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Monday Morning Update 2/17/14

February 15, 2014 News 1 Comment

2-15-2014 6-39-12 AM

From The PACS Designer: “Re: Another smart glasses solution. Researchers at Washington University it St. Louis have developed a solution that can help surgeons find all cancer cells. The technique uses custom software that makes cancerous cells glow blue by using a molecular imaging agent to give the cancer a unique color that can be viewed with special glasses.”

2-15-2014 4-45-37 PM

From Mark in Marketing: “Re: HIStalk interview tips. Refreshing! I work in marketing and even I hate marketing people.” I send people I’m going to an interview (or their handler) a tips sheet so they don’t waste my time, so Mark was complimenting me on that as he prepped his client. I’m really lucky because people want to be interviewed on HIStalk, so I get to make the rules in favor of readers. The bad interviews I’ve done weren’t for lack of trying. Some of my guidelines are:

  • I only interview CEOs because readers want to hear from the top person in a company who can talk about the broad strategic landscape, not a VP of sales pitching product.
  • Get on a landline, not a cell phone, and on a handset rather than a speakerphone. People never know how crappy they sound on a cell phone. It takes me an extra 1-2 hours to finish an interview transcription when the person ignores this advice, so now I just stop the interview and tell them to get on a landline or we’re done.
  • I use the CEO’s background to decide whether I’ll do an interview because if the person seems boring, it doesn’t matter how non-boring their company is.
  • Marketing and PR people can join the call, but can’t speak. I also don’t want to hear long pauses as the marketing people thrust boilerplate under the interviewee’s nose trying to get them to read it verbatim.
  • I don’t provide questions in advance and I don’t allow review after the fact. CEOs earn should be able to earn their paycheck without having someone else reviewing their every word for accuracy or intent.
  • I’m an industry person, so I won’t be asking the usual dumb reporter softball questions. It will be a conversation and I’ll ask whatever I think is interesting.
  • My first question is always an invitation to tell readers a little bit about the interviewee and the subject, the emphasis being “little bit.” I emphasize this strongly because in one interview, the executive spent literally 10 minutes answering that question, leaving me little time to ask anything else.
  • Nobody wants to read a company pitch, so put a lid on that and speak honestly about the industry as a whole.

2-15-2014 5-46-14 AM

Two-thirds of poll respondents say “Best in KLAS” products aren’t really the best ones. New poll to your right: does your business card list any certification credentials after your name? That means CPHIMS, CHCIO, PMP, etc. rather than educational credentials or professional licensure. 

My language pet peeve du jour: companies whose announcements say they have “more than 500 customers” or “more than 200 employees.” Either give us an exact number (“we have 502 customers”) or, better yet, just round down and skip the “more” part (“we have 500 customers”) and trust us not to think less of you because you have two fewer customers. Inga’s example was a company whose press release said its product is installed in “more than 87 hospitals.” Others: using the almost never necessary word “currently”; saying “utilize” instead of the simpler and equivalent “use”; using “leverage” for anything other than physics or finance topics; and using the non-word “anymore.”

2-15-2014 10-12-05 AM

Here’s something you need even if you don’t know it, especially with the HIMSS conference coming up when your phone’s battery will drain quickly trying to lock onto a cell signal. This little $30 gadget is an external charger for your smartphone. Charge it up and you can then recharge your iPhone 2-3 times, even while on the go (like on the exhibit hall floor). I used mine this week to recharge my phone when I lost electricity. Many choices exist, ranging from lipstick-sized models to big boys.

2-15-2014 4-07-20 PM

Here’s another thank you note from a teacher who HIStalk readers helped with a grant. I confess this was my favorite project of the several I funded – buying a lectern and supplies for the very poor school’s first National Junior Honor Society ceremony.

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

2-15-2014 9-37-43 AM
2-15-2014 9-38-53 AM

Upcoming Webinars

February 18 (Tuesday), 1:00 p.m. ET. Epic 2012 Training and Support: Building Your Team. Sponsored by MBA HealthGroup. The webinar will present a case study of creative staffing solutions for an Epic 2012 upgrade at an academic medical center, describing the institution’s challenge, its out-of-the-box solution, and the results it obtained working with a consulting firm.

February 19 (Wednesday), 1:00 p.m. ET. What is the Best Healthcare Data Warehouse Model for Your Organization? Choosing the right data model for your healthcare enterprise data warehouse (EDW) can be one of the most significant decisions you make in establishing your data warehousing and foundational analytics strategy for the future. The strengths and weaknesses of three primary data models will be discussed:

HIMSS Rundown

  • Our sponsor social event will be Sunday evening.
  • Lorre will be in our tiny HIStalk Booth #1995 all week saying hello and giving away fun trinkets. Stop by on your way to (or preferably from) the restroom, which is conveniently co-located.
  • HIStalkapalooza will be Monday evening.
  • We will use Lorre’s Twitter to tell you about cool stuff Inga, Dr. Jayne, and I find in roaming the exhibit hall, such as interesting giveaways or fun comestibles (the cake pops and freshly baked scones sound good).
  • Our HIMSS Guide describes what our sponsors will be featuring (and giving away).

For overachievers already plotting your candidacy for HIStalk King or Queen at HIStalkapalooza next Monday evening, our judges (Bonny Roberts, Dave Lareau, and Jennifer Dennard) have put together some tips for you. Bonny provides an overview:

Since the secret is out, I can hardly be “Mr. H’s Secret Crush” two years in a row. Fortunately, I will be hitting HIStalkapalooza with another goal in mind:  crowning this year’s King and Queen! Many of you may be wondering, “How do I win?” Granted winning may be tough, but being in the running is EASY. 

  1. Arrive at the House of Blues on Monday night dressed to the nines. 
  2. Be sure to catch the eye of one of three esteemed judges. Don’t worry, we will be sashed and easy to locate. 
  3. Strut, preen and smile!

Speaking of HIStalkapalooza, these are the folks bringing it to you.

2-15-2014 7-09-31 AM

Imprivata is the primary sponsor, meaning they are writing a check with lots of zeroes and doing all the planning. Make sure to thank them. It’s a huge financial and logistical commitment given the visibility and size of HIStalkapalooza.

2-15-2014 7-12-07 AM
2-15-2014 7-14-46 AM
2-15-2014 7-11-22 AM
2-15-2014 7-13-39 AM
2-15-2014 7-16-01 AM

The support of HIStalkapalooza’s co-sponsors (Greenway, Hill-Rom, Nordic, RFIDeas, and VMware) allows us to provide some really nice extras that you’ll appreciate at the event. Three of these five, like Imprivata, are also HIStalk Platinum sponsors and I appreciate them even more (Greenway, Nordic, and VMware.)

2-15-2014 6-44-46 AM

The Valley Hospital (NJ) decides to upgrade from Meditech Magic to 6.1 instead of choosing other finalist Epic, giving the company a win in a bed size (450) that usually goes to Epic or Cerner.

I told ReadyDock Founder Dave Engelhardt last year that he should create a video showing how the company’s mobile device disinfection system works. He’s doing that, but in the mean time, he whipped up a little HIMSS promo video that’s fun. They will also disinfect your device in your booth at the conference, which would be even more fun if there was a way to show what’s growing on it beforehand since I see them used in the bathroom all the time.

The US Patient Office grants a cloning patent to a Korean researcher whose work was found to be criminally fraudulent 10 years ago, in essence granting him a  broad patent for something that doesn’t exist. The Patent Office says its system operates on an honor code and its examiners can’t verify patent claims, adding that while it was aware of the researcher’s history, the patent application complied with all laws.

2-15-2014 7-42-58 AM

Vermont lawmakers are upset that the state’s new 25-bed psychiatric will open this summer using a combination of paper and electronic medical records. The state couldn’t reach an agreement with the incumbent EHR vendor and also noted that the product didn’t have an integrated pharmacy module. It then tried to piggyback the hospital on Fletcher Allen Health Care’s Epic system, but decided it wasn’t worth the $3 million upfront cost and $600,000 in annual maintenance. The state is preparing an RFP and will use its old systems in the mean time. Legislators are also unhappy that the hospital will cost $20 million per year to operate.

2-15-2014 7-45-25 AM

Federal technology magazine FCW profiles the VA’s telemedicine program, which delivered 1.7 million episodes of care in 2013 and is growing 22 percent per year. According to a VA executive, “It’s not just a question of saying, have we got the telecommunications and have we got the clinical model? We then have to think about how we have to train the clinicians to be able to do it. We have to think about how we have to put help desk support for both patients and clinicians in place. The volume of care we’re providing is such that we’re providing care that’s mission critical, and we roll it out with that in mind.” The article also mentions that Alaska’s tribal health system is a big telemedicine user and its CIO expects the EHR to run telemedicine services directly at some point, but for now the system’s 28 EHRs don’t communicate with each other. According to the CIO, “Our goal is to make telemedicine and EHRs look like one system to the clinician.” Another issue with the VA’s national rollout is that broadband service isn’t available everywhere and 45 percent of the VA’s patients live in rural areas.

2-15-2014 8-12-12 AM

2-15-2014 8-15-23 AM

The local New Hampshire newspaper profiles two acclaimed doctors who are retiring in their mid-60s. Peter Mason, MD isn’t a fan of professional communication via email and says the electronic chart is full of unnecessary insurance-mandated information and boilerplate notes, concluding, “We’ve lost the narrative of the medical record.”Mark Nunlist, MD of White River Family Practice (above) saw the value of the team approach and technology when he realized he wasn’t reminding patients to get tetanus shots. Now the practice is looking for population health management software and trying to find $25,000 to improve its EHR interface with Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s systems. The practice, an eClinicalWorks user, won the 2013 Ambulatory HIMSS Davies Award and will be recognized at the HIMSS conference.

2-15-2014 8-51-01 AM

In Canada, Alberta Health Services blocks Web streaming video after employees watching the Olympics slow down its network. Interim CIO Penny Rae’s email to AHS’s 95,000 employees says, “We do not have unlimited Internet bandwidth capacity. Since we have a limited ability to prioritize the Internet traffic, video streaming competes for the same resources as a clinical or business system would. When large amounts of video are streaming through the Internet gateway, all applications that depend on that are at risk of slowdown. Patient care is our priority and we need to ensure that our core services have the capacity they need to run as expected. You can help by catching up on the Olympic coverage from home and refraining from using the Internet for personal use … Thanks for your understanding of this and in the meantime, we join you in cheering on our Olympians! GO CANADA GO!”

A Greek news portal reports that Papageorgiou General Hospital will install a cell phone blocking system in its OR to prevent surgeons from talking on their phones while operating.

In Ireland, at least five hospitals may lose 20 percent of their funding for failing to comply with requirements that limit lavish executive salaries.

Not healthcare related, but bizarre: a former state judge in Alaska sues the state’s bar association, saying its members hazed him mercilessly after noticing that his 2007 appointment letter from Governor Sarah Palin thanked him for his “pubic service” and suggested that his appointment was sexually motivated. He says the typo caused him to experience stress and medical problems and caused him to lose his re-election bid the next year. The bar association has asked the Supreme Court to order the former judge to submit to a psychological exam to determine if he’s fit to practice law.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.


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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Re: Poll on Certs and Credentials. Even though I have both the PMP and CPHIMS certs, I don’t use them after my name on business cards or LinkedIn. They are on my resume only as certifications achieved as I never really liked all of the extra letters. They are only part of the professional package…and can sometimes pigeon hole you into specific job opportunities. For example. I’ve heard/read that many start-ups won’t hire folks that tout their PMPs (or even MBAs) as these credentials convey a lack of flexibility or creativity.

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