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September 10, 2013 News 5 Comments

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9-10-2013 9-30-03 PM

Healthcare learning and performance improvement systems vendor HealthStream acquires Baptist Leadership Group, a consulting practice owned by Baptist Health Care in Pensacola, FL, for $8.5 million. The company also announced that the health system will use its talent management software.

Reader Comments

inga_small From Warrior: “Re: telling clients about unethical sales tactics after quitting a vendor job. The answer to the question is an easy one. Take the severance package and agree to keep the pie-hole closed. Any unethical sales techniques will eventually reveal themselves. A couple of years ago I was a victim of senior management lies and deceit, to say nothing of what was being done to clients. I quit without calling customers or the competition regarding the egregious business practices. Three months after I resigned, several of the morally bankrupt executives were shown the door with very generous golden parachutes. Blood money – what goes around, comes around. My hands are clean!” My take: unless a former employer was doing something illegal as opposed to something unethical, keep the dirty secrets to yourself. If you were one of the “good guys,” your departure will make enough of a statement.

From More Cow Bells: “Re: Sutter EHR downtime. The spokesperson cited the uptime percentage as 99.4. It bothers me that the systems handling the clinical and financial information of our hospitals are estimated to be unavailable for more than 52 hours per year. I’m not sure any other industry that deals with public safety and well-being would tolerate being down an hour a week (air traffic control?) What about striving for the old standard of five nines?”

9-10-2013 9-37-46 PM

From Dirk Diggler: “Re: Sutter EHR downtime. You mentioned news articles whose come-on headlines don’t deliver anything but an advertiser click. Here’s one.” A HIMSS-owned publication lures readers in with the cutesy and eventually misleading headline above. The article it sits astride contains nothing but shallow information extracted from old press releases about Sutter’s Epic (actually Citrix) downtime. When you finally read down through an extra click to Page 2 (banking an extra click to impress advertisers), the healthcare IT expert cited is the hospital’s nursing union rep, who offered three suggestions: (a) train people on downtime procedures; (b) communicate well; and (c) get nurses involved in system design. You can decide whether the advice is more insulting to the healthcare IT experts targeted by the publication than the article itself. At least the headline didn’t start with a number (“Eight Reasons Apple is Really Cool”) or require clicking an idiotic slideshow of unrelated photos lifted from other sites. I don’t like getting fooled and I hate wasting time, so I stop reading sites that promise more useful information than they deliver.

9-10-2013 9-41-15 PM

From Not Intuit: “Re: Intuit Health. Fifty percent staff cuts today, including me. All seniors leaders except for the product development lead gone.” Unverified, but the source is not anonymous. The former Medfusion’s name is still Intuit Health temporarily, but it’s a private company again after being bought back by founder Steve Malik a couple of weeks ago. My August 27 interview with him is here.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

9-10-2013 7-15-53 PM 

Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor PatientSafe Solutions. The San Diego-based company offers smart point-of-care mobile solutions for the future of accountable care, delivering measurable safety and quality improvements that fit into care team workflows. The company’s flagship PatientTouch system, with 70 implementations, offers iPhone-powered software solutions to eliminate harm, reduce waste, and improve productivity. New York-Presbyterian Hospital chose PatientTouch a few months ago and Parkview Medical Center (CO) recently extended its use and integrated it with Meditech 6.0. Thanks to PatientSafe Solutions for supporting HIStalk.

I found this YouTube video on PatientSafe’s PatientTouch.

Upcoming HIStalk Webinars:

The Transition to ICD-10: Building the Bridge as You Walk on It (Thursday, September 12, 2:00 Eastern)
Using Infrastructure and Application Monitoring to Assure an Optimal User Experience  (Thursday, September 19, 1:00 Eastern)

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Disclosure management services company MRO Corp. acquires the assets of MTT Enterprises, a release-of-information service provider.

9-10-2013 5-43-06 PM

Santa Rosa Consulting completes its acquisition of IT security company EGIS Systems and renames it Fortified Health Solutions.

ZappRx, a developer of a mobile e-prescribing platform, raises $1 million in seed funding lead by Atlas Venture and Life Sciences Angel Network. 

9-11-2013 6-05-10 AM

Scotland-based Craneware says its revenue and EPS were up for the year despite not hitting its target of 1-2 big-hospital sales that can be worth up to $20 million each.

A Forbes editorial urges Nuance to put Carl Icahn on its board instead of fighting him off with a poison pill provision. Reasons: (a) financial results and management guidance have been poor; (b) Nuance shareholders should want Icahn involved given his past performance; (c) it can’t hurt; (d) Nuance doesn’t seem to have a strategy other than acquiring other companies; (e) CEO Paul Ricci is overpaid, having made $78 million in the past three years; and (f) the company should break up into separate business to make its Siri-type voice offerings more attractive, or as the article says, “If I’m Apple, I don’t want a medical transcription company with a bunch of transcription workers in India, but I’d be very interested in just the mobile speech piece.”


9-10-2013 9-44-03 PM

Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center (VA) selects Versus Advantages Asset Tracking and Fleet Management.

Kmart will offer LDM Group’s PharmacistCare and CarePoints messaging solutions to pharmacists and patients to improve medication adherence.


9-10-2013 5-44-58 PM

Healthcare consulting firm Decision Resources Groups hires Courtney Morris (Truven Health Analytics) as EVP of solutions.

9-10-2013 9-21-01 AM

Geeta Nayyar, MD (AT&T) is named CMIO of PatientPoint.

9-10-2013 5-47-56 PM

Clarity Health Services names Karlynn Billings (McKesson Specialty Health) VP of business development.

Announcements and Implementations

9-10-2013 9-46-14 PM

Children’s Hospital Colorado will extend its use of T-System’s ED facility coding solution to two new locations that will open in 2014.

A total of 101 Ohio hospitals are participating in the Medicity-powered CliniSync HIE.

JIT Healthcare Marketing launches to offer ad-hoc marketing, PR, and design services with a simplified payment process.

Mediware will invest $2.8 million on enhancements to its rehabilitation and respiratory care electronic documentation solutions.

Memorial Health Hermann Health System (TX) takes almost 600 providers live on eClinicalWorks EHR and adds an additional 200 user licenses.

Infor announces GA of Infor Implementation Accelerator for Healthcare for the management of financials, human capital, and supply chain processes. Infor also releases Infor EMS Integrated Healthcare suite, which provides a real-time exchange of data between EMS and hospitals.

9-10-2013 7-00-01 PM

ImageTrend releases Version 3 of its patient registry system.

Liaison Healthcare announces the launch of EMR-Link, which allows clinicians to view lab and rad results reported through its hub on any smartphone.

Corepoint Health adds Direct Project protocol support to the latest version of its integration engine, giving customers a simpler way to exchange information with external organizations.

ICA announces its SmartAlerts service, which identifies high-risk patients in real time to reduce readmissions.

Government and Politics

9-10-2013 6-10-06 PM 9-10-2013 6-10-40 PM 9-10-2013 6-11-08 PM
9-10-2013 6-11-43 PM 9-10-2013 6-12-12 PM 9-10-2013 6-12-41 PM

The Meaningful Use Workgroup of ONC’s Health IT Policy Committee plans functionality goals for MU Stage 3.

ONC releases “Certification Guidance for EHR Technology Developers Serving Health Care Providers Ineligible for Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Payments,” designed to help developers of EHRs for providers who don’t usually fall under HITECH (mental and behavioral health, non-acute care settings) design systems that are interoperable with HITECH-influenced EHRs.

Innovation and Research

A study published in JAMA finds that implementation of EHRs  Kaiser Permanente Northern California in 2004-2009 was associated with a slight but statistically significant reduction in ED visits (519 vs. 490 visits per 1,000 patients) and hospitalizations (251 vs. 239 per 1,000 patients) for diabetic patients. Office visit rates exhibited no association.  Another JAMA published study finds that EHR-powered small practices produced slightly better outcomes working under a pay-for-performance program.

9-10-2013 7-38-37 PM

Mike Wasser creates the very cool BloomAPI v 0.1.0, a free self-hostable API that queries the automatically updated latest version of the National Provider Identifier database. It also supports simple and complex online queries. You’ll be interested if you want to look up doctors in real time by name, ZIP Code, address, or NPI.

9-10-2013 7-58-14 PM

Brian Norris (@Geek_Nurse) follows up his Tableau-powered MU attestation slicer and dicer with one on data breaches. He seems to enjoy tearing into large, publicly available data sets to provide new insights and the results are cool, so he might accept suggestions (that’s where the breach idea came from).

9-10-2013 8-03-10 PM

A keyword-based search of online help wanted ads finds that healthcare IT-related job postings have increased by 86 percent since HITECH passed.

Southern Polytechnic State University in Atlanta will host the CDC Health Game Jam September 20-22, challenging entrants to quickly produce games that address CDC’s health priorities, such as disease prevention and healthy lifestyles.


The European Patent Office will grant PeriGen a patent that covers specialized techniques for displaying patient data to help OBs recognize trends and deviations from normal conditions.

Streamline Health Solutions releases its dual coding enhancement for the eCAC and eAbstract applications that allows users to assign ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes simultaneously.


A HIMSS Analytics survey on clinical and business intelligence finds that only 9 percent of respondents plan to buy a dedicated solution that integrates with their EHR, but among those who do, Truven, Elsevier, and Cognos, all of which significantly trail buying whatever their EHR vendor offers.  

9-10-2013 8-16-10 PM

A debt collection agency that previously worked for the University of Chicago Physicians Group announces that an incorrect security setting on its Web server opened up information about 1,344 still-active claims to anyone who happened to find it. The problem was reported by a debtor who noticed that they could see the information of other debtors.

Hospital bond ratings may suffer from the costs and problems introduced by an Epic implementation, but the bonds of Dane County, WI (home of Epic) enjoy a AA+ rating from Fitch because of Epic’s employee growth.

Speaking of Fitch bond ratings, Mary Washington Healthcare (VA) gets a low rating and downgrade after a $28 million profitability hit in FY2012 due to a billing systems conversion and another $2 million drain due to CPOE implementation, causing the hospital to write off $25 million. I believe both systems are Siemens Soarian.

Weird News Andy wonders what the funniest or most interesting things providers have experienced from their patients as in this story, where a man coming out from surgical anesthesia notices a woman next to his bed and says, “Man, you are eye candy. Whoa. You may be the prettiest woman I’ve ever seen. Are you a model?” When reminded that the eye candy in question was in fact his wife of six years, he exclaimed, “"Oh my God, I hit the jackpot.”

Sponsor Updates

  • Capario announces it is ready to begin ICD-10 testing and offers customers an online ICD-10 submitter testing tool at no charge.
  • Aprima Medical integrates NoteSwift into its EHR system.
  • A Forbes article on the use of IT to advance the delivery of healthcare highlights QPID Health, which it calls a “promising startup software development firm.”
  • Convergent Revenue Cycle Management will offer RCM solutions to Siemens customers.
  • HIMSS Analytics reports that Imprivata OneSign is the most widely selected SSO solution among hospitals using EpicCare.
  • ZirMed will offer tools to help providers transition to ICD-10.
  • ATT offers a white paper discussing how providers can use a collaborative care approach to earn incentives and prepare for accountable care.
  • Sumit K. Nagpal, president and CEO of Alere Accountable Care Solutions, shares his thoughts on how the use of technology can improve patient outcomes.
  • Etransmedia CEO Vikram Agrawal discusses the lack of access to qualified programmers.
  • Greenway Medical adopts the EHR Developer Code of Conduct issued by the HIMSS EHR Association.
  • Divurgent posts tips for go-live personnel on how to make the most of relationships with recruiters.
  • HIStalk sponsors listed on the 2013 InformationWeek Top 500 include: ATT, CommVault, Emdeon, Informatica, InterSystems, McKesson, MModal, NTT Data,  TriZetto and Xerox.
  • The CSI Companies acquires IT staffing firm Anteo Group.
  • The GE Foundation awards The Guideline Advantage an $880,000 grant to provide 12 FQHCs with quality improvement technology from Forward Health.
  • Billian’s HealthDATA hosts an #HITchicks tweet chat September 19 to discuss four gender-related HIT topics.
  • Nuance partners with Hyland Software to enable eCopy ShareScan to scan directly into Hyland’s OnBase EMC system.
  • Benson Area Medical Center (NC) reports that it has reduced IT costs and improved security of patient data by utilizing the e-MDs EHR software within the ClearDATA HealthDATA cloud platform.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. In reference to the Sutter downtime and the comments above: There are no computer systems that do not suffer downtime. It is a necessary evil for improvements and unfortunately sometimes happens unexpectedly. Name another industry that has to integrate apples and oranges and make them think they are the same fruit. The complexity of healthcare technology is unmatched and the magic the networking and other IT departments are required to perform on a daily basis is unbelievable. My hat is off to Sutter for being as transparent as they have been under such intense scrutiny. Any one who has lived the Healthcare IT life can identify and empathize with what they are going through.

  2. @CIOSuccess – I spent a few years in the Army signal corps. I see a lot of parallels between the health IT networks and military communications networks. Both are complex, operate in challenging high-pressure environments, have demanding end users, and require a near constant uptime. In ’05 we deployed a hubspoke network with 3 sub-hubs and 144 nodes. None of the equipment was standard military, it was all newly fielded technology acquired from from different civilian companies and piecemealed together to provide a “state-of-the-art” infrastructure that was really just a huge pain to maintain. Some of the networks were pushing top secret comms over heavily encrypted lines that needed to take near constant encryption updates. Maintenance was a constant exercise to prevent system outages. This was an environment where keeping equipment cool enough to operate when it was sitting on a tarmac in the deserts of Iraq in August was a function of IT. That network was live 3 weeks after our division got into country and it stayed live at a measured 99.986% uptime from that point on because people understood the critical “above all else don’t let this fail” nature of the network they were responsible for maintaining.

    Still, if what happened at Sutter had happened in country, some folks would have lost their jobs while other might have lost their lives. The same could easily be said about Sutter. In an environment like that, there’s no room for the perspective that the system failed but they did their best in a tough environment and were honest about their failures so good for them and their team. Their job is maintaining network integrity. All that matters is that they keep the network green no matter what, that’s the only measure of relevance. 99.4 percent uptime is a flat out joke quoted by a Sutter rep that knows its a number that will sound good to the general public, but it won’t – and shouldn’t – impress IT folks that have chosen a career in guarding networks. The Sutter outage was not Epic’s fault nor was it Citrix’s fault, it was Sutter’s fault Citrix is a virtual environment that allows clinicians to access the EHR, but it shouldn’t be the only means of access for the clinicians to get to their patient’s charts. The EHR itself wasn’t even down and people couldn’t get to it. That’s a design problem not a uncontrollable system failure, and so its really not so easily excused. Health IT needs to own network uptime challenges and deliver on them. Until we do, we’ll have credibility issues.

  3. Re:questionable sales tactics

    I have noticed that all too often, we seem to reward unethical behavior. Maybe next time when we hear someone or a company acting unethically on the news, we should ask ourselves what incentives he had to act that way.

  4. I read through the JAMA article you referenced regarding the influence of KP Northern California’s EHR implementation on utilization of services, and you omitted an important characteristic of the patients studied–they were diabetics, not all comers. To reduce ED and hospitalization rates in diabetics is more challenging (and arguably more important) than reducing it in the overall population. Beyond being the simple product of having an EHR, it could reflect improved population management capabilities enabled by an EHR.

    [From Mr H] You’re right — I had the diabetic patient part in there, but somehow lost it when I was being finicky with the wording. I’ve added it back. Thanks.

  5. RE: Unethical sales. I’m surprised no one has expressed discomfort at the thought of taking hush money from an unethical company. I agree that contacting clients after you’ve left a job to tell them they got screwed isn’t the right move, but – especially in the Internet age – there are other ways to pull back the veil on unethical business practices, aren’t there?

    I have never been in that situation, so I’m not certain what I would do, but I find it troubling that the comments have been pretty much one-sided. Is acting on principle really that passe? Don’t people look in the mirror any more?

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