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Monday Morning Update 12/22/14

December 21, 2014 News 7 Comments

Top News


HTC Global acquires CareTech Solutions. Both companies are in Troy, MI. I reported on November 24 (tipped off by a reader) that the Federal Trade Commission had approved the acquisition.

Reader Comments


From Vermonty: “Re: UVM and patient poaching. The fertility clinic’s staff accessed the EHR looking for candidates to contact and one of those patients complained, triggering an EHR audit that revealed the unauthorized access. Lucky for UVM it was fewer than 500 patients. UVM has filed complaints with the state and the medical society and is suing the practice. This will get ugly.” Unverified.

From The PACS Designer: “Re: health clinic of the future. Forbes had an interesting article about data inhaling, where patients and everyone in the health treatment process work from the same platform. The key element of the concept is everyone has ownership of the same data.” I didn’t get anything from it other than some very brief and generic pie in the sky thoughts, but to each his own.

Anonymous Reader Report: Being a Patient in my Own Hospital System

My husband has a tendency  for vertigo. We called 911 for a severe episode and he was taken to the ED at 10 p.m. They said the CT scan showed a brain anomaly (which our PCP later said was normal) and sent us to Hospital B at 4 a.m.  We ended up in the stroke unit, which we found out only because of the sign on the door – nobody told us. The neurologist said he was OK and discharged him. Radiology showed up at noon to do a test that we hadn’t been told about.

I started getting anxious at 4 p.m. and asked to see the hospitalist, but was told she was too busy. I paged the nurse supervisor and she could get no action either. At 9 p.m. I asked to speak to another nurse supervisor and again was told that the hospitalists was too busy. I gave up at 10 p.m and went home since my husband was feeling OK.

The next morning he was served a breakfast of straight sugar and carbs as a non-insulin dependent diabetic. Not surprisingly, his blood sugar showed a little high and they gave him insulin, which we objected to. At 9 a.m. the neurologist poked his head in wondering why we were still there after 24 hours of no contact with a physician. I again called the nurse supervisor, who finally did get the hospitalist to say he could go home.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Two-thirds of poll respondents say ONC should focus on interoperability, with less than 4 percent excited at the prospect of an ONC-run health IT safety center. New poll to your right or here: as 2014 draws to a close, are you personally happier now than a year ago?


Hot coffee was the easy winner in my poll asking which beverage readers most preferred to drink at work, racking up 56 percent of the vote. It was followed by water (16 percent) and hot tea (14 percent). The least-favorite drink from my list was non-diet soda, with only 2 percent of respondents favoring it.

Reluctant Epic User provided his own suggestion for those whose employer doesn’t provide free java: “Use only fresh, unground medium roast beans, get an AeroPress, a grinder, and a tea kettle. Leave the milk in the cows and the sweeteners at the chemical plant.” The $25 Aeropress coffee and espresso maker has 3,300 Amazon reviews and a rating of 4.5 stars, which sounds great other than it’s a bit of a pain compared to turning on the coffee maker, it makes only  four cups (which is probably really two of the size I like) per pressing, and you would have to keep the extra amount warm yourself.

Here’s the video from Ed Marx’s book launch last week for “Extraordinary Tales from a Rather Ordinary Guy.”

Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • An Advisory Board analyst’s review of Eligible Hospital attestation numbers for Meaningful Use Stage 2 finds that 66 percent that are eligible to attest have already done so, projecting that 95 percent will have achieved MU Stage 2 by the time information from the last quarter of 2014 is available.
  • Consumer Watchdog urges Californians to opt out of the state’s HIE because the group hasn’t explained its privacy policy clearly.
  • Sony Pictures warns that HIPAA-protected information from its health plan was stolen by the hackers responsible for its huge data breach.
  • Karen DeSalvo gets a new employee as Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA is confirmed as surgeon general by the Senate.
  • The FY15 Omnibus bill includes $32 billion for DoD health programs (including its EHR project) and $344 million for the VA to modernize Vista, but keeps ONC’s budget flat at $60 million instead of the $75 million it requested.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Healthcare technology services investor Carrick Capital Partners names retired Senator William H. Frist, MD as a special advisor.


Merge Healthcare shares hit a 52-week high Friday, closing at $3.59 and valuing the company at $344 million. Above is the one-year MRGE share price (blue, up 56 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 16 percent.)


MultiCare Health System (WA) joins Premier.


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Huntzinger Management Group promotes Nancy Ripari and William C. Reed to partner.


CompuGroup Medical US promotes Chris Lohl to VP of R&D, ambulatory information systems.

Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital (NH) hires Kristen Kneisel (Cornerstone Advisors) as AVP of information services.

Anthelio names co-founder Chick Young to its board.

Announcements and Implementations

Blood glucose tracking capabilities will return to the iPhone and iPad with the release of iOS 8.2, in which an Apple Health patch was added to support a measurement unit common in Europe (mmol/L) in addition to the US standard unit of mg/dL.

CIO Review names CitiusTech as one of “50 Most Promising IT Services Companies.”

Government and Politics


Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and 29 of her House colleagues urge HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell to reduce the 2015 Meaningful Use Stage 2 reporting period from 365 days to 90.

Privacy and Security


Boston Children’s Hospital (MA) will pay $40,000 to settle charges brought by the state’s attorney general following the theft of an unencrypted, PHI-containing hospital laptop from a physician presenting at a conference in Argentina. The physician mistakenly thought he had erased the information of more than 2,000 patients and failed to follow BCH’s encryption policy.


Northwestern Memorial Healthcare Group (IL) notifies almost 3,000 people that their medical information was contained on an unencrypted laptop that was stolen from an employee’s car in October.


An editorial in London’s The Guardian says that the Epic-related problems at Addenbrooke Hospital are “the latest installment in a long-running saga in which British public institutions display their inability to introduce complex IT systems without causing chaos and distress.”It adds that Epic’s user interface has progressed from “abysmal and dysfunctional” to “merely ugly” but at least it works. Update: a reader pointed out that the user interface comments were directed at the physician practice system, not Epic, thus the timeframe referenced in years vs. Epic’s October go-live. The article combined both the Epic issues and other healthcare software in general. 


I mentioned last time that I tried First Opinion, which offers free texting to physicians, and listed the pluses and minuses. Here’s an addendum: Dr. Kia did indeed text me back from India the next day to see how I was doing and we had a nice chat. I was impressed even though I don’t entirely see the point since non-US doctors can’t diagnose or prescribe.

Patient advocate and The Walking Gallery founder Regina Holliday is trying to raise $75,000 to create the Walking Gallery Center for Art and Healing in Grantsville, MD. Donate $10,000 and she’ll deliver a keynote address and workshop at your meeting.

A Black Book survey of small-hospital CFOs finds that revenue cycle system upgrades have been deferred in favor of ICD-10 and Meaningful Use projects. Two-thirds of small hospitals that said in 2012 that they would replace their RCM system still haven’t done so.


Nurses, doctors, and pharmacists (in that order) are named as the most honest and ethical professions (and this the most trusted) in a Gallup poll. At the bottom of the list are care salespeople and members of Congress.

A study finds that less than half of the recommendations of TV huckster-doctor Dr. Oz are supported by medical evidence, while 39 percent of his recommendations were not backed by evidence and 15 percent were contradicted by it. The authors conclude that TV doctors rarely address their own conflicts of interest.


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

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Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. Love the AeroPress!!! Been using mine for years and can’t say they is a better way to make coffee. I love espresso, Turkish, French press and even campfire but this is the all around most pure cup available. Plus it travels easily and is fun to show off.

  2. RE: CareTech being bought by HTC… do you think the impetus was Tenet buying Vanguard and the Newco formed by the Beaumont, Oakwood, Botsford (or as we call them, BOB) why CareTech was on the block? We do…

  3. To – Anonymous Reader Report: Being a Patient in my Own Hospital System –

    May sound too simple to be helpful, but I had a run of severe vertigo for ~ 6 months. Did all the expensive tests, drugs, etc – to no avail. Out of desperation, I talked with my chiropractor about it (a very competent one with a PhD and knowledge of where his talents start and stop vs traditional MDs). He did some adjustments on my neck that I’d never had done before. Miracle! Instant relief! It took a few visits over a couple weeks to keep it from coming back. May not help your husband, but worth a shot

  4. Re: HTC Global acquires CareTech Solutions. Both companies are in Troy, MI. The article states: CareTech, which employs 650 people in Troy and a total 1,200 nationally, will retain its brand name and operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of HTC under its current executives. Seems to me I heard that line before, but being a wholly owned subsidiary status lasts only a short time, then the acquired company is sucked into the larger company never to be seen or heard from again.

  5. Now this is a Holiday Party !!!
    Four years ago the management and employees of Priority Management Group in Pawtucket, RI ( http://www.gopmg.com ) a national billing service for the FQHC market ( Federally Qualified Community Health Centers) decided to forgo a holiday employee party. They instead decided to host an event at the RI Convention Center to feed as many homeless and needy Rhode Island’ers as possible, thus Feed 1000 was born ( http://www.feed1000.org/ ) . This annual event was held this past Saturday and the efforts of a host of added corporate sponsors and 300+ volunteers provided food , winter coats/gloves/hats, medical care, flu shots, Santa provided toys and a general great day for over 2,500 homeless and needy people. That’s the holiday spirit.

  6. At this point in time, it is nearly criminal to allow unencrypted laptops to be used in healthcare orgs or by their staff.
    We’ve been encrypting all our laptops for nearly 6 years and removable media (ie thumb drives), as well.

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