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March 13, 2014 News 1 Comment

Top News


Validic, which offers a platform for accessing data from mobile health devices and wearables, secures a $1.25 million convertible note.

Reader Comments


From Professional Zac: “Re: Mat Kendall. Has given ONC exemplary service in leading its workforce, REC. and rural programs as director of the Office of Provider Adoption Support. He is leaving.” Mat is one of those people who gets a lot done, not only running those ONC programs, but before that working for New York’s EHR program and before that leading a FQHC. Like everybody who works for ONC, he sacrificed income and lifestyle for public service since it’s generally true that only low-level government employees fare better than they might in the private sector. I haven’t heard where he’s going.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

inga_small This week on HIStalk Practice: Practice Wise CEO Julie McGovern addresses EHR users who refuse to admit they might be causing their own system problems. Users of drchrono’s free EHR will be rushing to apply for MU hardship exemptions after the company announces that its Stage 2 certified release won’t be ready until  “later this year.” A Rand study finds that physicians recognize the value of EHRs in concept but believe they undermine professional satisfaction and can negatively impact patient care. Between 2011 and 2012, the percentage of EPs participating in  Medicare’s MU program dropped 16 percent and the percentage dropping out of Medicaid’s program fell 61 percent. CareCloud CEO Albert Santalo discusses a possible IPO, company growth, and how its offerings differ from athenahealth’s. While you are checking out the latest in ambulatory HIT news, take a moment to subscribe to the email updates so you’ll never miss a post. Thanks for reading.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Proteus Digital Health announces large-scale trials and plans for a new manufacturing plant in the UK. Nintendo will refocus its strategic direction to capitalize on the growing health and wellness market. Validic raises $1.25 million to expand its mHealth integration engine.


Last chance to help me out plus be entered into a drawing for three $50 Amazon gift certificates: complete my reader survey before I close it Saturday. I appreciate it.

Upcoming Webinars

March 19 (Wednesday), 1:00 p.m. ET. The Top Trends That Matter in 2014. Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenters: Bobbi Brown, VP and Paul Horstmeier, SVP, Health Catalyst. Fresh back from HIMSS14, learn about 26 trends that all healthcare executives ought to be tracking. Understand the impact of these trends, be able to summarize them to an executive audience, and learn how they will increase the need for healthcare data analytics.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Telus Ventures invests $3 million in PatientSafe Solutions and becomes the exclusive reseller of the PatientTouch point-of-care mobile system in Canada.


Covisint announces preliminary Q4 revenue of $24-$25.5 million, short of estimates, and appoints Sam Inman (Comarco Wireless Technologies) as interim CEO.


Accretive Health says it will probably not meet the SEC’s deadline to file restated financial results from the last three years, which will likely cause its stock to be delisted from the NYSE next week. 


General Atlantic is said to be the frontrunner to make a $100 million investment for a 30 percent stake in 1,400-employee healthcare IT services firm CitiusTech, which seeks capital to fund growth in Europe and the Middle East.


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Validic hires John Turnburke (MedFusion) as SVP of business development, Chris Edwards (Allscripts) as VP of marketing, and Ben Clark (Allscripts) as VP of operations.


Janet Dillione, executive vice president and general manager of Nuance’s healthcare division, will step down on March 21, according to an SEC filing.


Richard Paula, MD (Tampa General Hospital) is named CMIO at Shriners Hospital for Children (FL).


Brian Ahier (Advanced Health Information Exchange Resources) is named director of standards and government affairs for Medicity.


Connance names Michael Puffe (Huron Consulting Group) SVP of sales.

Announcements and Implementations


MMRGlobal announces a confidential patent agreement with Cerner relating to MMR’s MyMedicalRecords PHR portfolio, including the one above submitted in 2005.


OCHIN and Health Choice Network launch Acuere QOL, a data aggregation, analytics, and quality solution powered by the Caradigm Intelligence Platform that will help CHCs and PCAs manage populations and improve quality.

PatientsLikeMe launches a media campaign urging people to share their medical information. How the for-profit PatientsLikeMe makes money: selling the medical information people share to drug and device manufacturers.

Government and Politics


A GAO report recommends that HHS pay more attention to the reliability of EHR data used for quality measures and use them to measure progress.


BIDMC CIO John Halamka reports that the ED has been beta-testing Google Glass since December to view the patient dashboard during examinations. He says its greatest strength is being able to provide real-time updates at the bedside and will become valuable when tied to location services.

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Executives of three Madison, WI-area healthcare IT companies were among the 35 invitees who were briefed by White House and HHS officials on healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship last week, including a session with National Coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD.  The companies were Nordic Consulting, Forward Health Group, and healthfinch.  


Speaking of the White House meeting, HIStalkapalooza winner and Nordic Consulting President Drew Madden broke out socks appropriate to the occasion. It’s apparent that he has worn them before, with the obvious question being, “To where?”


I recently mentioned that I rarely complete a HIMSS member survey because the are so long and poorly designed. I just received one asking for feedback on the annual conference that ran eight online pages and 1,100 words. Needless to say my incompletion record remains intact.

A Fitch Ratings report says hospitals may face weakened credit ratings as a result of their ICD-10 conversion.

The Department of Homeland Security warns users of the now-unsupported Windows XP that they should at least replace Internet Explorer with a more secure browser for which security updates will be issued.

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons will connect its clinical database to CMS claims data, allowing researchers to track readmissions, second procedures, and long-term survival.

Weird News Andy wonders if the hospital gets a commission on tickets as local police install a red light camera near the ED of University Hospital of Tamarac (FL), snaring at least one patient experiencing chest pains. WNA quotes a related story in which most people with chest pain in Northern Utah drive themselves to the ED, slowing their treatment since ambulances can run ECGs during transport and alert the cath lab team to be ready at the door.

Sponsor Updates


  • Shareable ink Founder/CTO Steve Hau will run in the Boston Marathon on April 21 and will personally match up to $10,000 in donations for victims and survivors of the 2013 bombing. 
  • Capsule Tech will showcase Capsule SmartLinx Medical Device Information System at the American Organization of Nursing Executives annual meeting in Orlando.
  • Fujifilm Medical Systems and Fujifilm SonoSite will participate in the National Consortium of Breast Center Meeting in Las Vegas March 15-19.
  • Perceptive Software launches v10.3 of its Enterprise and Workgroup Search.
  • Holon Solutions and Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals (TORCH) will build a health information exchange (HIE) that will connect North Texas Medical Center (TX) to local clinics.
  • HealthCare Anytime offers two-minute video overviews of their enterprise and SaaS portals.
  • NTT Data is doubling the size of its US headquarters in Plano, TX.
  • Seven healthcare CIOs shared strategies for managing IT cost while maximizing its value at the CIO Summit in Chicago co-sponsored by Impact Advisors.
  • NexxRad Teleradiology Partners selects Merge PACS to integrate with its NexxRIS.
  • ZirMed partners with Precyce/HealthStream to offer client ICD-10 education to the ambulatory market.
  • WiserTogether and Truven Health Analytics partner to help consumers make better healthcare decisions.
  • Porter Research President Cynthia Porter shares her thoughts on the Health IT Marketing and PR Conference in Las Vegas April 7-8.
  • pMD announces that all of its new mobile charge capture implementations will be ICD-10 compliant.

EPtalk  by Dr. Jayne


I was pleasantly surprised in my personal Yahoo mail account this morning when they returned a feature that was taken away with its redesign last fall. Although I’m glad I can now see my folders and their contents, I still wish they would bring back the tabs across the top that allowed multiple emails to be open at the same time. They also followed up with an email response to my original complaint letting me know. After the original annoyance of the upgrade, I moved most of my real email activity to Gmail, so pretty much all I use Yahoo for anymore is coupons and shopping promotions.


Inga tipped me off to this piece regarding physician professional satisfaction. The study showed multiple factors as having a positive impact on physician professional satisfaction:

  • Perception of whether high-quality care is being delivered
  • Control over work environment, pace, and content
  • Common values shared with leadership
  • Respectful professional relationships
  • Fair and predictable incomes

Not surprisingly, these have more to do with how practices and physician organizations run rather than with EHR. Although there are problematic EHRs and other IT systems out there, my sense over the last few years is that physicians often use them as a scapegoat. My local colleagues have voiced the thought that they can have some degree of control over EHR (refusing to use the system, demanding de-installation, blaming the vendor) but that some of the other factors (control over work environment, salary issues) are simply untouchable.

Thinking about this from a pure behavioral health standpoint, this is classic behavior. When people experience trauma, they tend to cling to the things they can control even when the rest of their lives are out of control.

Although the timing of the study didn’t allow assessment of the impact of the Affordable Care Act, I see a lot of physicians ready to use it as a scapegoat even though the majority of its changes have not yet impacted anything other than the access issue. I liked the fact that the study had a qualitative portion, which included open-ended interviews rather than just survey-type items. Those types of questions allow respondents to share direct responses without feeling the need to fit them into a predefined response box.

Unfortunately, the responses may also fail to allow full understanding of or exploration of the results. Physicians stated that “their EHRs required them to perform tasks that could be done more efficiently by clerks and transcriptionists.”

Since I spend a lot of time working on efficient clinician workflow, I would have wanted a follow up question. Is it really the software that is requiring the workflow, or is it also impacted by organizational policies that require physician data entry where it is not necessary? Is it impacted by continued administrative cost cutting that forces work onto physicians because they are perceived as “free labor” since the hospital doesn’t bill for their services as community physicians? Of course those would be rather leading questions, but that’s what I see a lot of in our metropolitan area.

Due to my CMIO responsibilities, I cobble together my clinical experience at several different hospitals. Two of them have the same EHR vendor, yet the user experience difference is night and day. One system has been configured to require endless busywork. The order sets are poor, in a confusing order, and missing seemingly key components. Physicians are required (by administrative decision) to key a PIN for each individual order rather than being able to authenticate a cohort of orders at once. That kind of thing is fixable through educating the decision makers and ensuring that physicians are part of that decision-making process.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of bad EHRs out there. It’s hard to sort that out though when poor leadership, incomplete training, and lack of understanding can cripple a perfectly good system. We need to remember that there are plenty of “causal” factors to go around, In order to truly deliver physician usability, we have to address both the hardware/software issues and how the system is implemented and governed.

In addition to EHRs, physicians cited multiple sources of dissatisfaction:

  • Obstacles to care, such as unsupportive practice leadership or payers refusing to cover recommended services
  • Income instability
  • Burdensome regulations, including Meaningful Use

Unfortunately, these aspects of physician practice are mostly outside our control. We can’t control payers and spend countless hours of uncompensated time trying to get care for our patients. We can see more patients, but we can’t control the wide variation in payments for the same service that we see across payers. We certainly can’t control the regulatory environment.

So what do we do? We circle back to the EHR as something we think we can have some control over.

I don’t have any good answers here and wish I did. I’d love to have a magic wand or even a sparkly Band-Aid to make it all better. How do we empower physicians to be part of the solution? How do we help administrators make rational decisions around system selection and implementation? How do we get them to share the reins with providers? Email me.


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: “I recently mentioned that I rarely complete a HIMSS member survey because the are so long and poorly designed. I just received one asking for feedback on the annual conference that ran eight online pages and 1,100 words. Needless to say my incompletion record remains intact.”

    Hello? Hello? Bueller? Bueller? Is anybody listening?

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Reader Comments

  • jp: I'm with you on the icebreakers and other "interacting for the sake of interacting" types of things....
  • 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...
  • Lisa Hahn, RN, Org Management/Clinical Strategist: I have seen a mixed bag of tricks for these situations. There is no specific singular “path” for for every organiza...

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