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News 1/23/13

January 22, 2013 News 5 Comments

Top News

The Nebraska Health Information Initiative, Kansas HIN, and Missouri Health Connection connect their exchanges to share Direct secure messages across state lines.

Reader Comments

1-22-2013 10-01-20 PM

From Embers: “Re: Humedica. Being bought by Optum, I’ve heard. I wonder what will become of the Allscripts deal that frankly brought Humedica some business, but also had them running in circles (true for anyone dealing with Allscripts in the past few years)? Also, the new Optum research center in Cambridge is gathering steam and they are putting together a nice team to be a healthcare think tank. Hope you had a nice few days off – my imagination puts you on the podium with Obama and not sipping drinks by the pool.” A couple of readers told me they’ve heard that clinical data vendor Humedica has been acquired, one of them specifically saying it happened last week with no public announcement planned. Wednesday morning update: I’ve confirmed via a reader that the company has been sold to Optum. I’m happy to say that my mini-vacation consisted of the latter and not the former, as I took Mrs. HIStalk out of the country for some magnificent and rare downtime sprawling under 80-degree blue skies, swaying palms, and very small paper umbrellas that didn’t protect our white-to-red skin but did make our tropical drinks look even more fetching. I’m paying for the break today after getting home in the early morning, heading off to work just five hours later, and now sitting here with no break or bedtime in sight after 17 hours of non-stop catching up.

1-22-2013 6-57-28 PM

1-22-2013 6-55-10 PM

From EHR Watchdog: “Re: MedLink. See attached. Unfortunately customers can’t reach the company as its top two executives are being investigated by the SEC. The company’s EHR is certified and customers are no doubt trying to figure out what to do. One physician has a contractual requirement that records for his 6,000 patients will be available digitally, but he’s having to go through them one by one to either print or save to an external device as he shops for another EHR after spending thousands of dollars on MedLink.” The reader attached the SEC’s October 2012 complaint against Medlink and its two executives, Ray Vuono and Jameson Rose. It claims the company filed a Form 10-K audit report bearing the name of an auditing firm that had in fact not audited the company’s books, with that same SEC form bearing the electronic signature of one of the company’s directors who had not reviewed the form or authorized that his signature be attached. Lastly, the SEC claims an investor asked to have his check returned, but the company deposited it instead. In the SEC’s words, MedLink “purports to be a healthcare information technology company” and Vuono is “a recidivist securities law violator.” I know what that word means because Raising Arizona is one of my all-time favorite movies.

1-22-2013 7-23-52 PM

From Iconic Reader: “Re: Allscripts. The smoking doc, at least the reflector part of his attire, is apparently the model for the isolation icon in an Allscripts product!” I give them the nod for going old school, with a doc sporting a reflector thingy and a nurse wearing a starched white cap with a red cross on it.

From Pinky Toe: “Re: vendor shakeup. The vendor is Allscripts. Major reorg in the development group, which includes product management and testing, in which 200+ remote employees are being required to move to Raleigh, Chicago, or Burlington VT or face termination. This move not initiated by Paul Black, but he has sanctioned. This is a RIF, but instead of calling it a RIF, management is calling it a consolidation of resources to ‘centers of excellence.’” More convincing (but also unverified) were reader declarations that the vendor referenced in a reader’s earlier comment about employee layoffs is in fact NextGen, but I don’t have confirmation on anything since companies rarely announce or confirm personnel actions.

From Ben Dover: “Re: NextGen. Cutting personal days for employees, sent out the week of January 16 but backdated to January 1, which means employees who took personal days for the holiday will be back-charged for vacation.” Unverified, but the source is non-anonymous and has a copy of the internal communication. The backdating, which adds a bit of sting to the slap in the collective employee face, seems indicative of either an impulsive management decision or inability to get the corporate act together.

1-22-2013 10-03-32 PM

From THB: “Re: Edward Hospital & Health Services. Merging with Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare to create a $1 billion system that would be among the largest in the Chicago area. Edward is going through an Epic implementation.” Verified in a Tuesday announcement. I interviewed Edward VP/CIO Bobbie Byrne a year ago. Edward seems to be the dominant would-be partner, so I expect the Epic implementation will continue and Elmhurst will drop Meditech.  

From Idol Observer: “Re: Greenway’s announcement of meeting ONC 2014 criteria as an EHR Module. According to the announcement, they only met two criteria, a safety-enhanced system and a quality management system. The first requires the vendor to simply name their testing methodology for the features already required by the 2011 feature – no programming is required. The second is to just identify the quality management system being used, with no programming required there either. In other words, it’s just meaningless PR that will get physicians even more confused.” I get lost in all the certification minutiae, so I’ll defer to Frank Poggio.

From Rand Reader: “Re: the recent Rand report. It said EMRs remain costly without good outcomes because doctors haven’t re-engineered their workflows to accommodate electronic systems. Why would they want to do that when the change could be averse to safe care? Just an idea for your next poll.” My opinion is that many doctors will never accept EMRs because to do so would implicitly accept the idea of process standardization and repeatable processes everywhere, and doctors are trained to be confident in their individual abilities and wary of any process that doesn’t involve their own brains and hands. Patients are usually on the side of doctors since everybody likes to think they’re getting extra-special treatment and not being managed by a corporate algorithm. I don’t know that either side has proved its point convincingly.

From Just Wonderin: “Re: ONC’s HIT Safety and Surveillance Plan of December 21. The ‘public comments’ solicited by HHS are not so public after all since they are not being presented for the public to see. Is it because HHS and ONC don’t want the public to see the comments offered by the Cerner and Epic ilk?” It appears that comments can be submitted only via e-mail.

HIStalkapalooza 2013, Sponsored by Medicomp

1-22-2013 8-02-29 PM

1-22-2013 7-56-06 PM

1-22-2013 7-55-27 PM

1-22-2013 8-59-24 PM

HIStalkpalooza will be Monday, March 4, 2013 at Rock ‘n’ Bowl, New Orleans, LA. Medicomp CEO Dave Lareau, one of the coolest guys I know, wanted to bring you some real New Orleans flavor for Medicomp’s return as HIStalkapalooza sponsor. He’s ably assisted by the ultra-professional crew who engineered the 2011 event: Patrice at bzzz productions, Shannon and Cindy from Thomas Wright Partners, Anthony from Istrico Productions, and of course the Medicomp stars like Roy and James that you saw on the stage and at the Quipstar event on the HIMSS show floor.

Medicomp sponsored the 2011 event at BB King’s in Orlando (video is here, although I doubt anyone has forgotten that bash). They said then they wanted to return this year, so naturally I’m super happy to have them back and expecting them to rise to the challenge of a superb 2012 HIStalkapalooza in Las Vegas courtesy of ESD (I still play their video every now and then because it’s so cool).

Rock ‘n Bowl is equal parts bowling alley, dance hall, live music venue, and old-school Cajun-Zydeco shrine, which sounds kind of low-brow until you notice that it has earned a 4.5 average review on both Yelp and Tripadvisor. Beats the heck out of a cookie cutter hotel ballroom or a Disney-like fake Cajun place. It’s a big place even though the layout makes it hard to tell in pictures. Some details:

  • Buses will take HIStalkapaloozans from the convention center to Rock ‘n’ Bowl and back to the key hotels.
  • You’ll be offered the chance to once again execute your perfect red-carpet strut while having an Ingatini thrust into your parched palm and being surrounded by industry glitterati.
  • You will have the option to sip (or guzzle) the aforementioned Ingatinis and Typhoon Janes, not to mention just a lot of drinks in general. The ladies are providing guidance on how they want their namesake potions prepared (I’ll bet there’s a lot of alcohol involved), so details on those will come later.
  • You’ll be entertained by Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers, with instructors leading you in Zydeco dance lessons if you so choose.
  • You’ll be fed you authentically and well with red beans and rice, jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, and retro bowling alley food like pizza, wings, and fried seafood. No tray-passed mini-quiches or two-per-person drink tickets here, folks.
  • Inga will be overseeing our usual shoe and attire contests, best bowling shirt judging, and some other categories I’m not privy to but that I expect will result me spending excessive money on beauty queen sashes and prizes. She can chime in later on the particulars.
  • The inestimable Jonathan Bush will once again preside over the not-to-be-missed HISsies awards at 7:30, the role he created at the first HIStalkapalooza in 2008 and has held since. I have it on good authority that the people you chose for all of the important and serious awards (Industry Figure of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, etc.) will be there, which would be quite an assemblage of industry talent.
  • There will be a fun bowling tournament, but since I haven’t bowled since college (translation: I’ve never bowled sober nor seen any reason to) I’ll let Medicomp explain how that will work later. I know some of Medicomp’s partner companies will be hosting individual lanes, so I’m sure we’ll have some fun folks there.
  • You will have networking opportunities like crazy given the remarkable number of CEOs, VPs, investment bankers, press, and lower-ranking but generally amiable grunts like me who’ll be hanging around and lowering their guard to conduct frank and possibly slightly slurred conversations. Deals will be made, jobs will be offered, and a variety of propositions will be extended and considered. A good time will be had by all.

The registration page is now open. Since demand always exceeds supply, registration puts your name on the “I want to come” list. If we have enough capacity, everybody on the list will get an invitation in mid-February. If not, then I’ll have to channel my velvet rope bouncer technique in choosing who gets an invitation (providers and long-time HIStalk supporters get picked first, then I just try to make it interesting by employer and role). Every HIStalk reader is important to me, so I sure hope we can squeeze everybody in since it’s your night.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

1-22-2013 10-10-31 PM

Kareo raises $20.5 million in series F funding led by Stripes Group.

1-22-2013 10-09-55 PM

Shares in Scotland-based revenue software vendor Craneware jump after the company said it expects half-year revenue to increase by seven percent.

1-22-2013 10-11-09 PM

Compuware reports Q3 results: revenue up two percent, EPS $0.12 vs. $0.10. The company says its Covisint HIE business grew 30 percent. The board says it will make a decision shortly about an unsolicited takeover offer of $11 per share, equal to the current share price.


1-22-2013 6-23-52 AM

King Saud University in Saudi Arabia contracts with Cerner to provide Millennium to two of its hospitals.

Lowell General Physician Hospital Organization (MA) selects HDS, athenahealth’s healthcare data management service for population-based cost and quality data analysis and reporting.

The New Mexico Health Information Collaborative will implement Orion Health’s HIE platform for its statewide exchange.

1-22-2013 3-09-01 PM

Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital (CA) selects Accent on Integration’s Accelero Connect platform to integrate its Philips IntelliVue patient monitors with its Meditech HIS and EDM solution.

Hong Kong and Tsuen Wan Adventist Hospitals select First Databank’s International Drug Knowledge.

El Camino Hospital (CA) chooses data warehouse and analytics solutions from Health Care DataWorks.


1-22-2013 3-24-15 PM  1-22-2013 3-25-26 PM

Mobile health provider Glooko hires Rick Altinger (Intuit Health) as CEO and Dean Lucas (Epocrates) as VP of product development. Glooko, which Dr. Travis included in a recent review of tools for diabetics, just received FDA 510(k) clearance for its mobile logbook device.

1-22-2013 3-27-40 PM

Amplion Clinical Communications names Tom Stephenson (Health Management Systems) president and COO.

1-22-2013 5-40-06 PM

Wendy Penfield (RealMed) joins Intellect Resources as VP of consulting services.

1-22-2013 3-31-25 PM

The Carroll County Chamber of Commerce (GA) names Greenway Medical founder W. Thomas Green as its 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year.

1-22-2013 9-23-59 PM

Rich Boehler, MD (MedeAnalytics) is named president and CEO of St. Joseph Healthcare (NH).

Announcements and Implementations

HIMSS awards 10 scholarships to students enrolled in HIT and management system degree programs.

1-22-2013 9-15-06 PM

Kansas City area hospitals form the Cerner-hosted Lewis and Clark Information Exchange (LACIE), originally created by Heartland Health.

Wheeling Hospital (WV) deploys PeriGen’s PeriCALM Plus in its obstetrical department.

1-22-2013 3-38-03 PM

UNC Health Care’s Rex Hospital (NC) implements Merge Hemo to automate cath lab processes into its EHR.

1-22-2013 3-39-57 PM

UPMC Beacon Hospital (Ireland) implements BridgeHead Software’s integrated backup solution for Meditech.

Neighborhood Health Plan and Partners HealthCare (MA) will provide $4.25 million in grants to 49 community health centers to expand HIT systems, train on Meaningful Use and medical coding, and train and build capacity for performance improvement.

HealthSparq launches its consumer health shopping platform (patient reviews, cost estimator, provider search, and social media forum) to health insurers.

1-22-2013 9-28-57 PM

The Government of Cantabria, Spain will deploy the initial phase of a European-wide e-health service from Texas-based Prodea Systems.


Brian Ahier and a couple of privacy experts will discuss the new HIPAA rules in a Google Hangout streaming video session on Wedneday, January 23 (which is “today” for most readers) at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

1-22-2013 5-46-13 PM

KLAS looks at clinical decision support tools and finds that more providers are turning to third-party order set and care plan vendors. Key findings:

  • Almost half of providers using third-party products previously tried to build a solution from scratch.
  • Among providers using third-party order sets, half use for reference content only because of an inability to move built pieces into the EMR.
  • Most providers would like more ability to customize medication alerts.

Sponsor Updates

  • SRS reports a 94 percent increase in revenues from 2011 to 2012 and the addition of 56 new employees.  
  • AT&T Healthcare’s Christine Furjanic will speak at the Western Physicians’ Alliance (NV) January 29 seminar on accountable care.
  • Orchestrate Healthcare expands and relocates its corporate headquarters to Carbondale, CO.
  • Greenway Medical Technologies, Inc., announces that Greenway PrimeSUITE 2014 (17.0) is compliant with the ONC 2014 Edition criteria and has earned certification as an EHR Module.
  • Shareable Ink reports 300 percent year-over-year growth and a twofold increase in employees since January 2012.
  • PatientPay CEO Thomas Furr offers advice on managing practice A/Rs and cash flow in a guest articl.
  • API Healthcare announces a 60 percent increase in year-over-year sales bookings and record bookings in the fourth quarter of 2012.
  • T-System will offer the PayRight Health Solutions patient collection system with its RevCycle+ solution.
  • CynergisTek and managed security service provider Solutionary partner to offer outsourced security monitoring.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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January 22, 2013 News 5 Comments

Monday Morning Update 1/21/13

January 19, 2013 News 10 Comments

From Jean Valjean “Re: Vendor shake-up. A major EHR vendor plans to dismiss between 10 and 20 percent of its workforce aimed at development, product management, marketing, and testing groupings. Employees also say the organization is taking initial measures to remove all personal days and compelling employees to use vacation time. Morale is very low and several key employees are leaving on their own. Issues stem from the recent appointment of a key executive whose management style is unknown.” This email contained just enough details (which I removed) to identify the company. However, the accusations are incredibly vague, though if any of it is true, employees may recognize their employer. If you can identify the company and want to share some verifiable details, drop me a note.

1-19-2013 6-06-01 PM

A dozen health systems earn a spot on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For 2013, including Southern Ohio Medical Center (29), Meridian Health (39) , and Mayo Clinic (41). I liked the perk offered by Methodist Hospital System (67): every employee received a $200 debit card to recognize their efforts and to promote the hospital’s ICare philosophy.

1-19-2013 8-47-01 PM

inga Speaking of great employers, Mr. H is taking a few days off so I am flying solo. I’m not sure whether he is sitting on a beach with an umbrella drink or skiing down a mountain, but I am sure he is putting together a few new Spotify playlists for your music diehards. I don’t have a playlist to share, but I can recommend Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty if are interested in hitting the movie theater.  Especially Zero Dark Thirty, which stars Jessica Chastain as a very smart, tough, and attractive CIA operative committed to finding Osama Bin Laden. Really, who doesn’t love a smart, tough, attractive woman? I’ll also mention for the HIMSS-attending fun seekers that we will be sharing details of HIStalkapalooza this week, including a link to request an invite.

United Airlines did not make the Best Companies list, but offers a nice perk by providing free health services at several of its hubs, including a just-opened employee health clinic at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. It’s one of five Walgreens-managed facilities available for all employees.

1-19-2013 8-53-00 PM

athenahealth announces it will offer an anesthesia-specific billing solution for hospitals and independent practices.  MedOasis will provide the capabilities for anesthesia coding, charge-entry, contract management, and compliance.

The VA again awards HP Enterprise Services a $543 million contract for RTLS, three months after IBM contested the original award granted in July. The GAO upheld the protest, saying the VA had made several prejudicial errors in evaluating the original offers from HP, IBM, and four other vendors. The VA re-opened the bid process in October and again selected HP to equip 152 medical centers.

1-19-2013 8-57-54 PM

Audax Health, which recently signed a strategic alliance with Cigna to develop a digital engagement platform, raises $21 million through a mix of debt, options, and other securities. The company also names four new executives including Optum alums Doug Celebi, MD (SVP of informatics) and Brian Dolan (chief customer solutions officer).

1-19-2013 8-58-46 PM

Saint Anthony’s Health Center (IL) will offer emergency tele-neurological services in partnership with Specialists On Call.

1-19-2013 9-01-36 PM

The local business journal profiles UCSF Medical Center and its $160 million Epic EMR, which went live in June. The reporter includes a few details that UCSF would likely rather forget, such as the project taking a year longer than originally estimated and costing $100 million more.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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January 19, 2013 News 10 Comments

News 1/18/13

January 17, 2013 News 4 Comments

Top News

1-17-2013 8-57-34 PM

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announces the final omnibus rule that substantially changes HIPAA regulations for the first time in 15 years. It (a) expands HIPAA’s reach to business associates such as contractors who will now be directly liable; (b) increases penalties to a maximum of $1.5 million per violation; and (c) clarifies the HITECH breach notification requirements. Patient provisions include (a) the right to request their own information in electronic form; (b) allowing cash-paying patients to instruct providers to not share their treatment information with their insurance company; and (c) limiting the use and sale of a patient’s information without their permission. The 563-page document has considerable detail including a discussion of feedback received, so feel free to leave a comment with nuggets you run across.

Reader Comments

From Digital Probe: “Re: headline. One of the rags ran a headline all day saying Health Information Exchange over a story about health insurance exchanges.” Indeed they did, and they’ve since quietly corrected their mistake, I see. I’m slightly mystified by their confusion, but even more so at their running a lengthy article on health insurance exchanges in an IT publication intended for a provider audience who I can’t image cares one iota about them.

From Android Powered: “Re: TPD’s list of iPhone apps. Anybody want to share their list for Android?”

1-17-2013 5-51-39 PM

From Boy Gary: “Re: Anthem CA Blue Cross. Their electronic eligibility system is down, so they e-mailed providers telling them to e-mail subscriber and patient information to check eligibility. They’re asking for the subscriber’s Social Security number to be sent by unsecured e-mail.” That’s such a bad idea that I’ll overlook their less-egregious omission of the apostrophes in the possessive occurrences of “subscriber’s.” They get credit for at least putting a manual step in place to help providers get paid.

From The PACS Designer: “MakerBot at CES. An addition to MakerBot’s product line that TPD posted about was introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in the form of a 3D plastic design system. The MakerBot Replicator 2X 3D printer uses melted plastic to form objects based on available 3D pattern software. So, for example you want a new coffee mug, you use your pattern design software to create the desired result. Maybe one of our adventurous readers will buy the Replicator to design a new shoe for Inga!” Pretty fascinating – the $1,749 device can replicate household hardware parts, antiques, and who knows what else.

From Lumpy Rutherford: “Re: former NextGen President Pat Cline. He has resigned from the QSI board effective immediately and on his LinkedIn page lists himself as CEO of newly incorporated Delaware corporation Lightbeam Health Information Systems. I don’t know the connection, but I suppose you could draw conclusions.” Indeed you could. I was interested in the corporation’s other officers, but couldn’t turn them up on Delaware’s corporations page (at least not without paying).

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

1-17-2013 2-58-51 PM

inga_small My inbox has been filling up with inquiries about HIStalkapalooza. Here’s what I can share for now. We will post a link to the invite sometime in the next couple of weeks, so keep reading HIStalk. We will again have the Inga Loves My Shoe contest as well as a crowning of the HIStalk King and Queen for best attire. Translation: if you needed a legitimate excuse for splurging on a new outfit, you now have one. However, you might want to wait for more details on the event because it may influence your final selection. The date again is Monday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m.

inga_small The latest goodies from HIStalk Practice include: the HIStalk Practice Advisory Panel discusses the various resources they use when purchasing HIT system to compare vendors and products. Bruce Henderson of Aetna Accountable Care Solutions suggests some factors that practices should consider before committing to an ACO model. Rob Drewniak of Hayes Consulting Management overviews and defines data governance. SRS CEO Evan Steele expresses concern about the future of the EHR incentive program. Proposed legislation would provide SBA loan guarantees for the purchase of clinical IT systems. A study suggests that projected primary care physician shortages could be eliminated if practices used EHRs and shifted more care to non-physician providers. EHR adoption by family physicians is expected to exceed 80 percent by the end of 2013. Most physicians don’t find online physician ratings helpful, though the vast majority believe their own ratings are at least partially accurate. Thanks for reading.

I’m taking a short beach break, leaving Miss Inga in charge of the Monday Morning Update. You can occupy your time by (a) connecting with us via our non-Catfished social not-working profiles; (b) porting intently and clicking methodically over the ads to your right from the folks who underwrite your HIStalk habit, if such a thing exists for anyone but me; (c) signing up for spam-free e-mail updates; (d) reviewing more in-depth sponsor information and filling out a two-minute form to solicit consulting help; and (e) evangelizing to your colleagues who won’t see our slick marketing campaigns and ads since we don’t have any. Seriously, you are the best.

On the Jobs Board: Product Marketing Specialist, Expert Solution Consultant – Revenue Cycle Specialist, Healthcare Vertical Solutions Director, Sr. Applications Engineer – EMR.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

1-17-2013 9-07-11 PM

PE firm Primus Capital Funds invests in Emmi Solutions, a provider of patient engagement solutions.

MIT Media Lab spinout Atelion Health will commercialize one of the lab’s project, a care coordination system that’s being tested at Boston Medical Center, Joslin Diabetes center, and Mayo Clinic.

1-17-2013 8-16-40 PM

Cleveland-area data archiving vendor MediQuant, which says its revenue is growing at 45 percent per year, moves into a larger space for its 40 employees and the 10 additional it plans to hire this year.

A hedge fund shareholder of Compuware criticizes the company for “intentionally dragging your feet” by not yet responding to a $2.3 billion December 18 takeover offer from Elliott Management Corp. Just after it received that offer, Compuware announced plans to conduct an $200 million IPO of its Covisint HIE business unit by the end of March.


Centra Health (VA) selects Wolters Kluwer Health’s ProVation software for cardiology procedure documentation and coding.

HP Enterprise Services announces that it has been chosen by the VA for a $543 million, five-year, 152-hospital RTLS contract, being issued the bid again after competitor protests of last year’s award. Subcontractors are CenTrak, Intelligent InSites, and WaveMark.


1-17-2013 5-19-49 PM

The Society of Health Systems and HIMSS award Dean Athanassiades, senior director of software customer services for Philips Healthcare, the 2012 SHS/HIMSS Excellence in Healthcare Management / Process Improvement Award for leadership in implementing synergies between the process improvement and IT professions.

1-17-2013 5-22-01 PM

Symphony Health Solutions names Frank Lavelle (Siemens Medical Solutions, Medquist) CEO.

1-17-2013 5-22-53 PM

Doug Cusick (HP, IBM) joins Clinovations as a partner, tasked with leading the expansion of the company’s payer, life sciences, and technology service lines.

1-17-2013 6-23-14 PM

Dann Lemerand is promoted to EVP of strategic alliances for The HCI Group.

Announcements and Implementations

Greenway Medical Technologies unveils its interactive Developer Portal and API to facilitate creation of apps that interoperate with Greenway’s EHR and PM platform.

Siemens Healthcare offers consulting services for value-based purchasing, preventable readmissions, and healthcare-acquired conditions.

1-17-2013 9-13-14 PM

A Dell-sponsored study finds that the family medicine residency program of Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (FL) saved $600,000 and enhanced productivity by implementing the company’s Mobile Clinical Computing solution, which includes desktop virtualization, single sign-on, and strong authentication.

Government and Politics

1-17-2013 5-28-23 PM

ONC selects four winners of its Health Design Challenge to develop patient-friendly designs for printed health records to help patients better understand and use their EHRs. The winners shared $31,000 in prize money.

ONC publishes several reports on HIEs.

1-17-2013 8-44-01 PM

In the UK, Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt calls on NHS to become paperless by 2018, making it “the most modern digital health service in the world.” The physician’s union replied, “The biggest challenges to making the NHS paperless by 2018 are down to funding, resources, prioritization, and the choice of systems in secondary care. Although there may potentially be some efficiency savings, technology will not necessarily create huge cost savings. As well as ongoing hardware and software funding, sufficient resources will be required to support evolving training, IT support and admin support.” Other goals the Secretary set: (a) every patient will have online access to their own records by March 2015; (b) referrals will be paperless; (c) patient records held in different locations will be linked; and (d) records will follow patients throughout NHS and social care.


1-17-2013 8-11-40 PM

A NIH-funded University of Pittsburgh study of four skin lesion apps finds that three of them weren’t very good at diagnosing a test set containing 53 images of lesions known to be cancerous. The apps incorrectly concluded that 30 percent of the lesions weren’t cancerous. The fourth app, which sends the image to a dermatologist for review, missed only one of the samples. The conclusion is to not trust unregulated apps with important medical decisions.


The Leapfrog Group retracts the “F” grade it gave to Texas County Memorial Hospital (MO) after the hospital complains that its score was based on incorrect data. The 25-bed hospital opted not to participate in Leapfrog’s survey because it did not have the resources required to complete the 80-page questionnaire. It says Leapfrog applied “questionable methodology” and used information that was not confirmed by NQF or independently assessed for reliability and validity. The hospitals has retained legal counsel. 

Siemens Health Services CEO John Glaser, who served as an ONC senior advisor helping craft Meaningful Use in 2009 while still VP/CIO at Partners HealthCare, agrees with several member organizations in calling for a slowdown of its rollout. He says, “The pace is too damned high. People are just cramming this stuff in.” Johns Hopkins Vice Provost for IT/CIO Stephanie Reel says the “one size fits all” approach is causing headaches for specialists and the Meaningful Use program needs to be evaluated for effectiveness, saying, “To keep moving ahead with such an aggressive strategy strikes me as foolish. We don’t know what’s working and what’s not working.” Obviously pushback is escalating.

1-17-2013 7-20-08 PM

Sporting Kansas City, partly owned by Neal and Cliff of Cerner, parts ways with its charity partner, Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong. ESPN says Livestrong cancelled the stadium-naming deal because the soccer team owed it money, while Sporting KC takes advantage of the Dope Pedaler headlines by loudly announcing the breakup with perfect timing. Livestrong’s name gets yanked down from the Livestrong Sporting Park sign and it loses its percentage of the gate, worth $8-10 million over six years.

An article in a security magazine says Australian security researcher have found “dangerous, unpatched flaws” in the Philips Xper cardiovascular imaging system that allow them free access to patient information. The researchers said they weren’t able to connect with someone at Philips, so they got in touch with the Department of Homeland Security and the FDA instead. They claim Homeland Security told them the agency was taking over all aspects of software vulnerabilities related to medical devices and software. Philips says the flaw is present only in old versions of its software. The researchers also played around with an iPad-based patient monitoring and found problems.

Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago sues a web design firm, seeking the return of the $859,000 it paid the company to design a site to promote its new $915 million hospital.

1-17-2013 7-42-26 PM

The Dallas paper profiles Robert Abbate, DO, who started One Touch EMR, an iPad-based EMR.   

A reader once swore she would never read HIStalk again if I mentioned the term “fecal transplant” again, so here’s a sad but necessary wave goodbye to her from Weird News Andy, who subtitles the story “May I borrow some Grey Poopon?” A study finds that the unsavory procedure works better than antibiotics for treating diarrhea due to C. Diff. WNA adds, “When they figure out how to put them in a pill, maybe,” which I might argue is even more disturbing.

Sponsor Updates

1-17-2013 9-18-44 PM

  • Columbia Valley Community Health (WA) chooses Access Evolution for creating and managing paperless forms and workflow.
  • Craneware offers VP-and-above healthcare finance executives a chance to win a $250 Amazon gift card if they answer a 10-question Executive Industry Survey by February 5.
  • HMS will participate in the HFMA Region 11 conference in Las Vegas January 27-30 and the THA 2013 Annual Conference February 13-14 in Austin.
  • dbMotion shares the agenda for its February 7 seminar in Dallas on connected healthcare.
  • Emdat adds Carmichael Business Systems, Northland Business Systems, and Integrated Data Technology as resellers of its digital dictation software.
  • The Advisory Board Company offers an infographic  that addresses accountability gaps and best practices for improving teamwork among frontline staff.
  • The City of Springfield (OH) renews its contract with MED3OOO for EMS billing services through January 31, 2014.
  • The US Army Network Enterprise Technology Command issues CommVault a Certificate of Networthiness for its Simpana 9 data and information management software.
  • Santa Rosa Consulting’s Carl Jaekel discusses issues practices will need to consider to accommodate PCMHs in a blog post.
  • T-System offers its T Sheets flu documentation template free to hospitals to help EDs manage the national flu epidemic.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

Every day is a good day to be anonymous, especially for the HIStalk team. Sometimes I marvel that I haven’t been outed at the office. I and am grateful that apparently I have enough of a filter so that my superhero identity isn’t revealed. I do have to be especially vigilant to ensure I’m logged into the correct Facebook and Twitter accounts so I don’t inadvertently post as the “wrong” me.

I’m just one of thousands of physicians using social media and was excited to see this article in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The authors sent hypothetical social media situations to various state medical boards to evaluate whether there was consensus on which situations might lead to a disciplinary evaluation. Not surprisingly, the riskiest posts included misleading clinical or credentialing information, using patient images without permission, and inappropriate contact with patients such as contacting them on dating sites. There was low consensus for sharing clinical anecdotes (as long as confidentiality was maintained) and for “showing alcohol use without intoxication.”


I do have some latent Victorian sensibilities, so I’m not sure photos of anyone drinking belong on Facebook. I have been friended by some of my colleagues and I think that either they have forgotten that their posts are visible to the workplace or perhaps they simply don’t care. Working for a conservative non-profit, I’d be a little concerned that those posts could someday be an issue (if not for the current workplace then for a potential or future employer.)

Many organizations have social media policies or codes of conduct, but it’s not a bad idea to find out if there are “informal” policies in play as well. Is it frowned upon for subordinates to “friend” their supervisors? Is there a difference between connecting on Facebook and connecting on LinkedIn? What about posting to social medial during typical business hours? Depending on an employee’s role and career goals, some of these are less than appropriate.

Having TMI (Too Much Information) seems to have become the norm. I’m not advocating for a return to the days of inkwells and quill pens, but I do miss having a little mystery in the world. I don’t need a photo of your lunch every day, unless of course if includes an awesome martini. If you have pictures of those, feel free to e-mail me.



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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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January 17, 2013 News 4 Comments

News 1/16/13

January 15, 2013 News 9 Comments

Top News

1-15-2013 8-26-57 PM

AMA submits comments to ONC urging that Meaningful Use Stages 1 and 2 be evaluated before committing to a Stage 3. It says its members most often express five concerns: (a) passing requires a 100 percent score; (b) the core measures are inflexible with regard to practice patterns and specialties; (c) the program needs to be independently evaluated; (d) EHR certification should place more emphasis on software usability; and (e) healthcare IT infrastructure barriers prevent data sharing. AMA wants three years between stages to give EHR vendors time to prepare – one year for making the rules, one for product development, and one for implementation.

Reader Comments

From EHR You Experienced?: “Re: Johns Hopkins Epic motivation for clinicians. Funny.” It is, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why people keep writing Epic in all capital letters. It’s just plain wrong.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Need a new Spotify playlist? Here you go. Beach House, Christian Mistress, Young the Giant, The Maldives, and others ranging from popular to obscure (mostly the latter since I strenuously resist musical monotony).


Just for you Smokin’ Doc fans, I’ve had the old logo turned into smaller ones of various sizes and shapes featuring just the doc himself, which I’ll be using regularly here and there. I may even place him permanently at the top of the page since people keep lamenting his apparent demise, which is simultaneously endearing and disturbing. However, just to be clear: (a) I don’t smoke a pipe or anything else and never have; (b) he doesn’t look like me; and (c) you won’t find many doctors wearing reflector thingies on their heads unless you time travel back to the 1960s – they’ve gone electronic.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

1-15-2013 7-09-32 PM

Twelve-employee Flatiron Health raises $8 million in a Series A funding round led by Google Ventures. The company, which is running a private beta of its oncology analytics platform, was started by the two founders of media buying platform vendor Invite Media. They sold that company to Google for $81 million in 2010.


Primary Partners (FL) contracts with telemonitoring provider AMC Health for remote monitoring of discharged patients using biometric devices.

1-15-2013 5-05-06 PM

Springhill Medical Center (AL) selects Omnicell for automated medication solutions and business analytics.

Holland PHO (MI) chooses Wellcentive Advance for aggregating and analyzing patient information from multiple EMRs and systems into a central repository to meet BCBS Michigan’s OSC program guidelines.

HealthEast (MN) chooses RelayHealth to power an enterprise HIE that will help coordinate care across its four hospitals and 14 clinics.

Health Services for Children with Special Needs (DC) selects care and claims systems from TriZetto.

1-15-2013 8-29-03 PM

Norwegian American Hospital (IL) chooses revenue cycle solutions from HealthWare Systems.

Aetna and Centene Corporation choose readmission predictive analytics software from Predixion Software.


1-15-2013 5-06-41 PM  1-15-2013 5-07-30 PM  1-15-2013 5-08-35 PM

KLAS appoints John Halamka (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), Wright Lassiter (Alameda Medical Center), and Denni McColm (Citizens Memorial Hospital) to its advisory board.

1-15-2013 5-09-22 PM

Kareo hires Rob Pickell (Strategy for HireRight) as its first chief marketing officer.

1-15-2013 5-10-33 PM

HIMSS and the American College of Clinical Engineering recognize Paul H. Frisch (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) with the ACCE-HIMSS Excellence in Clinical Engineering and Information Synergies Award for demonstrating leadership in promoting synergies between IT and clinical engineering.

1-15-2013 5-12-09 PM

Merge Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Cheryl Whitaker, MD leaves the company to pursue new ventures.

1-15-2013 5-57-07 PM

Mike Quinto (Quantros) joins PatientSafe Solutions as regional sales VP.

1-15-2013 7-26-29 PM

Former consultant and National Quality Forum SVP/COO Laura Miller joins HP as client principal in the public health sector.

Announcements and Implementations

1-15-2013 2-41-49 PM

Optum and Mayo Clinic launch Optum Labs, an open, collaborative research and development facility focused on improving patient care. Participants in the project will have access to Optum and Mayo’s information assets and technologies, including de-identified clinical and claims data.

White Plume Technologies adds AccelaPQRS, powered by Wellcentive, to its solutions suite. Its smart workflows and customized rules capture eligible encounters that allow users to transmit their denominators and numerators to Wellcentive’s registry.

An independent study finds that PeriGen’s PeriCALM Patterns can accurately screen fetal monitoring strips in real time, with its findings matching that of three experts from National Institutes of Health 97 percent of the time. Clinicians can also use the software retrospectively to test new hypotheses on stored fetal heart rate information. I interviewed CEO Matt Sappern in September.

1-15-2013 6-13-54 PM

Here’s a new cartoon from Imprivata.

1-15-2013 7-19-28 PM

US Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) visits Roswell-based revenue cycle vendor MediStreams.

MModal announces a partner certification program for vendors using its Fluency Direct speech recognition and natural language processing technologies.

Henry Schein MicroMD enhances its PM/EMR automated solutions line with tools for dashboards, patient marketing, data backup, electronic payments, statements, websites, PDR information, and third-party collections.

Government and Politics


CMS expands the MU program to include physicians who assign their reimbursement and billing to critical access hospitals.

1-15-2013 6-28-05 PM

William Zurhellen MD, a solo practice pediatrician in the New York City area, petitions the White House to move EHR strategy away from facilitating payment to a national approach for improving outcome and costs. His petition has 123 signatures so far of the 25,000 needed to put it in front of the President. We interviewed him on HIStalk Practice three years ago, where he explained why he wrote his own Unix-based EMR and why he’s not a HITECH fan. “The entire ARRA is a trade for information. We’ll give you money to put in records, but in return, we want you to supply us with performance data. Performance does not equal quality.” A reader reports that a recent CCHIT meeting, he received applause from at least half the audience when he announced, “Certification should focus on improving care. Anything else is a waste of time.”

Innovation and Research

Joe Kiani, founder and CEO of patient monitoring systems vendor Masimo, launches a patient safety conference and calls for fellow vendors to share their monitor information. He envisions a “superhighway of patient data” that can be analyzed by algorithms to provide an early warning of patient problems that will reduce 200,000 preventable deaths that occur under a provider’s care. Promising to share were Circuit Board, GE, Cerner, Smith Medical, SonoSite Fuji, Surgicount Medical, and Zoll Medical. Other solutions discussed were patient checklists, medical mistakes, and hospital overuse of blood from blood banks. Bill Clinton delivered the conference keynote and patient safety expert Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD also presented.

1-15-2013 7-56-57 PM

Conor Delaney, MD, a surgeon at University Hospitals Case Medical Center (OH) is profiled in an article about Socrates Analytics, which he founded to develop a system for University Hospitals that analyzes hospital information to support quality improvement efforts.


1-15-2013 5-52-30 PM

The Raleigh-area business paper covers the departure of Diane Adams, VP of culture and talent of Allscripts. We detailed her severance package here when it was first filed, but the paper recaps: a year’s salary in cash, her annual target bonus in cash, a year of health benefits, partial accelerated vesting, and other potential bonuses. She gets an extra year’s salary if the company sells out within the next year. She made $1.9 million in 2011 for her job, described as “building a values-based, high-performance environment where people, learning, and fun are the priorities.” It would be interesting to hear from those people whether they enjoyed $1.9 million worth of learning and fun.

1-15-2013 3-10-04 PM

HIMSS Analytics reports that in the last five quarters, the number of US acute care hospitals achieving EMRAM Stage 5 or Stage 6 has increased more than 80 percent and the number reaching Stage 7 has grown 63 percent, suggesting that HITECH has spurred the increased implementation and meaningful use of EHRs.

A routine compliance audit by Samaritan Medical Center (NY) uncovers what it says is illegal activity by a sheriff’s department RN who was authorized to review the electronic medical records of inmates, but who was found to be checking out the records of other patients as well.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Vital Statistics warns parents to check the birth certificates of their newborns after a vendor’s newly implemented records software was found to be pulling in incorrect names for the father.

1-15-2013 8-09-18 PM

Northwestern University (IL) will spend $1 billion to replace its women’s hospital, planning to tear down an existing structure that preservationists are trying to have designated as a protected landmark.

1-15-2013 8-35-21 PM

Weird News Andy finds this story odd: the VA hospital in Buffalo notifies hundreds of patients from 2010 to 2012 that they may have been exposed to HIV or hepatitis because nurses misused insulin pens by correctly discarding the used needles, but re-using the same pen on multiple patients.

Strange: a Washington psychiatric hospital loses its accreditation because of an unsecured karaoke machine. State inspectors said the cord presented a patient safety hazard, no doubt remembering an event from a month before in which one patient at the hospital strangled another in karaoke-unrelated incident.

Sponsor Updates

  • HealthMEDX customer Asbury Methodist Village (MD), which recently won an award for its use of technology to improve care transition from long-term care to other settings, is featured in a video from Leading Age and the Center for Aging Services Technologies.
  • John McCullough, associate VP of clinical applications for Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (NC), reviews his organization’s partnership with Intellect Resources, which provided Wake Forest with strategic planning services prior to its go-live.
  • Steve Besch, senior systems analyst for Ingenious Med, discusses PQRS and the need for program participation in 2013 to avoid penalties in 2015 in a blog post.
  • TrainingWheel introduces its mobile solution for automating help desk issues and support tracking.
  • TrustHCS offers advice for the C-suite on preparing for ICD-10 and Meaningful Use in a blog post.
  • Velocity Data Centers breaks down how it builds data centers in 90 days and publishes a time-lapse video documenting the start-to-finish process.
  • VersaSuite will participate in the Rural Health Care Leadership Conference in Phoenix February 10-13.
  • Arian Bichsel, director of client support for Allscripts, shares strategies to reduce hospital readmissions.
  • API Healthcare discusses the use of payroll and HR software to drive down the cost of care, boost efficiencies, and improve clinical outcomes.
  • Infor recognizes NTT DATA as its 2012 Infor Lawson Service Partner of the Year based on its 250+ successful implementations of Lawson’s ERP software.
  • Informatica sponsors GovernYourData.com, a vendor-neutral online community and resource center for data governance.
  • ICSA Labs and IHE USA partner to provide industry-accepted certification to complement existing testing of IHE integration profiles.
  • The Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative selects Emdeon subsidiary HTMS to provide strategic planning and operational roadmap for the development of a consumer-owned health insurance plan.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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January 15, 2013 News 9 Comments

Monday Morning Update 1/14/13

January 12, 2013 News 15 Comments

From The PACS Designer: “Re: TPD’s list. The latest update of my iPhone apps lists is online. In addition to many new apps is a new section highlighting the apps of HIStalk sponsors.” TPD’s list is here. He’s always up for additions to it.

From Frank Poggio: “Re: Meaningful Use Stage 4.  At the January 8 HIT Policy Committee meeting, Farzard Mostashari, ONC director, waxed eloquently about MU Stage 4. Hey, wait a minute — the original playbill said this was to be a three-act play! Does he think we can stay in this claustrophobic theatre all day and night? How many more acts will there be? One thing for certain — the bonus money will run out long before the last act, but you can be sure the ‘penalty’ clauses will not. This MU theatre of the absurd must be in the Hotel California… you can check in, but you can never check out.”

1-11-2013 8-46-11 PM

From Green Space: “Re: Judy Faulkner’s new company to generate electricity for Epic. Search the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions for Galactic Wind. Here’s a photo of the wind farm, about 15 miles north of Epic’s main campus.”

1-11-2013 8-50-50 PM

From Dragovitz: “Re: Peake Healthcare Innovations. The image sharing joint venture between Johns Hopkins Medicine and Harris Computer appears to be defunct. Rumor has it they found it hard to differentiate themselves from PACS vendors and underestimated the risk of trying to use MINT, a protocol that would have displaced DICOM.” Unverified. The JV was created on March 2011 and their “new approach to medical image management” was rolled out at HIMSS last year.

1-12-2013 7-29-39 PM

Sixty percent of us have used a patient portal offered by our PCP. New poll to your right: was the 2005 RAND study naïve, biased, decent but not useful for justifying EMR subsidies, or possibly accurate once more time goes by? Pick the best answer since you get only one.

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

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1-12-2013 11-07-49 AM

1-12-2013 11-09-28 AM

A new report commissioned by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine finds that despite the largest per-capita healthcare spending of all countries, the US ranks dead last among 17 developed nations in health. Most surprisingly, it’s not our also legendary number of poor and uninsured residents who are dragging our average down – our unhealthiness is equal opportunity by income and education. If you want your child to live to 50, move to another of those 16 other countries because they’re a target here for being murdered, dying in a car wreck, and not even living long enough to attend pre-school (we’re #1 in all those categories). We’re lucky that one other country beat us in the percentage of people dropping dead of heart problems and lung disease. We’re dead last in the percentage of doctors in primary care, and the graphic above shows IT as one of the “worse than average” items (the others being coordination of care, medical errors, patient dissatisfaction, and miscommunication). No single cause was identified, but it says a lot of the problem starts with being fat, overusing legal and illegal drugs, shooting each other, and wrecking cars, not to mention a healthcare non-system that’s superb at Rambo-style interventions but really bad at almost everything else. The authors found no silver bullet other than spending a lot of taxpayer money, which is another not-so-great #1 they didn’t bring up (the largest national debt at $16 trillion with the lead widening by the minute). Being rugged and self-determinant individualists, we’re not real big on public health programs in the US, so it’s ironic that excellent schools crank out thousands of public health stars who immediately head off to Africa or South America to find work despite a target-rich environment here.

1-12-2013 10-22-59 AM

ONC announces that Authorized Certification Bodies are now authorized to test and certify EHRs using the 2014 Edition Standards and Certification Criteria.

1-12-2013 9-35-05 AM

My guilty pleasure is reading John Halamka’s “Building Unity Farm” posts on his Life as a Healthcare CIO blog. I skim his other IT-related posts on occasion, but I never miss an episode about how he uses his engineering and IT background to approach building a gentleman’s farm, like Oliver Douglas on Green Acres except he knows what he’s doing. I find myself fascinated by what kind of guinea fowl he favors, his hardwood management plan, and what was on his vegan Christmas menu.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the state’s overseer of physicians, will lay off 18 of its 26 medical unit employees next week because of a $9.6 million budget shortfall.

An interesting Alabama Supreme Court ruling allows patients who claim injury from a generic drug to sue the manufacturer of the brand name drug they didn’t take. The court ruled that generic drug makers are required to use the approved labeling of the patented drug, so a lack of warnings isn’t their fault. Alabama high-end real estate values will probably benefit as out-of-state trial lawyers shop second homes there.

Academic Ranking of World Universities, assembled by researchers at a university in China, ranks the world’s best clinical medicine and pharmacy universities, with US schools taking all but four spots in the Top 20, counting ties. In order, Harvard, UCSF, University of Washington, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, UT Southwestern, UCLA, Stanford, University of Pittsburgh, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Mayo Medical School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MD Anderson, Yale, and Vanderbilt.

1-12-2013 9-48-08 AM

BCBS’s Blue Health Intelligence acquires Tampa, FL-based Intelimedix, which offers employer and payor analytics from its medical claims database covering 110 million patients.

1-12-2013 9-55-19 AM

Miami Children’s Hospital receives a hospital association’s marketing award for sending urgent care wait times via text messages. The hospital uses a service from ER Texting.

RAND Corporation’s admission in a Health Affairs article that its own 2005 study predicting vast savings from EHRs was dead wrong gets major space in The New York Times, even scoring a quote from original National Coordinator David Brailer, MD, PhD, who now says HITECH was a “colossal strategic error” that encouraged providers to earn government checks by buying EHRs quickly and worrying later about actually using them for anyone’s benefit. The new analysis says the original vendor-funded report was “enthusiastically embraced,” but that now “critics of the RAND team’s analysis can claim a measure of vindication.” Some quotes from the new article:

  • Lack of interoperability means systems function “less as ATM cards, allowing a patient or provider to access needed health information anywhere at any time, than as frequent flier cards intended to enforce brand loyalty to a particular health care system,“ with the huge amount of information stored by Kaiser and the VA “essentially useless if the patient seeks out-of-network care.”
  • EHR adoption is still arond 40 percent instead of the 90 percent threshold RAND said was needed despite billions of HITECH payouts, which it described as, “Most of the action is concentrated among facilities that were already planning to implement or upgrade their health IT systems. Federal incentives have not yet closed the health IT gap between small, rural, and nonteaching hospitals and larger, urban, and academic ones.”
  • Patients share the blame, with few of them even signing up to view their electronic records and most of those never actually looking at them.
  • “Considering the theoretical benefits of health IT, it is remarkable how few fans it has among health care professionals.” The article says market forces aren’t working to demand more usable systems since comparative system information is not readily available and HITECH encourages just buying whatever’s out there anyway.
  • The “do more, bill more”healthcare payment system provides no incentives to use IT to reduce costs or improve outcomes.
  • The article concludes, “The optimistic predictions of Hillestad and colleagues in their 2005 analysis of the potential benefits of health IT have not yet come to pass. This is not because of shortcomings in their analysis but rather because of shortcomings in the design, implementation, and use of health IT in the United States. When the preconditions these authors posited are finally realized, the benefits they predicted will be realized as well.”

I bet most readers saw this coming when the exuberant 2005 study started putting stars in the eyes of vendors and the federal government. People who put their hopes in a tool rather than tool users are usually wrong, and it’s almost always true that those tool users will do whatever it is that they’re paid to do, like cranking out procedures, stealing each other’s profitable patients and doctors, and buying EHRs quickly without a lot of thought or commitment.

My take is that the original article was more naïve than biased. The new article, however, puts a lot of the blame on HITECH — which wasn’t implemented until four years after the original article — and not enough blame on a screwed up healthcare system whose technology reflects that unfortunate reality. A vendor could easily develop a usable, interoperable, patient-centered EHR if they didn’t have to deal with mountains of billing rules (most of them coming from the same federal government that’s complaining about complex systems), insurance companies, regulators, and market-force competitiveness, following the specifications of users dedicated to a framework of standardized and repeatable processes. They would, however, have no customers. That’s why only the VA has done it, and they developed their own VistA system having the luxury of a vacuum to work within.

The worst thing about the original RAND study is that it was quickly co-opted by special interests as validation for spending billions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize fast-tracked sales of systems to providers who had already declined to buy them with their own money. We have good providers, good electronic systems, and good patients — we just can’t seem to put the policies in place to move the needle on the marginal ones.

Vince has a great look-back this week, getting some first-hand history of Sphere Healthcare Information Systems as it eventually became NextGen’s financial system.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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January 12, 2013 News 15 Comments

News 1/11/13

January 10, 2013 News 2 Comments

Top News

1-10-2013 8-39-19 PM

The VA launches a Medical Appointment Scheduling System challenge to replace its VistA scheduling module. Up to three entrants will win up to $3 million each.

Reader Comments

1-10-2013 7-17-31 PM

From TV’s Frank: “Re: Intermountain Healthcare. Finally dumping GE Healthcare.” An e-mail from Intermountain CIO Marc Probst to IT employees says the still-incomplete system it’s been building with GE is deficient in clinical documentation, CPOE, and integration with coding and billing. As a result, Intermountain has evaluated GE’s future EMR strategies and decided not to renew their contract, instead considering three options: (a) keep building their homegrown EMR without GE’s involvement; (b) buy Epic, Cerner, or Siemens; or (c) buy best-of-breed and try to integrate. I’ve panned the GE-Intermountain deal since it was announced in 2005, skeptical that dumping a few hundred million dollars and GE’s questionable expertise was going to ever yield anything tangible, which apparently is exactly the case seven-plus years into the 10-year deal. Or as I described it in 2011, “GE-Intermountain screwing around that never seems to provide any real, marketable products (are those Intermountain-led Carecast enhancements just about done?)”
1-10-2013 6-46-44 PM

From Jerry Aldini: “Re: Geisinger Health System (PA). I contacted you a while back with the rumor that they were developing a commercial solution for accountable care enablement. It was announced at JPMorgan last week. Announcement attached.” I haven’t seen announcement hit the wires, but it says that Geisinger is launching xG Health Solutions, a for-profit spinoff that will commercialize its intellectual property. On the list: consulting services, population health analytics, care management, healthcare IT optimization, and third-party administration services. Geisinger EVP Earl Steinberg, MD, MPP (above) is named CEO and former Alere Chief Innovation Officer Gordon Norman, MD will be chief medical officer.

From PolishingMyResume: “Re: Allscripts. Preparing for relocations and layoffs in the software development organization for development people who work remotely or outside the seven core offices of Boston, Bangalore, Burlington, Chicago, Raleigh, Pune, and Vancouver.” Unverified. Seems like a smart strategy to me. The problem with indiscriminate acquisitions is that you have people strung out all over the place who understandably don’t want to move, limiting your opportunity for the synergy or culture management that Allscripts could use quite a bit of right about now (not to mention expense reduction, ditto). One of quite a few bad decisions by Eclipsys before Allscripts overpaid to buy the company was hiring CEOs who refused to relocate and instead occasionally jetted a few time zones over when the troops needed demoralizing, so I assume that lesson was learned and Paul Black will work out of the Chicago office. 

1-10-2013 8-07-46 PM

From Joan Hovhanesian: “Re: Howard University Hospital. Went live on Soarian clinical documentation on January 7.” Congratulations to the folks there. That’s a gutsy move going live immediately after the holidays. I still think of Joan as being with FCG and later VP/CIO of Shands Healthcare, so I’m out of touch – she’s with Program Advisors now.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga_small HIStalk Practice highlights from the last week include: only 16 percent of providers met PQRS requirements in 2010. Primary care physicians are more likely to demonstrate improvement on measures of care when they have had sustained and extensive technical assistance. A billing service and four pathology groups agree to pay $140,000 to settle allegations that they improperly disposed of thousands of medical records found in a public dump. Job opportunities for physicians will continue to rise in 2013. The AMA and other professional medical organizations urge CMS to stop the implementation of the ICD-10 code set for outpatient diagnosis coding. Galen Healthcare releases a plug-in for Allscripts Enterprise EHR that sends providers EHR task updates to their PC or smartphone. It’s a new year and I hope your 2013 resolutions include not only a commitment to good health, but also a vow to expand your HIT ambulatory knowledge by faithfully perusing HIStalk Practice. Thanks for reading.

On the Job Board: Marketing Manager, Senior Applications Engineer – EMR.

1-10-2013 6-10-34 PM

Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor HTTS (Health Technology Training Solutions). For you vendors out there, this is my theory: customers often slam your product on KLAS surveys when their problem is really inadequate user training, not your software. The last thing you want customers to experience before go-live is a hastily thrown together set of PowerPoints and talking head demos put together by someone who knows the application but has no knowledge of instructional design and adult learning theory. You’ll hear an earful afterward, but not just on your training evaluation forms – users will under-use your systems, overload your help desk, and badmouth your product on reference calls. The HTTS team of healthcare IT and instructional design experts can help eliminate those problems by reviewing your training strategy, conducting a training needs analysis for new products or releases, and developing your training content using state-of-the-art learning techniques. Check out the testimonials of vendors who have engaged HTTS to optimize their training experience. If you’ve experienced professionally designed software training (both online and instructor-led), it’s easy to distinguish it from the more typical variety assembled by well-meaning amateurs. Now’s a good time to arrange a HIMSS conference connection to learn more. Thanks to HTTS for supporting HIStalk.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

7 Medical Systems closes on its acquisition of HealthLink Minnesota Management Group, a provider of administrative and IT services to clinics.

1-10-2013 5-12-29 PM

ManTech International completes its acquisition of CMS contractor ALTA Systems.

1-10-2013 5-11-29 PM

EBSCO Publishing expands its evidence-based pediatric content with the acquisition of PEMSoft, a pediatric point-of-care clinical information library and multimedia decision support system.


1-10-2013 2-25-22 PM

Saint Luke’s Health System (MO/KS) expands its use of Perceptive Software solutions to include integration with Epic.

CalHIPSO contracts with ClearDATA Network to offer cloud hosting, offsite backup, and disaster recovery services to CalHIPSO provider members.

Emergency Medicine Physicians selects athenaCollector and athenaCommunicator for its 800-physician group. athenahealth also announces that Prospira PainCare with deploy athenaClinicals, athenaCollector, and athenaCommunicator.

1-10-2013 2-27-24 PM

Children’s Mercy Hospitals & Clinics (MO) selects GE Healthcare’s Centricity Business as its enterprise-wide RCM solution.

1-10-2013 5-15-44 PM

Straith Hospital for Special Surgery (MI) chooses the ONE EHR from RazorInsights.

1-10-2013 2-30-01 PM

Flagler Hospital (FL) contracts with Surgical Information Systems for Sunrise Surgery.

1-10-2013 5-17-46 PM

Doylestown Hospital (PA/NJ) subscribes to the CapSite Database to assist with the capital planning and purchasing processes.

Lincoln Orthopaedic Center (NE) selects SRS EHR for its 14 providers.

1-10-2013 8-42-32 PM

Vanderbilt University Medical Center will use event-driven software from Tibco to support its clinical decision support capabilities.

1-10-2013 3-12-54 PM

Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital (OH) will encourage non-emergent ED patients to instead use HealthSpot telemedicine kiosks staffed by medical assistants and equipped with monitoring instruments. Also announced: telehealth provider Teladoc will offer HealthSpot’s kiosks.


1-10-2013 5-18-39 PM 1-10-2013 5-19-37 PM

MedSys Group names Steven Heck (First Consulting Group) president and Luther Nussbaum (First Consulting Group) chairman of the board.

1-10-2013 5-21-44 PM

URAC President and CEO Alan P. Spielman announces his resignation.

Announcements and Implementations

1-10-2013 3-09-43 PM

Sentara Healthcare (VA) begins implementation of Morrisey Associate’s Concurrent Care Manager software across its 10 hospitals and 100 medical facilities.

The dbMotion-powered ClinicalConnect HIE (PA) expands its reach to 1.3 million patients.

1-10-2013 5-26-19 PM

South West Medical (KS) and Rems Murr Kliniken in Germany go live on iMDsoft’s MetaVision platform.

1-10-2013 8-30-21 PM

Hospital messaging services vendor Critical Alert Systems partners with Mobile Heartbeat, which provides hand-held messaging and alarms, to create an enhanced nurse call solution.

3M Health Information Systems opens an innovation center in Silver Spring, MD that will showcase its offerings.

Meta Healthcare IT Solutions announces customized versions of its clinical documentation, CPOE, pharmacy, and medication administration software that meet the requirements of Canada-based customers.

Government and Politics

The FCC announces it will make available up to $400 million in annual funding to healthcare providers to spur development of broadband networks for telemedicine.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announces the formation of 106 new Medicare ACOs.

Former CMS administrator Don Berwick, MD says he is strongly considering running for Massachusetts governor in 2014. He says healthcare experience gives him sensitivity to issues, adding, “I get more and more excited about the idea of Massachusetts as a model.”


1-10-2013 6-57-49 PM

Panasonic announces an expanded line of Toughpad enterprise-grade tablets that include a 10-inch model running Windows 8 Pro ($2,899) and 7-inch ($1,199) and 10-inch ($1,299) Android versions.

HL7 releases a CCD to Blue Button Transform Tool that allows organizations using the CCD format to allow patients to download information as ASCII text.


1-10-2013 8-00-53 PM

A heavily recruited professor couple at University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, one of them director of the ONC-funded University Partnership for Health Informatics (UP-HI), quit amidst charges they were double-dipping by simultaneously being paid by another university employer. The State of Georgia handed down felony indictments against Julie Jacko in 2011 after finding that she and Francois Sainfort were collecting full-time paychecks from both UM and Georgia Tech, but dropped charges in return for a plea agreement, restitution payments, and probation by Sainfort. Jacko ran the UP-HI project, funded by a $5.1 million ONC grant.

A California judge refuses to grant Kaiser Permanente access to the PCs and e-mail accounts of a couple whose small document storage business it hired to manage paper patient records. The state health department found last month that Kaiser put medical records at risk by turning them over to the small company without a signed contract. Kaiser claims it picked up the paper records, but the couple didn’t return everything.

Vermont’s Department of Financial Regulation scolds Porter Hospital for overrunning the $4.3 million budget of its Meditech-MedHost EMR project by 63 percent. The hospital undertook the project to earn HITECH money and to participate in Vermont Blueprint for Health. The hospital’s VP of public relations said, “The Meditech folks would hand you a box and say, ‘Good luck, do you have any questions?’” The hospital admits that during the physician practice rollout, all of its practices stopped accepting new patients for an unstated period, with the article ironically concluding, “Porter found that the productivity of doctors took a big hit each time the software was rolled out at a new practice … Officials said it has not been unusual for a doctor who normally saw 20 patients an hour to be able to see only 10 or 12 once the productivity-enhancing software was introduced.”

Weird News Andy finds this story a HIPAA stretch. Police confiscate the cell phone of a man filming an arrest on a public street, with a deputy telling him, “If I end up on YouTube, I’m gonna be upset.” The man was charged with obstruction and disorderly conduct, with the deputy claiming it was a HIPAA violation. A Stanford law expert opines the obvious: “There’s nothing in HIPAA that prevents someone who’s not subject to HIPAA from taking photographs on the public streets. HIPAA has absolutely nothing to say about that.”

1-10-2013 9-14-16 PM

It’s not an April 1 gag: the iPad-ready children’s iPotty debuts at CES. My only surprise is that the adult model wasn’t rolled out first.

Sponsor Updates

  • Jim Stilley, director of clinical workflow consulting for Versus, will discuss the use of RTLS to improve patient flow and efficiency at the 2013 Patient Flow Management Congress January 28-29 in Las Vegas.
  • The Advisory Board Company offers a February 14 Web conference on the inpatient value-based purchasing program.
  • MedHOK earns full 2013 NCQA HEDIS software certification for its 360Measures v2.56.
  • Bill Bithoney, MD of Truven Health Solutions discusses innovative and targeted approaches for reducing costs by improving care quality for better patient outcomes in a blog posting.
  • Medicity publishes a white paper discussing how to build patient centeredness into the ACO model. 
  • iMDsoft highlights some of its 2012 milestones, including successful implementations in Canada and the Czech Republic, 60 critical care and anesthesia projects, and go-lives of MetaVision in 17 countries.
  • Prognosis HIS doubles its client base for the second consecutive year and announces that all of its eligible clients exceeded baseline requirements to complete Stage 1 MU attestation using ChartAccess EHR.
  • Beacon Partners defines population health management and its relation to ACOs in a January 18 Webinar.

EPtalk with Dr. Jayne

CMS is seeking comments from hospitals, EHR vendors, and “other interested parties” on its electronic quality reporting. Starting in 2014, the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) program requires use of the Quality Reporting Document Architecture (QRDA) standard. According to the e-mail, “CMS wants to increase efficiency and reduce the burden for providers…” If that’s true, I have some other suggestions for them as well. The comment period closes January 22, so sharpen those pencils and fire up those keyboards.

Speaking of CMS, don’t forget that if you completed your 2012 reporting period on time, you only have until February 28 to attest for Medicare. Those attesting with Medicaid should check for their specific state deadlines.

One more CMS deadline-related item and then I’ll quit, I promise. The comment period for ONC’s Health IT Patient Safety Action & Surveillance Plan is open until February 4. Goals of the plan include making it easier for clinicians to report patient safety events, engaging vendors to “embrace their shared responsibility for patient safety,” and incorporating health IT safety in post-market surveillance of certified EHRs. It’s only 40 pages, considerably shorter than most ONC reads.

From Follow Up Fred: “Re: sticky workplace problems. Good topics for discussion! One solution I’ve successfully employed for years is this. If I need a prompt response to a question or request communicated by voicemail or e-mail, I always end the message by asking for a response by a certain date and time. Typically, “Hey Jane, I’d appreciate it if you’d get back to me by close of business Thursday, January 10.” I then flag the e-mail or voicemail follow-up date on phone in the event the requested deadline is missed. I’ve found it very effective for myself but also the recipient, who in turn can prioritize the return response.” An excellent point, especially in a workplace where people won’t do anything until they’re absolutely up against a deadline.

The AMA continues to play Chicken Little with their ongoing pleas for CMS to halt implementation of ICD-10. Citing the cost and administrative burden, they ask that it not simply be delayed again, but to call on “appropriate stakeholders to assess an appropriate replacement for ICD-9.” There has already been significant expense to prepare for implementation and I know many people will be aggravated at the lost time, money, and effort if they’re successful. Do I sense an HIStalk poll in the making?


Inga and I are hard at work designing the beauty queen sashes for HIStalkapalooza. Thanks to some virtual BFF shoe shopping (via camera phone and text message), I’m ready for HIMSS. Do you have your shoes picked out and your accessories coordinated? E-mail me.



Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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January 10, 2013 News 2 Comments

News 1/9/13

January 8, 2013 News 10 Comments

Top News

1-8-2013 8-59-11 PM

A RAND study finds that the cost-saving promise of healthcare IT it predicted in a vendor-subsidized 2005 study has not been reached because deployed systems are not connected and not easy to use. The study’s authors blame shortcomings in the design of IT systems and recommend improving interoperability between systems, providing better access to records for patients, and designing more intuitive systems. The original RAND study published in Health Affairs (above), partly paid for by Cerner, claimed that electronic medical records would save at least $81 billion per year, which the Congressional Budget Office said at the time was a ridiculously inflated number. Still, the study was cited repeatedly to justify government spending on EHR-related programs. Another RAND study predicted that HIEs would generate hundreds of billions of dollars per year in healthcare savings.

Reader Comments

1-8-2013 7-17-38 PM

From Homecare: “Re: interesting misstep. From a VC-backed home care tech vendor.” Family Care Medical Services (WI) files suit against medical equipment and home health billing service vendor Brightree, claiming that the billing company Brightree acquired made inadequate efforts to collect money owed to the business. Brightree, an investment of Battery Ventures, acquired home health and hospice software vendor CareAnywhere late last week.

1-8-2013 9-12-24 PM

From Big O: “Re: HL7. Announced in September they were going to open up their standards for free in Q1. Anyone know the specific data?” I inquired via HL7’s contact page. They didn’t respond. I found a bunch of free downloads on their site, but I don’t know what else they’ll be releasing.

1-8-2013 7-45-37 PM

From Mickie: “Re: CenTrak RTLS lawsuit. Attached.” AeroScout, owned by Stanley Black & Decker, claims Centrak violated its patent for a WLAN-based RFID asset tag and locating system.

1-8-2013 7-01-33 PM

From Brandywine: “Re: Octo Barnett, MD at Massachusetts General Hospital. He’s officially retired and is not giving interviews any more.” I’m sorry to hear that since I really wanted to interview him. He should write his biography since he’s one of the pioneers of healthcare IT, along with the recently deceased Homer Warner and a few other key players. Octo developed the MUMPS programming language in the 1960s with Meditech Chairman Neil Pappalardo, which more than 40 years later still runs the systems used to care for probably 90 percent of hospitalized patients in the US.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga_small Mr. H and I have been talking HIStalkapalooza the last few days. I’m not sure he is quite ready to leak all the details, but here’s what I can share. The party, which will likely be the most fun event of HIMSS 2013, will be bigger than ever and include exotic shoes, excellent food and drink, entertaining music, a few contests, and even a bit of dancing. And of course the annual HISsies awards. You will want to keep your calendar open for the evening of Monday, March 4.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

1-8-2013 8-05-50 PM

Health Catalyst, known until recently as Healthcare Quality Catalyst, raises $33 million in Series B funding from Norwest Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, and Sorenson Capital Partners. I interviewed co-founder Steve Barlow in 2011 and SVP Dale Sanders this past October.

1-8-2013 8-04-17 PM

Point-of-care technology vendor PatientSafe Solutions closes a $20 million Series C round led by the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund.

Private equity firm Riverside Partners invests in Stinger Medical, a provider of mobile clinical workstations and medical technologies.

1-8-2013 3-26-34 PM

Care Thread, a provider of secure mobile messaging and a recently named “App of the Month” by Nuance Healthcare, secures $250,000 in seed funding from Slater Technology Fund.

1-8-2013 8-16-55 PM

Lightbank, the venture fund launched by Groupon’s founders, leads a $1.4 million investment in fertility app vendor Ovuline. The startup’s next product is a pregnancy monitoring app.

Data analytics company Blue Health Intelligence acquires Intelimedix, a healthcare analytics firm specializing in employer group and payer reporting solutions.

Passport Health Communications acquires California-based Data Systems Group, a provider of revenue cycle software solutions.

Travis analyzes possible reasons that athenahealth acquired Epocrates on HIStalk Connect.


ICON selects Cerner’s Discovere Late Phase platform to support its pharma and device studies.

The Health Information Trust Alliance designates Booz Allen Hamilton a Common Security Framework Assessor, tasked with conducting information security audits of healthcare organizations.

1-8-2013 3-33-54 PM

The Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust augments its Allscripts electronic patient record with Hyland Software’s OnBase solution for enterprise content management.

1-8-2013 3-35-42 PM

St. Anthony’s Medical Center (MO) selects Capsule Tech’s device connectivity technology for use in multiple areas to automate the flow of patient data into Epic.

1-8-2013 3-37-15 PM

Stellaris Health Network (NY) signs a multi-year agreement with MedAssets for strategic sourcing, BI, and process improvement consulting.

Delaware Health Information Network approves the AlliedHIE Company as a Direct messaging provider for the HIE’s enrolled practices, with messaging and interoperability technology provided by ICA’s CareAlign Direct Messaging and Exchange solutions.


1-8-2013 12-06-51 PM

CHIME and HIMSS name University of Utah Health Care CIO James Turnbull its John E. Gall, Jr. CIO of the Year.

1-8-2013 7-22-18 PM

LifeBridge Health names Tressa Springmann (Greater Baltimore Medical Center) as CIO.

1-8-2013 7-25-10 PM

Blackford Middleton, MD, MPh, MSc (Partners HealthCare) will join Vanderbilt University as assistant vice chancellor, chief informatics officer, and professor of biomedical informatics.

1-8-2013 6-54-39 PM

O’Neil Britton, MD is appointed chief health information officer of Partners HealthCare, replacing David Blumenthal MD, who left earlier this year to head The Commonwealth Fund.

1-8-2013 12-48-27 PM

The South Florida REC promotes Amy Rosa from assistant director to interim director.

1-8-2013 2-32-19 PM

Vocera Communications names M. Bridget Duffy, MD (ExperiaHealth) CMO.

1-8-2013 3-04-55 PM 1-8-2013 3-06-27 PM 1-8-2013 3-07-57 PM

QuantiaMD names Daniel Malloy (IMS Health) SVP, promotes President Mike Coyne to CEO, and appoints CEO Eric Schultz to executive chairman.

1-8-2013 8-42-19 PM

Home monitoring systems vendor Healthsense names A.R. Weiler (Emdeon) as CEO.

Announcements and Implementations

1-8-2013 3-38-27 PM

North Arkansas Regional Medical Center becomes the first facility to implement the State Health Alliance for Records Exchange (SHARE), the statewide HIE for Arkansas.

CareCloud and the online physician platform QuantiaMD partner to survey QuantiaMD members on key practice trends.

1-8-2013 6-39-51 PM

Philips Healthcare introduces Lifeline GoSafe, a mobile personal emergency response system that includes fall detection capabilities, locating services, and two-way cellular voice communications.

Coding software vendor Trucode announces a cloud-based product that allows vendors to incorporate coder functionality into their systems. Customers include ChartWise, BayScribe, Dolbey, MModal, Precyse, and PlatoCode.

1-8-2013 9-17-46 PM

Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel (FL) completes the first phase of its nurse response system, which includes a Rauland-Borg nurse call system, Cisco wireless handsets, and Extension middleware.

Innovation and Research

1-8-2013 8-22-34 PM

The X PRIZE Foundation announces ambitious competition guidelines for the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE, for which 255 teams have already registered. Along with monitoring vital signs and specific conditions, devices will need to address a core set of 12 conditions that include diabetes, atrial fibrillation, stroke, TB, and COPD.


1-8-2013 8-30-50 PM

Hunting and fishing supplies retailer Cabela’s apologizes for a New Year’s Day computer glitch that added the Affordable Care Act’s 2.3 percent medical device tax to every purchase. The company says it has no idea how that happened.

In the UK, an NHS surgery practice blames human error on its creation of over 4,000 summary patient records without giving patients the chance to opt out.

Xerox files a protest with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services after the state awards a $248 million Medicaid claims processing system contract to Molina Medicaid Solutions. Xerox claims the state’s 2011 contract with Incumbent vendor Molina to upgrade the state’s existing system gave that company an unfair advantage.

An article on patent trolling identifies a maze of closely held companies that are sending out threatening letters to businesses, demanding license payments of $900 to $1,200 per employee for their patent that covers e-mailing scanned documents. The article says a study of startups found that 22 percent of them ignore patent trolling letters, 35 percent fight back at average court cost of $870,000, and 18 percent go out of business.

1-8-2013 7-57-55 PM 1-8-2013 7-56-12 PM

VistA guru Tom Munnecke observes that Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel was intimately involved with the MUMPS-based VistA system in its skunkworks early days as a VA deputy director, praising him for supporting the “Underground Railroad” despite the objections of VA brass who wanted to run a huge, centralized hospital information system instead.

Weird News Andy is stuffed with good news: the guy who invented the Segway is working on a gadget that will let people gorge themselves on food, then pump their own stomachs through a surgically installed abdominal valve. WNA says Dean Kamen obviously “has his finger on America’s thready pulse” since his inventions discourage walking and encourage gluttony.

Sponsor Updates

1-8-2013 9-20-40 PM

  • The PriMed (CT) provider group and MED3OOO distributed coats, sleeping bags, and gift bags to the needy through the Bridgeport Rescue Mission’s Sleeping Bag Give-Away event right before Christmas.
  • The local paper profiles Don Catino,who co-founded New Hampshire-based Digital Prospectors in 1999.
  • McKesson Paragon is named Best in KLAS Community Hospital Information System for the seventh straight year.
  • API Healthcare participates in the ACNL 2013 Annual Conference in San Diego February 10-13.
  • AdvancedMD hosts a January 23 Webinar  that provides a crash course on qualifying for Meaningful Use.
  • T-System offers complimentary benchmark information that considers the timeliness and quality of ED care.
  • Nuance Healthcare’s Jonathon Dreyer, director of mobile solutions, predicts that 2013 will be the “year of the mHealth user” with more widespread availability and adoption of mobile health technology.
  • CSI Healthcare IT earns satisfaction scores 2.2 times higher than the industry average for staffing firms in an independent satisfaction survey, also earning a74 percent “would recommend’ score.
  • Vocera releases updates to its software platform that enhance nurse workflow and provide improved analytics and reporting. 
  • Medseek looks at patient engagement, MU, and meeting patient expectations with technology in a January 16 Webinar. 
  • Billian’s HealthDATA releases a white paper that focuses on the top innovations in HIT.
  • Imprivata names Johns Hopkins Medicine the winner of its 2012 Healthcare Innovator of the Year Award for an exceptional implementation of OneSign.


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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January 8, 2013 News 10 Comments

Monday Morning Update 1/7/13

January 5, 2013 News 10 Comments

From Willy Mays Hayes: “Re: Cerner. Our remote-hosted Cerner system just experienced a six-hour downtime that they are attributing to hardware failure in Kansas City. We’re wondering how many other clients were effected.” Unverified, but speak up if your system went down.

From Zorba P: “Re: non-compete agreements. A Wired essay says enlightened companies realize that non-competes hurt the economy.” The article didn’t convince me that companies shouldn’t require employees to sign non-competes, only that allowing employees to freely take their proprietary knowledge to a competitor might increase competition and thus economic output. Maybe it all works out where companies poach each other’s people like a Cold War spy exchange, but the odds of that intellectual property flow being equally balanced among all competitors seem slim and some companies are going to lose. The article tries unconvincingly to make the point that Boston’s Route 128 startup environment lost out to Silicon Valley because California law essentially voids all non-compete agreements, leaving the Massachusetts companies with no-choice lifer employees who stagnated their employers. I might agree with the conclusion that employees should be free to immediately leave and start their own companies since the economy would benefit from having more entrepreneurs and fewer unmotivated corporate clock-punchers, but I’m just not comfortable with the idea that any company with big pockets should be able to steal competitive secrets by simply hiring away insiders.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: Pebble e-paper Smart Watch. Our Travis Good posted in The Year of the Health Gadget about Pebble e-paper Smart Watch, so TPD thought it would be a good addition to the upcoming update of TPD’s List of iPhone Apps. Also found a YouTube preview explaining its use in transferring apps from mobile devices to the wrist watch.” I inadvertently burst out laughing at 0:20 when the company’s “Dream Team” (i.e., stereotypical startup nerds) make a reluctant and un-photogenic appearance, displaying palpable discomfort at being exposed to actual sunlight and fresh air. If your life won’t be complete without a rather ugly but smartphone-connected watch whose least-interesting capability is telling time, you’ll pay around $150 if it ever reaches the market (pre-orders started in May and the company isn’t providing updates), you’ll be buying from a company that failed previously before renaming itself and raising $10 million on Kickstarter, and you’ll be waiting until they find Asian companies willing to build their product cheaply. Not to mention that depending on hard-to-predict fashion acceptance, you’ll either look like the coolest kid around or a clueless idiot flashing a geeky Dick Tracy calculator watch.

1-5-2013 7-27-03 AM

As healthcare IT professionals, we’re even more skeptical than laypeople that providers can keep our medical information secure, with 84 percent of poll respondents saying they lack that confidence. New poll to your right: have you used a patient portal offered by your PCP? I have, and I like it — it’s convenient for making appointments, checking lab results, and pre-paying for a visit and printing a barcoded page that lets me check in at a kiosk instead of waiting in line.

1-5-2013 7-41-43 AM

Welcome to HealthITJobs, sponsoring both HIStalk and HIStalk Connect at the Platinum level. I like the clean look of their site, which has some pretty cool jobs listed. Employers typically need to fill positions in a hurry, and with HealthITJobs.com, positions you post go online immediately. Job hunters can manage the process from their smartphones: checking for openings, receiving real-time alerts when new jobs go up, and even applying for jobs from anywhere. As an employer, I’ve posted hospital IT jobs on some of the big job boards and it’s usually been a disaster, with 95 percent of the applicants having no healthcare experience, no US work credentials, or clearly insufficient capabilities. HealthITJobs focuses on health IT professionals, so you won’t be have Bolivian bricklayers bugging you about your CMIO position. The biggest regret I have about the crappy jobs I’ve held as an employee (thankfully not recently) was that I let inertia keep me from getting serious about moving on. It would have been so easy then and even easier now to find a new gig: register, download the iPhone app, and see what’s out there (hint: it’s a booming industry, so there’s a lot). For employers and recruiters, unfilled positions cost a lot of energy and money, so HealthITJobs is a painless way to post your listings and find that one right person who’s apparently not perusing your listings posted elsewhere. Thanks to HealthITJobs for supporting HIStalk and HIStalk Connect.

1-5-2013 7-43-31 PM

Hackers hit the servers of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (NC), exposing the information of 3,500 employees and contractors. No patient information was involved. The breach occurred in May, but those affected weren’t notified until after Christmas. University IT employees say their servers are hit with attempted hacks thousands of times every hour.

CMS announces a 90-day extension for meeting Affordable Care Act transaction standards for eligibility and claim status. The reason given: nobody was going to be ready.

1-5-2013 7-44-27 PM

Wolters Kluwer Health completes its acquisition of Health Language, Inc., announced in October.

The fired former president of University of North Texas Health Science Center says he was let go for a variety of not-so-good reasons. One of them was his analysis of an all-campus shared services business center, which he says upset the university’s chancellor because it found that the health science center was paying twice as much as before with reduced quality, including a two-day EMR downtime that affected patients.

1-5-2013 7-33-02 PM

Home medical billing software vendor Brightree LLC acquires CareAnyware of Raleigh, NC, which sells home health and hospice software.

1-5-2013 8-43-06 AM

Reuters covers the recent Critical Care Medicine article in which researchers used plagiarism detection software to determine that most physician progress notes contained at least 20 percent material copied and pasted from elsewhere in the electronic record. I pulled up the original article (thanks to my academic medical center employer for providing remote access to our online journal library) and offer these observations:

  • It was a one-hospital study (MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland) of 135 patients admitted to a 14-bed ICU for at least three consecutive days.
  • The EMR system was Epic, which offers built-in functions for copy-paste and copy into a new note.
  • Residents copied more often, but attendings copied more actual text.
  • The threshold for identifying copying was phrases of at least four words and 20 or more total characters that contained at least a 20 percent match.
  • The authors did not interview any of the physicians found to have copied material, did not postulate why they did so, did not ask those involved in care of the identified patients whether the copied material negatively impacted patient care, and drew no conclusions about the potential or actual impact of copying progress note text on patient outcomes.

My conclusion: like many studies that raise a red flag and then run, this one seems to have been thrown together and executed quickly, resulting in a slightly interesting article that has no meaningful conclusion other than that someone with more resources should do a better study. Doctors may well copy progress note material, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing given that EMRs don’t typically offer easy ways to tag highly relevant material from the routine junk that hospital administrators, regulators, and malpractice lawyers require. It should be assumed that bringing material forward has an at least an equal likelihood of being positive for the patient since it might be missed otherwise. And intentional copying is a lot less bothersome than template-generated babble that looks good but says nothing useful.

Everybody wants to armchair quarterback how doctors document. How would you like having a roomful of stern third parties examining every e-mail you write for relevance, insightfulness, originality, and style, looking for opportunities to reduce your pay or sue you? If doctors aren’t complaining about the body of progress notes they work with in caring for their patients (including attendings reviewing the work of residents), then the armchair quarterbacks aren’t likely to find a smoking gun of vast conspiracy or widespread negligence.

If you’re a hospital, set standards on how documentation should be done. Demand that your EMR vendor develop ways to separate the useful from the worthless, and to add logic that considers the age of a documentation element and its graded value from individual providers in predicting its relevance. If you want elegant and thoughtfully composed prose, expect to pay for it in reduced physician productivity. And if you can prove that particular methods or styles of progress notes directly impact patient care, let’s see your data.

I think we can agree that electronic documentation works better in theory than in practice due to poor design and unguided use and therefore could be improved. To that end, I’ll close with a pithy quote from contributor Robert Lafsky, MD: “I’d sure like to see that visiting expert professor try to unravel a difficult case using nothing but the printed output from a typical EMR.”


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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January 5, 2013 News 10 Comments

News 1/4/13

January 3, 2013 News 2 Comments

Top News

1-3-2013 6-59-26 PM

Lexmark and its Perceptive Software unit announce the acquisition of vendor neutral archive and clinical content management vendor Acuo Technologies for $45 million.

Reader Comments

1-3-2013 5-47-14 PM

From John Galt: “Re: new layouts. Like the new site look and the good folks over at Dodge that lent a hand. But LOVE the slicker presentation on HIStalk Connect!” I like that layout, too. It’s really modern and lightweight, just not quite appropriate for HIStalk since our posts here are longer and need a more text-intensive page. If you haven’t checked out the former HIStalk Mobile lately, Dr. Travis and Lt. Dan have been getting some Twitter love for some recent posts in particular, Top 10 mHealth Stories of 2012 and Connected Health Predictions for 2013, and James Harris has contributed some nice pieces as well. We’ll be announcing new sponsors and new features shortly. We might be able to use more help if you’re big on the topics we cover and you like to write – e-mail me if you’re up for it.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

This is the last chance for your HISsies nominations. I’m fascinated that all but one nomination for “stupidest vendor action” involves the same company, but for several actions, which will make an interesting HISsies ballot for sure. A few people e-mail every year to complain that I put the same companies and people on the ballot, apparently missing the not-so-subtle point that readers do the nominating, not me. The moral of the story: submit your nominations and feel instantly superior to the complainers.

If your organization has been submitting events to the HIStalk Events Calendar, take note: only to HIStalk Platinum sponsors will be able to submit events from this weekend on. Also, if you miss the Smoking Doctor logo, you can see it there since I forgot about that page when I had the site redesigned, mostly because the events display right on the main page of HIStalk and I don’t go to the full calendar display as often. Fear not – the Smokin’ Doc will live on, free of both political correctness and lung carcinoma.

On the Jobs Board: Marketing Manager. That’s all for the moment since most companies disengage from hiring over the holidays, so Aspen Advisors gets sole billing this week.

1-3-2013 7-40-58 PM

Companies keep asking me to help with Webinars, which I’m considering, but only if I can do them better than everybody else in making them fun and educational. My two-question survey asks what you like and don’t like about Webinars and how I can raise the bar. I would appreciate your thoughts. I have a short attention span, so my Webinar wish list includes sending the slides in advance by e-mail, playing music or chat while I’m waiting for an on-time start, limiting speaker intros to 10 seconds, clearly identifying a program as educational vs. a product pitch at signup, requiring interactivity such as polls, taking questions in advance and in writing and choosing the best ones to answer, and keeping the whole thing to around 45 minutes.

1-3-2013 6-08-11 PM

Thanks to Intelligent Medical Objects, an HIStalk Platinum sponsor for two years that has expanded its support also sponsor HIStalk Practice and HIStalk Connect at the Platinum level. Only a handful of companies have achieved that trifecta. IMO provides a “Common Ground for Health Vocabularies” via terminology mapping tools (ICD-9 and ICD-10, SNOMED, HCPCS, RxNorm) for vendors and vocabulary products for healthcare organizations. A recent offering is a search engine appliance kept current on medical terminology, allowing vendor partners to participate in true semantic interoperability. I can’t decide which physician customer quote I like better: (a) “Installing IMO was the single, most important improvement we have made to our EHR system,” or (b) “I am impressed by my inability to stump IMO.” I like the backgrounds of the company’s executives, too: Frank Naeymi-Rad (CEO and chairman) has a PhD in computer science, they have physicians in a couple of executive roles, and CFO Bac Palomo is not only a Stanford MBA but also a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a former Naval Aviator. I know I’ll hear from Dr. Jayne since every time I mention IMO she e-mails me to gush about how much she likes its products as a CMIO, so I probably should have just let her write a summary from a customer perspective. Thanks to Intelligent Medical Objects for supporting our work.

1-3-2013 6-26-38 PM

Also extending its support is Divurgent, a three-year HIStalk Platinum sponsor stepping up to also support HIStalk Connect at the Platinum level. The company’s consulting work spans activation management, advisory, clinical transformation, and RCM. You may know Partner Colin Konschak, who is active in HIMSS and has co-authored books on consumer behavior and medicine and ACOs. The rest of the team has a lot of healthcare experience as well, and the company has won awards for growth and being a “best place to work.” The company blog has meaty rather than fluffy posts, critically examining ACOs, the use of physician scribes, and hospital readmissions. We appreciate Divurgent’s ongoing support.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

1-3-2013 5-21-04 PM

PE firm Thoma Bravo, LLC, which holds equity in Hyland Software and Mediware, invests an undisclosed sum in SRS Software.

1-3-2013 5-22-14 PM

Access acquires CPI and merges with Access FSA, developer of the Formatta Electronic Forms Management Suite.

1-3-2013 6-54-29 PM

TriZetto acquires Healthcare Productivity Automation, a Franklin, TN-based vendor of workflow automation solutions. HPA offers Health Mason, which automates claims administration.

1-3-2013 6-57-02 PM

Private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe acquires GetWellNetwork, which offers patient engagement solutions that include in-room systems. The Bethesda, MD-based GetWellNetwork is the KLAS leader in the Interactive Patient Systems category.

1-3-2013 8-11-37 PM

Behavioral software vendor Netsmart Technologies, led by former Cerner COO Mike Valentine, acquires Defran Systems Inc., which offers software for human and social services organizations.

1-3-2013 7-47-15 PM

Kyruus, which offers software for physician networks and referral management,  raises $11 million in a Series B funding round, increasing its total to $19.6 million.


Health Inventures selects ZirMed as a preferred business partner and will offer ZirMed’s EDI solution suite to its ASC and surgical hospital clients.


1-3-2013 5-23-33 PM

Health Dialog, a subsidiary of Bupa and a provider of population health management solutions, promotes Robert Mandel, MD to CEO.

1-3-2013 8-53-12 PM

Progress Software names Chris Perkins (Eclipsys, Per-Se, Emageon) as SVP/CFO, reporting to newly hired President and CEO Phil Pead.

Announcements and Implementations

Palisades Medical Center, Engelwood Hospital and Medical Center, and Deborah Heart and Lung Center join the RelayHealth-powered Jersey Health Connect HIO.

1-3-2013 7-08-42 PM

Audax Health signs a five-year strategic alliance with Cigna to develop a digital engagement platform for Cigna customers that will include "fun and engaging health related activities and information.”

Government and Politics

1-3-2013 6-52-03 PM

ONC makes Cypress, its CQM testing and certification tool, available for vendor download. It’s also offering a January 10 online demo.

Innovation and Research

Researchers with Truven Health Analytics project that health plans will incur 4.8 percent growth in allowed medical and pharmacy costs in 2013.

Johns Hopkins researchers find that hospitals that hide inpatient psychiatric records in their EMRs have a much higher readmission rate for psych patients. Says the lead author physician, “If you have electronic medical records, that’s a good step in the right direction. But what you really need to do is share the records with non-psychiatrists. It will really make a difference in terms of quality of care and readmission rates. Let’s not keep mental health records out in the cold.”


1-3-2013 1-44-38 PM

Providers are feeling increased pressure to engage patients at deeper levels because of the urgency surrounding Meaningful Use and accountable care, according to a KLAS report on patient portals. Provides most often select patient portals based on convenience and vendor relationships. Third-party portal vendors earning strong satisfaction scores include Jardogs, RelayHealth, and Intuit.

1-3-2013 2-40-15 PM

The Hospice of North Idaho will pay HHS $50,000 to settle potential HIPAA violations following the loss of a laptop that contained the personal data of 441 patients. The settlement is the first involving a PHI breach affecting fewer than 500 individuals.

UNC Health Care (NC) exploits a collections loophole that allows it to siphon money owed to it directly from the tax refunds of patients. The health system and its physician group took in nearly $8 million by that method in 2012. Says a physician group VP, “It’s a useful tool.” A patient anxious to fight the “facility fee” that UNC tacks on to the doctor bills of practices it has acquired was disappointed to find that he’ll miss his day in court because the hospital didn’t sue him and instead simply docked his tax refund, saying it’s required to do so under state law.

A hospital in Scotland gives a patient 13 times the intended radiation dose, caused by “a software bug as a result of an upgrade.”

1-3-2013 8-19-28 PM

1-3-2013 8-22-28 PM

MedBox, which sells a Pyxis-type dispensing cabinet for medical marijuana, opens an office in Massachusetts expecting big business now that a new state law legalizes medical marijuana. Had you invested $10,000 in the company’s stock six months ago (see chart above), your shares would be worth more than $252,000 today, and for a day or two in mid-November, over $820,000 as exuberant pot profiteers ran up the company’s market cap to more than $2 billion with a single-day advance of 3,000 percent.

The South Florida Business Journal covers the lawsuit filed by an Allscripts MyWay customer against the company. The attorneys claim they’ve received calls from “many doctors” complaining about MyWay since the suit, which seeks class action status, was filed. The article says Healthcare Data Solutions, the largest Southeast reseller of MyWay, is helping its 500-plus MyWay customers migrate to Professional or the competing Aprima product, while HDS itself will become an Aprima reseller.

Weird ICD-10 codes will be worth the painful conversion strictly for parody value, with this Nuesoft video titled “Dumb Ways to Die Parody: New ICD-10 Codes to Try” being a particularly creative effort. Hopefully there’s a code for “getting an simple, annoying, and insanely catchy tune out of your head after watching a video,” referring not to Gangnam Style, but rather to the object of the parody, Dumb Ways to Die, which has hit 36 million YouTube views.

1-3-2013 7-25-54 PM

Weird News Andy has apparently emerged from his sun and sand hiatus to file this story about Vomiting Larry, a robot that simulates a barfing norovirus sufferer so scientist can figure out how far the virus can be spread. A set of the ‘bots, some sorostitutes, and streaming LMFAO music could pass for a homecoming weekend frat party.

WNA’s enthusiasm this week is infectious, as he injects the story of eight employees fired by IU Health Goshen Hospital (IN) for refusing to receive flu shots. WNA notes that one fired nurse questions why employees don’t have a choice but the shot is optional for patients.

Strange: a teacher who suffered spinal cord damage after abusing nitrous oxide for months sues the stores that sold it to him, claiming he’s now the champion of those whose illegal usage has harmed them. According to the manager of one of the head shops he’s suing, “I think it’s kind of a stupid lawsuit, personally. It’s like going to McDonald’s and suing them because you got fat because you ate it every day, or buying a nail gun and nailing your face or your foot.”

Sponsor Updates

1-3-2013 9-19-13 PM

  • Impact Advisors Recruitment Director Amy Reid is featured in a podcast about using social media for effective recruiting.
  • eClinicalWorks hosts roadshows this month in Dallas and Miami to highlight Stage 2 MU requirements.
  • ZirMed offers a free 60-day trail of its Analytics business solution to clients using its claims management and electronic remittance advice products.
  • Fulcrum Methods publishes a case study featuring Community Medical Centers (CA) and its success using Fulcrum solutions to select a new HIT framework.
  • CommVault’s Product Marketing Manager Emily Wojcik weighs in on integrated versus point level approaches to enterprise information archiving in a blog post.
  • The Nashville Post names Agilum Healthcare Intelligence to its list of the top 25 technology companies in Nashville.
  • An API Healthcare blog post discusses how healthcare staffing and scheduling solutions can help facilities focus on patient outcomes and cost reductions while tracking employees’ hours and skills.
  • Care360’s ChartMaxx version 5.6 earns certification through the FairWarning Ready certification program.
  • Santa Rosa Consulting announces its first Best in KLAS ranking, coming in at #5 in the Clinical Implementation Supportive segment with a score of 88.9.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne


I rang in the New Year with a glitch, as the Google cloud somehow vaporized the post I sent to Mr. H on Monday. For those of you who assumed I was absent due to a little too much celebrating, thanks for thinking of me as your official HIStalk party girl. I learned this year that kissing exercises all 34 muscles in the face (thanks, Twitter!) so I hope everyone was able to get some exercise as the clock struck midnight.

It’s been amazingly busy at work this week, more so than I expected. People actually came in on Wednesday ready to work and didn’t seem as draggy as they usually are. Lots of chatter about the fiscal cliff though. I’m glad that the short-term patch does avoid the 27 percent Medicare payment cut that was looming, but it didn’t do much for the long-term problem of how we finance healthcare in the US. I’m sure there’s more drama to come as the new Congress is sworn in.

As we look at cutting healthcare costs, patients continue to switch from brand to generic medications and also from one generic version to another. A recent study finds that changes in pill color have an adverse effect on medication compliance. When the appearance of the medication changes, patients are less likely to take it as directed. I wonder if there’s a similar impact when EHR vendors change the colors and layouts of screens? Does it make us less facile as users, even subconsciously? I’m a huge fan of changing the user interface to make it more usable, but changing colors without good reason is just annoying. I experienced annoyance and distraction this summer when our ER tracking board inexplicably changed from blue to gray along with some backgrounds and icons that morphed for no discernable reason.

The AMA shares its list of the “most intriguing medical facts of 2012.”  Highlights include:

  • Laughter enhances a person’s intake of air and increases endorphins released by the brain.
  • US rural areas have 25 percent of the population but only 9 percent of the physicians.
  • One-third of new prescriptions never get filled.
  • 58 percent of US office-based prescribers sent prescriptions electronically in 2011.
  • Medical identity theft has become the fastest-growing type of identity theft in the world.
  • 75 percent of physicians with an EHR say the system improved care.
  • 61 percent of patients say they trust information posted by physicians on social media.
  • More than 70 percent of staffers in medical offices say they feel rushed when taking care of patients.
  • Conversion to ICD-10 will increase the number of code sets from 13,000 to 68,000.
  • Chronic diseases account for up to 75 percent of US health spending.
  • Up to 30 percent of US health care spending is spent on unnecessary tests and services.

Grant alert: Although ONC is avoiding formal governance for the Nationwide Health Information Network, grants will be offered to those involved in HIE governance to encourage them to develop and share best practices. Sharpen those pencils, folks.



Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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January 3, 2013 News 2 Comments

News 1/2/13

January 1, 2013 News No Comments

From Sal the Stockbroker: “Re: HIStalk. For seven of your 10 years I worked for a healthcare IT company and followed you religiously, even though you trashed our marketing a few times (we deserved it!) I still follow three years after I left IT. While dispensing news, opinion, rumors, and research, you all seemed almost like family. I will still follow, if nothing else but to see the latest Spotify playlist or WNA’s weekly clincher. Thanks to all of you, including Mrs. HIStalk for putting up with your insane work hours, loud music, and blogging obsession.” Thanks for the encouragement – it helps during those long, lonely evenings. Mrs. H probably knows my music only from the bass and drum beats since my room (office? study? den? All sound pretentious) is above the kitchen, although she works in that room only a fraction of the time I’m in mine — she’s often asleep in bed by the time I’m finished. I’ve started using headphones, though, since the sound is cleaner.

Happy 2013. It’s not even 9:00 a.m. Eastern time on New Year’s Day as I’m writing this and the web stats show that 30 people are reading HIStalk online right now. I figured everybody would be sleeping in, so it’s either early-rising go-getters or hard-partying folks who haven’t yet called it a night who are reading Ed Marx’s piece on creating a family plan.

My New Year’s Day plans including watching the Rose Parade with Mrs. HIStalk, the only televised parade I’m willing to watch with her since I have zero tolerance for dull scripted banter, endless product placements, anything related to Disney, and lip-synching, bottom-feeding pseudo-celebrities pitching lame TV shows that are, not coincidentally, airing on the same TV network that’s running the parade. (I repeatedly recite those observations while we’re watching the Thanksgiving and Christmas parades until we’re mutually relieved that I wander off to Netflix or the iPad.) The comes bowl games, which interest me for around 30 minutes until I go do something else, and then we always eat hot dogs as a New Year’s tradition since we were so poor when we were first married that we couldn’t afford anything else to eat on the folding card table and chairs that served as dining room furniture, which was fine because we didn’t have a dining room either. Then it’s back to work tomorrow and the inevitable HIMSS conference ramp-up that awaits through March once I get home each day.

Final December stats for the one reader who asks: 116,659 visits and 224,820 page views, up considerably from December 2011’s numbers.

HIStalkapalooza details and sign-ups will be up on January 19 or thereabouts.

1-1-2013 8-21-47 AM

Pain Clinic of Northwest Florida, Inc. files a lawsuit against Allscripts for pulling the MyWay rug out from under the practice, also seeking to have their complaint certified as a class action lawsuit. The wording of the complaint reads like someone dashed off an angry e-mail and their attorney just pasted it into a Word lawsuit template. It says MyWay was “buggy,” that Allscripts had little ability to bring it up to HITECH standards since they acquired rather than developed the source code, and the company made “fraudulent” statements insisting that the integration of MyWay was going great until the company “admitted defeat” in October 2012. It also claims that Allscripts told MyWay users they would be charged “thousands of dollars in fees” to get access to their own databases if they chose to walk away and that in some cases users were upgraded “without that user’s consent or knowledge” (how is that possible?)  It’s easy to understand why the practice is upset – they bought MyWay four months before it was put on life support.

1-1-2013 8-32-48 AM

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor EDCO Health Information Solutions of Frontenac, MO. The company has been helping healthcare organizations and HIM departments manage their patient information for over 50 years. Its Solarity software creates a complete electronic patient record, indexing and reviewing documents in a single step using proprietary document recognition algorithms instead of bar codes to index documents faster and more accurately. The result is a streamlined HIM process, improved return on investment on EHR systems via increased efficiency and physician adoption, and reduced A/R days due to faster chart turnaround time. The IT people like the integration, while the finance department likes paying as an operating rather than a capital expense. The company also offers the SaaS-based Solcom electronic document management system that allows hospitals to eliminate paper, enjoy seamless viewing of scanned records, and build custom workflows to maximize efficiency, all of which contribute to proactive revenue cycle management, point-of-service information capture, use of remote coders, and a fully electronic chart. Check out the case studies from Allegiance Health, Health First, Ottawa Hospital, and others. Thanks to EDCO Health Information Solutions for supporting my work.

I found this video on EDCO Solarity. It’s a nice 70-second overview.

1-1-2013 8-07-17 AM

It’s a new year, so it’s time for the HISsies Awards to start up. What were the smartest and stupidest vendor actions of 2012? Which companies are the best and worst? What buzzwords are you sick of? If you had a pie, in which industry figure’s face would you like to throw it? And in the more serious categories, who’s your choice for Industry Figure of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement Award? It all starts with the nominations, from which the final ballot will be created. The nominations form is open and your civic duty calls.

This is a chance for you to spare me the frequent and frustrating after-the-fact dialog in which someone claims that I’m clueless or biased because their pet choice wasn’t included on the HISsies ballot. I patiently explain that had they and their like-minded peers spent 30 seconds filling out the nomination form instead of complaining, their preference might well have been on the ballot. It’s simple Civics 101 – the most-nominated choices go on the ballot. Don’t assume someone else will do your work for you in nominating your preference. Nominate now or forever hold your peace. 

I’ll create the final ballot in a week or so. It goes only to readers who have subscribed to the e-mail updates, which prevents the admittedly fun ballot box-stuffing that happened during the first few years of the HISsies. Back then I was just happy that companies wanted a good-category win (“best vendor” or “best CEO”) enough to strong-arm their employees to vote for them.

Last year’s HISsies results are here if you need a refresher. I’ve done the Lifetime Achievement Award for two years and no repeat winners are allowed, so nominate someone other than John Glaser and Judy Faulkner.


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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January 1, 2013 News No Comments

Monday Morning Update 12/31/12

December 29, 2012 News 5 Comments

From Thankful: “Re: 10 years of HIStalk. I’m not sure I’d be as competent as I am now, as an HIT professional, without the 10 years of contributions from you and your team. I’m not one for trying to make people remember me; I’d rather do what makes sense at the moment. But in all honesty the HIStalk contributors are all getting nice words for your tombstones!” Thanks. It’s hard to believe I wrote the first HIStalk in 2003 and haven’t stopped. I doubt my tombstone gazers and obituary readers will care about HIStalk, so its eventual absence there probably means I need to find a more lasting and non-anonymous legacy.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: TPD’s List of iPhone Apps. Working on an update, so let me know of apps that readers might like.” The fitness apps I’m using at the moment are Half Marathon with Jeff Galloway (I’m training for spring 13.1, with my longest single run being this past weekend’s rather chilly 11 miles), and from the same developer, XFit Push Ups.

12-29-2012 6-32-48 PM

Two-thirds of poll respondents say Allscripts can’t successfully compete with Epic and Cerner. New poll to your right: are you confident that your doctors and hospitals can keep your medical information secure and private?

I’ve created a new Spotify playlist with what I’m listening to at the moment: The Shins, Sam Phillips, Everything But The Girl, Bob Mould, The Jayhawks, and quite a few more artists old and new. I firmly believe that you’re headed down the slippery slope to codgerly irrelevance if you just keep mindlessly listening to the same old songs or the musical equivalent of a minivan (unchallenging jazz, computer-assisted dance music, or soundtracks), so I’m always trying new stuff.

12-29-2012 7-29-39 PM

Greenway CEO Tee Green gives advice to entrepreneurs contemplating eventually taking their company public:

  • Think long term.
  • Structure your board and run its meetings like a public company would.
  • Bring in a CFO and general counsel with IPO experience and start quarterly reporting as practice.
  • Build relations with investment bankers and choose outside counsel they have worked with previously.
  • Choose reliable auditing and accounting partners.

12-29-2012 7-32-09 PM 

Petroleum industry BI vendor Drilling Info Inc. names former QuadraMed CFO Dave Piazza as its CFO.

12-29-2012 7-37-00 PM

Allscripts files its SEC 8-K form for the departure of Diane Adams, EVP of culture and talent. She gets 12 months’ severance, her target bonus, a year of health benefits, accelerated vesting, and a retention bonus. She does even better if the company changes hands in 2013 – she’ll get two years’ salary and bonus.

12-29-2012 8-18-14 PM

Gibson General Hospital (IN) notifies 29,000 patients of the theft of an employee’s unencrypted laptop from their home, presumably an IT support person since the hospital stated that the employee’s job “requires around-the-clock access to the hospital’s electronic medical records system.”

12-29-2012 7-44-28 PM

Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services is notifying over 1,000 Medicaid recipients that their information was exposed when an employee of Carewise Health, a subcontractor for the state’s Medicaid computer system HP Enterprise Services, fell for a telephone scam and gave an unknown hacker access to the employee’s laptop.

Congressman Brian Higgins (D-NY) uses the House floor to urge increased adoption of electronic medical records. Translation: keep the EMR-related dollars flowing to his district, with the specific bacon he brought home helpfully listed in the press release to impress the folks back home.

Brian Ahier posted this presentation from HHS CIO Frank Baitman that lists the department’s challenges for 2013.

Vince sends this HIS-tory of Quality Systems / NextGen, getting into the spirit of the company’s dental origins by throwing down a challenge to find all the tooth-related references he included (I counted five).

Happy New Year to everyone. History suggests that I’m going to be super busy from now until after the HIMSS conference, so if you need anything from me, now’s the time.


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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December 29, 2012 News 5 Comments

News 12/28/12

December 27, 2012 News 1 Comment

Top News

12-27-2012 9-01-25 PM

A year-long investigation by The Washington Post finds that healthcare is among the sectors most vulnerable to hackers because it lags other industries in fixing known security holes, quoting one expert who said, “If our financial industry regarded security the way the healthcare sector does, I would stuff my cash in a mattress under my bed.” A physician user of OpenEMR, which was called out in the article for its security vulnerabilities, left this comment:

I maintain OpenEMR under Linux at my wife’s medical clinic. Behind two firewalls, not accessible over the public internet. We considered WorldVista, but that is written in MUMPS, and requires Windows clients (not on our network). WorldVista is more suited to megapractices like the VA system it was written for. OpenEMR has many problems, but being open source, the problems are being found and fixed rapidly. Software developers are encouraged to join the effort to improve it. Other alternatives include hugely expensive systems like Epic (which infests most local hospitals) and various Web-based services moving information over the public Internet (dangerous!) That is how Epic works – and anyone with two login/passwords to a megahospital system can get access to hundreds of thousands of patient records. Scary, yes – but if more barriers are added, time is lost and PATIENTS WILL DIE.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I don’t need an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action, 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle, but I could use some gifts that carry no danger of shooting my eye out: (a) sign up for spam-free e-mail updates, basking in the knowledge that doing to will make you eligible to vote in the upcoming HISsies awards; (b) support HIStalk’s sponsors by reviewing and possibly clicking their ads (now on your right), checking out their listings in the Resource Center, and using the couldn’t-be-easier Consulting RFI form to painlessly solicit consulting proposals; (c) connect our respective social ganglia on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn; and (d) slip us news and rumors via the methods listed under the “Report News and Rumors” box to your right, which includes a new option: call my Rumor Line at 801.HIT.NEWS and leave a message, which thanks to Google Voice will be transcribed and e-mailed to me along with the original recording.

It’s almost New Year’s, so I’m setting my priorities for 2013. I’m looking for HIStalk-related projects or activities that would be more personally satisfying and society-benefiting than just making money, which doesn’t interest me all that much (obviously, since I work for a non-profit hospital). Thoughts?

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

12-27-2012 7-26-24 PM

Awarepoint secures $4 million in new financing from an undisclosed investor.

12-27-2012 7-27-19 PM

McKesson says its $2.1 billion purchase of PSS World will be finalized in the first quarter.


12-27-2012 9-38-02 PM

The Oregon Community Health Information Network (OCHIN) names Scott Fields, MD (OHSU – above) CMO, Jonathan Merrell (Cherokee Nation Health Services) VP of performance improvement, Tim Burdick, MD (Fletcher Allen Health Care) CMIO, and D’Angela Merrell (US Public Health Service) clinical improvement professional.

Announcements and Implementations

HIEs Healthcare Access San Antonio and Integrated Care Collaboration begin sharing patient information.

12-27-2012 3-39-49 PM

Mercy McCune-Brooks Hospital (MO) goes live on Epic.

12-27-2012 9-23-15 PM

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance (TX), which opened as a new 50-bed hospital in September, earns HIMSS Analytics EMRAM Stage 7 recognition. I interviewed Winjie Tan Miao, the hospital’s president, two weeks ago.

The NJSHINE (NJ) HIE gets a $1 million grant from the New Jersey Department of Health to connect seven hospitals.


12-27-2012 12-53-37 PM

Consumer Reports rates the performance of 19 Wisconsin medical groups based on quality measurements for cancer screening, care of people age 60 and older, and treatment of patients with heart disease. ThedaCare Physicians and Marshfield Clinic earned the top spots.

The LSU hospital system notifies 416 patients that their information, including checking account numbers, has been stolen. A former billing department employee and six other people have been charged with identity theft after creating and passing counterfeit checks and ID cards from scanned check images stored in LSU’s computers.

Pittsburgh systems UPMC and West Penn Allegheny fight to acquire each other’s affiliated physician practices, leaving patients unaware of the change and sometimes forcing physicians to practice outside of Allegheny County beginning immediately without notifying their patients to satisfy non-compete clauses. The medical records stay with the practice, leaving the patient to figure out their options

University of Michigan Health System notifies 4,000 patients that their information may have been exposed in the theft of an unsecured PHI-containing electronic device from the car of an Omnicell employee.

Efforts by the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council to create Chicago-area HIE may fail as just 18 of 30 targeted health providers agree to join. Money is a sticking point, with some hospitals being asked to pay six-figure annual fees to participate. Health systems are also concerned with the uncertain value of the exchange, especially at a time many are investing heavily in their own IT systems.

12-26-2012 2-44-19 PM

A third of providers say they have experienced varying levels of payment delays during the HIPAA 5010 transition, with clearinghouses causing 52 percent of those delays, according to a KLAS report.

Hospital CFOs look ahead to 2013 with concern, worried about:

  • The resources required to justify admissions
  • Possible payment and cash flow problems due to Medicare changes
  • Funding quality initiatives to support value-based payment systems
  • The high cost, questionable return, and change involved with technology implementation
  • Hiring more doctors
  • Trying to scale physician compensation to what the practice actually produces
  • Engaging physicians who practice only an outpatient setting
  • Managing growth by acquisition
  • Improving clinical documentation for patient safety and quality
  • ICD-10

12-27-2012 9-18-00 PM

A maternity hospital in a Nairobi, Kenya slum admits that it holds mothers of newborns as prisoners until they pay their hospital bills. The hospital is accused by one woman of having guards beat mothers who try to leave without paying. According to the hospital’s director, “We hold you and squeeze you until we get what we can get. We must be self-sufficient. The hospital must get money to pay electricity, to pay water. We must pay our doctors and our workers. They stay there until they pay. They must pay. If you don’t pay, the hospital will collapse.” The charge for a normal birth is $35, while a C-section runs $70 and the daily room charge is $5. A first-person report (from which the above photo came) is here.

Sponsor Updates

  • Vonlay offers tips on how to quickly recycle an IIS application pool in a blog pos.
  • PeriGen hosts a Webcast on improving financial results in obstetrics January 16 and 30.
  • Shareable Ink’s President Stephen Hau discusses mHealth applications and how they can liberate physicians and data in a guest article.
  • Dennis Weissman, founder of Washington G-2 Reports, will deliver the keynote at the Lifepoint Informatics user conference Orlando March 21.
  • Liaison Technologies offers a white paper discussing the use of cloud-based data integration to overcome interoperability challenges in health systems. 
  • API Healthcare executives participate in a giving back campaign.
  • Business NH Magazine names Digital Prospectors Corp a top small company to work for in New Hampshire.
  • Dave Caldwell of Certify Data Systems shares insights on the barriers and issues that need to be addressed in order for the healthcare industry to achieve widespread interoperability.
  • Besler Consulting will participate in next month’s HFMA MA/RI Annual Revenue Cycle Conference in Foxborough, MA and the Region 11 Annual Healthcare Symposium in Las Vegas.
  • Thomson Reuters includes 3M, AT&T, and Fujifilm on its list of the World’s Top 100 Most Innovative Organizations for 2012.
  • Saint Luke’s Health System (MO) shares how Philips Healthcare Consulting helped the organization build an eHealth strategy of regional outreach and physician-to-physician relationships to drive growth.
  • ZirMed releases its 2013 PQRS Suggested Measures and Monitoring tool.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

The use of Health Information Exchanges is one of my pet topics, particularly issues around governance. I’m happy to see ONC hosting one of their Town Hall meetings on the topic. It will be held on January 17, so there’s still plenty of time to sign up.

It’s always fun to get together with family over the winter holidays. This year’s hot topic among the Medicare set was the concept of Accountable Care Organizations. They wanted to know my opinion. Unfortunately, I had to give the answer of, “It depends.” Even though there are core principles for ACOs, there seem to be many different flavors out there.

Patients need to realize that a key driver of ACOs is slowing the growth of healthcare spending. Quality and meeting patient needs are also goals. For patients involved in ACOs that have a long history of managing quality and cost initiatives, there may not be much of a difference in care because referral relationships and practice patterns are already established. However, for health systems that have not been functioning in shared care models, there may be trouble ahead. There will be a significant learning curve for participating physicians and their care teams.

The subtleties of the ACO patient assignment regulations can cause situations where providers are ensnared by a single ACO. Patients also need to find out whether they will be able to continue to see all the providers from whom they receive care or whether they will have to change to specialists within the ACO. I also think it’s funny that when seniors are talking about ACOs and their benefits, they refer to the Affordable Care Act. When they’re talking about the negatives, they refer to Obamacare. They’re one and the same, folks.

With the holiday, it was a snow news week. Hopefully as people are trickling back into their offices things will pick up. In the mean time, please give your friends at HIStalk the best gift of all – send your rumors, newsy tidbits, and other reports our way.



Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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December 27, 2012 News 1 Comment

Monday Morning Update 12/24/12

December 23, 2012 News 18 Comments

From The PACS Designer: “Re: 802.11ac wireless. As we approach 2013, our wireless technology infrastructure will bring a key change that will excite users. The 802.11ac wireless specification is an upgrade to the new communications band called the 5 Gigahertz frequency spectrum. The currently crowded 2.4 Gigahertz frequency spectrum in 802.11n will still be usable as most of the new 5 Gigahertz routers being designed are backward compatible. The 802.11n routers installed everywhere today can remain in place, and the new 802.11ac routers can be placed at key points in the network to improve the overall speed of communications. The 5 Gigahertz spectrum is new and unused with a 1 Gigabit per second speed upgraded from 450 Megabit per second in 802.11n. This faster network technology will bend nicely with 1 Gigahertz Ethernet switches in use today.” The article brings up an interesting fact: the maximum theoretical 802.11ac speed is 3.5 Gbps, meaning that your 4G LTE smartphone could eat up your monthly bandwidth allocation in about two seconds.

12-23-2012 5-00-48 PM

Don’t be startled – you’re in the right place. I’ve given HIStalk a much-needed update. Even its formerly smoking doctor celebrity endorser has received a makeover, surrendering his reader-polarizing pipe while refusing (like a doctor clinging to paper charts) to abandon his favorite reflector headband thingy. I wanted to make the site easier to read, with the design itself being less of a distraction. We will all need a week or so to get used to it, I predict, at which time I may run a screenshot of the old design just to illustrate how much cleaner the new one is.

12-23-2012 4-49-24 PM

Speaking of the reformed smoker doc, thanks to the folks at Dodge Communications for designing the new logo. I asked CEO Brad Dodge if he could recommend someone for logo design and he volunteered to have the company create one, with SVP Brian Parrish taking the lead. I really appreciate that, and I think Brian did a really nice job in creatively accommodating my requests: (a) retain the doc figure and reflector; (b) use a typewriter-like font as a nod to reporting (c) keep it simple; and (d) come up with variants that work for HIStalk Practice and HIStalk Connect.

12-23-2012 11-00-18 AM

Allscripts is further damaging its beaten-down public image by suing NYCHHC for choosing Epic, at least according to 57 percent of poll respondents. New poll to your right, another Allscripts-related one since they’re making all the pre-Christmas headlines:  can Sunrise successfully compete with Epic and Cerner, giving its reps something to wear other than a lapel pin featuring a white flag?

12-23-2012 4-24-26 PM

ONC posted its Patient Safety Action and Surveillance Plan for public comment late Friday afternoon. This is the report that address IOM’s November 2011 recommendations. The proposed requirements challenge vendors to regulate themselves in more structured ways as providers are encouraged to report the patient safety problems they observe. Some highlights:

  • Add certification criteria requiring EHR vendors to include in their products the capability for users to submit EHR-related safety problems using AHRQ’s Common Formats, which includes a new category of “Device with Health IT.”
  • Develop a code of conduct for EHR vendors that will hold them accountable for problems and require them to report their IT-related safety events through a Patient Safety Organization.
  • Require vendors to maintain records of complaints for review by certification bodies.
  • Train CMS surveyors to identify IT-related safety problems.
  • ONC will monitor events submitted to FDA’s MAUDE medical device problem database.
  • Use ONC’s standards and certification criteria to enhance patient safety, including incorporation of human factors and user-centered design.
  • Potentially add NIST-developed usability testing tool results as a certification requirement.
  • IOM’s recommendation for an investigative body such as the National Transportation Safety Board is acknowledged without a specific commitment, but CMS plans to advise state and accreditation surveyors on health IT-related adverse events and HHS may issue public notices for EHR-related safety problems.
  • Establish an ONC Safety Program to coordinate activities and analyze data.

12-23-2012 4-47-16 PM

Aprima announces that the first customer of its Aprima Rescue Plan has successfully moved from Allscripts MyWay and gone live on Aprima’s EHR. The announcement says that Crystal Community ENT (FL) had used MyWay for less than two months when it received notice from Allscripts that the product would not be enhanced to meet Meaningful Use and ICD-10 requirements.

SPi Healthcare names Louis Grujanac, DO (Accretive Health) as VP of HIM solutions.

12-23-2012 6-01-54 PM

Melissa Cruz, CFO of Progress Software and former CFO of Picis, announces her retirement.

12-23-2012 6-21-21 PM

RTLS vendor Versus Technology announces Q4 results: revenue up 77 percent, net income of $3,121,000 vs. $704,000.

12-23-2012 6-07-51 PM

In Singapore, Changi General Hospital develops an iPad-based “patient care communicator” that allows intubated patients to communicate with caregivers.

12-23-2012 5-10-40 PM

RelayHealth acquires Ahi Software, whose AHIQA patient access system is rated #1 in KLAS. It offers applications for registration, wait time tracking, eligibility, demographics verification, and patient responsibility estimation.

12-23-2012 5-35-43 PM

Park Place International recently participated in Meditech’s Adopt-a-Family program, which delivered food, gifts, and supplies to 53 families.

12-23-2012 5-50-55 PM

Weird News Andy is off on a sunny vacation, so I’m happy to step in. The Social Security Administration formally reprimands an employee for excessive workplace flatulence, saying he hasn’t supported his claim of an unspecified medical condition.

Vendor Clinician Compensation

I received the following responses from Vendor Middle Manager’s request relating to what vendors pay their clinical people. Some of those below were reported first hand, while others came from readers asking around. I appreciate the responses.

  • Epic subject matter experts developing clinical content: $150 per hour.
  • Informatics-certified RN: $70K.
  • RN consultant: $90-$120K with bonuses raising the potential to $110-160K. Stock options same as other employees receive.
  • EHR clinicians: $130-180K for work that’s 50 percent consulting and 50 percent design.
  • Demo team physicians and nurses: $150-180K with half of the 20 percent bonus tied to sales success.
  • RN doing demos: $85K base with compensation structure than puts them over $125K on the low end.
  • Vendor CMO/CNO: $300K salary plus bonus of up to 40 percent.
  • Master’s degreed RNs in product management or consulting: $150-185K base with 20 percent bonus.

People celebrate a variety of holidays this time of year. Like most readers, I’m a Christmas and New Year’s guy, but I sincerely hope that whatever holidays, customs, and practices you and your family are observing bring you love and satisfaction. Business and IT stuff is important, but let’s face it, it’s not exactly inspiring material for your tombstone. I appreciate the people who are involved with HIStalk, my hobby of 10 years. That includes everyone who reads, e-mails, writes one-time or recurring guest posts, sponsors, and otherwise provides the many kinds of support that I need to keep it going when I’m questioning exactly why I’m spending most of my free time on the computer. On my side of the monitor are the people I trust with my most valuable asset – my reputation. That would be Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Travis, Dr. Gregg, Lt. Dan, and Donna, all of whom work week in and week out to bring you the information you need. I’m so busy between my hospital job and my HIStalk job that I don’t always express appreciation to everybody involved in this thrilling and totally illogical 10-year run, but they don’t mean a bit less to me just because I don’t say so often enough. Enjoy your holidays, whatever they may be.


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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December 23, 2012 News 18 Comments

News 12/21/12

December 20, 2012 News 13 Comments

Top News

12-20-2012 9-11-51 PM

Allscripts shares closed Thursday at $9.14, down over 14 percent since Wednesday’s after-hours announcement that it would not pursue being acquired and instead will replace its executives and forge ahead. The company’s market cap is $1.6 billion. If you had invested $10,000 each in Allscripts and Cerner shares on January 1, 2000, you’d have $1,983 and $157,874, respectively. If you’d made the same investment five years ago, you would be holding $4,560 and $27,982. Obviously the company is hoping that Paul Black had enough influence in Cerner’s success to be able to replicate it at Allscripts. They’re bragging publicly on his background and Cerner’s success, which is odd given that Cerner is perhaps its most direct competitor.

Reader Comments

12-20-2012 6-13-48 PM

From HITEsq: “Re: another patent troll. A Puerto Rico-based company, Ingeniador, is going after GE Healthcare and McKesson for violating a 2006 patent whose claims are as ridiculous as its title – ‘Publishing System for Intranet.’”” I did some digging and found that the “company” is a former Hewlett-Packard software engineer named Marcos Polanco, who developed a database management system for his employer and then sued them for royalties. Since then, he has sued everybody and their brother, including Microsoft, HP, Oracle, Lexmark, and SAP. He apparently bought the patent he’s waving around from an oil services company. He’s big on Puerto Rican enterprise, entrepreneurship, serving as COO of glucometer vendor iCare Medical, and filing ludicrous lawsuits.

12-20-2012 6-45-15 PM

From Top Chef: “Re: Paul Black. I knew him from his Cerner days. Good guy, very smart and affable. Guess he’s ready to jump into it again!” Glen and his loyalists had to be fired, of course, when the PE tire kickers passed on Allscripts, leaving the company desperate to change something (anything) to put the stench of a disastrous year behind it — missing Wall Street expectations; firing the Eclipsys supporters on its board and barely keeping Glen; caving in to a proxy fight by reluctantly adding three HealthCor-nominated board members; watching its share price drop nearly 40 percent in a single day; having word of its private equity courtship leaked publicly; choosing the worst possible time to announce the halt in MyWay development; and having its customers name it as the worst vendor in the country with their KLAS product ratings. Not to mention the final embarrassment of having the potential acquirers walk away from the smoking wreckage. Paul Black has his work cut out for him. I would like to see his first order of business be to drop the company’s ridiculous lawsuit against NYCHHC and provide an update on the Sunrise integration status, which was supposed to have gone to beta in June per Glen. I’m not convinced Sunrise is viable given lack of sales and what must be high R&D costs and a declining user base, so they need a strategy that doesn’t involve going toe-to-toe with Epic and also to re-introduce Sunrise Financial Manager, which got lost in all the juicy company turmoil. The PE guys would have trimmed the product line and headcount (7,000 employees seems like a lot), so with Glen out of the picture, those options are surely on the table. Unfortunately, they’ll have to make those decisions under Wall Street’s microscope and that’s hard. Here’s where you get the chance to play Monday morning quarterback like me: leave a comment with the 2-3 things that Paul Black needs to do first to get Allscripts on track.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

12-20-2012 10-38-04 AM

inga_small I got my first Christmas present in the mail yesterday from a couple of my favorite gal pals: a daily shoe calendar for 2013. Each day looks better than the next!

histalk practice new

inga_small Mr. H also gave me an early Christmas present with the refresh of the HIStalk Practice site, complete with a new logo (thank you, Dodge Communications) and a sleeker format. Take a peek and let us know what you think. This week’s HIStalk Practice highlights include a don’t miss year-in-review post by Joel Diamond, which I promise is the funniest read of the season. SRS’s EHR takes the top spot in a survey of ambulatory care specialists. The big winners and losers in KLAS’s Physician Practice Solutions categories. KLAS is criticized for favoring big vendors that subsidize KLAS operations. CareCloud names John J. Walsh CTO. Thanks for reading.

On the Jobs Board: Chief Information Officer, Cerner Experienced Providers.

If the world ends today or if I decide that nobody will be reading on Christmas Eve, there won’t be a Monday Morning Update. I’m betting I’ll be right here over the weekend, though.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Allscripts held a short investor conference call Thursday morning to go over the changes. You can listen to the recording here. My notes:

  • The company still won’t say whether it received any acquisition offers, only that it decided to continue as the current entity.
  • The CFO is aggressively looking at cost controls and productivity plans.
  • Black: “We’re not going to waste any time going to work.”
  • ICD-10 functionality is complete and Meaningful Use 2 is well underway.
  • “Disruptive, open technology,” common user experience, and single patient workflow.
  • “There will be no substitute for results” and “we need to move quickly.”
  • Question: who will lead the product refresh effort? Answer: Cliff Meltzer, who will continue as EVP of solutions development.
  • Question: since the company stopped giving guidance, how’s the quarter going? Answer: we’ll benefit from the clarity around the company’s direction. The lack of clarity this year was a misstep.
  • Question: was the board’s decision to stay independent unanimous? Answer: the board doesn’t comment on their deliberations. There were no dissents on Glen stepping down.
  • Question: is customer attrition running in line historically? Answer: I don’t have the number, but retention is steady in all facets of the business.
  • Question: Glen said earlier this year that the company brought on 400 employees to work on integration. Was it money well spent and are customers happy with functionality? Answer: Not all of our clients are happy and we won’t rest until 100 percent are. I won’t be happy until we don’t need a sales force because they’re beating down our doors and our fax machines are burning up with orders. R&D spend will continue at the current level.
  • Question: what’s the order of strategic initiatives? Answer: solidify the client base; review expenses; step up revenue, engineering, and operations to keep surprises to a minimum.
  • Question: was there a precipitating event that led to the changes? Answer: just the completion of the strategic review.
  • Question: what areas other than product innovation and R&D will be emphasized? Answer: increase emphasis on application hosting, add managed services for the large ambulatory clients, review why home health and patient flow solutions don’t seem to produce as well as the market would suggest is possible.
  • Question: how will the executive suite shape up? Answer: I expect to bring folks in, but review talent and promote from within if possible. I will bring in people I’m comfortable with working with and those I’ve worked with in the past.
  • Question: what’s the lowest-hanging fruit? Answer: the large number of doctors using the systems regularly are the mother lode and the company will build around that core.

Terms of Paul Black’s deal to take over Allscripts include a three-year contract for $1 million per year in salary and a $1.5 million annual bonus target with the 2013 payout guaranteed; a $1.25 million signing bonus; $3 million in shares vesting over three years; $3 million in incentive-based shares; $2.5 million in service-based restricted shares vesting over four years; and $2.5 million in a performance-based equity award. If he quits or is fired, he gets two years’ of severance including his bonus target (total of $5 million) and an extra year of vesting. Glen Tullman and Lee Shapiro get a parting gift that includes a year’s salary, their target bonuses, and acceleration of vesting. If the company sells itself within a year, they’ll get two years’ salary plus their target bonus.


12-20-2012 5-44-05 PM

HealthEast’s (MN) board of directors approves the $135 million purchase of Epic, which will replace seven platforms.

The US Navy and Army award Dell, BRIT Systems, and Acuo Technologies a $45 million contract to create a Unified Clinical Archive for PACS to be used by 49 medical facilities.

Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center (NJ) and Urban Health Plan (NY) choose eClinicalWorks Care Coordination Medical Record and EHR solutions to advance their ACO initiatives.

12-20-2012 5-41-02 PM

Colorado Springs Health Partners will implement the Professional Charge Capture solution from MedAptus for inpatient professional services coding and billing.

Hometown Health (NV) will deploy MedHOK’s care management, quality, and compliance platform.

SAIC wins a one-year, $17 million contract to support the Coast Guard’s Integrated Health Information System, which is the name of its implementation of Epic.


12-20-2012 9-37-25 AM

Harris Corp. names Vishal Agrawal, MD (McKinsey and Co.) president of Harris Healthcare Solutions.

12-20-2012 9-40-56 AM

Bob Hajek (Humanscale) joins Divurgent as a VP of client services.

12-20-2012 10-00-11 AM  12-20-2012 3-28-26 PM  12-20-2012 5-47-28 PM

PatientSafe Solutions names Frank Pecaitis (GE Healthcare) SVP of sales and Bruce Eklund (AHM) SVP of operations, also promoting Joseph Condurso from president/COO to president/CEO.

12-20-2012 8-18-15 PM

Tom Bang (A-Life Medical, Cardinal Health) is named CEO of post-acute care systems vendor BlueStep Systems. Former CEO Roy Rasband will move to the CTO role.

Announcements and Implementations

12-20-2012 10-56-37 AM

The 500-member American College of Medical Coding Specialists votes to join AHIMA.

The Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals announces the Phase 1 go-live of its TORCH HIE at Wilbarger General Hospital (TX). It uses the CollaborNet interoperability solution from Holon Solutions.

Government and Politics

HHS’s Office of Inspect General advises hospitals that they are not violating anti-kickback statutes when they provide community physician practices a free interface to support exchanging orders and results.

12-20-2012 8-28-08 PM

Charles Boustany, Jr. MD (R-LA), chair of House Subcommittee on Oversight, sends a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking her to provide the department’s policies on archiving electronic messaging. Whistleblowers have alleged that HHS’s political appointees are intentionally using instant messaging to avoid leaving a discoverable record of their communication with department employees.

The government’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, charged with developing a Department of Defense database for tracking medical examinations for officer candidates, is found to be $7 million over budget and may never deliver a working system. Administration of the contract, which was issued an Alaska firm under a government requirement that Alaska native companies receive preferential treatment, has been taken over by the General Services administration.

Innovation and Research

12-20-2012 8-11-38 PM

Yet another healthcare IT accelerator fans to life, this time in Miami. Project Lift Miami will offer 10 to 15 startups seed funding, office space, and mentoring in a 100-day program.

Microsoft is working with the military to offer Kinect-powered home physical therapy treatments to injured soldiers and veterans using the ReMotion 360 software from InfoStrat. Microsoft is also working on a Kinect-based based system for conducting online group therapy sessions for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.


The Wilmington, DE VA hospital rolls out a visitor way-finding kiosk system that features a talking avatar named Val, which stands for “Veterans Affairs locator.” The system, which also allows visitors to pre-plan their visit online, was developed by LogicJunction.

12-20-2012 7-57-11 PM

A public radio station profiles Syracuse-based startup Simple Admit, which allows patients to complete their forms online before their provider visit.

12-20-2012 8-00-31 PM

Griffin Technology offers the AirStrap Med, a $90 sling case that makes it easier to use an iPad during rounds.


A poll finds that only a third of health system leaders are confident in their organization’s readiness for Meaningful Use Stage 2.

An interesting vision of how clinical documentation could be performed by the rounding teams of academic medical centers, offered by by John Halamka on his blog:

The entire care team jointly authors a daily note for each patient using a novel application inspired by Wikipedia editing and Facebook communication. Data is captured using disease-specific templates to ensure appropriate quality indicators are recorded. At the end of each day, the primary physician responsible for the patient’s care signs the note on behalf of the care team and the note is locked. Gone are the "chart wars", redundant statements, and miscommunication among team members. As the note is signed, key concepts described in the note are codified in SNOMED-CT. The SNOMED-CT concepts are reduced to a selection of suggested ICD-10 billing codes. A rules engine reports back to the clinician where additional detail is needed to justify each ICD-10 code  i.e. a fracture must have the specifics of right/left, distal/proximal, open/closed, simple/comminuted. You can imagine that the moving parts I’ve described are modular components provided by different companies via cloud hosted web services (similar to the decision support service provider idea).

Medical device manufacturers are blaming the Affordable Care Act’s 2.3 percent tax on their products for industry layoffs, but economists say companies were already bloated in a slow market and would have had to cut jobs anyway. The manufacturers‘ trade group is trying to have repeal of the tax included in fiscal cliff negotiations, but the President says he’s not a fan of that idea.

12-20-2012 8-42-53 PM

Pediatric patients at Geisinger Medical Center (PA) receive iPad-based visits from Santa Claus in the hospital’s “Santa Cam” program.

Weird News Andy summarizes this story as “Good news, bad news.” A 27-year-old cystic fibrosis patient receives a long-awaited lung transplant, but then dies of lung cancer 16 months later. The lungs she received were from a donor who smoked heavily, which is apparently the case in 40 percent of lung transplants. The hospital trust has apologized for not disclosing that fact in their explanation of the risks involved, saying that patients almost always want whatever lungs they can get.

Sponsor Updates

12-20-2012 7-22-24 PM

  • Sunquest hosted a December 7 fundraiser to provide foster children with Christmas gifts. The cookout, Hostess Twinkie raffle, and company donation raised over $7,000 for Aviva Children’s Services.

12-20-2012 7-25-22 PM

  • CTG Health Solutions launched its Holiday Military Appreciation Campaign for military family members of its employees, sending gift packages both to those serving and to their families. The company also continued its tradition of taking the money that would have been spent on customer greeting cards and instead donating it to Operation Homefront, which provides support to military families.

12-21-2012 6-37-35 AM

  • Cornerstone Advisors establishes Cornerstone CAres, a charitable giving program funded by employee contributions and matching company donations. Its first project was to help employees of long-time client Chilton Hospital (NJ), which was severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Receiving the donation was Chilton VP/CIO Mark Lederman (above).
  • SIS employees raised over $12,000 to purchase gifts and supplies in support of Embracing Arms home for girls, The Empty Stocking Fund, the Secret Santa Ministry, and Toys for Tots.
  • Liaison Technologies shares its 2013 forecast for cloud adoption, business integration, and managed services.
  • Levi, Ray and Shoup offers a white paper on enhanced document printing and viewing in the healthcare industry.
  • A White Plume blog post called “Healthcare’s Wake-Up Call for 2013-2014” warns of the urgency needed to prepare for PQRS, MU2, ICD-10, and HIX.
  • Fulcrum Methods provides details of how it helped NorthBay Healthcare successfully attest for Meaningful Use.
  • Raymond Fabius, MD, chief medical officer of Truven Health Analytics, warns employers that moving to  an exchange-only health benefits model based on cost alone.
  • Business NH Magazine names Bottomline Technologies a “Best Company to Work For” for the fifth consecutive year.
  • Northwest Michigan Surgery Center shares how its implementation of Versus Advantages IR/RFIF RTLS has helped it perform as one of the nation’s top ambulatory surgery centers.
  • Medseek will incorporate the Healthwise Patient Engagement solution into its health content offerings.
  • InteliChart and RelayHealth develop a health information exchange platform that integrates with InteliChart’s suite of connectivity solutions and provides bi-directional exchange between the ambulatory and hospital settings.
  • Humedica and Pfizer announce a multi-year strategic alliance to use Humedica’s de-identified healthcare data to improve drug effectiveness.
  • EMRConsultant offers a free survey for practices interested in improving efficiency and reducing expenses.
  • Modern Healthcare names MedAssets as the largest revenue cycle company.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

CCHIT will develop an IT framework for Accountable Care Organizations, hoping to identify the infrastructure needed. An advisory panel is being formed to develop the framework, which will ultimately lead to additional CCHIT certification programs.

ONC seeks applications for two new consumer-focused HIT FACA Workgroups: the HIT Policy Committee’s Consumer Empowerment Workgroup and the HIT Standards Committee’s Consumer Technology Workgroup. Applications are due by January 14, 2013.

As if this week’s predicted apocalypse isn’t enough, a recent article cites ICD-10 as causing shock, awe, and fear. Seriously, people, we’ve known it’s been coming for years, and warning of “apocalyptic-type scenarios” is a little much. Remember Y2K? A staffer at UnitedHealth Group is quoted as saying that use of both ICD-9 and ICD-10 together will cause “mass hysteria.” Guess what? Using both will be reality for many of us, because not all payers are switching over. There’s no requirement for non-covered entities or those using paper claims to change.


I received a fair amount of feedback on my recent discussion of the Meaningful Use smoking status measure.

From Under the Mistletoe: “Dr. Jayne, you are not a hair splitter at all, and I think these descriptors are absurd. This is the calculation we always use: pack years. Certainly closer to quantifiable, not perfect, but I am really disappointed in what you described from SNOMED. How disappointed was I? Well, I could say ‘extremely,’ or would you prefer on a 1 to 10 scale with 10 as the worst possible – a 10?”

Mr. H hinted to one correspondent that I may have been “cranky” when I wrote that piece, which I guess is true. Like a reported 77 percent of physicians, I’m at least somewhat pessimistic about the future of medicine and exhibit a higher degree of pessimism after a day of seeing patients. When you’re dealing with parents who can’t figure out how to pay for a $4 antibiotic for their child (and who bring her to the ER because they don’t have Tylenol at home), some of the things we do in the informatics office seem pretty ludicrous.



HIMSS created a word cloud showing the educational offerings for the upcoming HIMSS13 meeting in New Orleans. In response, I offer up my own.



Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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December 20, 2012 News 13 Comments

News 12/19/12

December 18, 2012 News 2 Comments

Top News

12-18-2012 9-07-23 PM

A Wells Fargo Securities analysis of EHR attestation data finds a surge in the number of hospitals and practices qualifying for Meaningful Use money, which it expects to continue through the February deadline. It also notes that Epic is starting to dominate in all measures, leading in the number of physicians that have attested in with a success rate of 35 percent and representing 21 percent of the total attestations. Athenahealth was also noted as performing at an above-average rate, with neutral numbers for Allscripts and slightly negative numbers for Quality Systems. I ran the cumulative percentages by vendor and found that 80 percent of attesting providers are represented by just 22 of the 391 vendors listed: Epic, Allscripts, eClinicalWorks, NextGen, GE Healthcare, McKesson, Greenway, Cerner, Practice Fusion, athenahealth, Vitera, e-MDs, Community Computer Service, Eyefinity, Amazing Charts, Compulink, BioMedix Vascular Solutions, MedPlus, Medflow, Aprima, Partners HealthCare, and MedInformatix.

Reader Comments

From The PACS Designer: “Re: X-rays using your phone. Two engineers from California Institute of Technology have developed a microchip that can produce images inside objects without using the normal radiation method. The circuits operate with existing mobile phone technology but use the terahertz operating region to produce the viewable image for the phone. Terahertz radiation can penetrate through the body without damaging the tissue it passes through.”

From Vendor Middle Manager: “Re: clinician compensation. Can you ping the vendor community on the levels of compensation (salary, bonuses, options, etc.) being paid to clinicians? It’s hard to find out because of inherent reluctance to disclose compensation and the variety of titles that don’t reflect true roles. It would be great to hear anonymous examples of physician and nurse compensation with the primary role specified (doing demos, designing user interfaces, developing content, etc.)” I’ll collect and anonymously report your responses if you would care to either e-mail me or use the anonymous Rumor Report.

12-18-2012 8-50-42 PM

From Mini Me: “Re: iPad Mini. I’m interested to know how doctors are using the iPad Mini.” Me, too. If you are a clinician using an iPad Mini or an IT person involved in its rollout for clinical use, let me know why you chose the Mini and how it’s being used.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

12-18-2012 9-10-39 PM

Investment firm Elliott Management offers to buy Compuware for about $2.4 billion, a 15 percent premium over last week’s closing price. Elliot, which owns 8 percent of the company, says Compuware’s “execution, profitability, and growth have meaningfully underperformed.” Above is CPWR’s five-year share price (blue) vs. the Nasdaq (red). Compuware filed for a possible IPO of its Covisint Corp. unit last week and could conduct the IPO in three to six months.

12-18-2012 8-52-26 PM

Revenue cycle software provider Recondo Technology acquires eHC Solutions, an Indianapolis-based developer of EDI solutions.

pMD releases a mobile version of its patient handoff product.

12-18-2012 8-23-03 PM

PatientSafe Solutions (formerly IntelliDot) raises $13.3 million in equity financing, about half of the amount it is seeking, raising its all-time financing total to $83 million. The company offers bedside scanning solutions for medications, specimens, and breast milk along with documentation and caregiver messaging.


Rideout Health (CA) selects McKesson’s Paragon HIS as its financial and clinical solution.

ARcare (KY/AR) selects SuccessEHS PM/EHR for its 45 community health center locations.

12-18-2012 5-45-14 PM

MemorialCare Health System (CA) will implement the KnowledgeEdge Enterprise Data Warehouse from Health Care DataWorks.

12-18-2012 5-46-33 PM

Trustees of St. John’s Medical Center (WY) decide to spend $240,000 to buy eClinicalWorks as a replacement for McKesson Practice Partner, which it has been running for five years. They say Practice Partner is not user friendly and makes it difficult to document office visits.


12-18-2012 6-16-28 AM

The Premier Healthcare Alliance names Gary S. Long (Surgical Information Systems) chief sales officer.

12-18-2012 12-19-39 PM  12-18-2012 1-03-17 PM  12-18-2012 5-50-41 PM

CCHIT adds Janet M. Corrigan (National Quality Forum) and Grace E. Terrell, MD (Cornerstone Health Care) to its board of trustees and promotes Executive Director Alisa Ray to CEO.

12-18-2012 1-05-52 PM

The National Quality Forum names Christine K. Cassel, MD (American Board of Internal Medicine) president and CEO effective mid-summer 2013.

12-18-2012 5-52-59 PM

James D. Morris (Western Digital) joins Harris Corporation as group president of the Integrated Network Solutions business, which includes Harris Healthcare Solutions.

12-18-2012 3-19-21 PM  12-18-2012 3-22-14 PM

The SSI Group appoints Brian Campbell SVP of sales and Tom Myers chief strategy officer. Both will maintain their roles with MedWorth, an SSI subsidiary.

12-18-2012 6-55-56 AM  12-18-2012 5-54-36 PM

Meditech promotes Carol Labadini to associate VP for development, implementation, and support of Meditech’s ambulatory solution and Hoda Sayed-Friel to EVP of strategy and marketing.

12-18-2012 3-24-10 PM  12-18-2012 3-25-37 PM

Billing company PatientFocus adds Philip Hertik (Windsor Health Group) and Lucius E. Burch, IV (Burch Investment Group) to its board of directors.

12-18-2012 7-06-41 PM

Ormed names Bill Hockstedler (Connance, Inc.) VP of sales and marketing.

12-18-2012 8-37-05 PM

Imprivata names Carina Edwards (Nuance) as SVP of its new Customer Experience Group.

Informatica names Margaret Breya (HP) chief marketing office and EVP.

Announcements and Implementations

New Horizons Health Systems (KY) goes live on Healthland Centriq EHR.

12-18-2012 9-15-59 PM

Hutchinson Clinic (KS) exchanges CCD from its Allscripts EMR to the Kansas Health Information Network using the ICA CareAlign Exchange platform.

Orion Health announces the release of Orion Health Mobile, which allows users of Orion Health HIE to view real-time patient information on their iPhones and iPads.

Ormed sells its Canadian business to a subsidiary of Constellation Software, saying it will now focus on selling it ERP, HR, and decision support products to the US healthcare market. Constellation has completed several acquisitions this month, including buying documentation and charge capture systems vendor Salar from Nuance. Constellation also owned 21 percent of Mediware, or about $40 million worth, when that company was acquired by Thoma Bravo last month.

12-18-2012 7-22-18 PM

A profile of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital SVP/CIO Aurelia Boyer, RN, MBA describes the organization’s use of Caradigm Amalga to analyze quality measures in real time, which she says saved $1.5 million in discovering CHF treatment variations.

Medecision’s Aerial care management system earns NCQA disease management certification.  

Government and Politics

ONC recognizes Ohio for coordinating its Regional Extension Center, HIE, and Beacon Community in supporting Meaningful Use and interoperability. More than 8,200 Ohio providers have met Meaningful Use requirements, receiving $368 million in federal payments.

In England, the chair of the Public Accounts Committee says paying trusts to implement CSC’s Lorenzo system are “bribes.” An earlier report from eHealth Insider says that CSC has offered $1.6 million each to the next 10 hospitals who sign up for Lorenzo, with funds coming from the Department of Health and CSC. CSC says the report contained factual errors, while Department of Health denies the suggestion that the incentives give CSC an advantage over competitors.


An article in a North Carolina newspaper illustrates why hospitals are snapping up medical practices. Simply by buying the practice, hospitals can bill up to double or more what the same physician in the same office would have been paid for performing the same service. Non-profit hospitals argue that they deserve to bill extra because of Medicare underpayment, a higher level of regulation, treatment of the uninsured, and a higher level of staffing. The article says North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper is considering using of antitrust laws to keep hospitals from raising healthcare costs by buying up their practice-based competitors. It cites an example of a patient’s echocardiogram, whose cost to her jumped from a $60 co-pay to a $952 bill even though the same technician performed the same test. In the Charlotte area, more than 90 percent of cardiologists are now hospital employees, spurred by a decline in their incomes of 30 to 40 percent in the past three years.

Weird News Andy says this baby was saved by scissors, but not like you’d think. UK doctors decide to save a baby born after 23 weeks of gestation (within the limit of legal abortion in almost all US states) because she weighed the minimum one pound to be considered viable. Only later did they realize that she had been weighed without removing a pair of scissors from the scales, with her actual weight being only 13 ounces. She’s been discharged after six months (after what must have been a monumental taxpayer expense) and is doing fine.

Sponsor Updates

12-18-2012 1-42-58 PM

  • Several Marines pay a visit to eClinicalWorks’ Westboro, MA headquarters to collect donated toys for Toys for Tots.
  • CommVault will pay $5.9 million for land in Tinton Falls, NJ to build its new headquarters.
  • A Wolters Kluwer Health survey finds that 80 percent of consumers believe they would benefit from have more control of their healthcare, though only 19 percent have a PHR. Nineteen percent also say that the most important consideration when selecting a physician is the practice’s level of technology.
  • Surgical Information Systems showcased its AIMS solution at this week’s PostGraduate Assembly on Anesthesiology in New York City.
  • PSS World Medical will offer Wellcentive’s population health management and analytics platform to its customers.
  • GetWellNetwork integrates Stanley Healthcare’s RTLS with its interactive patient care solution to identify caregivers entering patient rooms.
  • Dx-Web will offer LDM Group’s PhysicianCare and ScriptGuide products to its network of EMR vendors, expanding the relationship between the companies.
  • The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation awards the Mayo Clinic, Philips Research North American, and the US Critical Illness and Injury Trials Group over $16 million to improve critical care in the ICU.
  • Billian’s HealthDATA offers strategies for providers to reduce re-hospitalization rates in a blog post.
  • AirStrip Technologies will add secure messaging to its applications using Diversinet’s mobiSecure SDK.
  • RazorInsights will incorporate Health Language, Inc.’s software into its EHR system to support standard terminologies.
  • Clinithink publishes the seventh installment of its seven-part blog series entitled, "Clinical NLP in Plain English."
  • DrFirst is ranked by Black Book as the #1 vendor of standalone electronic prescribing systems.

Report from the Healthcare Privacy and Security Forum
December 2-3, Boston, MA
By MrVStream

If you are not serious about your patient information security and privacy issues, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is, and it will have both financial and legal consequences for the entity. Just check out the Case Examples and Resolution Agreements (more on OCR to follow.)

I had the very good two days attending the inaugural Security and Privacy Forum sponsored by Healthcare IT News and HIMSS in Boston last week. It was well attended with over 250 registrants and 15 corporate sponsors. It does remind me of the early days for HIMSS (I won’t tell you how many years ago that was). It was serious, interactive, and had relevant subjects.

Here are some of the highlights and noteworthy points.

  • The keynote was delivered by Tim Zoph, SVP of administration of Northwestern Memorial Healthcare. He shared the greatest impact of a lack of focus on patient security and privacy is the erosion of confidence from patients and consumer towards healthcare providers, with the reported 435 breaches that affected 500 or more individuals since September 22, 2009, now totaling more than 20 million impacted individuals. Tim offered hopes and guidance to healthcare leadership that through creating a culture of security, simplifying the technology environment, using a standards-based security model, being proactive, and most importantly applying the right governance structure that is multidisciplinary, we can avoid security as one of these blind spots outlined in How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins.
  • Barbara Demster, chair of the HIMSS Patient Identity (PI) Integrity Work Group, outlined that PI Integrity has direct impacts to privacy and security in the areas of operations and finance. She offered a HIMSS white paper from the Patient Identity Integrity Toolkit. The current estimate is that records are duplicated in the eight to 12 percent range, with institutions experiencing 47 percent false negative and 51 percent false positive (more problematic). The financial impacts range from administrative, regulatory, and patient care-safety. Barbara also suggests that PI integrity processes need to include stakeholders across the organization. Barbara emphasized that commitment and explicit organizational guidelines towards data governance are imperative.
  • Lisa Gallagher (senior director of privacy and security for HIMSS) and Bob Krenek (senior director of Experian Data Breach Resolution) presented the summary results of the 2012 HIMSS Security Survey, released December 12. Summary: (a) security budgets hold steady at 3 percent of the IT budget; (b) those organizations not conducting formal risk assessments will not qualify for MU incentives; (c) organizations need to establish a robust patient information secure environment in order to be able to safely share data externally; and (d) physician practices are not as advanced as other healthcare organizations in many areas of data security.
  • Sharon Finney, corporate data security officer for Adventist Health System, shared that her approach in meeting the needs and prepare for an OCR audit is moving her department from internal audit functions to risk assessment, focus on the potential risk impact, quantifying the financial risk, and engaging other departments. She also urged understanding people and process and to focus on the connecting points between each steps. She said she expects MU audits to be performed on all the institutions received funding.
  • Edward Ricks, VP/CIO of Beaufort Memorial Hospital suggested that to prepare for an OCR audit is to simplify the process and use outside consultants for support.
  • Mobile access and BYOD in healthcare are still major issues for patient information security and privacy with no single strategy, especially in the areas of device-to-device communication of PHI and home or consumer data collection. Sample strategies: Kaiser (do not allow any BYOD), Partners (restrict to technology standards — iOS only), Children’s Hospital of Central California (provide a virtual desktop environment), and others using network security to limit information access. The general agreement is that leadership is required to create a culture of patient information security. There is plenty of work to be shared by all the functional roles, but the reality is, a low amount of resources devoted and focused on the efforts of patient information security and privacy from both the administration and the white coats.
  • Jennings Aske (CISO of  Partners HealthCare) and Darren Lacey (CISO and director of IT compliance of Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine) discussed the role of cloud computing. They suggested that it is necessary for the cloud supplier to sign a BAA, disclose underlying infrastructure, obtain third-party certification, and to demonstrate disclosure transparence. They did suggest that hybrid cloud services architecture is a good compromise.

Leon Rodriguez, director of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), made these statements in an interview:

  • HHS OCR enforces the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules as well as the HITECH Breach Notification Rule.
  • The final HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules are expected very soon.
  • The greatest challenge is the transformation of the agency from a regulatory body to an enforcement agency, where the scope is expected to be broader in nature.
  • The director position requires a balance of business needs and the need to comply with the regulations.
  • OCR expects from providers a well-documented procedure and we expect the entity to follow the process. The focused is on encryption, encryption, and encryption.
  • The awareness of management is still lacking, which makes it difficult for healthcare organizations to meet the regulations.
  • OCR has to work to help  consumers to understand privacy violations.
  • OCR is starting to move from a reactive mode to proactive audits based on risk analysis.
  • OCR expects more monetary restitution in the future and to expand the agency using the proceeds of the fines. $4 million was collected in 2012, but that is expected to grow.
  • OCR most likely will offer technology guidance, but will focus on the process.
  • OCR is still trying to assess the level of resources necessary to complete the audit.
  • Healthcare entity leadership will separate the successful implementation of a security and privacy plan from the unsuccessful ones.

Do you hear the OCR coming down the chimney to your facility? Plan to attend the Forum next year. I think you will find it worthwhile, and it may get you on the official Good List.


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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December 18, 2012 News 2 Comments

Monday Morning Update 12/17/12

December 15, 2012 News 16 Comments

12-15-2012 3-08-24 PM

From John: “Re: ONC. What happened to its announced intention to publish an EHR safety action and surveillance plan? It was announced in November 2011 and was supposed to be finished within 12 months.” 

12-15-2012 5-29-57 PM

From California Dreamin’: “Re: MMRGlobal’s patent trolling lawsuits for patient portals. I hear ONC and the California Attorney General are interested in the company’s reason for e-mailing individual hospitals about its patents. The company seems to be going after hospitals rather than vendors for patent infringement.” The former is unverified, while the latter does seem to be the case as the company’s lawyers cast the net wide, apparently including just about every hospital as a potential patent violator.

From Former Allscripts Employee: “Re: HHC lawsuit. I know for a fact that Glen and many others at Allscripts (as well as many outside of the company) are convinced that Epic is fleecing its customers. They feel Epic’s costs – especially the undisclosed long-term costs of operation – are outrageous and are hurting healthcare. As a former employee who participated in many C-level conversations, I’m guessing that they hope to use the lawsuit to bring those costs to light through the discovery process. Moreover, Allscripts has in fact demonstrated the integration of its ambulatory and inpatient EHRs at least one live site. And I’m sure they feel HHC could benefit from connectivity to Allscripts systems currently in place at Columbia, NewYork-Presbyterian, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, North Shore Long Island, and other NYC-based health systems serving millions of local patients whose records would be helpful to HHC providers. So while I agree it’s a dumb PR move for Allscripts, it’s not necessarily a bad business decision.”

12-15-2012 6-57-36 AM

Most poll respondents don’t think FDA should create an Office of Wireless Health, which opens up another question: if you feel that way, why? Leave a comment with your thoughts. New poll to your right: how has the Allscripts lawsuit against HHC and Epic affected your opinion of the company? As always, click the Comment link on the poll once you’ve voted to explain your position.

12-15-2012 4-52-08 PM

Speaking of the Allscripts lawsuit, the company sent over this statement in response to Friday’s HIStalk write-up:

Allscripts filed the lawsuit because NYCHHC failed to even address, much less resolve, significant concerns that Allscripts’ raised in its agency-level protest concerning the propriety of HHC’s iCIS award decision. Documents produced by HHC indicate that the agency failed to follow the rules governing the competition and overlooked hundreds of millions of dollars in potential savings offered by Allscripts’ proposal. In these times, it is critical that public procurements be awarded through the conduct of fair competitions that objectively assess the merits of competing proposals and document a reasonable basis for the decision. From all available information, the HHC award to Epic is lacking in all of these respects. Allscripts’ product is currently being used by some of the most prestigious organizations in New York, we offered substantial cost savings over the life cycle of the project, and we committed to creating more than 100 new technology jobs in the City. Had proposals been evaluated properly, we believe that our offer was clearly the best value for the City. Our goal remains the same: We want transparency in the process… we want the bid process reopened so that the competing proposals can be reviewed fairly, consistently and side-by-side to ensure that the taxpayers of NYC obtain the best value Electronic Health Record solution.

HIStalk Practice joins HIStalk Connect in receiving a design facelift, although not an identical one because of the length and type of articles. HIStalk is next and it will look very much like HIStalk Practice, which I think is easier to read and less claustrophobic than this 2007-era layout you’re reading that has served nobly for all those years.

I made a new Spotify playlist with old and new cool stuff from The Cult, Superchunk, Guided By Voices, Grizzly Bear, and others. It’s a work in progress since I may add more as I keep listening.

12-15-2012 1-48-45 PM

QxMD releases its free medical literature app, which allows browsing through topic reviews, reading journals, searching PubMed, and sharing articles via social media.

12-15-2012 1-54-14 PM

ONC announces the release of the 2014 Edition Test Method for EHR Certification.

In England, a government spending watchdog considers a review of the Department of Health’s payout to CSC for terminating its sole provider status as NPfIT was being dismantled. The Department of Health has said its ongoing support payments to CSC are funding centralized support, which critics say gives CSC a competitive advantage. Cerner has already raised concerns.

12-15-2012 1-57-02 PM

Baylor Health Care System announces that it will merge with Scott & White Healthcare, creating the largest not-for-profit health system in Texas with 34,000 employees, 42 hospitals, 4,000 physicians, and $8 billion in annual revenue. They created Vision for Texas Care site to explain the rationale.

NextGen Healthcare over sent an explanation of Michael Lovett’s new role mentioned in Friday’s post: “Michael Lovett is the senior vice president and ambulatory division manager for NextGen Healthcare. This is a newly-created role and Michael is responsible for developing and implementing the division’s strategic plan and ensuring that this plan is aligned with the company’s strategic direction.”

Just in case you missed Inga’s Friday morning post, here are the Best in KLAS winners for 2012. Notable factoids from it: (a) it was not surprising that Epic was by far the highest-ranked product suite, but McKesson Paragon beat Cerner to come in at #2, while the usual other big-hospital contender Allscripts finished next to last at #8; (b) McKesson came in last in physician practice rankings, with Cerner, Vitera, and Allscripts rounding out positions 7 through 9 ahead of it; (c) in the all-important inpatient EMR category, nobody’s even close to Epic, while Allscripts and Meditech populate the bottom; (d) Siemens Soarian takes the #1 spot for community EMR, although Prognosis, Meditech C/S, and RazorInsights had similar scores but were excluded because of confidence levels or because that’s not their primary market; (e) Epic is easier to beat in departmental systems, where it lagged other vendors in ED, scheduling, and anesthesia. The top three vendors overall were Epic, Wolters Kluwer, and 3M, while the bottom three were Agfa, McKesson, and Allscripts.

12-15-2012 2-35-08 PM

HealthTrio files a patent infringement lawsuit against Aetna and its ActiveHealth Management and Medicity subsidiaries, claiming that its patient portal patents have been violated.

Healthland will make the FollowMyHealth Universal Record Solution from Jardogs available to customers of its patient engagement portal.

12-15-2012 4-56-32 PM

A jury returns a $140 million medical judgment against an Alabama hospital following the 2008 death of one of its patients by insulin overdose. The patient’s physician had dictated the results of his medication reconciliation, and since his original paper form was being scanned, the offshore-prepared transcription was used by a nurse as an order. The patient was given 80 units of Levemir insulin — 10 times the prescribed dose — and died. Testimony in the trial indicated that India-based transcription companies like the ones involved follow more lax standards. Precyse Solutions, the American company to which the hospital had contracted its transcription services, claimed that its Indian subcontractors follow American error standards, but deposed officials from those companies testified that they do not. The defendant’s attorney said the mistake should never have happened because the nurse should not have used the unreviewed transcription document to create an order. He also says hospital employees and physicians did not know that transcription work wasn’t being performed in-house, adding that the hospital’s executives did not know even the names of the Indian companies until the deposition. Those companies had previously settled with the plaintiff.

12-15-2012 5-02-54 PM

Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin calls HITECH a "big fat bust," saying it is not adequately supervised, it has created cronyism, and it has negative effects on job creation and privacy. There’s not a single original thought in the entire piece, as it was obviously just assembled from readily available Internet content. It claims that Epic "lobbied loudest for the mandates" as one of the dated "hard-drive dependent software firms." She also makes the classic but nearly unforgivable mistake of editorializing loudly about providers who are fraudulently receiving payments for using EMRs they already owned, apparently unaware that HITECH was written precisely to encourage that practice. Unlike Cash for Clunkers, EMR drivers get paid for driving their same old cars.

An article in Iowa newspaper says that the i-PHACTS system developed by the state’s Department of Public Health in 2010 to track available hospital beds is nearly useless for placing patients because it’s only updated daily. A medical student is creating his own version, but it has the same limitation — integration with hospital systems is complex and hospitals aren’t willing to manually update their information on unoccupied beds regularly.

A North Carolina business paper profiles Greensboro-based Intellect Resources, which it says has quadrupled sales in each of the last two years as it provided consulting and recruiting services for hospitals implementing electronic medical records.

Health Management Associates, the subject of a "60 Minutes" report claiming its hospitals admitted patients needlessly, says the program’s sources were disgruntled former employees, one of them a physician who used court-sealed information provided to him by the program to amend his lawsuit afterward. The doctor changed his 2010 lawsuit when he saw sealed details claiming that the company’s ED software was being used to increase admissions, adding that claim to his own already-filed suit. HMA says its ED doctors don’t make admission decisions and they’ve stopped using the software.

12-15-2012 5-04-45 PM

An armed visitor shoots a police officer and two employees of St. Vincent’s Hospital (AL) on a nursing floor at 4:00 a.m. Saturday. Their injuries are not life-threatening. The suspect was shot dead by a second police officer.

Medicare’s $77 million fraud detection system, widely panned after audits found it had prevented only around $8,000 in fraudulent claims, is now claimed by CMS to have saved $115 million, although the report does not indicate how many providers were suspended from Medicare as a result. The report also indicates that the actual savings was $32 million, with the higher total being claimed as the future value of fraud that would have happened otherwise.

12-15-2012 5-06-37 PM

Health management and analytics systems vendor Medecision will lay off 83 employees in Wayne, PA headquarters, according to WARN act documents filed with the state. The company says those affected work in software development, program management, and technical support.

12-15-2012 2-39-03 PM

Weird News Andy is tickled by this story, which he snickeringly subtitles, “Little Angel.” Doctors eventually figure out what’s causing the swollen jaw of a seven-month-old girl: a two-inch feather embedded in her cheek.

Here’s Vince’s holiday gift for you, “The 12 Days of Go-Live.”

AMDIS Lover provided this message from the AMDIS listserv taking a tongue-in-cheek view of the Informatics Board Certification exam that launches in 2013. He says not all readers will appreciate it, but it captures the essence of existence of CMIOs. The original came from Joe Boyce, MD, CIO/CMIO of Heartland Health (MO).

Communications. Combine the following medical, cultural, and technical TLAs and FLAs  into a meaningful sentence. You may use one pronoun, one verb, two prepositional modifiers, and a gerund.  Ex: IMHO, CMIO NCQA PCMH FAQs without LOINC, HL-7, or SNOMED FYIs were DOA and SOL. SNAFU. 

PS: if you know all these, you do not need to complete the rest of the test.


Patient management. Who will have the most useful problem list?

  1. Five different hospitalists, NPs, and nurses using a combination of ICD9/10, SNOMED, and homegrown synonyms, with no one in charge
  2. A 70-year-old GP using free text
  3. Surgeon – two items for 84-year-old ICU patient
  4. Neonatologist — 27 SNOMED items for a three-day-old
  5. Patient’s PHR

Training. Which of the following techniques works least badly?

  1. Day-old pizza and handouts in the lunch room
  2. Department meetings at 7 a.m. on a Monday
  3. E-mails from people no one has heard of
  4. At-elbow support by people who just heard about  the project yesterday

Leadership. You have 15 hospitals over four states. Which model of leadership works best?

  1. Central (disconnected, jet lagged, and intermittent)
  2. Local (random, quirky, and adversarial)
  3. Democratic (but only certain people can vote)
  4. A CMIO with no direct reports, graded on “influence”

Fill in the correct phrase or words.

  1. CFO is to Budget as Sphincter is to __________.
  2. Twitter is to Communications as Static is to ____________.
  3. Regulation is to Efficiency as Friction is to ____________.
  4. ACO is to HMO as Deja vu is to ___________.

Order management. You are leading a CPOE installation and want to use the latest evidence-based guidelines. What is the right approach?

  1. Call a meeting of department leads, take two years, then make them up yourself
  2. Use third-party content, send to department leads, wait six months, then make them up yourself
  3. Use your paper-based content and sneak in the latest content with the one guy who comes to your meetings (i.e., make them up yourself)
  4. Google

Support. You are stopped in the hall and asked to design a new system that will save this physician maybe 2 –3 clicks a week, but will take your team at least two months of design, development and testing, two more months of training the entire staff, along with disrupting everyone else’s workflow. What is your response?

  1. Ask them to send you an e-mail describing the effort, knowing that they are “too busy” to get around to it
  2. There is no other correct answer

Software selection. You have been asked to select a new EMR for your 200-bed hospital. What  are the first steps you should take?

  1. Change your bed number to 500 so Epic will talk to you
  2. Watch the Cerner salespeople twitch when you ask one of them to demo the entire “standard implementation”
  3. Read KLAS, develop detailed requirements, do reference visits, then cave in to the most powerful docs (that couldn’t be bothered to come to demos) because they heard that System X was hard to use
  4. Go to HIMSS for wine and dine, then play spin-the-pocketbook and pray you get the “mature” implementation team promised by a sales guy you will never see again

Statistics. Which of the following principles are true?

  1. Pareto principle – 20 percent of the producers will make 80 percent of the product, but they will not be paid like it
  2. Death panel principle – 5 percent of the population consumes 50 percent of the costs, but you can’t do anything about it
  3. Incentive principle — the other 80 percent (see Pareto) will spend more energy gaming the system than producing
  4. Software development principle – 3 percent of the use cases will drive 80 percent of the timeline delays

Meetings. As CMIO, you are invited to a 2.5 hour mandatory budget meeting. What is your response?

  1. Attend with iPhone and iPad charged and catch up on e-mail
  2. Dial in while getting work done from your office, knowing that the CFO’s secretary will not be able to figure out the teleconference link
  3. Attend, listen closely, and wait for the moment when a physician’s fiscal wisdom will be most appreciated
  4. CMIOs do not get invited to budget meetings, and if they do, that is when you use the spam filter excuse.

Alerts. What is the most effective method of providing meaningful alerts to busy clinicians?

  1. Goldilocks – community-based balanced approach that will still get you eaten by the bears, and the “ community” will be nowhere around
  2. Overalerting — as determined by docs who just want to know when they are definitely going to kill someone
  3. Underalerting — as determined by your legal representation
  4. Individually tuned for relevancy, with actionable orders easily accessible within the order, highlighting only important info that you didn’t know and makes a difference in this unique patient (available in the next release)
  5. Horror stories in the physician’s lounge

User interface. Which of the following is the most effective modality for communicating key clinical information?

  1. A 24-inch LCD monitor with 5,347 elements in three-column view, vertical scrolling, and 23 colors
  2. An iPhone with no information on the top screen, but multiple branching links which will eventually lead you to YouTube
  3. An angry nurse that  you have not returned pages to for over an hour
  4. An intern whose pre-med major was theatre arts

13.  Pa55Words. Which of the following is optimal policy?

  1. Same password for all your applications “HckerPLsDoEmails2OK?”
  2. Four factor – iris scan, voice profile, 10-character randomly generated password changed every three months, with RFID embedded chip, Comrade
  3. Three strikes, you get pepper spray
  4. Prefilled sticky notes attached when shipping monitors


Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Mobile.

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December 15, 2012 News 16 Comments

News 12/14/12

December 13, 2012 News 7 Comments

Top News

12-13-2012 6-46-09 PM

Allscripts files suit against NYC Health & Hospitals along with Epic Systems over the $303 million contract HHC awarded to Epic in late September. The complaint says the award is “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and lacks a rational basis” because it claims Epic’s proposed cost is $535 million more than that of the Allscripts proposal. HHC says it will defend its decision and added, “Allscripts’ claim that it underbid Epic by more than half a billion dollars is absurd and strikes us as an ill-fated attempt to reassure investors and inflate its sagging stock price. Unfortunately, as our multi-year review has revealed, Allscripts lacks a truly integrated EMR solution and has repeatedly lost business to Epic and other vendors as a result.” MDRX shares closed Thursday at $10.80, down 2.44 percent and indeed sagging at less than half their February price.

Reader Comments

From Bain Marie: “Re: Allscripts sore loser lawsuit against New York HHC. They had to deal with Hurricane Sandy and now will spend a fortune to defend themselves against Glen’s bizarre public accusation that its prospect would pay almost anything to avoid buying its product. Would you say this is the dumbest move in HIT history?” It’s certainly in the top handful, and probably the undisputed #1 in the “desperation” category (HBOC’s frenzy to mate with McKesson was even more desperate, but Allscripts wins on style points for suing a non-profit hospital.) I won’t editorialize further since Allscripts employees, shareholders, prospects, customers, and potential acquirers (if indeed any are still interested) are probably already amply embarrassed by this latest in a string of bad company decisions that always send competitors running gleefully to the scanner to make sure prospects get copies. That’s my opinion. If you work for a hospital, especially one with Allscripts connections, I’d like to hear yours. If you work for Allscripts, I’d be even more interested.

12-13-2012 7-30-50 PM

From Nasty Parts: “Re: Mike Lovett. Promoted to replace Scott Decker at NextGen.” Unverified. His LinkedIn profile shows a new job of SVP/QSI Division Leader – Ambulatory Division.

From  Kaiser Surgeon: “Re: video by KP ambulatory surgery staff at Fremont Ambulatory Surgery Department. They are well known for high-volume cataract surgery on our Kaiser patients. They do seem to have an esprit de corps.” I’m always a sucker for hospital music videos like this one.

12-13-2012 8-26-46 PM

From Former Stanley Tool: “Re: Healthcare Informatics Associates. Stanley Healthcare Solutions is shutting it down.” Unverified, but searching LinkedIn finds at least one former employee who is freshly entering the job market.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga_small If you have been busy holiday shopping and missed reading HIStalk Practice this week, here are some highlights. Two-thirds of EPs will apply or have applied for MU incentives. ONC says that more office-based physicians are using EHRs that have higher-level functionality to meet MU objectives. ED use declines when patients have access to after-hours service from their primary care provider. HHS offers tools to protect PHI on mobile devices. Physicians spend more time on health content-specific websites than any other health sites, though more are also visiting EHR portals. Epocrates releases a native app for iPads and iPad minis. Dr. Gregg pronounces the consumer the heir to throne of healthcare. I made the “nice” list again this year, but the only gift I need is a few more e-mail sign-ups on HIStalk Practice. Thanks for reading. (P.S. If you are a shoe distributor, own a wine shop, or are a male admirer who likes to give expensive jewelry, please disregard the “only gift I need” statement.)

12-13-2012 7-54-55 PM

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum sponsor RazorInsights. I’m guessing the Kennesaw, GA-based company found HIStalk because I’ve run several non-anonymous hospital reader comments about the company’s ONE Enterprise HIS for rural, critical access, and community hospitals. It offers a single-database, certified, cloud-based hospital EHR. Every one of the company’s live hospital clients have earned Meaningful Use payments. Customers enjoy one database, one simple user interface, and capabilities that include a master patient registry, patient encounter management, nursing documentation, CPOE, and physician offline orders. It’s available in multiple editions that include clinicals only, clinicals plus financials, clinicals plus ambulatory, and the Enterprise Edition including all of those. Customers can go live in as little as 90 days, enjoying cost-effective training services and around-the-clock support. People always bemoan the lack of new companies and new, scratch-built technologies in the inpatient EHR business, so here’s one for you. The company’s management has plenty of industry experience, including folks with pharmacy and nursing degrees along with vendor experience. To learn more, sign up for a live product webinar on their site or check them out at the HIMSS conference in a few weeks. Thanks to RazorInsights for supporting HIStalk.

I always head over to YouTube when introducing a new company just to see what’s out there, so here’s an introductory video from RazorInsights. You’ll get a hint about the company’s name early in the video, although you might have to Google the reference like I did.

It’s an odd time of year to be swamped at the hospital and at HIStalk, but that’s the case. I work on HIStalk until at least 10 every night and I’m back in the same chair by 5 the next morning before I head out to work. I try to respond to requests quickly, but it often doesn’t happen, and re-sending the e-mail or expressing indignation doesn’t change my time constraints one bit. I usually catch up over the weekend, though.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Cerner will repurchase up to $170 million of its common stock.

Global Record Systems acquires the eCastEMR platform and service business from eCast Corporation.

Streamline Health Solutions reports Q3 results: revenue up 51 percent, EPS –$0.11 vs. $0.03.

12-13-2012 5-57-40 PM

LocalMed, a patient self-scheduling software company that won $3,500 in seed capital from the LSU Student Incubator, will establish its headquarters in Baton Rouge, LA and plans to hire 52 employees by 2016.


Sales Battle Mountain General Hospital (NV) selects ChartAccess EHR and FinancialAccess from Prognosis HIS .

HealthInfoNet, the HIE for Maine, signs a three-year agreement with Arcadia Solutions for its Analytics and Quality Data Warehouse platform for clinical data warehousing. Aracadia will also test the linkage of the HIE’s clinical data with claims data from the state’s All-Payer Claims Database.


12-13-2012 5-59-40 PM

The Brooklyn Hospital Center (NY) names Bill Moran (Dell) SVP and CIO.

12-13-2012 6-00-17 PM

Lisa Rawlins (Broward Health) joins SRG Technology as director of health care.

12-13-2012 9-13-18 PM

Norman Joseph Woodland, who co-invented the bar code as a graduate student in 1951, has died at 91.

Announcements and Implementations

Joslin Diabetes Center (MA) will use de-identified clinical data from Humedica for education and research activities.

Government and Politics

ONC launches a mobile device security initiative that provides white papers and articles to help providers understand how to protect patient information on mobile devices. The site is a product of HHS’s March 2012 Mobile Device Roundtable along with tips and information contributed during its 30-day comment period. Included is a video titled Worried About Using a Mobile Health Device for Work? Here’s What to Do!


AT&T unveils a prototype of Asthma Triggers, a wireless sensor that sends air quality data to mobile devices.


The Leapfrog Group, criticized by hospitals to which it assigned below-average patient safety grades last month, announces a partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine to fine-tune its scoring methodology, also vowing that, “the Hospital Safety Score is here to stay.”

More than half of HIT professionals report a budget increase for information security, according to a HIMSS survey. Other key findings:

  • Most hospitals are conducting risk analyses, with 71 percent performing an analysis at least annually
  • One in five respondents say their organization experienced a security breach in the last year
  • More than half the organizations spend three percent or less of their IT budget on securing patient data
  • Two-thirds report that their organization conducted an audit of their IT security plan.

12-13-2012 9-06-44 PM

Paper medical records belonging to a recently raided and closed unlicensed pain management clinic in Florida are found in the dumpster of a nearby Dollar Store. Also found in the trash: used syringes and uncashed checks made out to a contracted pain doctor who was apparently being paid $1,500 per day to crank out oxycodone prescriptions.

Tampa General Hospital’s bond ratings agency calls out the hospital’s “compressed profitability” as being due to Epic implementation costs, lower inpatient utilization, and state Medicaid cuts.


12-13-2012 8-34-32 PM

Weird News Andy continues his armchair medical reviews with this article, in which Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia injects a disabled form of HIV into a six-year-old whose leukemia was expected to kill her within two days, hoping to stimulate her immune system enough to allow her to receive a bone marrow transplant. Six months after the infusion, the T-cells are still working and she’s in remission.

Sponsor Updates

12-13-2012 9-58-49 PM

  • Mercy Regional Health Center (KS) expands its use of the Access Intelligent Forms Suite into its human resources department.
  • Vitera Healthcare announces the general release of Live Chat, which provides customers with immediate online access to Vitera customer support.
  • Surgical Information Systems enhances its perioperative information systems to provide interoperability with Siemens Soarian Clinicals.
  • Agilum Healthcare Intelligence publishes a white paper that includes strategies to help small and mid-sized hospitals overcome common obstacles to obtaining useful business intelligence.
  • Levi, Ray & Shoup sponsors this week’s Next Generation Healthcare Summit in San Antonio.
  • Emdeon discusses the benefits of utilizing check reader devices at the point of service in a newsletter article.
  • Adirondack Radiology Associates (NY) shares how it has increased coder productivity and reduced denials since implementing the Optum Computer-Assisted Coding solution. 
  • API Healthcare’s Deborah Moore shares thoughts on the use of HIT to increase quality of care and patient satisfaction in a blog post.
  • Informatica offers predictions on where technology is heading in 2013.
  • Fourteen CareTech Solutions customers win a total of 20 eHealthcare Leadership Awards for their CareTech-designed websites.
  • RSource, a provider of receivables management recovery solutions, and Streamline Health Solutions will cross-market each other’s services within their client bases.
  • Winthrop Resources Corporation will offer equipment financing and advice to customers of MPC, an IT asset lifecycle management company.
  • The British Columbia Ministry of Health selects McKesson as the vendor of choice for its radiologist peer review initiative.
  • First Databank and JAC Pharmacy sponsor the Improving Patient Safety award at the NHS Isle of Wight Awards 2012.
  • NextGen Healthcare will offer Aviacode’s cloud-delivered medical coding services to its customers.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

Finally, a data breach that doesn’t involve a lost or stolen laptop.  Dr. Travis tweeted about the breach at Carolinas HealthCare where an “unauthorized electronic intruder” (is there such a thing as an authorized intruder?) obtained access to a provider’s inbound and outgoing e-mails. Although there is no evidence that the information has been misused, impacted patients are being offered free credit monitoring services.

Should a hacker gain access to my work e-mail account, have fun reading all the incessant whining and complaining from physicians who hate EHR, the implementation process, the group’s compensation model, required CME, coding/compliance audits, and a host of other things. It just might scare you straight and make you never want to hack again.


Physician social networking site Doximity issues a call for fellows who will “gain insight into the power of entrepreneurship and technology in healthcare, engage with physician thought-leaders from across the country, and leave your mark on healthcare.” Applicants must be licensed physicians (MD or DO) and the time commitment is two hours per week. I can’t imagine it would be anywhere near as fun as writing for HIStalk, but if you’re looking for something interesting to do with your free time, it might be worth a shot. Applications are due December 31.

Inga has started getting invites for the HIMSS social scene, and as a good BFF should, she is sharing them with me. I’m definitely counting down to New Orleans (in fact, tried out some new shoes today that I hope will be both sassy and comfortable in the exhibit hall) and to seeing the HIStalk crew. I’m in the process of finding the perfect date for HIStalkapalooza. With any luck, he’ll be wearing a bow tie.


I asked last week for stories about the best (or worst) office holiday party ideas. Reader Rabbit takes the prize with his submission:

My wife’s practice is having their office party at a local brewery’s tap room, also known for great food. One of the doc’s hubby runs their hop farm, which also does farm-to-table stuff. Oh, wait:

  • It is on a Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
  • There is no drinking. The legal department says it can’t support drinking during any “sanctioned” event, even if off site and even if I pay for my own and don’t work for them.
  • It is a pot luck where the docs cook main courses. Which means this guy (pointing at myself) has to wake up and start cooking Cornish game hens or smoked brisket at 5 a.m. in order to have the meal ready. Even if I went the boring turkey route, I need to rise before the sun to cook on a Saturday. The rest of the staff don’t bring anything, but sit around and judge that the doctors (and their wonderful spouses) can’t cook.
  • It is still a "Christmas Party" and we are expected to dress “festive,” which means I must don gay apparel that supports a religion I don’t follow.
  • No kids. Good luck finding a 10 a.m. babysitter in a college town on a Saturday that is reliable and sober.
  • There is also a three- hour-long White Elephant that ends the afternoon with us getting some sort of broken scented candle or a wine bottle sack/holder that looks like St. Nick.

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la — my foot.

Oh, and I promise to take a picture of me standing in the corner seething wearing my favorite Santa sweater. Happy Holidays!

I must say I’m looking forward to the sweater pics. I definitely have some wardrobe that could hold its own in any holiday sweater contest.



Mr. H, Inga, Dr. Jayne, Dr. Gregg.

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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December 13, 2012 News 7 Comments

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