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Monday Morning Update 3/30/15

March 28, 2015 News 5 Comments

Top News

The Senate won’t review or approve the House-passed doc fix bill until after its two-week recess ends on April 13. You may recall that 2014’s one-year ICD-10 delay was inserted when the Senate, working hours before the previous SGR patch was set to expire, couldn’t muster enough votes to pass its own version of SGR bill that didn’t include the delay.

Reader Comments


From Raygun: “Re: Epic. They’ve never posted in social media, but I got this in my LinkedIn stream.”

From Hanoi Hotel: “Re: [vendor name omitted.] Supposedly laying off 300 people. Trying to get better intel.” I’ve omitted the name of the publicly traded company. Update: a second reader confirmed the first reader’s statement that the company is Allscripts.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


The least-trusted interoperability organization is CommonWell, according to 50 percent of readers. If you add the totals of its members that are listed in the poll, the distrust number increases to 78 percent vs. Epic’s 22 percent. Respondent James explained his thought: “McKesson’s CEO has said in quarterly calls that he expects CommonWell to gush licensing money any day. Cerner’s documentation is near impossible to find. Epic’s HL7 documentation is there for all to see but that doesn’t do much in the expense department. Athena’s API is non-healthcare-industry-standard, which is a good thing, but it can’t move the market.” A third of the votes came from the Madison area, although Epic was hosting a bunch of customers there and there’s no way to separate their votes from those of Epic employees. New poll to your right or here: what’s the #1 reasons you would decline to do business with a startup?


A year ago I donated most of the proceeds from the Top Spot banner ad at the top of every HIStalk page (it mostly ran during the HIMSS conference) to classroom projects via DonorsChoose.org. Teach for America teacher Ms. Moore sent photos this week of her students enjoying the 50 library books we as HIStalk readers donated to her school (with matching funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). Her school, in which 65 percent of students get free or reduced price lunches, is the sixth-highest performing school in North Carolina, with 97 percent of students performing at or above grade level and 100 percent of seniors accepted to college (85 percent of those are the first in their families to attend college). The Top Spot banners are still available if your company wants HIMSS exposure and to help me fund more classrooms in need.


Our networking event for HIStalk sponsors will be held Sunday evening (April 12). I’m offering great food and a premium open bar at a nice venue not far from the river and Miracle Mile. I had this last-minute thought: if you’re the CEO of a non-sponsor startup and want to network with some great folks, tell me why you’d like to come and I’ll choose up to five to join us at my expense.

Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • The House passes an SGR doc fix bill that is free of ICD-10 delay language.
  • HHS publishes drafts of Meaningful Use Stage 3 and 2015 certification requirements.
  • Industry leaders John Halamka and Micky Tripathi question the direction and value of ONC’s Meaningful User and EHR certification programs.
  • Vermont’s governor threatens to shut down the state’s floundering health insurance exchange and move to Healthcare.gov.
  • The head of the Department of Defense’s EHR project suggests that it will choose the bid group that offers the best services, not necessarily the best EHR.

HIStalkpalooza Sponsor Profiles


Do you need a little Tonic to help face those Healthcare Challenges? Visit Elsevier booth #2207 to witness how our innovative solutions and services empower patients and providers and improve clinical outcomes embedding trusted medical content at every stage in the patient journey. Participate in our exciting Healthcare Challenge and win special event giveaways. Are you curious to learn about extreme patient engagement? If that doesn’t convince you, than how about cocktails and mocktails served with a flair? Please join us for our daily in-booth happy hours. We look forward to seeing you there.


Mark your calendars… HIStalkapalooza gold sponsor Divurgent will be bringing back their ever-popular Children’s Hospital Charity Drive to the HIMSS exhibit floor to raise monies for Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Divurgent’s booth #1891 will feature a fast-paced, interactive Trivia Charity Drive, inspired by the explosively popular mobile app game, Trivia Crack. It will be hard to miss the vibrantly-colored Trivia Charity Wheel as HIMSS attendees spin to see what trivia category they will land on, along with what donation value Divurgent will contribute on the attendee’s behalf. Make sure to visit booth #1891 to help Divurgent meet their goal of raising $5,000 for Lurie Children’s.To view all of Divurgent’s exciting events and happenings during HIMSS, click here.


March 31 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Best Practices for Increasing Patient Collections.” Sponsored by MedData. Presenter: Jason Bird, director of client operations, MedData. Healthcare is perhaps the last major industry where the consumer does not generally have access to what they owe and how they can pay for their services. Collecting from patients is estimated to cost up to four times more than collecting from payers and patient pay responsibility is projected to climb to 50 percent of the healthcare dollar by the end of the decade. Learn how creating a consumer-focused culture, one that emphasizes patient satisfaction over collections, can streamline your revenue cycle process and directly impact your bottom line. 

April 8 (Wednesday) noon ET. “Leveraging Evidence and Mobile Collaboration to Improve Patient Care Transitions.” Sponsored by Zynx Health. Presenter: Grant Campbell, MSN, RN, senior director of nursing strategy and informatics, Zynx Health. With mounting regulatory requirements focused on readmission prevention and the growing complexity of care delivery, ACOs, hospitals, and community-based organizations are under pressure to effectively and efficiently manage patient transitions. 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.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Valence Health will move to a new Chicago location as it plans to add 500 jobs by 2019.

Vince continues his 2014 review of health IT vendors in covering those that serve large health systems – Cerner, McKesson, Epic, Allscripts, and GE Healthcare.  



Public Hospitals Authority of the Bahamas chooses Surgical information Systems for perioperative systems.

Announcements and Implementations


EClinicalWorks subsidiary Healow announces integration with several wearable and fitness tracker products.

Government and Politics

Programming website GitHub is hit by a distributed denial of service attack from what appears to be the Chinese government, which is unhappy about GitHub tools that allow China-based users to bypass their government’s censorship.

Privacy and Security


A TransUnion Healthcare survey finds that two-thirds of recent patients (with a heavy representation of younger ones) would avoid a provider that has experienced a data breach. Half of the consumers expect to be notified within one day of the breach (hopefully of its announcement rather than the actual event since it’s foolish to announce a breach before doing preliminary investigation) and about the same percentage expect a dedicated phone hotline and website to answer their questions.



The local TV station profiles Seattle Children’s use of software from local startup Luum, which tracks how employees commute to work so that the employer can reward the use of sustainable transportation. Seattle Children’s gives employees a free fancy coffee if they don’t drive to work in a car.

Johnson & Johnson-owned medical device vendor Ethicon signs a collaboration agreement with Google to develop a robot-assisted surgical platform.


I’m interested in a couple of new apps (Meerkat and Periscope) that allow someone to stream a video broadcast from their smartphones to their chosen Twitter followers. It would be kind of cool to watch a live stream of the HIMSS keynotes or to show a first-person view of what’s going on at HIStalkapalooza.


The City of Baltimore uses its Netsmart EHR to remind employees who are treating heroin addicts to test them for HIV and refer them to HIV care if positive.

I missed this until @Farzad_MD tweeted it out: great investor advice presented as quotes from venture capitalist Paul Graham:

“What investors are looking for when they invest in a startup is the possibility that it could become a giant. It may be a small possibility, but it has to be non-zero. They’re not interested in funding companies that will top out at a certain point.  A startup is a company designed to grow fast. Being newly founded does not in itself make a company a startup. Nor is it necessary for a startup to work on technology, or take venture funding, or have some sort of  ‘exit.’ The only essential thing is growth. Everything else we associate with startups follows from growth.… To grow rapidly, you need to make something you can sell to a big market … If you want to start a startup, you’re probably going to have to think of something fairly novel. A startup has to make something it can deliver to a large market, and ideas of that type are so valuable that all the obvious ones are already taken…. Usually, successful startups happen because the founders are sufficiently different from other people – ideas few others can see seem obvious to them.

Weird News Jeff channels WNA in providing this family-unfriendly story. Two UC Berkeley researchers develop SmartBod, an adaptive biofeedback app that manages the most personal of wearables in order to guarantee a happy ending, tracks performance over time, and allows proudly sharing the results with social media. If that’s not enough, the last names of the scientists (who are in fact a couple) are Klinger and Wang.

Sponsor Updates

  • Zynx Health client Meritage ACO (CA) achieves successful reduction of at-risk patient readmissions.
  • Senator Lois Wolk (D-CA) recognizes Geni Bennetts, MD of WeiserMazars as one of the Third Senate District’s “Women of the Year.”
  • Huron Consulting Group will sponsor and exhibit at the 2015 Cancer Center Administrators Forum March 29-31 in Lexington, KY.
  • Verisk Health offers “How the Boomers will Change the Shape of Medicare.”
  • T-System President and CEO Roger Davis weighs in on EHR interoperability.
  • Shareable Ink names Chris Buckley as regional sales director of the year.


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

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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. Mr. H, you have no idea how many spontaneous internal emails I got about this poll, mostly from people who read HIStalk but don’t post because Cerner has discouraged it. The fact that it was a fairly poorly constructed poll that mixed real “companies” with a not-for profit trade association could have been forgiven, but the analysis/commentary is what really bothered people. That’s where you lumped individual (pretty positive!) results together in the pile-on against CommonWell. The sentiment seemed to be, if you wanted an Epic v. CommonWell poll, then why not put just those two choices on the poll and be done with it? And given that you didn’t even include Meditech, which has ~20% market share, it definitely made it seem like you were focused on CW members only. One of the messages I received: “Alternate headline: Epic trusted least of all the vendors.”

    Separate issue. It’s kind of bewildering/frustrating/silly to read these polls as a vendor reader of HIStalk. Any time any one of these companies decides to forward the poll around, they can easily double, triple or quadruple the number of respondents you’d typically get, skewing the results. Imagine if McK or Epic or Cerner or Meditech actually asked all of its employees to vote every time they were featured in a poll. It would be nuts.

    One time I did forward a HIStalk poll about which pop health solution was best to a friend/manager of the pop health dev team. Hours later, many proud Cerner pop health developers decided to respond. It was more silly than malicious…kind of a wave hello & a statement about how proud they were of what they were working on. It certainly didn’t go to the whole company, either. But that small aberration was enough to wildly skew the results.

    Maybe for future polls, you should have some polls where you ask vendor employees to abstain from voting (honor system, perhaps backed up by you ‘outing’ the # of suspicious IP addresses as you sometimes do). Of course, it might decrease the # of votes overall (Haven’t you ever wondered how many of your readers are vendor employees? Now there’s a poll!). Perhaps have some polls aimed at vendors where vendors are welcome to respond.

    Much like the ‘hangers-on’ you mentioned last week, we vendors *are* your readers, too, even if it’s just in a watching-a-train-wreck sense.

    All of the writers & readers of HIStalk should at least once experience what it’s like to have your organization and teammates be the subject of an anonymous blog. It feels great when it’s right, and makes you boil at the ears and feel stress when it’s wrong. Who know? Maybe in the future, there will be a HIS-talk-TALK blog, where we get together & chat about the blog. 🙂


  2. RE: Allscripts

    Maybe it’s time for Airbnb and 4 to a room with double bunk beds for the next ACE conference……

  3. Notice…those good people won’t be on bunk beds. I’m making light of the poor management at Allscripts which brought about this layoff. Undoubtedly, good people will be laid off and they’ll be just fine with their strong technical skills.

    The problem with this layoff will be like most Allscripts actions. They’ll get rid of the good people and leave the bozos. Allscripts has too many zombie EHRs they just can’t maintain and they don’t deliver on their commitments (want a fine example just take one look at their situation in Australia).

    Blame the people who screwed up… management. What’s next? Are we going to see people advocating for a government bail out of Allscripts?

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