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Monday Morning Update 3/16/15

March 14, 2015 News 5 Comments

Top News

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs legislation delaying the state’s mandatory electronic prescribing law for one year to March 27, 2016, the same bill he giddily approved in 2012. “This is a victory for patient safety,” said plastic surgeon Andrew Kleinman, MD, president of the state’s medical society. Assembleyman and pharmacist Roy McDonald says 98 percent of the state’s pharmacies were ready to receive all prescriptions electronically, but the Drug Enforcement Administration and EHR vendors waited until too late to begin their preparations.


Reader Comments

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From Jeff Steiner: “Re: Memorial Hospital at Gulfport.  I wanted to respond to a story posted about our hospital’s bond rating change ‘due to a Cerner EHR conversion that inflated accounts receivable and jumped AR.’ Memorial Hospital is in the midst of exciting work and tremendous growth. We are undergoing a $65M expansion project spread over the next two fiscal years (with no planned debt). We are living with revenue pressures from Medicare and Medicaid due to changes in their reimbursement methodology. We’re a busy organization and are facing plenty of market pressures and dynamics like so many of our peers. We wanted to add clarity to the ‘100 days in A/R’ comment. This includes a mix of prior non-Cerner systems and Cerner. This snapshot was a 90 day post live look where MHG was on Cerner’s solutions at our fiscal year end.  We look forward to our partnership with Cerner and a very productive relationship.” Jeff is CFO of the hospital.

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From Castro’s Cousin: “Re: Banner Health. A high-placed source says it will replace Epic with Cerner at recently acquired University of Arizona medical center and clinics. Official announcement won’t drop until summer.” Unverified, but expected.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Sixty percent of poll respondents say they don’t feel welcome and appreciated when interacting with their preferred hospital. Donald says the service he gets is good because it’s a rural area, while OutsourcedMom says she feels too welcome, as in “like a spider’s web of financial ruin.” New poll to your right or here: will ICD-10 be delayed again by Congressional action? I get nervous when I see Congress talking about an SGR fix since that is where an unknown politician slipped in the last delay. It doesn’t matter what the experts think should happen – none of the lobbyists who whisper in Congressional ears have a vested interest in wanting the rollout of ICD-10.

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Here’s a generous offer from HIStalkapalooza Gold Sponsor Divurgent. Divurgent gets a bunch of tickets in return for their sponsorship, but graciously offered to donate all but a handful of them them to HIStalk readers who might otherwise be unable to attend if we sell out. I will execute their largesse as follows: if you haven’t already signed up to attend, do it here. I’ll guarantee that the first 50 folks to sign up will get an invitation courtesy of Divurgent, with just one exception: I’m not going to give a bunch of invitations to people from the same company just because a secretary was ordered to sign everybody up. You might think, “Nobody would do that,” but at least two companies signed up 30+ people each to attend, which seems ridiculous since the point is to get a lot of readers there, not to have me (and the event sponsors) pay for someone’s company party. Thanks to Divurgent, who clearly is sponsoring the event to support HIStalk rather than for their own benefit.

I have a few spots left for CMIOs (or physicians working in a CMIO-type role) interested in attending a lunch with peers Tuesday of HIMSS week. It’s near the exhibit hall, so the time commitment is minimal unless you just want to hang out. The signup form is here. Thanks to the company that offered to sponsor the lunch even though I turned them down – it was a nice gesture, but I’d rather spend $500 out of my own pocket than to give the impression that I’ll do anything as long as some company pays – I get those offers pretty often and I usually decline.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Apple releases its smartwatch and ResearchKit.
  • Stanford University says 11,000 people signed up for one of its research studies within the first 24 hours of the release of Apple ResearchKit.
  • Epic’s Judy Faulkner tells a reporter that she will sign over all of her Epic shares to her private charitable foundation when she dies or decides to turn over control, with her intention being to guarantee that the company will never be taken public.
  • Two big academic medical centers in the Netherlands stop their implementation of the former Siemens Soarian, expressing concern about how Cerner might handle the product with its Siemens acquisition.
  • Oregon finally shuts down its health insurance exchange, which due to technical problems never enrolled a single customer despite its $284 million cost.
  • FDA issues draft guidance on using electronic informed consent in clinical studies.

Webinars

March 31 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Best Practices for Increasing Patient Collections.” Sponsored by MedData. Presenter: Jason Bird, director of client operations, MedData. Healthcare is perhaps the last major industry where the consumer does not generally have access to what they owe and how they can pay for their services. Collecting from patients is estimated to cost up to four times more than collecting from payers and patient pay responsibility is projected to climb to 50 percent of the healthcare dollar by the end of the decade. Learn how creating a consumer-focused culture, one that emphasizes patient satisfaction over collections, can streamline your revenue cycle process and directly impact your bottom line. 


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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The Indianapolis business paper profiles Hc1, which just raised another $14.4 million from angel investors, increasing its total to $28 million. The 100-employee company’s revenue doubled each of the past three years and is expected to triple to $35 million in 2016. The company’s Healthcare Relationship Cloud offers collaboration, CRM, and analytics. I don’t see any healthcare experience on the executive team other than the chief medical officer – most of the folks came over from the founder’s previous company, ChaCha, which offers human-guided, text-message based search using freelancers (seemingly unsuccessfully – it looks like not much is happening there and the company has scaled back over the years). Despite a lack of healthcare background, CEO Brad Bostic seems to get it: “When I order a book on Amazon.com, they treat it like a life-or-death situation if they deliver it to me. But if I go to a healthcare situation, where it actually is life or death, I get treated like a number. This is a really big deal. It’s a big game-changer about, how do you treat patients like individuals?”

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Eko Devices receives $2 million in new funding and will begin clinical trials at UCSF of its Eko Core digital extension for analog stethoscopes.

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The business paper in North Carolina’s Triangle area profiles seven-employee Polyglot Systems, which raised $1.4 million in equity financing as part of its deal with First Databank to distribute the company’s medication instructions. The proceeds will be used to integrate Polyglot’s product with EHRs.


People

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NYU Langone Medical Center names Paul Testa, MD, MPH as CMIO, a position he had held as interim since September 2014.

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CTG hires Cliff Bluestein, MD, MBA (Dell Services) as president and CEO.


Announcements and Implementations

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Divurgent and Sensato produce a white paper titled “Cyber-Security in Healthcare: Understanding the New World Threats.” It contains an interesting quote from a hospital CIO: “The reason no one bought your service was that, frankly, if we found out about security holes, then we would have to fix them. It is easier to react after the fact than to convince everyone we need to do something before it happens.”


Privacy and Security

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Apple publishes its app store guidelines for HealthKit for human subject research. Apps will be rejected if they store a user’s information in iCloud, fail to include a privacy policy, or provide diagnosis or treatment advice. The app developer must also agree not to use data for advertising or to share it with third parties.

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Healthcare IT attorney Nicholas Terry says the White House’s draft wording of the “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act” may have HIPAA implications since it no longer specifically excludes HIPAA covered entities, meaning that health systems could become responsible not just for keeping the information they collect private, but for collecting it responsibly. Terry adds that the FTC’s “data minimization” concept may clash with ONC’s interoperability efforts and could limit selling data to third-party brokers. The proposed policy would be enforced by FTC and the attorneys general of individual states. The bill would also preempt the laws of states that may already have stronger privacy laws on the books given that it doesn’t specifically prohibit selling consumer information to data brokers without their permission.


Other

Philly.com’s story on unemployment in the Malvern, PA area originally contained wording suggesting that Cerner is laying people off after its acquisition of Siemens Health Solutions, but for some reason that section of the story was removed and no Cerner reference remains.

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A West Health Institute poll of nurses about medical device interoperability concludes (via the mandatory cute infographic) that almost all nurses say they would spend more time with patients if freed up from dealing with medical devices and think those devices should share data with EHRs automatically, while half of the nurses say they’ve seen a medical error due to lack of device coordination. Nurses, not surprisingly, think their own uninterrupted time is the most important factor in improving patient safety and most of them think that manually documenting device information creates errors and delays. West Health calls for ONC to add medical device information sharing to its interoperability roadmap, for FDA and HHS to recognize open standards for medical device communication and to provide guidance to manufacturers, and for Congress to provide “adequate incentives” for developing and using interoperable medical devices.

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Stanford physician and author Abraham Verghese says in his keynote to the American College of Cardiology that doctors should rediscover the humanity of practicing medicine and the non-technical benefits of the medical encounter ritual, saying that EHRs have obliterated the stories of patients as the typical ED physician spends nearly half of their time working on a computer. He explains, “EMR has nothing to do with your heart or your patient’s heart.”

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The local paper covers the financial woes of Southeast Health in Cape Girardeau, MO. Billing problems caused by the hospital’s Siemens Soarian implementation as well as that system’s $15 million per year operating cost earned it a bond ratings downgrade in 2013. New CIO Mike Nichols is planning to take advantage of the Siemens acquisition to move to Cerner Millennium. The health system spells their name “SoutheastHEALTH” in the apparently misguided belief that marketing by misspelling is the secret to organizational success. You have to squelch the creatively bankrupt marketing people when they babble nonsense like the words they put in the former CEO’s mouth for the hospital’s annual report: “This is not simply an evolution in name alone. We are a far-reaching network of providers and facilities uniting to provide a regional system of healthcare services.” Sounds good except they’re going broke as they lay people off, with the board chair explaining, “Back here, in the old model, we got paid for doing things. In the future, that’s not how a hospital will be paid. Unfortunately, we are sitting in a spot in the middle, because that model hasn’t been explained to us yet.” 

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Doctors in France protest health reform, unhappy that under proposed changes they’ll be paid by insurance companies instead of having patients hand over cash directly. They say insurance companies will control both doctors and patients and doctors don’t have the clerical staff to manage the reimbursement paper trails. Patients now pay $25 in cash for a visit and are reimbursed by either the social security system or the patient’s insurance company. A doctor who is leading the protest warns that France’s healthcare system, which he says is the best in the world, will “end up like in the UK” where patients who don’t pay upfront don’t mind wasting the doctor’s time “for any old reason.” He adds, “If we change the system, it will be whichever insurance company pays me, who is responsible. The Social Security service will say to me, Mr. Henry, you are prescribing too many antibiotics. You are prescribing too many pills and sending people for too many tests. They will tell me I have to prescribe less. I will no longer be free to ask the question, what is the best thing for the patient’s health? I will no be longer be independent.”


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicity publishes “The Challenges and Benefits of Interoperability.”
  • Xerox Healthcare publishes “Survey Says: Your Patient is Unhappy.”
  • Voalte asks that “Nurse Leaders, Please Step Up!”
  • PMD covers “The ‘Choreographed’ Care Model.”
  • Oneview Healthcare highlights the ways in which a “New Study Establishes that Activated Patients Cost 31% Less.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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March 14, 2015 News 5 Comments

News 3/13/15

March 12, 2015 News 4 Comments

Top News

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Stanford University reports that 11,000 people signed up for one of its cardiovascular studies using Apple’s ResearchKit in the first 24 hours of the app’s availability on the iPhone. The university says it usually takes a year and 50 medical centers to hit the 10,000-enrollee mark. However, the best metric won’t be known for some time and may never be announced – how many of those 11,000 casual applicants will be actually be accepted into the study and participate? My suspicion is that the majority of responses are from people screwing around with their new Apple toy who don’t realize what’s involved, so it’s going to take quite a bit of work for Stanford to get down to usable subjects. Someone make a note to ask Stanford in a month how large their cohort is and what percentage of the Apple self-submitters were accepted.

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I was thinking about the “research” part of ResearchKit. Traditional medical studies involve carefully assembling a cohort of people who meet narrowly defined study criteria, with the intention of proving a specific hypothesis in a specific population. On the other hand, research using patient-generated data may uncover relationships that nobody thought of or that may prove useful in managing an individual patient’s condition even in the absence of a generalized population study. Direct care lives at the interesting intersection of big, decisive research studies and anecdotal “it just works” clinician practice based on experience. A given patient’s endless supply of non-inpatient electronic data, along with similar data generated by people like themselves, could improve that patient’s life more decisively than any study, provided that physicians are willing to practice based on data snapshots rather than studies that take many years to complete. Another positive is that studies are often funded by drug companies or special interests that have a vested interest in manipulating data in particular way or in killing a study that might hurt product sales.


Reader Comments

From Clinic Director: “Re: Meaningful Use audits. We are now at 96 audit requests of our 139 Epic-using physicians and have passed all. CMS says providers are chosen randomly, but is 70 percent of our providers really random? I needed help, so I asked our congressional office, which referred me to the auditor. ONC referred me to the CMS EHR Info line, which referred me to the auditor. The auditor referred me to the CMS Info Line. It feels as though I’ve entered the Twilight Zone.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Several CMIOs expressed interest in a HIMSS get-together. I booked a table for Tuesday, April 14 at either noon or 1 p.m. right in McCormick Place and I’ll buy lunch for up to 20 attendees via the Bistro HIMSS program. CMIOs or physicians working in a CMIO-type role regardless of title can sign up here.  It’s a convenient location near the exhibit hall where you can actually sit to eat (unlike most other convention center locations), the food should be decent (salads, lemon-sage chicken with polenta cakes, and dessert with healthy options), and Lorre will be on hand to say hello and introduce everybody since it was her idea.

Speaking of events, some readers are confused by the two I’m having at the HIMSS conference. Event #1: HIStalkapalooza is the big event on Monday evening – it’s open to those whom I will invite from the list of folks who previously submitted the online form indicating their desire to attend. Event #2: the sponsor-only networking event is Sunday evening and is open only to sponsors of HIStalk, HIStalk Practice, and HIStalk Connect. We’ve reached out several times to our sponsor contacts (not all of whom are efficient in passing the word along to the suits upstairs who might want to come), so Lorre will still entertain invitation requests for that event (and new sponsorship inquiries from companies anxious to talk business with their peers in a social setting). I suppose we now have Event #3: the CMIO lunch above. I just know I’m writing a lot of checks. Anyway, just to be clear, walk-ups will be politely turned away from all three events since I’m working with a fixed attendee count.  

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You can wear one of the four “Secret Crush” sashes like the above at HIStalkapalooza if you email me explaining why you have a crush on Dr. Jayne, Jenn, Lorre, or me. People like being sashed and I couldn’t come up with anything more original than the “Secret Crush” ones I’ve done before. I don’t expect many responses, so your odds of winning are good. Of course you need to have signed up for HIStalkapalooza and plan to attend to be sashed since I’m not mailing it for someone to wear around the house.

I’m going to stop mentioning press releases that list a hospital or health system without including its location (both city and state) because I’m annoyed at lame PR people who expect me to do their jobs in deciphering an over-edited company announcement into something factual. Surely it’s not hard to understand that “St. Mary’s Hospital” could be anywhere, as could a hospital whose location is stated only as “Missouri” (if the location is named at all). I’m also annoyed at ‘’announcements” that are too vaguely worded to tell whether a hospital has bought a new system, is beginning its implementation, or is continuing a previous installation (the latter two of which aren’t really news). Attention PR people, especially the lesser competent ones: I’ll consider running your announcement if it’s newsworthy, but being newsworthy means that you provide the five Ws: who did it, what they did, when did they did it, where it happened, and why it happened. Anybody want to see me call out exceptions?

This week on HIStalk Practice: Mental health professionals weigh the pros and cons of moving to EHRs. HealthSpot and Pacify secure new funding. LaHIE launches a patient portal. Kareo acquires DoctorBase. PatientPoint partners with Telemundo for point-of-care content. St. Peters Health Partners Medical Associates and Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group implement new population health management tools. Jim Denny digs deep into physician ICD-10 readiness.

Apple introduces ResearchKit, an open-source API designed to help medical researchers collect data from iPhone and iPad users. The Department of Homeland Security launches an accelerator program targeting wearable technology startups building applications for first responders. TechStars welcomes its second class of digital health startups to its Kansas City campus for a 12-week program. SocialWellth raises $7.5 million to expand its digital health app formulary service platform.


Webinars

March 31 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Best Practices for Increasing Patient Collections.” Sponsored by MedData. Presenter: Jason Bird, director of client operations, MedData. Healthcare is perhaps the last major industry where the consumer does not generally have access to what they owe and how they can pay for their services. Collecting from patients is estimated to cost up to four times more than collecting from payers and patient pay responsibility is projected to climb to 50 percent of the healthcare dollar by the end of the decade. Learn how creating a consumer-focused culture, one that emphasizes patient satisfaction over collections, can streamline your revenue cycle process and directly impact your bottom line. 

Here is the video of Thursday’s webinar by West Corporation titled “Turn Your Contact Center into a Patient-Centered Access Center.”


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Government contractor Maximus acquires Acentia for $300 million in cash from private equity owner Snow Phipps Group, with Maximus lustily eyeing Acentia’s contracts with HHS, FDA, NIH, CDC, CMS, and the Military Health System.  

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Austria-based blood sugar tracking app vendor mySugr raises $4.8 million in funding. Its FDA-approved product synchronizes data from medical devices, even using the smartphone’s camera to import readings from the displays of non-connected glucometers (that part works only in Austria).


Sales

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DaVita selects Cureatr for secure messaging and patient care transition event notification.

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Citizens Memorial Healthcare (MO) chooses Summit Healthcare Web Services Adapter to send public health and immunization information to the state’s HIE, with plans to expand its use to meet Meaningful Use Stage 3 requirements.

Trinity Health (ND) chooses managed cybersecurity services from Leidos Health.


People

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Dana Alexander (Caradigm) joins Divurgent as VP of clinical transformation. 

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William Bria, MD (The HCI Group) joins CHIME as EVP of medical informatics and patient safety.


Announcements and Implementations

Craneware will offer its customers analytics software from Aridhia Informatics. I’m baffled that someone thought this would be a good product name: “Aridhia Analytixagility.” It looks like the result of my snoozing off at the keyboard after working too late.

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Cerner will use Validic’s digital health platform to incorporate data created by home medical devices and wearables into Cerner’s HealtheLife patient portal.

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Online doctor visit service HealthTap launches RateRx, which lets its member doctors rate the effectiveness of individual drugs and treatments.

Mediware releases MediLinks Outpatient for pulmonary rehab.

Todd Fisher, who founded consulting and software engineering firm Intraprise Solutions in 1997 and was CEO of MobileMD when it was sold to Siemens in 2011, launches Intraprise Healthcare.


Government and Politics

The family of a VA patient who died of low blood oxygen levels sues the hospital after its former nurse admits turning off the patient’s alarms.

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SAMHSA (HHS’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) launches Suicide Safe, an app that provides guidance for PCPs and behavioral health providers who are faced with potentially suicidal patients.


Privacy and Security

The US attorney indicts 11 Detroit-area residents after a former Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan employee provides 5,000 subscriber screen shots to accomplices who used their information to obtain phony credit cards to buy $742,000 worth of merchandise from Sam’s Club. The BCBS CEO announces new steps (the key here being that these practices weren’t already in place) that include limiting employee access to Social Security numbers, enforcing employee password changes, and installing secure printers that require employees to scan their badges before their document prints. The US Attorney makes the point that while technology makes it easier to commit identity fraud, it also makes it easier to capture those who do so. Interestingly, BCBS of Michigan brags on its site that it wasn’t part of Anthem’s breach while not featuring its own breach prominently. 


Other

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A small survey-based study of children’s hospitals finds that inpatient EHRs don’t support peds very well, adding speculation that vendor and customer fixation on Meaningful Use is delaying rollout of needed pediatric functionality. It’s somewhat of a subjective study, the survey results are old (going back to September 2011), and dumping responsibility for customer-needed features on ONC rather than the vendors selling EHRs (and thus the customers who drive their development agendas in chasing MU money) seems biased. Correlation also seems skimpy since some hospitals seem to be doing fine, presumably using the same EHR although the study didn’t ask the important question of “which product are you using and how long have you used it?” In addition, some hospitals said they weren’t interested in implementing the features that were missing, such as weight-adjusted blood pressure percentiles or immunization contraindication warnings. It would also have been helpful to know whether those that reported missing features have worse outcomes since simply having the feature available doesn’t necessarily improve care. I was going to to check the supplementary material to see how the survey was worded, but the link is dead. Quite a few publications and tweets summarized this report as thought it’s decisive and insightful, while I would say the only thing newsworthy about it (and thus why I’m mentioning it) is that it really isn’t and those writers and tweeters need to spend more time analyzing the study itself rather than dreaming up attention-seeking headlines.

Here’s a pretty funny commercial from Cox Business, tweeted out by Eric Topol, MD as an unintended reference to his new book, “The Patient Will See You Now.” He adds, “Suck it, doctor’s office.”

Ireland rolls out a national patient identifier, with the CIO of its health services saying it offers “patient safety and ensuring that the right information is associated with the right individual at the point of care. The IHI will also help in managing our health services more efficiently and ensure that health information can be shared safely, seamlessly across different healthcare organizations associated with patient care. ” The government points to effectiveness studies from Canada and the UK showing that a national ID reduces errors, improves EHR data, increases efficiency, and protects privacy.

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The bond rating agency of 445-bed Memorial Hospital of Gulfport (MS) notes the hospital’s “sharp decline in liquidity in 2014” due to a Cerner EHR conversion that inflated its accounts receivable by $25 million and jumped A/R days to 100.

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NBC News fires Chief Medical Editor Nancy Snyderman, MD over fallout from her previously admitted violation of voluntary 21-day Ebola quarantine when she and her crew, fresh back from Liberia, picked up takeout food. She also appeared to be impaired during a February 22 live broadcast. She will be taking a faculty position at an unnamed medical school.

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Cerner’s Neal Patterson and his wife Jeanne (who has cancer) are featured in a KQED series on EHR interoperability. Jeanne says she has given up on having 20 health systems share her records with each other, so she instead carries around a bag of printouts and DVDs. Neal says, “The paradox is that I am one of the few people that should be able to fix this. I’m frustrated that we’re not moving faster.” He adds that the US is one of few countries that don’t have a national patient identifier and streamlined consent processes and that he’s putting his money where his mouth is in funding CommonWell. Epic responded to the reporter’s question of why they haven’t joined CommonWell in saying that its clients can already exchange information and Care Everywhere is “much more mature” than CommonWell. Neal says that if the industry commits to interoperability and the government creates “compelling guidelines,” the interoperability problem can be solved within 10 years.

I ran across some email exchanges between an ambulatory EHR vendor (one I’ve never heard of) and one of its practice clients. The practice, which is replacing the vendor’s system, gave its new vendor access to the old vendor’s system so they could convert patient data. The old vendor says giving them access violated its copyright and is thus a breach of contract. The old vendor is suing the practice and says it will drop the lawsuit for $25,000, adding that lack of immediate response doubles the settlement fee to $50,000. My reactions: (a) practices never seem to pay adequate attention to the contracts they sign, happily agreeing to terms that any lawyer would advise against; (b) practices also seem to choose their systems and vendors with questionable amounts of research; and (c) the old vendor has every right to hold the practice accountable for the contract it signed but shouldn’t have, although the “pay fast or we double it” part is scummy for sure. I suppose vendors are like significant others – you don’t really know what they’re capable of until you try to move on without them.

Forbes should know better than to let a private wealth advisor try to explain “How Telemedicine Can Kill You.” The lack of insight is stunning given the article’s two “potentially devastating problems”: (a) possible computer glitches that “can alter medical records” along with implantable devices “that can go haywire”; and (b) hackers. The fact that neither of these theoretical “problems” have anything specifically to do with telemedicine was missed by whoever crafted the click-baiting headline. I couldn’t decide whether to be angry at the article’s failure to deliver or to laugh at some of its unintentionally hilarious conclusions, such as “being able to control if a person lives or dies can readily lead to exhortation and murder-for-hire” (I’m assuming the author meant “extortion.”) Just last week the same editorially ubiquitous author wrote an equally lame telemedicine piece consisting entirely of quotes from a telemedicine company CEO, who not surprisingly didn’t mention killing any of his patients.

Quantros produces a video to support National Patient Safety Awareness Week, which is this week.

BIDMC CIO John Halamka, MD says that “outsourcing your mess to someone else to host is not cloud computing,” suggesting that CIOs instead focus on “Outcomes as a Service” where vendors are paid for managing people, processes, and technology.


Sponsor Updates

  • Navicure completes ICD-10 testing with eight Medicare jurisdictions, to be followed by testing with all 16 jurisdictions in April.
  • Nordic leads off its “HIT Breakdown” podcast series with an episode on population health and adds a new video in its series on Epic conversion planning.
  • Hayes Management Consulting offers “Overcoming Resistance to Change: It’s All About the Buy-In.”
  • LifeImage will exhibit at the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma Annual Meeting March 13 in Chicago.
  • HCS will exhibit at the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems Annual Meeting March 16-18 in Washington, DC.
  • Healthfinch posts “Apps that optimize your EHR workflow are essential for care redesign.”
  • IHS posts a blog on “Making the Hard Decisions” when going through the HIT selection process.
  • Healthgrades gets a nod in a Forbes piece on a need for bipartisan action on healthcare transparency.
  • VMware posts “Creating the Perfect Clinical Desktop with Horizon View.”
  • Galen Healthcare Solutions posts the second installment of its series og on shifting to value-based payment models.
  • HealthMEDX will exhibit at the LeadingAge PEAK Summit March 16-18 in Washington, D.C.
  • Healthwise commemorates Patient Safety Awareness Week with “Why Safety is Personal When it Comes to Medical Care.”
  • Logicworks will present at the National HIPAA Summit March 16-18 in Washington, D.C.
  • Holon Solutions will exhibit at the NW Regional Critical Access Hospital Conference March 17-19 in Spokane, WA.
  • Ingenious Med posts the fourteenth installment of its blog series by President and CEO Hart Williford.
  • InterSystems outlines the factors creating excitement around patient engagement.
  • Lifepoint Informatics will host its annual users conference March 18-19 in Orlando.
  • Influence Health will exhibit at TIPAAA (the IPA Association of America) March 19-21 in San Antonio, TX.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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March 12, 2015 News 4 Comments

News 3/11/15

March 10, 2015 News 11 Comments

Top News

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A GAO audit of the PPACA-mandated Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) predicts that its PCORnet research data network will struggle because EHRs have no common data model, which will require hiring resources to process the submitted information manually. GAO also questions whether the organization’s funding will be ongoing and sufficient, but notes that PCORI plans to sell data to drug companies. (Does any healthcare organization’s business model not involve selling data to drug companies?) PCORI also notes that it doesn’t always have or need claims data. It also acknowledges that its information will rarely be complete because of lack of a national patient identifier. PCORnet has spent $106 million so far of an expected total cost of $271 million through FY2019.


Reader Comments

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From Justin Graham: “Re: infectious disease informatics docs. There are a handful of us ID/IT types. Harris Stuttman at Memorial Long Beach, Gifford Leoung at Dignity, and David Classen in Utah and a few others immediately spring to mind. I’m sure there are more since the ID procedure of choice is the chart biopsy.” I shouldn’t have ignored that tiny warning in the back of my head as I was interviewing Ogechika Alozie and mentioned that he was probably the only informatics person I know with an ID background. I’ll hide behind my carefully placed “probably” in claiming good intentions while admitting poor off-the-cuff execution. Justin and I also talked about CMIO networking at the HIMSS conference and I volunteered to coordinate something for those CMIOs who are interested – let me know if that describes you (maybe Dr. Jayne will hang out with her peers).

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From Solilliquist: “Re: NantHealth rumor. They aren’t making Allscripts their sales organization. Just a few salespeople were let go and in fact new sales leadership is coming on board.” Unverified, but the source is sound.

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From Watcher of the Skies: “Re: eClinicalWorks. They have installed an inpatient system in 10+ hospitals in India. They are looking at hospitals in Europe and may someway bring the product to the US.” Unverified.

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From Nurse Tina: “Re: Antelope Valley Hospital EHR failure. The nurse union is asking the LA County Department of Public Health to investigate.” The California Nurses Association wants to know why the hospital didn’t have a backup plan for its unexplained system failure, which the nurses say caused a variety of clinical problems. The financially struggling hospital raised eyebrows a couple of years ago when it admitted marketing its OB services to pregnant women in China, who in return for paying their bills, earned their newborns instant US citizenship.


Cerner’s Implementation of OpenNotes

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I mentioned my interest in talking to an EHR vendor about their support of OpenNotes. Cerner connected me with Brian Carter, senior director and general manager of member engagement.

Brian says Cerner’s HealtheLife patient portal has given patients access to provider documents for at least five years, so it wasn’t challenging to expose yet another document in the form of provider notes. Cerner created a facility-wide configuration setting of whether the client wants to expose the notes. A second level of granularity is provided by allowing each client the option to allow their providers to designate a specific note as “private,” but interestingly only one client has chosen that option – none of the rest of its customers allow doctors to hide individual patient notes.

I asked Brian if clients are monitoring whether patients are reading their notes. He says clients use a lot of patient engagement reports, such as showing how long it takes each provider to respond to electronic patient inquiries, and seeing how patients are interacting with the notes about them will probably become a popular measure.

Brian says that no customer has complained that a patient saw something awkward or misleading. Any issues of that type lead to having a conversation with the patient that was probably important to have for other reasons. He mentioned an HIE-like example where a confused ED patient remembered that he had access to his records at another hospital via OpenNotes and he helped staff read up on his condition, avoiding an expensive battery of lab tests that was about to be ordered (I joked that it was like a patient-carried HIE, where the providers can’t access each other’s records except through individual patients, which isn’t a bad model).

I asked about planned support for OurNotes, where patients can annotate or add their own thoughts to the chart. Brian says patients could use that to correct their meds list or report a new allergy. I asked if that is wise since the hospital would be on the hook legally to actively monitor and react to those messages that could be coming in around the clock. Brian says the option will be offered only if the patient has a scheduled appointment within an upcoming window of time, which would then allow the provider to review all of their generated notes at once and reconcile their official EHR information during the visit.

I asked if Cerner plans to support patient-entered forms to make visits more efficient. The company is developing a custom form generator to create documents that patients can complete in advance, conserving their face-to-face provider time for more important interaction. Brian gave an example of a neurology practice that has a 90-question form that the patient can complete at home, which not only saves time, it also populates discrete Millennium data fields that can trigger alerts or document workflow.


Webinars

March 12 (Thursday) 1:00 ET.  “Turn Your Contact Center Into A Patient-Centered Access Center.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenter: Brian Cooper, SVP, West Interactive. A patient-centered access center can extend population health management efforts and scale up care coordination programs with the right approach, technology, and performance metrics. Implementing a patient-centered access center is a journey and this program will provide the roadmap.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Evidence-based imaging analysis vendor HealthMyne raises $4.5 million in a Series A funding round led by two Madison-area venture firms.

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Kareo acquires patient engagement and marketing technology vendor DoctorBase.

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Doctor house call vendor Pager raises $10.4 million from existing investors despite what would seem to be significant scaling barriers.

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In Scotland, Craneware announces six-month financial results: revenue up 2 2 percent, adjusted EPS $0.165 vs. $0.143.

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Epic CEO Judy Faulkner tells Modern Healthcare’s Joe Conn that she has created a private foundation that will receive all of her billions’ worth of Epic shares upon her death or any time at her discretion, guaranteeing that the company will never go public. She explains,

“One, I didn’t want the money, personally, or for my family. What would you want with all that money? It doesn’t seem right and I can’t tell you why. (We’re) putting it into a trust that can be used for the benefit of healthcare organizations, other exempt organizations and our communities. We can use it to (help) other charitable organizations that have contributed to our success. Because that’s where it came from.”


Sales

St. Peters Health Partners (NY) chooses Phytel for population health management.

Cornerstone Healthcare Group (TX) chooses MModal for documentation services and technology.

Greenville Health System (SC) will implement performance management tools from Practical Data Solutions as part of its Epic implementation.


People

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New York’s Healthix RHIO names Todd Rogow (HealthInfoNet) as SVP/CIO.


Announcements and Implementations

Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group (IL) goes live with Forward Health Group’s PopulationManager.

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For-profit consulting firm Ethisphere has been criticized in the past for charging companies to apply for its “World’s Most Ethical Company” award and charging winners again to use the resulting logo. If you’re still interested, the healthcare-related 2015 winners are Novation, Premier, Baptist Health South Florida, Cleveland Clinic, HCA, North Shore-LIJ, University Hospitals, and three Blue Cross companies. HCA also made the ethical list for the sixth year in a row despite having paid $2 billion in a 2002 settlement for Medicare fraud and another $20 million in 2005 for share dumping by several HCA executives right before the company announced poor earnings.

Zynx Health releases Consensus Builder, a web-based addition to its Knowledge Analyzer that allows clinicians to discuss and approve clinical content being developed.

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Cleveland Clinic will partner with lab testing high flyer Theranos to explore the possibility of reducing testing costs and turnaround time.

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Two academic medical centers in the Netherlands halt their implementation of the former Siemens Soarian, saying they are uncertain about the product’s direction under its new owner Cerner. A reader from there suggests that Cerner wasn’t showing much enthusiasm for the project at Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam and University Medical Center Groningen, adding that the small country has only eight academic medical centers and they are each going their own way instead of working together. Siemens announced the $55 million deal a year ago. 

Allscripts will embed Elsevier’s CPM Framework nurse treatment plans product in its Sunrise EHR, clearly hoping (given the fawning press release wording) to bolster its DoD EHR bid chances. The announcement is interesting since Sunrise developer Eclipsys (acquired by Allscripts in 2010) originally owned CPM Resource Center and sold it to Elsevier in 2007 for $25 million. Eclipsys originally bought the well-traveled CPMRC in 2004 for $5 million.

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Chesapeake Regional Medical Center (VA) will implement Epic using services from Bon Secours Health System subsidiary Good Health Connections, replacing McKesson Horizon.

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CoverMyMeds publishes the Electronic Prior Authorization (ePA) Scorecard. Facts from it:

  • ePA volume is increasing 20 percent per year.
  • 40 percent of prior authorizations are abandoned because of the workload involved.
  • 70 percent of patients with prescriptions requiring paper-based prior authorization don’t receive the meds originally prescribed.
  • 54 percent of EHR vendors have committed to supporting ePA, but only Allscripts, DrFirst, Epic, NextGen, NewCrop, and Practice Fusion have it available now.
  • 67 percent of payors and 70 percent of pharmacists have committed to supporting ePA and most of them are live.

Telehealth solutions vendor Ostar Healthcare technology announces its cell-enabled, vendor-neutral gateway that integrates payer and provider systems with remote monitoring devices such as scales and glucometers.

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Mark Neuenschwander has been around pharmacy-related IT for a long time, having brought out early comparative reports on automated dispensing machines and then on bedside barcoding. His new focus is on technology-assisted sterile compounding systems, those IT systems used in pharmacy IV rooms to make sure custom bags are correctly prepared (robotic systems, barcode scanning, imaging, volumetric and gravimetric analysis, etc.) His new report is available to hospitals for $349 and to everyone else for $499. I will say that when I was once asked to approve the purchase of one his reports for the IT department I was skeptical about the value, but once I saw it I (and used it) I declared it to be one of the most cost-effective information sources I had seen and I used it to plan our medication automation strategy. I’m mentioning it here since I know his work and some readers will be interested in it.


Government and Politics

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Oregon finally legislatively kills its Cover Oregon health insurance exchange, having not enrolled a single citizen for its $248 million cost and generating lawsuits between the state and its developer Oracle.

The cost of the Vermont Health Connect health insurance exchange could reach $200 million and the backlog of coverage change requests stands at more than 11,000.  

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FDA issues draft guidance (in the form of Q&A) for using electronic informed consent in clinical studies. It addresses such issues as how subject questions are handled, how to make sure subjects understand the information, and subjects are notified of changes during the study, and whether electronic signatures can be used.

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Bizarre: FDA recently developed a smart plan to stamp implantable medical devices with barcodes to allow tracking and recording them for clinical purposes. IT-inept CMS bureaucrats (the folks who brought you Healthcare.gov) are trying to kill the project, saying it’s too much trouble for them to add the ID number to claims forms, or as recently departed CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner explained in a February 23 complaint to two senators, “including UDIs on claims would entail significant technological challenges, costs, and risks” (to her agency, not to patients, just to be clear.) HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell is on record as favoring including device IDs on claim forms.


Technology

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Apple announces its smartwatch and its long-awaited price — $350 to $17,000, depending on style (surely only rich fools would pay $17,000 for a first-generation electronic device that will be obsolete in a year). The ship date for the Apple Watch is April 24. As expected, it requires an iPhone for connectivity and does little that the phone can’t do perfectly well on its own, with the most obvious minor benefit being that people who stare at their phones all day instead of the world around them might appear slightly less self-fixated in staring instead at their wrists. Its most important feature is that fanboys will love it and toy with it conspicuously to make the rest of us feel that our lives are barren without it. The reviews have one point in common: nobody can figure out why it exists other than because Apple says it’s cool. The best reason to stick a new, expensive input device between you and your iPhone would have been the health tracking capabilities that Apple had to leave out.

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Apple also announces ResearchKit, an open source iOS software framework that allows people to connect with medical research studies via their iPhones. Developers can create testing apps that analyze voice patterns, handwriting, and gait that can then connect possible research subjects to programs and allow subjects to submit forms from their iPhones. Apps have already been developed for asthma (Mount Sinai), breast cancer symptoms (Dana-Farber), cardiovascular health (Stanford), blood glucose (Mass General), and Parkinson’s disease (University of Rochester). Sound good except that self-selected research participants don’t necessarily form a representative cohort, limiting the ability to draw inferences from their experience. There’s also the question of positively identifying candidates and their suitability based on something they type onto an iPhone screen.

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A fitness app developer says wearables (a term he deems “insufferable”) are making people less healthy as they focus entirely on hitting their easy 10,000 walking steps instead of doing actual strenuous activity. I’ve said that many times – an exercise program that doesn’t involve cardio and weights isn’t really an exercise program and instead is just plain old “activity,” which at least is better than sitting on the couch or at a desk.

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Personal ECG app vendor AliveCor earns FDA approval for providing a “normal ECG” message to users or to let them know their data is unreadable and to try again.

Influential 10-year-old technology blog Gigaom shuts down due to going broke.


Other

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A HIMSS Europe report that brashly declares that health IT reduces inpatient mortality, which it “proved” by simply matching up EMR Adoption Model scores vs. weighted mortality (note the not-very-many data points wandering around all over the place). It “confirms” its conclusion by asking IT people in hospitals that spend more money on IT if those systems improved outcomes, which of course resulted in a lot of “yes” answers. Skip all the verbiage to the end, where you’ll find, “Organizations with a higher EMRAM score tended to have a low mortality rate.” That’s an Evel Knievel-sized jump away from proving that if A correlates to B, then A must have caused B. Maybe higher-spending hospitals had more cash to invest in hiring better people, or were located in an area with a milder flu season, or were more enlightened about processes and outcomes which resulted in their buying technology rather than vice versa. We also don’t know how those hospitals performed before they implemented technology, which might be the most useful of the omitted information. HIMSS has a multitude of vested interests here: selling its EMRAM, pitching the wares sold by its Diamond members, and selling memberships and publications. They failed to prove anything decisively.


Sponsor Updates

  • PatientSafe Solutions publishes “Unsecured Texting – The Monster Underneath the Bed.”
  • Direct Consulting Associates is profiled in a regional business publication after being named a NEO Success Award winner recognizing top-performing companies in Northeast Ohio.
  • Surgical Information Systems releases a quality extract for surgery-related eMeasures.
  • Novation will offer its members Versus RTLS workflow solutions.
  • First Databank posts “Sharing Lessons Learned in NDC Data Collection and Publishing with UDI Initiative Stakeholders.”
  • CoverMyMeds will exhibit at the sPCMA 2015 Business Forum March 16-17 in Orlando.
  • Clockwise.MD is named a semifinalist in the HIMSS HX360 Innovation Challenge.
  • CareTech will exhibit at the ACHE Congress on Healthcare Leadership March 17-19 in Troy, MI.
  • Bottomline Technologies will exhibit at Microsoft Convergence 2015 March 16-19 in Atlanta.
  • Clinical Architecture posts “The Road to Precision Medicine.”
  • CitiusTech offers “Making Clinical Data Actionable for Payers.”
  • Culbert Healthcare Solutions highlights “Issues to Consider When Sunsetting a Legacy Practice Management System.”
  • CareSync asks, “How Important is Sleep, Really?”
  • Bloomberg TV will feature Anthelio Healthcare Solutions on March 15 at 3 p.m. ET.
  • ADP AdvancedMD offers tips to create “The EHR-Switch Prep Plan.”
  • Impact Advisors is sponsoring the Women Working in Technology conference at Ball State University on March 20.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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March 10, 2015 News 11 Comments

Monday Morning Update 3/9/15

March 8, 2015 News 5 Comments

Top News

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St. Mary’s Medical Center (IN) notifies 4,400 patients that their information was exposed during a January phishing attack. It’s yet another example of securing the cyber-perimeter only to have it blown wide open by unwitting employees duped by fake “click here” emails.


Reader Comments

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From EpicAlready Won: “Re: DoD. Did they really just say they expect to have their EHR — the contract for which hasn’t even officially been awarded — up and running by EOY 2015? Do they have any idea what they are getting into? What does this imply in terms of the likely winner?” DoD says it hopes to have the infrastructure in place by December 31, 2015 for a Pacific Northwest test site.

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From Oh Nant: “Re: NantHealth. Bob Watson lives up this his reputation by firing the entire sales team at NantHealth. All sales will be done through Allscripts.” Unverified, but the companies signed a partnership agreement last week.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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One-third of poll respondents say provider CIOs are always more believable than vendor VPs, although some added clarifying comments suggesting that they would have voted yes had the word “never” been replaced with “most often.” Anonymouse elaborates that both provider and vendor executives put the best possible spin on their organizations, while HIS Junkie opines that “you can’t tell a CIO from a vendor without a score card.” New poll to your right or here: do you feel welcome and appreciated when you make contact with your preferred hospital by calling, emailing, or driving to their facility? Vote and add your comments because I’m sure you have some great stories that add color to your Boolean response.

I haven’t sent out HIStalkapalooza invitations yet, so there’s no need to email me to inquire (and thus no need for me to respond, which is my real motivation in saying so). I will probably get them emailed out in a week or so, plus having learned from years past that emails don’t always get through spam filters, I’ll post an encoded list — like the upgrade list at the airport with some combination of name letters — so you’ll know you’re invited.

I’m about to close down registration for our sponsor-only networking reception that will be held Sunday, April 12. Those who sign up (and show up) will mingle with their normally competitive peers, eat and drink at my expense, and enjoy a low-pressure evening in which nobody is either selling or buying anything. I suppose those who don’t have will chosen an equally invigorating alternative. Contact Lorre.

Listening: Denmark-based Volbeat, whose hard rock music lies somewhere in the continuum between Metallica and Johnny Cash but still sounds fresh.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • A group of five Republican senators says HITECH hasn’t provided taxpayer return on investment, EHRs aren’t useful to physicians, and ONC’s interoperability roadmap is too vague to guide EHR vendors.
  • Five healthcare IT vendor founders make the Forbes list of billionaires.
  • The AMA says CMS should release more ICD-10 testing details and develop a contingency plan for the upcoming switchover.
  • Truven Health Analytics is rumored to be planning a $3 billion IPO.
  • A Wall Street Journal article questions the appropriateness of drug company-paid alerts and reminders sent to patients whose doctors use Practice Fusion’s free EHR.
  • Allscripts says in its earnings call that it is disappointed in 2014 revenue and it should not have allowed overly optimistic Wall Street expectations to go unchallenged.
  • A reporter’s posthumous editorial urges that every willing cancer patient’s information be loaded to a database that both patients and doctors can access as a one-person clinical trial.

Webinars

March 12 (Thursday) 1:00 ET.  “Turn Your Contact Center Into A Patient-Centered Access Center.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenter: Brian Cooper, SVP, West Interactive. A patient-centered access center can extend population health management efforts and scale up care coordination programs with the right approach, technology, and performance metrics. Implementing a patient-centered access center is a journey and this program will provide the roadmap.

Here is the recording of Zynx Health’s recent webinar, “Care Team Coordination: How People, Process, and Technology Impact Patient Transitions


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Golub Capital provides a $250 million senior credit facility to support Netsmart’s recapitalization by its owner, private equity firm Genstar Capital.

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Lenovo will launch a healthcare division (for the second time in four years) on April 1, probably hoping that cybersecurity-sensitive providers will forget about its recent Superfish preinstalled spyware debacle. The company’s 2011 healthcare push tanked quickly and probably could have been easily predicted given its self-stated motivation in reviewing the healthcare market: “I know we want a piece of that, I know our partners want a piece of that, and we want to go get it with them together.” There’s not a whole lot they can do except take a few off-the-shelf products that seem interesting for healthcare users, market them separately, and train partners to sell them.

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Apple will live stream the announcement of its Apple Watch today (Monday) at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, although Apple says the video will work only on specific Apple hardware and software combinations. Several Internet wags remarked that they lost an hour Sunday morning due to the DST time change and then will lose another three staring at Tim Cook and company on their screens.


Sales

Baltimore-based Emocha Mobile Health signs a one-year, $65,000 contract with Harris County, TX to monitor medication adherence in TB patients by having them record themselves taking their prescriptions and sending the smartphone video to their doctors via the company’s app (maybe nobody ever looks at it, but the fact they might could make patients more diligent, I guess). The seven-employee company, which licenses technology from Johns Hopkins, is trying to raise $1.8 million in seed funding. None of the folks involved have any apparent healthcare experience.

Depression solutions vendor SunSprite chooses Validic to collect information from its bright light exposure tools.


Announcements and Implementations

SRS will offer its users SurgiMate surgery scheduling software.

340B pharmacy platform vendor Sentry Data Systems partners with Avella Specialty Pharmacy.

Agfa Healthcare launches a patient and physician portal to display images from its system, which should be wonderful news to those patients and physicians who love logging on to separate portals for each system a hospital uses.


Government and Politics

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The Illinois HIE, having blown through $19 million in HITECH money in four years and still running at a loss, doesn’t have funds allocated in the proposed state budget that will take effect July 1.

The Washington Post profiles telemedicine and other technology services offered to veterans through charity groups and the VA itself.


Technology

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The New York Times profiles 32-year-old Jeffrey Hammerbacher, a Mount Sinai medical school data analyst and assistant professor who previously made fortunes working as an equities analyst, creating Facebook’s data team, and founding multi-billion dollar company Cloudera. He’s married to Rock Health co-founder Halle Tecco. His Mount Sinai team is applying data science to chronic disease for the development of personalized medicine. When at Facebook, he famously said not long before he quit knowing he was leaving IPO money on the table, “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads. That sucks.”


Other

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LA County’s Department of Health Services is using clinical decision support software developed by Chief Research and Innovation Officer Jeffrey Guterman, MD that applies clinical rules to encounter data to manage chronic diseases. He’s modest about his work: “It’s pretty sophisticated for healthcare, but it’s pedestrian for any other industry … As a large governmental bureaucratic organization. I think people are happy to say, ‘The providers look happier, the patients look happier, no one is complaining, this is a great change.’”

Ed Marx is writing a book called “Voices of Innovation” and invites readers to contact him about being part of it.

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Medical school dean Art Kellermann, MD tweeted out this graphic created by Daniella Meeker, PhD of Rand Corporation.

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Struggling Southern Regional Medical Center (GA) lays off a bunch of employees after realizing from benchmarking software reports that it was overstaffed. I always have the same question after reading stories like this: was management too stupid to notice lack of productivity until they found out that similar hospitals have fewer employees? We might as well have just one national hospital since none of them can take any action without seeing what the others are doing, with that lack of competence and/or confidence fueling an entire industry of conferences, software, and consulting services.

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Unrelated, but bizarre enough to worth mentioning since it made me laugh out loud even if I did feel guilty afterward. A judge dismisses a lawsuit against Applebee’s in which a patron claimed the restaurant’s waitress should have warned him that his platter of sizzling fajitas was hot. The waitress sat the fajitas down, at which time Hiram Jimenez decided to take his brother’s hand and bow to say grace, causing his face to get splattered with hot grease. It just got worse: the man claims he pushed the platter away as a reaction but instead it ended up in his lap, which caused him to injure his arm. His attorney, Dick Weiner, is unhappy that the judge ruled that it shouldn’t have been necessary for the waitress to warn anybody that a furiously sputtering skillet full of meat might be hot. The man was fine, with no scarring, permanent injury, or financial windfall.


Sponsor Updates

  • The SSI Group will exhibit at the VA/DC 2015 Spring Education Conference March 11-13 in Richmond, VA.
  • TeleTracking offers insight into how RTLS is enabling high-visibility health.
  • T-System’s blog focuses on “Nurse Debate: Communication Silos.”
  • Verisk Health will exhibit at the 15th annual Employee Healthcare Conference – East March 12-13 in New York City.
  • Truven Health Analytics releases its annual study identifying the 100 top U.S. hospitals based on their overall organizational performance.
  • Vital Images will exhibit at the ACC 15 Annual Scientific Session & Expo March 14-16 in San Diego.
  • Voalte discusses the challenges healthcare facilities face when moving to a new facility.
  • The Chicago Sun-Times features Huron Consulting Group’s Arshia Wajid and her work as founder and president of the nonprofit American Muslim Health Professionals group.
  • ZeOmega offers the second part in its blog series on defining population health management.
  • The latest ZirMed blog offers “Fresh Insight into Predictive Analytics … and Renewed Focus on ICD-10 Contingency Planning.”
  • The Daily Practice blog from Navicure asks, “The Times They Are a Changin’ … So How Do You Get Ready for Value-Based Modifier Payment Models?”
  • NTT Data offers a blog on “The Counter Effect of Mobile and How to Avoid It.”
  • Patientco posts “Beat Patient Debt, One Payment at a Time.”
  • The latest MedData blog advises, “Don’t limp towards the ICD-10 finish line. Finish strong.”
  • ScImage releases updated echo reporting based on new ASE 2015 quantification standards.
  • PatientSafe Solutions discusses the case of the frustrated phlebotomist in the second part of its quality care and mobility blog series.
  • The PMD “Charge Capture” blog discusses “Increasing Team Productivity with Paired Programming.”
  • Orion Health offers insight on “Integrating Device Data with EMR for Better, Safer Care – A Case Study.”
  • Perceptive Software lists “Four Reasons You Need an Enterprise Capture Strategy.”
  • Nordic launches a video on its successful affiliate extension project with ThedaCare.
  • Passport Health will exhibit at AAHAM South Florida March 11-13 in Cocoa Beach.
  • The latest nVoq blog covers speech-recognition solutions for mobile physicians.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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March 8, 2015 News 5 Comments

News 3/6/15

March 5, 2015 News 3 Comments

Top News

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A Health Affairs article written by five Republican senators says their 2013 question of what value Americans have received in return for their $35 billion HITECH investment hasn’t been answered. They say EHRs “are not meaningful for physicians,” interoperability remains elusive, the $12.5 billion CBO-predicted EHR savings haven’t been realized, and ONC’s interoperability roadmap doesn’t provide enough specific details for vendors to work from. It criticizes ONC for releasing its interoperability roadmap well after Stage 2, which “was promised to be the stage when health providers were interoperable.” The article finishes on a slightly positive note in complimenting Karen DeSalvo:

In listening to the concerns from EHR vendors and EHR users from across the care continuum, ONC has taken an important turn under the leadership of Dr. Karen DeSalvo. The previous ONC leadership did not understand the difficulty and enormity of creating government-approved products in a market that struggled to exist before government incentives arrived. As a result, our nation’s health care providers are stuck with the huge cost of unwieldy systems trying to conform to government mandates. They are stuck adopting EHR systems which don’t fit into their established workflows. And if they actually want to share their patients’ data, they are stuck with even more costs imposed by vendors. At the center of all this is the patient who must sit quietly in the exam room looking at her physician use a computer instead of directly talking with her, who likely has seen no better access to her own data, and who is struggling to understand why her doctor has such a difficult time getting her lab results.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I was thinking today about the kind of reader who probably shouldn’t be reading HIStalk because I won’t be able to meet their expectations. I’m not offended by losing readers who:

  • Assume there’s a direct relationship with how important a story is and how much space is used to describe it.
  • Need repeated mentions of the same story over several days, with no new information, to make sure they understand they should pay attention to it.
  • Enjoy catchy headlines (especially those click-desperate, frothy ones that include a number as in a “listicle”) with cartoonish action verbs that sit atop stories that fail to deliver anything insightful.
  • Don’t mind stories that fail to link to the source document with the hopes you’ll mistake the story as containing original reporting.
  • Require pictures even if they have nothing to do with the story, like generic shots of stethoscopes or smart phones, or who value slick design over substance.
  • Are convinced that keeping up with the industry requires spending a lot of time each day reading several sites.
  • Enjoy reading opinion pieces written by people who have never worked in either health IT or healthcare.

 

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Quite a few people are writing about the study that found little overlap in the “best hospitals” lists of four organizations that create them. It’s a lost cause in my opinion – any “best” list, whether it be restaurants or plumbers, is situationally subjective and even medical experts can’t provide a definitive answer. Go to an academic medical center when you have a tricky diagnosis or need a rare surgery performed by someone who does a lot of them, but expect to have privacy and restfulness compromised by rounding teams made up of everybody and his brother popping in at all hours, expect more mistakes to be made (especially in July, on holidays, on weekends, and at night), don’t mind the happy indifference of employees who aren’t afraid of being fired, and expect to have a lot more tests done because that’s the research culture (no pun intended). Community hospitals are fine for most medical situations, but they don’t always have high volumes in what you need done, the employees they attract are probably friendlier but maybe less accomplished, and if you crash you might be a long way from somewhere better equipped to save you. I would rather see a list of the worst 30 percent of hospitals (as measured by mistakes, poor outcomes, low-quality medical staff) and then feel safe in choosing any of the others as long as you bring someone to watch everything done to you like a hawk. It also won’t matter which hospitals are “best” if you aren’t willing or able to travel halfway across the country and possibly go out of network, and for many mid-sized cities, consolidation has left only one or two choices anyway. I think for most people, long-term health is driven more by the choice of PCP and specialists rather than the big, bureaucratic building with the lights on all night that often makes things worse instead of better. The “best” hospital is the one you stay out of.

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor HCTec Partners. The Nashville-based HIT/HIM solutions and staffing provider offers services related to EHRs (build, implementation, training, optimization, go-live support), clinical transformation, revenue cycle and ICD-10, data migration, data warehouse, and HIM and coding. I was happy to see prominent mention on their site of the extensive benefits they offer consultants as well as the company’s “giving back” activities, such as working with Habitat for Humanity. Testimonials from clients and consultants are here. Thanks to HCTec Partners for supporting HIStalk.

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I had a sign made to commemorate Atlanta’s convincing HIStalk reader poll win as healthcare IT capital of America that Jenn presented it to the folks at Metro Atlanta’s Bioscience-Health IT Leadership Council on Thursday. Receiving the award from Jenn were Council Chair Robert Hendricks of McKesson and Pat Williams, chair of the Institute of Health Information Technology and TAG Health.

This week on HIStalk Practice: Palm Medical Group picks HealthFusion as its VoC. KVC Nebraska turns to telemedicine for behavioral health services. Hospital employment loses luster with Ohio physicians. CHESS and Chase Brexton Health Care implement new pop health management tools. ClickAClinic CEO discusses telemedicine business model outlook. The Consultant’s Corner takes a look at primary care networks.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Google and Stanford University publish a paper on the use of deep learning neural networks to expedite drug discovery research. During the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona, Jawbone announces that it will partner with Huawei to provide access to Jawbone’s UP fitness ecosystem for the company’s growing portfolio of smartphones and wearables. Rock Health invests $100,000 in Chrono Therapeutics, a startup building a wearable device that supports smoking cessation programs by administering nicotine at strategic intervals based on the time and intensity of each user’s actual cravings.


Webinars

March 12 (Thursday) 1:00 ET.  “Turn Your Contact Center Into A Patient-Centered Access Center.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenter: Brian Cooper, SVP, West Interactive. A patient-centered access center can extend population health management efforts and scale up care coordination programs with the right approach, technology, and performance metrics. Implementing a patient-centered access center is a journey and this program will provide the roadmap.

Here’s the recording of the “5 Steps to Improving Patient Safety & Clinical Communications with Collaborative-Based Care ” webinar.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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I mentioned that the Forbes list of 2015 billionaires omitted Terry Ragon of InterSystems, with my speculation that his net worth should be in the same $1.5 billion neighborhood as Cerner founders Cliff Illig and Neal Patterson. Turns out he’s actually on the list at #1190 at $1.6 billion, but categorized under “technology” rather than “healthcare,” which is technically correct (no pun intended) since the company’s Cache’ database has at least some use outside of healthcare.  

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Stanford Health Care and GE Ventures launch Evidation Health, which will pair digital health companies with possible provider customers to define product value.


Sales

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Greenville Health System (SC) chooses Caradigm’s population health management products.


People

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CareCloud clarified a reader’s rumor report that CEO Albert Santalo was asked to step down. Per the company, he’ll be “focusing his time almost entirely on advancing our products for the next several months,” with an emphasis on meeting the needs of large-practice customers, but will remain chairman and CEO.


Announcements and Implementations

First Databank will distribute Polyglot’s Meducation simplified medication patient instructions.

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Physicians at Community Memorial Health System (CA) are entering 98 percent of their orders and notes electronically into Meditech after implementing PatientKeeper’s CPOE and NoteWriter systems.

Agastha and Axon HCS add the CompletEPA electronic prior authorization solution from Surescripts to their systems.


Government and Politics

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FDA releases its first mobile app, which identifies drug shortages.

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HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell publishes an article on HHS’s move to value-based payments, but reading it involves another type of payment – sending $20 to the New England Journal of Medicine for the privilege of seeing the comments of the government official whose salary is paid by your taxes. It should be law that elected officials should not publish paywall-protected articles or appear at conference sessions that require a fee or that are invitation-only. They represent all of us, so they should speak to all of us.

Here’s Karen DeSalvo’s keynote and comments from a Wednesday session on health IT at Brookings Institution. 


Privacy and Security

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The Australian radio station whose “morning zoo” hosts called a London hospital in 2012 claiming to be the Queen and Prince Charles and were given information on the condition of the Duchess of Cambridge may lose its license for airing the call without consent. The India-born nurse who didn’t recognize the “ridiculous comedy accents” transferred the call to the floor. The nurse committed suicide three days later, leaving a note blaming the shame of the call for her death. British prosecutors declined to press charges against the two DJs even though they probably broke Britain’s privacy and malicious communications laws, explaining that they weren’t likely to be extradited from Australia and their action was intended to be a harmless prank.

Texas Health Resources, responding to a negligence lawsuit brought by its nurse Nina Pham over her exposure to Ebola, says in an email to employees that despite her claims, it had her permission to release information about her and that it followed HIPAA rules.

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The federal government’s Office of Personnel Management  OIG says Anthem twice refused to allow it to perform security testing of Anthem’s systems as part of a routine OIG security audit. Anthem told the OIG that its policies don’t allow external entities to connect to its networks (Chinese hackers excluded).

An Oregon TV station uncovers an interesting privacy law: universities are allowed to dig into the health records of any student who sues them without running afoul of HIPAA. They’re covered under a separate law called FERPA.


Technology

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A JAMA Internal Medicine case study profiles the case of an occasionally symptomatic patient whose tachycardia was diagnosed only after his PCP suggested he buy an AliveCor smartphone-based cardiac monitor.

RxRobots delivers four of its pain management robots to the Alberta, Canada hospital where they were developed. The robot distracts children who are undergoing painful procedures.


Other

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Garen Sarafian from Citigroup sent over the company’s analysis of the most recent Meaningful Use data titled “Stage 2 Clingers: Weak Vendors Try Holding On.” While I would be cautious about reading too much into the skimpy number of EP Stage 2 attestations, the report’s conclusions feel about right:

  • Cerner and Epic are increasing their Stage 2 market share (somewhat at the expense of Meditech, which is sliding a bit) and Athenahealth is succeeding on the EP side.
  • Provider EHR difficulties should drive a robust replacement market that will benefit those same three companies.
  • Low EP attestation rates should benefit quickly implementable products from Athenahealth and Practice Fusion.
  • A dropoff on Stage 2 attestations by users of Allscripts and NextGen could indicate declining market position, especially given their acknowledged problems with reduced client spending and satisfaction problems, respectively.

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The BBC finds that the US is the most expensive place in the world to give birth, drily adding that, “there is no publicly financed health services as in most developed countries.” A Johns Hopkins professor summarizes our healthcare mess succinctly: “If you can make more money as a doctor by ordering more tests, you are going to order them and therefore patients end up getting more tests … If you don’t have health insurance in the US, hospitals and doctors will ask you to pay three to four times what someone with insurance will pay for the same service because no one is negotiating rates on their behalf.”

The AMA, seemingly unable to find anything to whine about these days other than technology and the EHRs its members bought of their own free will, twists CMS’s latest ICD-10 testing results to suggest that “the claims acceptance rate would fall from 97 percent to 81 percent if ICD-10 was implemented today.” AMA and other physician groups want CMS to develop contingency plans “to save precious heath care dollars” (the Medicare ones that arrive in the pockets of doctors) and to describe how PQRS and Meaningful Use reporting will work given that the calendar year will straddle ICD-9 and ICD-10 (that part is valid). Meanwhile, AMA’s online newsletter wraps up a supportive article with a link to its online store, where those cash-strapped doctors are invited to buy AMA’s ICD-10 data file. AMA makes a good point: CMS should release more specific testing details. It also makes a bad one: CMS should pay doctors in advance in case they have billing problems.

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Weird News Andy notes what he calls a “kidney kidney kidney kidney kidney kidney” transplant. A San Francisco hospital performs six paired donation kidney transplants, using software developed by a technology executive (who underwent a kidney transplant himself years ago) that performs the number-crunching that matches unrelated donors and recipients using their medical characteristics.


Sponsor Updates

  • VisionWare CEO Paul Roscoe provides thoughts as part of Health Data Management’s “Visionaries for 2015” special edition.
  • Bill Kinsley, enterprise architect for NextGen, will chair the HIMSS EHR Association’s privacy and security workgroup. 
  • Galen Healthcare Solutions posts “Health Management Plans: A Better Way to Care for Patients.”
  • Extension Healthcare creates a new infographic on the “Evolution of Clinical Alarms and Text Messaging in Healthcare Communications.”
  • Etransmedia Technology Chairman Vikash Agrawal summarizes his experience at the Pacific Crest 10th Annual Emerging Technology Summit.
  • LifeImage posts “Medical Image Sharing for Neurological Care & Research.”
  • Holon Solutions CEO Mike McGuire explains the company’s rebranding strategy.
  • Healthwise offers a blog on how it helps its customers get the information they need.
  • HealthMEDX will exhibit at LeadingAge Oklahoma March 10-11 in Midwest City.
  • Iatric Systems exhibits at the Privacy & Security Forum through March 6 in San Francisco.
  • Logicworks posts a new blog on the Internet of Things security.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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March 5, 2015 News 3 Comments

News 3/4/15

March 3, 2015 News 3 Comments

Top News

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Reuters reports that Truven Health Analytics is planning an IPO that will value the company at $3 billion. Veritas Capital Fund Management LLC bought the company from Thomson Reuters in 2012 for $1.25 billion.


Reader Comments

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From DejaVuAllOverAgain: “Re: Leidos Health. Laid off over 50 people last Friday, the third round of layoffs since Q3 2014. SAIC bought two $400M consulting companies (Vitalize Consulting and maxIT Healthcare) thinking they’d get $800M annually. Revenues now less than $300M. The typical acquisition story.” Unverified.

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From LL Cool J: “Re: Allscripts and NantHealth partnership = desperate.” The wordy announcement wasn’t very clear on who’s doing what, but NantHealth seems to be signing up a bunch of partners and Patrick Soon-Shiong is drawn to TV cameras like a mosquito to a bug zapper.

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From RutRoh: “Re: CareCloud. It was announced at the CloudUp corporate meeting that CEO Albert Santalo has been asked to step down.” Unverified. He’s still listed on the executive page and I assume that even if the rumor is true that he’ll remain as board chair. Update: CareCloud says Santalo will remain chairman and CEO but will be focusing his time over the next several months on advancing products, with emphasis on optimizing operations for larger practices.  

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From Dysf(n): “Re: microbiology interfaces. CAP Today puts out an annual review of laboratory middleware. New version is due in June 2015, I think. Here’s last year’s in PDF format. Data Innovations is in there, along with another six or seven. If that doesn’t cover the specific instruments / systems you’re looking to integrate, it may be a good start — search elsewhere through CAP Today online.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Here’s a fun fact that everybody who orders HIMSS-related giveaways already knows: China-based manufacturing shuts down for two weeks each February for Chinese New Year. Last year we had to settle for inferior quality lapel pins because the factories where the good ones are made were closed.

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Divurgent is offering all HIStalk readers the chance to attend summitHIT15 in Chicago’s best rooftop lounge on the 27th floor of theWit hotel on Sunday, April 12. RSVP here.

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

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Webinars

March 4 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “5 Steps to Improving Patient Safety & Clinical Communications with Collaborative-Based Care.” Sponsored by Imprivata. Presenters: Robert Gumbardo, MD, chief of staff, Saint Mary’s Health System; Tom Calo, technical solutions engineer, Saint Mary’s Health System; Christopher McKay, chief nursing officer, Imprivata. For healthcare IT and clinical leadership, the ability to satisfy the clinical need for better, faster communication must be balanced with safeguarding protected health information to meet compliance and security requirements.

March 5 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Care Team Coordination: How People, Process, and Technology Impact Patient Transitions.” Sponsored by Zynx Health. Presenters: Grant Campbell, MSN, RN, senior director of nursing strategy and informatics, Zynx Health; Siva Subramanian, PhD, senior VP of mobile products, Zynx Health. This webinar will explore the ways in which people, process, and technology influence patient care and how organizations can optimize these areas to enhance communication, increase operational efficiency, and improve care coordination across the continuum.

March 12 (Thursday) 1:00 ET.  “Turn Your Contact Center Into A Patient-Centered Access Center.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenter: Brian Cooper, SVP, West Interactive. A patient-centered access center can extend population health management efforts and scale up care coordination programs with the right approach, technology, and performance metrics. Implementing a patient-centered access center is a journey and this program will provide the roadmap.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Becton Dickinson acquires CRISI Medical Systems, with which it co-developed a wireless, EHR-integrated electronic checking system for drug identification, dose, and allergies for drugs given by IV push.


Sales

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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center will use PeraHealth’s Rothman Index health scoring system throughout its system to provide an early warning for patients whose conditions are deteriorating.

Cornerstone Health Enablement Strategic Solutions (NC) chooses Lightbeam Health Solutions for population health management.


People

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T-System names Janie Schumaker, RN, MBA (Heartland Regional Medical Center) as chief nursing officer.

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Rick Toren (Qpid) joins healthcare analytics vendor Atigeo as president of its healthcare division.


Announcements and Implementations

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ScImage updates its PICOM365 systems to support the new ASA 2015 echocardiography cardiac chamber standards that were released in January.

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NantHealth and Allscripts announce their collaboration on development of precision medicine solutions for cancer patients.

Spectrum Equity makes an unspecified investment in healthcare database vendor Definitive Healthcare.


Government and Politics

A Connecticut bill would require insurance-related companies to encrypt consumer information, introduced in response to the Anthem breach by politicians who clearly don’t understand that encryption is rendered instantly worthless once hackers obtain administrator account information by phishing (as they did in Anthem’s case).

The VA’s Office of Inspector General finds that the VA’s chief business office knowingly violated appropriations law by using $93 million in medical support and compliance money to help pay for development of a claims processing system to avoid going through the VA’s IT process.


Privacy and Security

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ProPublica plans another article in its series about medical privacy and invites readers to contribute stories about problems they’ve had.

The New York Times runs pro-con arguments about genetic testing data. Negative arguments: drug companies are paying 23andMe big money to get their hands on test results, genetic testing is a minor disease predictor compared to lifestyle choices, DNA information could be hacked for manipulating crime scenes or medical records, and laws against genetic discrimination need to be strengthened. Positive arguments: shared data speeds up healthcare research, technology can protect the data, companies making millions from selling data should buy insurance of $500,000 per user since they claim the breach likelihood is low and if that’s true the insurance should be inexpensive.

Patient information in Minnesota’s doctor shopper prescription database was accessed hundreds of times by a former insurance company nurse after the state forgot to revoke his credentials when he was reassigned. The nurse was previously disciplined by the state nursing board after admitting to stealing narcotics from two hospitals, a fact the state says they were unaware of even though his record is in a public database. He still works for Blue Cross Blue Shield.


Technology

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Antivirus maker AVG debuts prototype infrared LED privacy-protecting glasses that prevent facial recognition systems from identifying their wearer. The company says “invisibility glasses” are a valuable privacy tool because candid smartphone photos are often posted to Facebook, Google’s StreetView puts identities in the public domain, and Facebook’s DeepFace can match up different photos of the same person with human-like accuracy of greater than 97 percent. 


Other

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Texas Health Resources nurse Nina Pham, who contracted Ebola in the Thomas Duncan case, sues her employer for negligence, claiming lack of training and violations of her privacy that made her “a symbol of corporate neglect – a casualty of a hospital system’s failure to prepare for a known and impending medical crisis.” She says she told THR not to release information about her when she was hospitalized, but a doctor recorded her on video using a GoPro body-worn camera and released it publicly, with her attorney claiming THR “used Nina as a PR pawn.”  She also claims THR announced her condition as “good” while simultaneously counseling her on end-of-life decisions as documented in the EHR. Her attorney has a history of successfully suing THR and other hospitals for her $750 per hour fee and has hit defendants with $675 million worth of settlements and verdicts in the past five years.   

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Named to the Forbes list of 2015 billionaires from healthcare IT are Patrick Soon-Shiong of NantHealth (#96, $12.2 billion, although he made his money from pharma), Judy Faulkner of Epic (#663, $2.8 billion), Neal Patterson of Cerner (#1006, $1.9 billion), and Cliff Illig of Cerner (#1605, $1.2 billion). The list omitted Terry Ragon of InterSystems, who should be worth about the same as Patterson and Illig based on previous reports. Elizabeth Holmes, founder of lab provider Theranos. is the youngest self-made woman at 31 years old (#360, $4.5 billion). Your best chance by far of being one of the world’s richest people is inheriting $40 billion each in Walmart money as did the four Waltons who hold spots in the top 12.

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A note to PR people: they say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but that might not hold true when a press release misspells the company’s name.

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Chuck Denham, MD, the former co-chair of a National Quality Forum patient safety panel charged with taking $11 million in CareFusion bribes to have its product added to national standards, settles with the Department of Justice for $1 million. At least he sold his integrity for a great price, netting $10 million after expenses. Meanwhile, briber CareFusion settled last year for $40 million and it’s still a $12 billion market cap company whose shares have risen 50 percent in the past year. Anyone who says crime doesn’t pay needs to get into healthcare.

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A Wall St. Journal article titled “The Next Marketing Frontier: Your Medical Records” highlights the alerts and reminders sent to patients in Practice Fusion’s EHRs, with some of those messages paid for by drug companies. Practice Fusion’s CEO defends the practice, saying that with regard to the alerts and presumably the company’s free EHR, “someone has to pay for it” and adds that new agreements have been signed to deliver sponsored alerts from Aetna and another drug company. He also states, “For every project we do that drives forth public health or gives data away, we need to make sure it’s balanced out by a monetizable exercise.”

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The Wall Street Journal highlights a Health Affairs-published study that found major inconsistencies in the “best hospitals” lists published by four sources (US News & World Report, Consumer Reports, Leapfrog Group, and Healthgrades). Only 10 percent of the hospitals that were highest rated by one service received an equally high ranking from even one of the other three, while 27 hospitals that were named among the nation’s best by one service were named as among the worst by another (UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center being an obvious example). Lead author Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD says just about every hospital tops somebody’s list and urges better methods “so it isn’t just a beauty pageant.”


Sponsor Updates

  • Impact Advisors publishes a white paper titled “Selecting a Population Health Management Vendor: Taming the Wave.”
  • PatientSafe Solutions posts “Quality care and Mobility: Case 2.”
  • Caradigm is participating in the iHT2 CHIME & Health IT Summit through March 4 in San Francisco.
  • Aventura and Bottomline Technologies are exhibiting at the Spring Hospital and HealthCare IT Conference through March 4 in Orlando.
  • CareTech will host the New England HIMSS & Social Networking event March 10 in Warwick, RI.
  • AirStrip writes about “Bringing Up Baby: the Value of Remote Monitoring for High-Risk Pregnancies.”
  • AtHoc writes about its work with the Red Cross.
  • Besler Consulting looks at the “State-by-State Impact of Readmissions Penalties for 2015.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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March 3, 2015 News 3 Comments

Monday Morning Update 3/2/15

February 28, 2015 News 6 Comments

Top News

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Oregon and Oracle keep suing each other over the state’s health insurance exchange and its Medicaid system, but now Oracle takes things to another legal level as it files personal lawsuits against five staff and campaign organizers of former Governor John Kitzhaber, who Oracle warns may also find himself sued shortly. Oracle says the five were politically motivated in trying to shut down Cover Oregon and then blamed Oracle as a smokescreen.


Reader Comments

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From Lab Retriever: “Re: microbiology interfaces. I’m looking for something that will interface with our three blood culture instruments – Bactec, VersaTrek, and BacT/Alert – to get the data into our LIS.” My first thought was Data Innovations, just acquired by Roper Industries and paired up with Sunquest, but I’ll invite more knowledgeable readers to offer their suggestions.

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From Maple HIZZ: “Re: University Health Network, Toronto. Not proceeding with their HIS replacement project in which Epic was the preferred vendor due to the $600 million cost, including interest. Annual operating expenses are projected to be an additional $50 million per year even when legacy IT systems are sunset. Glad to hear that UHN decided not to write the cheque and spend taxpayer dollars wisely.” Unverified.

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From Interoperability Blues: “Re: SMART project. Every vendor talks a big game about interoperability, but the public availability of C-CDA samples for each vendor is non-existent. The SMART project gathered several, but you will notice one major vendor is missing and most vendors provided only one or two. If there were thousands of C-CDAs available, the gaps would be more clear. Heck, it would even be helpful if all vendors just posted what they used to get through certification.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Two-thirds of poll respondents say Epic’s App Exchange is a PR move to support its DoD bid. New poll to your right or here: is a health system CIO’s article or presentation always more believable than that of a vendor VP? Surely your vote deserves clarifying comments (which you are welcome to add).

Attention HIStalk sponsors: we’ve made contacts about attending the sponsor networking reception event Sunday evening of HIMSS week in Chicago, but have received few RSVPs. Contact Lorre if you want to meet your industry peers and enjoy great food and drinks. Otherwise, I may just start inviting random readers since I’m stuck paying the facility’s minimum anyway.

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Our five patient advocate scholarship winners (along with Regina Holliday) have run into a HIMSS snag. They had anticipated that Chicago hotels would be expensive and planned to share a room to minimize cost, but they are now finding that availability is nearly non-existent. Let me know if you have ideas of a place that would be available for at least Sunday and Monday nights – I’m thinking perhaps someone’s occasionally rented apartment. They are even exploring couch-surfing options, so they could use some help. We’re checking VRBO and Airbnb.

I swear I’m going to throw up the next time some inspiration-impaired “thought leader” tries to draw parallels between anything healthcare-related and Uber. Or for that matter, who can’t come up with anything more original than drawing strained healthcare inferences from the death of Leonard Nimoy or something else they saw on TV. As Mark Twain said, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

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I say a lot of good things about Walgreens, but here’s a first-person “fail” experience. I had to switch pharmacies because of an insurance change and was initially thrilled at the apparent ease of transferring prescriptions to their store using its cool-looking app. Upon my first attempt at getting the prescription filled, it wasn’t on file there when I called for some reason, so I made another request via the app – it looked successful and the app told me to pick up the prescription any time after 2:00. I showed up at around 2:45 and the pharmacist on duty got snotty, saying he had been too busy to call the other pharmacy, that “the computer doesn’t work back here” in flatly declaring that the stated 2:00 time wasn’t his problem and he’d get around to it whenever he could because he was backed up with both in-store and telephone to-do items. He then suggested going back to the competitor’s pharmacy and paying cash since it would be faster. The pharmacist promised to call me when the prescription was ready – it’s now 24 hours later and nobody has called, but I drove to the store and it was ready. Lesson one: it takes only one unpleasant personal experience to wipe out a lot of corporate-level goodwill. Lesson two: the technology isn’t impressive when the people aren’t (I bet the store cuts staffing to the bone since he seemed to alone behind the counter). Lesson three: shop around (as I did) before buying electronic items at Walgreens since the Sony earbuds I was about to pick up for $20 were only $12.99 on Amazon and even better ones were just $5.99.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • CMS reports that it correctly processed 81 percent of ICD-10 claims in its most recent testing round and says it is ready for the switch.
  • Merge Healthcare acquires DR Systems.
  • New York’s mandatory electronic prescribing date of March 27, 2015 will likely be delayed for a year, with only the governor’s signature remaining to make it official.
  • The FBI says it is close to identifying those responsible for Anthem’s breach.
  • Cerner offers voluntary separation to its older employees.
  • CTG says its services business is suffering as the EMR market cools.
  • A study finds that Googling medical terms sends personal information to third party websites 91 percent of the time.
  • A delayed $670 million EHR implementation in British Columbia involving IBM, Deloitte, and Cerner is rumored to be headed toward arbitration.

Webinars

March 4 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “5 Steps to Improving Patient Safety & Clinical Communications with Collaborative-Based Care.” Sponsored by Imprivata. Presenters: Robert Gumbardo, MD, chief of staff, Saint Mary’s Health System; Tom Calo, technical solutions engineer, Saint Mary’s Health System; Christopher McKay, chief nursing officer, Imprivata. For healthcare IT and clinical leadership, the ability to satisfy the clinical need for better, faster communication must be balanced with safeguarding protected health information to meet compliance and security requirements.

March 5 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Care Team Coordination: How People, Process, and Technology Impact Patient Transitions.” Sponsored by Zynx Health. Presenters: Grant Campbell, MSN, RN, senior director of nursing strategy and informatics, Zynx Health; Siva Subramanian, PhD, senior VP of mobile products, Zynx Health. This webinar will explore the ways in which people, process, and technology influence patient care and how organizations can optimize these areas to enhance communication, increase operational efficiency, and improve care coordination across the continuum.

March 12 (Thursday) 1:00 ET.  “Turn Your Contact Center Into A Patient-Centered Access Center.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenter: Brian Cooper, SVP, West Interactive. A patient-centered access center can extend population health management efforts and scale up care coordination programs with the right approach, technology, and performance metrics. Implementing a patient-centered access center is a journey and this program will provide the roadmap.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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From the Allscripts earnings call:

  • CEO Paul Black says Q4 sales were down due to lower patient portal sales driven by Meaningful Use Stage 2 timing.
  • Black says the company is disappointed both with its year-long revenue as well as the unrealistic Wall Street expectations the company allowed to be created.
  • The company will collaborate with MaineHealth on population health management projects.
  • Allscripts says that Meaningful Use Stage 2-required upgrades have caused client fatigue, with many of those clients deferring other upgrades.
  • When asked about the “barbell” effect in which Allscripts ambulatory clients either love or hate their products, Black says the company is offering them everything they need to manage populations and accept risk and that attrition won’t have a huge impact.
  • Black says the company loses clients to acquisition-related system replacements or a missed deliverables, but the list of reasons it loses a customer is a lot shorter now than than when he was hired two years ago.
  • Black said of the performance of the company’s professional services work, “Nobody’s pleased with it and we do still have some work to do. We’ve changed some of the talent that’s managing that organization.”
  • The company quoted KLAS numbers indicating that 453 provider organizations will buy acute care systems in 2015 and that Sunrise is “overlooked” despite being more competitive than when he was hired.

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From the Merge Healthcare earnings call:

  • CEO Justin Dearborn says the acquisition of DR Systems gives Merge the #1 KLAS-ranked solutions in cardiovascular information systems, hemodynamics monitoring, and radiology information systems and consolidating providers want to deal with fewer vendors.
  • The company believe that attention will swing back from Meaningful Use and ICD-10, releasing pent-up demand for other solutions.
  • Merge put the DR Systems deal together so quickly that its debt holder didn’t have time to perform due diligence and DR Systems was reluctant to share information with competitor Merge, so if the due diligence doesn’t pan out, the company will have to find alternative financing to close the deal, “which could be challenging.”
  • The company expects to see opportunities given that providers who are going at risk know that a significant portion of unnecessary and redundant healthcare spending is related to imaging.

People

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Vanderbilt University Medical Center promotes Titus Daniels, MD, MPH to executive director of Vanderbilt Medical Group and COO for adult clinical operations at the hospital. His new responsibilities include clinical documentation and coding and EMR design, adoption, and support.

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Rex Adams (Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta) joins PaySpan as CEO.

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Leidos Health hires Douglas Herr (Logic Healthcare) as VP of its Epic practice.


Announcements and Implementations

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ADP AdvancedMD offers the free “ICD-10 Toolkit” app. 

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American Family Children’s Hospital (WI) is piloting Epic’s MyChart Bedside. The tablet-powered app providers patient-caregiver communication, a scheduling display, and the display of EHR information.


Privacy and Security

Security experts at ThreatConnect say evidence from the Anthem breach suggests that a Chinese espionage group is responsible. “They made an effort to hide, but they messed up,” says one of the experts, who also implicated a Chinese university professor who works with a China-based government contractor.


Technology

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HP is rumored to be close to acquiring Aruba Networks, with speculation of a Monday announcement.


Other

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Central Peninsula Hospital (AK) will replace its “clunky” Meditech system with a new system from Meditech, Cerner, or Epic. They’re planning to spend $5 million to $15 million.

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Texas-based for-profit hospital operator University General Health System files Chapter 11 bankruptcy, blaming poorly chosen acquisitions and unfavorable managed care contracts. The hospital’s website shows plush facilities and boasts that it provides “exceptional personalized care in a luxurious, five-star environment” and declaring that its sole hospital of 69 beds offers “private rooms, where meals are served on fine china, comfortable, flat screen televisions, oil paintings, wood accented and marble flooring all compliment the hospital room, while a baby grand piano and soothing waterfall with valet parking greet each patient and guest.” Shares are trading at $0.004, having dropped 76 percent after the announcement. The corporation is run by pain management anesthesiologist Hassan Chahadeh, MD.

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Banner Health was set to take over Tucson’s University of Arizona Health Network this weekend, prepending “Banner” to UA’s existing hospital names and most likely thinking about replacing UA’s Epic system with Banner’s Cerner one. The money-losing UA spent $115 million on Epic through June 2014, of which $32 million was unbudgeted due to a go-live delay. At the time, UA said installing Epic was “the biggest operational change this organization has every undertaken,” possibly failing to foresee that just a few months later, UA’s red ink would force it to sell out to Phoenix-based Banner. Every hospital operator should want to buy an academic medical center – easily identified waste and bureaucratic incompetence fertilize a lot of low-hanging financial fruit.

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A letter to the editor by a patient of Rideout Health (CA) accuses the hospital’s CEO of lying when he claimed that its recent computer downtime caused no patient harm. The man says his wife had a cardiac test whose results indicated a possible heart attack and the need for intervention, but she didn’t receive them until two weeks afterward because of the computer problems, the hospital person told her.

The local North Carolina TV station profiles the use by Vidant Health and ECU Physicians of Epic’s Canto and Haiku mobile apps to share information.

A Florida nephrologist is accused of inappropriately touching an elderly patient, who explained that he had no reason to touch her since all he does during her visits is to read her kidney function levels to her from his computer.

The State of Washington indefinitely suspends the medical license of an anesthesiologist who repeatedly sent sexually explicit text messages during surgeries, used medical images for sexual gratification, texted a nude selfie to a patient, and had sex on the job.

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A posthumous Los Angeles Times editorial by reporter Laurie Becklund, who died last month of metastatic breast cancer, says to forget Susan G. Komen-type “cures” and expensive pink ribbon awareness campaigns and instead treat every patient as a one-person clinical trial and store their information in a cancer database to which both doctors and patients can contribute.

Surely this is either a hoax or massively wishful thinking: a surgeon in Italy says he’s just two years away from being able to plant a person’s head on a donor body. Somehow I don’t think insurance companies are going to pay for that.


Sponsor Updates

  • Zynx Health VP of Clinical Informatics Victor Lee, MD writes about “Medicare Reimbursements for Value.”
  • ESD celebrates its 25th anniversary.
  • ZirMed will exhibit at the Pay for Performance Summit March 2-4 in San Francisco.
  • The Sandlot Solutions-powered MetroChicago HIE reaches 1 million patient records.
  • Tamara St. Claire, chief innovation officer for commercial healthcare at Xerox, offers a recap of the company’s recent presentation on patient engagement.
  • Frisbie Memorial Hospital Healthcare Project Director Sally Gallot-Reeves, RN writes about “Achieving an 82% ROI with smartphones” in the latest Voalte blog.
  • VitalWare President and CEO Kerry Martin will speak at the HCP Hospital and Healthcare IT Conference March 3 in Orlando.
  • Verisk Health creates the Idea Hub, a virtual library that collects the company’s research, solution information, and social buzz.
  • ZeOmega Chief Strategy Officer Nandini Rangaswamy defines population health management in the first of a blog series.
  • Sunquest Information Systems and Summit Healthcare will exhibit at HIMSS UK March 3-4 in London.
  • Huron Consulting Group recaps the activities of its Huron Helping Hands program in 2014.
  • T-System summarizes its experience at the HFMA Dixie 2015 Institute in its latest “Informer” blog.
  • Sagacious Consultants offers “5 Things a Billing Office can Learn from Toyota.”
  • PMD’s Elise Lewyckyj offers answers to PQRS questions in the company’s latest “Charge Capture” blog.
  • Qpid Health will participate in the inaugural Innovation Lab at the HIMSS SoCal Annual Healthcare IT Conference March 2 in Los Angeles.
  • Orion Health’s David Boerner breaks down FHIR fundamentals in a new company blog.
  • Medicomp System posts a HIMSS15 preview video featuring its Quipstar game show (watch for the Dr. Gregg cameo).
  • NTT Data’s Srikanth Devarajan writes about “The Guaranteed Uncertainties, Wearable Futures.”
  • Nordic offers the first episode in its “Making the Cut” video series on Epic conversion planning.
  • The New York eHealth Collaborative will host “DSRIP: Moving from Application to Implementation” March 4 in New York City.
  • Patientco’s Patrick Creagh writes about “Having All of Your Medical Bills in One Place.”
  • Oneview Healthcare posts “What it Takes to Meet Consumer Expectations in Healthcare.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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February 28, 2015 News 6 Comments

News 2/27/15

February 26, 2015 News 3 Comments

Top News

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Merge Healthcare announces that it has acquired DR Systems for $70 million.


Reader Comments

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From Weapons of Mass Distraction: “Re: DoD EHR bid. Pretty sure Epic has already won and that’s been known to insiders since back in January. Not saying that as an Epic advocate, just saying it because this process of press releases, vendor elimination, etc. reminds me of watching a movie my friend already told me the ending of.” DoD is planning to announce the winner in June, so they should be far along in the process. Maybe an anonymous expert can help us understand what should be going on behind the scenes right about now.

From Mad City: “Re: Epic’s AppExchange. It’s funny that so many respondents in your poll believe it’s related to the DoD bid when it’s been discussed in Epic user groups for years and was announced last fall at UGM.” My sources say early adopter customers have already completed the paperwork and submitted their items, with developers coming up next once Epic locks down processes to review security and handling of PHI and most likely figuring out how to support turnkey installation. They’re working with Apple to understand the best ways to run an app store. Epic didn’t announce the AppExchange – sites picked up as “news” a third party’s comment about it that was followed by Epic’s confirmation of its plans, but customers have known about AppExchange for many months.

From Clinic Director: “Re: Meaningful Use audit hell. We started receiving pre-payment audits for MU in early January, with 96 requests for 139 providers. So far we have been able to pass all of them, but the amount of work necessary to provide the requested additional data has been a huge burden. So much so that we are unable to configure our system to start seeing how we are doing in 2015. In looking at the Epic user web, there are A LOT of other organizations experiencing the same thing. It is certainly a focused effort by the government to delay the payments and look for all options to penalize 2016 reimbursements for Medicare. This is ridiculous.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

This week on HIStalk Practice: MGMA welcomes new CEO. Physicians balk at the not-so-hidden costs of interoperability. Rock Health breaks down telemedicine. Illinois Telehealth Initiative launches at Matter Chicago. Practices worry payers won’t be ready for ICD-10. Partisan bickering stymies healthcare cost transparency efforts in New Mexico. Horizon House and Tidewater Physicians implement new HIT. Thanks for reading.

This week on HIStalk Connect: The FDA relaxes its regulatory oversight on personal genetic tests and clears 23andMe to resume marketing some genetic screening tests. DARPA announces that it is working on an implantable computer chip that will deliver headset-free augmented reality. TraceLink raises $20 million to bring serialized tracking to the pharmaceutical supply chain. 

I was thinking about how EHRs are blamed for turning previously interactive doctor-patient conversations into form-filling exercises, where not only are physicians forced to restate their complex thoughts as fill-in-the-blank items, but even patients themselves are forced into that same mode by the doctor who just wants to feed the EHR screen’s demands and steers the encounter accordingly. Studies show that doctors interrupt patients quickly and often, which I suspect is due not only to the short encounter time allotted, but also the doctor’s need to complete forms (it’s like your tax guy – he wants documents and short answers rather than a deep financial discussion because he’s sitting in front of federal tax forms, not a freeform word processor). We’ve devalued the rich, nuanced doctor-patient conversation into a mutual form-filling exercise, which probably seems ideal to everybody except doctors and patients. I like the idea of having the patient complete intelligent questionnaires before the visit starts and send that information to the EHR to reclaim some of the lost encounter time for less-discrete activities.


Webinars

March 4 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “5 Steps to Improving Patient Safety & Clinical Communications with Collaborative-Based Care.” Sponsored by Imprivata. Presenters: Robert Gumbardo, MD, chief of staff, Saint Mary’s Health System; Tom Calo, technical solutions engineer, Saint Mary’s Health System; Christopher McKay, chief nursing officer, Imprivata. For healthcare IT and clinical leadership, the ability to satisfy the clinical need for better, faster communication must be balanced with safeguarding protected health information to meet compliance and security requirements.

March 5 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Care Team Coordination: How People, Process, and Technology Impact Patient Transitions.” Sponsored by Zynx Health. Presenters: Grant Campbell, MSN, RN, senior director of nursing strategy and informatics, Zynx Health; Siva Subramanian, PhD, senior VP of mobile products, Zynx Health. This webinar will explore the ways in which people, process, and technology influence patient care and how organizations can optimize these areas to enhance communication, increase operational efficiency, and improve care coordination across the continuum.

March 12 (Thursday) 1:00 ET.  “Turn Your Contact Center Into A Patient-Centered Access Center.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenter: Brian Cooper, SVP, West Interactive. A patient-centered access center can extend population health management efforts and scale up care coordination programs with the right approach, technology, and performance metrics. Implementing a patient-centered access center is a journey and this program will provide the roadmap.

Here’s the video of the “Cloud Security Primer” webinar that was presented by Sensato CEO John Gomez last week.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Merge Healthcare announces Q4 results: revenue flat, EPS $0.02 vs. $0.00, missing expectations for both. Shares dropped 12 percent Thursday following the announcement before the market opened. Above is the one-year MRGE share price chart (blue, up 57 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 16 percent).

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Allscripts announces Q4 results: revenue down 3 percent, adjusted EPS $0.09 vs. $0.08, missing revenue expectations but meeting on earnings. Above is the one-year MDRX share price chart (blue, down 31 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 16 percent).

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Orion Health opens an office in Glasgow, Scotland. The company also begins hiring another 100 people for its Scottsdale, AZ office.


Sales

Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group (VA) chooses Lightbeam Health Solutions for population health management.

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GetWellNetwork announces several sales of its recently acquired Marbella data collection product.

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In Australia, Cerner wins a New South Wales tender for a medication management system for Millennium-using hospitals. Districts that don’t use Millennium, such as those that use Orion Health, will be able to choose a different system.


People

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Cureatr names three vice presidents: Kent Hiller (Indiana HIE), Karl Kiss (InteHealth), and Jay Smith (Sparta Systems).

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Joining PerfectServe are Terry Hayes, RN, MSN (OptumInsight, above) as VP of client experience and Michelle McCleerey, PhD, RN (TeleTracking) as VP of product marketing.


Announcements and Implementations

SRSsoft launches its Essentials EHR for specialists and new EHR users, labeling it as “an alternative, non-MU EHR” that allows users gain benefits without having to change the way they practice.

InterSystems releases Cache’ 2015, which doubles the scalability of previous releases. Epic benchmarked the new release and was quoted positively in the announcement.

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Convurgent Publishing releases the third edition of “Clinical Integration: Population Health and Accountable Care.” One of its editors is Divurgent CEO Colin Konschak.

Caradigm will include Cohort Designer in implementations of its Caradigm Intelligence Platform.


Government and Politics

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CMS extends the date for Medicare EPs to attest for Meaningful Use to March 20, 2015, giving providers an extra three weeks for unspecified reasons.

Netsmart executives are meeting this week with their Kansas legislators to discuss HITECH’s exclusion of behavioral health providers for Meaningful Use incentives.

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It appears that New York’s mandatory e-prescribing scheduled for a March 27 live date will be pushed back a year, or at least that’s the impression from an email sent by Healthcare Association of New York State, which is pushing for the delay. The governor seems inclined to sign S.2486/A.4274 that has already passed both houses, which would reset the date to March 27, 2016.  

The US Supreme Court rules that state professional licensing boards can’t use their authority to limit competition, finding that North Carolina’s dental board (made up mostly of practicing dentists) can’t prohibit non-dentists from whitening teeth since the board’s motivation was to protect the income of dentists rather than the safety of the public.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker replaces the four of 11 board members of the state’s health insurance exchange that were appointed by his Republican predecessor, among them MIT economist and Affordable Care Act key player Jonathan Gruber.

CMS reports that it successfully processed 81 percent of 15,000 ICD-10 claims in a week-long test, with 6 percent rejected due to invalid ICD-9 or ICD-10  and 13 percent rejected due to non-ICD problems such as missing information or invalid service dates.

The FCC rules on an open Internet, banning providers from blocking content, throttling traffic, or prioritizing traffic to give higher-paying content sources a “fast lane.” Chairman Tom Wheeler said of the 3-2 vote, “The Internet is too important to allow broadband providers to make the rules.”


Privacy and Security

The FBI closes in on the Anthem hackers and is trying to decide how much information about them to reveal publicly. China-sponsored hackers are the likely culprit, but naming them would require technical proof that might compromise future FBI cybercrime investigations.


Innovation and Research

Facebook releases tools to support suicide intervention that will be used when a user reports seeing a troubling post.

Healthbox changes its accelerator model so that participating companies won’t have to give up equity and “studio programming” won’t require full-time participation.


Technology

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LG announces a new smart watch that doesn’t require a cell phone running Android Wear – it will connect directly to an LTE network to play streamed music, make device-to-device voice calls, and make mobile payments.

Orion Health adds FHIR support to its Rhapsody Integration engine.


Other

Epic is named #7 of “The 11 Best US Companies for Students to Get Summer Internships,” although the listicle’s methodology is shaky (reading intern ratings from Glassdoor). Facebook led the list.

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The Pew Charitable Trusts highlights New Mexico’s NurseAdvice telephone hotline that is free for all state residents, saying it keeps 65 percent of its 15,000 monthly callers out of the ED. The hotline also generates real-time public health data, with CDC recommending that other states adopt a similar model.

The bond rating agency of Baptist Health Care (FL) notes that the health system may borrow money to replace its McKesson Horizon system in 2016.

Sovita Chander was inspired by Ted Reynolds’ recent HIStalk article about healthcare delivery in Europe vs. the US and wrote a Canada-focused piece titled “7 Reasons Why Healthcare Companies Get Stuck at the Border.” Item #1: “Canada is 10 markets (plus three). Healthcare delivery is driven by ten different provincial governments (and three territorial governments serving a population of about 100,000), so you have 10 different sets of IT-related requirements, regulatory frameworks, and buyer landscapes to address. Sales cycles are longer in Canada than in the US. You have more hurdles, and you will go to RFP in some provinces on just a $25,000 deal.”

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Aetna sues a for-profit 139-bed Texas hospital that takes in $1.5 billion annually, claiming that the physician CEO pays doctors kickbacks disguised as “ownership interest” and has overcharged Aetna $120 million in the past six years by treating patients out of its network. The hospital says a similar Aetna lawsuit against it has already been dismissed and that the company is trying to strong-arm providers into participating in its network.

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In Australia, the local paper calls out the $800 million (USD) Personally Controlled e-Health Record (PCEHR) that has been live for three years with minimal use by doctors and patients. The government blames its predecessor opposition party for a rushed implementation.

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Moffitt Cancer Center (FL) sues one of its surgical oncology residents over a Google Glass-powered tumor visualization tool he invented. The hospital says it made the doctor sign over his rights for anything he developed while working there, but he reneged on the deal while filing for a patent. Since then, the resident and his partner formed a company and then sued the hospital for demanding credit for an invention in which it wasn’t involved.

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Google buys 70 iPads for MUSC Children’s Hospital (SC) so that hospitalized children can use Google Hangouts to video chat with friends and family.

New York City eliminates a nearly universally ignored requirement that parents sign consent forms before their newborn boys undergo “oral suction circumcision,” an Orthodox Jewish ritual in which mohels suck blood from a baby’s circumcision wounds. Mayor Bill de Blasio says the consent requirement was offensive to some community members even though 17 babies have contracted herpes from the procedure and two of them died. The agreement requires mohels suspected of infecting babies to undergo DNA testing, although in previous incidents parents refused to name the person involved and parents can’t avoid them anyway because the city refuses to name those already identified as carrying herpes.


Sponsor Updates

  • Capsule Tech added 190 hospital users and 35,000 beds to its SmartLinx medical device information system in 2014.
  • Divurgent is in the running for the US Chamber of Commerce’s Community Excellence Award (voting is here) and will make a donation to the Shriners Hospital for Children if it wins.
  • E-MDs posts a preview video for its users group conference June 18-20 in Austin.
  • Greythorn offers a sneak peek of its HIMSS15 plans (and giveaways).
  • Ingenious Med President and CEO Hart Williford calls for “All Hands on Deck.”
  • Hayes Management Consulting’s Robert Freedman offers three steps to drive a compliance checkup.
  • The HCI Group will sponsor the Future Stage at the HIMSS UK Annual Innovation Conference March 3-4 in London.
  • Steve Zeller of Logicworks writes about “The Healthcare Cloud: A Journey.”
  • Influence Health will exhibit at the ACO & Payer Leadership Summit Spring 2015 March 5-6 in Las Vegas.
  • Tracy Kimble of Galen Healthcare Solutions asks “Are You Ready for the Shift to Value-Based Payment Models?”
  • The latest Healthfinch blog points out the ironic twist of technology as a cure for physician burnout.
  • Iatric Systems will exhibit at the Hospital and Healthcare IT Reverse Expo March 2-4 in Orlando.
  • Extension Healthcare is nominated for the Health Tech Award and Tech Company of the Year Award.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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February 26, 2015 News 3 Comments

News 2/25/15

February 24, 2015 News 5 Comments

Top News

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Cerner offers “select associates” an opportunity to “consider a voluntary departure.” The company didn’t define “select,” but it wouldn’t be too surprising if many of them are located in Malvern, PA and are older (one report says employee age plus years of service must exceed 65 to be eligible). 


Reader Comments

From Dim-Sum’s Little Brother: “Re: DHMSM down-select. Two of the five bids were eliminated. According to my network, IBM (Epic), CSC/HP (Allscripts), and Leidos/Accenture (Cerner) made the down-select. InterSystem (TrakCare) and PwC/GDIT/DSS (Medsphere) were eliminated from the competition.” Unverified, but reported by multiple readers. I said upfront that the chances of DoD choosing VistA from their IT rival VA were zero. A couple of sites reported just in the past week that DoD would choose an open source solution, although I doubt you’ll see a “we were wrong” follow-up if indeed VistA has been shown the door as it appears. That also means the late and sexy addition of Google to the PwC bid didn’t impress DoD (and rightly so since their participation, as described, was minimal).

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From Stanley Kowalski: “Re: HIPPA. I was surprised to see such a bold subject line.” Not only was HIPAA spelled wrong, a hyphen should appear between the first two words. At least they didn’t say “complaint” instead of “compliant.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Regina Holliday and Lorre have chosen our five HIMSS15 scholarship winners and they all seem excited. I’ll be running a short bio of each shortly, along with their description of what they hope to accomplish at the conference.


Webinars

March 4 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “5 Steps to Improving Patient Safety & Clinical Communications with Collaborative-Based Care.” Sponsored by Imprivata. Presenters: Robert Gumbardo, MD, chief of staff, Saint Mary’s Health System; Tom Calo, technical solutions engineer, Saint Mary’s Health System; Christopher McKay, chief nursing officer, Imprivata. For healthcare IT and clinical leadership, the ability to satisfy the clinical need for better, faster communication must be balanced with safeguarding protected health information to meet compliance and security requirements.

March 5 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Care Team Coordination: How People, Process, and Technology Impact Patient Transitions.” Sponsored by Zynx Health. Presenters: Grant Campbell, MSN, RN, senior director of nursing strategy and informatics, Zynx Health; Siva Subramanian, PhD, senior VP of mobile products, Zynx Health. This webinar will explore the ways in which people, process, and technology influence patient care and how organizations can optimize these areas to enhance communication, increase operational efficiency, and improve care coordination across the continuum.

March 12 (Thursday) 1:00 ET.  “Turn Your Contact Center Into A Patient-Centered Access Center.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenter: Brian Cooper, SVP, West Interactive. A patient-centered access center can extend population health management efforts and scale up care coordination programs with the right approach, technology, and performance metrics. Implementing a patient-centered access center is a journey and this program will provide the roadmap.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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CTG reports Q4 results: revenue down 4 percent, EPS $0.08 vs. $0.22, not including a $0.07 expense associated with the October death of CEO James Boldt and a $0.06 write-down of the company’s investment in poor-selling medical fraud, waste, and abuse software. CTG expects its healthcare revenue to drop 14 percent in 2015 and says the year will be a ‘transitional” one for its healthcare business as the EMR market cools. Above is the one-year CTG share price chart (blue, down 49 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 15 percent).  

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Imprivata announces Q4 results: revenue up 34 percent, adjusted EPS –$0.04 vs. $0.84, meeting revenue expectations and beating on earnings. IMPR shares are trading down around 14 percent from their June 2014 first-day trading price. 


Sales

Horizon House (PA) chooses CoCentrix for EHR, care coordination, and billing.

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Temple University Health System (PA) chooses Strata Decision’s StrataJazz for financial planning, rolling forecasting, capital planning, and capital equipment replacement.


People

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Xifin hires Jim Malone (American Well) as CFO.

Bobbie Peterson (Medsphere) joins Apprio as EVP of health IT.


Announcements and Implementations

NextGen adds the CompletEPA electronic prior authorization solution from Surescripts.

Cleveland Clinic and the VA will provide “seamless access” to each other’s EHR information starting this month. The clinic uses Epic Care Everywhere.


Government and Politics

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The Federal Trade Commission fines two developers of melanoma detection apps for falsely claiming that their products work. MelApp and Mole Detective didn’t have the evidence to prove that taking a photo of a mole and then specifying its characteristics can reliably detect melanoma. It’s interesting that the companies were charged by FTC for false marketing rather than by FDA for providing medical advice.

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An FDA-funding Brookings Institution report recommends that FDA strengthen its post-market medical device surveillance system to include tracking those devices by a unique ID. EHRs would provide device usage information for national safety surveillance, with such capability being required to meet ONC certification and Meaningful Use requirements. FDA says the system “will require significant financial resources to be sustainable” and recommends paying data contributors.

FCC and FDA will convene a March 31 workshop on test beds for wireless medical devices, saying that the “hospital in the home” concept requires wireless co-existence.

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to close NYDoctorProfile.com, a state-run doctor search tool that he says is too expensive to taxpayers at $1.2 million per year given that similar information is available elsewhere.


Privacy and Security

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Researchers find that Googling diseases and medical terms sends information to undisclosed third parties 91 percent of the time, most often because company servers are set up to use free tools such as Google AddThis social sharing as part of Google Analytics. Even CDC.gov and May Clinic pass along search results with user-identifying information such as IP address. WebMD, for instance, sends disease search data to 34 sites including those of data brokers Experian and Acxiom. Healthcare.gov was found to be doing the same, probably due to technical negligence.

A new report finds that medical identity theft jumped 22 percent in 2014.

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Anthem says its giant data breach included information on up to 19 million non-Anthem patients who were seen out of network in addition to that of its own customers.


Technology

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Microsoft adds a cycling module and a virtual keyboard for its Band fitness tracker, also introducing a Microsoft Health-powered dashboard of Band-collected information.

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@AlexRuoff tweeted this screenshot from an AHRQ Meaningful Use Stage 3 readiness webinar, which finds that 71 percent of participants use non-electronic means to share information. You’ll probably be in good hands if you keel over in the fax machine section of Office Depot since odds are it’s a healthcare person browsing them.


Other

Former CIO and current vendor SVP Dale Sanders says in his personal blog that taxpayer-benefiting EHR vendors are intentionally obstructing interoperability via prohibitive contract terms and add-on interoperability license fees while publicly proclaiming their support of open standards (he doesn’t name Epic specifically, but they seem to be the target). He says EHR vendors should offer open APIs and that courts should intervene to stop interoperability-impeding terms and conditions. He quotes a peer who doesn’t think FHIR in its planned form is the answer:

Several EHR vendors are banning together around a new magic bullet technical standard called HL7-FHIR based on JASON technology. While this new standard is great from a technical perspective (XML, REST, etc.), in its current form, based largely on existing HL7 v2, v3 and CDA concepts, it does not improve the accessibility of proprietary EHR data types, and those data types are needed for quality and cost performance improvement in healthcare. While FHIR could be expanded to include this type of data, it appears the first efforts are focused on reinventing the technology for currently defined interoperability data types.

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An interview with Walgreens Chief Marketing Officer Sona Chawla contains some interesting quotes, the last of which is pure genius and a useful lesson for providers trying to become more consumer friendly:

  • “I think the concept of ‘well’ is broader than ‘wellness.’ It really encompasses the ‘happy and healthy’ feeling. ‘Wellness’ has a more specific meaning than ‘well,’ which is limited to the ‘health’ part.”
  • “The service that’s delivered online or in the store should be the same and feel the same in spirit. If you are in the store, you can have face-to-face interaction. If you are online, we offer things like 24/7 pharmacy chat. Those elements of customer service happen in a very specific way based on the channel, but when we put it all together it should feel like one Walgreens.”
  • “We have an all-in-one app that is a connecting point between the physical and the virtual for us, to really serve our customers. Our mission was to think about what customers were doing and how we could improve it.”
  • “With digital health, it’s really about reinventing the core experience. For example, we launched an immunization app within our main app which records your immunization history and also reminds you to immunize as well as take your pills on time. Technology is changing the way customers behave and we are leveraging the technology to make things easier, but at the same time, enhanced. Then there is the concept of unification, which is connecting these experiences not just within Walgreens, but also with our partners. It gives us a great platform to think of our customers, wherever they are.”
  • “I think of our customers as shoppers unless they want to be patients. When they are in our clinics and they are sick, they want to be patients and we recognize them as patients. But no one is in a constant state of being a patient and we have to be very sensitive to that because we offer a wide range of trip missions. So when they are coming in to shop for lipstick, they are shoppers. That’s how they want to be recognized and that’s how we recognize them.”

A Navicure survey finds that 81 percent of physician practices are optimistic that they’ll be ready for ICD-10’s October 1, 2015 implementation date and two-thirds of respondents don’t think it will be delayed again. Practices say their main concern is that payers won’t be prepared. 

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A newly built hospital in England issues bells to patients housed in treatment rooms to use as a call system, explaining that it didn’t expect to need electronic call buttons in that location but will now add them.

Weird News Andy wants to know who will pay the CT scan bill. A Chinese statue of Buddha from 1100 BC is found to contain the body of a mummified Buddhist master.


Sponsor Updates

  • CTG’s Managing Director of Data Analytics Joseph Eberly will co-present “Using Data Analytics to Improve Care Valuation, Management, and Outcomes” at the Hospital & Physician Relations Executive Summit March 1-3 in Scottsdale, AZ.
  • Fujifilm’s Synapse RIS earns ONC HIT 2014 Edition Complete EHR certification.
  • PerfectServe will participate in two March annual conferences, the Society of Hospital Medicine and American Medical Group Association.
  • Cumberland Consulting Group donates laptops to Back on My Feet to assist the nonprofit’s residential members look for jobs and permanent housing.
  • CitiusTech will exhibit at SCOPE Summit 2015 through February 26 in Orlando.
  • Clinical Architecture posts a video on “Temporality” as part of its blog series on the road to precision medicine.
  • CenterX CEO Joe Reinardy will speak at the 2015 Emdeon Pharmacy Insights event in Nashville on March 4.
  • CareSync offers “Ten Ways Medicine Today can Outrun Every TV Doctor You’ve Ever Seen.”
  • Besler Consulting’s Jim Hoffman offers an “Overview of CMS Readmission Penalties for 2015.”
  • Divurgent will exhibit at the HIMSS SoCal Annual HIT Conference on March 2 in Los Angeles.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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February 24, 2015 News 5 Comments

Monday Morning Update 2/23/15

February 21, 2015 News 5 Comments

Top News

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In Canada, an IBM/Deloitte-led, $670 million British Columbia Cerner EHR project is delayed with no new timelines announced. Reports say arbitration over a software dispute is a possibility.


Reader Comments

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From Jude Lawless: “Re: 23andMe. They’re excited to receive FDA approval to publish ONE new genetic health report. At this pace, I’m not sure what they’re hoping to accomplish for individuals. For researchers, I’m sure that all their genetic information plus all of their surveys are accomplishing a great deal.” The FDA has loosened its rules covering direct-to-consumer carrier screening tests, allowing 23andMe to market its test for Bloom syndrome. It’s a rare condition, but the company makes money based on (a) the number of people who want to find out if they carry it, and (b) the value of selling the genetic data of its opt-in purchasers to drug companies.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Poll respondents are evenly split on whether biometric security should be mandatory for protecting PHI. Glen commented that biometric consensus standards are inconsistent, while Clark added that infection control solutions make smart cards and RFID better solutions in clinical areas. New poll to your right or here: why is Epic creating an App Exchange? Click the “Comments” link after voting to explain yourself.

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HIStalkapalooza registration has closed and I’ll send out invitations shortly. Every year I get dozens of complaints about the event long before it happens, with these being the most common (and all of which I’ve already heard for 2015):

  • “I read HIStalk religiously and didn’t see the signup notice.” I ran the large graphic and notice several times starting January 29 and ending February 18, so anyone who reads HIStalk even casually couldn’t possibly have missed it.
  • “My boss is an industry big shot and you can’t turn him away if he shows up uninvited.” I can, and in fact, I will. It’s not that hard for even completely self-absorbed executives to put their name on the list or order some flunky to do it for them. Attendance is nobody’s entitlement.
  • “We’re an HIStalk sponsor and didn’t think we had to register our people individually to attend.” I made it clear that every person who wants to attend needs to sign up. The names and emails of the chosen folks populate an Excel worksheet row that is then turned into a badge (and hopefully a door-checked barcodes if I can work that out). I’m still explaining eight years after the first event that this isn’t just a come-one, come-all party – sponsors foot the bill for around $200 per attendee and we can’t just throw open the doors like it’s a fraternity kegger.
  • “I’m bringing a guest.” Answer: that’s great if you signed them up and you each receive an invitation.
  • “We’re sponsoring the event and will be sending you our attendee list.” This actually isn’t a negative comment – it’s how the sponsorships work. Each company gets a specific number of invitations and they manage those, sending me their worksheets once they’re finished.

Speaking of the HIMSS conference, it was fun having celebrity guests in our microscopic 10×10 booth last year. Contact Lorre if you are famous, notorious, or fun and want to hold court there for an hour.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Shares of Castlight Health dove 31 percent Thursday after an analyst’s downgrade, but rallied almost 10 percent Friday.
  • Epic confirms its plans to open an App Exchange for customers and third-party developers.
  • Rumors say Apple Watch will be missing several planned monitoring capabilities because they weren’t reliable or would have triggered FDA interest.
  • A think tank’s report says the Department of Defense shouldn’t lock itself into a long-term agreement with a commercial EHR vendor, although it also noted the DoD’s hugely expensive and marginally successful efforts at having big contractors develop its current AHLTA system.

Webinars

March 5 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Care Team Coordination: How People, Process, and Technology Impact Patient Transitions.” Sponsored by Zynx Health. Presenters: Grant Campbell, MSN, RN, senior director of nursing strategy and informatics, Zynx Health; Siva Subramanian, PhD, senior VP of mobile products, Zynx Health. This webinar will explore the ways in which people, process, and technology influence patient care and how organizations can optimize these areas to enhance communication, increase operational efficiency, and improve care coordination across the continuum.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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CompuGroup Medical acquires South Africa-based practice management vendor Medical EDI Services.

Credit information provider TransUnion plans an $800 million IPO.

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Community Health Systems announces Q4 results: revenue up 54.1 percent, adjusted EPS $0.87 vs. $0.30, missing expectations slightly on revenue and meeting on earnings. The for-profit hospital operator’s massive August 2014 data breach wasn’t mentioned in the earnings call.


Sales

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St. Luke’s Hospital (MN) chooses perioperative and anesthesia systems from Surgical information Systems.


People

11-2-2011 7-38-46 PM

Patrick Hampson (HM3 Partners) joins the board of Canada-based Logibec Group.

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MGMA names Halee Fischer-Wright, MD (St. Anthony North Medical Center) as president and CEO. You might think that MGMA would know better than put “Dr.” in front of her name and “MD” after, but you’d be wrong.

Huron Consulting Group names Joe Mauro (Siemens Medical) as managing director in its healthcare practice.


Announcements and Implementations

Black Book modifies its EHR survey methods after finding that some hospitals that provide EHRs to physicians and other hospitals were also completing surveys posing as system users. The company says nearly half of the 800 survey responses it audited from community practices and hospitals of under 100 beds were actually scored by their large-hospital partners, which the company likened to “soliciting a salesman to rate his own merchandise” to boost sales.

In Australia, cancer facility Chris O’Brien Lifehouse goes live with Oneview’s patient engagement solution.

Two Oregon organizations — a behavioral services provider and a health center — exchange patient CCDs via their respective Netsmart and Epic systems.

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Employee scheduling software vendor Intrigma launches a free version of its product.


Government and Politics

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Kenya’s first lady opens a medical conference by urging medical professions to use IT to solve the continent’s high maternal mortality rate.


Innovation and Research

University of Pittsburgh and UPMC sign a non-exclusive collaboration agreement that will speed up commercialization of medical technologies.


Technology

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It’s always annoying to buy a new PC and finding it loaded with bloatware that hardware vendors are paid to install, but Lenovo takes it to another level by pre-installing the hack-prone Superfish adware that not only hijacks search results, but supports a man-in-the-middle attack that can expose all browser-based information to hackers. Lenovo’s CTO starts off with a refreshingly blunt apology (“we messed up badly”) but then ruins it with a bald-faced lie in claiming that the company’s only purpose in pre-installing adware was “to supplement the shopping experience” rather than Lenovo’s income. You can test your laptop here and Lenovo and antivirus makers are providing removal programs. The many forms of crapware that the California-based Superfish is responsible for has earned it $20 million in VC investments. It’s sad when the first thing you have to do after buying a new PC is to reformat the hard drive and reinstall everything to make it usable.

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An interesting article on technology in 1.3 million-citizen Estonia brings up interesting points:

  • The country’s president is a technology geek, tweeting regularly after honing his skills at expressing himself concisely by writing one sonnet per day.
  • Half of Skype’s employees work in the capital of Tallinn.
  • The country offers an electronic identity program that citizens use to participate in 3,000 public and private services and to vote in elections, saving an estimated two weeks per citizen each year. It is available to e-residents, in which non-residents can obtain a state-issued, microchip-powered digital identity for digital document signing and transacting business with Estonian firms, or as the government says, “to make life easier by using secure e-services that have been accessible to Estonians for years already … we are moving towards the idea of a country without borders.”
  • Estonians sign 50 million documents electronically each year.
  • The government has developed a contingency plan to upload its entire digital infrastructure to the cloud if Russia were to invade the country.
  • The country created a “maximum coverage, maximum use” 4G broadband policy in giving the winning bidder for the frequency spectrum 21 days to provide country-wide 4G coverage, with the next goal being 300 Mbps LTE-Advanced coverage. 

Other

Federal prosecutors charge a Texas medical technology company owner with impersonating a Cerner employee in selling a $1.3 million MRI machine to Dallas Medical Center (TX) claiming he was representing Cerner. The man was also charged with perjury related to a previous legal case in which he allegedly falsified documents claiming a relationship with Cerner in winning a $25 million judgment against another company for breach of contract, theft of trade secrets, and several other charges. 

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Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital urges patients to stay away after a power surge takes its computer systems down.

Healthcare IT Leaders posts a pretty funny “5 Apps We Want to see in the New Epic App Store.” Here are mine:

  1. A personalized countdown timer that shows Epic employees how long it will be before they’re old enough to rent a car.
  2. A Verona-optimized weather app for Epic educational attendees that in September through May adds 30 degrees to the predicted daytime high.
  3. A “Buy Epic Now” button for the health systems that haven’t already implemented Epic, which is all that’s needed since the company doesn’t negotiate prices or contract terms anyway.
  4. A real-time map of patient records being exchanged between Epic and non-Epic systems so we can settle this “is Epic interoperable or not?” thing one way or another.
  5. A real-time National Debt Clock-type display of how many billions Judy Faulkner is worth.

Sponsor Updates

  • Black Book Research names Medicity a top-ranking “Core Private Enterprise HIE Solutions Vendor.”
  • Five Versus clients will present on RTLS at HIMSS15.
  • Jim Morrow, MD shares his experience with Shareable Ink’s Patient Xpress Solution.
  • SRSsoft’s Scott Ciccarelli writes about “Dreams vs. Reality.”
  • T-System’s Molly Golson, RN shares “How I Got into Healthcare.”
  • Valence Health is featured in a Trustee Magazine article on the role of the attribution process in population health.
  • Verisk Health’s Lee Stephenson describes “How Population Health Management Becomes Self-Management.”
  • Voalte client Boulder Community Health’s transition to smartphones is featured in the local paper.
  • WeiserMazars employees raise over $5,500 for the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign.
  • ZeOmega’s Ron Wozny writes about “The Key to Delivering Healthier Babies.”
  • Sentry Data Systems outlines seven basic steps to annual 340B FQHC recertification.
  • Qpid Health will exhibit at HealthIMPACT East February 27 in New York City.
  • PMD’s David Cote advises readers, “Don’t Buy a Porsche if You Want an iPhone.”
  • PeriGen will exhibit at the AWHONN California Section Conference February 27-28 in Napa.
  • Quest Diagnostics makes Fortune magazine’s list of “Most Admired Companies.”
  • Tony Kanaan will pilot the No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet in this year’s Verizon IndyCar Series.
  • Nordic’s Scott Gierman offers advice on how to “Prepare for a Successful Season with EHR Spring Training.”
  • The New York eHealth Collaborative will exhibit at the ePharma Summit February 24-26 in New York City.
  • Navicure Founder and CEO Jim Denny will speak at a panel during National Health IT Day at the Georgia State Capitol.
  • MEA / NEA launches a free website facelift contest for physician practices.
  • MedData’s Sean Biehle introduces patient engagement to billing in a new company blog.
  • McKesson releases a new case study on “Evidenced-based Care Management across the Continuum.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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February 21, 2015 News 5 Comments

News 2/20/15

February 19, 2015 News 9 Comments

Top News

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Epic will launch App Exchange, which will publish Epic-compatible software developed by both customers and vendors, in the next few weeks.


Reader Comments

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From Pima Pundit: “Re: Cerner. Saw this on the wall of a Carondelet Health Network office. They’re moving from Greenway Intergy to Cerner.”

From CC Ryder: “Re: Skycare. We implemented their EHR in 2014 to meet Meaningful Use requirements but found out today that the company has ceased operations. They told us that all employees were let go Friday and no further support is available. I’m the EHR champion at our small family practice and could use help understanding how to switch EHRs and any advice on what will happen for our 2015 attestation year.” I will forward information from anyone who can help.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

This week on HIStalk Practice: Walmart mulls over mobile and telehealth. Laguna Beach Community Clinic and Village Family Practice implement new HIT. A new study finds that the cost of ICD-10 conversion for a small practice is just over $8,000. EHR company adds some robotic sizzle to its 5K. SHIN-NY’s connection costs hamper physician participation. University of Miami Pediatric Mobile Clinic implements new telemedicine IT. Dr. Gregg shares this year’s collection of “Top 10 Dubious HIT Bumper Stickers.” Thanks for reading.

This week on HIStalk Connect: A systematic review of patient portal studies finds few correlations with improved outcomes. Walgreens partners with PatientsLikeMe to embed crowdsourced feedback on medication side effects on its health app. Breakout Labs welcomes its next three startups, all focused on healthcare research. HIStalk Connect interviews Aterica CEO Alex Leyn, founder of a digital health startup building smartphone-connected EpiPen cases.

@JennHIStalk joined Eric Topol, MD and Geeta Nayyar, MD, MBA in a Xerox-sponsored Google Hangout covering patient engagement.

I was helping a friend find a primary care provider for her new UnitedHealth insurance obtained via Healthcare gov. My suggestions, based on having worked in hospitals for nearly forever, was to look for a doctor with these criteria: (a) educated at a decent US-based medical school and reasonably good residency; (b) board certified in internal or family medicine; (c) graduated from medical school no more than 25 years ago since studies seem to show that mortality rates increase with each year after a doctor’s graduation. Extra points for good Healthgrades reviews and an affiliation with a good hospital. We called one doctor and group after another and the answer was always the same – not a single physician who met these criteria is accepting new patients. Nearly every available doctor graduated from a foreign medical school, while some were old enough to make you realize how hard it is to retire from primary care (one graduated from medical school in 1961, which must put him in his late 70s). UnitedHealth’s online provider directory incorrectly listed many doctors as accepting new patients when in fact they aren’t, making for a frustrating couple of hours of calls and web searches figuring out how to make undesirable compromises despite having a top-of-the-line medical plan. I’m beginning to realize that while it’s challenging to find and afford medical insurance, the battle isn’t won once you do.


Webinars

March 5 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Care Team Coordination: How People, Process, and Technology Impact Patient Transitions.” Sponsored by Zynx Health. Presenters: Grant Campbell, MSN, RN, senior director of nursing strategy and informatics, Zynx Health; Siva Subramanian, PhD, senior VP of mobile products, Zynx Health. This webinar will explore the ways in which people, process, and technology influence patient care and how organizations can optimize these areas to enhance communication, increase operational efficiency, and improve care coordination across the continuum.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Castlight Health reports Q4 results: revenue up 182 percent, adjusted EPS –$0.17 vs. –$1.79, beating estimates for both. Shares dropped 31 percent Thursday following an analyst’s downgrade, dropping the company’s market capitalization to $591 million. Above is the share price chart of CSLT since its March 2014 IPO (blue, down 84 percent) vs. the Dow (red, up 12 percent).

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The Wall Street Journal names as one of its 73 startups valued at more than $1 billion Proteus Digital, whose smart prescription pills report back to doctors and drug companies when patients take their medicine. 

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Fortune places Cerner among its “World’s Most Admired Companies 2015.”


Sales

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Mission Health (NC) chooses Qlik for enterprise-wide visual analytics.


People

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Park Place International names Bob Green (EMC) as VP.

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Anthony Lancia (TriZetto) joins ClaimRemedi as VP of sales.


Announcements and Implementations

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University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Center for Health Insights and Truman Medical Center (MO) will conduct research using de-identified patient data provided by Cerner. The company’s Health Facts Reporting extracts and de-identifies information from its customer databases that sells to drug companies as “the industry’s only data source offering a comprehensive clinical record, with pharmacy, laboratory, admission, and billing data from all patient care locations time-stamped and sequenced.”

ZeOmega launches a maternity management offering for its Jiva population health management solution.


Government and Politics

Oregon sues Oracle and seeks to permanently bar the company from doing business with the state, claiming Oracle reneged on its promise to continue running the state’s Medicaid enrollment system and instead plans to shut the system down at the end of February. Oracle says it made no such promise and the state should have developed a contingency plan, adding that Oregon defamed the company in saying its system isn’t working, then claiming that same system is essential. The state previously sued Oracle over its failed health insurance exchange.


Privacy and Security

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A “CBS Evening News” segment quotes a security expert who says, “Digitized health records are jet fuel for medical identity theft. The healthcare system built a digital record system without building the corresponding privacy-security safeguards.” It points out that HHS has audited only 115 of 700,000 healthcare providers.

NPR’s “All Things Considered” finds Medicare IDs being openly sold on the Internet, with a set of 10 costing $4,700. An expert says healthcare providers have grown to the point they often don’t even know how large their networks are, much less that those networks are secure. A comments says it’s surprising that many providers don’t realize that a Medicare number is just a Social Security number with the letter “A” at the end, while another says she opted out of her physician’s patient portal because the consent form said the company running it isn’t responsible for hacking or even if its own employees steal patient information.

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I Googled how Medicare numbers are created and the comment above is correct: CMS came up with the idea of placing SSNs on cards that 50 million people carry in their pockets, claiming that it would cost nearly a billion dollars to reprogram its systems to use a different ID. GAO wasn’t buying CMS’s excuses, saying it should have considered options to print only the last four SSN digits on the cards or to switch to barcodes or magnetic stripes.


Technology

Automated Assembly Corporation will market its InfoSkin near field communication (NFC) skin stickers to the healthcare industry. NFC allows a smartphone app to communicate with an inexpensive RFID-like tag over distances of a few inches, most commonly to make payments but with potential for identifying patients and communicating with implanted medical devices.


Other

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Chuck Feeney donates another $100 million to UCSF — part of the money earmarked for hospital construction and aging research — raising his total donations to the school to nearly $400 million. The 83-year-old billionaire philanthropist made his money running duty-free shops. Reports say he’s frugal: he doesn’t own a house, uses public transportation instead of owning a car, flies coach, and wears a $15 watch. His motto: “If you want to give it away, think about giving it away while you are alive because you’ll get a lot more satisfaction than if you wait until you’re dead. Besides, it’s a lot more fun.”

Rice University and the Baylor College of Medicine offer a free, four-week online course called “Medicine in the Digital Age” that begins on May 5.

A Forbes article about chief innovation officers says they have 16 months to shake things up radically or risk being fired, providing as an example an unnamed health system CINO who lasted less than three years because he played it safe by choosing board-pleasing, low-impact projects.


Sponsor Updates

  • Greenway Health signs a strategic referral agreement with Orion Health.
  • Park Place International launches a Meditech disk defragmentation solution.
  • NextGen releases the results of its practice revenue cycle management survey, which finds that practices are faring poorly at managing denials and that 35 percent of incoming patient calls involve billing issues.
  • Caradigm announces a solution package to support DSRIP participation.
  • PatientSafe Solutions President and CEO Joe Condurso posts “Reimbursement Continues to Drive Strategy.”
  • Iatric systems integrates its Security Audit Manager with incident response software from ID Experts.
  • Orion Health is ranked as the top “Government Payer and Commercial Insurer HIE” vendor and is a second-place finisher in “Core HIE Systems Enterprise Centric Solutions” in a Black Book Rankings report.
  • Logicworks points out that “Healthcare’s New ‘Anthem’ is Encryption, but Not Everyone Sings from the Same Hymnal.”
  • Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at Hack Illinois February 27-March 1 in Urbana, IL.
  • InterSystems talks with Dave deBronkart (“e-Patient Dave”) in its latest blog, “Seeding the Growth of Patient Engagement Through Innovative Interoperability.”
  • InstaMed will present at the World Health Care Congress on February 26 in Orlando.
  • Annie Meurer of Impact Advisors focuses on telehealth in the second part of the company’s blog series on unified communications.
  • Extension Healthcare and Holon Solutions are exhibiting this week at the 2015 Texas Regional HIMSS Conference in Austin. 
  • Healthwise will exhibit at Preventive Medicine 2015 on February 25 in Atlanta.
  • Hayes Management Consulting’s Paul Fox offers “4 Ways to Improve Your End User Systems Testing.”
  • Max Stroud of Galen Healthcare Solutions asks “Are Electronic Notes a Pain Point for Your Physicians?”
  • DocuSign focuses on the Internet of Things in its latest blog.
  • The HCI Group offers “Best Practices to Achieving HIMSS Stage 7.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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February 19, 2015 News 9 Comments

News 2/18/15

February 17, 2015 News 7 Comments

Top News

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A Wall Street Journal editorial by Phoenix surgeon Jeffrey Singer, MD — mostly known for his ongoing anti-Obamacare rants via the libertarian Cato Institute — says doctors like himself were forced to implement EHRs, adding that he’s an “unwilling participant” (meaning he would rather ruin his practice by using an EHR than take a 1 percent Medicare pay cut, which sounds to me like a voluntary business decision rather than conscription). He blames EHRs for lowering the quality of care and increasing costs, the former because he has to look away from the patient to see the screen. He misfires in urging that the Republican Party end the EHR program started by Democrats, possibly forgetting that it was Republican President George W. Bush who in 2004 said that every American should have an electronic medical record within 10 years and who created ONC to make it happen. President Obama had been in office only a few days when he signed ARRA in February 2009 and the Affordable Care Act had nothing to do with EHRs.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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It’s your last chance to tell me “I want to come” to HIStalkapalooza. Frontline providers get priority and I’d like to see a lot of them at the event. Meanwhile, I appreciate the support of the HIStalkapalooza sponsors who are cool enough to be willing to pay for a fun evening for non-prospects (and in fact, even the employees of competitors) in accepting the cross-section of HIStalk readership that attends.

Platinum Sponsors

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Gold Sponsors

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Silver Sponsors

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Webinars

March 5 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Care Team Coordination: How People, Process, and Technology Impact Patient Transitions.” Sponsored by Zynx Health. Presenters: Grant Campbell, MSN, RN, senior director of nursing strategy and informatics, Zynx Health; Siva Subramanian, PhD, senior VP of mobile products, Zynx Health. This webinar will explore the ways in which people, process, and technology influence patient care and how organizations can optimize these areas to enhance communication, increase operational efficiency, and improve care coordination across the continuum.

The recording of John Gomez’s well-attended webinar, “Inside Anthem: Dissecting the Breach” is available above or here. I received quite a few emails from attendees who enjoyed his presentation even though it’s obviously not the cheeriest topic on the IT agenda.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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MedAssets announces Q4 results: revenue up 16 percent, adjusted EPS $0.39 vs. $0.30. The company wrote off $52.5 million worth of goodwill in its revenue cycle services business due to growth that mostly came from low-margin business. Above is the one-year share price chart of MDAS (blue, down 5.6 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 15.3 percent).

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MedAssets announces that board member Halsey Wise (Lime Barrel Advisors, left)) will replace John Bardis as chairman and CEO, effective immediately. Wise joined the board less than a year ago.


Sales

Greenway Health chooses Orion Health’s Rhapsody Integration Engine for financial transaction processing.


People

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Bradley Cordes (Accretive Health) joins T-System as VP/GM of the company’s charge capture and coding business.

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McKesson hires Bansi Nagji (Deloitte) as EVP of corporate strategy and business development.


Announcements and Implementations

HCS adds barcode charge capture to Interactant Charge Management.

Imprivata announces that its new Confirm ID product has been integrated with Symantec’s security offerings to meet the DEA’s identity-proofing requirements for electronic prescribing of controlled substances.

Surescripts creates a step-by-step video guide and tools to help health systems and practices meet New York’s I-STOP mandatory e-prescribing law.


Technology

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Several health-related features didn’t make the cut for the initial Apple Watch  release because they didn’t work, were too complex, or would have triggered FDA’s interest. The watch won’t be able to run an EKG, measure blood pressure, or capture blood oxygen.

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UnitedHealthcare enhances its mobile patient app to allow members to pay their medical bills online, track their Fitbit activity, and stream the company’s video channel.

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New to the Internet of Pointless Things: a Bluetooth-connected electric toothbrush that not only eliminates the tedious back-and-forth arm movement that almost involves actual exercise, but also gives “real-time information about brushing modes, times, and areas.” One can only imagine what personal health and hygiene devices the “solution looking for a problem” techies will connect to next. I fear toothbrush terrorism in which devious hackers breach Oral-B’s site and send thousands of Bluetooth-connected toothbrushes into enamel-damaging hyperdrive. Or that dental insurance companies will buy toothbrushing Big Data to cancel policies for infrequent brushers and flossers.

Sony one-ups Google Glass by developing an even dorkier-looking, puck-powered virtual reality headset called SmartEyeglass, now available in a developer’s edition with a planned March GA. It will allow users to use Facebook and Twitter, the need for that functionality in itself being quite disturbing.


Other

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The Wall Street Journal describes changes being made to the outdated curricula of US medical schools. One school starts new students by putting them through an eight-week emergency medical technician program, while another requires the first-years to work as patient navigators. A required New York University School of Medicine course assigns students to analyze a database of hospital encounters to discuss the wide variation in cost. Mayo’s new Arizona medical school will offer lectures in electronic form so that class time can be dedicated to discussion and case studies and will offer a course called Checkbook in which students track all services performed on their assigned patients to identify possible waste. Mayo students also shadow non-physician employees and manage panels of patients as care coordinators. That’s interesting, but it would also be relevant to review how residencies are managed as hospitals get CMS-paid cheap medical labor that adds several more years to their education and forms nearly all of the habits (good and bad) that will persist through each physician’s medical career.

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Computers at Australia’s Fiona Stanley Hospital go down for 14 hours when lightning strikes a Fujitsu-owned data center.

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St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center (NY), which lost nearly $22 million in 2014 mostly due to one-time Epic implementation costs, will join an unnamed health system (most likely Trinity Health).

A study of inpatient satisfaction following construction of an expensive new hospital wing at Johns Hopkins featuring healing gardens, soaring lobbies, extensive artwork, and patient rooms equipped with an interactive TV system and “quiet” features finds that while patients understandably scored the new facilities higher, those amenities didn’t raise the physician evaluation component of HCAHPS. In other words, the doctors didn’t enjoy the halo effect of practicing in fancier surroundings.

A former Duke University football lineman co-founds Logistical Athletic Solutions, which allows athletes and staff to exchange messages, manage schedules, and track medical records. A Duke study found that the system saved the university $244,000 in six months by reducing material costs and data entry hours.

An attorney-authored Medscape article suggesting that doctors allow their patients to make audio or video recordings of their encounters is met with a host of negative comments from physicians, some suggesting that patients don’t need anything more than the EHR-generated visit summary and those patients wanting to record their visits are likely to sue. The author says, however, that only a handful of states require both parties to consent that their conversation be recorded – no matter how the recording is made, it’s a legal record.

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I’m not sure I want these guys writing about medical apps – their attention to detail is pretty much a waist.

Hospitals in St. Louis are using their EHR information to remind parents that their children should be given measles vaccine.

A doctor in Canada sets a five-minute timer at the beginning of a patient visit with the encouragement of a militant doctor’s advocacy group. He doesn’t stop the conversation at five minutes, but points out to each patient when it rings that Ontario’s government pays him for only that time. He declined to explain how he came up with the five-minute number except to say represents an hourly rate similar to that of dentists and lawyers.

An article in The Atlantic says that tweeting is a waste of time for companies and online publications whose goal is to send traffic to their websites. Instead, short attention span readers skim Twitter’s frothy observations (sometimes tweeted by people who barely read the original article themselves) as standalone material, generating revenue and traffic only for Twitter. As Bill Murray (aka Nick Ocean) says, “Twitter is basically just you having a conversation with yourself hoping that someone else will join in.”


Sponsor Updates

  • The Advisory Board Company adds Zynx Health’s heart failure intervention checklist to its online heart failure toolkit.
  • ZeOmega posts “The Key to Delivering Healthier Babies.”
  • Life Monitor Pty Ltd. will sell AirStrip’s solutions in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Rockdale Medical Center (GA) replaces pre-printed forms with electronic versions from Access.
  • Impact Advisors publishes a white paper titled ONC Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap: Driver’s Handbook.”
  • Practice Fusion integrates medication electronic prior authorization from CoverMyMeds with its EHR.
  • PerfectServe President and CEO Terry Edwards posts “The Consumerization of Healthcare: Can Providers Keep Pace?”
  • Navicure ended 2014 with $74 million in revenue,, a 96 percent customer retention rate, and a top three clearinghouse ranking by KLAS.
  • TeleTracking Technologies joins the NPSF Patient Safety Coalition.
  • Anthelio, Certify Data Systems, and Aventura will exhibit at the Texas Regional HIMSS Conference February 18-20 in Austin.
  • Caradigm writes about “The Population Health Marathon.”
  • ClinicalArchitecture offers the fourth installment of its blog series on “The Road to Precision Medicine.”
  • CareTech will exhibit at the Center for Healthcare Governance Winter Symposium February 22-25 in Michigan.
  • ADP AdvancedMD offers a guide to “The Top 5 Technologies in Healthcare for 2015 and Beyond.”
  • Besler Consulting publishes an e-book focused on readmission reduction strategies.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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February 17, 2015 News 7 Comments

Monday Morning Update 2/16/15

February 14, 2015 News 6 Comments

Top News

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A national security think tank’s report on military health system reform — written by former government officials General Hugh Shelton, Stephen Ondra, and Peter Levin, all of whom now work for corporations — says the DoD’s $4 billion AHLTA system has a “tortured history” of poor design and lack of interoperability with the VA, and despite President Obama’s specific instructions in 2009 for the departments to develop a joint EHR, “DoD has spent billions of dollars and still not fielded any newly integrated clinician-facing software.” The report adds that the DoD will spend more billions to buy a commercial system that may not serve it well, explaining:

Given the fast pace of technology changes, we hope that DoD will not repeat the mistaken multi-billion dollar decision that will hold it captive to the innovations of any single company or the services of a solitary vendor …DoD is about to procure another major electronic (health records) system that may not be able to stay current with – or even lead – the state-of-the-art, or work well with parallel systems in the public or private sector. We are concerned that a process that chooses a single commercial “winner,” closed and proprietary, will inevitably lead to vendor lock and health data isolation.

Hugh Shelton was formerly chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and is now chairman of Red Hat. Stephen Ondra, MD was a White House health information advisor and is now SVP/chief medical officer of insurance company Health Care Service Corporation. Peter Levin was CTO at the VA and now is CEO of Amida Technology Solutions, which offers applications built around Blue Button.


Reader Comments

From Camino Real: “Re: OpenNotes. Cerner will also be using it as the default.” I’m still interested to learn more about the technology changes required by EHR vendors and how the patient interacts with the EHR.

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From Back to School: “Re: master’s in health informatics. I’m considering the online programs of UCF and USF, but neither is CAHIIM accredited and therefore I can’t sit for the RHIT exams. I’m not sure if that’s a necessary certification when pursuing a career. I would be interested to hear from someone who graduated from an online program.”


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Eighty-one percent of poll respondents are skeptical that Athenahealth can turn BIDMC’s homegrown WebOMR into a competitive commercial product. Ann commented that it’s hard to commercialize a system that was built for a specific organization and wonders how much effort Athenahealth will spend on requirements, design, and testing. Reluctant Epic User says the value to Athenahealth will be in using BIDMC’s intellectual property to turn its RazorInsights acquisition into a more capable offering, adding that the big winner is BIDMC, who gets cash for an asset they weren’t willing to monetize and a free 20-year license to whatever Athenahealth develops if they like it. New poll to your right or here: should biometric security protection be mandatory for systems that contain patient information? I would also be interested in hearing from biometric security experts – how reliable is it and why isn’t it more widely used for IT systems in general?

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HIStalk “I want to come” registration will close soon, so it’s your last chance to avoid non-buyer’s remorse in a few weeks.


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • The IPO of analytics vendor Inovalon values the company at more than $3 billion.
  • A private equity vendor acquires marketing company BrightWhistle and will merge it with Influence Health.
  • Legislators agreed in a congressional hearing that ICD-10 implementation should not be delayed again and a GAO report finds no major issues with CMS’s readiness for it.
  • Premier announces strong quarterly results and hints at further acquisitions.

Webinars

February 17 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. Cloud Computing – Cyber-Security Considerations. Sponsored by Sensato. Presenter: John Gomez, CEO, Sensato. This webinar will examine the security challenges involved when healthcare organizations implement cloud-based services.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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HealthStream will acquire San Diego-based credentialing software vendor HealthLine Systems for $88 million in cash, announcing plans to combine its business with that of Sy.Med Development, a credentialing systems vendor that HealthStream acquired in 2012 for $7 million.

“Fortune” profiles eClinicalWorks , which has grown without venture capital and is run by co-founders who placed their ownership in trusts so that none of them can cash in their shares or try to take the company public. CEO Girish Navani told the reporter, “I don’t need to be the richest man in Massachusetts,” adding that employees like profit-sharing cash even more than stock options since “they can buy stock in Apple.”


Government and Politics

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A McClatchyDC article calls attention to the fact that emails older than six months are fair game for warrant-free US government snooping because the 29-year-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act categorizes anything older than 180 days as “abandoned.” Several bills have been proposed to change the law, one of them by Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS), who explains, “The government is essentially using an arcane loophole to breach the privacy rights of Americans. They couldn’t kick down your door and seize the documents on your desk, but they could send a request to Google and ask for all the documents that are in your Gmail account.”

A same-sex married Indiana couple sues the county health department for refusing to list both their names on their child’s birth certificate. The couple changed the “Father” field on the submission form to “Mother No. 2,” but hospital’s software couldn’t handle the change, so the resulting birth certificate listed only one of the women. The county’s health administrator says his department sympathizes, but state law is clear that birth certificates are intended to list only biological parents.

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The title of a Medscape article “House Hearing Dampens Hope of ICD-10-Delay” obviously sees the other side of the ICD-10 argument. It quotes the one negative testimony from the hearing, which came from an Alabama urologist representing the American Urological Association. He said, "Physicians have to have a guarantee that we’re going to get paid if we don’t code right. You’re not going to pay me because I code it wrong? Some doctors won’t be able to do it. Do they deserve the death sentence and be put out of business?” He says doctors have been too busy with Medicare cutbacks and Meaningful use to deal with “another expensive distraction with little demonstrated value to improving direct patient care.”He suggests another delay or a dual reporting option that allows doctors nearing retirement or having hardships to keep using ICD-9.


Privacy and Security

Re/code’s Kara Swisher (the separated wife of White House CTO Megan Smith) interviews President Obama, who says that state-sponsored cyberhacking is too sophisticated for the private sector to defend against without government help, adding that companies within a given sector need to work together to share information since any one of them could be the weak link that exposes the others. Asked how the US government can condemn state-sponsored hacking when it is guilty of the same thing, the President said that international standards should be developed, adding that industrial espionage should never be allowed. Silicon Valley companies that passed on attending the White House’s cybersecurity summit in protest of the National Security Agency’s heavy-handed citizen spying included Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo. The President added that he’s looking at wearable fitness trackers and is leaning toward an Apple Watch as his first.

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In England, a 16-year-old hacker publishes a list of vulnerabilities in NHS sites that includes SQL injection flaws, cross-scripting bugs, and administrative logins. The same hacker live-streamed some of his recent attacks, inviting people to watch as he broke into the sites of a travel insurance company and an Illinois university.

A Texas judge dismisses a patient’s lawsuit against a hospital whose systems were hacked early this year, saying that she suffered no injury as a result since her credit card didn’t bill her for the resulting fraudulent charges and use of her Yahoo Mail account to send spam stopped once she changed her password.


Other

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A Florida jury finds that concierge medicine firm MDVIP falsely identified its doctors as superior in the 2008 case of a now-deceased patient whose leg had to be amputated after poor care coordination, awarding her husband $8.5 million. The jury found that the patient’s MDVIP-provided primary care doctor misdiagnosed her circulatory condition and referred her to an orthopedist without providing her medical records. The industry-dominating, 700-physician MDVIP was purchased by Proctor & Gamble in 2009 and sold again in 2014 to a private equity firm that also holds positions in Wellcentive, Modernizing Medicine, Infor, and Meditech. The company does not hire physicians, but instead charges them a franchise fee. MDVIP’s chairman and CEO is also chairman of work site health provider Crossover Health, whose CEO is former Medsphere co-founder Scott Shreeve, MD.

Novant (NC) connects its EHR to the federal health information exchange, allowing it to exchange records with the VA if the patient approves.

“Father of the Internet” Vint Cerf says the loss of medical records in a recent Brooklyn warehouse fire could happen again if priceless original documents are stored only in electronic forms. He worries that the digitized versions of photos or documents are of inferior quality compared to the originals and that software companies may stop supporting those file types, creating “a forgotten generation” of material that can’t be viewed. I immediately thought of all the family memories from the 1990s that are sitting in closets around the world on now-obsolete and decomposing videotape.

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The Toronto Star finally admits it was wrong in running an anecdote-filled, science-light article titled “a wonder drug’s dark side” in implying that HPV vaccine is dangerous and then insulting the scientists who pointed out the article’s many flaws. The publisher now concedes that the headline was misleading, the front-page hysterics were inappropriate, and the story’s emphasis on emotional stories rather than the medical literature was wrong.


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicity puts together “A Year in Review” that offers a snapshot of its 2014 accomplishments.
  • TransUnion Healthcare President Gerry McCarthy writes about “Revenue Cycle Management Solutions: A Shift to Value-based Care.”
  • The SSI Group and T-System will exhibit at the HFMA Dixie Institute February 17-20 in Charleston, SC. ZirMed will present there.
  • Stella Technology launches a company e-letter.
  • VisionWare updates its Resource Library.
  • Verisk Health’s Matt Siegel is profiled in this month’s edition of “Predictive Modeling News.”
  • Voalte CNO Candace Smith, RN writes about her work as co-chair of the 2015 Manasota March for Babies in Florida.
  • Surgical Information Systems will exhibit at the OR Business Management conference February 16-18 in Orlando.
  • Zynx Health’s Siva Subramanian writes in the company blog that, “To Achieve My Vision for Improving Healthcare, We Have to Focus.”
  • Xerox Healthcare will host a February 17 Google + Hangout on patient engagement with Eric Topol, MD, Geeta Nayyar, and Jennifer Dennard.
  • Lynn Schep asks in the SRS “EMR Straight Talk” blog if the MU prayers of providers will be answered thanks to a potentially shortened reporting period.
  • April Truelove of Sagacious Consultants writes about her experience at the ONC Annual Meeting.
  • Perceptive Software’s “In Context” blog features a piece on “Hybrid Cloud: Concept vs. Market.”
  • PDS will exhibit at the February 20 IT United CIO Forum in Milwaukee.
  • Patientco client Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s AVP of Finance, Kyle Wilcox, pens an article on “How compassionate payment collection boosted Grinnell Regional.”
  • PatientSafe Solutions offers a sneak peek at its plans for HIMSS15.
  • Passport Health and RazorInsights will exhibit February 17-20 at the HFMA Dixie Institute in Charleston, SC.
  • Boston-based Jennifer Crowley writes about her “love” of snow and expecting the unexpected in healthcare in the latest MedAptus blog.
  • Navicure VP of Product Management Jeff Wood is featured in an article on “7 Ways to Manage High Medical Bills.”
  • MBA HealthGroup offers “4 Tips to Get Through the New MU Reporting Period.”
  • Nordic’s Abby Polich offers tips on “Extending Your EHR: Preparing for Success.”
  • Netsmart’s Matthew Arnheiter is featured in an article on giving voices to people with speech impairments.
  • Orion Health’s Harish Panchal writes about “Investing in Integration Engines.”
  • PMD’s Clayton Hoeffer offers insight into “Dog-Driven Development.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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February 14, 2015 News 6 Comments

News 2/13/15

February 12, 2015 News 3 Comments

Top News

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Shares of analytics vendor Inovalon (renamed from MedAssurant in 2012) started trading on the Nasdaq Thursday with a first-day price increase of just under 10 percent. The Bowie, MD-based company’s market capitalization is $3.3 billion. Chairman and CEO Keith Dunleavy, MD, who founded the company, holds 44 percent of the shares, valuing his stake at nearly $1.5 billion.


Reader Comments

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From Rude Boy: “Re: Epic. They are adding OpenNotes capability to their system.” Verified. Epic will not only add OpenNotes capability to its base product and to MyChart, it will turn the capability on by default. Providers can still choose which notes the patient can see. I’m interested in what other EHR vendors are doing to support OpenNotes since I hear a lot about the concept, but not much about how vendors are retooling their products to support it.

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From Chill Wills: “Re: Deloitte. MedCity News blew this story.” Indeed they did, and all they had to do was reword the press release to look like real reporting (i.e., practice normal healthcare IT journalism). Not only did they misinterpret a routine Deloitte announcement about a new EHR consulting package in thinking that the company built and released an actual EHR, they also misspelled “Deloitte” in the article body as well the name of Deloitte’s Mitch Morris. MedCity just sold out to another company, so maybe they were over-celebrating.

From Chiaprism: “Re: HIPAA violations. A hospital nurse claimed I couldn’t stay overnight in my inpatient boyfriend’s room because that would be a HIPAA violation.” It is surprising at how often HIPAA is invoked incorrectly in an attempt to bolster an losing argument. A friend recently tried to make a doctor’s appointment for her 90s-age grandmother and was told by the barely-legal receptionist that it’s a HIPAA violation for someone to make an appointment who doesn’t have the patient’s power of attorney, which is clearly ridiculous. They wanted a faxed copy of the document sent to their fax number, which turned out to be disconnected, so my friend just called up pretending to be her grandmother and the receptionist violated HIPAA herself in providing patient details such as her conditions and medications.

From Matthew Holt: “Re: HIStalkapalooza. I was the one who requested you bring the band from Orlando and am ecstatic they’re back. My first and last time influencing anything on HIStalk! Now I just have to hope I get a  party invite!” I was skeptical when Imprivata chose the band as sponsors of last year’s event since I don’t usually like pop cover bands, but Party on the Moon was a big hit and filled the dance floor.  I probably would have misguidedly chosen a Finnish death metal band whose lead singer would have crashed hard to the floor as mosh-averse IT-type audience members scattered away from his stage dive landing zone instead of catching him.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Signups are still open to attend HIStalkapalooza on Monday evening of the HIMSS conference. Submit your information if you want to attend – even if you’re a sponsor, long-time supporter, or VIP, I still can’t invite you if I don’t know you want to come. The priority order for invitations is providers in hospitals or physician practices (I generally invite every hospital employee who signs up) and then Platinum-level HIStalk sponsors (they’re guaranteed two tickets each). That still leaves the majority of invitations for other folks who sign up, and if I have enough capacity to invite everyone on the list, I will.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Blueprint Health unveils its newest class of startups. VisualDx rolls out a global emerging diseases tool designed to help doctors diagnose infectious conditions. Noom partners with Viridian Health to advance diabetes care.

This week on HIStalk Practice: DigiSight Technologies raises a new round for ophthalmology. Frontier Behavioral Health goes with CoCentrix EHR. Vermont governor takes VITL to task for its Super Bowl ad. Michigan’s REC achieves MU goals. Azalea Health and Imprivata launch new services. Burgeoning physician social networks highlight healthcare’s fascinating "ick" factor. KiddoEMR CEO Joe Cohen, MD shares frustrations, challenges of private-practice HIT. Brad Boyd offers insight into gauging patient access performance. Thanks for reading.

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Cureatr. The New York City-based company, founded by a group of physicians, offers the nation’s leading mobile care coordination solution. It provides real-time care transition notifications (including group messaging and photo sharing), cross-platform secure messaging, and clinical workflow tools (including best practice checklists) to eliminate interruptions in care, saving time and money in the process. Providers use an organizational directory to check team member availability and to send urgent messages. One hundred percent of clients report faster response time and improved coordination, with physicians saving an average of 90 minutes per day and nurses saving 60 minutes. Hospitals use it to expedite clinical decision-making and streamline care delivery, specialty care providers benefit from connecting with referring providers and extending their services, and physician groups use it to navigate patient care and influence care decisions. I interviewed founder and CEO Joseph Mayer, MD a year ago, when he said, “The next 12 months is really about what’s coming after messaging. Optimizing the care team mapping side of things, i.e. routing of messages to the right person at the right time, or routing information at the right time beyond messaging, task management.” Thanks to Cureatr for supporting HIStalk.


Webinars

February 13 (Friday) 2:00 ET. Inside Anthem: Dissecting the Breach. Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenter: John Gomez, CEO, Sensato. The latest intelligence about the Anthem breach will be reviewed to provide a deep understanding of the methods used, what healthcare organizations can learn from it, and how to determine if a given organization has come under similar attacks. Attendees will be able to ask questions and put forth their own thoughts. 

February 17 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. Cloud Computing – Cyber-Security Considerations. Sponsored by Sensato. Presenter: John Gomez, CEO, Sensato. This webinar will examine the security challenges involved when healthcare organizations implement cloud-based services.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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The Advisory Board Company reports Q3 results: revenue up 15 percent, adjusted EPS $0.26 vs. $0.26, beating expectations on earnings and meeting on revenue. Above is the one-year ABCO share price chart (blue, down 13 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 14 percent). The company’s market capitalization is $2.2 billion.

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Advisory Board Chairmen and CEO Robert Musslewhite announces in the company’s earnings call that it has acquired clinically-focused advisory firm Clinovations.  

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Vocera reports Q4 results: revenue down 14 percent, adjusted EPS –$0.10 vs. $0.03. Above is the one-year VCRA share price chart (blue, down 46 percent) vs. the Dow (red, up 11 percent). The company’s market capitalization is $234 million.

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From the Cerner earnings call:

  • Bookings for the quarter hit a record $1.16 billion, with 28 percent coming from outside the Millennium customer base.
  • Expenses involved with the $1.37 billion Siemens Health Services acquisition will reduce margins by a few percentage points until 2017.
  • The company says early purchasers of niche population health solutions are already kicking those products out just 18-24 months later as they look for tools that can aggregate data from multiple systems and insert real-time information into clinician workflow.
  • The company’s Siemens-related work will be focused this year on (a) migrating those customers who want to move to Cerner products, and (b) selling the former Siemens customers services such as process optimization and performance improvement.
  • Cerner will continue to sell Soarian Financials as a standalone product, saying surprising demand exists for standalone patient accounting applications.
  • Cerner plans to go live with some of its Intermountain work in Q1.

 

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Private equity firm Silver Lake acquires Atlanta-based healthcare marketing technology vendor BrightWhistle, which it will merge with its existing portfolio company Influence Health (the former Medseek).


Sales

Ocean Health Initiatives (NJ) chooses Forward Health Group’s PopulationManager and The Guideline Advantage.

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Hospital CIMA San Jose (Costa Rica) chooses Allscripts Sunrise for its 62 beds.


Announcements and Implementations

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Epic announces on Open.epic.com that its FHIR testing sandbox is live, with formal FHIR production support planned for a June release.

PerfectServe signed 29 new client contracts and had 260 go-lives in 2014, with 45,000 clinicians using its communications platform.  

Saint Francis Medical Center (MO) begins its Epic implementation, with an expected go-live in July 2016.

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Stanford Health Care releases its self-developed iOS 8 mobile app that connects with Epic and Apple’s HealthKit.


Government and Politics

Legislators and providers agreed in a congressional hearing Wednesday that ICD-10 implementation should not be delayed further. Video of the meeting is here. Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) commented, “The United States is one of the few countries that has yet to adopt this most modern coding system. Australia was the first country to adopt ICD-10 in 1998. Since then, Canada, China, France, Germany, Korea, South Africa, and Thailand – just to name a few – have all also implemented ICD-10. In the United States, Congress, through one vehicle or another, has prevented the adoption of ICD-10 for nearly a decade.”

GAO is accepting nominations through February 27 for openings on the HIT Policy Committee in the areas of consumers, providers, health plans, and quality reporting.

The VA says its Janus viewer, which visually merges a patient’s VA and DoD EHR records on the screen, will be made available to third-party care providers in about a year. The VA will send a service member’s doctor a link rather than attaching full records to an email.


Privacy and Security

A 60-year-old man sends a phony recruiter $4,300, scammed into thinking he was being offered a job with Cerner by email, not finding it unusual that the recruiter demanded that he send money to pay for his company PC before starting work.


Innovation and Research

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AHRQ-funded researchers at UCSD roll out a “lab in a box” that uses a camera, microphone, keystroke monitor, and Microsoft Kinect sensors to measure how EHR use affects patient encounters, such as analyzing how much time doctors spend looking at the screen instead of the patient. The researchers plan to compare distraction levels across practice settings, provide data to help EHR vendors write less disruptive software, and possibly even warn doctors in real time that they aren’t paying enough attention to their patient.


Technology

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Techcrunch profiles CliniCloud, which has launched a Bluetooth-connected stethoscope and non-contact thermometer kit. Its app is integrated with Doctor On Demand, which provides video chats with doctors to discuss the results. The device will ship in July and can be pre-ordered for $109.

In Chicago, the MedEx ambulance service rolls out 10 ambulances equipped with Google Glass to allow paramedics to live-stream hands-free audio and video to hospitals.


Other

Two Epic technical writers file lawsuits against the company that claim they should have been paid overtime, with both suits seeking class action status. The technical writers say they should have been categorized as hourly rather than salaried employees since their jobs don’t require advanced knowledge or computer expertise. Epic has offered to settle a previous similar suit brought by its quality assurance employees for $5.4 million.

A market research firm says that health IT jobs are harder to fill in New York than anywhere else in the country.

A South Florida “doctor and entrepreneur” launches ClickAClinic, which he says is the state’s only telemedicine services provider that’s licensed as a clinic. I suspected from the use of the title “Dr.” without further explanation that the “doctor” wasn’t an MD, which turned out to be true – he’s a chiropractor. I would never engage any service from someone who uses the title “Dr.” in front of their own name instead of their actual degree since they’re either egotistical or trying to hide something. A lot of MDs (and particularly the wives of male MDs) introduce themselves in purely social situations as “Dr. John Smith” as though the guy at Home Depot or the neighbor down the street really cares.

Facebook rolls out an option that will allow a user to name a “legacy contact” who can explain to breathless followers that the stream of cute videos, quiz results, and click bait “likes” has been sadly interrupted by their faithful curator’s demise.


Sponsor Updates

  • Nuance’s Clintegrity 360 Facility Coding topped the “Best in KLAS Awards” in the Medical Coding category that had been dominated by another vendor since 2008. Clintegrity 360 Quality Management Solutions also was named a category leader.
  • PatientSafe Solutions President and CEO writes “Prepare for Post-EHR Era with Actionable Data Delivered in Clinical Context.”
  • Stella Technology offers “HIE Implementation Tips & Tricks.”
  • Healthwise wins international awards for two of its health videos. 
  • Lifepoint Informatics opens up registration for its User Conference March 18-19 in San Diego.
  • LifeImage’s Mike Murphy writes about “Medical Image Exchange for Cancer Care: More Collaboration and a Better Patient Experience” in the latest company blog.
  • Kathleen Aller of InterSystems explains that “You CAN Get There from Here: Navigating Interoperability.”
  • Intellect Resources President and CEO Tiffany Crenshaw explains in the latest company blog that “Hiring Top Tech Talent Requires an Investment in People.”
  • InstaMed asks healthcare payers to participate in its Healthcare Payments Annual Report survey.
  • IngeniousMed’s Brian Vice is featured in a “CBS Evening News” segment on job growth.
  • Impact Advisors Principal Robert Faix shares insight into how hospitals are getting hacked.
  • Healthgrades sponsors the inaugural Special Olympics dual slalom race at the Winter X Games in Aspen, CO.
  • Healthcare Growth Partners advises Keais Records Service on its recapitalization by CapStreet.
  • HCS will participate in the February 19 HFMA event – “Emerging Management Challenges in the Physician and Hospital Arena” – in Philadelphia
  • The HCI Group is named to the University of Florida’s inaugural 2015 Gator 100.
  • Clara Hocker of Hayes Management Consulting offers tips on “Building a Better Billing Office: What You Need to Know” in the latest company blog.
  • DocuSign offers digital best practices for digital business success. 
  • Erin Michaud asks, “Why is a Project Manager Important to Your Clinical Data Conversion?” in the latest Galen Healthcare Solutions blog.
  • Extension Healthcare will exhibit at the Texas Regional HIMSS Conference February 19-20 in Austin.
  • Greythorn Managing Director Richard Fischer shares insight into the shortage of “right skills” in IT.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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February 12, 2015 News 3 Comments

News 2/11/15

February 10, 2015 News No Comments

Top News

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Premier, Inc. announces Q2 results: revenue up 19 percent, adjusted EPS $0.36 vs. $0.31, beating analyst expectations for both. President and CEO Susan DeVore says the company will make more technology acquisitions following its recent buys of TheraDoc, MEMdata, SYMMEDRx, and Aperek, noting an interest in supply chain analytics, alternate site, ambulatory data, and population health.

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DeVore adds that HHS’s fee-for-value push will increase the need for the company’s technology related to quality and clinical analytics, labor analytics, infection surveillance, and population health. Above is the one-year share price chart of PINC (blue, up 0.6 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 14 percent). The company’s market capitalization is $1.32 billion, with DeVore holding shares worth $7.3 million.


Reader Comments

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From Smartfood99: “Re: Ohio Valley in Wheeling, WV. Chose to upgrade to Meditech 6.1, beating out other finalist Ohio State University’s farm out of Epic.” Unverified.

From Webejammin: “Re: patent trolls. They’re using ONC’s list of certified EHRs to file suits using old patents that never should have been issued. This will dampen innovation and increase the cost of EMRs.” It’s not hard to get a list of EHR vendors from ONC’s list or elsewhere. Nor is it hard to find an old, intentionally vague patent and use the threat of an expensive legal defense to coerce EHR vendors into paying settlements or licensing arrangements whose cost is intentionally placed at the extortionate sweet spot between “annoying” and “profit-threatening.” Thank your lawyer-heavy Congress for its resistance to embracing the “loser pays” frivolous lawsuit policy that would increase unemployment among our vastly superior US force of ambulance chasers.

From Dingman: “Re: companies in financial trouble. You probably see some of that firsthand when they either are slow to pay their sponsorship or don’t renew because of financial issues.” I could indeed, although I usually lose sponsors instead because (a) they get acquired, or (b) a new marketing person who doesn’t even know what HIStalk is decides to wield their low-level decision-making power in deciding not to renew, which sometimes gets them in trouble down the road with their executives who wanted to support HIStalk in the first place. Sometimes I do hear directly from companies that their budget has been cut or executive upheaval is so extensive that they can’t even figure out who has purchasing authority, which might involve more transparency than customers get.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Galen Healthcare Solutions. The Grosse Pointe Farms, MI-based professional and technical services consulting firm also offers products for Allscripts TouchWorks  — remote patient monitoring, integrated health calculators, downtime chart review, note form reporting, and reporting. Technical services include EHR conversions, integration, technical consulting, and contract programming, with experience in Epic, eClinicalWorks, Allscripts, Meditech, Orion, Medfusion, and others. Galen helped Citizens Memorial Hospital (home of one of my favorite CIOs, Denni McColm) convert an acquired Allscripts-using practice to its Meditech system, bringing over 1.5 million documents and 3.5 million test results. Galen’s full (and huge) client list is available freely online along with client testimonials. Thanks to Galen for supporting HIStalk.

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Sign up now to attend HIStalkapalooza on April 13. The “I want to come” form is still open, but that won’t be true for much longer. Every year I get annoyed at people who email after signups close to insist that they weren’t aware that it had taken place and demand special treatment, which generates little sympathy from me because that tells me they don’t really read HIStalk. On the other hand, I’m amused by some of the creative uses of the comments field on the form from the responses so far:

  • On a Cerner life raft in an ocean of Epic. Would love to come and party with the smartest, coolest people on this blue planet.
  • Is there a more senior VC in HCIT? What do I gotta do?
  • I figured since even you were filling out the "I want to go" form, so should I! 😉
  • I went two years ago and loved it!!! I didn’t get an invite last year 🙁 I hope I am still a cool kid!
  • [enter pithy/witty comment that guarantees entry here]
  • Often watched the big party bus roll out without me while I searched the conference town for tourist food. I had the HIMSS blues, man.
  • Can we get the band from last year? They were brilliant!

I took over running the event myself this year with the support of multiple sponsors so that I could invite more people, and so far it’s looking good for covering the cost of a big guest list. House of Blues is an amazing venue and I will indeed be bringing back last year’s musical entertainment, Party on the Moon, America’s #1 private party band. I’m hoping the winner of the “Healthcare IT Lifetime Achievement Award” will accept the award on stage. I’m also contemplating whether the individual named as “Industry Figure in Whose Face You’d Most Like to Throw a Pie” would be willing to receive delivery of said pie in public, possibly delivered by the second-place vote-getter (I might be able to mount a charitable fundraising campaign rivaling the Ice Bucket Challenge to shame both parties into participating).

One more HIMSS-related event item: we’ve emailed HIStalk sponsors about our networking reception on Sunday, April 12. Email Lorre if you’re a sponsor and you want to come because sometimes we don’t have good company contacts.

I could use some help from folks willing to critique the recorded rehearsals of our webinars, suggesting to the presenter what they might change for the live event. Provider CIOs, CMIOs, or other hospital IT types are ideal given the topics often covered. I’ll send a $50 Amazon gift card in return for the 45 minutes or so it takes to watch the video and fill out the eval sheet. Email me if you’re interested.


Webinars

February 13 (Friday) 2:00 ET. Inside Anthem: Dissecting the Breach. Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenter: John Gomez, CEO, Sensato. The latest intelligence about the Anthem breach will be reviewed to provide a deep understanding of the methods used, what healthcare organizations can learn from it, and how to determine if a given organization has come under similar attacks. Attendees will be able to ask questions and put forth their own thoughts. 


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Hitachi Data Systems will acquire Orlando-based business analytics tools vendor Pentaho, which has some healthcare-related customers and partners, for $500 to $600 million.

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Aventura raises $14 million in an oversubscribed Series C funding round and will use the proceeds to expand its awareness computing services and product development.

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Image-sharing cloud vendor LifeImage raises $2.6 million in funding, increasing its total to $68 million.

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Shares of Merge Healthcare jumped substantially in the past week in hitting a 52-week high Monday, doubling in price since October. Above is the one-year share price chart for MRGE (blue, up 101 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 14 percent).

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Cerner announces Q4 results: revenue up 16 percent, adjusted EPS $0.47 vs. $0.39, meeting earnings expectations and beating on revenue.


Sales

Frontier Behavioral Health (WA) chooses the CoCentrix Coordinated Care Platform as its EHR and care management tool.

Quintiles signs a five-year contract with the National Football League to track player injuries using the league’s EHR data.


People

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AMC Health names Jonathan Leviss, MD (WiserCare) as SVP/medical director.

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HIMSS names Michelle Troseth, MSN, RN, chief professional practice officer of Elsevier Clinical Solutions, as  the recipient of its Nursing Informatics Leadership Award.

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Joe Miccio (ESD) joins Impact Advisors as VP.

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Brigham and Women’s Hospital promotes David Bates, MD to SVP/chief innovation officer.

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Adam Wright, PhD, who leads a biomedical informatics team at Harvard Medical School, is promoted to associate professor of medicine.

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Kaiser Permanente names interim CIO Dick Daniels to the permanent position. He was previously SVP of enterprise shared services.

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Personalized medicine analytics vendor Kyron names Jacob Reider, MD (ONC) as chief strategy officer.

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Cumberland Consulting Group names board member Brian Cahill (LifeImage) as CEO. His predecessor, founder Jim Lewis, moves into the board chair role.

Surgical Information Systems names John Spiller (Origin Healthcare Solutions) as CFO.


Announcements and Implementations

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WakeMed (NC) goes live with Epic.

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Imprivata launches Confirm ID, which supports DEA-mandated policies for electronic prescribing of controlled substances.

The US Patent and Trademark Office awards DR Systems seven imaging-related technology patents.

Divurgent and Sensato will jointly offer healthcare cybersecurity and privacy services and will host Hacking Healthcare 2015 in March.

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Cone Health (NC) issues easy-to-read patient bills using Patientco’s PatientWallet.

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PatientSafe Solutions expands its clinical communications tool and renames it PatientTouch Clinical Communications.


Government and Politics

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A GAO report seems satisfied that CMS is ready for the ICD-10 implementation date of October 1, 2015, although it seems to have looked more at CMS’s responsiveness to suggestions than its actual technical readiness.

The New York Times calls out little-noticed White House budget language that urges Congress to eliminate the financial incentive for hospitals to buy physician practices so they can charge more for delivering the same services to patients.


Privacy and Security

The largest insurer of the Lloyd’s of London insurance marketplace says that breaches — such as the one just experienced by Anthem — involve financial risks that are too large for insurance companies to cover, suggesting that only governments have the resources to manage those liabilities. Insurance companies worry that multiple cybersecurity insurance customers could be hit by the same exploit simultaneously.

ABC News asks, “Is Your Doctor’s Office the Most Dangerous Place for Data?” citing the FBI’s warning that healthcare organizations are being targeted and quoting a security expert who says healthcare is 10 years behind the financial services sector in protecting consumer information such as Social Security numbers.

A Swedish biohacking group offers to replace the security key fobs used by a high-tech building’s employees with a palm-embedded RFID chip that allows them to wave their hand to unlock doors, activate the photocopier, and pay their cafeteria bill. The group says the chips could be used to make payments and replace fitness trackers.

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Reporters are trying to create a story around whether Anthem was irresponsible in not encrypting its customer records. I’m not an expert, but my minimal exposure to encryption involves three types: (a) encrypting a secure online session connection such as with SSL; (b) encrypting a storage device so that nobody can dig into its contents without logging on with the appropriate credentials; and (c) encrypting individual database elements so that they can’t be queried without logging on with the appropriate credentials. The only relevant form in Anthem’s case would seem to be (c) and that wouldn’t have helped since the attackers stole a database administrator’s credentials via a phishing attack. Encrypting data at rest is great for physical protection (a stolen disk drive or a physically breached data center) but otherwise the system doesn’t know that the correct login was used by an unauthorized person, short of using biometrics or privileges tied to IP address. I think the story is misleading, but I’ll defer to any experts who care to respond.

Anthem’s hackers knew that database credentials would give them access to everything, so perhaps the immediate health system to-dos would be (a) review users who possesses DBA credentials; (b) monitor the use of those credentials for irregularities, such as large queries that are run off hours or that involve outside that individual’s normal job scope; (c) monitor for large data transfers outside the firewall; (d) enlist DBAs to help watch for problems since they were the ones who detected the Anthem breach; and (e) put efforts into anti-phishing technology and user education rather than worrying about encrypting databases on the off chance that someone will physically steal a server. I really don’t understand in this day and age why we haven’t moved to biometric security instead of the easily pilfered “what you know” password – our data center doors are more technically secure than the systems they house.

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Several Atlanta-area businesses fall victim to ransomware, where malware encrypts the files on a user’s PC and demand anonymous payment to restore access. A Secret Service representative says that physician offices are targets since their often-unsecured wireless networks can be hacked from their parking lots, although I would have assumed the method of infection would be via other methods.


Technology

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Google will incorporate Mayo Clinic-curated information into its medically related search results, providing symptoms and treatments via its Knowledge Graph and Now personal assistant (which I’ve never heard of).

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Medical device manufacturer DexCom will release an app that will display readings from its implanted continuous glucose monitor on the Apple Watch when the latter goes on sale in April. Dexcom already offers such monitoring on its own hardware with Bluetooth-powered iPhone data sharing.

Merge Healthcare announces that users of its iConnect Network will be able to transmit and receive imaging orders and results to Emdeon Clinical Exchange users.


Other

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The local newspaper covers the migration to Epic by two Lehigh Valley, PA competitors, Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network. Epic replaces GE Healthcare at LVHN and McKesson and Allscripts at St. Luke’s.

Health system consolidation continues: Emory Healthcare and WellStar Health System are discussing merging into a single Atlanta-area system, while in New York, North Shore-LIJ is talking to Maimonides Medical Center about a “partnership” that sounds more like the former acquiring the latter.

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Why do reporters feel qualified to interpret scientific information and render related opinion without consulting experts? The Toronto Star runs a self-proclaimed investigative article on the dangers of HPV vaccine Gardasil, dramatizing the 60 potential cases of side effects out of 800,000 doses administered. Expert physicians called out the poor reporting, to which one of the paper’s otherwise uninvolved left-leaning, American-hating columnists (best known for calling Sarah Palin a “toned-down porn actress” and insisting that male conservatives make bad decisions because of impotence) responded with a bizarre rebuttal that invokes government secrecy, Twitter, the US Tea Party, and her own self-study of statistics. The physician author of a book the columnist cited immediately blasted out a series of tweets calling out the paper’s “appalling, ignorant, irresponsible journalism” in running a “scare story.” The exchanges were summarized and brilliantly titled as “When ‘Teaching Yourself Statistics’ is No Match for Being a Doctor.”


Sponsor Updates

  • Craneware enhances its Supplies Assistant solution to make it easier for hospitals to add new devices and supplies to their chargemaster.
  • Dental software vendor Curve Dental incorporates DrFirst’s e-prescribing technology into its product, which will allow users to comply with New York’s I-STOP mandatory e-prescribing regulation that takes effect March 27, 2015.
  • Meditech will add more products from Truven Health Analytics’ Micromedex Patient Connect Suite to its EHR platforms.
  • Clockwise.MD announces that nearly 1 million patients have been seen through its Web-based appointment reservation tool.
  • Clinical Architecture offers the third installment of its blog series on “The Road to Precision Medicine.”
  • Certify Data Systems validates the interoperability of its HealthLogix solution at the IHE North American Connectathon.
  • Anthelio renews its contract with Saint Mary’s Health System (CT).
  • Besler Consulting latest blog post covers “Optimizing Communications to Reduce Readmissions.”

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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February 10, 2015 News No Comments

Monday Morning Update 2/9/15

February 8, 2015 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Experts say hackers can sell the patient information exposed in Anthem’s 80 million member breach for up to $1,000 per record (or a staggering potential payout of $80 billion for the thieves) since it forms a “complete identity theft kit” that includes insurance and Social Security numbers (stored unencrypted, in Anthem’s case). A stolen credit card number is worth only $1 and insurance credentials alone fetch just $20. Anthem admits that hackers used the credentials of at least five of its IT employees for up to a month before the attack, which the company detected only when a database administrator noticed someone running queries under his user ID. Investigators are looking into evidence suggesting that China-sponsored hackers launched the attack to obtain information to be used in espionage-related phishing, which seems to be the standard, non-verifiable post-breach excuse.

Meanwhile, scammers pile on by sending bulk spam using Anthem’s logo (above) and cold-calling people claiming to offer credit monitoring trying to get recipients to divulge their own confidential information.

The healthcare- and privacy-related background of Anthem CIO Thomas Miller: zero. He came from Coca Cola just eight months ago, hired because of his background with digital marketing and loyalty programs. 


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Nearly 80 percent of poll respondents think the federal government should issue a national patient identifier, about the same percentage that answered positively in my 2013 poll asking the same question. They added some thoughts: (a) an opt-in version would be more acceptable; (b) the VA could use the identifier to provide information needed to process Social Security disability claims; (c) the ID should be used only for healthcare, employers can’t ask for it, and the individual owns the information associated with the number; (d) use Social Security number as the patient identifier; (e) since nobody wants their Social Security number used for fear of hacking, instead create an ID consisting of date of birth, first three letters of the last name, and the last four digits of the SSN; and (f) a private company’s solution is available now and they’re looking for partners.

New poll to your right or here: will Athenahealth be able to create a competitive, large-hospital information system by rewriting BIDMC’s internally developed WebOMR? Vote and then click the poll’s “Comments” link to elucidate further.

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Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor CoCentrix. The Sarasota, FL-based company’s Coordinated Care Platform, built on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution, optimizes the behavioral health continuum for the benefit of state and local government agencies, providers, and consumers. Components include a certified HHS EHR for state agencies and community providers (intake, assessments, treatment plans, orders, documentation, billing, dashboards, and data mining), enterprise-level case management, a managed care solution, and the rather cool Caretiles integrated mobile app marketplace for consumers. The 32-year-old company has 500 customers in 42 states. Thanks to CoCentrix for supporting HIStalk.

Here’s a patient-centered overview video of CoCentrix that I found on their site.

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Sign up now if you want to come to HIStalkapalooza on April 13. I’ll have to shut the page down once I get too many requests to accommodate. I can’t necessarily invite everyone who wants to come, but I can say for sure that you won’t be invited if you don’t sign up (which is true for me as well, so I’ll register today).


Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Roper Industries acquires two health IT companies, including the leading laboratory middleware vendor as a complement to its Sunquest business, for $450 million following its recent acquisition of Strata Decision Technology.
  • Insurance company Anthem announces that a cyberattack exposed the information of 80 million of its customers, but says no medical or credit card information was stolen.
  • Athenahealth acquires rights to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s self-developed WebOMR hospital information system, announcing plans to rewrite it to sell to large hospitals.
  • ONC requests $92 million for its FY2016, budget, with $5 million of the 50 percent increase set aside to create a Health IT Safety Center.
  • Cerner completes its $1.3 billion acquisition of Siemens Health Services.
  • ONC publishes the draft version of its 10-year interoperability roadmap that includes a goal of allowing most patients and providers to exchange and use a common set of electronic clinical information by the end of 2017.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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From Friday’s Athenahealth earnings call:

  • Chairman and CEO Jonathan Bush says the company “fell short of the finish line” in 2014 due to “over dependence on one channel partner, over focus on ambulatory medicine, and limited experience with turnaround situations.” He says those were “admission tickets to new levels of adulthood” that will allow the company to get back to 30 percent growth.
  • Bush admitted that the company’s enterprise prospects have balked at solutions that don’t address inpatient.
  • He says that the acquired RazorInsights product, built for hospitals under 50 beds and priced at around $250,000 to $500,000 per hospital, is “the multi-tenant platform we need to manage most hospitals in the country,” while BIDMC’s WebOMR can handle the more complicated hospitals. Those will be merged together to form Athena Inpatient Clinicals.
  • Bush says the company failed in missing its Net Promoter goal of 52.5 in hitting only 42 for Q4.
  • The company hired 1,300 employees in 2014, raising its total to 3,700, and will add another 1,000 in 2015.
  • Athenahealth’s CFO says RazorInsights produces “a very small amount of revenue at a loss” and that WebOMR is not immediately commercializable, so she recommended that analysts view the acquisitions as ways to eventually enter the inpatient market rather than as revenue-contributing products.
  • The company “tried to stop the bleeding on the nervous prospects” who were passing on Athenahealth to choose Epic.

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ATHN shares closed Friday down 0.8 percent. Above is the one-year chart of ATHN (blue, down 17 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 15 percent).

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From the McKesson earnings call, which had few mentions of its Technology Solutions business:

  • Technology Solutions revenue was down 7 percent due to lower revenue from Horizon Clinicals and the exited UK workforce business, in line with projections.
  • John Hammergren says McKesson is “in middle of the game” in trying to move Horizon customers to Paragon.
  • He adds, “There’s a bunch of interesting places that we’re placing bets, including CommonWell Health, that we think will pay off” as the company sells data-related products.
  • Asked about the future Technology Solutions product line, Hammergren said, “I would say though that as you think out two or three years, the EMR space and the transition away from Horizon will be more complete or complete, and we’ll see more results, we think, in terms of this pay-for-performance priority. I mentioned that HHS and others believe that the market has to move more towards a value-based reimbursement methodology. That’s going to require additional investment.”

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Crain’s Chicago Business profiles 73-year-old, near-billionaire investor Dick Kiphart, who says of his investment 10 years ago in healthcare communications company Emmi Solutions, which he sold two years ago to Primus Capital, “It stumbled for a long time. I kept my money in, and it looks like it will be a two- or three-bagger.”


People

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Jennifer Haas (Microsoft) joins Aventura as VP of marketing.

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John Hallock (CareCloud) joins Imprivata as VP of corporate communications.

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Tony Scott (VMware) is named chief information officer of the United States, replacing Steve VanRoekel.


Announcements and Implementations

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, MD donate $75 million to San Francisco General Hospital (CA), where Chan did her pediatrics residency. The city will name the expanded facility Priscilla and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, which is pretty much the opposite of creatively and succinctly naming a social media website “Facebook.”


Government and Politics

The Defense Health Agency says its top 2015-2016 priorities will prepare it for its EHR implementation: continuing to work with the VA on interoperability, consolidating infrastructure, and standardizing configurations.  The agency’s director explains that, “This is an $11 billion procurement. When you think about that, this infrastructure piece is huge. So we have to think about what we’re going to do to make sure we get the best performance out of that EHR."


Technology

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A CNN report says the Apple Watch will fail (at least in compared to typically blockbuster Apple offerings) because: (a) for $350, all it does is allow users to perform existing iPhone functions from their wrists; (b) rumors are that the battery life will be awful at just 10 hours; (c) it’s rectangularly chunky compared to sleeker products already on the market; (d) it doesn’t do anything particularly compelling; and (e) it’s likely to be improved in a year, forcing users to buy it all over again.


Other

Grant-funded Vermont Information Technology Leaders pitches its new HIE to consumers by running regional Super Bowl ads on local TV stations at a cost of around $13,000 of its $195,000 marketing campaign.

University of California’s 10 campuses will require students to be vaccinated for measles starting in 2017, with students expected to enter their vaccination records into UC’s electronic system. Religious and medical exemptions will be honored, UC says.

Forbes notes the “emerging bull market” for “digital healthcare journalism,” with examples being Politico’s three-reporter subscription-only eHealth launch in 2014 and its plans to expand to an overall healthcare team of 16, the recent sale of Med City Media, and establishment of a five-reporter health and science department at BuzzFeed.

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Patients of Reid Hospital (IN) complain when the hospital tries collect debts from as far back as 2011. The hospital has apologized, saying that some patients didn’t receive the usual three monthly bills before their accounts were turned over to collection agencies by a former contract company.

The gutted healthcare system of cash-strapped Greece requires hospitalized inpatients to hire their own nurses for even basic inpatient care, but lack of money and insurance leads many of them to retain poorly trained and illegal phony nurses – often immigrants — provided by temp agencies that cruise the hospital halls handing out business cards. Hospitals say they are too understaffed to expel visitors who offer to rent TVs, bedding, and chairs to patients, adding that even the state doesn’t have the legal authority to issue fines to violators.

Weird News Andy never eliminates stories about fecal transplants, titling this one “Does this bacteria make me look fat?” Researchers suggest not using gut bacteria from overweight fecal donors to treat infections since a case study found that the recipient gained 34 pounds in the 16 months following the procedure.


Sponsor Updates

  • Medicity offers a recap of the HL7 conference that showcased FHIR as the “next big thing” in healthcare.
  • Sandlot Solutions writes about “Interoperability: Making the ONC’s Vision a Reality.”
  • Courtney Patterson asks, “Could Your Reporting Team Structure be Helping or Hurting Your Organization?” in the latest Sagacious Consultants blog.
  • RazorInsights will exhibit at the Rural Healthcare Leadership Conference February 8-11 in Phoenix.
  • Qpid Health’s Amy Krane summarizes the company’s recent webinar on how Partners Healthcare eliminated prior authorization.
  • Siavosh Bahrami rants about the importance of simplicity in a new pMD Charge Capture blog.
  • PatientKeeper offers a post on “The Interoperability Non-Controversy.”
  • Park Place International offers advice on “Getting Ready for the Meditech Patient and Consumer Health Portal.”
  • Patientco posts an article titled “The Importance of Payment Plans in Your Revenue Cycle Strategy.”
  • NVoq Director of Healthcare Industry Solutions Chad Hiner, RN explains why “EMR adoption will require more than financial carrots.”
  • In the latest Phynd blog, Thomas White asks, “How many employees does it take to enroll a new provider in a hospital’s EMR?”
  • Ryan Reed offers “5 Tips to Prepare for Cloud Migration” in the latest NTT Data blog.
  • Netsmart will exhibit at the Open Minds Best Management Practices Institute meeting February 12-13 in Clearwater Beach, FL.
  • MBA Health Group Consultant Nicholas Bocchino writes about the possible changes to Meaningful Use this year in its latest blog.
  • PeriGen launches its Five-Minute Challenge for labor and delivery managers.
  • Medfusion will introduce its Help Center in an event on February 12.
  • Nandini Rangaswamy asks “What works? EHR-based PHM or PHM-based EHRs?” in the latest ZeOmega blog.
  • WeiserMazars releases its Group Annual Report.
  • T-System shines a spotlight on staff member Javariah Khan in its latest Informer blog.
  • General Manager of Clinical Solutions Eric Brill writes about Voalte’s work with UCSF Medical Center Mission Bay in a new blog.
  • Stella Technology Founder and SVP of Business Development Salim Kizaraly discusses HIEs past and present in a Relentless Health Value podcast.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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February 8, 2015 News 2 Comments

News 2/6/15

February 5, 2015 News 2 Comments

Top News

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Anthem announces that the information of 80 million of its health insurance customers has been stolen in a “very sophisticated cyberattack.” Luckily for the company, the breach didn’t include either medical information or credit card numbers, or so it says so far. The FBI is investigating. It stands to reason that every breached organization will always claim that the attack was “sophisticated” – nobody would admit that they were hacked by primitive methods that exploited their poorly implemented security.


Reader Comments

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From Laura Petri: “Re: Roper acquiring Data Innovations. This is interesting because Sunquest has traditionally disliked DI and wrote their own interfaces instead. DI was viewed as a competitor. Wonder how much they paid?” The announcement didn’t break out the $450 million Roper paid for two companies. The company did announce that its three recent health IT acquisitions cost $590 million and will contribute $100 million in annual revenue, which would be a similar multiple as the $1.4 billion it paid in 2012 to buy Sunquest, which had annual revenue of only around $200 million. Apparently Roper doesn’t mind paying six times revenue. Battery Ventures bought Data Innovations in 2010 for an undisclosed price from founders looking to retire, so it surely pocketed some nice gains.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

This week on HIStalk Practice: Dr. Gregg sheds light on finding HIE successes. ICD-10 expert David Freedman, DPM offers best practices for making the switch by October 1. Rite Aid RediClinics debut – could Whole Foods clinics be far behind? ONC announces new funding for HIT workforce training. Hawaii moves forward with island interoperability. At-risk practices fall into the "digital divide" thanks to IT costs. Researchers offer physicians think-twice tips on Googling patients. Thanks for reading.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Under Armour acquires calorie-counter app MyFitnessPal for $475 million and fitness coaching app Endomondo for $85 million. The acquisitions will bring 100 million active users into Under Armour’s growing digital health ecosystem. ONC publishes a draft version of its ten-year, API-based interoperability roadmap. HIStalk Connect’s newest series Ramp Up kicks off with interviews from early-stage digital health investor Robert Greenglass of Waterline Ventures, and early-stage digital health startup CEO Jacob Sattelmair of Wellframe.

Listening: Australia-based indie rocker Courtney Barnett, who just announced a US tour.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Roper Industries, which owns Sunquest and which acquired Strata Decision Technology two weeks ago, buys two more health IT companies for a combined $450 million. South Burlington, VT-based Data Innovations is the largest laboratory middleware company and has 4,500 customers using its 1,000 laboratory instrument interfaces, giving Sunquest an interesting position among LIS vendors who rely on the company’s products. SoftWriters, based in Allison Park, PA, sells specialty pharmacy software.

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Rite Aid announces that it has opened RediClinics inside 24 of its drugstores in the Baltimore, Washington DC, and Philadelphia markets and will expand next in Seattle and Texas. Rite Aid acquired RediClinic in April 2014 when it had 30 grocery store locations in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.

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Under Armour acquires two fitness tracking apps with a combined 100 million users — MyFitnessPal and Endomondo — for $560 million. The company acquired MapMyFitness for $150 million in 2013 and will “continue to redefine and elevate the Connected Fitness experience for millions of people around the world.”

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Cognizant releases Q4 results: revenue up 16 percent, adjusted EPS $0.67 vs. $0.59, beating expectations on both and sending shares to an all-time high. Increased healthcare demand and the company’s $2.8 billion cash acquisition of TriZetto in September 2014 drove the results. Healthcare makes up 25 percent of the company’s business and was its fastest-growing segment in 2014.

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McKesson announces Q3 results: revenue up 37 percent, adjusted EPS $2.89 vs. $1.48, beating expectations. Technology Solutions revenue was down 7 percent due to product retirements.

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Athenahealth announces Q4 results: revenue up 24 percent, adjusted EPS $0.58 vs. $0.57, beating estimates on both. Epocrates revenue dropped 32 percent quarter over quarter.


Sales

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Five-hospital Adventist HealthCare signs an eight-year IT outsourcing agreement with CareTech Solutions and General Dynamics Information Technology.


People

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Dave Cassel (Epic) joins Healtheway in an unspecified position overseeing its Carequality initiative.

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Industry long-timer Mike Etue, EVP of global sales at MModal, died Monday of pancreatic cancer. He was 62.


Announcements and Implementations

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Rauland-Borg announces that a new interface for its Rauland Responder provides the first instance of integration between a nurse call system and hospital’s EHR, allowing nurses to chart from patient rooms and to receive notification when important EHR information changes.

The Advisory Board Company will convene the sold out “Future of Health Care Summit” on February 18, 2015 in Washington, DC, with speakers that include National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo and executives from CMS and drug store chains.

Vocera releases a free secure texting solution for its healthcare customers and their affiliated providers.


Government and Politics

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FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD will resign in March, with her mostly likely replacement being newly hired internist and cardiologist Robert Califf, MD (Duke Medicine).

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The VA rolls out online tracking of prescriptions ordered from its mail order pharmacy, implementing an idea offered by VA employee Kenneth Siehr.

In England, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announces that the Department of Health will create an online consumer diagnosis tool within two years that he hopes will reduce ED volumes.


Privacy and Security

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Students of all-female Bryn Mawr College plan to demonstrate after the college uses its student health records to send emails inviting 100 high-BMI students to enroll in a weight loss program.

MIT Review warns that 2015 will see a  big increase in “ransomware,” software that spreads to PCs via malicious emails or websites, locks all files with unbreakable encryption, and requires users to pay a ransom using untraceable Bitcoin to regain access to their information. The recommended solution: use antivirus software and make backups so that documents can be restored.


Technology

A Reuters survey of 23 top hospitals finds that 14 are piloting connectivity to HealthKit, giving Apple the jump over similar offerings from competitors Google and Samsung. BIDMC CIO John Halamka, MD says the health system has collected wearables-generated data from 250,000 patients, adding that, “Can I interface to every possible device that every patient uses? No. But Apple can.”

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The New Yorker profiles Crisis Text Line, a 24×7 crisis intervention hotline for teens that uses SMS text messaging exclusively and handles 15,000 messages per day with as many as 50 home-based counselors on duty. The service is data driven, using the information collected from 5 million texts to create counseling algorithms and to determine when crises are most likely to occur, information the founder plans to provide at no charge to school districts and police departments. Nancy Lublin (who uses the title “Chief Old Person”) also runs DoSomething.org, which helps people launch volunteer campaigns, and while still in college used a $5,000 inheritance from her great-grandfather to start Dress for Success, which provides job interview suits for underprivileged women. I guarantee that her 2012 TED talk above on texting-based crisis intervention is worth every second of your five minutes. The hurt she feels when describing teen abuse is palpable.


Other

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Healthcare Growth Partners releases its “2014 Market Review,” which is always brilliant. Eighty-nine percent of health IT-related business survey respondents said their companies are looking for 2015 acquisitions, with the most popular categories being population health and analytics and care coordination and telemedicine. Only 29 percent said they believe health IT is in a bubble. It also reflects back to 2007, when most startups incorrectly predicted that they would be acquired by an EHR vendor, to the reality that transactions often involve non-traditional acquirers looking to take an existing relationship deeper or to disrupt the market. The survey methodology is self-selecting and therefore somewhat biased toward respondents interested in acquisitions, but it’s still interesting.

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Carolinas HealthCare paid all of its 10 top executives more than $1 million in 2014 — including $5.3 million for its CEO — in a year the health system said it had to reduce expenses due to Medicare cuts.

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Baltimore Episcopal Bishop Heather Cook is indicted on 13 charges related to the death of Johns Hopkins Medicine software engineer Thomas Palermo, who was run over while bicycling on December 27. Cook is charged with drunk driving, texting while driving, and leaving the scene of an accident.


Sponsor Updates

  • Caradigm Care Management is named winner of “Most Innovative Product of the Year” by Best in Biz Awards International.
  • A PerfectServe guest blog post by physician collaboration expert Kenneth Cohn, MD addresses “The What and Why of Physician Engagement.”
  • Extension Healthcare reports a 273 percent bookings increase quarter over quarter and 54 new hospitals serviced in 2014.
  • Nordic releases a white paper titled “Return-Driven Optimization.”
  • Aspen Advisors announces that it was ranked among the top three overall IT services firms in KLAS’s annual report.
  • PatientSafe Solutions CNIO Cheryl Parker, PhD, RN publishes “Update Clinical Communication Strategy, Not Just the BYOD Policy” in PSQH. 
  • Kenneth Rashbaum of Logicworks publishes a blog post on “2015 HIPAA Audits & Implications for Healthcare Cloud Computing.”
  • InterSystems will exhibit at the iHT2 Health IT Summit February 10-11 in Miami.
  • Healthfinch has fun with EHR and brain surgeon analogies in its latest blog, “Time to Call in a Specialist.” 
  • Steven Botana writes about “The Art of Paying it Forward: Credit Balances” in the latest Hayes Management Consulting blog.
  • Senior VP Molly Mettler advocates for giving family caregivers a break in the latest Healthwise blog.
  • Maria Greger offers advice on “How to Avoid 5 Common Hiring Mistakes Startups Make” in the latest Greythorn blog.
  • Harris Corp. will also exhibit at the iHT2 Health IT Summit February 10-11 in Miami.
  • HealthTronics will participate in “The Evolving Role of MRI in Prostate Cancer Management: Detection, Staging, Surveillance, Follow Up, and Reporting” course February 7 in Santa Monica.
  • HDS posts a new blog on “Champions, Change & Culture: 3 Things the Medical Device Industry Needs Now.”
  • The HCI Group posts a new blog entitled, “6 Key Reasons Why Hospital IT Outreach Projects Fail.”
  • Andy Smith, president and co-founder of Impact Advisors, offers a new blog on the company’s recent “Best in KLAS” award.
  • HCS will exhibit at the NASL 2015 Winter Legislative & Regulatory Conference February 9-11 in Washington, D.C.
  • Brian Manning offers tips on how to thrive in a paperless office in the latest DocuSign blog.

Contacts

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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

Get HIStalk updates.
Contact us online.

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February 5, 2015 News 2 Comments

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Reader Comments

  • Riyengar: Wonder what the market is for stand-alone scheduling..it seems most HIS provide a built in component....
  • FLPoggio: Re: Streamline & DSS - DSS offers products and services to government and commercial clients based on the VA’s Vis...
  • RL: Re: EHR Nomad. I wouldn’t completely give up on the idea of migrating some data into Allscripts. To the point Mr...
  • FLPoggio: Fred, Couldn't agree more. From my HISTalk piecein 2013: "The real world keeps changing. Yet many of the predictive ...
  • CC: Thank you for refusing to give in to that patient's demands for an antibiotic. Too many providers are pressured into pre...

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