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May 21, 2015 News 1 Comment

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CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, which provides insurance to residents in Maryland and Washington DC, becomes the latest victim of a targeted cyberattack. Carried out in June 2014, the attack was discovered during a system-wide security audit. Hackers gained access to a total of 1.1 million patient records. While Social Security numbers, medical claims, and financial information were not compromised, hackers did gain access to member names, birth dates, email addresses, and subscriber identification numbers.

Reader Comments

From: Clinic Maven: “Re: Greenway’s Walgreens business is about to shut down.” Greenway’s relationship with Walgreens began in 2010 when it deployed its PrimeSUITE EHR at subsidiary Take Care Health Employer Solutions pharmacies and clinics. The company has worked with Walgreens over the last several years to finish up a pharmacy-wide roll out of the WellHealth EHR, built on the Greenway platform. Greenway Health CMO Robin Hackney responded to my request for verification: “As you know, Walgreens has announced a strategic and financial review of all of its operations, so even if we did have any insight into its plans we couldn’t share them. Speaking on behalf of Greenway Health, however, we remain extremely excited about the future of retail health as part of the nation’s health ecosystem and our opportunity to serve American healthcare consumers in new, innovative, and cost-effective ways.”

From: Bubble Guy: “Re: Welltok acquisition of Predilytics. It was just an "acquihire.” The investors in the last round did not make money. They just invested nine months ago. There was little cash and just stock in Welltok given. This is the dark side of analytics and digital health. Many companies won’t make it and if one doesn’t know that all acquisitions are not the same, then it may appear this acquisition was actually good news. I suppose it’s good if the alternative was winding down at Predilytics.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

This week on HIStalk Connect: Stanford University researchers unveil a promising new gene therapy technique that can reprogram retinal cells to behave like rods and cones, potentially restoring vision to a subset of blind patients. MindBody files its SEC forms in preparation of a $100 million IPO. Stride Health, a private health insurance exchange startup, raises a $13 million Series A to expand its platform nationally.

This Week on HIStalk Practice: Aledade opens for ACO business in Florida. AMA President Robert Wah, MD discusses the need to move beyond the EHR as the ERP of healthcare. Modernizing Medicine partners with MLS on new specialty EHR. SpineZone founder looks to posture sensors for better outcomes. Updox secures $3.5 million in credit. Reno Sparks Tribal Health Center opts to consolidate multiple systems into one NextGen platform. New CareCloud CEO shares his vision. Brad Boyd offers strategies from The Consultant’s Corner to integrate patient access and physician compensation initiatives. Thanks for reading.


May 27 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Introducing Health Catalyst Academy: An Innovative Approach for Accelerating Outcomes Improvement.” Sponsored by Health Catalyst. Presenters: Tommy Prewitt, MD, director, Healthcare Delivery Institute at Horne LLP; Bryan Oshiro, MD, SVP and chief medical officer, Health Catalyst.  The presenters, who are graduates of Intermountain’s Advanced Training Program, will introduce the Health Catalyst Academy’s Accelerated Practices program, a unique learning experience that provides the tools and knowledge for participants to improve quality, lower cost, accelerate improvement, and sustain gains.

Announcements and Implementations


Three Metro Care Connection school-based clinics in Cedar Rapids, IA, go live on Mercy Medical Center’s Epic EHR. Clinic staff are especially excited about the transition from paper to digital, given that the schools lost paper student medical records during a 2008 flood.


The Autism Center at Hospital for Special Care (CT) becomes the first organization to receive the Patient Centered Specialty Practice recognition for Autism from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. The center attributes the recognition to its Allscripts Sunrise Ambulatory Care solution.


Graham Hospital (IL), a Meditech shop, achieves Stage 6 of the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model.


SSM St. Mary’s Hospital and Medical Group (MO), both part of SSM Health, will launch Epic across their facilities early next month.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Lahey Health (MA) plans to lay off 130 employees, with seniors executives taking a voluntary 10-percent pay cut for the rest of the year. Lahey Hospital & Medical Center CEO Joanne Conroy, MD cited the system’s $160 million EHR implementation as a contributing factor to the system’s financial difficulties. It signed an agreement with Epic in 2013, noting that it would create 100 new jobs to handle the roll out. 

Government and Politics


The House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approves the 21st Century Cures bill in a 51-0 vote. Premier was quick to chime in with kudos for the bill’s supporters: “We … wish to thank Committee members Joe Pitts (R-PA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Gene Green (D- TX), Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Doris Matsui (D-CA) for their support of interoperability standards in the legislation, and for their efforts to ensure that the technology systems of the future will be built using open source codes that enable applications to seamlessly exchange data/information across disparate systems in healthcare.” Given the speed with which it has flown through committee, it will likely pass in the full House and land in the Senate sometime this fall.

ONC announces that it will sunset the Health IT Standards Committee’s permanent workgroups, replacing them with a series of time-limited task forces that will study and make recommendations on specific issues. The intent is to create a more agile HITSC and to increase public engagement by offering an opportunity to participate in smaller, less time-intensive projects.


Virtru launches the Virtru Pro HIPAA-compliant email service.


Time profiles the launch of startup AnalyticsMD’s Web-based efficiency index, which offers consumers an easy way to look up and compare hospital strengths and weaknesses in the areas of ER, patient satisfaction, and cost. The California-based company hopes the index will also offer hospital administrators an easy way to benchmark and compare their efficiencies with peer facilities.



Richard Gibson, MD (Providence Health & Services) joins PeraHealth as physician executive.


Evangelical Community Hospital (PA) promotes Kendra Aucker to CEO.



Regina Holliday, members of The Walking Gallery, and a reporter or two gather outside of the HHS building in Washington, D.C. to paint and protest the agency’s step back from patient engagement in Meaningful Use criteria. (Check out Jenn’s interview with Regina for the full story behind her advocacy efforts.) KP MD and spectator/supporter Ted Eytan shares a few interesting details of the “brutalistic” building’s history in his blog about the event: “In other wackiness in the 1970s, by the way, plans for a gym in the building were scrapped as executives were told they ‘would be expected to get their exercise by running upstairs and chasing welfare fathers.’


Winners of Canada-based William Osler Health System’s student app contest develop the Osler Outpatient app, which the health system will roll out next week. The Android-based app aims to help patients at Brampton Civic Hospital and Etobicoke General Hospital better manage their care after discharge.

Sponsor Updates

  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution talks with Greenway Health’s Paula Kepes, vice president of talent, about the company’s hiring plans at its locations in Atlanta and Carrollton.
  • PerfectServe hosts its annual Customer Advisory Panel gathering today at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Dallas.
  • Extension Healthcare offers a new blog entitled, “The Skeptical Biomedical Manager – Is Alarm Middleware Necessary?”
  • Galen Healthcare Solutions posts a new blog entitled, “The Viral Workflow: The Bug That Spreads Within Your Organization’s EHR.”
  • Greythorn previews its participation at the upcoming eHealth 2015 conference in a new blog.
  • Hayes Management Consulting offers a new blog entitled, “Budgeting for EHR Go-Live: Everything You Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask.”
  • HCS team members compete in the New Jersey Family Mud Run in support of client Specialty Hospital of Central New Jersey.
  • The HCI Group offers a new white paper entitled, “Protecting ePHI: 5 Tenets of an Effective Cyber Defense System.”
  • Utah Business magazine names Health Catalyst Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer Holly Rimmasch one of Utah’s top woman executives..
  • Healthfinch offers a new blog entitled, “Supercharge Your Delegation Model.”
  • Impact Advisors COO Todd Hollowell is named to Consulting Magazine’s “Top 25 Consultants” List.
  • Intelligent Medical Objects and Iatric Systems will exhibit at the 2015 International MUSE Conference May 26-29 in Nashville, TN.
  • NTT Data will sponsor Tony Kanaan’s Chevrolet IndyCar in this Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
  • Peer60 releases a new report on 2015 imaging IT purchases in Europe.
  • PDR CEO Mark Heinold is named one of the 60 most influential people in the healthcare industry by PM360 magazine.


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

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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. You can see the top of my head! I was so happy to be able to be at HHS and wear the Walking Gallery jacket that Regina painted for me at the HIStalk booth at this year’s HIMSS.

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