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February 24, 2015 News 5 Comments

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Cerner offers “select associates” an opportunity to “consider a voluntary departure.” The company didn’t define “select,” but it wouldn’t be too surprising if many of them are located in Malvern, PA and are older (one report says employee age plus years of service must exceed 65 to be eligible). 

Reader Comments

From Dim-Sum’s Little Brother: “Re: DHMSM down-select. Two of the five bids were eliminated. According to my network, IBM (Epic), CSC/HP (Allscripts), and Leidos/Accenture (Cerner) made the down-select. InterSystem (TrakCare) and PwC/GDIT/DSS (Medsphere) were eliminated from the competition.” Unverified, but reported by multiple readers. I said upfront that the chances of DoD choosing VistA from their IT rival VA were zero. A couple of sites reported just in the past week that DoD would choose an open source solution, although I doubt you’ll see a “we were wrong” follow-up if indeed VistA has been shown the door as it appears. That also means the late and sexy addition of Google to the PwC bid didn’t impress DoD (and rightly so since their participation, as described, was minimal).


From Stanley Kowalski: “Re: HIPPA. I was surprised to see such a bold subject line.” Not only was HIPAA spelled wrong, a hyphen should appear between the first two words. At least they didn’t say “complaint” instead of “compliant.”

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Regina Holliday and Lorre have chosen our five HIMSS15 scholarship winners and they all seem excited. I’ll be running a short bio of each shortly, along with their description of what they hope to accomplish at the conference.


March 4 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “5 Steps to Improving Patient Safety & Clinical Communications with Collaborative-Based Care.” Sponsored by Imprivata. Presenters: Robert Gumbardo, MD, chief of staff, Saint Mary’s Health System; Tom Calo, technical solutions engineer, Saint Mary’s Health System; Christopher McKay, chief nursing officer, Imprivata. For healthcare IT and clinical leadership, the ability to satisfy the clinical need for better, faster communication must be balanced with safeguarding protected health information to meet compliance and security requirements.

March 5 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Care Team Coordination: How People, Process, and Technology Impact Patient Transitions.” Sponsored by Zynx Health. Presenters: Grant Campbell, MSN, RN, senior director of nursing strategy and informatics, Zynx Health; Siva Subramanian, PhD, senior VP of mobile products, Zynx Health. This webinar will explore the ways in which people, process, and technology influence patient care and how organizations can optimize these areas to enhance communication, increase operational efficiency, and improve care coordination across the continuum.

March 12 (Thursday) 1:00 ET.  “Turn Your Contact Center Into A Patient-Centered Access Center.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenter: Brian Cooper, SVP, West Interactive. A patient-centered access center can extend population health management efforts and scale up care coordination programs with the right approach, technology, and performance metrics. Implementing a patient-centered access center is a journey and this program will provide the roadmap.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


CTG reports Q4 results: revenue down 4 percent, EPS $0.08 vs. $0.22, not including a $0.07 expense associated with the October death of CEO James Boldt and a $0.06 write-down of the company’s investment in poor-selling medical fraud, waste, and abuse software. CTG expects its healthcare revenue to drop 14 percent in 2015 and says the year will be a ‘transitional” one for its healthcare business as the EMR market cools. Above is the one-year CTG share price chart (blue, down 49 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 15 percent).  


Imprivata announces Q4 results: revenue up 34 percent, adjusted EPS –$0.04 vs. $0.84, meeting revenue expectations and beating on earnings. IMPR shares are trading down around 14 percent from their June 2014 first-day trading price. 


Horizon House (PA) chooses CoCentrix for EHR, care coordination, and billing.


Temple University Health System (PA) chooses Strata Decision’s StrataJazz for financial planning, rolling forecasting, capital planning, and capital equipment replacement.



Xifin hires Jim Malone (American Well) as CFO.

Bobbie Peterson (Medsphere) joins Apprio as EVP of health IT.

Announcements and Implementations

NextGen adds the CompletEPA electronic prior authorization solution from Surescripts.

Cleveland Clinic and the VA will provide “seamless access” to each other’s EHR information starting this month. The clinic uses Epic Care Everywhere.

Government and Politics


The Federal Trade Commission fines two developers of melanoma detection apps for falsely claiming that their products work. MelApp and Mole Detective didn’t have the evidence to prove that taking a photo of a mole and then specifying its characteristics can reliably detect melanoma. It’s interesting that the companies were charged by FTC for false marketing rather than by FDA for providing medical advice.


An FDA-funding Brookings Institution report recommends that FDA strengthen its post-market medical device surveillance system to include tracking those devices by a unique ID. EHRs would provide device usage information for national safety surveillance, with such capability being required to meet ONC certification and Meaningful Use requirements. FDA says the system “will require significant financial resources to be sustainable” and recommends paying data contributors.

FCC and FDA will convene a March 31 workshop on test beds for wireless medical devices, saying that the “hospital in the home” concept requires wireless co-existence.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to close NYDoctorProfile.com, a state-run doctor search tool that he says is too expensive to taxpayers at $1.2 million per year given that similar information is available elsewhere.

Privacy and Security


Researchers find that Googling diseases and medical terms sends information to undisclosed third parties 91 percent of the time, most often because company servers are set up to use free tools such as Google AddThis social sharing as part of Google Analytics. Even CDC.gov and May Clinic pass along search results with user-identifying information such as IP address. WebMD, for instance, sends disease search data to 34 sites including those of data brokers Experian and Acxiom. Healthcare.gov was found to be doing the same, probably due to technical negligence.

A new report finds that medical identity theft jumped 22 percent in 2014.



Anthem says its giant data breach included information on up to 19 million non-Anthem patients who were seen out of network in addition to that of its own customers.



Microsoft adds a cycling module and a virtual keyboard for its Band fitness tracker, also introducing a Microsoft Health-powered dashboard of Band-collected information.


@AlexRuoff tweeted this screenshot from an AHRQ Meaningful Use Stage 3 readiness webinar, which finds that 71 percent of participants use non-electronic means to share information. You’ll probably be in good hands if you keel over in the fax machine section of Office Depot since odds are it’s a healthcare person browsing them.


Former CIO and current vendor SVP Dale Sanders says in his personal blog that taxpayer-benefiting EHR vendors are intentionally obstructing interoperability via prohibitive contract terms and add-on interoperability license fees while publicly proclaiming their support of open standards (he doesn’t name Epic specifically, but they seem to be the target). He says EHR vendors should offer open APIs and that courts should intervene to stop interoperability-impeding terms and conditions. He quotes a peer who doesn’t think FHIR in its planned form is the answer:

Several EHR vendors are banning together around a new magic bullet technical standard called HL7-FHIR based on JASON technology. While this new standard is great from a technical perspective (XML, REST, etc.), in its current form, based largely on existing HL7 v2, v3 and CDA concepts, it does not improve the accessibility of proprietary EHR data types, and those data types are needed for quality and cost performance improvement in healthcare. While FHIR could be expanded to include this type of data, it appears the first efforts are focused on reinventing the technology for currently defined interoperability data types.


An interview with Walgreens Chief Marketing Officer Sona Chawla contains some interesting quotes, the last of which is pure genius and a useful lesson for providers trying to become more consumer friendly:

  • “I think the concept of ‘well’ is broader than ‘wellness.’ It really encompasses the ‘happy and healthy’ feeling. ‘Wellness’ has a more specific meaning than ‘well,’ which is limited to the ‘health’ part.”
  • “The service that’s delivered online or in the store should be the same and feel the same in spirit. If you are in the store, you can have face-to-face interaction. If you are online, we offer things like 24/7 pharmacy chat. Those elements of customer service happen in a very specific way based on the channel, but when we put it all together it should feel like one Walgreens.”
  • “We have an all-in-one app that is a connecting point between the physical and the virtual for us, to really serve our customers. Our mission was to think about what customers were doing and how we could improve it.”
  • “With digital health, it’s really about reinventing the core experience. For example, we launched an immunization app within our main app which records your immunization history and also reminds you to immunize as well as take your pills on time. Technology is changing the way customers behave and we are leveraging the technology to make things easier, but at the same time, enhanced. Then there is the concept of unification, which is connecting these experiences not just within Walgreens, but also with our partners. It gives us a great platform to think of our customers, wherever they are.”
  • “I think of our customers as shoppers unless they want to be patients. When they are in our clinics and they are sick, they want to be patients and we recognize them as patients. But no one is in a constant state of being a patient and we have to be very sensitive to that because we offer a wide range of trip missions. So when they are coming in to shop for lipstick, they are shoppers. That’s how they want to be recognized and that’s how we recognize them.”

A Navicure survey finds that 81 percent of physician practices are optimistic that they’ll be ready for ICD-10’s October 1, 2015 implementation date and two-thirds of respondents don’t think it will be delayed again. Practices say their main concern is that payers won’t be prepared. 


A newly built hospital in England issues bells to patients housed in treatment rooms to use as a call system, explaining that it didn’t expect to need electronic call buttons in that location but will now add them.

Weird News Andy wants to know who will pay the CT scan bill. A Chinese statue of Buddha from 1100 BC is found to contain the body of a mummified Buddhist master.

Sponsor Updates

  • CTG’s Managing Director of Data Analytics Joseph Eberly will co-present “Using Data Analytics to Improve Care Valuation, Management, and Outcomes” at the Hospital & Physician Relations Executive Summit March 1-3 in Scottsdale, AZ.
  • Fujifilm’s Synapse RIS earns ONC HIT 2014 Edition Complete EHR certification.
  • PerfectServe will participate in two March annual conferences, the Society of Hospital Medicine and American Medical Group Association.
  • Cumberland Consulting Group donates laptops to Back on My Feet to assist the nonprofit’s residential members look for jobs and permanent housing.
  • CitiusTech will exhibit at SCOPE Summit 2015 through February 26 in Orlando.
  • Clinical Architecture posts a video on “Temporality” as part of its blog series on the road to precision medicine.
  • CenterX CEO Joe Reinardy will speak at the 2015 Emdeon Pharmacy Insights event in Nashville on March 4.
  • CareSync offers “Ten Ways Medicine Today can Outrun Every TV Doctor You’ve Ever Seen.”
  • Besler Consulting’s Jim Hoffman offers an “Overview of CMS Readmission Penalties for 2015.”
  • Divurgent will exhibit at the HIMSS SoCal Annual HIT Conference on March 2 in Los Angeles.


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

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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. Dale, why hasn’t Health Catalyst published its data model and algorithms to the world? You want all the EHR vendors to bow down and provide their Intellectual Property to you for free so that you can make money building on it?

    Where are your APIs Dale? Where is your data model published Dale? Get it published and make it available to all your competitors, other startups and innovators in general and then feel free to throw stones.

    You’re just one more self interested wanna be in the healthcare start up game talking tough while holding yourself to a different standard.

  2. Your comment is a little snarky, but the underlying theme has merit—I cannot expect from others what I do not expect of myself.

    My blog was written as a practicing CIO, motivated by the best interests of our country, our patients, our physicians, and… get ready… EHR vendors. As evidenced by Epic’s recent decision to create an app store, I’m by no means the only person in the industry who believes that open APIs are the right thing to do for interoperability and innovation, as does the DoD. The DoD has been the historical leader of open systems in the world—ASN.1, SGML, DCE, CORBA, Ada, POSIX, TCP/IP and many others. Epic’s app store decision in light of the DoD procurement is a great recognition of that DoD legacy. The Epic app store will benefit the entire industry.

    You can try to discredit my comments about interoperability by firing back at Health Catalyst, but the criticism just won’t hold up. Health Catalyst is a tiny little startup, fighting it out in the best interests of our clients, in the trenches of American capitalism. We are economic and market influence gnats on the rump of today’s EHR vendors—the same EHR vendors that have benefitted from billions of tax dollar subsidies. And when you benefit from that sort of tax money, along with that benefit comes a new level of scrutiny and accountability back to those tax payers to do the right thing. When and if the healthcare analytics market benefits from $25B in tax subsidies, the bar of national accountability will raise for Health Catalyst, too.

    You would be surprised at how little influence I have on the way that Health Catalyst operates. I cannot and do not speak officially for the company. My contract with Health Catalyst stipulates that I can continue to speak, publish and blog on matters that reflect my personal opinion about the healthcare industry, which is the case in this discussion. In that context, I sit on the Canada Health InfoWay External Advisory Panel for Interoperability and that panel is in the midst of developing Canada’s roadmap for healthcare interoperability. We are hoping to help Canada avoid the ills that have plagued the US.

    I will go out on a limb and offer speculation—I bet Health Catalyst leadership would love nothing more than to publish all sorts of open APIs around their platform and products. As soon as any other vendor, including EHR vendors, asked or wanted to build products around the edges of the Health Catalyst platform, Health Catalyst would open the API doors– and not out of naïve altruism, but out of common business sense. The bigger the ecosystem of products that can interact with Health Catalyst, the better for Health Catalyst and the better for Health Catalyst clients and the industry. The Health Catalyst web site is an open cookbook for analytic success in healthcare. Take a look at any other healthcare IT vendors’ web sites and compare it to Health Catalyst. We don’t even offer a login-protected portion of that web site for clients. Everything we do is in the open because that type of openess raises everyone’s game, including ours.

    The only thing that Health Catalyst wants from EHR vendors is EHR data and data tags so that Health Catalyst clients can analyze their own data. It’s interoperability at the data warehousing level. I don’t see how EHR data can be considered IP that belongs to the EHR vendors. That data belongs to EHR clients and their patients, and I bet patients would like to know that their data is easy to access for analysis that benefits them clinically and financially.

    I will close by asking: Is there anyone out there who genuinely believes in their heart that our national healthcare IT interoperability and innovation strategy is working? Is there anyone out there who believes that anything in my blog is asking or expecting too much of EHR vendors? I guess one person does, but would guess that most do not.

    As usual, my thanks to Mr. HISTalk for providing this unique forum.


  3. It’s very impressive that they found a mummified Buddhist master inside a statue of the Buddha from 1100BC, especially since the Buddha did not live until 600 years later (at least not in human form). 🙂

  4. Now I am confused – Is Dale Saunders a ‘former CIO’ or a ‘current’ CIO?
    I did a Google on him and see he wears many titles. He’s also a SVP at a vendor and Consultant? – Is this guy fish or fowl? Which one is speaking when?

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