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November 3, 2011 News 8 Comments

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11-3-2011 9-40-44 PM

Citing the need for more time, ONC announces it will delay the launch of the permanent program for EHR certification until mid-2012. The timeframe coincides with the anticipated final rule of Stage 2 of Meaningful Use and standards and certification criteria. ONC says it can’t make the original January 1 deadline to approve testing labs and authorize certifying bodies.

Reader Comments

mrh_small From Viking: “Re: doctors, texting, and HIPAA. This video on how to make a ‘pager scanner’ shows how easy it is for anyone to listen in and breach via texting.” Though I was distracted by the painful-looking lip piercing on the geek chick, I need to get someone to build me one of those. Go to about the 2:45 mark to see her computer screen filling up with pager messages. It’s definitely a target-rich environment at my hospital, although I expect the messages are amazingly dull.

mrh_small From Megan: “Re: HIStalk page loading improvement. Thank you! I’m new to the industry and like to stay on top of news, but that one little fix made this site so much more reader-friendly.” I’m embarrassed that it was a relatively simple change once Dave Dillehunt suggested it. I wish I’d done it sooner. I find myself pulling up the page several times a day just because I like watching it snap to attention on my command. The beauty of it is that everything still displays, sponsor ads and all, but just in a slightly different order. 

mrh_small From AnotherDave: “Re: HIStalk page loading improvement. I second, third, and fourth the shout-out to Dave Dillehunt. Instant access to HIStalk: priceless.” This may well be Dave’s finest hour. I mean, sure, he’s a CIO and everything, but how many times do strangers publicly sing his praises?

11-3-2011 5-17-41 PM

mrh_small From NoSleepTillEpic: “Re: Kadlec Regional Medical Center. Live with Epic inpatient, ambulatory went in August, One of Epic’s smallest customers, a PlaneTree hospital with a reputation for doing technology right. JCAHO showed up the week before go-live!” Nice.

mrh_small From Anon: “Re: ONC budget. Is this something to be concerned about?” I don’t know the source of the attached material and I don’t understand all of it, but it says ONC’s 2011 budget was $61 million and the President requested $78 million for 2012. The Senate Budget Committee recommended holding the budget to $61 million, but supposedly (and this would be the big news, if true) that figure would also include ONC’s HITECH allocation, which was $57 million in 2010 and was scheduled to increase to $499 million and $874 million in 2011 and 2012, respectively. A House subcommittee has proposed only $28 million. If you know more about this, please share since it sounds important if it’s true.

mrh_small Unrelated, but while Googling the subject, I came up with ONC’s 2012 budget justification, which has key indicators that include the percentage of practices and hospitals using EMRs and receiving Meaningful Use payments. ONC requested 189 FTEs for 2012 with an average cost per FTE of $148,000.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

11-3-2011 1-56-09 PM

inga_small This week on HIStalk Practice: Dr. Gregg enlightens readers on the behind-the-scenes coordination for AAP’s Pediatric Office of the Future. A reader comments on providers who seem overwhelmed by Meaningful Use-fueled EHR purchases and rushed implementations. MGMA calls on CMS to establish a 5010 contingency plan in case practices and their trading partners can’t meet the looming deadline. Physicians believe EHRs are safer than paper, but patients disagree. CMS advises providers to report on all clinical measures in their EHR, even if the data is incomplete – and thus meaningless. Shuffle on over to HIStalk Practice, get your ambulatory HIT fix, and sign-up for e-mail updates. Thanks for reading.

11-3-2011 5-35-00 PM

mrh_small Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor New York eHealth Collaborative. The not-for-profit, formed in 2006, strives to improve healthcare for New Yorkers through the use of healthcare IT. It helps develop policies and standards to help providers move to electronic health records and coordinates connecting providers statewide. It runs a Regional Extension Center and the Statewide Health Information Network (SHIN-NY). They’re presenting the NYeC Digital Health Conference 2011 December 1-2 at Pier Sixty on the Chelsea Waterfront in NYC, with keynotes by HHS CTO Todd Park and journalist T. R. Reid. Registration is $395 general and only $195 for practicing physicians and government employees. I’m running a text ad for them over to your right just in case you want to check it out later. I would loved to have gone, but it was just too hard to get time off from the hospital, which left Mrs. H deprived of the opportunity to enjoy New York near Christmastime. Thanks to New York eHealth Collaborative for supporting HIStalk.

mrh_small On the Jobs Board: Java Developer, Senior Interactive Graphic Designer, Cerner and Epic Resources. On Healthcare IT Jobs: Research Informatics Analyst II, III, IV, Lab Information Systems Analyst, Regional Sales Executive, Senior Pharmacy Analyst.

mrh_small Suggestions on how to spend your extra minutes of free time each day now that HIStalk loads faster: (a) seek Inga, Dr. Jayne, and me on Facebook and LinkedIn and consummate our electronic union by Liking, Friending, and Connecting; (b) sign up for spam-free e-mail updates on HIStalk, HIStalk Practice, and HIStalk Mobile; (c) send me scandalous rumors, squelched news, and anything that would interest readers like yourself by clicking the atrocious-looking green Rumor Report box to your right that sends your secure message and an optional attachment right to my inbox; (d) peruse the friendlier-loading sponsor ads to your left and click those that seem fun, or check out the Resource Center to browser and search, pausing to marvel that polished and powerful executives command their underlings to mail a check to a PO box to support an anonymous hospital guy’s amateurish blog; and (e) look yourself in the mirror while giving yourself a little nod and a Bill Clinton finger-pointing recognition gesture to acknowledge your role in reading and doing all of the above, which keeps the vivacious and erudite Inga and Dr. Jayne smiling.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

11-3-2011 10-08-34 PM

HealthGrades signs a definitive agreement to merge with CPM Marketing Group, a provider of customer relationship-management services for hospitals.

11-3-2011 10-10-53 PM

Mediware announces Q1 numbers: revenue up 24% to $15.5 million and profits up 42% to $1.49 million or $0.18/share.

11-3-2011 8-48-38 PM

Medical practice documentation management software vendor Updox gets a $500K loan from the state of Ohio to develop a mobile version of its product, to integrate with more EHR products, and to promote its free secure messaging service.

11-3-2011 10-11-43 PM

Advisory Board Co. reports Q2 net income of $5.2 million ($0.30/share) compared to $4.9 million ($0.30/share) last year. Revenues grew 30.7% to $92.9 million.

mrh_small Allscripts reports Q3 numbers: revenue up 13%, EPS $0.11 vs. $0.01, beating expectations. The company raised guidance on both revenue and earnings. The earnings call transcript is here. Interesting snips from it: (a) CEO Glen Tullman says the new January 1 readmission rule in which hospitals eat the cost of patients readmitted for the same condition within 30 days is driving interest in care management and discharge management applications; (b) he says Allscripts beat Cerner and Epic at Flagler Hospital (FL) because the hospital wanted to connect to a variety of EMRs used by community-based physicians (c) several new hospitals signed up for the EPSi performance management system, among them UC-Davis and Stanford; (d) Glen sees big opportunity from ICD-10 (“you’re going to have to replace every practice management and revenue cycle management system out there”) and analytics; (e) he says Sunrise Clinical Manager is used by “all the best names out there,” saying it’s “open” and “not outdated” and “what the market wants, what physicians want, is one comprehensive patient view, not one database, because they realize you can’t do that”; (f) their most frequent ambulatory competitors are Greenway and eClinicalWorks.

11-3-2011 6-14-43 PM

UPMC Health Plan and The Advisory Board Company form Evolent Health, which will offer the Identifi population and health management software developed by the health plan and used by UPMC to manage the health of its 54,000 employees. Each organization capitalized the venture with $10 million. Its first customer will be MedStar Health. Former Advisory Board CEO Frank Williams will serve as CEO of Evolent Health.

11-3-2011 10-12-25 PM

Merge Healthcare reports Q3 results: revenue up 33%, EPS –$.01 vs. –$0.06, missing consensus estimates by a penny.


Health Care Authority for Baptist Health selects MEDSEEK for clinician and patient engagement tools.

11-3-2011 10-13-41 PM

Lompoc Valley Medical Center (CA) will deploy Allscripts’ Sunrise Clinical Manager EHR and offer the Sunrise Clinician Portal to it physicians. Also, DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan selects Allscripts EHR for its employed and affiliated physicians.

Houston Healthcare (GA) selects Wolters Kluwer Health’s ProVation Order Sets for Houston Medical Center and Perry Hospital.

11-3-2011 10-16-53 PM

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center chooses RelayHealth’s RelayCare for readmission management.

Intermountain Healthcare signs a five-year agreement with Accretive Health to manage its revenue cycle. The organizations say they will create a Salt Lake City-based revenue cycle Center of Excellence that will provide best practices, technology, and education.

Harris Corporation wins a $4.5 million VA contract to develop Web-based mental health self-documentation tools for the MyHealtheVet personal health record.


11-3-2011 4-04-36 PM

Apixio names Darren Schulte MD as chief medical officer. He was previously with Anvita Health.

11-3-2011 4-07-05 PM

Availity promotes Russ Thomas from COO to CEO, succeeding Julie Klapstein, who will remain on the board of managers.

11-3-2011 2-17-58 PM

Recombinant Data Corp. hires Jason D. Oliveira as managing director of health system consulting.  He previously led the healthcare BI practice at Kurt Salmon Associates.

11-3-2011 5-10-36 PM

AMIA President and CEO Ted Shortliffe MD, PhD announces that he’ll be leaving the job he’s held since mid-2009 to pursue other interests. The board will initiate a search for his replacement, expected to be in place by early 2012.

11-3-2011 6-28-45 PM

Main Line Health (PA) promotes Karen Thomas to SVP/CIO. She was previously VP/CIO.

Announcements and Implementations

11-3-2011 4-08-31 PM

Physician practice marketing and communications company Medley Health partners with athenahealth to integrate its physician-patient communications platform with athenahealth’s suite of offerings.

Guam launches the first phase of its HIE with the deployment of secure messaging and clinical document exchange using the ApeniMED HIE platform.

The Wichita HIE signs up its first two physician practices.

11-3-2011 2-52-02 PM

New Hanover Medical Group (NC) goes live on Epic, the first step in a system-wide, $53 million upgrade. The local TV station covers its rollout of MyChart.

Inland Northwest Health Services (INHS) announces that 12 client hospitals have successfully attested for Meaningful Use.

Trustwave introduces its Web application security offerings, including an enhanced version of Trustwave WebDefend.

Three rural Adventist Health hospitals in California will share a $1 million Blue Shield of California grant to implement electronic medical records.

11-3-2011 9-23-16 PM

Healthcare IT services provider Anthelio will add 200 jobs in Detroit and Flint, MI to support its area customers, which include Detroit Medical Center and McLaren Health Care Group.

Innovation and Research

11-3-2011 5-28-22 PM

mrh_small Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital publishes a NEJM article describing its use of patient information from its electronic medical records system to choose drug therapy for a patient’s rare disease. The 13-year-old patient had lupus complications and was a candidate for anticoagulants, but cases are so rare that a literature search came up with nothing on the risk-benefit profile. Jennifer Frankovich MD (above) used a research tool to query de-identified EMR data and found the records of 98 patients over a five-year period who had similar conditions and determined that the risk of clots was high enough to justify starting anticoagulants right away. Their conclusion is that a physician probably couldn’t have figured it out otherwise since there were so few patients, recall is sometimes biased, and EMRs have so much information that it’s hard to pick out the important data elements. They also expect that aggregated patient information will be used during rounds to make treatment decisions in the not-too-distant future. I assume the EMR in question was Cerner, which Packard is supposedly having to give up despite publishing extensively about its patient safety benefits (parent Stanford Hospital uses Epic.)


11-3-2011 8-53-07 PM

Toyota announces that it will start selling mobility robots in 2013, one of them being Independent Walk Assist, a computer-controlled mechanical exoskeleton. It was developed at the University of California at Berkeley, where one of its students who is paralyzed was able to walk across the stage to receive his diploma with the help of the technology. Toyota is working on another version that will lift and move patients.

11-3-2011 9-00-53 PM

Mobile healthcare apps tools vendor Diversinet is awarded a patent for encryption technology that prevents data from being transferred from one mobile device to another.


inga_small From KLAS: over the next five years, almost half of providers will replace their RCM system; 87% of those will make the switch in the next three years. Most providers are looking at a new RCM in terms of how it fits in with a single-source enterprise strategy, often driven by the clinical vendor. Epic and Siemens top the list of considerations for over-200 bed providers, while McKesson and Meditech were the most considered by community hospitals.

mrh_small A Richmond TV piece covers the use of AirStrip Cardiology at Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center, in which one of the doctors sheepishly admits that the previous standard of practice for ED doctors to get cardiology consults was to send them an iPhone picture of the EKG.

mrh_small A Virginia psychiatrist avoids becoming the first physician to be prosecuted for HIPAA violations when the judge dismisses charges against him. Prosecutors claimed the doctor retaliated against a patient who had complained about him by telling her supervisors that she had been involuntarily committed. The doctor says “it could have collapsed the entire system” had he been convicted since doctors would become reluctant to provide such warnings.

11-3-2011 6-22-53 PM

mrh_small The Rhode Island Department of Health investigates four Lifespan hospitals after getting reports they gave 2,000 discharged inpatients prescriptions for immediate-release drugs instead of the timed-release versions ordered by the physician. Lifespan blames “software used to generate medication instructions provided to discharged patients.” State Senator Jamie Doyle says he is “shocked” and wants a review of all Lifespan hospitals and the Rhode Island Department of Health.

mrh_small Weird News Andy is positively lyrical over this story, which he titles “Crystal Gayle, where are you?” A California doctor (and former entertainment lawyer) develops a laser procedure that can permanently turn brown eyes blue in 20 seconds. WNA provides the soundtrack: “Colored contacts, with you I’m through; That laser beam oh, it’s so brand new; Doctor Gregg now, let your aim be true; And don’t it make my brown eyes blue.”

Sponsor Updates

11-3-2011 1-22-18 PM

  • Medicomp Systems announces that Quippe, powered by the MEDCIN Engine, is now embedded into MED3OOO’s InteGreat EHR. Medicomp, by the way, exhibited at MGMA and trained seven people every hour on Quippe.
  • The latest newsletter from TELUS Health Solutions includes several articles on using data to drive transformational change in heath systems.
  • Virtelligence is participating in this month’s VA and Midwest HIMSS conferences.
  • Orion Health CEO Ian McCrae calls out his company’s continued success, calling Orion Health the leading healthcare IT software vendor in health information exchange.
  • MedAptus President Larry Hagerty discusses the company’s use of Internap’s cloud solution.
  • Carefx will participate in the Midwest HIMSS 2011 Fall Technology Conference in Indiana.
  • CareTech Solutions is recruiting 60+ people for installation and support of hospital IT systems.
  • Concerro opens registration for its November 29 Webinar entitled, “Achieving Compliance with the Joint Commission’s Staffing Effectiveness Requirements.”
  • CynergisTek CEO Mac McMillian is presenting “Data Security – Eliminating Imaging Informatics Risks” at the virtual AuntMinnie.com RAD Expo 2011 November 2-3. He will also  present a Health IT Capstone Course at the American College of Physician Executives Fall Institute 2011 November 8-9.
  • MyHealthDIRECT CEO and Founder Jay Mason will discuss the changing landscape for Medicaid health plans at the upcoming Medicaid Health Plans of America Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

EPtalk by Dr. Jayne

This time of year as it starts to get a little chilly, I think fondly of places where sassy CMIOs can go for some fun in the sun. News from the sun belt: Cigna purchases HealthSpring, which runs the Medicare insurance plan for Miami-based Leon Medical Centers. The $3.8 billion dollar deal brings the plan’s 37,000 Medicare beneficiaries to Cigna and is seen as a major move into the Medicare Advantage market.

The AMA claims a win for helping to extend the deadline for providers to file for hardship exemptions to prevent penalties for not ePrescribing. Not a huge win in my book — the previous deadline was November 1 and it was very well publicized.

Mr. H usually reports on health IT vendor earnings calls and I rely on his summaries because I’m usually looking at pharmaceutical and other industry outlooks. Pfizer admits to its plan to work towards marketing an over the counter version of Lipitor. As the company’s best-selling drug goes off patent, they’re obviously trying to resuscitate their cash cow. The concept of bringing this class of drugs OTC comes up periodically – Merck asked the FDA three times over a seven-year period to allow them to take Mevacor OTC and was rejected every time.


When most people think of healthcare IT, they think of hospital and ambulatory documentation software, revenue cycle, laboratory information systems, and the like. In my opinion, one of the more fascinating breakthroughs is the computing power that helps scientists sequence the genome of various organisms. The journal Nature reports success in sequencing the DNA of Yersinia pestis, the agent that caused Black Death in the mid-1300s. Researchers extracted the DNA from teeth of victims buried in 1348.

I hope the HIPAA compliance zombies don’t hear about this one. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) challenges techies to reconstruct handwritten documents that have been shredded. Screenshots of shredded documents are on the Shredder Challenge website. Get your decoder rings ready – winners will be announced on December 5. Should emerging technology make it easy to piece together these puzzles, I’m sure we’re all in for compensatory advances in document destruction technology.

In the weirdest research study of the week, Israeli researchers conclude that drinking cold water increases the resting energy expenditure of overweight children, helping them burn calories. The patients drank water cooled to 4 degrees Celsius while watching a movie lying down. Not exactly my idea of a good time, but just illustrates how desperately people are looking at the obesity problem. I’ve got an idea: how about asking the kids to do stretching exercises or even calisthenics while watching? Bet that would work too.

Bad news for social habits favored by the ladies of HIStalk: a study published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association documented a statistically significant increase in breast cancer risk among women who drank small to moderate amounts of alcohol – the equivalent of three to six drinks per week. The data comes from the Nurses’ Health Study, a prospective observational study of over 100,000 women which has produced a multitude of findings.



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

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Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. The ONC delay of the permanent program by 6 months will impact providers and vendors primarily by delaying the MU ‘surveillance’ (aka audits) since this was one of the AA’s (Authorizing Agency-ANSI) primary roles. Even though Mostashari dodged Mr. H’s interview question about delaying Stage 2 since the criteria will not be ready until mid 2012 its a good bet that Stage 2 will get pushed out as well.

  2. I think a reduction in ONC’s budget would be appropriate and overall a good thing for healthcare. They are spending quite a bit of tax payer money on activities that aren’t advancing Meaningful Use or the intentions of the stimulus program.

    Funneling money back to friends and favored states or educational institutions is not what the legislation anticipated when they decided that EHRs represent a reasonable national investment.

    The program is defined and the objective of avoiding the purchase of EHRs as shelf-ware has been accomplished.

    Time to simplify and reduce government and redirect our resources to more important national priorities.

    Lets spend our federal dollars on the care of real patients rather than advancing bureaucratic activities at ONC.

  3. Lifespan has achieved the highest HIMSS and Leapfrog Awards for being wired and making the leaps to safety.
    More about Lifespan is here:http://www.lifespan.org/news/2006/05/ls_cpoe_5_12_06.htm

    Too bad about the 2,000 errors in prescription drugs from the electronic prescribing computers. But at least no patients were reported to be injured. The human body can take a lot of abuse!

    Might these novel therapeautic substitutions been a way for the pharmacies to save money when times are tough?

  4. Re: pager scanning and the “geek chick” – that’s Limor “LadyAda” Fried, who owns Adafruit Industries, an excellent DIY electronics source http://adafruit.com . She was recently featured on the cover of Wired Magazine – see http://www.adafruit.com/blog/about/ .

    She’s an MIT grad – her early claim to fame (and what got her now very successful company off the ground I believe) was the co-development of the “x0xb0x”, a reverse engineering of the legendary Roland TB-303 analog synthesizer/sequencer, the key ingredient to making a certain form of techno music called “acid.” These rare instruments were/are fetching thousands of dollars, when she and her co-developer made a DIY kit that allowed people to build a virtually identical sounding instrument for around $300.

    See this little interview with her – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtBpkSlC3Dg

  5. It behooves the ONC leadership, recently interviewed on these pages, to rethink its mission and abuse of taxpayers’ dollars considering its failure to subject the devices it is promoting for safety and effcacy.

    To wit, there were 2000 medication errors (probable many more, that were covered up or missed) at Brown in Rhode Island from Siemens’ devices. I rest my case.

  6. Kudos to Dr. Jayne for highlighting a little reported fact: The amount of computing power used today in health care is miniscule as more and more genomic medicine becomes reality, starting with keeping track of 7 plus billion verions of millions of base pair units.

  7. Disappointed to see the Advisory Board making a subtle transition from being a neutral think tank to a vendor. Not impartial anymore

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Reader Comments

  • Clustered: Wow, indeed. There is a lot to unpack in here (and not just about Jackson)....
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  • AynRandWasDumb: Re: VA/Jackson - WOW http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/politics/ronny-jackson-summary-of-allegations/2922/...
  • Drivin' and Cryin': I witnessed a noted health IT leader do the same "tears after telling a story about how he didn't treat his wife well en...
  • Mr. HIStalk: I agree for a class, where an ongoing relationship is important -- you'll be spending time with the instructor and fello...
  • jp: On the whole conference thing and engaging the audience. If the purpose of a conference (or one of the main purposes) is...
  • MerryMe: Anyone besides me disturbed by the title of the Healthwise webinar listed? "Converting Consumers into Patients" -- Shoul...
  • Justa CIO: Wholeheartedly agree with System CIO's comment. I like him/her do not have time for HIMSS, CHIME, etc., as I am heads d...
  • shh bby is ok: I was taken by the tongue-in-cheek wit of your cartoon above Stealthily Healthily's comment. Then I clicked on it an...
  • Fourth Hansen Brother: My God, 60 is too old? Hint- rapidly aging population. He's not anywhere near retirement age, and CEO tenures are pretty...

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