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April 7, 2015 News 8 Comments

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ECRI Institute names its top patient safety concerns for 2015:

  1. Alarm hazards.
  2. Missing or incorrect data in EHRs and other IT systems.
  3. Patient violence.
  4. Wrong IV line drug administration.
  5. Care coordination problems due to lack of medication reconciliation.
  6. Failure to perform double checks.
  7. Opioid events.
  8. Improper instrument sterilization.
  9. Inadequate handoffs during patient transport.
  10. Medication dosing errors due to weight confusion in kilograms vs. pounds.

Reader Comments


From Nature Valley Sweet and Salty: “Re: Beacon Partners. Guess the acquisition is true.” I see the slide that contains both company names, but I’ll have to say “Unverified” until something more definitive comes out. Everybody is holding their big news for next week, so we’ll know soon.

From Consensual Sects: “Re: SSI Group. Acquisition by an unnamed company to be announced this week.” I heard that a couple of weeks ago, with the rumor reporter claiming the acquirer is Medhost. I asked my SSI Group contact and they flatly denied that anything is in the works, but then again companies always say that since “no comment” is the same as verifying the rumor. Consensual Sects was told it’s a West Coast-based patient access company with a recognizable name.


From One M Dammit: “Re: HIMMS. Here’s another sighting.” There are many, unfortunately, with even mHealth News (published by HIMSS Media) managing to misspell it as HIMMS. Googling “HIMMS” for news sources turns up 157 examples.


From Occupy HIMSS: “Re: Scripps. Check out the spelling on this LinkedIn article.” It was posted on April 1, so perhaps its Epic author, who looks almost old enough to buy his own beer, was going for subtle rather than unintentional humor.


From Senor CMIO: “Re: Tennessee-based Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont merger. Wellmont just installed Epic under a year ago (and may be suffering financially, partly due to this). MSHA runs Siemens Soarian. MSHA will likely have final control of the merged company since its CEO is chairman of the merged board. It will be interesting to see if Epic will be replaced by Soarian or if efforts at HIE will be ramped up successfully between the two systems.”

From Panko: “Re: Epic. I read a site’s in-depth profile about Epic that struck me as odd since there was no really newsworthy item. It basically read as a press release touting Epic ahead of the DoD’s decision and brushed aside interoperability criticisms. I was wondering what your take on this is? Epic supposedly does not do press or marketing, but this article seems to me to be the result of a really carefully orchestrated media push.” Epic has been making itself slightly more visible to the press. Some of its people have been quoted in articles and there’s no way that happened without Judy’s approval. It hired a lobbyist. It is mentioned in announcements every now and then. All of this happened after the DoD bid came up and the interoperability and cost criticisms started getting potentially damaging airtime. I’m pretty sure Judy Faulkner still doesn’t do interviews although her words from quick email responses are sometimes passed off as an “interview” by sites hoping to give the impression that they’re so important that Judy took the time to sit down with them (you can recognize those articles because they contain dozens of paragraphs of regurgitated common knowledge along with about two actual Judy sentences inside quotation marks). Epic says it doesn’t do marketing, which I’ll generously interpret as being true since the company doesn’t have employees whose full-time job is marketing. Epic gets visibility when it wants it most, so while it keeps a lower public profile than most vendors, doesn’t advertise, and doesn’t fawn over the press, it also doesn’t just sit in a Verona barn and crank out MUMPS code while ignoring the fact that it’s a multi-billion dollar market-leading company whose interests have always been competitive, With the DoD bid and the involvement of prime bidder IBM, Epic seems to be slightly more active in managing the press as public opinion dictates, but often in a minimally visible way. 


From Belle: “Re: Epic overdose warning. Here’s our setup and the error that displays with a massive overdose as UCSF ordered.” This hospital keeps it simple by configuring Epic to order Septra DS by the whole tablet rather than in either mg or mg/kg of the trimethoprim component alone, which probably works great for adult patients but maybe not so for peds. The overdose warnings are pretty clear and even offer the choice of just switching to the maximum dose of two tablets per day with a single click. UCSF’s resident and pharmacist both received similar overdose warnings, which they didn’t heed. We talk about alarm fatigue when referring to patient monitors, but it happens a lot with CPOE drug warnings (dose, allergy, drug interaction, etc.) I’m sure someone has done a presentation on how to analyze and detune drug warnings in a way that is appropriate for a given hospital and/or provider since, as illogical as it seems, one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to such warnings. Reducing the clutter is better than just shutting off all alerts as some doctors claim they would prefer (until they get sued for missing a conflict, of course).

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

The HIMSS conference crunch has officially begun. Vendors are queuing up their announcements for next week, people are flooding my inbox with issues they think are important (although I often don’t share their level of excitement), and lots of people are packing up for their migration to Chicago. The weather is looking great with daytime highs in the 60s predicted, so it will be brown but comfortable.

Here’s the schedule of who will be holding court in our value-sized HIStalk HIMSS booth (#5371) next week:

  • Monday 2:00: Niko Skievaski of Redox, signing copies of “ICD-10 Illustrated” and maybe “Meaningful Use Stage 2 Illustrated.”
  • Monday 3:00: Ed Marx, signing copies of “Extraordinary Tales From A Rather Ordinary Guy.”
  • Tuesday 11:00: Steve Blumenthal of Waller Lansden Dortch and Davis LLP, answering health IT legal questions, being way funnier than you’d expect for a lawyer, and giving away swag while Lorre attends our CMIO get-together lunch.
  • Tuesday 2:00: nVoq, dispensing Garrett popcorn and collectible pins.
  • Tuesday 3:00: Barry Wightman of Forward Health Group, signing copies of “Pepperland” and dishing on what it was like hosting HIStalkapalooza the night before.
  • Tuesday 4:30: The Walking Gallery get-together.
  • Wednesday 11:00: Ross Martin, MD of AMIA and the American College of Medical Informatimusicology, handing out ACMImimi pins and badge ribbons for current Fellows.


We did a tweet chat Tuesday called “The Role of Patient Engagement and Advocacy in HIT” (the link goes to Jenn’s Storify recap). Thanks to those who participated, especially our patient advocate scholarship winners.

We’re doing video interviews with DrFirst at the HIMSS conference, asking folks for their impressions. Want to be included? Sign up here.



The HIStalkapalooza timeline looks like this:

  • 5:00 House of Blues closes to the public.
  • 6:30 House of Blues outside doors open only for HIStalkapalooza registered guests. Security will turn away anyone who wasn’t invited, so don’t plan to crash or to bring an unregistered guest (I don’t have any more invitations, so please don’t ask).
  • 6:30 Pick up your badge, check your coat, and walk the red carpet to participate in the shoe and apparel judging. Visit the event sponsor tables and stake out a good spot. We’ll have caricature artists, a photo booth, videographers, and other activities to be checked out. Bars and food won’t be open yet – that way people can enter leisurely without trampling each other in a rush to get to the first visible bar.
  • If one of the event sponsors has invited you to their private opera box, use your sponsor-issued wristband to pass security to the third and fourth floors (everybody without wristbands will be limited to the first two floors). We’ll have food service on the third floor, bars open on both floors, plus cocktailer (that’s a new word I’ve learned) service to the opera boxes, which will also be stocked with appetizers.
  • 6:45 Jazz combo starts playing dinner music on stage.
  • 7:00 Bars and dinner buffet stations open in multiple locations.
  • 7:40 Stage activities start, include sashing, the HISsies, and special guests. Your hosts will be Jennifer Lyle, Barry Wightman, and Lorre Wisham.
  • 8:30 (approximate) Party on the Moon’s stage performance begins.
  • 8:30 House of Blues doors outside doors will be closed. No one will be admitted after 8:30.
  • 10:00 Bars switch over from open to cash. I’m buying until 10:00, you’re buying after.
  • 11:00 Event ends.


If you can’t make it to HIStalkapalooza or didn’t receive an invitation, event sponsor PatientSafe Solutions will be live streaming video from the event via Periscope, a new Twitter-powered video service. Follow @PatientSafeSoln on Twitter, install the Periscope app, and watch for live tweets tagged #HIStalkapalooza. Next time maybe I’ll just stay home and throw a viewing party with a keg and some Italian beef sandwiches.


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.

April 22 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Microsoft: The Waking Giant in Healthcare Analytics and Big Data.” Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Dale Sanders, SVP of strategy, Health Catalyst. Microsoft has been quietly reengineering its culture and products to offer the best value and most visionary platform for cloud services, big data, and analytics in healthcare. This webinar will cover the Healthcare Analytics Adoption Model, the ongoing transition from relational databases, the role of new Microsoft products such as Azure and Analytic Platform System, the PowerX product line, and geospatial and machine learning visualization tools. Attendees will learn how to incorporate cloud-based analytics services into their healthcare analytics strategies.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Livongo Health raises $20 million to expand its connected glucometer-powered diabetes management service. Former Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman started and runs the company.


Lexmark will consolidate its acquired brands, including Perceptive Software, under the single name Lexmark and a new logo. Perceptive will be placed under the Lexmark Healthcare banner. 


Mansa Capital Management acquires Accreon with a $5.5 million investment and the participation of the company’s founders and management team.



Baptist Health (KY) chooses Capsule for medical device integration.

Meditech chooses Validic to integrate clinical, fitness, and wellness data into its applications.



Gary Meyer (Financial Chief) joins Cumberland Consulting Group as CFO.

Announcements and Implementations


A PerfectServe survey with decent methodology finds that 71 percent of doctors waste time trying to communicate with other care team members, the EHR is rarely used to communicate with external providers about complex issues, and respondents report extensive dissatisfaction with their clinical communications tools that often span telephone, texting, and other forms of messaging. Nearly two-thirds think HIPAA requirements impede care team communication.


Cerner and Banner Health sign a collaboration agreement that would seem to cement the strong possibility that Banner’s new acquisition, Tucson-based University of Arizona Health Network, will eventually be migrated from Epic to Millennium.

Healthgrades announces its annual awards for patient experience and patient safety, naming the top hospitals based on analysis of claims data, HCAHPS scores, and reported patient safety incidents. It’s interesting that some questions that formerly well correlated with “likely to recommend” now don’t, suggesting that consumer expectations are changing.

TeraMedica will launch analytics and dashboard additions to its Evercore vendor-neutral archive next week.

Privacy and Security

Tulare County HHS (CA) suggests that 800 people change their email addresses after a county employee used CC: rather than BCC: in sending out emails to clinic patients. The department also disabled the exposed email addresses for its patient portal.



Jamie Stockton, CFA of Wells Fargo Securities sent over his latest slice-and-dice of Meaningful Use data. For hospitals, nearly every Epic user has reached Stage 2, while users of Cerner, Meditech, CPSI, and McKesson are congregated at around the two-thirds mark.


Wells Fargo’s EP numbers suggest that Athenahealth customers lead the MUS2 pack at 71 percent, although not up to the 98 percent it boasted a couple of weeks ago that in reality measured the percentage of EPs that attempted MUS2, not the percentage of its overall customer base. Obviously EPs aren’t nearly as willing and able as hospitals to keep chasing HITECH money, and if they purchased these EHRs with intentions of getting it, they are likely not only disappointed, but potentially more likely to replace the systems they bought for that reason.

Carequality publishes collaboration and trust principles that data-sharing participants can legally agree to follow.


A Minnesota couple hears music playing from their child’s bedroom, finally realizing that an Amsterdam hacker had taken over their nanny cam. Theirs was one of thousands of cameras that had screen shots and live stream links posted online because the parents did like many people in buying an IP security camera and ignoring the instructions for changing the default password.

Sponsor Updates

  • CitiusTech launches a healthcare practice focused on big data and Hadoop.
  • ADP AdvancedMD offers the “Top 4 claim exclusions & resolutions.”
  • AtHoc offers “Diversity Makes Us Stronger.”
  • Besler Consulting offers a new video on the clinical impact of readmissions.
  • Medecision publishes a video of Neil Kudler, MD, CMIO of Baystate Health, discussing how he uses the Aerial platform to engage patients.
  • PDS posts “When I Was Your Age: The Challenge of Generational Patient Engagement.”


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. Assuming that the Epic HIMSS “booth” (i.e. taj mahal) did not build itself, Epic does spend money on marketing. If Epic has ever sent someone to a regional user group meeting, they spend money on marketing. And last I checked, they host a pretty major event in Verona each September which is not solely for education.

    I’d say Epic does a pretty significant amount of marketing.

  2. The only reason Epic is being more “proactive” in the press is they are being reactive as a means of damage control. The high price of overplaying their hand as to how many patients records are held within their systems and how “easy” it could be to exchange them within their own fiefdom. They were all to happy to play themselves as the “inevitable” option for any small to mid sized system that needed to attract doctors and exchange records for their most critical patients as a quid pro quo for large system benefits ($$$$). What is really comical is going before congress and acting like a victim.

  3. @DHMSMer Epic looks at Marketing as more of external communications and measures as percentage of indirect costs compared to others in the industry. You are correct, those elements would be considered marketing, and up until a few years ago, folks who oversaw those functions were the “marketing team” at Epic. Now they are called Events Staff. Regardless, Epic’s “marketing” spend as a % of its overall spend is much smaller than others in the industry by a significant percentage.

  4. Hey I met someone at HIStalkpalooza last year from Epic whose title said “Sales” and she boasted to me that she turned Yale off Cerner onto Epic after the board had agreed…

  5. If anyone here truly thinks Epic doesn’t have a marketing group, you’re as gullible as they want you to be. Who coordinates the website? Who puts on UGM? Who gets ready for HIMSS? Who determines the messaging in the endless RFPs vendors have to fill out? Who decides to put up the “Marketing Sucks” billboard?

    I’ve actually met Epic’s DIRECTOR OF MARKETING. I think Terri left Epic now to work for another Madison-area vendor, but check out her bio:


    “she was overseeing its marketing team”

    I get that there’s some crazy culty mystique about Verona due to Epic’s private ownership, but they’re a multi-billion dollar multi-national company. Not a team of goofballs who just stumbled into the space.

  6. My trusty way of remembering the correct HIMSS acronym is I say to myself “HIM to the double S”. Just as I remember HIPAA with “HIP to the double A”. It sounds silly (and is proof I’m totally an 80’s child), but it works.

  7. To everyone freaking out about trying to find every bit of proof that Epic has a marketing team: yes, they have employees whose job it is to manage the public face of the company. You win. But they market themselves a heck of a lot less and a heck of a lot less aggressively than any other vendor and they tend to let their product speak for itself rather than try to convince customers via marketing campaigns. Personally I think that is at least a little praiseworthy.

    And yes, Epic has a sales team, of course they do. But any first year business school student can tell you that sales and marketing are not the same thing.

  8. Silly me, I remember HIMSS and HIPAA by what the acronyms represent: “Health Information and Management Systems Society” and “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act”.

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