-40-50 PM

Deloitte names Sarah Thomas (NCQA) director of research for the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

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Box appoints Aneesh Chopra (Hunch Analytics) and Glen Tullman (7WireVentures) as advisors for its healthcare and life sciences practice.

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SSM Health Care (MO) SVP/CIO Tom Langston will retire on July 3 after 33 years with the health system.

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GetWellNetwork appoints Bart Witteveen (Matrix Medical Network) CFO.


Announcements and Implementations

Three teams share $85,000 in prize money for winning NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s InnovateNYP, a two-day hackathon to develop patient engagement ideas for its patient portal. The winning concepts were: (a) a platform that allows inpatients to connect with each other for games, communication, and education; (b) an app that allows patients to connect with other patients, mentors, friends, and families; and (c) a tool that streamlines appointment check-in and rewards patients for healthy activities.

3-18-2014 9-15-41 AM

The Boone County Health Center (NE) and clinics go live on Cerner.

Grady Memorial Hospital (GA) implements RTLS from Intelligent InSites to track mobile assets and tissue and blood samples.

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InstaMed launches InstaMed Go, which allows providers to collect patient payments via smartphones from any location with the payments posted automatically to their practice management systems and receipts emailed to patients.


Government and Politics

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A salary review of Colorado’s health insurance exchange finds that its 36 employees are paid generously with mostly federal tax dollars, with 20 percent of them making more than $100,000 per year and all of them receiving a  10 percent contribution to their retirement plan. The executive director makes $191,000 per year and was given a $18,500 bonus within nine months of being hired. According to a healthcare policy expert for the Independence Institute think tank, “This is a bunch of people really responsible for nothing other than getting government grants.”


Innovation and Research

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Inpatient EHR information can be used to predict sepsis, according to a study published in JAMIA. Researchers are working on a sepsis risk algorithm that an EHR can automatically calculate.


Technology

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Google beats Apple to the smartwatch punch by announcing Android Wear, available later this year. The watches, which will be tethered to Android-powered phones, will offer voice control, a Siri-like personal assistant, Google Maps, and fitness-tracking sensors. Android Wear may eventually power other wearables, such as a smart jacket.


Other

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UNC Health Care System-owned Rex Healthcare (NC) will pay $28 million this year for its portion of UNC’s Epic implementation, which is scheduled for a summer go-live.

CDC’s flu tracking data is better than Google Flu Trends even taking its lag time into account, with Google Flu Trends overestimating flu prevalence by more than 50 percent in the past two flu seasons.

3-18-2014 1-03-53 PM

AHIMA, CHIME, and other ICD-10 stakeholders urge Congressional leaders to continue to move forward with the October 1, 2014 ICD-10 implementation deadline and ask for support for the Medicare Audit Improvement Act, which addresses challenges with the RAC program.

A doctor in England is caught by fraud investigators for falsifying electronic medical records to earn NHS quality care bonuses. He enlisted the help of an IT person to enter fraudulent data, but after getting caught, blamed the technician and then computer coding errors for the falsified records. Some of the patients he claimed to have treated were imprisoned, abroad, or dead at the time. 

Weird News Andy titles this, “Lungfish?” Student engineers program at Rice University (TX) enrolled in a program that addresses the problems of hospitals in developing countries create an affordable bubble CPAP device (it helps newborn breathe by pushing air into their lungs) made from two aquarium pumps and a Target shoe box. The device has been deployed in hospitals in Malawi and is being rolled out to other countries. One of the students visited a hospital in Malawi and was told by a nurse there that their device had saved her own baby’s life.


Sponsor Updates

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  • Nuance will host a free “Art of Medicine” panel discussion on Thursday, March 27 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at the W Hotel in Boston, MA that features Beth Israel’s John Halamka, MD; the AMA’s Steven Stack, MD; and Mass General’s Keith Dryer, DO, PhD discussing demands that take doctors away from patients. Email to register.
  • SyTrue is chosen to participate in the first Wharton DC Innovation Summit on April 29-30, which will bring together investors, innovators, entrepreneurs and academic leaders. CEO Kyle will present a session on “Innovation Tools.”
  • Gartner positions NTT in the Challengers Quadrant of the 2014 Magic Quadrant for Global MSSPs.
  • Canon USA introduces Nuance eCopy ShareScan v5.2, which features an email and folder-watching service to simplify electronic workflows.
  • The Drummond Group certifies Kareo EHR for MU 2014 Stage 2.
  • Truven Health Analytics reports that its Treatment Cost Calculator tool for estimating out-of-pocket medical costs now reaches 20 million consumers through its client base of employers and health plans.
  • Culbert Healthcare Solutions VP Brad Boyd and Oschsner Health System medical director of accountable care Philip M. Oravetz,MD will discuss strategies for extending EHR technology to affiliated practices at next month’s AMGA conference in Dallas.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect 

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March 18, 2014 News 2 Comments

Monday Morning Update 3/17/14

March 16, 2014 News 10 Comments

Top News

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Castlight Health’s share price climbs dramatically after its Friday IPO, surging 149 percent from $16.00 to $38.90. The company was valued at $1.39 billion at the IPO price, placing it in the $3 billion plus range after Friday’s market close. The company had $13 million of total revenue last year and lost $62 million, reportedly placing its loftily priced IPO price (107 times revenue) as the highest multiple since the dot-com era. Still, the company’s underwriters left a lot of Castlight’s money on the table at pricing the shares so far below their first-day closing price. Nobody’s saying how much shares owned by the already-loaded founders are worth (Todd Park, CTO and co-founder of athenahealth; Bryan Roberts, PhD, chairman and co-founder of venture capital firm Venrock; and Giovanni Colella, MD, founder of RelayHealth.) They might want to sell their shares soon: studies show that shares of companies valued at this level of frothiness have historically had a three-year return of –92 percent.


Reader Comments

From Krikey: “Re: ongoing column writers. There are some very perceptive and witty folks out there, just a challenge to find and encourage them to contribute. I have ideas, but hesitate to name names.” I enjoy the writings of Ed Marx, Darren Dworkin, Dr. Gregg, and others on the provider side who have an interesting perspective and an entertaining way of presenting it. I’m happy to entertain the possibility of adding to that roster, but with the added comment that lots of folks think it sounds great until they realize it’s an ongoing commitment.

From Orange Belt: “Re: hospital salaries. Why are you so down in paying high-performing executives what the market demands?” Because non-profit hospitals shouldn’t be a market – they are a charity for taking care of sick people and should pay comparably to other charitable organizations even though they are inexplicably forced to run like a big business instead. I’m pretty sure that while the talent pool might be different if a health system paid its CEO only $500K instead of several million dollars, that amount would still be sufficient to hire a committed and skilled candidate. Making excuses such as (a) “We have to pay too much because everybody else does”; (b) “We have to compete against the giant corporations our executives would be lured away to run given their vast experience in dealing with nurses and insurance companies in a non-consumer driven market”; and (c) “Our executives are worth every penny because we’ve made a fortune since they took charge” are just excuses to avoid admitting that running a hospital has become a lucrative profession rather than a selfless calling and has attracted leaders who would wander off in an instant if they were paid responsibly.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Quite a few readers reported their annual job compensation, breaking out into the categories above. New poll to your right: should patients have a greater role in the HIMSS conference?

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Thanks to everyone who completed my reader survey. I’ve emailed $50 Amazon gift cards to three randomly selected winners (I use a random number generator to choose from the available Excel rows of responses). I will be reviewing the results carefully over the next several weeks and will report back, but the item above is the one I watch most carefully, in which 92 percent of respondents said that reading HIStalk helped them perform their job better in the past year.

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Another DonorsChoose classroom update: Mrs. Pew’s Louisiana second graders are already enjoying the books you and I bought them four weeks ago using proceeds from the top HIStalk banner ads during the HIMSS conference. She reports, along with sending the photo above, “Your donation has helped make it possible for all students to be actively engaged in my classroom in one way or another. They are able to interact with one another, discuss the books they listen to, and learn new words. Thank you for your generous donation and for bringing such joy to my classroom.”

Listening: Dead Confederate, country-tinged hard rockers from Athens, GA.


Upcoming Webinars

March 19 (Wednesday), 1:00 p.m. ET. The Top Trends That Matter in 2014. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenters: Bobbi Brown, VP and Paul Horstmeier, SVP, Health Catalyst. Fresh back from HIMSS14, learn about 26 trends that all healthcare executives ought to be tracking. Understand the impact of these trends, be able to summarize them to an executive audience, and learn how they will increase the need for healthcare data analytics.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Mobile open source healthcare network vendor Cytta and telehealth technology provider ViTel Net announce plans to merge some or all of their companies. Sounds like they suffer from either commitment issues or premature declaration.


Announcements and Implementations

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As expected, formerly high-flying Accretive Health is notified by the New York Stock Exchange that its shares have been delisted because the company has not filed its revised 2012 annual report. Above is the five-year share price chart of AH vs. the DJIA. The company’s market capitalization is still at $790 million, but shares are down 75 percent from their July 2011 high. The company tangled to its eventual disadvantage with Minnesota’s attorney general in early 2012 over is aggressive collection practices for hospital patients, including strong-arming patients with no outstanding balances who were still in their ED treatment rooms. I explained my mixed feelings about the company’s practices at that time:

The question raised by the Accretive mess that nobody wants to ask or answer is this: how much collection effort is too much? If the model forces a hospital to operate as a business, is it fair that some customers get away without paying, quite a few of them perfectly capable but just unwilling to do so because it’s not exactly a pleasurable purchase? Or that they don’t pay because hospital list prices are absurd, with insurance companies getting huge discounts on the $4 aspirin that cash-paying patients are expected to pay at list price? Accretive probably went too far, but it’s a slippery slope. They are the symptom, not the problem. Imagine if a restaurant couldn’t turn away hungry but broke patients, has to serve them steak and lobster if that’s what they want, and has to welcome them back for meal after meal even though they’re capable but unwilling to pay. Is that fair to the other diners who will have to make up the difference?

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Duke LifePoint Healthcare, a joint venture between Duke University (NC) and for-profit LifePoint Hospitals, will acquire Conemaugh Health System (PA) for $500 million, adding to its total of 60 hospitals and 29,000 employees. LifePoint, whose annual revenue is $3.68 billion, paid its CEO $9 million in 2012, with its other six officers making between $1.8 million and $3.4 million each. 


Government and Politics

The VA Secretary Eric Shinseki says the VA will enter its VistA Evolution in the Department of Defense’s EHR procurement project, claiming that the upgraded system will be equal to the commercially sold EHR systems that the DoD seeks. The VA announced its interest in receiving bids for developing VistA Evolution in late January, allowing eight business days to receive responses. It requested $269 million for 2015 to develop it.  I can’t decide if Shiseki is just yanking the DoD’s chain, calling DoD out publicly knowing they would rather use stone tablets and chisels than admit that the VA’s systems are better, or if he really thinks the DoD is open-minded and taxpayer-respectful enough to use what makes sense instead of what it can control with an iron hand and an army (pun intended) of government contractors. Hopefully he won’t trigger a DoD-led military healthcare junta.

At the same House Veterans Affairs Committee meeting, the American Legion scolded both agencies in written testimony, saying the agencies “squandered more than a billion dollars of taxpayer money and wasted years in an ultimately empty pursuit of a joint electronic medical record system that would have streamlined and simplified logistics between the two agencies …The warfighter turned veteran is the same patient and deserves a system that honors that person with continuous care and seamless transition between agencies.  It is unforgivable that DoD and VA have spent the past several years infighting rather than actively developing a comprehensive solution that is in the best interest of the American service member.”

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The Defense Health Agency expects to spend $1.5 billion in 2017-2019 to buy a new EHR, according to new budget documents. I’m guessing that line item didn’t come from the VA’s RFI response.


Innovation and Research

Patrick Soon-Shiong says on Larry King that like fellow billionaires Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, he has signed the Giving Pledge and will thus donate more than half of his wealth to charitable causes.  He also announces his latest invention: a $300 hearing aid that can be tuned by smartphone, making hearing correction affordable for the 700 million people who need it. He used the same technology to develop the $100 Notes personalizable headset and will donate a hearing aid for each two headsets sold, hoping to give away one million hearing aids in the next five years.


Other

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Washington’s state medical commission files unprofessional conduct charges against the former physician head of Harborview Medical Center’s burn unit, finding that he testified about the value of using flame retardants in furniture without disclosing that he was being paid by the companies that produce the chemicals. Government scientists had concluded that the products are toxic and don’t work, leading the chemical companies to create a phony three-member consumer watchdog group to create public fear about fire danger and to pay experts for favorable testimony. The group was quietly shut down in 2012. The doctor is also accused of making up compelling patient stories and violating patient privacy laws by using a minor patient’s photo without permission. 

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Valley View Hospital (CO) notifies 5,400 patients that technicians found an encrypted, hidden server folder that contained their credit card, Social Security, and demographic information, adding that the information may have been used for identity theft. An unnamed virus collected and stored screen shots of online web pages that may have been sent outside the facility. The hospital says it has since improved its antivirus and firewall systems.

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The Sacramento paper profiles Davis, CA-based Cedaron Medical, which offers software for cardiac care, rehab documentation, speech pathology, occupational therapy, and worker’s compensation evaluation. I’m fascinated that founders Malcolm and Karen Bond also started Bondolio, an award-winning olive oil business.

An editorial in BMJ says that doctors would provide better care if they knew that patients were recording their encounters, even suggesting that doctors record sessions themselves and offer patients a copy. It addressed a debate in England in which the UK General Medical Council eventually changed its position that such records would not be admissible in professional practice reviews. The article concludes that there’s no way to stop patients from recording their physician interaction, so the medical profession might as well figure out how to use that information to improve care.

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Former Epic project manager Brian Stowe is sentenced to 38 years in prison for sexually assaulting six of his female Epic co-workers and a 17-year-old girl and filming the attacks. The victims were unaware of his activities until video from his computer surfaced years later, leading to the unproven possibility that he drugged them, that speculation bolstered by the fact that one his computer’s video folders was labeled “drug assaults.” One set of photos was apparently made during an Epic business trip. Stowe apologized, said he was “out of control,” and added, “The only part about getting caught that truly upsets me is that it’s caused the lives of all these people I love and care about to implode.” Stowe, who had pleaded guilty, faced a sentence of more than 400 years for 62 felonies, but that count was reduced to 27 felonies in a plea deal.

A former contract ED doctor working at Spectrum Health (MI) sues the hospital group, claiming it banned her from working there for making a Facebook comment. She thought she recognized a patient depicted in an ED nurse’s Facebook photo of a woman’s backside, so she added a comment, “OMG. Is that TB?” The doctor claims the hospital was unhappy that she was planning to consult with other EDs using materials she had developed, so they falsely claimed her comment was a HIPAA violation. She adds that a nurse was reprimanded rather than fired for leaving a comment, “I like big butts and I cannot lie.”


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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March 16, 2014 News 10 Comments

News 3/14/14

March 13, 2014 News 1 Comment

Top News

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Validic, which offers a platform for accessing data from mobile health devices and wearables, secures a $1.25 million convertible note.


Reader Comments

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From Professional Zac: “Re: Mat Kendall. Has given ONC exemplary service in leading its workforce, REC. and rural programs as director of the Office of Provider Adoption Support. He is leaving.” Mat is one of those people who gets a lot done, not only running those ONC programs, but before that working for New York’s EHR program and before that leading a FQHC. Like everybody who works for ONC, he sacrificed income and lifestyle for public service since it’s generally true that only low-level government employees fare better than they might in the private sector. I haven’t heard where he’s going.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga_small This week on HIStalk Practice: Practice Wise CEO Julie McGovern addresses EHR users who refuse to admit they might be causing their own system problems. Users of drchrono’s free EHR will be rushing to apply for MU hardship exemptions after the company announces that its Stage 2 certified release won’t be ready until  “later this year.” A Rand study finds that physicians recognize the value of EHRs in concept but believe they undermine professional satisfaction and can negatively impact patient care. Between 2011 and 2012, the percentage of EPs participating in  Medicare’s MU program dropped 16 percent and the percentage dropping out of Medicaid’s program fell 61 percent. CareCloud CEO Albert Santalo discusses a possible IPO, company growth, and how its offerings differ from athenahealth’s. While you are checking out the latest in ambulatory HIT news, take a moment to subscribe to the email updates so you’ll never miss a post. Thanks for reading.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Proteus Digital Health announces large-scale trials and plans for a new manufacturing plant in the UK. Nintendo will refocus its strategic direction to capitalize on the growing health and wellness market. Validic raises $1.25 million to expand its mHealth integration engine.

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Last chance to help me out plus be entered into a drawing for three $50 Amazon gift certificates: complete my reader survey before I close it Saturday. I appreciate it.


Upcoming Webinars

March 19 (Wednesday), 1:00 p.m. ET. The Top Trends That Matter in 2014. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenters: Bobbi Brown, VP and Paul Horstmeier, SVP, Health Catalyst. Fresh back from HIMSS14, learn about 26 trends that all healthcare executives ought to be tracking. Understand the impact of these trends, be able to summarize them to an executive audience, and learn how they will increase the need for healthcare data analytics.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Telus Ventures invests $3 million in PatientSafe Solutions and becomes the exclusive reseller of the PatientTouch point-of-care mobile system in Canada.

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Covisint announces preliminary Q4 revenue of $24-$25.5 million, short of estimates, and appoints Sam Inman (Comarco Wireless Technologies) as interim CEO.

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Accretive Health says it will probably not meet the SEC’s deadline to file restated financial results from the last three years, which will likely cause its stock to be delisted from the NYSE next week. 

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General Atlantic is said to be the frontrunner to make a $100 million investment for a 30 percent stake in 1,400-employee healthcare IT services firm CitiusTech, which seeks capital to fund growth in Europe and the Middle East.


People

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Validic hires John Turnburke (MedFusion) as SVP of business development, Chris Edwards (Allscripts) as VP of marketing, and Ben Clark (Allscripts) as VP of operations.

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Janet Dillione, executive vice president and general manager of Nuance’s healthcare division, will step down on March 21, according to an SEC filing.

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Richard Paula, MD (Tampa General Hospital) is named CMIO at Shriners Hospital for Children (FL).

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Brian Ahier (Advanced Health Information Exchange Resources) is named director of standards and government affairs for Medicity.

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Connance names Michael Puffe (Huron Consulting Group) SVP of sales.


Announcements and Implementations

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MMRGlobal announces a confidential patent agreement with Cerner relating to MMR’s MyMedicalRecords PHR portfolio, including the one above submitted in 2005.

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OCHIN and Health Choice Network launch Acuere QOL, a data aggregation, analytics, and quality solution powered by the Caradigm Intelligence Platform that will help CHCs and PCAs manage populations and improve quality.

PatientsLikeMe launches a media campaign urging people to share their medical information. How the for-profit PatientsLikeMe makes money: selling the medical information people share to drug and device manufacturers.


Government and Politics

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A GAO report recommends that HHS pay more attention to the reliability of EHR data used for quality measures and use them to measure progress.


Other

BIDMC CIO John Halamka reports that the ED has been beta-testing Google Glass since December to view the patient dashboard during examinations. He says its greatest strength is being able to provide real-time updates at the bedside and will become valuable when tied to location services.

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Executives of three Madison, WI-area healthcare IT companies were among the 35 invitees who were briefed by White House and HHS officials on healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship last week, including a session with National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD.  The companies were Nordic Consulting, Forward Health Group, and healthfinch.  

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Speaking of the White House meeting, HIStalkapalooza winner and Nordic Consulting President Drew Madden broke out socks appropriate to the occasion. It’s apparent that he has worn them before, with the obvious question being, “To where?”

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I recently mentioned that I rarely complete a HIMSS member survey because the are so long and poorly designed. I just received one asking for feedback on the annual conference that ran eight online pages and 1,100 words. Needless to say my incompletion record remains intact.

A Fitch Ratings report says hospitals may face weakened credit ratings as a result of their ICD-10 conversion.

The Department of Homeland Security warns users of the now-unsupported Windows XP that they should at least replace Internet Explorer with a more secure browser for which security updates will be issued.

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons will connect its clinical database to CMS claims data, allowing researchers to track readmissions, second procedures, and long-term survival.

Weird News Andy wonders if the hospital gets a commission on tickets as local police install a red light camera near the ED of University Hospital of Tamarac (FL), snaring at least one patient experiencing chest pains. WNA quotes a related story in which most people with chest pain in Northern Utah drive themselves to the ED, slowing their treatment since ambulances can run ECGs during transport and alert the cath lab team to be ready at the door.


Sponsor Updates

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  • Shareable ink Founder/CTO Steve Hau will run in the Boston Marathon on April 21 and will personally match up to $10,000 in donations for victims and survivors of the 2013 bombing. 
  • Capsule Tech will showcase Capsule SmartLinx Medical Device Information System at the American Organization of Nursing Executives annual meeting in Orlando.
  • Fujifilm Medical Systems and Fujifilm SonoSite will participate in the National Consortium of Breast Center Meeting in Las Vegas March 15-19.
  • Perceptive Software launches v10.3 of its Enterprise and Workgroup Search.
  • Holon Solutions and Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals (TORCH) will build a health information exchange (HIE) that will connect North Texas Medical Center (TX) to local clinics.
  • HealthCare Anytime offers two-minute video overviews of their enterprise and SaaS portals.
  • NTT Data is doubling the size of its US headquarters in Plano, TX.
  • Seven healthcare CIOs shared strategies for managing IT cost while maximizing its value at the CIO Summit in Chicago co-sponsored by Impact Advisors.
  • NexxRad Teleradiology Partners selects Merge PACS to integrate with its NexxRIS.
  • ZirMed partners with Precyce/HealthStream to offer client ICD-10 education to the ambulatory market.
  • WiserTogether and Truven Health Analytics partner to help consumers make better healthcare decisions.
  • Porter Research President Cynthia Porter shares her thoughts on the Health IT Marketing and PR Conference in Las Vegas April 7-8.
  • pMD announces that all of its new mobile charge capture implementations will be ICD-10 compliant.

EPtalk  by Dr. Jayne

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I was pleasantly surprised in my personal Yahoo mail account this morning when they returned a feature that was taken away with its redesign last fall. Although I’m glad I can now see my folders and their contents, I still wish they would bring back the tabs across the top that allowed multiple emails to be open at the same time. They also followed up with an email response to my original complaint letting me know. After the original annoyance of the upgrade, I moved most of my real email activity to Gmail, so pretty much all I use Yahoo for anymore is coupons and shopping promotions.

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Inga tipped me off to this piece regarding physician professional satisfaction. The study showed multiple factors as having a positive impact on physician professional satisfaction:

  • Perception of whether high-quality care is being delivered
  • Control over work environment, pace, and content
  • Common values shared with leadership
  • Respectful professional relationships
  • Fair and predictable incomes

Not surprisingly, these have more to do with how practices and physician organizations run rather than with EHR. Although there are problematic EHRs and other IT systems out there, my sense over the last few years is that physicians often use them as a scapegoat. My local colleagues have voiced the thought that they can have some degree of control over EHR (refusing to use the system, demanding de-installation, blaming the vendor) but that some of the other factors (control over work environment, salary issues) are simply untouchable.

Thinking about this from a pure behavioral health standpoint, this is classic behavior. When people experience trauma, they tend to cling to the things they can control even when the rest of their lives are out of control.

Although the timing of the study didn’t allow assessment of the impact of the Affordable Care Act, I see a lot of physicians ready to use it as a scapegoat even though the majority of its changes have not yet impacted anything other than the access issue. I liked the fact that the study had a qualitative portion, which included open-ended interviews rather than just survey-type items. Those types of questions allow respondents to share direct responses without feeling the need to fit them into a predefined response box.

Unfortunately, the responses may also fail to allow full understanding of or exploration of the results. Physicians stated that “their EHRs required them to perform tasks that could be done more efficiently by clerks and transcriptionists.”

Since I spend a lot of time working on efficient clinician workflow, I would have wanted a follow up question. Is it really the software that is requiring the workflow, or is it also impacted by organizational policies that require physician data entry where it is not necessary? Is it impacted by continued administrative cost cutting that forces work onto physicians because they are perceived as “free labor” since the hospital doesn’t bill for their services as community physicians? Of course those would be rather leading questions, but that’s what I see a lot of in our metropolitan area.

Due to my CMIO responsibilities, I cobble together my clinical experience at several different hospitals. Two of them have the same EHR vendor, yet the user experience difference is night and day. One system has been configured to require endless busywork. The order sets are poor, in a confusing order, and missing seemingly key components. Physicians are required (by administrative decision) to key a PIN for each individual order rather than being able to authenticate a cohort of orders at once. That kind of thing is fixable through educating the decision makers and ensuring that physicians are part of that decision-making process.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of bad EHRs out there. It’s hard to sort that out though when poor leadership, incomplete training, and lack of understanding can cripple a perfectly good system. We need to remember that there are plenty of “causal” factors to go around, In order to truly deliver physician usability, we have to address both the hardware/software issues and how the system is implemented and governed.

In addition to EHRs, physicians cited multiple sources of dissatisfaction:

  • Obstacles to care, such as unsupportive practice leadership or payers refusing to cover recommended services
  • Income instability
  • Burdensome regulations, including Meaningful Use

Unfortunately, these aspects of physician practice are mostly outside our control. We can’t control payers and spend countless hours of uncompensated time trying to get care for our patients. We can see more patients, but we can’t control the wide variation in payments for the same service that we see across payers. We certainly can’t control the regulatory environment.

So what do we do? We circle back to the EHR as something we think we can have some control over.

I don’t have any good answers here and wish I did. I’d love to have a magic wand or even a sparkly Band-Aid to make it all better. How do we empower physicians to be part of the solution? How do we help administrators make rational decisions around system selection and implementation? How do we get them to share the reins with providers? Email me.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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March 13, 2014 News 1 Comment

News 3/12/14

March 11, 2014 News 6 Comments

Top News

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The HIT Policy Committee submits its Meaningful Use Workgroup’s Stage 3 recommendations.


Reader Comments

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From Pointy Toes: “Re: CEHRT Hardship Exception Guidance. This is a joke. All you have to say to qualify for the Medicare hardship exemption to avoid the 2015 payment adjustment is say you  had ‘2014 Vendor Issues.’ Tavenner previously said some ‘narrow’ hardship exemptions would be granted. Sounds like anyone wanting an exemption can request it and presumably one will be granted one. Why not just push the deadline back for everyone instead of requiring providers to jump through an extra hoop?” CMS issued guidance Tuesday for EPs and hospitals worried about being hit with penalties, even going so far as to provide instructions to choose “2014 Vendor Issues” no matter what their actual issue. It is ridiculous – setting the bar high officially, then accepting a wink-wink rubber stamp excuse for anyone who can’t make it. Maybe someone should track the vendors whose non-compliant yet certified products forced their users to claim hardship.

From Canuck: “Re: rumore that UHN in Toronto is replacing QuadraMed EHR with Cerner. I believe instead it came down to Cerner and Epic and Epic won.” Unverified.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor SyTrue. The Chico, CA-based company offers a business and clinical intelligence platform that tells hospitals how their clinical objectives are being deployed; what physicians are doing; and who in the market is providing services at a given cost and outcome. It integrates and structures disparate EHR information for predictive and clinical analytics used for data analysis, electronic abstraction, outcomes analytics, operations, population management, clinical research, and patient engagement. Thanks to SyTrue for supporting HIStalk.

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Here’s one final mug shot featuring Tammi’s office de-stresser, which must have traveled furthest from Orlando while still not leaving the continental US (the UFO on a stick in the background should give a strong hint of her location).

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Thanks to the 355 folks who have completed my reader survey so far. That number provides respondents with good odds of being randomly drawn for one of three $50 Amazon gift cards, but represents only around 1 percent of HIStalk’s 30,000+ readers. Spend less than five minutes completing the survey and you’ll help me plan the next year of HIStalk and earn my appreciation besides.

I’m always looking for interesting people to interview. Know someone who would be stimulating, fun, and a straight shooter? Let me know.


Upcoming Webinars

March 19 (Wednesday), 1:00 p.m. ET. The Top Trends That Matter in 2014. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenters: Bobbi Brown, VP and Paul Horstmeier, SVP, Health Catalyst. Fresh back from HIMSS14, learn about 26 trends that all healthcare executives ought to be tracking. Understand the impact of these trends, be able to summarize them to an executive audience, and learn how they will increase the need for healthcare data analytics.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

First-half results from Scotland-based Craneware: revenue up five percent, pre-tax profit up seven percent.

CompuGroup Medical acquires three European HIT providers: lab software provider vision4health Laufenberg & Co and office-based physician software vendors Imagine Editions and Imagine Assistance.

Quest Diagnostics completes its acquisition of Solstas Lab Partners Group and raises its full-year 2014 financial guidance.

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Employer benefits platform provider Castlight Health raises the price range of its IPO to $13-15 per share, up from the $9-11 range it set just a week ago. The company, which lost $62 million on $13 million of revenue in 2013, would receive proceeds of $140 million, valuing it at $1.5 billion. The company’s founders are Todd Park (US CTO and co-founder of athenahealth); Bryan Roberts, PhD (chairman and co-founder of venture capital firm Venrock); and Giovanni Colella, MD (founder of RelayHealth).

 


Sales

The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust selects OpenText to manage its scanned legacy case notes.

The Community of Hope (DC) is implementing Forward Health Group’s PopulationManager and The Guideline Advantage.

The VA awards Leidos three contracts worth $16 million to support blood bank software and the MyHealtheVet program.


People

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TeleTracking Technologies names Diane Watson (Tilt, Inc.) COO and Joseph Tetzlaff (inVentiv Health) CTO.

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Michael Hart is promoted to VP of IT applications at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

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Craig Joseph, MD (Agnesian HealthCare) is named ICD-10 and EHR physician advisor at Texas Children’s Hospital (TX).


Announcements and Implementations

Cox Health (MO) deploys Phytel’s population health and patient engagement platform.

McKesson announces QICS for Cardiology, a CVIS-based workflow and critical results communications platform. OSF Healthcare (IL) is piloting.

QuadraMed announces GA of its QCPR 6.0 enterprise EHR, which includes bar code medication administration, a comprehensive problem list, a Web-based patient portal, the ability to create a CCD, and Canada-specific architecture requirements.

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In Canada, Bluewater Health will roll out patient flow software from Oculys.

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University of Colorado Physicians goes live on the DocASAP self-scheduling system.


Government and Politics

Office of Civil Rights fines the public health department of Skagit County, WA $215,000 for HIPAA violations involving information on 1,581 people exposed in its public web server, the first time a HIPAA fine has been levied against a local government.

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The White House launches #GeeksGetCovered, encouraging technology entrepreneurs who can now buy their own non-employer health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act to start their own businesses.

President Obama riffs hilariously with comedian Zach Galifianakis, appearing on “Between Two Ferns” to plug Healthcare.gov (“I wouldn’t be with you here today if I didn’t have something to plug … Healthcare.gov works great now.”)

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The phrase “healthcare exchange” always seems to be preceded by “troubled,” so add Maryland’s $200 million version to the list.  Like other states, it decided to create its own site, hired a contractor that it later said underperformed, missed its go-live date, and had to create a backup plan to accommodate people who wanted to enroll but couldn’t. HHS announces that it will investigate.

Hillary Clinton’s financial disclosure forms for 2012 reveal that her husband Bill took a $225,000 speaking fee from the struggling, non-profit Washington Hospital Center as it was laying off employees. The hospital also brought in George W. Bush to speak, but since his wife isn’t running for office, his fee remains confidential. Bill made a bunch of money in 2012 for addressing money-losing non-profits. Somewhere in those records is the payment he received from HIMSS if anyone knows how to locate them. I’d bet $400K.


Innovation and Research

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A NIST report says that inadequate workflow integration forces users of ambulatory EHRs to develop system workarounds, suggesting that EHR vendors develop these capabilities:

  • At-a-glance physician views of patient schedules
  • Task reminders from previous patient visits
  • Redacting and summarizing lab results
  • Draft creation of patients orders in advance
  • Conversion of working diagnoses to formal diagnoses
  • Skip or defer tasks when workload requires
  • Role-based views of progress notes
  • Visually differentiate copied-and-pasted progress note text from newly entered documentation
  • Manage referral and consultation messages with specialists
  • Track scheduled consults and lab results review

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The Charlotte, NC newspaper says that Carolinas HealthCare System will use innovative (unnamed) software and the information collected by its multiple EMR systems to identify ED patients who are likely to be readmitted, allowing team-based intervention and remote management. The system’s chief medical officer weighs in on hospitals that don’t use electronic medical records: “You don’t know how bad it is until you actually go back. It was like a time warp. The care is unsafe, it’s uncoordinated. It’s a nightmare…The system was absolutely stupid, and frightening.” I interviewed SVP/CIO Craig Richardville in September 2013. It might be time for a follow-up to talk about analytics.


Technology

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Wellocracy provides a well done comparison chart of wearable activity trackers.


Other

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A column by InfoWorld’s executor editor says a disconnect exists between complex government EHR requirements and the stubbornness of the healthcare industry to embrace them, summarizing, “We have a mess of proprietary EHR systems with highly customized processes, a set of HIEs that use different standards and protocols to connect them, and a mandate to provide human-readable data from these disparate systems. What could possibly go right?”

In England, University Hospital of North Staffordshire plans to conduct video consultations via Skype, saying the service will reduce outpatient appointments by 35 percent.

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The Gainesville, FL newspaper profiles Shadow Health, whose founder licensed avatar technology from the University of Florida to create nursing school education tools that students buy for $89.

A study finds that incorrectly flagging patients as being allergic to penicillin increases overall inpatient days by 10 percent and increases resistance to broad-spectrum antibiotics. Up to 95 percent of patients who say they are allergic to penicillin really aren’t.

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New York-Presbyterian Hospital will host a hospital hackathon this weekend in which teams will design apps for its portal that improve patient access to care. The hospital is offering $85,000 in prizes and has filled all of its slots with 120 participants. Dr. Oz provides the video introduction.


Sponsor Updates

  • Kinetic Data names CareTech Solutions “Innovator of the Year” for realizing $4.7 million in cost savings by implementing Kinetic Request.
  • Premier enhances its OperationsAdvisor labor management solution to give healthcare organizations the ability to analyze labor efficiency across multiple care settings.
  • Ryan Uteg, senior advisor for Impact Advisors, is named to Consulting Magazine’s “35 Under 35.”
  • Allscripts Sunrise is selected by Black Book as top inpatient EHR.
  • Iatric Systems will deploy integration in the EDIS and vital sign monitors as Southeast Alabama Medical Center (AL) upgrades its McKesson Paragon HIS.
  • MedAssets’ National Sourcing Collaborative cumulatively saves providers $135 million over the last three years.
  • Wolters Kluwer Health launches Bates’ Visual Guide demonstrating evidence-based physical exam techniques.
  • Santa Rosa Consulting’s Fred L. Brown is inducted into Modern Healthcare’s “Health Care Hall of Fame 2014.”
  • Kareo announces that its ICD-10 Success Checklist is available on a write-on poster.
  • NextGen Healthcare’s CMO Sarah Corley is elected to serve on the EHR Association Executive Committee.
  • Medical Economics spotlights e-MDs customer John Bender, MD of Miramont Family Medicine (CO) for expanding his practice while 30 percent of local practices have sold or closed.
  • Health Catalyst publishes a free white paper with a candid 12-point review of population health management software vendors.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect

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March 11, 2014 News 6 Comments

Monday Morning Update 3/10/14

March 9, 2014 News 4 Comments

Top News

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The Wall Street Journal reports that transcription and speech recognition software vendor MModal will file bankruptcy this week, loaded with $750 million in debt as a result of its leveraged buyout in August 2012 and facing declining sales. The company expects to work out a debt restructuring plan in advance that will allow some of its creditors to swap the money they are owed for equity in the reorganized company. UPDATE: MModal provided this statement in response to the HIStalk news item:

MModal is continuing discussions with certain of its lenders and bondholders regarding a range of financial restructuring options to enable the company to reduce its debt and enhance its financial flexibility. We believe these discussions have been constructive and we are working towards a resolution that has the support of our lenders which would provide a positive outcome for all of our stakeholders, including our customers, employees, and suppliers. We fully expect to continue operating in the ordinary course of business and providing our customers the high level of support they have come to expect from MModal. The company has solid revenue, strong operating margins, cash flows consistent with industry norms, a large customer base, and we are continuing to invest in the future. Our operations are strong and we are generating exceptional quality metrics and high customer satisfaction. We are executing on our vision to provide the healthcare industry’s most advanced clinical documentation solutions.


Reader Comments

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From Caterwaul: “Re: readers during HIMSS. How many do you get?” Around 8,000 visits daily during the conference, peaking this year at 9,000 visits and 17,000 page views on Wednesday, February 26. For the month, it was 125,000 visits and 207,000 page views. The graph above covers the last 30 days.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: iPhone 6. Excitement is starting to build for the next generation of the iPhone, will feature for the first time a quad-core 64 bit processor along with iOS 8. Also expected at  launch is a heart rate monitor along with the much anticipated iWatch. It looks like Apple’s going for a big splash of new products in 2014.” Sometimes it feels as though the iPhone is like the iPod – a mature, somewhat commoditized market in which minor feature differentiation passes for innovation. Apple and competitors can do only so much in screwing around with the screen size and construction materials, so the real improvements have to come from the OS.

From Jeff: “Re: headlines. Is is possible to get the morning headlines and any M&A news in a daily email?” I hadn’t thought of doing that since I assume most readers just go to the site, but it’s possible. Weigh in on the reader survey if you’d like since that’s where my to-do list will come from.

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From Olga: “Re: reader comments. I get the feeling that comments are filtered since controversial topics don’t always have many.” Comments are not filtered. I approve every one except these: (a) unverifiable claims that a specific person is quitting or being fired; b) repetitive, annoying diatribes posted by the same person using different names, as in the multiple anti-EMR identities of Not Tired of Suzy, RN; (c) comments trying to publicize a company or site. I should add that the Akismet spam filter automatically deletes comments that come from known spammer IP addresses or that contain questionable content, like a bunch of links. You might be surprised at some of the comments that I’ve rejected: claims that a specifically named CEO forced a female VP to attend an orgy, assertions of deviant behavior by well-known industry figures, and full-out personal attacks on people named in given post.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Half of the HIMSS conference attendees who responded to my poll said it was a good overall experience, with the remaining 25 percent each declaring it to have been either poor or great. New poll to your right, just for (anonymous) fun: how much money did you make from your primary job in 2013?

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Here are more mug shots. Theo, 18 months old, doesn’t seem to mind Dad’s mishap traveling home from HIMSS that will require Mom to fix the handle. To the right, Colleen says she has one wish for Christmas since nurses need high-capacity mugs.

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Every year right after the HIMSS conference I ask readers to complete my survey telling me what they like, don’t like, and recommend for HIStalk. It only takes a few minutes and I plan my entire year from the feedback. You will make a difference, earn my gratitude, and be entered in a drawing for three $50 Amazon gift cards. Thank you.

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I won’t overdo the DonorsChoose project updates, but I wanted to share an example of the student letters you receive when you fund a classroom project. This one from a second grader says, “Thank you for the nonfiction books. We use them for learning and reading stations. We love them.” Lots of charities do good work but spend too much of their donations on fundraising and salaries. DonorsChoose has amazing stats: 94.4 percent of donations go toward programs and services instead of overhead, the CEO is paid only $240K, and it earns an amazing score of 67.83 out of a possible 70 on Charity Navigator. I was jaded about charities having worked in wasteful hospitals until I did my homework and came up with DonorsChoose and Salvation Army. I don’t donate a penny until I check Charity Navigator because marketing overhead can be up to 90 percent for some causes that run TV ads.

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

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Upcoming Webinars

March 19 (Wednesday), 1:00 p.m. ET. The Top Trends That Matter in 2014. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenters: Bobbi Brown, VP and Paul Horstmeier, SVP, Health Catalyst. Fresh back from HIMSS14, learn about 26 trends that all healthcare executives ought to be tracking. Understand the impact of these trends, be able to summarize them to an executive audience, and learn how they will increase the need for healthcare data analytics.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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The private equity owners of payer-provider connectivity vendor Ability Network are seeking a buyer for the company, expected to fetch up to $500 million.


Government and Politics

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Former White House advisor and oncologist Ezekiel Emanuel, MD, PhD (Rahm’s brother) writes a Wall Street Journal piece on the infighting involved in creating the Affordable Care Act. Everybody knows that HHS on one hand declares itself technologically innovative and its ONC organization demands that healthcare providers advance their technology prowess, while the CMS side of HHS’s house spends vast taxpayer fortunes on its primitive systems and the marginally competent bureaucracy required to maintain them. On bundled payments:

We presented the idea of phasing in bundled payments, especially for chronic conditions, to the rest of the White House reform team, where we found some strong support. But then we hit a brick wall. Many of our colleagues who worked for Medicare feared that creating the bundles would be too hard and warned that Medicare didn’t have the computer infrastructure to handle it. The arguments went back and forth, but the Medicare bureaucracy wouldn’t budge. Ultimately, the ACA authorized 10 demonstration projects that could be expanded if they worked—a good start, but a far cry from the more ambitious bundling plan many of us had hoped to see.

Delaware’s health department wants $87 million in FY2015 capital to upgrade its eligibility systems to meet Affordable Care Act requirements, adding that it’s too good of a deal to pass up since federal tax dollars will cover 90 percent of the cost. A Republican state representative isn’t impressed with the department’s plans. “We could have started our own endowment. It’s just staggering. This math is out of control. It’s extremely, extremely disingenuous to say this (Affordable Care Act) is saving us money.”


Innovation and Research

Engineering cadets from the United States Air Force Academy develop Neumimic as their capstone project, working with a local hospital to design a stroke recovery application based on Microsoft Xbox Kinect. The system allows patients to exercise specific muscle groups at home without a physical therapist.


Other

It’s spring-forward time as I write this on Saturday morning. Thanks if you are one of the folks who will be babysitting hospital systems tonight to make sure everything works with the change to Daylight Saving Time.

The folks at SIS put together a hilarious video that parodies vendors preparing for the HIMSS conference. It contains quite a few inside references from HIStalk (like companies that claim “HIPPA” expertise). Leave a comment with those you notice since I’m sure I didn’t catch them all.

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An interesting and scary use of big data: auto repossession companies are using vehicle-mounted recognition technologies to cruise the parking lots of malls and stadiums, capturing the license plate numbers, location, and timestamp of every car they pass. The information goes to a company in Texas whose database contains 1.8 billion scans that include the majority of American vehicles. The company is just beginning to realize the value of that information, planning to sell it to private investigators, insurance companies, and banks, who only need to match up the plate numbers to other state databases to know where any given person has been.

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Somehow this local newspaper’s headline seems Onion-like.

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Family members of deceased patients in China, like those in India, are increasingly turning violent toward the doctor or hospital involved, with 17,000 recorded incidents in 2010. An ED doctor in Guangdong province was forced last week to march with 100 friends and family members of a patient who died, accusing the doctor of malpractice. The hospital called police and he was released 30 minutes later.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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March 9, 2014 News 4 Comments

News 3/7/14

March 6, 2014 News 1 Comment

Top News

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The Defense Health Agency, established in October 2013 as a successor to TRICARE, requests $1.6 billion to support its health IT systems in 2015. It also wants $91 million for R&D to develop a new EHR by 2017 and $68 million to integrate its systems with those of the VA. Meanwhile, the VA’s 2015 budget requests include $269 million for EHR development.


Reader Comments

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From TooMuch Coffee: “Re: WA state healthcare insurance exchange. You mention that 15k applications are stuck in limbo. I agree that’s not great, but they have signed up around 500k successfully. The site basically works, unlike OR and HI sites.” I’ve written about Oregon’s struggling exchange, so here’s the story on Hawaii’s: it received $204 million in federal funding, went live two weeks late due to software problems, has enrolled fewer than 5,000 people (at a cost of about $46,000 each), and has already been declared unsustainable without ACA rule changes since few potential customers and insurers are interested and it’s supposed to be self-funding its $15 million annual operating budget with 2 percent of the take. Meanwhile, the US Government Accountability Office says it will audit Oregon’s exchange, which cost $304 million and hasn’t enrolled a single person without manual help.

From Concerned: “Re: UHN in Toronto. Can anyone confirm that they are replacing QuadraMed EHR with Cerner?”

From Nobody Knows: “Re: value-based risk contracts. Is there a resources that details which payers and providers are engaging in them vs. those doing fee-for-service? I’ve tried AIS, HIMSS Analytics, and Billian’s and so far, no dice. Even a high-level report would be nice.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga_small This week on HIStalk Practice: You won’t want to miss the summary of my chat with eClinicalWorks CEO Girish Navani, who shares his thoughts on the MU program, population health, and health information exchange, plus provides an estimate of the company’s valuation if it were to go public. Despite the growing number of  employed physicians, work still needs to be done to integrate physicians and develop performance-based reward programs. The pay gap between primary care providers and specialists narrowed in 2013. I recap some vendor announcements from last week and muse on various HIMSS sights and sounds, including the future of Practice Fusion; Allscripts and its new tag line; what’s driving Aprima’s recent growth; and, the hot topic of ICD-10. Thanks for reading.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Samsung unveils the Galaxy S5, which integrates with both its two new smart watches and its new activity tracker. Basis, the maker of the B1 activity tracker, is acquired by Intel for a rumored $100 million. The FDA is looking for a vendor to develop social media analytics tools.

On the Jobs Board: Chief Market Strategist – Healthcare, EHR Tester, Epic Activation Consultant.

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor CompuGroup Medical. You see the count of big global customer numbers in their graphic above and the owner-led and publicly traded company is expanding its US sales. Offerings include CGM Clinical (integrated PM/EHR), CGM DAQbilling (PM), CGM webEHR (EHR), CGM webPRACTICE (PM), and CGM Enterprise (PM/EHR for community health centers); LIS, outreach, and reference lab solutions; the eSERVICES Patient Portal, EMEDIX Reimbursement Solutions, and the SAM disease management platform. The new CEO of CGM US is Norbert Fischl, who has an interesting background as leader of the company’s Northern European region, managing director of a software company, McKinsey consultant, and an Internet entrepreneur. Thanks to CompuGroup Medical for supporting HIStalk.

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Here’s another update on one of our DonorsChoose projects that was paid for by the top-of-the-page ads. The 35 freshman girls in the Illinois high school taught by Teach for America teacher Ms. Schwartz are using the notebooks and colored pencils we provided to create College Bound Journals. They will fill them with goals, thoughts about their futures, and information they gather about college campuses and majors. You can see in the photo sent by the teacher that they’ve already started.  

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More remote mug sightings.

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Anne-Marie wasn’t able to get way from the family medicine practice she manages to attend the HIMSS conference, so she made her own mug. She says it’s not nearly as cool as the original, but I disagree.

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It’s time for the once-yearly HIStalk Reader Survey. It’s quick and I use the results to plan the entire next year of HIStalk, so I would really appreciate your taking five minutes or less to give me some guidance. I’ll sweeten the pot by randomly drawing three responses to receive $50 Amazon gift cards. Thanks in advance – most of the good ideas I’ve put in place came from responses to this survey.


Upcoming Webinars

March 19 (Wednesday), 1:00 p.m. ET. The Top Trends That Matter in 2014. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenters: Bobbi Brown, VP and Paul Horstmeier, SVP, Health Catalyst. Fresh back from HIMSS14, learn about 26 trends that all healthcare executives ought to be tracking. Understand the impact of these trends, be able to summarize them to an executive audience, and learn how they will increase the need for healthcare data analytics.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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MedAssets reports Q4 results: revenue up 4.1 percent, adjusted EPS $0.28 vs. $0.25, beating estimates on both.

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Clinical prediction software vendor Health Outcomes Services completes a $5 million financing round. CEO Jim Wilson has worked for McAuto, EDS, and Cerner and was president of Craneware before joining HOS.


People

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ArborMetrix appoints former CMS administrator and FDA commissioner Mark McClellan, MD, PhD (Brookings Institution) to its board.

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Idea Couture hires James Aita (Medicomp) as head of healthcare solutions.

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Bart Foster, founder and CEO of self-service medical kiosk maker SoloHealth, is replaced by Chairman Larry Gerdes (both above.) The company’s CFO has also resigned and an undisclosed number of employees have been laid off. Gerdes sold transcription vendor Transcend Services to Nuance for $300 million in 2012. One of SoloHealth’s investors is healthcare IT long-timer Walt Huff, the “H” in HBOC, where Gerdes was an executive from 1977 to 1991.   

Tamyra Hyatt (McKesson) joins Azalea Health as VP of marketing.


Announcements and Implementations

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The New York eHealth Collaborative and the Partnership Fund for NY call for applications for participation in the second class of the  NY Digital Health Accelerator, where 10 early- and growth-stage companies will each receive mentoring and $100,000 of investment capital.

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North Dakota officials announce the official rollout of the state’s HIN, which will connect all of North Dakota’s hospitals by the end of the year.

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The US Army deploys a software upgrade to its battlefield Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care EMR, also known as the MC4 system, that includes an upgraded operating system, enhanced security, and patient safety improvements related to allergies and medication history.


Government and Politics

HHS includes $75 million in its 2015 budget for ONC, a $14 million increase over last year.

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ONC updates its Health IT Dashboard to include a Rand Corporation-prepared review of literature on the impacts of HIT, with a focus on MU functionalities.

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Analysis of full-year 2013 MU attestation data by Wells Fargo Securities finds that 92 percent of hospitals stuck with the same vendor for at least two years. Meditech, Allscripts, and Siemens topped the list of hospitals that stayed the vendor course, Cerner and CPSI were average, and Healthland, McKesson, and HMS lagged. It also finds that small hospitals seem to be dropping out in big numbers by the third year, perhaps because they’ve paid their EHR costs in the first two years and don’t want to deal further with MU complexity.


Innovation and Research

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Hospitalization rates declined at nursing homes that used after-hours telemedicine services, according to a Commonweath Fund-sponsored study. Researchers estimate that the use of telemedicine services could net Medicare a $120,000 savings annually per nursing home.


Technology

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Azoi announces Wello, a $199 case that turns an iPhone into a monitor for blood pressure, ECG, heart rate, blood oxygen, temperature, and lung functions.


Other

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Epic, Orion, and Siemens earn the highest customer satisfaction scores in a KLAS survey on HIE solutions. Overall provider satisfaction with HIE solutions has dropped an average of eight percent since last year.

Becker’s Hospital CFO looks back at hospitals whose bond ratings have been downgraded by Moody’s Investors Services because of EHR-related budget problems: (1) Health East Care System (MN), which is spending $145 million on Epic; (2) Community Medical Center (MT), which is having cash flow problems after installing Cerner and NextGen; (3) Saint Luke’s Health System (MO), implementing Epic for $200 million; (4) Scott & White Healthcare (TX), seeing increasing costs with Epic; (5) Washington Hospital Healthcare (CA), having increased costs and a negative margin after implementing Epic; (6) Robinson Memorial Hospital (OH), with losses partially attributed to its Allscripts Sunrise implementation.

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Bloomberg News calls Mount Sinai Hospital (NY) “a heart surgery factory with obscene levels of pay,” claiming the hospital coaches patients to feign heart attack symptoms in the ED to get their stents covered by insurance, earns referrals from doctors with financial ties to the hospital, and pays its head of interventional cardiology $4.8 million per year. The head of another New York interventional cardiology program summarizes, “You essentially have physicians combing the streets of Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn, and Bronx looking for patients they can screen on a treadmill to feed into the cath lab, where the big reimbursement comes.”

In Canada, Pierre Le Gardeur Hospital cancels all elective procedures after experiencing an unspecified computer system problem.

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Weird News Andy has his ear to the UK ground in noticing this story, in which the British public reacts to news that a marketing company used a 47 million-record hospital data extract to target Facebook and Twitter ad campaigns. Another company was found to have loaded the entire database to Google’s servers to create interactive maps. The Hospital Episodes Statistics database had been made available by the government to researchers and approved private companies. The government has a PR nightmare on its hands because de-identification is hard to describe to laypeople who react to “my hospital records are on the Internet.”


Sponsor Updates

  • Vonlay concludes an Epic engagement with Aspirus (WI).
  • Physicians Interactive and McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions will jointly deliver Coupons on Demand, which will provide clinicians access to online cost-saving offers for medications.
  • Kinston Pulmonary Associates (NC) will implement NextGen PM and EMR from TSI Healthcare.
  • InterSystems joins the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health.
  • Gastroenterology-specific EHR provider gMed will add medical content from Health Language to its system.
  • E-MDs releases details on its June 5-7, 2014 User Conference and Symposium in Austin, TX.
  • CIO profiles ICSA Labs, which is now the largest government-approved EHR testing and certification body.
  • Hardin Memorial Hospital (KY) reports improved clinical response times since integrating telemetry alarms with Voalte smartphones.
  • Divurgent raises $5,000 during HIMSS for the Florida Hospital for Children.
  • RazorInsights ONE-Electronic Health Record achieves Stage 2 ONC certification.
  • Daniel Flanagan, executive consultant for Beacon Partners, discusses in the company’s blog his recommendations to ensure a clearinghouse is ready for the ICD-10 transition.
  • MedAssets estimates that its latest National Sourcing Collaborative event will drive $5 million annually in added value for its participating clients.
  • Connance expands its patient-pay solution to include predictive analytics and additional platform reporting and consumer engagement functionality.
  • On the company’s blog, MEA | NEA CEO Lindy Benton explains the significance of electronic submission of medical documentation (esMD) and health information handler (HIH).

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

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One of my fondest memories from medical school is working the ER during Mardi Gras. I sewed up more than one reveler who didn’t really need anesthesia because they were already feeling no pain. I chuckled when one of my former classmates sent me this story about the germs residing on Mardi Gras beads. Who would have thought that beads that have been thrown around in the midst of public drunkenness might have germs? I wonder if there’s an ICD-10 code for that? Maybe there’s one for choking on the baby in the King Cake as well.

One thing I found lacking at HIMSS was the presence of wearable devices (other than on attendees). I didn’t see much vendor promotion or anything cool enough that I’d consider it (although watching people try to interact with Google Glass was pretty funny). I don’t have any experience with Fitbit, but after reading this article I heard about on Twitter, I might consider one just to have this app. The Sleep Tracker Hack, which emerged from the recent Netflix Hack Day, helps a viewer find her place after sleeping through streaming media. I just might know someone who has fallen asleep in the middle of re-watching “Grey’s Anatomy” for the last several weeks. Unfortunately the hack was part of an internal hackathon, so it may never see the light of day.

I believe in patient engagement and making health-related technology accessible to patients, but there’s such a thing as going too far. I was reading a piece about the Bellabeat Connected System that turns a smart phone into a fetal heart monitor. It also mentioned the Huggies “TweetPee” that sends a tweet when the baby wets its diaper. Seriously? Unless your infant has a urologic problem, I’m not sure tracking urination on social media will do much more than drive followers crazy.

One of my favorite HIMSS connections reached out earlier this week to ask if I would be willing to help mentor a physician who would like to join the CMIO ranks. When I first started out, I had no one to look to for advice, so I was happy to oblige. One of his questions was what I think is the most important CMIO function. I’m not sure I can pin down a single one, but one of the most important in my book is being able to be the peacemaker among IT, the operations folks, and the physicians. Certainly there are other constituencies, but those are the three that tend to be the most contentious.

I’m still surprised that nearly a third of health systems still don’t have a CMIO. The organization where my mentee works falls into that category, but at least they understand that they need to work towards filling that role even if they aren’t ready to admit they need an honest to goodness CMIO. Whether we’re called Medical Directors or Directors of Informatics or Physician Champions, we can still help organizations move forward.

His hospital is currently struggling with physician engagement and clinical oversight, so it makes sense that a physician would be uniquely positioned to assist. He’s not highly techy, but I think that’s OK – if we can master anatomy and pathophysiology, we can learn enough about networks and software to be meaningful participants. The key is knowing who our experts are and being willing and able to leverage them appropriately.

He’s worried that his hospital isn’t really ready to formalize physician leadership in the IT space. There have been comments made about fears that the CMIO “will come in and boss IT around because he’s a physician” or that he will preferentially take the physicians’ side in arguments. I’m encouraging him that even though his role is emerging,  he should ensure that  it’s well defined and that leadership is prepared to support him. Without those elements, the risk of frustration will be fairly high for all involved.

At this point, I think he’s wise to negotiate for a formal position, but I’d recommend going for something part time that lets him dip his toes in the waters of clinical informatics without locking in at an organization that might not be as ready to move forward as he thinks they might be. That will buy him some time to work on professional development and to build the skills he’ll ultimately need if he wants to make a career of this. I’ll keep you posted as I hear from him. I’m looking forward to remembering what it was like to be young and idealistic before the CMIO life started beating me down.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

 

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March 6, 2014 News 1 Comment

News 3/5/14

March 4, 2014 News 7 Comments

Top News

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announces the formation of a task force that will seek ways to increase use of broadband to deliver telehealth, mobile apps, and telemedicine. Heading up CONNECT2HEALTHFCC will be Michele Ellison, a lawyer who runs the agency’s enforcement bureau. Wheeler said in the announcement, “We must leverage all available technologies to ensure that advanced health care solutions are readily accessible to all Americans, from rural and remote areas to underserved inner cities. By identifying regulatory barriers and incentives and building stronger partnerships with stakeholders in the areas of telehealth, mobile applications, and telemedicine, we can expedite this vital shift.”


Reader Comments

From Just Tim: “Re: MU stages beyond stimulus payments. What is the legislative basis to extend the MU program? MU requirements were supposed to run in conjunction with years in which payments were made, not years after penalties kick in. I’d certainly agree that if someone never got to Stage 3, they could reasonably be penalized on an ongoing basis. Otherwise, we’ve just created a large bureaucracy with the power to continue to push unfunded mandates.” Legal scholars and political junkies, the less legislative among us are calling.

From Dim-Sum: “Re: military EHR replacement. Word on the street is that the vendors of choice and partners are as follows. Six service integration (SI) firms will bid Epic. The team that is getting the most news is Leidos/Accenture/Harris. Cerner has a single exclusive SI partner (still doing research to see who that SI is). Allscripts cannot find a partner for their Sunrise. Meditech has the incumbent Northrop Grumman. McKesson walked away from GDIT/Vangent. Siemens has a yet to be named DoD giant. Competitive bids will require an investment by prime and sub software solution firm of about 1.5-2 percent of the total contract value. That means that to win a $5B deal with the DoD, the investment for resources, capabilities, compliance, and regulatory wherewithal (see FISMA, FedRAMP, DIACAP, 508, JITC etc) is $50 million USD. Good Luck beltway bandits and COTS EHR dreamers.” Unverified.

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From Brenda: “Re: Washington’s insurance exchange. Add it to the list of those having issues. By the way, I’ve recommended HIStalk to countless people and I’m glad our company has been a sponsor for about a year now.” The Healthplanfinder exchange has 15,000 applications that are stuck because the user-entered information can’t be matched to the state’s Medicaid benefits database or contain incomplete information (hello, programmer edits?) I speculate that the state incurred the wrath of the grammatical gods when it combined “health plan finder” into a single word.  

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inga_small From Charger: “Terrific correspondence from Orlando; much appreciated since I could not attend! I’m sure you have been deluged with coffee mug requests and are out of stock, but may I place an order for one upon receipt of any new inventory? I will gladly swap you one of my local Karl Strauss Brewery pint glasses in return.” Thanks for the generous offer, but sadly all the coveted coffee mugs are gone. Lorre and I are trying to convince Mr. H that the timing is perfect for the opening of an online store featuring HIStalk swag. Beauty queen sash, anyone?

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More mug sightings: Investor’s Chair contributor Ben Rooks, who obviously works standing up while looking at green ivy outside his San Francisco office; and Mike Jefferies of Longmont United Hospital, whose Spotify-HIStalk two-monitor setup looks a lot like mine. I still have a few more photos to run next time.

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From Dr. Travis: “Re: Nordic’s new office. Thought this was very cool.” I had to clarify with Travis since this is a Midwestern, tailgating, and college thing that much of the country won’t understand: it’s a cornhole platform.  

From Ion Exchanger: “Re: HIMSS booth. You had traffic in your booth back in the hall. You should get another exhibitor to give you space free in return for drawing people.” That idea has come up on occasion, although not usually from people offering space. Our first-time exhibitor experience was good, especially since it was a low-rent, homebrew operation designed solely to give Lorre a way to say hello to interested readers and sponsors. I think I’ve decided to do it again in Chicago.

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From Dr. Matt: “Re: QlikView. First there’s an Epic partnership and now I find at HIMSS that Health Catalyst offers QlikView on top of their data warehouse. Why are these big players using it?” I’ll let those organizations speak for themselves.

From Doctor N: “Re: HIMSS conference. It was my first one. Only the HIStalk people made me feel valued as a practicing physician. The insults, lack of humility, time away from my clinic, and the lack of vendor understanding of how medicine really works will keep me from returning soon. The sessions could have been done online and the networking conversations were shortened because everyone was in a hurry to get somewhere else. I believe I have seen the American medical industrial complex at its worst. I was surprised at the number of vendor folks who are physicians and how little they know about how we pay for healthcare: SGR (which will worsen matters for providers) and $156 billion being cut from Medicare Advantage plans. They have no clue that I’m not paid for population health and most docs in my community hardly even know the meaning of the term. It is like we are buying the horseshoe, barn, and saddle in the hope that we’ll get a horse for a present. HIStalkapalooza, however, did not disappoint!”

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From Spelling CMIO: “Re: a tech solution to HIT spelling problems. As technology professionals, we ought to be able to bring our expertise to bear on the current plague of spelling confusion. I suggest we start to use regular expressions, like: HIM*S* and HIP*A* so that all variants can be brought under the welcoming umbrella of mediocrity. Heck, we could even bust out CM*S to obscure the failure to include ‘and Medicaid’ in the name of our favorite bureaucracy. We could even try E[Pp][Ii][Cc] to free the caps-lock crowd from their yoke of humiliation.” Scanning for “HIMMS” news stories turns up 56, which is pretty sloppy.

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From Frank Poggio: “Re: ONC. Issued new 2015 test criteria while at HIMSS last week. They kept repeating that this new (and extensive at 242 pages) test criteria is ‘voluntary’ for vendors. Here comes another wolf in sheep’s clothing. Do you really think the 2015 Criteria will be ‘voluntary’? How can they generate a revised list of criteria that fixes bugs and not make it required? How can they add something critical to patient safety such as UDI and not make it required? Breaking out CPOE components has been something niche vendors have been asking for since the start. So will those vendors ignore it and stick with 2014 criteria? I have worked through dozens of tests with clients since the inception of ONC and every time they expand or make a test update it soon becomes mandatory by the authorizing testing labs … and with some ATLs sooner than others. I give the 2015 version at most four months before it becomes mandatory.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Listening: new from the all-female, LA-based spacey rock quartet Warpaint, which sounds a bit like Cocteau Twins (and that’s a good thing). I’m also enjoying defunct, brilliant Irish pop band The Thrills.

Some random thoughts I had regarding the HIMSS conference:

  • I was surprised and happy that the vendors of much-hyped analytics and population health management products were restrained in their pitch. Many companies talked about those products, but I didn’t hear a lot of wild claims.
  • The terms “big data” and “cloud” weren’t repeated reverentially and annoyingly to the extent that might have been expected.
  • What is population health management, exactly? It will be whatever payers say it is, no different than “quality.”
  • I’m not impressed with “big data” when healthcare is woefully indifferent to “little data.” We ignore evidence-based medicine, warnings for inappropriate or duplicate tests and drugs, and quality measures. We are sloppy about monitoring our supply chain and controlling our labor and materials costs. We pay little attention to the free exchange of information we hold about patients. We don’t like the idea that patients themselves should see our digital secrets. We should be using the information we have to its fullest before trying to tackle giant databases containing even more insights that we’ll ignore. Speak up if your hospital is different.
  • I’m not sure if patient engagement was just a token HIMSS nod or a real movement. I don’t see stretched providers getting excited about engaging patients unless government or competitive pressures force them to. It was nice to see patient advocates at the podium, even if only sporadically.
  • People are beginning to realize that EHRs aren’t necessarily the center of the universe. Small vendors are creating specific applications that use the EHR, which makes them easier to develop, cheaper, easier to use, and easier to buy since any buyer’s remorse will be several zeroes cheaper than the EHR itself. A question to ask of the dwindling number of EHR vendors might not be what their system does, but what does it allow to have done by other sources? Those companies were in the hall.
  • The government has taken a lot of innovation out of the system with Meaningful Use and ICD-10. I said from the beginning that taking MU money means making the federal government your incessantly nagging partner, but with penalties following rewards it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. I got the sense that attendees were more interested in what HHS and ONC say than what vendors were telling them.
  • Financial uncertainty as well as a big implementation and optimization ramp-up business has increased the willingness of providers to pay a premium to use consultants since they don’t want to get locked into salaried employees for specific short-life tasks. Consulting companies seemed to be generating a lot of interest.
  • Hospitals, like every swollen, inefficient, and political bureaucracy, will do whatever it takes to protect their own interests. They have money and clout and they aren’t just going to happily reduce their profits, headcount, or ambitions to reduce overall healthcare spending. Integrating their acquisitions will be a target market.
  • HIMSS is always like a boat show, but this year I’m not sure many boats were sold.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Telus Health acquires Med Access, a British Columbia-based vendor that claims its EMR is #1 in Canada with 4,000 users.

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Clinicient, a provider of RCM and clinical solutions for rehabilitation therapy, raises $15 million in Series C funding from Catalyst Investors and names Rick Jung (Medsphere) chairman and CEO.

Castlight’s IPO could raise up to $140 million based on a revised filing made this week.


Sales

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PatientPoint awards Xerox a $28 million contract to work with hospitals and physician practices to introduce PatientPoint’s digital check-in and population health management software and to provide training and support.

Denver Health selects Besler Consulting to assist in the identification of Medicare and Medicare Advantage Transfer DRG underpayments.

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UCSF Medical Center will implement Oneview Healthcare’s patient empowerment program at three Mission Bay hospitals.

The University of Miami Health System selects Lockheed Martin to manage its healthcare data, develop predictive models for risk identification, and build automated systems to give providers data at the point of care.

Florida International University’s faculty practice chooses PatientKeeper Charge Capture.

Citizens Medical Center (TX) selects MModal for transcription services and front-end speech recognition.

West Florida ACO will implement eClinicalWorks Care Coordination Medical Record.

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Forbes names Epic’s Judy Faulkner as #520 on its list of “The Richest People on the Planet,” estimating her net worth at $3.1 billion.


People

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Accretive Health appoints Patrick Funck (Segwick) SVP/CIO.

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HCI Group names Bill Bria, MD (Shriners Hospital for Children) as CMIO and Robert Steele (Sterling Healthcare Initiatives) as SVP of delivery operations.

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Greater Houston Healthconnect CEO Jim Langabeer, PhD resigns to return to his previous employer UT Health Science Center, with CTO Phil Beckett, MD named acting CEO.

Carolinas HealthCare System hires Nancy Olson, RN-C, MBA, PhD (Providence Health & Services) as its first chief nurse informatics officer.


Announcements and Implementations

inga_small WEDI, in partnership with EHNAC, will create a Practice Management Accreditation Program to review PM vendors in the areas of privacy, security, mandated standards and operating rules, and operational functions. While I am all for having minimum performance standards, is this really the best time to ask vendors to jump through one more hoop to remain competitive in the marketplace? It’s no surprise that we are seeing limited advances in product usability and innovation.

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The local business journal profiles St. Francis Hospital (CT), which goes live on Epic next month following a two-year, $120 million transition. Above is VP/CIO Linda Shanley.

Summit Health (PA) implements Wellcentive’s population health management solutions and services.

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Ontario’s Group Health Centre goes live on Epic.

Wellmont Health System (TN) transitions to Epic in its physician offices and hospitals.

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North Oaks Medical Center (LA) goes live with a two-way interface between Epic and the Masimo Patient SafetyNet remote monitoring and clinician notification system.

GetWellNetwork debuts GetWellNetwork Ambulatory, which is available on mobile and stationary devices and integrates with EHRs to provide personalized information, healthcare tools, and patient pathways.

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CoverMyMeds launches an API that enables providers of EHRs, e-prescribing systems, and PM systems to offer an NCPDP standards-compliant electronic prior authorization solution.

John Gomez launches Sensato, which will offer healthcare privacy and security assessments, guidance, and tools.

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UC Irvine Health deploys WANdisco and Hortonworks Hadoop data technology to provide real-time information for patient care. They run Allscripts Sunrise, I believe, and an unnamed data warehouse technology described in the announcement as one that “struggles with availability issues as well as the volume and variety of data it can handle.”


Government and Politics

inga_small The FDA is seeking a contractor to monitor social media chatter about drugs, medical devices, and other regulated products in order to track conversation shifts following FDA warnings. I found this move especially interesting in light of the heavy Twitter traffic during HIMSS and my realization of  the potential value of mined Twitter data. Now I’m wondering if anyone has figured out a way to combine data from social media chatter with old-school opinion polls from phone and mail surveys. That could be powerful.

ONC releases additional draft electronic clinical quality measures for review and testing for the possible inclusion in the MU and other federal programs.

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The front-page story of the March 10 issue of Time says that Healthcare.gov had so many problems that the White House was ready to shut it down and start over right after its launch. It says that it’s not clear even now who was supposed to be in charge of the launch and that people knew upfront that the site’s design was flawed.

Speaking of Healthcare.gov, HHS says it will need $1.8 billion in FY2015 to run the federal health insurance exchange.


Other

A three-year study finds that patient-centered medical homes do little to reduce costs, decrease utilization, or improve care, leading researchers to conclude, “Medical home interventions may need further refinement.”

The use of patient portals for secure messaging does not significantly change the frequency of face-to-face visits, according to a Mayo Clinic study. Weakness of the study are that portal messages were studied in a vacuum rather than in the context of all provider communication, it looked only at the number of visits rather than patient outcomes, and most of the study subjects were Mayo Clinic employees.

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Baylor Regional Medical Center announces that it will not accept the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award following allegations that it improperly managed a neurosurgeon who is accused of botching surgeries while under the influence of drugs. An extensive profile in the Dallas Morning News paints a disturbing picture of a physician who was labeled a sociopath and serial killer by colleagues. We featured the story in September 2013 with this summary:

A Dallas news magazine recounts the fascinating tale of a newly licensed MD-PhD neurosurgeon whose incompetence left several patients maimed or dead while the state’s medical board couldn’t stop him from practicing. Colleagues called the doctor the worst they had every seen and said his skill level was no higher than a first-year resident as he kept inadvertently slicing arteries causing patients to bleed to death, and in one case the OR team had to forcibly remove him from the OR to prevent him from killing his patient. His marketing team and his 4.5 star Healthgrades.com rating brought in plenty of new patients to his loftily named practice, Texas Neurosurgical Institute. Surgeon readers will be horrified by this recap by a peer who had to clean up one of his messes: “He had amputated a nerve root. It was just gone. And in its place is where he had placed the fusion. He’d made multiple screw holes on the left everywhere but where he had needed to be. On the right side, there was a screw through a portion of the S1 nerve root. I couldn’t believe a trained surgeon could do this. He just had no recognition of the proper anatomy. He had no idea what he was doing.” The article blames the situation on malpractice caps, laws that hold hospitals liable for damages only if their intentions are provably malicious, and a nearly powerless medical board charged more with keeping licensure records and counting CE hours than watch-guarding patient safety.

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Mike “PACSMan” Cannavo summarizes HIMSS14 from the imaging perspective in an Aunt Minnie article (simple registration is required.) He tells me that HIMSS rules even though RSNA is a bigger conference because, “The balance of power has definitely shifted from departmental solutions to facility-wide ones and IT and the CIO/CTOs make those decisions here.” Another of his observations:

HIMSS may, and probably will, command the lion’s share of the trade show budgets for VNA and cloud companies from now on. Considering there were more than two dozen vendors playing in this arena alone, plus the majors who showed various central data repository (CDR) solutions, this can affect other trade shows in terms of booth size and revenue. Given that attendance at most radiology-specific shows has been flat or declining and time spent at the shows has declined each year, HIMSS poses even more of a threat.

A group of former senators (Tom Daschle, Trent Lott, John Breaux) forms the noble-sounding Alliance for Connected Care, which will lobby Congress to protect the interests of its big-company members (Verizon, WellPoint, CVS, and Walgreens) as well as patients who benefit from telehealth services. In addition to seeking friendly governmental consideration, the group wants to lift geographic treatment limitations and build the case for telehealth as an effective care delivery mechanism. Surprisingly, HIMSS isn’t among its lengthy list of advisory board organizations. I’m always suspicious of the motivations of retired politicians anxious to make up for the income they lost while holding office, but in this case their announced intentions seem appropriate.

Brian Ahier got a one-on-one interview with National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo at the HIMSS conference. She says everybody has been focused on collecting information via EHRs, but now it’s time to allow patients to participate and acknowledge that “health is more than getting people to a doctor” since only 10-20 percent of outcomes can be attributed to the healthcare system. She clearly has a public health mindset as did her predecessor and she gets a “bravo” for that.

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The CFO of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (NC) lists reduced Epic expenses as one element of its improved financial performance in which six-month operational losses were reduced from $49.8 million to $23.5 million. The hospital still has high expectations for Epic, saying in a bond ratings agency report, “Management believes that future financial performance must be improved from current levels, and continues to aggressively pursue both short- and long-term strategies to drive growth, reduce cost and leverage our investment in Epic.”

In England, a three-year-old cardiac surgery patient dies when the scheduling system of the hospital to which he was transferred fails to generate his follow-up appointments. According to the hospital’s pediatrics manager, “Samuel’s appointment request must have fallen through the cracks between the old and new system. The new system is now up and running as best as it can be, but as long as there is still humans entering the information there will always be room for error.”

Weird News Andy notes that Banner Health didn’t have a banner day when it inadvertently printed subscriber Social Security numbers on its health magazine’s mailing labels.


Sponsor Updates

  • Greenway Medical names Phreesia its Marketplace Partner of the Year.
  • Aprima Medical announces that over 1,500 former Allscripts MyWay customers have migrated to its platform.
  • PerfectServe introduces automatic electronic PHI filtering capabilities that remove ePHI from the body of messages sent to non-secure mobile devices.
  • Lisa Reichard, director of community healthcare relations for Billian’s HealthDATA, writes a fun blog post that includes her top 10 tales and takeaways from HIMSS14.
  • Extension Healthcare will participate in the AONE 2014 Annual Conference in Orlando March 12-15.
  • The Tennessean interviews Cumberland Consulting Group CEO Jim Lewis about the company.
  • Boston Software Systems offers a white paper that examines three steps to a successful migration. 
  • An HCS case study highlights Christian Health Care Center (NJ) and the benefits it realized following the implementation of HCS Interactant.
  • TriZetto Provider Solutions advises customers that it will continue to accept claims in print image, NSF, and legacy formats even after the ICD-10 implementation deadline.
  • E-MDs publishes video testimonials from multiple providers.
  • Clinithink’s VP of solutions Russ Anderson suggests leveraging the use of Clinical Natural Language Processing to control patient leakage.
  • Health Catalyst offers a white paper with keys to a successful data warehouse and analytics implementation.
  • Vital Images experiences significant growth across Europe, the Middle East, and Europe.
  • CommVault achieves certified integration with its Simpana 10 software and the SAP HANA platform.
  • TeleTracking Technologies, Hill-Rom, and GOJO will co-market integrations with the Hill-Rom Hand Hygiene Compliance solution.
  • Cornerstone Advisors reports that its staff has grown to 39, a 25 percent increase in the past year.
  • Divurgent will provide support to Medsphere clients in their MU, ICD-10, and value-based purchasing initiatives.
  • Gartner positions Qlik in the Leaders Quadrant of the 2014 BI and Analytics Platform Magic Quadrant report.
  • HIMSS Analytics names Allscripts its first Certified Educator of the EMR Adoption Model.
  • The Cleveland Clinic and Dell will offer Epic EMR consulting and implementation services to other health systems and practices.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect

 

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March 4, 2014 News 7 Comments

Monday Morning Update 3/3/14

March 1, 2014 News 11 Comments

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From Elizabeth: “Re: HIStalk mug. Thanks so much for the HIMSS coverage this year, as always. It was great that you had a booth because I’m pretty sure others would agree that the HIStalk gang are celebrities, albeit anonymous, in this space. I am sending you a little pic of my coveted HIStalk mug in its new home in snowy, cold NY. I think it fits in very well. It was by far my favorite takeaway from the conference, so much so that I wrapped it in a t-shirt from another vendor so it wouldn’t break on the flight home. I am happy to report that it remained safe and intact.” I can’t explain why I like seeing pictures of reader workspaces, but I do.

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From Sipper: “Re: HIStalk mug. Big fan of HIStalk for many years, read it every day, loving my new mug!”

From Posit: “Re: HIMSS thoughts. Educational sessions were strayed, put together in silos, and not given by industry leaders but more by committee members trying to get placed on the HIMSS board. Educational content had nothing new. Hillary was dry, useless, and added nothing to the conversation of healthcare. The CIO Forum was the usual boy’s club, mostly just CIO wannabes as the majority of CIOs were out sunning themselves. The attendance count seemed to include anyone walking in the door. The HIMSS14 handbooks had many typos – sloppy work.”

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From Dr. Info: “Re: HIMSS video. I saw this gem out of the corner of my eye and then had to endure many painful minutes of this insipid self-promotional video before it came around again for a quick photo for your blog. I’m probably the only person who watched the whole thing, including the producers and editors! Maybe they should just change the acronym already.” You would think HIMSS could spell its own name, especially when it was shilling its HIMSS14 TV informercials (“one-third of air time will be dedicated to our sponsors,” which puts even network TV to shame.)

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From Eager Cleaver: “Re: cost of exhibiting at HIMSS. You should get someone with a modest-sized booth to anonymously provide all line-item costs to exhibit. Readers would be shocked.” I did this a few years ago and would be happy to do so again if a company would be willing to share. I would do it for the HIStalk booth, but it was tiny and we did everything on the cheap, so it’s not really representative. Meanwhile, money alone won’t buy you prime hall space, as booth selection is driven by HIMSS points, which is like your grocery store loyalty card with a lot more zeroes. The annual conference brought HIMSS $25 million in revenue, half its total take. Dues made up only 18 percent of its total revenue. According to its 2011 tax forms, Steve Lieber was paid $925K, so he’s surely well over the million-dollar mark by now. Also in the footnotes of the form: HIMSS owns 81 percent of MedTech Publishing (book value $8 million), which means if you get your industry news from Healthcare IT News, mHealth News, or Government Health IT, you’re getting it from the vendor-friendly, HIT-cheerleading HIMSS.

From GreenFlamed: “Re: Dragon Medical Network. v12.50.200.089 is not ready for prime time, especially in Virtual Desktop environments. It takes a crazy amount of support to sustain and keep your end users happy. The new service pack is riddled with bugs and the dictation box transparency feature is broken. We are facing a major Dragon buy-in and adoption crisis currently because it keeps crashing. Are there any other Dragon360 Network users out there using Dragon on a Virtual Desktop environment?”

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Only 20 percent of respondents say their business card titles include a certification. New poll to your right: if you attended the HIMSS conference, how was it overall?

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Some of the classrooms we helped via HIStalk’s donation of proceeds from the big ad at the top of the page to DonorsChoose projects are already benefitting. Mr. Delperdang reports (and sends the photo above left) that his Mississippi high school students are using the inexpensive supplies we donated (remanufactured printer cartridges and a file cabinet, which he calls “a blessing”) to print and file assignments and college applications. Ms. Vega’s Illinois second graders have created a reading station from the set of non-fiction books we purchased, which she says is the most popular learning station in the classroom and that “even my students whom were afraid to speak and share ideas are now sharing their background knowledge with us.” Ms. Opatz’s Utah fourth graders have formed reading groups around the books we purchased for them (photo above right.) We funded a bunch of projects from the ad revenue and will be doing more, so stay tuned.

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Oracle – like its CEO, Larry Ellison – rarely passes on the opportunity to exhibit boorish behavior. The company’s sloppy technical work reportedly assured the failure of Cover Oregon’s health insurance exchange, with the resulting outcry shaming Oracle into making a public promise to fix the problems it caused at no charge beyond the $90 million it was already being paid. The still-dysfunctional site isn’t likely to get better – Oracle has decided without explanation to pull 60 percent of its employees assigned to the project.

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California’s health insurance exchange, fresh off a five-day system outage, says 14,500 people whose applications were partially completed in the days before the unplanned downtime will need to start over.

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The General Accounting Office reviews the progress of the VA and Department of Defense in deciding to pursue their independent EHR plans and make them interoperable. They aren’t impressed: GAO says those organizations don’t have proof that it will be cheaper to run their separate systems than to create a single one. It also points out that despite the VA’s plan to pilot its system by September 2014 and the DoD’s intention to take its system live by the end of FY2016, neither have said what their systems will consist of, when they will be finished, or what they will cost. The report also says the VA and DoD are still fighting over control, with the federally mandated Interagency Program Office (IPO) having no power over funding and staffing. Both the VA and DoD, strangely enough, agreed with GAO’s recommendations that they perform a cost analysis, justify choosing the more expensive choice if that’s the case, create interoperability plans, and strengthen the control of IPO.

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McKesson, bowing to shareholder pressure, reduces the pension of Chairman, President, and CEO John Hammergren from $159 million to $114 million, although one analyst says the company’s executive pension plan is still “the richest in corporate America.” Perhaps an earlier announcement of his forced impoverishment would have allowed him to escape the indignity of winning his second consecutive HISsie award last week for “Industry Figure In Whose Face You’d Most Like to Throw a Pie.”

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It occurred to me while Mark Bertolini was delivering the HIMSS conference’s opening keynote address, his Aetna employees were setting up the company’s booth in the exhibit hall. Somehow that seems wrong. If it weren’t for HIMSS trying desperately (and unsuccessfully) to get people to stick around later into the week, they would have put the second consecutive keynoting Clinton (Chelsea next year?) in that spot as they have done with politicians in the past.

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People have asked what my favorite conference giveaway was. I’ll go with the iPhone 5 cover from zCover. I wasn’t initially impressed because they had a tableful of them and they were packaged in plastic bags, to the point I was about to just toss it in the trash when I got home. It’s a really nice case that fits the phone perfectly (including little covers for each port) and a clip-on back that ties the package together. It has its own buttons that cover the ringer volume and home buttons that make them easier and more satisfying to use. I’m really glad I picked it up – it has replaced my rubber bumper cover.

It’s hardly news since Intermountain Healthcare announced that it was choosing Cerner as a partner last fall partly because it wasn’t confident about hitting Meaningful Use dates, but CIO Marc Probst says Intermountain will forego incentives and accept penalties for not being ready for MU2 in 2014.

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Streamline Health Solutions promotes Richard Nelli to COO.

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Greenway acquires PeopleLynk, which sends patient relationship messages based on EHR events.

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Infor signs a letter of intent to acquire assets of GRASP Systems, including patient acuity, workload management, and patient assignment systems.

Ingenious Med launches its patient encounter platform One by Ingenious Med (IM1), providing care coordination and patient management to acute and sub-acute spaces.

Strata Decision Technology announces sales of its StrataJazz financial platform to Yale New Haven Health System (CT), Northwestern Medical Center (VT), and Southern Illinois Healthcare (IL).  

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ONC and ANA will present a free one-day summit for nurses on March 21 at The Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie, MD. The agenda includes a keynote by Deputy National Coordinator Judy Murphy, a panel discussion about using health IT to exchange information, afternoon breakout sessions, and a town hall discussion. I recommend as a counterpoint to all of that healthy discussion a side trip to my favorite place in Glen Burnie, Ann’s Dari-Creme.

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In Canada, New Brunswick doctors question their medical society for striking a deal that allows only one EHR – the one sold by a for-profit company co-owned by the medical society — to access the province’s databases. Only 240 of 950 eligible physicians have signed up ahead of the March 31 deadline to earn a 50 percent government subsidy, with only 34 of those actually using the mandatory Velante software. Doctors question whether the medical society’s motivation is business success rather than patients, while the province’s health minister says it may have to take over the system if too few doctors sign up. A similar situation exists in Nova Scotia, where the province gave Nightingale exclusive rights to provide a subsidized EHR that connects to the government’s information.

The VA creates a development portal that explains how to create mobile apps for its use.

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CareSync wins the most promising startup contest at the HIMSS conference.

”How the Medical Establishment Got the Treasury’s Keys,” an interesting article by economics professor Uwe Reinhardt, recounts irrational and naturally inflationary creation of Medicare in the 1960s as flawed grand plan to reduce poverty:

To help implement that vision, these proponents reluctantly paid the price the providers of health care extracted in return for accepting the legislation: Congress surrendered to the providers the keys to the United States Treasury, full well knowing that this social contract could have only a short shelf life. One would assume that physicians and hospital leaders knew that as well. In other words, the proponents of Medicare who signed on to the deal were anything but stupid. When confronted by the health care sector with a harsh trade-off between their cherished vision for health care, on the one hand, and a sensible payment policy, on the other, they let their vision override economically sound payment policy. Millions upon millions of America’s senior citizens are indebted to them for a program that remains highly popular to this day.

Weird News Andy wonders, “Does the noise in my head bother you?” in reading of a British tourist hearing scratching noises inside her head that turned out to be a happy family of eight flesh-eating maggots. WNA also likes this story, in which stethoscopes were found to carry more bacteria (especially MRSA) than anything other than the fingertips of doctors. It’s probably not realistic that doctors who can’t be convinced to wash their hands would sterilize their stethoscopes. 


HISsies 2014 Winners


Sponsor Updates from Last Week

  • Sagacious Consultants launches Sagacious Dispatch for Epic customers with short-term projects for optimizing their EMR.
  • Orion Health launches Collaborative Care for ACOs.
  • MEDHOST joins CommonWell Health Alliance.
  • Shore Medical Centers (NJ) selects CareTech Solutions Clinical Service Desk for night, weekend and holiday support.
  • Truven Health Analytics introduces Micromedex Pharmacy Intervention and Micromedex Infection Prevention.
  • CynergisTek expands its collaboration with Iatric Systems to offer support and management of Iatric’s Security Audit Manager.
  • Premier reports 90 percent of respondents experienced at least one drug shortage in the last six months that may have caused a medication safety issue or error in patient care.
  • Aventura releases Roaming Aware Desktop Version 5.0.
  • Kaleida Health (NY) selects Orion Health’s Rhapsody integration engine.
  • Covisint receives full accreditation with the Direct Trusted Agent Accreditation Program from DirectTrust.com and the EHNAC.
  • iMDsoft announces its MetaVision for NICUs will be featured at the 20th annual Cool Topics in Neonatology conference.
  • DrFirst’s controlled substance e-prescribing software will be integrated into Greenway’s EHRs.
  • ADP AdvancedMD offers an ICD-10 transition program with preparation resources, product enhancements, and a revenue cycle financing program.
  • UnitedHealthcare announces that InstaMed’s online bill payment service myClaims Managers has grown to 50,000 participating care providers with $20 million in payments processed since July 2013.
  • Emdeon publishes an ICD-10 transition white paper.
  • API Healthcare, a GE Healthcare Company, launches Patient Classification, which matches provider skills to patients.
  • Nuance announces that eCopy ShareScan is integrated with NextGen Ambulatory EMR.
  • First Databank releases FDB AlertSpace for Siemens Soarian.
  • NextGen Healthcare and Cerner announce bilateral integration.
  • Infor offers a promotion package for eGate customers interested in migrating its Cloverleaf product.
  • Infor introduces PeopleAnswers Talent Science to assist healthcare organization to select, retain, and develop clinicians.
  • DrFirst’s Patient Advisor delivers $21 million in prescription savings opportunities for uninsured patients during its first three months.
  • Imprivata will integrate its two-factor authentication management capabilities with DrFirst’s EPCS Gold solution to securely prescribe controlled substances electronically.
  • Physician First ACO (FL) selects eClinicalWorks Care Coordination Medical Record.
  • ADP AdvancedMD announces general availability of its reporting suite AdvancedInsight for physician practices.
  • Central Valley HIE (CA) joins Inland Empire HIE expanding the reach of the Orion Health Collaborative Care within California to 48 central and southern California organizations.
  • Wolters Kluwer Health announces the beta launch of its integrated clinical decision support and workflow management platform POC Advisor.
  • Northeast Georgia Physicians Group achieves Stage 7 of HIMSS EMRAM with Allscripts TouchWorks.
  • Covisint offers three reasons to physicians to avoid PQRS penalties.
  • Etransmedia expands its RCM services with the acquisition of Medigistics.
  • Intel-GE Care Innovations and Caradigm partner to integrate remote patient monitoring and smart sensor technologies to improve care plans.
  • E-MDs launches a SaaS-based RCM service.
  • AT&T announces plans to expand Digital Life into the healthcare market.
  • Predixion Software announces availability of its predictive analytics software on the Windows Azure cloud platform.
  • Baylor Scott & White Health (TX) expands its use of AtHoc Critical Communications platform for IT outages, emergency preparedness, and clinical alerts.
  • Optum launches Optum One analytics platform.
  • Advocate Health Care (IL) selects PerfectServe as its enterprise-wide clinical communications platform.
  • Healthy Catalyst reports that 76 percent of organizations lack basic analytics for Meaningful Use measures in a recently published white paper.
  • Imprivata will integrate HIT Application Solutions’ Notifi platform with Imprivata Cortext, enabling secure communications for continuum of care.
  • The Health Centers of Family Health Care join The Guideline Advantage, which uses Forward Health Group’s PopulationManager platform.
  • Siemens Healthcare launches CareXcell a subscription based solution for population health management.
  • Memorial Hospital at Gulfport (MS) selects Health Catalyst’s Late-Binding Data Warehouse and Analytics platform to provide a unified view of clinical and performance data from their McKesson and Allscripts EHR applications.
  • Capsule Tech reports a 24 percent increase in revenue for 2013, with 1,650 healthcare facility clients worldwide.
  • University Hospitals (OH) will deploy PeriGen’s PeriCALM at UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital and UH Geauga Medical Center, which will include sending OB content into its Allscripts EHR.
  • NantHealth introduces NantHealth Clinical Operating System, developed after consolidating of several healthcare IT companies including iSirona.
  • Capsule Tech introduces SmartLinx Medical Device Information System for point-of-care data delivery.
  • North Memorial Health Care (MN) is awarded joint second place in the annual Healthcare Informatics Innovator Awards after incorporating Health Catalyst’s EDW platform and analytics solution.
  • EClinicalWorks, Greenway, ICA, InterSystems, Medfusion, Medicity, Optum, and Orion Health found Carequality, which will focus on interoperability between existing and emerging HIE networks.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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March 1, 2014 News 11 Comments

From HIMSS 2/27/14

February 27, 2014 News 11 Comments

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From Spelling Recognition: “Re: ‘documention.’ Is this a misspelling or or marketing gone wrong?” I suspect the former and dread the possibility of the latter.

From Born Free: “Re: HIMSS opening session. It was nice of the HIMSS chair to recognize physicians in the audience, but as soon as the recognized physicians sat down, the speaker then dissed them through sarcasm about their ego and the 6,500 physicians in his organization that think they know best. It was a little uncomfortable and not very wise considering HIMSS’s desire to add physicians to their membership rolls.” I missed the presentation since I was protesting having an insurance company millionaire talking about how healthcare should work. I don’t like having vendors as keynoters.

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From IT Director: “Re: HIMSS. It was a pleasure to meet Lorre in the booth on Tuesday. If you are going to have a public face I can’t think of a better one! She was engaging and knowledgeable and fun to talk with even if just for a few minutes. I love the fact that you had a booth — that was a cool thing to do.” HIMSS booths are breathtakingly expensive, but it was worth it to be able to meet readers, sponsors, and passers-by (most of them on their way to bathrooms right by our booth given our tiny HIMSS clout and budget). It was great having Lorre there since as the only non-anonymous HIStalk team member since she kept me updated with who dropped by, what they had to say, and what it was like being on the show floor with the other exhibitors. That was all new to me – my only view of HIStalk is sitting alone in front of a PC all day and night. It was cool that other exhibitors brought celebrities to our booth, sent Lorre scones and fun giveaway items, and helped us figure out the exhibit process since we were clueless. I’ve asked Lorre to do a writeup on what it was like for her to meet readers, work the booth, attend the events, and accept our Sunquest Industry Pioneer Award.

From Brian Ahier: “Re: Ed Park of athenahealth at HIMSS. Gave the best presentation at HIMSS.”

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I’m glad the HIMSS conference is over. I’ll be catching up over the next few HIStalk posts. Your comments about the conference, exhibits, companies, and educational sessions are welcome.

I have to say I’m already dreading going to Chicago for the conference next year. All I remember from last time is snow, surly unionized conference center staff, outdated hotels that cost at least double what they were worth, endless cab lines because of the weather, and wearing winter clothes. I like Chicago as a tourist, but not as a conference attendee. HIMSS loves it, of course, because the travel is easier for their people and they get to deal their home city some payola.

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Here’s Lorre’s new BFF Bob Murphy, MD, CMIO of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System (TX), meeting people in our booth.

Orlando attendance set a record at an announced 38,828, although I don’t know how that number was derived. I assume all registrations were counted, including exhibitors and press, but I don’t know if HIMSS counted people sitting at home who paid $49 to watch streamed sessions on the Web. I know this: all event promoters like to provide optimistic attendance statistics and there’s no good way to audit their claims.

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PeriGen was a booth neighbor and CEO Matt Sappern dropped by to say that “HIStalk is the only thing to read each day.”

This week on HIStalk Connect: Epic and Walgreens launch a wide-reaching interoperability partnership to rival CommonWell. HIMSS publishes the findings of its mHealth Technology Survey. Glooko unveils a population health tracker focused on improving care within the diabetic population.

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Jennifer Dennard (@SmyrnaGirl) tweeted out this photo, saying she’s reading up on HIStalk while sipping from our mug now that she’s home from the conference. Our mug supply is exhausted other than a few we set aside for loyal readers who asked us to mail them one since they weren’t at the conference. I like Jennifer’s photo – if you took a mug home, send a picture of it in its new home.

I didn’t hear much about Hillary’s Wednesday keynote other than (a) it was extremely short; (b) like any skilled politician, she didn’t really say anything other than predictably lauding the work of the crowd that brought her there and kissing up to HIMSS. I would have been mad about waiting an hour or two to squeeze into the huge room for her talk given its lack of substance. Hillary’s rumored minimum speaking fee is $200K plus expenses, so she took home a big paycheck in addition to potentially impressing would-be Presidential voters who were apparently happy just to bask in her celebrity.

Hillary mentioned in her speech that corporations don’t have enough females on their boards. She didn’t define “enough” quantitatively.

HHS confirmed during the conference that neither ICD-10 nor Meaningful Use Stage 2 deadlines will change.

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Hearst Health’s newly formed venture unit invests in Tonic Health, which offers an iPad-based data collection tool that counts Partners HealthCare and UCLA Health among its customers.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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February 27, 2014 News 11 Comments

News 2/21/14

February 20, 2014 News 6 Comments

Top News

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Allscripts announces Q4 results: revenue flat, adjusted EPS $0.08 vs. $0.16, beating revenue expectations and meeting consensus earnings estimates.


Reader Comments

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From Dr. Detroit: “Re: misspelling HIMSS. Once a vendor does it in four separate emails as this one did, they should be granted credentials as a certified ‘HIPPA’ consultant.”

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From Stool Pigeon: “Re: fecal transplants. You’ve grossed out readers before, so you might find this interesting.” MIT launches OpenBiome, the country’s first stool bank, to collect samples to treat patients with C. difficile intestinal infections. At least it eliminates that awkward moment of asking friends and loved ones to sit and be counted.  

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From Pathology MD: “Re: HIStalk pins. I am a loyal reader but can’t get to Orlando. I collect pins and really would like the 10-year HIStalk pin or both for my collection. I’ll pay.” Lorre and I were touched by this request for this request for the inexpensive giveaway that was her idea, so she’s sending the pins to this reader as well as another with a similar request (obviously I’m happy to pay the postage.) We have a limited number of these to give away in Booth #1995, so maybe they really will become collectible.

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From Dr. J: “Re: men’s wear for HIStalkapalooza. My $99 boots arrived just yesterday.” I love these, especially because they have a big toe box unlike some of those pointed boots that surely cause digital damage. They are from Dude’s Boutique Online, which I see has a really cool crocodile and ostrich boot in cognac for only $198 on sale as long as you don’t mind leaving a trail of dead animals behind your purposeful stride. I’ve asked Dr. J which ones these are because I need a pair to make me look more rock and roll.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Netsmart of Overland Park, KS. Netsmart is the leader in coordinating care among behavioral health, physical health, and acute care hospitals. That’s important because severely mentally ill people die 25 years younger than the rest of the population and drive up Medicaid costs and other loss ratios. Netsmart links primary care initiatives with broader, coordinated care for the body and mind to reduce readmissions. Netsmart CareFabric offers clinical solutions (EHR, eRX, CPOE, consumer engagement, analytics, care coordination) and business solutions (PM, client banking, RCM.) The company’s products are used by 23,000 clients, including 450,000 providers and 40 state systems, to improve the quality of life for 25 million people each day. Its clients include mental health and addiction services agencies, health homes, psychiatric hospitals, private and group mental health practices, public health departments, social services and child and family health agencies, managed care organizations, and vital records offices. Thanks to Netsmart for supporting HIStalk.

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Premier, Inc. of Charlotte, NC.  Premier (NASDAQ:PINC) is a leading healthcare improvement company that unites 2,900 hospitals and 100,000 other providers to transform healthcare. Premier enables better care and outcomes at a lower cost through integrated data and analytics, collaboratives, supply chain solutions, and advisory and other services. A recent offering is PremierConnect Enterprise, a cloud-based data warehousing and business intelligence offering that combines trusted information, collaborative development, and access to expertise to enable information-driven health systems. Premier’s database is among the industry’s most comprehensive with data covering one in four hospital discharges, 2.5 million real-time clinical transactions each day, and $40 billion in annual purchasing information, all used to connect, share best practices, solve important problems, and build new technologies. The company has been named among the world’s most ethical companies for six years in a row. Thanks to Premier for supporting HIStalk.

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Ion IT Group is supporting HIStalk as a Platinum Sponsor. The Carthage, TN-based company offers strategic services, consulting, and outsourcing. Specific services include managed IT, security and risk assessment, business solutions, and infrastructure. It also offers the Vital Connect remote vital sign monitoring solution (weight, blood pressure, temperature, pulse oximeter, and blood glucose) that works via a mobile phone data collector. It also provides HealthX secure messaging based on the Direct standard, which enables the exchange of EHR reports, documents, images, and structured data, and Evault services for cloud-based backup, recovery, and end point protection. Thanks to Ion IT Group for supporting HIStalk.

inga_small A few highlights from HIStalk Practice this week include: proposed Stage 3 MU objectives that may impact EPs. The Colorado Health Institutes suggests that the use of technology may help mitigate a looming shortage of PCPs. EClinicalWorks CEO Girish Navani predicts it will only be a matter of time before all providers convert to EHRs. Results from teledermatology assessments are found to be nearly identical to results of in-person assessments. Dr. Gregg provides a thorough list of all the JUNK you’ll need to lug with you to HIMSS. Thanks for reading.

On HIStalk Connect: Industry insiders suggest that the Apple iWatch will predict heart attacks in time for wearers to seek help. Surgeons at Washington University in St. Louis test a pair of smartglasses that highlight hard-to-spot cancer tumors during surgery. Partners HealthCare’s bid to acquire South Shore Hospital is rejected because the Massachusetts Health Policy Committee believes that population health-based cost savings are exaggerated. Dr. Travis dives into the world of Big Data in an article that focuses on the patient and the various tools available for capturing and sharing patient-centric data.

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HIMSS has been emailing a Groupon-like but even lamer “HIMSS14 Conference Deal” that purports to offer the recipient something of value for opening it. Most of those emails haven’t offered anything at all, only a pitch for a company buying the ad. That doesn’t sound like a a deal for anyone except HIMSS. Those with memories going back more than a couple of years may recall the gentle era when HIMSS didn’t overtly flog the wares of its members to its other members with spam that promotes webinars, white papers, and other promotional stuff that has nothing to do with HIMSS except they’re getting paid to talk it up with little evidence of objectivity or restraint.

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I received this by email today, just in case you wonder where all your post-HIMSS conference junk email and cold calls come from. I don’t recall having an opt-out option when registering for the conference as an attendee.

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You may be rocking your HIStalk temporary tattoo after stopping by our booth, but you can’t match Lorre, who will let her fingers do the HIStalking.

HIMSS guides for your last-minute perusal: Exhibitor Giveaways, Sponsor Activities, Sponsor Meet-Ups


HIStalkapalooza Timeline

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The event will be memorable, with many surprises that I won’t spoil now. The roster of attendees, which unfortunately couldn’t include everyone who wanted to be there, is spectacular and nicely diverse, with a huge number of hospital people enjoying amazing food, lots of drinks including an all-new IngaTini developed by the lady herself, and party music until late. Don’t even think about bailing out for some other event if you have an invitation because you’ll be sorry Tuesday morning when you hear everyone talking about it.

  • Transportation to and from the Convention Center will start at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.
  • At the House of Blues, we’ll have a red carpet greeting, photographers, and interviews by Jennifer Lyle. Your photos will be available to pick up on your way out as a souvenir.
  • The band (Party on the Moon) will play a set starting at 7:00 as the appetizer buffet and bars are open.
  • The dinner buffet will start at 7:30.
  • We’ll open the stage part of the evening at 7:45 with the music of Ross Martin, MD of AMIA and The American College of Medical Informatimusicology and a welcome from Jennifer, Lorre, and the folks from Imprivata.
  • The “Inga Loves My Shoes” contest with Lisa Reichard and Ed Marx will start at just after 8:00.
  • We’ll crown the HIStalk King and Queen next with Dave Lareau, Bonny Roberts, and Jennifer Dennard.
  • Then come the HISsies awards, with Ross Martin and Missy Krasner of Box.
  • We’ll wrap up the stage part of the evening by around 8:45 and the band will play until 11:00.

HIMSS Conference Social Events

2-20-2014 11-27-39 AM

Verisk Health is conducting a service project supporting the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. at the Rosen Centre Hotel. Participants can spend an hour helping to assemble 4,000 food packs for children who do not have access to school cafeterias during the weekend.

2-20-2014 11-33-03 AM

ICSA Labs will host an evening of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency.  RSVP here.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Merge Healthcare announces Q4 results: revenue down 17.2 percent, EPS $0.00 vs. -$0.19, missing expectations on both. Shares are up 15 percent in after-hours trading.

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Vocera reports Q4 results: revenue up 6 percent, adjusted EPS $0.03 vs. $0.03, beating earnings expectations. The company also announces that two New York luxury hotels are implementing its solution for employee communication.

2-20-2014 10-39-54 AM

Healthwise and the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation announce their pending merger.

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UnitedHealth’s Optum division acquires a majority stake in Audax Health, the developer of a consumer health management platform that was founded four years ago by the now 24-year-old Grant Verstandig.

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ISirona retires its name following its January 2014 acquisition by NantHealth.


Sales

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Saint Luke’s Health System (MO) selects Solarity technology from EDCO Health Information Solutions for scanning medical records at the point of care and remote indexing services.

Sanford Health (ND)  will spend $30 million to implement Intelligent InSites RTLS at several locations.


People

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Farzad Mostashari, MD joins the board of patient engagement company Get Real Health.

2-19-2014 4-08-08 PM

CureMD announces the death of  President, CEO, and Co-Founder Kamal Hashmat, MD following a “tragic accident.” Co-founder and CIO Bilal Hashmat will replace him.

2-20-2014 11-48-36 AM

The Institute of Medicine names Duke University Health System President and CEO Victor Dzau, MD to a six-year term as president. He will replace Harvey Fineberg, MD, PhD, who has held the role for 12 years.

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Bill Spooner, SVP/CIO of Sharp HealthCare, announces his retirement after 32 years in the position. He will be replaced by Ken Lawonn, formerly SVP of strategy and technology at Alegent Health.


Announcements and Implementations

Sixteen health information organizations throughout the Midwest and Rocky Mountain states form The Mid-States Consortium of Health Information Organizations, with the goal of advocating for health information exchange across states and in rural areas.

HIMSS Analytics introduces the Continuity of Care Maturity Model to address the importance of information exchange, care coordination, interoperability, patient engagement, and analytics.

The president of Toshiba says the company will spend billions of dollars on mergers and acquisitions to boost annual sales in its healthcare division to $9.78 billion by March 2018.

Kaiser Permanente Colorado, the largest not-for-profit health plan in Colorado, will join the CORHIO HIE.

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Deloitte Consulting launches ConvergeHEALTH by Deloitte, a business unit that supports data-driven transformation of healthcare using analytics, consulting, and collaboration with leading healthcare organizations.

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A group of Mayo Clinic physicians launches Ambient Clinical Analytics and raises $1.1 million in funding on top of its original $16 million CMS grant. It will offer Mayo-developed mobile device tools such as surveillance alerts and an analytics-powered EMR viewer. It will be debuted at the HIMSS conference next week.


Government and Politics

CMS announces that it will offer end-to-end ICD-10 testing in summer 2014 to a small group of providers.

2-20-2014 1-39-23 PM

ONC selects 15 provider and administrator champions for its HIT Fellows Program.


Other

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Carilion Clinic identifies 8,500 patients at risk for developing heart failure using NLP and predictive analytics technology from IBM to analyze clinical data from the health system’s Epic EMR.

A HIMSS survey finds that 19 percent of health systems and physician practices experienced a security breach in the last 12 months and 12 percent had at least one reported case of medical identity theft.

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Nashville attorney Michael Dagley, who represented Trinity Medical Center (ND) in its $106 million settlement with Cerner over its ProFit accounting software, indirectly accuses the company of over-promising on ProFit’s capabilities to earn the clinical systems business. He also warns hospitals that limitation-of-liability clauses may prevent hospitals from suing their vendor, saying, “Vendors will have in their contract, almost always, a limitation of liability. Which means you cannot sue us for any consequence of the software being defective, you can only get your money back for the software. The providers, a lot of times, do not understand the significance of that agreement. So now, they’re three months into it, they’ve bought the software, and they’ve lost $100 million. They pull up the contract, and the contract says you can get your money back for the software and they’re going, ‘That’s $300,000, but I lost $100 million!’” He suggests consulting KLAS rankings and talking to clients.

A study finds that few consumers pay attention to online physician reviews even though they’ve gained popularity.

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The outgoing CFO of Nevada Regional Medical Center (NV), which is laying off employees and losing $575,000 each month, says, “The biggest expense we’ve had is Cerner’s fees.” Cerner agreed to lower its payments by $31,000 per month for six months and then add $2,000 per month for the remainder of the eight-year agreement (they get paid the same total amount, in other words.)

The local paper says that Epic may reach 10,000 employees by 2018, with much of the growth due to international expansion that will be run from Verona. The article lists “Epic’s 12 Principles” that it says are posted all over its campus:

1. Do not go public.
2. Do not be acquired.
3. Expectations = reality.
4. Keep commitments.
5. Be frugal.
6. Have standards. Don’t do deals.
7. Create innovative and helpful products.
8. Have fun with customers.
9. Follow processes. Find root causes. Fix processes.
10. Don’t take on debt, no matter how good the deal.
11. Focus on competency. Do not tolerate mediocrity.
12. Teach philosophy and culture

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St. Vincent Hospital (IN) notifies 1,100 patients that their medical information is in unknown hands after a laptop attached to an EEG machine is stolen. The hospital issues the standard boilerplate in staying it has no reason to think the information is at risk, that it will offer free credit monitoring, and that it just might take a look at encrypting devices one of these days.

All-digital Banner Health (AZ) was all-paper Banner Health Wednesday as its Cerner systems go offline, forcing its hospitals in Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada to go to downtime procedures. The systems came back up Thursday afternoon.

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I bragged on buying a cell phone charger to use at HIMSS so I can recharge my iPhone without tethering to a wall jack, but I should have waited: Jay at Lifepoint Informatics saw the mention and said the company will be giving them away at the HIMSS conference. Jay not only says the company is a proud HIStalk sponsor, he even posed the charger with their HIStalk booth sign from last year to demonstrate it. I would get to Booth #6069 early since this is a really nice giveaway.

If you are headed to Orlando, travel safely and I will see you there. If not, thanks for holding down the fort and feel free to take long lunches and leave early because your boss isn’t really working that hard at the HIMSS conference.


Sponsor Updates

  • Caristix interfaces the Mirth Connect interface engine to iNTERFACEWARE’s Iguana engine to provide point-and-click migration from one interface to another.
  • ScImage announces availability of a universal MPI translator for importing diagnostic images from disparate systems into its  PICOM365 system.
  • IMDsoft makes MetaVision AIMS available for anesthesia practices independent of any facility infrastructure and as a subscription-based license.
  • DataMotion enables 16 EHR systems to achieve 2014 ONC-ACB certification using its DataMotion Direct secure messaging service as “relied upon software.”
  • Ricoh Americas partners with InterSystems to develop new interoperable healthcare solutions, including the Ricoh Healthcare Camera, which allows clinicians to scan barcodes from a patient’s wristband and add information on the injury before taking pictures.
  • Surescripts certifies First Databank’s FDB MedsTracker for prescription routing in adherence with the NCPDP SCRIPT 10.7 standard required for MU Stage 2 certification.
  • Coastal Healthcare Consulting launches Wave, an implementation solution that encompasses project management, workflow analysis, design, building, testing, training, and go-live support.
  • EClinicalWorks deploys Array Network’s APV10650 appliances to consolidate its cloud-based application infrastructure into a smaller number of larger data centers.
  • Welch Allyn will use Accelero Connect from Iatric Systems to automate the capture and recording of vital signs into EHRs.
  • Bon Secours Medical Group (VA) VP/Chief Clinical Officer Robert Fortin discusses his organization’s move into population health management in an iHT2 article.
  • Apelon and Clinical Architecture partner to offer Clinical Architecture’s Symedical with Apelon’s professional services
  • Covisint and actuarial Milliman Inc. introduce the Covisint Predictive Analytics solution.
  • Liaison Healthcare completes interoperability testing of its Master Person Index and Patient Document Repository offerings with 70 test partners during last month’s 2014 IHE North American Connectathon.
  • University Medical Associates (OH) joins the Guideline Advantage quality improvement program, which leverages Forward Health Group’s PopulationManager toolset.
  • Orion Health reports that its statewide HIE customer count grew 40 percent in 2013 and its HIE customers increased by 200 percent. The company will open a  development center in Scottsdale, AZ later this year.

Sponsor Speaking Engagements at HIMSS

  • Brian Levy, MD, VP of global clinical operations for Wolters Kluwer Health’s Health Language division, will discuss leveraging analytics to capture the benefits of ICD-10 on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.
  • Vital Images will feature VitreaView in a live case study at the Interoperability Showcase on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.
  • Medhost will demonstrate YourCareCommunity in the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase (Hall F).
  • Ryan Witt, global manager director for Juniper Networks, will moderate a lunch and learn session Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. that will discussing managing network requirements to support new technologies.
  • Intelligent InSites customer Veterans Health Administration will share best practices in implementing RTLS in a Sunday pre-conference symposium.

HIMSS14 in Review
By Vince Ciotti

Since I spend my winters right here in sunny Florida next to Orlando, I thought I’d give readers of HIStalk the advantage of reading the very first report on HIMSS 2014.

  • The crowd was huge, way up from last year’s paltry 35,000 to about 40,000 this year. At an average of $800 each for registration fees, that gives HIMSS over $30 million. Maybe next year they’ll lower their annual membership dues.
  • Weather was near perfect, although a little on the warm side at about 80 degrees. Interestingly, that was the same temperature inside the hall as well as outside due to the large volume of hot air from all the demo dudes & dollies.
  • There were almost 200 booths from vendors new to HIMSS this year, with 195 of them featuring “Big Data” analysis and reporting. Conspicuously absent were major players NSA and Target.
  • Vendor booths were absolutely stunning. If you add the out-of-pocket costs for their thousands of marketing mavens and sales reps plus the fees charged for booths and floor space, it was possibly the single largest line item in healthcare costs outside of EHRs.
  • The multitudes of speakers had truly impressive PowerPoint files: amazing builds, animation, and other visual effects that must have taken many months of hard work away from providing user service & support.
  • 1,275 vendor booths featured banners that claimed they were “Best in KLAS” for one category or another. Indeed, KLAS’s own booth claimed they were rated as the very best source for evaluation of vendors’ true capabilities by… guess who?
  • It was hard to count the many new products and releases that were announced, every one of them far better than what clients are suffering with today. All of it was offered at special low pricing for HIMSS attendees who signed up early.
  • 417 consulting firms announced new divisions that specialized in Epic implementations, every one of them manned by senior employees (some actually in their 30s) with vast experience of more than one year each.
  • Keynote speaker Hillary Clinton surprised everyone when she praised the Affordable Care Act. Her only complaint was that it didn’t go far enough, and whoever becomes the next president really needs to try to improve healthcare even more.

Stay tuned next month — I may have an early report on HIMSS15 in Chicago.

Vince Ciotti is a principal with H.I.S. Professionals LLC.


Ten Tips for Making the Most of Your HIMSS14 Experience
By Jodi Amendola

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  1. Build your plan around the trends or issues you’re most interested in, then mark the booth and educational sessions that address them.
  2. Include networking events in your plans.
  3. Building in scheduled breaks throughout the day. Real ones, not check-your-email breaks. Many vendors offer space to sit along with free refreshments.
  4. HIMSS14 is not the place to break in a new pair of shoes or to sacrifice comfort for fashion.
  5. Take advantage of apps such as the HIMSS14 Mobile Guide; a business card scanner; a personal health monitor; a friend locator; a restaurant and entertainment locator; and apps that let you confirm travel plans for the trip home.
  6. Re-invigorate a long-distance relationship over a cup of coffee or a meal and mine your contacts to reconnect with or get to know other colleagues better.
  7. Put away the smartphone. Considering how much time and money you’ve invested in being here at the best health IT conference of the year, that email can wait.
  8. Connect with the speakers by asking questions during the Q&A, introducing yourself, or connecting via Twitter or LinkedIn.
  9. Put a star in the margin of your notes (electronic or handwritten) next to any action item, then distill every session into one or two key takeaways.
  10. Share video or audio files of the sessions you found especially valuable with your colleagues and friends or give a talk about something you learned at your next staff meeting.

Jodi Amendola is CEO of Amendola Communications.


EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

I’ll keep it this post relatively short because I am completely overwhelmed by HIMSS preparations and a major calamity at the office. Let’s just say that nothing can prepare you for the chaos that ensues when a provider is arrested in the middle of the work week.

Since it was a solo provider and we had to close the office, I seriously toyed with the idea of using our patient portal to blast a message to the impacted patients, but the risk management department shot me down. I guess it’s better for the patients to sit and wonder what will happen with their care, at least in their eyes.

Inga and I have been hard at work finalizing our social plans for Orlando. We had a reader ask if I would be making a scheduled appearance at the HIStalk booth (#1995 for those of you playing at home.) Although I will definitely be stopping by to pick up my HIStalk tattoo and a Smokin’ Doc pin, I’ll be doing it anonymously. Feel free to swing by, however, and see if there are any sassy blonde physicians lurking about. I’ll probably be there to support some of our scheduled celebrity appearances. I’ll also be at the Medicomp Systems booth (#2703) to support some of my BFFs as they compete in Quipstar.

Most of the events we’re attending are those whose hosts generously agreed to allow us to invite all our readers. Inga and I also have a penchant for hitting the in-booth happy hours, so look for us during the cocktail hour in the exhibit hall as well. I’m trying to fit in some educational sessions in between cruising the booths and taking pictures of ridiculous costumes that the hired booth attendants are forced to wear. Be sure to have your cameras at the ready and feed us pictures of hot shoes, cool giveaways, and the wildest outfits you see.

We’ve also been hard at work identifying the recipients of some of the coveted HIStalk beauty queen sashes. Don’t worry, there is still a chance to win one for yourself by entering Inga’s shoe contest or aiming for the coveted HIStalk King and HIStalk Queen titles.

I look forward to HIMSS each year, but it’s bittersweet on some levels. While many of us are away, we will be depending on the rest of our colleagues in the trenches to keep the infrastructure running and the providers under control. Although a lot of vendor organizations freeze in time around HIMSS, the rest of the health IT world does keep turning.

Case in point: NCQA announces the opening of a public comment period for proposed changes to the HEDIS measures for 2015. Proposed new measures include one on overuse of colorectal and prostate cancer screening and another on appropriate use of antipsychotic measures in children. Those slated for retirement include glaucoma screening in older adults and cholesterol management for patients with cardiovascular conditions.

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HHS release a model Notice of Privacy Practices in Spanish. Since over 38 million people in the US speak Spanish, it’s about time. The offerings include fillable forms that can be printed for patients and are designed for both provider organizations and health plans.

The hot topic of conversation in the physician lounge this week has been the publication of the final rule amending the 1988 CLIA regulations to allow patients and their designees to receive lab results directly from laboratories. Physicians are generally resistant to anyone releasing lab or test results directly to the patient. Most of the time they cite concerns that the patient will not be able to interpret the results or that they may be confused or even harmed by results that lack explanation.

Our health system releases results to patients without physician review after 96 hours, so physicians have had to get on the ball and notify patients in a timely manner because the patients are going to receive their results if they are enrolled on the patient portal. There are a couple of tests that are restricted (like HIV and sexually transmitted infection labs) due to state privacy laws, but pretty much everything else in the lab or radiology realms is fair game.

Personally, I think it’s about time that other organizations have to start jumping through all the hoops that providers do with all the different rules that continue to be propagated. In this case, they only require the release of information within 30 days. Let’s make them release within three days like the rest of us and see how they do.

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I’m off to pack. Including a half marathon in my weekend plans has definitely added to my fashion worries. If you happen to be at Walt Disney World in the wee hours of Sunday morning, keep an eye out for me as I run through Cinderella’s Castle in bling that even Inga would envy. Otherwise, my next report will be from the HIMSS opening reception.


Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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February 20, 2014 News 6 Comments

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