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April 30, 2015 News No Comments

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CMS releases a Medicare Part D prescription database for 2013 that includes details down to the individual prescriber for $103 billion in drug costs.

Reader Comments

From Ortho Doc: “Re: Meaningful Use. The ‘we can’t tell what the numbers mean yet’ for MU2 rear their ugly head in an Advisory Board report. Only 38,472 EPs have attested for MU2 to date. My guess is that only about half actually did Stage 2 as there was the Stage 1 reprieve. Even so, only 18 percent have successfully attested, which is a complete failure of MU. Someone ask CMS and ONC the tough questions, please. Now what are they going to do?” I’ve lost what little interest I had in MU – it’s a distraction to the real work that needs to be done, it encouraged providers to impulsively buy the same old EHRs they wouldn’t spend their own money on, and it put the federal government’s fingers in what should be private business practices and the patient-physician relationship. I’m actually encouraged that providers are bailing out since maybe they will refocus on what’s important.


From Dan: “Re: DonorsChoose. We’ve noticed the recent activity on HIStalk and would like to participate. Your effort is very well aligned with our philanthropy and community involvement objectives, especially around STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). It’s great that you’ve topped $10,000 towards the effort and we’d love to make a $5,000 contribution. We’d also like to keep the contribution confidential – I’m simply reaching out on behalf of others who feel strongly about this topic and have worked to approve the funding.” I never disclose sources, but I’m making an exception this time because Cerner’s generous donation should be acknowledged (I warned Dan that I would probably name the company). I also suggested an interview with one of Cerner’s female engineers who mentors local girls about technical careers, so that’s coming soon. Thanks to Cerner, I’ll be funding another $5,000 worth of DonorsChoose projects with an emphasis on those related to STEM, which is vital to our global future as we fall behind countries that emphasize those subjects more than we do. Kudos to Cerner for stepping up with no expectation of recognition. 

Speaking of the DonorsChoose project, donating $500 for some time with Centura SVP/CIO Dana Moore is Holland Square Group, which provides contract help to Centura.  

From Ockham: “Re: Judy Faulkner. A rare panel appearance at the World Medical Innovation Forum put on by Partners HealthCare. I attended Day 1 and I was very impressed with the speakers. I also found it fascinating that even though the conference was on neurology, every panel and speaker ended up talking about genomics and how it is going to transform medicine. Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there for Judy. Epic clinicals and everything go live at Brigham and Women’s in 30 days. Boston should feel like a home town to Judy with almost all but BIDMC soon to be live on Epic.”

From Soul Survivor: “Re: Medfusion. 20 percent payroll downsize.” Unverified.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

This week on HIStalk Connect: Teladoc files IPO paperwork, and simultaneously sues the Texas Medical Board for antitrust violations. Scanadu raises a $35 million Series B to fund clinical trials of its Tricorder-like Scanadu Scout. Validic reports strong Q1 results and raises a $12.5 million Series B that will be used to ramp up operations and meet growing demand for its personal health data interface engine. White coat hackers demonstrate a number of security vulnerabilities found in tele-operated surgical robots.

This week on HIStalk Practice: CareWell Urgent Care goes with Athenahealth. PatientlySpeaking integrates with Aprima. Iora Health CEO details the delight of developing a homegrown EHR for primary care. IOM rebrands. ICD-10 study shows physicians have their heads stuck in the sand. North Florida Women’s Care goes with Keona Health. Telemedicine price wars escalate. Tattooed community up in arms over Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor sensitivity. Sherpaa bypasses "old school" video for more effective text message consults. Thanks for reading.


None scheduled soon. Contact Lorre for information about webinar services.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Dallas-based video doctor consultation vendor Teladoc will file an IPO. The company also files an antitrust lawsuit against the Texas medical board for passing a new rule that requires doctors to meet a patient face to face before prescribing medication.


MedAssets announces Q1 results: revenue up 9.9 percent, adjusted EPS $0.31 vs. $0.32, beating expectations for both. Chairman and CEO Halsey Wise said in the earnings call that he’s not happy with the company’s financial performance and announces plans for a “data-centric future” as customers ask the company to offer more services than just group purchasing as health system emphasis partially shifts from inpatient to ambulatory where MedAssets has minimal presence. The company plans to combine its supply chain and revenue cycle data with insights from its Sg2 analytics group (acquired in August 2014 for $142 million) to provide customers with deeper analytics. Above is the one-year share price chart of MDAS (blue, down 3.8 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 20.7 percent).

Care, quality, and compliance software vendor MedHOK acquires Continuum Performance Systems, which offers Medicare process management software.


Anthem shakes off its January 2015-reported data breach in booking Q1 profits of $865 million, up nearly 25 percent from a year ago, mostly due to increased Medicaid plan membership.


Athenahealth reports Q1 results: revenue up 27 percent, adjusted EPS $0.24 vs. $0.12, beating estimates for both. ATHN shares are up 20 percent in the past year.


Imprivata acquires HT Systems, which offers the PatientSecure biometric identification system, for $19.1 million in cash plus performance incentives worth up to $6.9 million. The company’s palm vein scanning patient ID system is used in 324 hospitals.



Community Health System (IN) chooses Allscripts dbMotion for its clinically integrated network.

Announcements and Implementations

Surescripts expands its CompletEPA prescription electronic prior authorization coverage to nearly 100 percent of US patients by partnering with PDR.

Boston Scientific will integrate analytics software from TogetherMD into its cardiovascular products.

IBM, Apple, and Japan Post Group will deliver iPads to up to 5 million senior citizens in Japan by 2020. The IBM-developed apps include medication and lifestyle reminders, community services access, and electronic monitoring that extends Japan Post Group’s fee-based home visits.


Apple revises its App Store review guidelines to require ResearchKit developers to obtain institutional review board approval for studies involving human research. The previous language recommended but did not require IRB approval.

New York-Presbyterian Hospital launches the self-developed NYPConnect staff communication app.

Athenahealth connects the lab hub of Liaison Technologies to its network.

Government and Politics


Former Texas for-profit hospital chain CFO Joe White is ordered to pay $4.4 million in restitution for filing false Meaningful Use attestation reports, adding to his previous sentence of 11 years in prison for healthcare fraud. He also falsified the entries using another employee’s ID and faces up to seven years in federal prison for identity theft in his May 27 sentencing. Chain owner Tariq Mahmood, MD was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison a couple of weeks ago for Medicare and Medicaid fraud, with the US attorney cheering the decision by saying, “What we do not need is providers like Tariq Mahmood who masquerade as physicians and pretend to care about American healthcare but actually are determined to loot the Medicare Trust Fund.”


Premier comments on the House’s 21st Century Cures, urging ONC to help liberate data “locked in proprietary software systems” by developing standards (including patient identifiers, security, and APIs) and publicly reporting measures of interoperability via ONC’s certification program. Premier’s comments are valid, but as an organization representing providers, it places the blame on vendors rather than providers who are neither demanding or using interoperability capabilities due to competitive concerns.


Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) of the Senate’s HELP committee make good on their promise to help HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell with ideas for EHR improvement by inviting their Senate colleagues to join a working group that will identify ways to improve care, interoperability, and patient access to their own information.

Privacy and Security

A security guard at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s (MI) apologizes for looking up the EHR record of a 19-year-old female patient and then sending her a Facebook friend request.

Innovation and Research


Sensiotec wins an innovation award from the Technology Association of Georgia and the Southeastern Software Association. The company’s Virtual Medical Assistant offers FDA-approved, non-contact patient monitoring for post-acute care patients, with a monitoring panel placed under a patient’s bed or chair to continuously stream biometric information to the cloud.



Ron Kloewer, CIO of Montgomery County Memorial Hospital in Red Oak, IA, sent over a link to a Verizon story about the hospital’s Heartland Mobile Health unit, which connects the mobile exam room by 4G LTE to the hospital’s EHR.


Microsoft releases a software development kit for its Band smart watch that providers app developers access to its body sensors and notification tiles.



Sitka Community Hospital (AK) says one of its top priorities in trying to survive financially is to fix its software problems, especially those that are causing delayed billing. Googling suggests that the system they installed last year is Healthland.

Deaconess Health System (IN) will install and maintain Epic for Good Samaritan Hospital (IN) via the OneCare ACO. I believe the system getting replaced is McKesson Horizon, which Good Samaritan bought in 2007.


Sensationalistic US news sites love crises that keep eyeballs coming back, milking the latest plane crash, natural disaster, or civil unrest for all it’s worth. Good news doesn’t sell in the “if it bleeds, it leads” style, so here’s a counterpoint: the folks at Baltimore-based Salar were at Inner Harbor Wednesday handing out food to whoever was around – National Guard, police, locals, and visitors. Scour the web and you’ll find pictures everywhere of locals helping looted business clean up, protecting police from those intending to harm them, and reminding opportunistic criminals that torching a CVS and stealing lottery tickets hurts rather than helps.

Sponsor Updates

  • Microsoft announces Office plug-ins for DocuSign.
  • Mobile charge capture vendor pMD will become a PQRS registry for 2016.
  • Extension Healthcare offers “Reducing Clinical Noise and Solving the Challenge of Interruption Fatigue – A Nurse’s Perspective.”
  • PatientSafe Solutions hosted a 40-participant HIMSS15 breakfast event discussing smartphone-based clinical communication and collaboration.
  • Galen Healthcare offers part 1 of “Management-friendly policies we’ve taken to improve information security … and why you should too.”
  • The HCI Group interviews ERP Practice Director Lane Tucker in its latest blog.
  • ZeOmega hosts its client conference May 4-6 in Plano, TX.
  • Healthcare Data Solutions unveils a new brand and website.
  • First Databank adds natural health products to FDB MedKnowledge Canada.
  • Holon Solutions will exhibit at the National American Hospital Association Meeting May 3-6 in Washington, DC.
  • Influence Health will hold its Influence Client Congress May 3-6 in St. Louis.


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

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Reader Comments

  • Susan Hassell: You can't simply pile on more work and expect employees to not be stressed. How about not reducing FTEs until you implem...
  • Cindy Gagnon: Excellent article -- I 100% agree. Thank you for consistently articulating the realities of the healthcare informatics ...
  • Randy Bak: Re: Biden's remarks-- I've been letting slide all this talk of patient "data" and access to it, feeling it isn't worth t...
  • Brian Too: It's eerie to hear a healthcare vendor story about Lake Mary, FL. We used to get McKesson support for our Series produc...
  • Janice Willingham: As a recent new reader of this excellent site and former IT worker now on the quasi tech side of the "business side" of ...
  • Another Dave: Orwellian Aeron chair: If sitting is the new smoking, I sure this exercise motivator will have some real health benefit...
  • Art_Vandelay: The instability of the Operating and Capital budgets from year-to-year. Understanding where dollars are sourced, how, fr...
  • 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...

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