Lexmark and its Perceptive Software unit announce the acquisition of vendor neutral archive and clinical content management vendor Acuo Technologies for $45 million.
From John Galt: “Re: new layouts. Like the new site look and the good folks over at Dodge that lent a hand. But LOVE the slicker presentation on HIStalk Connect!” I like that layout, too. It’s really modern and lightweight, just not quite appropriate for HIStalk since our posts here are longer and need a more text-intensive page. If you haven’t checked out the former HIStalk Mobile lately, Dr. Travis and Lt. Dan have been getting some Twitter love for some recent posts in particular, Top 10 mHealth Stories of 2012 and Connected Health Predictions for 2013, and James Harris has contributed some nice pieces as well. We’ll be announcing new sponsors and new features shortly. We might be able to use more help if you’re big on the topics we cover and you like to write – e-mail me if you’re up for it.
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
This is the last chance for your HISsies nominations. I’m fascinated that all but one nomination for “stupidest vendor action” involves the same company, but for several actions, which will make an interesting HISsies ballot for sure. A few people e-mail every year to complain that I put the same companies and people on the ballot, apparently missing the not-so-subtle point that readers do the nominating, not me. The moral of the story: submit your nominations and feel instantly superior to the complainers.
If your organization has been submitting events to the HIStalk Events Calendar, take note: only to HIStalk Platinum sponsors will be able to submit events from this weekend on. Also, if you miss the Smoking Doctor logo, you can see it there since I forgot about that page when I had the site redesigned, mostly because the events display right on the main page of HIStalk and I don’t go to the full calendar display as often. Fear not – the Smokin’ Doc will live on, free of both political correctness and lung carcinoma.
Companies keep asking me to help with Webinars, which I’m considering, but only if I can do them better than everybody else in making them fun and educational. My two-question survey asks what you like and don’t like about Webinars and how I can raise the bar. I would appreciate your thoughts. I have a short attention span, so my Webinar wish list includes sending the slides in advance by e-mail, playing music or chat while I’m waiting for an on-time start, limiting speaker intros to 10 seconds, clearly identifying a program as educational vs. a product pitch at signup, requiring interactivity such as polls, taking questions in advance and in writing and choosing the best ones to answer, and keeping the whole thing to around 45 minutes.
Thanks to Intelligent Medical Objects, an HIStalk Platinum sponsor for two years that has expanded its support also sponsor HIStalk Practice and HIStalk Connect at the Platinum level. Only a handful of companies have achieved that trifecta. IMO provides a “Common Ground for Health Vocabularies” via terminology mapping tools (ICD-9 and ICD-10, SNOMED, HCPCS, RxNorm) for vendors and vocabulary products for healthcare organizations. A recent offering is a search engine appliance kept current on medical terminology, allowing vendor partners to participate in true semantic interoperability. I can’t decide which physician customer quote I like better: (a) “Installing IMO was the single, most important improvement we have made to our EHR system,” or (b) “I am impressed by my inability to stump IMO.” I like the backgrounds of the company’s executives, too: Frank Naeymi-Rad (CEO and chairman) has a PhD in computer science, they have physicians in a couple of executive roles, and CFO Bac Palomo is not only a Stanford MBA but also a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a former Naval Aviator. I know I’ll hear from Dr. Jayne since every time I mention IMO she e-mails me to gush about how much she likes its products as a CMIO, so I probably should have just let her write a summary from a customer perspective. Thanks to Intelligent Medical Objects for supporting our work.
Also extending its support is Divurgent, a three-year HIStalk Platinum sponsor stepping up to also support HIStalk Connect at the Platinum level. The company’s consulting work spans activation management, advisory, clinical transformation, and RCM. You may know Partner Colin Konschak, who is active in HIMSS and has co-authored books on consumer behavior and medicine and ACOs. The rest of the team has a lot of healthcare experience as well, and the company has won awards for growth and being a “best place to work.” The company blog has meaty rather than fluffy posts, critically examining ACOs, the use of physician scribes, and hospital readmissions. We appreciate Divurgent’s ongoing support.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
PE firm Thoma Bravo, LLC, which holds equity in Hyland Software and Mediware, invests an undisclosed sum in SRS Software.
Access acquires CPI and merges with Access FSA, developer of the Formatta Electronic Forms Management Suite.
TriZetto acquires Healthcare Productivity Automation, a Franklin, TN-based vendor of workflow automation solutions. HPA offers Health Mason, which automates claims administration.
Private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe acquires GetWellNetwork, which offers patient engagement solutions that include in-room systems. The Bethesda, MD-based GetWellNetwork is the KLAS leader in the Interactive Patient Systems category.
Behavioral software vendor Netsmart Technologies, led by former Cerner COO Mike Valentine, acquires Defran Systems Inc., which offers software for human and social services organizations.
Kyruus, which offers software for physician networks and referral management, raises $11 million in a Series B funding round, increasing its total to $19.6 million.
Health Inventures selects ZirMed as a preferred business partner and will offer ZirMed’s EDI solution suite to its ASC and surgical hospital clients.
Health Dialog, a subsidiary of Bupa and a provider of population health management solutions, promotes Robert Mandel, MD to CEO.
Progress Software names Chris Perkins (Eclipsys, Per-Se, Emageon) as SVP/CFO, reporting to newly hired President and CEO Phil Pead.
Announcements and Implementations
Palisades Medical Center, Engelwood Hospital and Medical Center, and Deborah Heart and Lung Center join the RelayHealth-powered Jersey Health Connect HIO.
Audax Health signs a five-year strategic alliance with Cigna to develop a digital engagement platform for Cigna customers that will include "fun and engaging health related activities and information.”
Innovation and Research
Researchers with Truven Health Analytics project that health plans will incur 4.8 percent growth in allowed medical and pharmacy costs in 2013.
Johns Hopkins researchers find that hospitals that hide inpatient psychiatric records in their EMRs have a much higher readmission rate for psych patients. Says the lead author physician, “If you have electronic medical records, that’s a good step in the right direction. But what you really need to do is share the records with non-psychiatrists. It will really make a difference in terms of quality of care and readmission rates. Let’s not keep mental health records out in the cold.”
Providers are feeling increased pressure to engage patients at deeper levels because of the urgency surrounding Meaningful Use and accountable care, according to a KLAS report on patient portals. Provides most often select patient portals based on convenience and vendor relationships. Third-party portal vendors earning strong satisfaction scores include Jardogs, RelayHealth, and Intuit.
The Hospice of North Idaho will pay HHS $50,000 to settle potential HIPAA violations following the loss of a laptop that contained the personal data of 441 patients. The settlement is the first involving a PHI breach affecting fewer than 500 individuals.
UNC Health Care (NC) exploits a collections loophole that allows it to siphon money owed to it directly from the tax refunds of patients. The health system and its physician group took in nearly $8 million by that method in 2012. Says a physician group VP, “It’s a useful tool.” A patient anxious to fight the “facility fee” that UNC tacks on to the doctor bills of practices it has acquired was disappointed to find that he’ll miss his day in court because the hospital didn’t sue him and instead simply docked his tax refund, saying it’s required to do so under state law.
A hospital in Scotland gives a patient 13 times the intended radiation dose, caused by “a software bug as a result of an upgrade.”
MedBox, which sells a Pyxis-type dispensing cabinet for medical marijuana, opens an office in Massachusetts expecting big business now that a new state law legalizes medical marijuana. Had you invested $10,000 in the company’s stock six months ago (see chart above), your shares would be worth more than $252,000 today, and for a day or two in mid-November, over $820,000 as exuberant pot profiteers ran up the company’s market cap to more than $2 billion with a single-day advance of 3,000 percent.
The South Florida Business Journal covers the lawsuit filed by an Allscripts MyWay customer against the company. The attorneys claim they’ve received calls from “many doctors” complaining about MyWay since the suit, which seeks class action status, was filed. The article says Healthcare Data Solutions, the largest Southeast reseller of MyWay, is helping its 500-plus MyWay customers migrate to Professional or the competing Aprima product, while HDS itself will become an Aprima reseller.
Weird ICD-10 codes will be worth the painful conversion strictly for parody value, with this Nuesoft video titled “Dumb Ways to Die Parody: New ICD-10 Codes to Try” being a particularly creative effort. Hopefully there’s a code for “getting an simple, annoying, and insanely catchy tune out of your head after watching a video,” referring not to Gangnam Style, but rather to the object of the parody, Dumb Ways to Die, which has hit 36 million YouTube views.
Weird News Andy has apparently emerged from his sun and sand hiatus to file this story about Vomiting Larry, a robot that simulates a barfing norovirus sufferer so scientist can figure out how far the virus can be spread. A set of the ‘bots, some sorostitutes, and streaming LMFAO music could pass for a homecoming weekend frat party.
WNA’s enthusiasm this week is infectious, as he injects the story of eight employees fired by IU Health Goshen Hospital (IN) for refusing to receive flu shots. WNA notes that one fired nurse questions why employees don’t have a choice but the shot is optional for patients.
Strange: a teacher who suffered spinal cord damage after abusing nitrous oxide for months sues the stores that sold it to him, claiming he’s now the champion of those whose illegal usage has harmed them. According to the manager of one of the head shops he’s suing, “I think it’s kind of a stupid lawsuit, personally. It’s like going to McDonald’s and suing them because you got fat because you ate it every day, or buying a nail gun and nailing your face or your foot.”
- Impact Advisors Recruitment Director Amy Reid is featured in a podcast about using social media for effective recruiting.
- eClinicalWorks hosts roadshows this month in Dallas and Miami to highlight Stage 2 MU requirements.
- ZirMed offers a free 60-day trail of its Analytics business solution to clients using its claims management and electronic remittance advice products.
- Fulcrum Methods publishes a case study featuring Community Medical Centers (CA) and its success using Fulcrum solutions to select a new HIT framework.
- CommVault’s Product Marketing Manager Emily Wojcik weighs in on integrated versus point level approaches to enterprise information archiving in a blog post.
- The Nashville Post names Agilum Healthcare Intelligence to its list of the top 25 technology companies in Nashville.
- An API Healthcare blog post discusses how healthcare staffing and scheduling solutions can help facilities focus on patient outcomes and cost reductions while tracking employees’ hours and skills.
- Care360’s ChartMaxx version 5.6 earns certification through the FairWarning Ready certification program.
- Santa Rosa Consulting announces its first Best in KLAS ranking, coming in at #5 in the Clinical Implementation Supportive segment with a score of 88.9.
EPtalk by Dr. Jayne
I rang in the New Year with a glitch, as the Google cloud somehow vaporized the post I sent to Mr. H on Monday. For those of you who assumed I was absent due to a little too much celebrating, thanks for thinking of me as your official HIStalk party girl. I learned this year that kissing exercises all 34 muscles in the face (thanks, Twitter!) so I hope everyone was able to get some exercise as the clock struck midnight.
It’s been amazingly busy at work this week, more so than I expected. People actually came in on Wednesday ready to work and didn’t seem as draggy as they usually are. Lots of chatter about the fiscal cliff though. I’m glad that the short-term patch does avoid the 27 percent Medicare payment cut that was looming, but it didn’t do much for the long-term problem of how we finance healthcare in the US. I’m sure there’s more drama to come as the new Congress is sworn in.
As we look at cutting healthcare costs, patients continue to switch from brand to generic medications and also from one generic version to another. A recent study finds that changes in pill color have an adverse effect on medication compliance. When the appearance of the medication changes, patients are less likely to take it as directed. I wonder if there’s a similar impact when EHR vendors change the colors and layouts of screens? Does it make us less facile as users, even subconsciously? I’m a huge fan of changing the user interface to make it more usable, but changing colors without good reason is just annoying. I experienced annoyance and distraction this summer when our ER tracking board inexplicably changed from blue to gray along with some backgrounds and icons that morphed for no discernable reason.
The AMA shares its list of the “most intriguing medical facts of 2012.” Highlights include:
- Laughter enhances a person’s intake of air and increases endorphins released by the brain.
- US rural areas have 25 percent of the population but only 9 percent of the physicians.
- One-third of new prescriptions never get filled.
- 58 percent of US office-based prescribers sent prescriptions electronically in 2011.
- Medical identity theft has become the fastest-growing type of identity theft in the world.
- 75 percent of physicians with an EHR say the system improved care.
- 61 percent of patients say they trust information posted by physicians on social media.
- More than 70 percent of staffers in medical offices say they feel rushed when taking care of patients.
- Conversion to ICD-10 will increase the number of code sets from 13,000 to 68,000.
- Chronic diseases account for up to 75 percent of US health spending.
- Up to 30 percent of US health care spending is spent on unnecessary tests and services.
Grant alert: Although ONC is avoiding formal governance for the Nationwide Health Information Network, grants will be offered to those involved in HIE governance to encourage them to develop and share best practices. Sharpen those pencils, folks.