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April 23, 2015 News 8 Comments

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Two New York-based, healthcare-related organizations strike deals that will make them some of the first US firms to conduct business in Cuba now that sanctions have been relaxed. Roswell Park Cancer Institute (cancer research) and Infor (hospital data integration) announced their plans following a trade delegation visit this week led by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I decided to follow through on looking at female representation on vendor executive teams as listed on company webpages since it came up on HIStalk last week. Companies have the incentive to hire the most qualified people regardless of demographics, but just in case you’re interested for whatever reason, here’s the percentage of females they’ve chosen.

Percentage of Females on Leadership Team (highest to lowest)
Wolters Kluwer Health 50
Meditech 41
Merge 33
TriZetto 25
Advisory Board 25
Optum 23
Athenahealth 22
Quality Systems 22
InterSystems 22
Cerner 19
Nuance 18
Greenway Health 18
Leidos Health 17
GE Healthcare 15
Premier 15
Surescripts 12
Philips North America 11
MModal 10
Emdeon 8
Allscripts 0
McKesson Technology Solutions 0

Some other percentages:  Facebook (20), Microsoft (19), Google (15), and IBM (27). HIMSS comes in at 17 percent.

I was reading a tweet that referred to pilot turned safety expert (and 2010 HIMSS keynoter) Sully Sullenberger as a “national hero.” The cynic in me (which has a significant presence) cringes at how we’ve devalued the term “hero” to label anyone who experiences adversity (including the randomly applied kind) rather than reserving the term for those who exhibit bravery or noble deeds in intentionally sacrificing themselves on behalf of others. Sully landed his plane safely in the Hudson River, but he was saving himself as well as his passengers. He was cool under pressure, humble, and performed the job he was being paid to do better than most would have done, but “hero” might be a stretch, just as it is when referring to athletes, victims of violence, someone who calls police to report a crime in progress, or groups that may well contain some but not all heroes (firefighters, service members, or even clinicians, for instance).

This week on HIStalk Practice: interoperability melancholia sets in after HIMSS. Matter Chicago CEO previews AMA physician office of the future. Radiology practices select new rev cycle technology. Azalea Health takes on telemedicine. Physicians’ Alliance of America looks for PCP feedback on EHR charting productivity. New study finds that online physician reviews don’t have much to do with clinical expertise. Modernizing Medicine CEO Dan Cane dives into the company’s relationship with IBM Watson. StatDoctor CEO Alan Roga, MD outlines the benefits of video in telemedicine.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Tech-savvy health insurance newcomer Oscar Health raises a $145 million funding round on a $1.5 billion valuation in just its second year in business. Ernst & Young creates a digital maturity index focused on quantifying the sophistication of telehealth programs. Color Genomics unveils a $259 genetic screening test that looks for 19 key mutations, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, that are known risk factors for developing breast or ovarian cancers. Gravie, a private health insurance exchange startup, raises a $12.5 million Series B to expand its presence into Texas and Illinois.

DonorsChoose Fundraising Project Update




Our total now stands at $10,000 thanks to new participation from ZirMed, TransUnion Healthcare, BlueTree Network, and Orchestrate Healthcare. BlueTree Network was notable in donating $1,000 instead of the requested $500, while TransUnion Healthcare VP Patrick Gilmore missed the chance to meet with Centura SVP/CIO Dana Moore at the HIMSS conference but said he wanted to donate anyway. Dana will provide a summary of his conversations with these companies later. I’ve funded $6,656 in projects and will get the remaining $3,344 out to classrooms by this weekend.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Navicure announces a 32 increase in year-over-year sales of its billing and payment solutions.

India-based Wipro expects its healthcare business to hit $2 billion in annual revenue by 2018, double its 2015 expectations, mostly due to increased technology spending triggered by US healthcare reform. The company will target acquisitions in the $100-$200 million range, saying it passed on acquiring TriZetto (acquired by Cognizant for $2.7 billion) because of the price.

The Illinois Hospital Association will merge with the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council effective January 1, meaning the state hospital association will be running an HIE (MetroChicago HIE) and insurance company.


A federal judge orders the legally prolific MyMedicalRecords to pay the defense fees of WebMD and Allscripts, which beat some of MMR’s bottomless patent infringement lawsuits after refusing to pay “licensing fees” for ubiquitous technologies.


Jeff Bezos discloses the financial performance of Amazon Web Services for the first time in the unit’s nine-year history, stating that it’s a $5 billion business that’s growing fast.

A Wall Street Journal article finds that universities (Vanderbilt, Emory, and University of Arizona) are cutting ties with their cash cow academic medical centers as their high costs threaten to exclude them from exchange-based insurance networks.



Swedish Cancer Institute (WA) chooses the Synapse Precision Medicine Platform to provide oncology clinical decision support using patient genomic information.

Mount Sinai Health System (NY) selects the InterSystems HealthShare interoperability platform.

CareWell Urgent Care chooses Athenahealth’s EHR and practice management system for its 49 providers.

LTPAC EHR vendor SigmaCare chooses Liaison EMR-Link hub to connect with lab and imaging vendors.

Augusta Health will use Meditech performance monitoring tools from Goliath Technologies. The company’s press release doesn’t bother to mention where its new client is located (who writes this stuff, anyway?), so I’ll take a Google-inspired guess and say Virginia.



Davide Zaccagnini, MD (Nuance) joins SyTrue as CMIO.


Dominick Bizzarro (Value Informatics) joins insurer MVP Health Care as EVP of business development and informatics.


Cerner co-founder and Chief of Innovation Paul Gorup is retiring, insiders tell me. He helped develop PathNet in the 1980s, left Cerner in 1987 to run a radio station monitoring company, then returned to Cerner in 1999 to develop its hosting business. Gorup said in a 2013 interview, when asked why Cerner succeeded in healthcare while IBM and GE fizzled, “That’s easy. What does the head of IBM get up and think about every morning? I guarantee you it’s not healthcare. Same with the head of GE. He might think about energy or finance, but not healthcare. You have to think about it 24 hours a day. It’s not a part-time business. If healthcare becomes a part of something else, you’ve lost your focus.”

Announcements and Implementations

Referral software vendor EHealth Technologies announces a partnership with Box to support PDF viewing, medical image display, and structured document viewing.

Craneware announces enhancements to its Chargemaster Corporate Toolkit that include a single consolidated view, corporate chargemaster change distribution, and advanced workflow integration.

Capsule releases its Early Warning Scoring System for its SmartLinx Chart Express charting solution to alert clinicians of patient deterioration based on real-time vital signs analysis.

Zynx Health enhances the secure text messaging capabilities of its ZynxCarebook mobile coordination platform.

A TransUnion Healthcare analysis finds that increasing healthcare expenses and lower consumer credit lines have left consumers less able to pay their medical bills than last year. A big driver of the increased patient cost involves joint replacement procedures, which are 20 percent more expensive than they were a year ago.

Government and Politics

In Australia, the Victoria medical association calls on the state to spend $39 million to improve connectivity between hospitals and practices, hoping to at least enable delivery of discharge summaries and lab results after several expensive IT projects failed to deliver that capability.

Minnesota’s health commissioner says he’s concerned about pushback on the state’s 2008 requirement that all providers use EHRs by the end of this year. He debunks four privacy myths that are apparently the crux of the unstated opposition’s campaign.

A New York Times investigative report finds that the VA’s wait times scandal cost only three jobs vs. the 60 firings the VA claimed. One VA employee was fired for accepting gifts not directly related to wait times, one retired to avoid being fired, one is awaiting termination, and five employees were reprimanded. The VA often transfers problem employees and those who appeal their terminations can collect their paychecks for up to two years while awaiting a decision. 

 Innovation and Research

HHS will support three projects via its Ventures Fund: a website that allows providers to crowdsource possible new uses for existing drugs, an evaluation system for funding disaster preparedness, and a smart phone based diagnostic tool for malaria.

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study of personal health records finds that while consumers believe the most important information contained in PHRs is their own recorded daily observations (diet, exercise, mood, medication response), physicians usually don’t even look at them, instead turfing such review off to nurses and health coaches. The study also found that consumers think their information is valuable enough to outweigh any privacy concerns. It also concludes that demand for PHRs is surprisingly low because nobody is sure what problems they’re supposed to solve. I’ll extend my own musing: technology-powered lusting for discrete data capture and big data analysis cannot overwhelm the essential nature of the encounter, which is to listen to what the patient (and not necessarily their data points) is saying. Not everything that’s health related can be described by passively collected data dropped into convenient little buckets, and not everything that’s important will come up without skilled engagement of the “tell me how things are going” variety. My takeaway is that we need to make sure that technology enhances rather than limits the use of the patient’s own voice in the participatory guiding of their health.



Heal releases a house call app for the Apple Watch that allows users to request a doctor visit with a single touch. Doctors equipped with mobile diagnostic apps such as the AliveCor ECG and CellScope otoscope arrive at the desired location within an hour and spend as much time as needed for a fixed fee of $99. One of Heal’s investors is Lionel Richie.


Hospitals are moving inner city hospitals to suburbs where better-paying patients live, a Kaiser Health News article reprinted in Newsweek points out. Hospitals defend the practice by saying it’s cheaper to build a new suburban hospital than to renovate a old, land-locked downtown facility, but city officials say their core areas are being medically abandoned as hospitals chase patients who have better insurance.

Oxycodone-related deaths dropped 25 percent following Introduction of Florida’s doctor-shopping database of controlled substance prescriptions, a University of Florida study finds. However, deaths were already decreasing after the state shut down hundreds of pill mills posing as pain management clinics.

A study finds that 28 percent of Americans did not perform even one physical activity in 2014, increasing the “totally sedentary” number to the highest it’s been since 2007. Experts blame reduced physical education time in school and the competitive nature of school sports that leaves most students on the sidelines.

HealthLoop founder Jordan Shlain, MD says he started the company when he realized as a doctor that his mental model was wrong – inviting a patient to contact him when in need is not the same as proactively checking up on them, which he summarizes as invalidation of the “no news is good news” attitude since that means the same as “no data is good data.” He also says hospitals dehumanize their treatment failures by giving them the blame-free, dumbed-down label of “readmission.” He warns that probability-challenged people often make bad decisions in using data and algorithms as a blunt instrument without paying attention to what it means for individual patients.

An Australian blogger who built a business (including a wellness app) by claiming she cured her terminal brain cancer by diet and lifestyle alone admits that she was lying – she never had cancer. She was caught when she failed to donate $300,000 in app sales to charity as promised.


Weird News Andy titles this article as “A Rocky Experience in the OR.” A professor and facial surgeon in England loses his license after punching an anesthetized patient in the face 10 times to correct a broken cheekbone. The doctor admits that he “manually reduced the fracture” because the patient wasn’t fit for surgery, adding that doctors punch patients all the time while doing CPR. The patient is fine, while the surgeon is now offering his services in Dubai.

Sponsor Updates

  • Valence Health is convening its second annual Pediatric Collaborative for Value-Based Care forum in Chicago this week.
  • DocuSign is named among Silicon Valley’s “Best Places to Work 2015” for the fourth consecutive year.
  • E-MDs will exhibit at the MGMA regional meeting April 29 in Galveston, TX.
  • Galen Healthcare recaps the “Top 5 Themes from the Super Bowl of HIT.”
  • Hayes Management Consulting offers “Planning for the Unexpected EHR Downtime: 4 Key Steps.”
  • HCS will exhibit at the National Association of Long Term Hospitals 2015 Annual Meeting April 30-May 1 in Washington, DC.
  • HCI group offers “7 Essential Items Every McKesson Horizon Customer Should be Considering.”
  • Healthfinch’s Karen Hitchcock offers “A First-Timer’s First Impressions.”
  • Healthwise will exhibit at the Annual NPSF Patient Safety Congress April 29 in Houston.
  • Holon Solutions offers “RightFax End of Life Support Dates: Are You Ready?”
  • Impact Advisors offers its top 10 takeaways (and HISsies Award coverage and predictions) from HIMSS15.
  • The Atlanta Business Chronicle recognizes Ingenious Med as one of the city’s top 100 fastest-growing privately held companies.
  • PDR will exhibit at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Annual meeting April 25-28 in Palm Beach, FL.
  • LifeImage celebrates five years in business and 1 billion images exchanged.
  • LifePoint Informatics offers a new white paper explaining “Why Access to Lab & Diagnostic Data is Important to Providers, Payers, and Patients.”
  • Logicworks explains why it sells managed cloud services rather than consulting services.


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

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Currently there are "8 comments" on this Article:

  1. Re: E-MDs will exhibit at the MGMA regional meeting April 29 in Galveston, TX.

    This is news? Really? So do dozens of other vendors. Who cares?

  2. RE: Females on Leadership Team (highest to lowest)
    Ouch. Those percentages are abysmal. Today was Take Your Child to Work day. Four of the five children participating at our office were girls. I can only hope that their participating in scrum, seeing stories move through the Kanban, watching how Photoshop contributes to wire frame development, and editing a video with the intent to train end users will plant enough seeds for my daughter to be a part of a generation that sees higher rates of representation in HIT.

  3. Re overuse of “hero”: I agree. In my MBA class we read an article about Sully and got much of the same pitch. I argued (as a commercial pilot) that he did an excellent job of executing the job he had trained for. I’d certainly be pleased to have him as a pilot and I applaud the role he has played as a TV commentator, but I’m not sure that his actions qualify as “heroic”.

  4. Thank you Mr. H, I thought it was just me who thought the Sully Sullenberger story was blown way out of proportion. Don’t get me wrong – what he did that day was commendable, and I am if I were on that flight that day, I would be forever indebted to him for saving my life. But aren’t pilots trained for those types of landing over and over again? He did his job, and delivered. Very well, in fact. Just like many of us in our daily lives.

    And what about the co-pilot and the crew members who I am sure did an equally great job, not to mention all the true heroes who save us from crimes, fires and put us out of harm’s way?

  5. re: Sully Sullenberger. Check out the movie “Friends With Benefits” starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. There are a few brief scenes that reference the very same argument you are making. Quite hilarious!

  6. Re: Female executives. Speaking as a woman with nearly a handful of children…no way I wanted to give up a large portion of my life for executive level commitment. I hope that if I decided to, I wouldn’t have been left out because of my gender. I think many women decide to take themselves out of the running for lifestyle reasons…but maybe I’m naive and my gender would have kept me back. At one company I worked for the C-level down to my direct manager were all women – it was the best run and most productive company I’ve encountered in my 20 year career.

  7. University of Arizona and University Medical Center had severed their relationship and re-combined a couple of times. If they are doing it again, I’m wondering if it is partly due to Banner Healthcare buying it. I feel for those people if they will be forced to move to Cerner after just implementing (and at great cost) Epic. Seems like a great waste of money (which was always difficult given the patient population) and time of all staff involved. I think it’s all downhill from there now as they will end up having to join lockstep with Banner Health policies etc.

  8. Re: E-MDs

    Looks like Mr. H agrees with you, as this is why he listed the item under “Sponsor Updates”.

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