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Monday Morning Update 12/29/14

December 27, 2014 News 11 Comments

Top News


Cerner shares hit a 52-week high last week, closing Friday at $65.71 and valuing the company at $22 billion. The end-of-year rise sounds impressive until you examine the one-year share price graph that shows CERN shares rising 18.2 percent (blue) vs. the Nasdaq’s 15.6 percent (red), so it barely beat the Nasdaq composite index. 

Reader Comments

From Pango: “Re:  vendor employee provider experience. My company developed a rounding program where our software developers, project managers, product managers, and QA team members spent time observing a clinician in hospital departments. It was valuable because it provided insights into workflows and usability that we could not have understood other than by on-site observation. The programs were in place at several client hospitals and we maintained an active rotation of our team members who wished to participate.”

From Patti Melt: “Re: Epic. I just spent all day interfacing it to other systems. Since Neal Patterson says it can’t be done, should I buy a lottery ticket?”

From Urban Cowboy: “Re: Madison airport. If Epic is trying to eliminate consultant advertising within 50 miles of Verona, someone should tell the airport since it’s about all they have. With fewer implementations, they need all the help they can get.” Someone mentioned previously that perhaps the airport wasn’t within Epic’s rumored no-fly-ads zone since it’s a long cab ride, but Google Maps says it’s only 21.9 miles.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

News is predictably (and thankfully) skimpy, so the biggest takeaway from this post is that you haven’t missed anything over the post-Christmas weekend.


Dave Miller, CIO of Optimum Healthcare IT and formerly CIO of University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, sent out an email suggesting Christmas donations to the Salvation Army, recounting how as a child the organization got his family of seven through their temporarily homelessness. Bitdefender wouldn’t let me bring up Dave’s fundraising campaign page at OnlineRedKettle.org because of a phishing warning, but I matched Dave’s $250 donation online in honor of HIStalk’s readers. Salvation Army is my #1 overall charity choice, with DonorsChoose.org running a close second.


I’m ecstatic to report that three-quarters of respondents to my poll say they’re happier now than they were a year ago. New poll to your right or here: what is your overall impression of HIMSS? Click the poll’s “comments” link after voting to explain.

Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • The executive director of the Connecticut Health Policy Project observes that the state’s now-defunct HIE oversight organization spent $4.3 million in federal grant money without accomplishing anything.
  • Pennsylvania’s HIE organization asks the state for $4.7 million to keep it running now that its ONC grants have expired and its efforts to bring paying organizations online and to solicit charitable donations have failed.
  • The FDA announces plans to require drug manufacturers to publish prescribing information for professionals electronically on an FDA-maintained website, eliminating the paper versions.
  • HTC Global Services acquires CareTech Solutions.
  • Boston Children’s Hospital (MA) pays $40,000 to settle state charges over the theft of an unencrypted laptop, while Northwestern Memorial Healthcare Group notifies 3,000 people that their information has been exposed by the theft of an unencrypted laptop from an employee’s car.



Oneview Healthcare names Samir Batra (CareInSync) as VP of patient engagement.

Announcements and Implementations

TEDMED is offering a $1,000 discount for registrations completed by December 31 for next fall’s event, dropping the cost of the refundable, transferrable delegate pass to $3,950. This year’s event was split between San Francisco and Washington, DC and connected by video. No way I’m paying thousands of dollars to watch a big screen meeting from the other side of the country, but to each his own. The only names I immediately recognized from last year’s speaker list were swimmer Diana Nyad and Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, neither of which would cause my hand to move toward my wallet.

Government and Politics


Jeb Bush will resign from the board of for-profit hospital operator Tenet Healthcare as he explores a 2016 Presidential run. He made $300,000 from that gig last year. Tenet is worth $5 billion, with CEO Trevor Fetter holding shares worth $42 million.

A Wall Street Journal report says that Medicare is hard to fix because the agency doesn’t want to restrict care, adding that new providers aren’t vetted and inspectors never visit provider locations to see if they are real. The article points out that 45,000 new providers sign up to deliver Medicare services every month and CMS doesn’t have the resources to vet them.



My most-used iPhone app is the outstanding, 99-cent MotionX GPS Drive navigation system. I just noticed that the company offers the also-99 cent MotionX 24/7, which includes a sleep tracker, step counter, heart rate monitor, and wake-up alarm, all integrated with Apple Health. I didn’t realize until I looked up their site that the company’s emphasis is on and quantified self rather than GPS navigation. It holds dozens of patents and licenses its technology to wearables vendors such as Nike. MotionX’s CEO and co-founder is Philippe Kahn, who invented the phone camera, founded the powerhouse 1980s software vendor Borland (Turbo Pascal, Quattro, TopSpeed/Clarion, dBase, Delphi, and Paradox), and earned simultaneous master’s degrees in mathematics and classical flute. I’m installing MotionX 24/7 now and will report back, but I can already see that it’s as well designed as I expected.


Since I mentioned my most-used iPhone app, here’s another highly used one on the phone, desktop, and laptop: the LastPass password manager and single sign-on utility, which allows me to log on to a single Web page and have instant auto log-in to everything I use online (and to easily and centrally maintain complex and mandatory-change passwords) from any device. It’s free for personal desktop use, or an extra $12 per year to run it from mobile devices.


This should annoy everyone smart enough to use their phone as a personal hotspot instead of paying $15 for crappy hotel Internet access: Marriott and its hotel lobbying group ask the FCC for permission to block tethering, using the extraordinarily stupid and self-serving excuse that guests might use their personal Wi-Fi connections to attack the hotel’s network, steal information from other online guests, or slow down the hotel’s Wi-Fi (all of which are arguments hotels should make for NOT using their own in-house networks, other than the fact that they profit handsomely from it). Microsoft and Google are urging the FCC to deny Marriott’s lame idea. Somehow cheap roadside hotels can offer free parking, Internet, and breakfast but the snootier, big-city ones milk their business travelers hard. Marriott’s Springhill Suites is still my favorite chain, though.


The board of Massena Memorial Hospital (NY) approves spending $49,000 for a Medhost upgrade and $29,000 for a Meditech/LSS purchase. The CEO explained that the Medhost upgrade is required for complying with New York’s I-STOP mandatory electronic prescribing law, adding, “The last thing we want to do is end up sideways with the state and DEA. That would be extremely unpleasant.” 


Eric Topol, MD tweeted this graphic of his medical smartphone concept from his new book, “The Patient Will See You Now.” Amazon’s “look inside” preview contains generous sections of the book’s content – it looks good.

This YouTube video of Derby the dog running for the first time after being fitted for 3D-printed prosthetics has received 6.8 million views for its producer, 3D Systems. The company, based in Rock Hill, SC , is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and is valued at almost $4 billion even after shares dropped 64 percent in the past year.


The children of “American Top 40” host Casey Kasem, who died of dementia last June at 82, will share his hospital records with his widow, who is suing the hospital that cared for him. Kasem’s widow is the former Jean Thompson, who played Nick Tortelli’s curvaceous wife Loretta (with the “I Dream of Jeannie” hairdo) on “Cheers.”

The federal government upholds the firing of the head of the Phoenix VA, not because of the wait times scandal that erupted there, but because she accepted gifts from a consultant that included a family trip to Disneyland and Beyonce concert tickets.

‘Tis the season for intolerant lunatics: American Airlines removes a disruptive La Guardia passenger who was loudly berating the flight attendants and crew who had wished him “Merry Christmas.” The man, who wouldn’t calm down, said nobody should ever say Merry Christmas because not everyone celebrates it. His fellow passengers cheered when he was escorted off the plane.

UPMC’s Magee –Women’s Hospital (PA) gives keepsake Christmas stockings and caps knitted by volunteers to the parents of newborns who are in the hospital over the holiday.


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

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Currently there are "11 comments" on this Article:

  1. re: Epic interfaces. I don’t think that’s what Neal said, in fact, Cerner has interfaced to Epic so that’s almost certainly not what he said. Get a grip.

  2. Re your Marriott article. Doesn’t surprise me. I’ve always been amazed that a chain whose room rates seem to always be at the top of the price chart for business travel (I’m excluding luxury hotels here) also gouges their clients for every little thing, like Internet access. I once checked in to the Atlanta Marquis, and got “dinged” for the bellman services – the first guy unloaded my luggage from the car onto the cart and expected a tip, the next guy rolled the cart to the front desk where he left it as I checked in (and expected a tip) and then the guy who actually took me to my room expected a tip. I’m not upset that the bell staff cooked up this scheme, but that management didn’t do anything about it.

    Now if they try to block my hot spot on my next visit, I’d check out for not disclosing it when I booked. Plus, I think interfering with a cell communications signal is against FCC regs, IIRC.

    I am a member of 3 of the main hotel chain points clubs, including Marriott, since I’m forced to stay there on occasion. But my business goes 90%+ to one other of the major chains (unnamed here as this is not a commercial) who do a great job of service, who provide free Internet and whose points actually turn into usable free stays within a reasonable amount of spend. Not that staying in a hotel by choice is my preferred way of vacationing, since I travel for a living, but it pleases my wife who gets to stay in their upscale resorts and is impressed by the furniture, decor and bath amenities (to which factors I’m oblivious). And we all know that keeping Mama happy leads to a happy life.

  3. RE: Patti Melt on interfacing Epic with other systems

    Do you think Epic would be willing to propose a detailed standard for interoperability across EHRs since they are so willing to allow interfaces into their system?

    I am sure someone has calculated exactly how much money true interoperability would cost given Epic’s effort to lobby against it. I’ll bet the amount is more than you won on your lottery ticket.

  4. That picture of the medical smartphone looked awfully familiar.



    It looks a lot like an xkcd drawing, I wonder whose original it is and if attribution were given.

    [OK, I just looked up his twitter account – he does give credit. Whew! Long live xkcd!]

  5. TEDMED, Diana Nyad and Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes – ‘Theranos’ caught my eye as I just had my first encounter with them as a customer. Being on a Warfarin regiment I normally get PT/INR at the Hospital Lab associated with the Clinic where my PCP works. Hospital is small and rural. Not being in the area where I normally get tested and due for my PT/INR a Order was faxed to me on 12/24. On 12/26 I headed out to a major commercial Laboratory to find that it and all of the other commercial Laboratories in the area closed on Friday the 26th! I had seen and heard about CMS and Walgreens providing Laboratory and other Clinical Services. I was concerned with the marketing hype about how little blood was drawn for test thinking of finger stick analyzers and questionable accuracy.

    My Experience – 1) Quick and Efficient check in at Pharmacy. 2) Short wait time. 3) Venipuncture Draw 4) Easy to use Smart Phone APP for Scheduling, Ordering, Results, Documentation on what the test is for and how it is used and what the results mean 5) Had results on Smart Phone APP in less than 24 hours 6) Friendly and Competent Staff.

    Pricing – Theranos shows $2.70. My last PT/INR was $18 charge, Medicare paid $7.76.

    Going to the large, commercial Laboratories was never a pleasant experience. I will be giving Theranos another try for next Lab work if service is available.

    Regarding TEDMED and Elizabeth Holmes – After looking at Ms. Holmes background and the list of other speakers, TEDMED 2015 appears to be much more informative, thought provoking, entertaining and of value that anythig HIMSS has to offer.

  6. to Urban Cowboy – Epic Consulting companies are not just about implementation. I haven’t worked on an implementation in several years, but have done optimization, support and various non -implementation work.

  7. Re David Hafte
    Epic has always lobbied FOR interop. Never against.

    And always for standards based approaches into which Epic invest a lot of resources.

    Stop making up false narratives.

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