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January 13, 2015 News 2 Comments

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Pundits and associations won’t stop banging the “Meaningful Use is a failure” drum in pointing out low participation numbers, but ONC partially contradicts their grim calculations in reporting that 77 percent of MUS2-eligible hospitals have attested, as have 60 percent of MUS2-eligible practices. Those providers still have another one month and three months left, respectively, to attest. Those aren’t great numbers, but they’re a heck of a lot better than you might think, and as a taxpayer it’s nice to know that my money at least has minimal strings attached.

Reader Comments

From Poignant Moment: “Re: non-disclosure agreement. If a vendor requires a hospital to sign one for beta testing, how long does the vendor have to keep the NDA after testing is complete?” I’ll ask knowledgeable readers to help out, but I would say the signed copy should be retained at least until it expires since an NDA should cover a stated time period. That’s for making sure the agreement is followed – I doubt there’s any legal requirement to keep a copy at all.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I’m enjoying the articles written by startup CEOs and investors (Brian Weiss of Carebox, Bruce Brandes of Martin Ventures, and Marty Felsenthal.) Those authors and others will contribute ongoing articles on their experiences and lessons learned when working directly with startups. I appreciate their contribution. I’m learning from them since I’ve mostly only worked for non-profit hospitals and theirs is a foreign land to me.

Please take a couple of minutes to complete my once-yearly reader survey. I plan my entire year around the responses, so your time will be not only appreciated, but also well spent in my never-ending quest to reduce my level of suckitude.


John Olmstead, RN, MBA, director of surgical and emergency services at The Community Hospital of Munster, IN delivered an absolutely perfect HIStalk webinar on Tuesday, “The Bug Stops Here: How Our Hospital Used its EHR and RTLS Systems to Contain a Deadly New Virus.” He was interesting, informative, and funny in describing technology used in his ED, including RTLS from Versus (who sponsored the webinar without turning it into a sales pitch), Epic EHR, Ascom phones, and Rauland nurse call. It did something that few webinars do in holding my rapt attention throughout and it wasn’t just me – the webinar’s control panel showed that 98 percent of attendees were hanging on to his words instead of checking email or web browsing. The average is more like 60 percent of people paying attention (and for companies that decline our webinar improvement suggestions, it’s as low as 15 percent). I’m confident that anyone with the slightest interest in ED challenges, quality improvement, and what happens when CDC shows up to investigate an infectious outbreak will enjoy this one a lot.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Athenahealth adds two companies to its More Disruption Please Boston-based accelerator program: CredSimple (credentialing) and RubiconMD (referred remote consults). Athenahealth also announced that the accelerator will open a San Francisco office.


Augmedix, which offers Google Glass-powered physician documentation system, raises $16 million in Series A venture capital.


Kit Check, whose OR medication kit tracking system is live in 144 hospitals, raises $12 million in a Series B round led by Kaiser Permanente Ventures, increasing its total to $22 million.


Digital mental health solutions vendor Ginger.io raises $20 million in a Series B round.


Cary, NC-based SmartLink Mobile, a spinoff of referral coordination software vendor Infina Connect,  raises $2.5 million in funding for its secure patient-doctor texting platform.


Israel-based startup MediSafe, which offers a medication reminder app, raises $6 million and opens a Boston office. One of its new investors is 7wire Ventures, run by former Allscripts executives Glen Tullman and Lee Shapiro.


IT services provider Syntel sues Cognizant and TriZetto over the former’s acquisition of the latter for $2.7 billion last year, with a Syntel business unit saying TriZetto refuses to pay rebates to which it is entitled because of the acquisition. Syntel claims contract interference and misappropriation of confidential information and wants $3.4 million plus $6.1 billion (with a “b”) in punitive damages.

Alere completes the sale of its Alere Health business to Optum for $600 million in cash, announced in October.


Madison, WI-based population health software vendor Forward Health Group raises $5.7 million in funding.

AARP issues a call for startups with apps targeting the “50 and over” market for its May 14 pitch meeting in Miami. Applications are due by February 20, 2015 with no fee required. Companies will deliver a four-minute pitch, answer six minutes of questions from judges, and then have their idea voted on by consumers in attendance based on need, marketing, usage, and value.



Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology (NY) chooses the Visage 7 Enterprise Imaging Platform for its 58 Long Island radiologists, integrated with the practice’s vendor-neutral archive and enterprise workflow engine.


Eisenhower Medical Center (CA) chooses Mobile Heartbeat’s CURE clinical communications platform following its pilot project.

Good Samaritan Hospital-Southwest (CA) chooses Medhost’s remotely hosted clinical and financial solutions.

Mercy Health (OH) selects ProVation Care Plans from Wolters Kluwer Health for evidence-based care plan management.



Jamie Coffin, PhD (Clarify Healthcare) joins SourceMedical as CEO.

Announcements and Implementations

Wellcentive releases an analytics and reporting solution for providers participating in CMS’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program for Medicaid population care improvement.

HealthLoop releases an iPhone app that sends push notifications to a physician when a patient triggers a clinical alert or when another physician sends a triage handoff. It’s part of the company’s package that costs $199 per physician per month.


Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital (VA) goes live on Vox Telehealth’s OrthoCare program, which sends hip and knee replacement patients daily pre-op education and reminders and allows them to relay questions or concerns afterward.

Iatric Systems announces Auditor’s Desktop, which performs a daily risk analysis of potential privacy violations across multiple IT system audits.

Surgical Information System’s  anesthesia information management system is ranked #1 in a new KLAS report.

Government and Politics 


Congresswoman (and nurse) Renee Elmers (R-NC) reintroduces the Flex-IT act that would reduce the 2015 Meaningful Use reporting period from 365 days to 90.

A Washington Examiner investigative report finds that HHS spent $31 million on first-class flights between 2009 and 2013, including 253 trips that cost more than $15,000 each way. HHS executives taking the first-class flights claimed 70 percent of the time that it was necessary because of a medical disability. CMS officials paid $1,000 each for first-class tickets to fly from Charlotte, NC to Charleston, SC, which is a three-hour drive.



Odd: Sentara Healthcare (VA) launches a web shop selling books, vitamins, exercise equipment, and non-prescription drugs, explaining it as “a branded option that offers a higher trust factor and unique patient experience.” A 200-tablet bottle of Advil is $27.99 vs. Walgreens online at $16.49; an Omron 5 blood pressure monitor is $95.99 vs. $45.95 on Amazon; and the book “Yoga Heals Your Back” is $19.99 vs.  $11.69 on Amazon (or $2.99 for the Kindle edition). Anyone smart enough to find and use Sentara’s site will also be web-competent enough to check prices elsewhere, so the site’s success will depend on how highly those people value the “unique patient experience” of clicking the “buy” button there vs. mainstream sites they’re already using. The underlying technology is from Paquin Healthcare, which also offers a system that integrates with EHRs to generate “lucrative new revenue streams” to “monetize major investments made in mandated EMR systems” by using the patient’s information to suggest that the doctor upsell items such as vitamins, wearables, and books. As the company explains, “If a patient’s medical record shows they have had heart disease, Embrace automatically recommends vitamins, pedometers, weight management tools, blood pressure monitors, and other such products suitable specifically for patients with that condition. When a patient purchases the recommended products or services, revenue from the sale is paid to the care provider.” 

Alibaba Health Information Technology settles its licensing dispute with Oracle. NYSE-traded, China-based e-commerce vendor Alibaba Group, whose shares are worth $255 billion and which has been predicted to be the world’s most valuable company in the next few years, bought and renamed the former Citic 21CN drug information business in early 2014.


A clinical documentation position paper from the American College of Physicians published in Annals of Internal Medicine says that EHRs provide minimal improvement over paper records because they were designed around billing and regulatory requirements and the practice of defensive medicine rather than improving patient care. It warns that the EHR is as overloaded with useless information as its predecessor paper chart (and will get worse with data from patient wearables) and that narrative entries are being unjustly devalued in favor of discrete data entry. The authors add that E&M guidelines forced data formatting rules that caused “coding and compliance trumping clarity and conciseness, as well as a harshly negative ‘gotcha’ mentality that saps the professionalism out of physicians.” The position paper says CMS overreacted in its condemnation of copied-pasted information, explaining that while copy-paste causes documentation bloat and perpetuation of originally incorrect information, physicians should not necessarily be required to create every new EHR entry manually – in other words, it’s the user and not the EHR function that should be of concern. The paper expresses tepid support for the Open Notes concept of letting patients review clinical documentation, saying it’s too early for a big rollout and that providers should be able to hide individual notes that could cause patient harm.


Huffington Post covers the growth of retail clinics. CVS alone plans to have as many MinuteClinics in operation by 2017 as exist overall today. Meanwhile, mall operators expect to fill empty spaces left by dying retailer chains such as Sears and RadioShack with walk-in clinics, of which more than a third of the 9,400 total are located in shopping centers.

I enjoyed these tips for making meetings more productive:

  1. Don’t invite more than 10 people.
  2. Schedule meetings for only 15 minutes, set a timer, and stop the meeting when the timer goes off.
  3. Take away the chairs to encourage creativity instead of passivity.
  4. Don’t allow laptops or phones – studies show taking notes by hand leads to greater understanding.
  5. Assign every task to a directly responsible individual.
  6. Take a two-minute silence break to think about a decision or issue.
  7. Ask each attendee to answer the “why are we meeting” question in five words or fewer to make sure everyone expects the same outcome.


Weird News Andy understands that, “It’s hard to re-member.” A woman in China cuts off her husband’s penis after catching him sexting with his lover, but surgeons successfully reattach his manhood. The wife, obviously still unhappy, sneaks back into her recuperating husband’s hospital room and cuts his penis off again, this time throwing it out the window of his hospital room. The couple was caught on camera fighting in the street outside as the man was naked and bleeding, but he won’t be reorganized a second time – the hospital says a dog or cat must have run off with his severed penis because they couldn’t find it. However, he may yet have a happy ending since his lover says she will marry him anyway.

Sponsor Updates


  • TransUnion unveils a new brand identity platform and logo.
  • MedAptus joins Athenahealth’s More Disruption Please program.
  • Forbes profiles the use of Strata Decision’s StrataJazz to reduce hospital costs.
  • Zynx Health will exhibit at the HealthIMPACT Southeast event on January 23 in Tampa.
  • Huron Consulting Group’s efacs software is selected as University Business Readers Choice Top Product.
  • Voalte offers advice for setting goals in 2015 in its latest blog post.
  • Verisk Health blogs about why value-based care will work.
  • T-System Director of Documentation Solutions Robin Shannon, RN offers tips on how to maintain efficiency and throughput during high patient volumes in flu season.
  • CEO/CFO Magazine interviews SyTrue CEO Kyle Silvestro on transforming medical data into refined smart data.
  • Surgical Information Systems will participate in the MUSE Executive Institute in Amelia Island, FL on January 19-20.
  • Summit Healthcare blogs about its preparations for the IHE North American Connectathon, taking place January 28 at the HIMSS Innovation Center in Cleveland.
  • SRSsoft offers four key ways to make and keep resolutions in the new year.


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

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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Sounds like Poignant Moment actually meant “respect the NDA” rather than “retain a copy of the NDA”. In which case the NDA itself typically includes the time period in question.

  2. Re: Poignant Moment’s NDA. Mr. H is right. You should at least keep the NDA until it expires (which should be expressly stated in the NDA). You’d be wise to keep it until the applicable statute of limitations runs. That’s the period of time during which the vendor could bring a claim for breach of the NDA. Depending on the state law that governs the NDA, the statute of limitations for contract claims could be anywhere from 3 to 15 years. A statute of limitations doesn’t require you keep the NDA–but you should keep a copy of it in case you get sued for breach.

    But all that’s just form over substance. The real issue is to make sure that you do what the NDA says for as long as the NDA is in effect. And the run-of-the-mill NDA can be very difficult to comply with. I bet that your NDA requires you to keep confidential any information that you should know is confidential, even if the information’s not marked. And I bet that the NDA covers “concepts,” “ideas” and “business strategies.” At best, those terms are just placeholders that lawyers (like me) throw in when we don’t want to be bothered with proactively identifying real items of confidential information–if any–that will be shared by the parties. At worst, those terms can be used as a backdoor non-compete.

    Wow, I’m grouchy today. I need more coffee.

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