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May 12, 2015 News 1 Comment

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Health information management vendors HealthPort and IOD will merge, creating a company with $450 million in annual revenue that offers release-of-information services, audit management, coding and abstracting, and document conversion.

Reader Comments


From Robert Lafsky, MD: “Re: typo. You could use this. I’ll take plaque instead of plague, I think.” You would need to choose dental, dermal, or arterial, of which Door #1 is the obvious preference.


From Spaulding Smails: “Re: news items back story. Newsletters sometimes include a ‘why this is interesting’ explanation that your readers might find useful.” I did that in the snarky, weekly HIStalk Brev+IT email newsletter that I wrote 100 or so years ago. Above is a sample from those innocent, pre-HITECH days of early 2008 just in case you weren’t one of the eight people reading it back then. I added some history, perspective, and smart-alecky editorial comments to each news item. I don’t think I’d want to do that for every item I include in HIStalk (which is far more than the three items I ran in each Brev+IT), but I’m open to suggestions if anyone wants to see that commentary added. Some headlines I noticed as I reviewed them for the first time in seven years: “Is That Your iPhone In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Glad To See Me, Doctor?,” “Looking Up Britney’s Dress Was Free, But 13 Pay Dearly For Ogling Her EMR,” “Allscripts and Misys Consummate Desperate Lust: Shareholders Hose Them Down,” and “Survey: Old People Don’t Want to Pay for Health IT or Any Damned Thing Else.” Those newsletters were a lot of fun to write even though I had the equivalent of about three full-time jobs at the time.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Elsevier put together this video of their sponsorship of HIStalkapalooza.

It’s the annual post-HIMSS lull where I can finally catch my breath. I’m always on the lookout for brilliant guest writers and interview subjects who work for providers rather than vendors and who want to share their expertise and opinions with the industry. Let me know if that describes you.


May 19 (Tuesday) 2:00 ET. “Lock the Windows, Not Just the Door: Why Most Healthcare Breaches Involve Phishing Attacks and How to Prevent Them.” Sponsored by Imprivata. Presenters: Glynn Stanton, CISSP, information security manager, Yale New Haven Health System; David Ting, CTO, Imprivata. Nearly half of healthcare organizations will be successfully cyberhacked in 2015, many of them by hackers who thwart perimeter defenses by using social engineering instead. The entire network is exposed if even one employee is fooled by what looks like a security warning or Office update prompt and enters their login credentials. This webinar will provide real-world strategies for protecting against these attacks.

May 20 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Principles and Priorities of Accountable Care Transformation.” Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenter: Marie Dunn, director of analytics, Health Catalyst. Healthcare systems must build the competencies needed to succeed under value-based payment models while remaining financially viable in the fee-for-service landscape. This webinar will outline key near-term priorities for building competency at successfully managing at-risk contracts, with a particular focus on the importance of leveraging data to drive effective decision making

Here’s the video from Tuesday’s interview with Regina Holliday, which is really mostly just audio but still a good introduction to what she does and is doing.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Practo, which offers a doctor-finding website for Asia, will double its India-based headcount to 2,000 in 2015 following a $30 million investment earlier this year. The gray-on-white website theme made me think I was losing my eyesight.


Premier announces Q3 results: revenue up 16 percent, adjusted EPS $0.38 vs. $0.34, beating expectations for both and raising guidance for the year. The company announced in the earnings call that Catholic Health Initiatives has purchased PremierConnect Enterprise. President and CEO Susan DeVore says “acquisitions play an important role in our future” and adds that IBM’s acquisition of Premier population health management partner Phytel won’t change the existing relationship with either company. The CFO says the recent TheraDoc and Aperek acquisitions are on track to meet the $20 million in annual revenue contribution that was expected. PINC shares are up 35 percent on the year and are 24 percent higher than at the September 2013 IPO. The company’s market capitalization is $1.4 billion, with Susan DeVore holding shares worth $8 million.


PerfectServe opens an office in Knoxville, TN to handle the 50 percent headcount growth the company has experienced in the past 10 months. The new space adheres to the open floor concept and provides sit/stand desks, collaboration rooms, and a health food micro-market. The hospital I worked for had a temporary open office concept when they were ripping up carpet and had to take down the IT area’s cube walls, which I initially hated but liked at least a little bit as I got used to having everybody inadvertently making eye contact and quickly looking away from the shame of sitting in what looked like a 1950s secretarial pool. The entertainment factor was reduced as employees had to leave the area to make personal phone calls instead of being comforted by the illusion of privacy from the thin cube walls, through which everybody could clearly overhear symptomatic details of their need to schedule a doctor’s appointment and the sometimes shocking manner in which they spoke to their family members.


McKesson announces Q4 results: revenue up 19 percent, adjusted EPS $2.94 vs. $2.71, beating expectations for both.


UC Irvine Health (CA) chooses Strata Decision’s StrataJazz for decision support, cost accounting, contract analytics, budgeting, and management reporting.


National Institutes of Health selects Connexient’s MediNav smartphone wayfinding product for its Bethesda, MD campus.



The Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto, CA) names Sarah Muttitt, MD, MBA (Alberta Health Services) as VP/CIO.


CTG announces the resignation of SVP Ted Reynolds, who took over the company’s healthcare business and earned the SVP title six months ago.  


TriHealth (OH) promotes John Ward to CIO. He had held the job as interim.

Announcements and Implementations

NVoq announces GA of its Code Fast service that offers real-time conversion of spoken narratives to standards such as ICD-9, ICD-10, SNOMED, and LOINC in a partnership with SyTrue.

Lexmark launches Perceptive Checklist Capture, which automates the gathering of data and documents from PCs, mobile devices, and multi-function devices into a project or case folder.

Greencastle Associates Consulting receives its fourth Pro Patria Award from the Pennsylvania Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve for supporting reservists and National Guardsmen who are called to service. Veteran-owned Greencastle, which has veterans as 96 percent of its employees, has also earned Patriotic Employer, Above and Beyond, and Seven Seals awards. The company’s management team is Senior Partner Celwyn Evans (retired US Army Ranger), Director Joe Crandall (US Naval Academy graduate and former naval special warfare officer), and Director Will Woldenberg (former Army communications officer deployed to Iraq).

Privacy and Security


A California woman claims she was fired for uninstalling an employer-required iPhone app that tracked her location 24 hours a day. Her lawsuit claims her boss bragged to co-workers that he was monitoring her GPS location, driving speed, and time spent everywhere she went.

Innovation and Research

A Washington Post report reviews FDA-approved, software-powered, personalized anesthesia machines that may at some point replace anesthesiologists, who lobbied hard to prevent their introduction. Anesthesiologist fees for a colonoscopy sedation run up to $2,000 while the machine costs less than $200, while faster sedation and recovery allow more procedures to be performed in the same suite.


A small Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (OH) study finds that analyzing free-text clinical notes and discharge medication lists using machine language and natural language processing can increase accuracy with less work than manual medication reconciliation.

ONC names six winners of its HHS Competes challenge that will receive $50,000 each to fund pilot projects that begin in August:

  • ClinicalBox (Lowell General Hospital), care coordination critical task visualization.
  • CreateIT Healthcare Solutions (MHP Salud), patient engagement and messaging by SMS, email, and voice.
  • Gecko Health Innovations (Boston Children’s Hospital), respiratory disease management with medication sensors, reminders, and symptom tracking.
  • Optima Integrated Health (UCSF), real-time blood pressure monitoring.
  • PhysIQ (Henry Ford Health System), biosensors and analytical tools to monitor CHF and COPD patients.
  • Vital Care Telehealth Services (Dominican Sisters Family Health Service), telehealth care coordination.



A clinical review of 46 insulin dosage calculators finds that only one was free of problems such as lack of edits for missing or clearly incorrect information. Two-thirds of the apps were poorly designed to the point that they gave recommendations that violated clinical assumptions, did not use their stated formulas correctly, or didn’t update properly when users changed information. I can say from experience that hospitals know you can’t let programmers develop stuff like this without a lot of oversight, including design and testing, because they just don’t see the big picture and fail to appreciate the risk of missing a corner case. App developers don’t have that level of oversight and attempt to reduce complex medical rules into a simple algorithm just because they can.


I went to a restaurant this week that uses the NoWait iPad-powered wait list and seating tool for restaurants that don’t want to go the OpenTable route since they don’t take reservations. The hostess took my name and phone number and said I’d get a text message when the table was ready. The message also included a link to download the app, which when connected via just my phone number, showed me my place on the wait list, and gave me the option to cancel or change the size of my party. It seems something like this could be used for healthcare purposes since the patient wouldn’t have to do anything in advance. The worst waiting rooms I’ve been in were LabCorp or Quest (even worse than EDs) and most folks there are cranky walk-ins who have fasted for hours, so I’d definitely sign up to avoid being overdosed on unemployment TV while waiting for an hour to get my 60-second blood draw.



The local paper highlights the use of Nuance’s Dragon Medical speech recognition by St. Joseph Warren Hospital (OH) in a pilot project of 70 users. Doctors say Dragon is easy to use, saves them a lot of time, and “is a great way to get our true voice heard and down on paper, so to speak” (I assume the pun was unintentional).

The HIEs of Dallas and San Antonio, TX will merge.


A KQED Science article covers patients accessing their own data, the MUS3 dial-back of view / download / transmit requirements, the cost of obtaining copies of medical information, and the lack of provider incentive to provide it. Patient advocate Regina Holliday is featured prominently.


A survey of clinicians who participate in the Meaningful Use program and who work for practices that have earned patient-centered medical home status finds that only half of them receive timely notification of hospital discharges, a capability they believe is “very important.” One-fourth of the respondents actually worked for hospital-owned practices, so the percentage of independent practices that receive hospital discharge alerts for their patients is pretty abysmal.


The New York Post features Brooklyn’s Brookdale Hospital as one of the worst in the country, one of only 20 US hospitals to fail Leapfrog Group’s hospital safety analysis. It recently received $68 million in taxpayer money to allow it to remain open as a safety net hospital despite the fact that locals would be better off hopping into a taxi to ambulate the few blocks to a safer hospital. The paper says that an “unholy alliance of unions, trade associations, and government officials” make excuses for dangerous hospitals like Brookdale in claiming that care is too complex to measure (note that it’s never the good hospitals that say that). We might create a better healthcare system by focusing on inter-facility transportation (instead of turfing that function off to ridiculously overpriced taxis posing as ambulance services) and moving patients to the facility best equipped to give them a good outcome rather than sticking them with whatever hospital they were closest to at their initial time of need.

I’m wary of polls that ask people what they “would” do instead of what they “actually” do or have done recently. A HIMSS Analytics nurse survey finds that 71 percent say they wouldn’t go back to paper-based medical records. My question would have been: if your employer decided to go back to paper, what hourly salary increase would keep you from leaving your job? (with “$0” being a poll choice that would have been chosen often, no doubt). The question as submitted reflects the poll sponsor’s bias, which respondents are quick to pick up on in choosing the most virtuous-sounding answer. Consumer polls always find that Americans want digital health records, smartphone access, and all kinds of nifty-sounding features they don’t really understand, but when asked if they would change doctors or pay extra to get them, they almost always say “no,” meaning their original answer was a shallow attempt to sound nobler. It’s nearly always a mistake to judge people by what they say they’ll do instead of what they’ve actually done.

Apparently salaries are discussed more openly in India than here. An “elated official” of a state-owned technical school proudly announces that two of the college’s seniors have received “plum job offers” that are the highest-paying placement packages in the school’s history, $105K annually from Epic.

Weird News Andy calls this “#2 with a Bullet.” A New Jersey criminal frequent flyer whose bathroom urges raised the suspicion of arresting officers pulls a stolen, loaded .25 caliber pistol from “between his butt cheeks” during the resulting strip search, which WNA says “is a pretty crappy holster if you ask me.”

Sponsor Updates

  • The HCI Group is named a finalist in the Entrepreneur of the Year award in the healthcare category.
  • CareSync posts a new blog about its preparations for AARP’s Life@50+ event May 14-16 in Miami.
  • ADP AdvancedMD offers a sneak peek of its solution for any browser.
  • AirWatch will exhibit at the Gartner Digital Workplace Summit May 18-19 in Orlando.
  • Impact Advisors VP Lydon Neumann will serve on the panel of “Evidence-Based Approaches and Practical Tools for the Never Ending Implementation Journey”at the AHIMA iHealth Conference May 28-29 in Boston.
  • Cumberland Consulting Group recaps its HIMSS15 experience in an interview excerpt.
  • XG Health Solutions features an interview with Janet Tomcavage, RN, SVP of Geisinger Health Plan.
  • Aventura will exhibit at the iHT2 Health IT Summit May 19-20 in Boston.
  • Besler Consulting asks, “Is it too early to prepare for Modifier -59 Billing Changes?”
  • Capsule Tech offers “Not All Superheroes Wear Capes.”
  • Medecision offers “For Population Health Tech to Work, You Need Data.”
  • CoverMyMeds offers “Electronic Prior Authorization: Sustainable Solutions and the Road Ahead.”


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

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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Re: PerfectServe open concept. After 20+ years in healthcare, long an advocate of open concept, I can now say that I believe offices are the ideal working environment for most professionals. Epic has the right idea (like they usually do…). There are a few, if any, individuals that can be productive with the constant interruptions in the open office. And yes, when you are collaborating, easy access to each other is great, but that is what conference rooms are for (or even ‘gathering areas’). I believe that a great office design would allow each person a private space to work, but also promote interactions. For example, having a really nice kitchen, dinining, relaxing area that people can gather in is ideal. Wide hallways with ‘step-aside’ nooks that people can bump into each other and then have a quick conversation without blocking the hall. And so on. I sit at one of those serpantine desks with no walls and only a low divider between myself and person across from me. During our build, when everyone was focused on the incredible amount of work to be done in a short time, this was ok, though I would still argue offices would have been better. But now, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wish I had a door.

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  • Anne: Apologies for how rudely that came across. I do still question why our health is the responsibility of our doctors, but...
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