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January 29, 2015 News 7 Comments

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CMS announces plans to shorten the 2015 EHR reporting period to 90 days and to change hospital reporting to be calendar year in a new rule it expects to be approved in spring 2015.

Reader Comments

From Information Dirt Road: “Re: Practice Fusion. Earlier this month they interfered with all lab results traffic during peak business hours and now are having another outage. All who work with PF are cursed by the absurd spectacle of PF being the clueless center of their own special universe.” They have a scheduled weekly maintenance window of Thursdays from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Pacific, which seems sensible to me. I followed the link to their EHR status page, which appears to be rarely updated.


From HIS Junkie: “Re: HX360. I thought this was supposed to get people going on a new interoperability phase of HIT, but HIMSS has created a new meeting program for it right in the middle of its conference. It’s amazing how fast HIMSS jumped on this to make another buck.” I’m not a fan of co-located conferences, but you can watch a just-posted interview with HX360 CEO Roy Smythe, MD for more on what they’re doing. The HX360 exhibit hall is included with normal HIMSS15 registration, the full track is an extra $225, and the executive sessions are invitation-only.   


From Deli Meat: “Re: electronic signature pads. Thanks for an amazing website. We are trying to reach Topaz Systems about problems with their signature pads that we use in registration with Epic. Emails are bouncing, phone calls aren’t returned, and their website seems to be down. Please assist with any insider information you may have.” The website is up for me and I got a live salesperson when I called their number, so I passed along your email address and said you needed help as a live customer.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I forgot to include a link to the the now-separate Dr. Jayne post in the email update, but it’s right here.

If your company sponsors HIStalk and didn’t receive our email in which we’re taking RSVPs for our HIMSS sponsor networking event and collecting information for our HIMSS guide, contact Lorre. Sometimes the information we have for contacts is incorrect or even missing entirely.


We’re still accepting applications through February 9 from real patients who want to attend the HIMSS conference with a $1,000 scholarship and registration provided. These are for non-healthcare IT folks who have a compelling patient story to tell and who want to attend the HIMSS conference and write about their experiences on HIStalk afterward. Email Lorre with your story and why you want to attend – we’ll judge on both motivation and writing ability.

This week on HIStalk Practice: Telehealth takes over the headlines, with state licensing issues and vendor compliance making the news. GE Ventures looks to HIT to the potential tune of $40 million. Community Eye Center Optometry goes with VersaSuite. Doximity offers interactive physician salary data by state. Premedex launches new chronic care management solution for physician practices. Clinicient secures $7 million. Customer satisfaction with government services reaches a new low. Google Fiber heads southeast.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Google partners with Biogen Idec in a multi-year project focused on researching multiple sclerosis. The FDA approves the first smartphone-connected continuous glucose monitors, technology that diabetics have been demanding for years. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania find that Twitter data analytics can be used to create highly accurate maps depicting the prevalence of heart failure at the county level. 

Welcome to new HIStalk Gold Sponsor CenterX. The Madison, WI company’s next-generation e-prescribing network improves medication adherence by closing the physician-pharmacist loop. It offers enterprise medication authorization, formulary management, pharmacy benefit eligibility, and medication profiles. Doctors are notified when the prescription is picked up and flat rate pricing eliminates the per-transaction penalty that discourages communication. Physicians benefit from electronic refill requests and automated prior authorization. Only about 40 percent of patients nationally pick up their prescriptions and use them correctly, but CenterX users have up to 90 percent adherence. The company just announced that it has fully integrated its Enterprise Medication Authorization solution with Epic. Thanks to CenterX for supporting HIStalk.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Lexmark turns in anemic Q4 results, but its Perceptive Software business books a solid quarter.



Penebscot Community Health Care (ME) chooses Forward Health Group’s PopulationManager and The Guideline Advantage.


St. Joseph Health (CA) selects Clinical Architecture’s Symedical for terminology management, semantic normalization, and interoperability.



St. Tammany Parish Hospital (LA) promotes Craig Doyle to VP/CIO.


Impact Advisors promotes Jenny McCaskey to VP.


Richard Holada (IBM) joins Truven Health Analytics as chief data and technology officer.

Announcements and Implementations

First Databank announces GA of FDB Cloud Connector, an Amazon Web Services-powered web API solution that reduces development time and IT overheard required to deliver FDB’s drug knowledge. Meditech was an early adopter, and interestingly, the company mentions that future pharmacogenomics decision support may be impractical to deliver by traditional means.

Medsphere announces OpenVista Population Health, a Windows-based enhancement developed by the Indian Health Service for its RPMS ambulatory EHR version of the VA’s VistA. The company signed a $15 million contract in 2011 to support and enhance RPMS.

Epic wins Best in KLAS 2014 for overall software suite, acute care EMR, HIE, patient accounting, patient portal, surgery management. Epic Beaker beats the best-of-breed LISs as the #1 lab system (although one might argue that Epic Care Everywhere as the #1 HIE is equally surprising). Epic also wins best physician practice vendor and several EHR/PM categories. Athenahealth wins for practice management in the two larger practice size categories (11 docs and up), while Impact Advisors takes the top spot in overall IT services and clinical implementation principal.

Government and Politics


New ONC Meaningful Use Stage 2 numbers show that 88 percent of hospitals that are MUS2 eligible have attested so far with an April 2015 due date, with 25 percent of those using the Flexibility Rule. EP attestations are much less robust, with only 15 percent of MUS2 eligible providers attesting so far with a February 28 due date and nearly half of those using the Flexibility Rule.

Privacy and Security


The psychologist who pioneered the study of facial expressions in the 1970s fears that companies will use his work to infringe on privacy. Software can measure consumer reaction to ads, but is being extended to detect shoplifters and to interrogate suspects, leading him to worry that facial expression algorithms will be used in public spaces without consent. On a positive note, the technology is being testing for measuring post-operative pain and to detect stress levels.


A New York Times editorial by a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist warns that despite President Obama’s call for heavily funded research for precision medicine, it won’t make most people healthier. He says that genes can’t predict the most common and expensive chronic diseases, but we can already do that with simple tests, while the treatment is decidedly non-technical: eat better, exercise more, and don’t smoke. He concludes that “moonshot medical research initiatives” such as the “war on cancer” usually fail and that efforts would be better directed to studying human behavior.

Bloomberg Business says IBM has lobbied Congress for two years to pass the 21st Century Cures bill that would keep Watson-powered medical capabilities free of FDA oversight. The bill, which also includes the Software Act and addresses several health IT issues, was drafted by the House Energy & Commerce Committee, whose Democrat members just pulled their support of the bill.


AliveCor’s smartphone-powered heart monitor earns FDA approval for new algorithms that assess an ECG as normal and that warn users that interference makes the ECG unreliable. The just-introduced third generation model costs $75, creates readings from a two-finger touch, and includes an algorithm to detect atrial fibrillation.



A group of health systems – including Advocate, Ascension, Atrius, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Dignity, OSF, Partners, Providence, and SSM — and other healthcare players unite under the name Health Care Transformation Task Force in committing to put 75 percent of their business into value-based payments by 2020.

A NEJM study suggests that while the Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from excluding coverage for pre-existing conditions, they may be using high drug co-pays to keep people with expensive diseases such as HIV from signing up in the first place.


The bonds of Einstein Healthcare (PA) are downgraded due to financial losses that are partly attributed to a drop in employee productivity caused by its Cerner EHR.

Massachusetts General Hospital (MA) used telemedicine virtual visits during the recent snowstorm when clinics closed.

A physician’s editorial in NEJM called “Death Takes a Weekend” ponders the age-old question of why — in this age of high-acuity admissions and fast discharges — hospital services shut down on weekends. “It seemed callous on the hospital’s part — expecting very sick patients and very worried family members to understand that the doctors’ convenience had to come first. They need the weekend off, so you’ll have to wait till Monday. Even in good hospitals, weekends had a decidedly makeshift feel, with a constant refrain of ‘I’m just cross-covering, we’re short-staffed, the person you need will be here Monday.’”


Weird News Andy researches scam online medical journals that charge authors to publish their work. A doctor tests their editorial review process by submitting an article composed of randomly generated phrases titled “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?” with primary authors Pinkerton LeBrain and Orson Welles. Seventeen of 37 journals accepted it within the first two weeks and offered to publish it upon submission of a processing fee. One of the journals shares an address with a strip club. I checked out Global Science Research Journals, which publishes dozens of journals such as “Global Journal of Neurology and Neurosurgery” and “Global Journal of Pediatrics” and charges a $500 per article fee. The Nigeria-based publisher’s US office is in a Brooklyn apartment.


Another WNA find he calls “My Doctor the Car”: Mississippi’s medical board investigates an 88-year-old doctor whose practice consists only of house calls, saying they don’t like the idea that he writes prescriptions from his 2007 Camry. In the TV station video, a guy walks right up to the car window to explain his medical issues. WNA proposes a solution: he should upgrade to an RV.

Sponsor Updates

  • Named as KLAS Category Leaders for 2014 are Sentry (340B management inpatient), SIS (anesthesia), Merge (cardiology hemodynamics), Zynx Health (CDS care plans), Wolters Kluwer (CDS order sets), Premier (CDS surveillance), Optum (computer-assisted coding), Strata Decision (decision support business), Emdeon (eligibility enrollment), NextGate (EMPI), Allscripts (global acute EMR, Northern America), Encore (go-live support), GetWellNetwork (interactive patient systems), Capsule (medical device integration), Nuance (medical records coding, quality management), Ingenious Med (mobile data systems), Nordic (other implementation), TeleTracking (patient flow), Iatric Systems (patient privacy monitoring), Craneware (revenue cycle charge capture), SSI Group (revenue cycle claims management), and GE Healthcare (staff/nurse scheduling, time and attendance).
  • Named Best in KLAS 2014 are Merge (cardiology), ZirMed (claims and clearinghouse), Impact Advisors (overall IT services, clinical implementation principal), Wellsoft (emergency department), Streamline Health (enterprise scheduling), McKesson (ERP), Allscripts (global acute EMR), CareTech Solutions (IT outsourcing extensive), Orchestrate Healthcare (technical services).
  • Logicworks publishes the eighth installment in its DevOps Automation series, entitled, “Improving the End User Experience with Amazon Web Services.”
  • Orion Health earns accreditation as a HISP.
  • William Seay of Lifepoint Informatics writes a new blog entitled, “Get Your Laboratory & Anatomic Pathology Results in Real-Time, When You Want, How You Want & Where You Want.”
  • LifeImage’s Mike Murphy blogs about saving time, increasing referrals, and improving orthopedic patient care via medical image sharing.
  • PDR will exhibit at the NACDS Regional Chain meeting in Naples, Florida on February 2-4.
  • Ivenix Medical Advisor and anesthesiologist Matt Weinger, MD shares his views on infusion pump technology at the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation’s blog.
  • Kathleen Aller writes about looking for meaning in mounds of data in the latest InterSystems blog.
  • HealthMEDX offers insight into its full EHR implementation at Lexington Health System (KY).
  • Jim Blanchet, associate management consultant at Greencastle, blogs about “The Valley of Despair” and asking yourself the right questions.
  • The HCI Group offers five tips on meeting the ICD-10 implementation deadline.
  • Pepper McCormick writes about the four healthcare trends that will shape 2015 in the latest Healthwise blog.
  • Greythorn will exhibit at this weekend’s Geek Wire Startup Day in Seattle.
  • Health IT Outcomes profiles e-MDs and its work to exchange provider data directly with the new Kansas infectious disease registry.
  • DocuSign announces that over 50 million people in 188 countries now use its technology.
  • The Healthfinch team offers a new blog on healthcare IT assumptions versus reality.
  • Cynthia Ethier of Hayes Management Consulting offers advice on how to create an ACA front desk.
  • HDS takes a look at the growing phenomenon of walk-in clinics at local malls in its latest blog.
  • Ingenious Med Mobile Product Manager Brannon Gillis posts a new blog entitled, “Useful and Usable: Basic Mobile Development Philosophy in Action.”
  • ICSA Labs participates in the IHE North America Connectathon today in Cleveland.
  • Extension Healthcare will exhibit at the Association of California Nurse Leaders Conference in Anaheim from February 1-4.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. RE: All who work with PF are cursed by the absurd spectacle of PF being the clueless center of their own special universe.”
    Wait, wait, don’t tell me….are they talking about Practice Fusion or athena??

  2. OK so we have the KLAS leaders again, and I still doubt their credibility because they do not tell us the sample size of the respondents that make these firms best in KLAS. Yes I can live with Epic as they plus Cerner are the only games in town, but all the others disclose the sample size. With the number of projects going on at any one time, and the total number of healthcare provider categories, the truth of best in anything is the sample size. So how many of their respondents gave the ‘best’ over total number of projects in a given year?

  3. Read with alarm the item about IBM’s attempt to interfere with FDA oversight of HIT in the US.

    I’ve heard through the grapevine that they routinely interfere with the HIT tendering process up here, north of the border (successfully), threatening our politicians with reprisals if contracts are not awarded favourably. Don’t know whether it’s true, but given my source… well, I’m worried.

  4. KLAS should have to disclose how much money it has made from each vendor for the past 10 years. They do make money off of vendors, and a lot of it.

  5. re: KLAS rankings. Is anyone else curious about Epic’s KLAS wins for HIE and Lab? Every evaluation we see about Beaker ranges from ‘good, not great’ to ‘unmitigated disaster.’ Even in the replacement market we’re seeing the incumbent or legacy lab retained.

    And on the HIE ranking, maybe I’m confused. Every other vendor on that lists acts as a true HIE (as in the noun) or connectivity services provider. Am I wrong, but how does Epic win a category where they don’t have a service offering? Must be nice to be Epic.

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Reader Comments

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  • SoCal grunt: I for one did select Meditech. The people were welcoming and seemed to be the only ones insterested in having a discussi...
  • Annon: 100% agree, this is vaporware, they are not doing anything remotely close to interoperability. Not the only ones though,...
  • Brian Too: Wait... I thought that any voids in the brain automatically filled up with cerebro-spinal fluid? Wouldn't an air void c...
  • Ophelia: Where are you seeing the 97% MIPS claim? I'm aware of their claimed 97% attestation rate for MU, but I haven't seen anyt...
  • Sue Powell: Re: "airhead". Maybe Q04.9 Congenital malformation of brain, unspecified or G93.9 Disorder of brain, unspecified? #notac...
  • Not Mr. Bush: It is very interesting that they claim to be able to guarantee something that is so dependent on physician behavior....
  • Debtor: Athena has a long history of supporting MU and PQRS attestation. It wouldn’t surprise me if they have insight into the...
  • Frank Discussion: Cerner--the best Visual Basic 5 application our tax dollars can buy! Then there's CCL (*vomits into nearest trashcan)...
  • Stormy MU: Hi, Does anyone have any feedback on athena's claim of 97% MIPs success rate? How can they publish that when 2017 at...

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