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September 10, 2015 News 3 Comments

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New York insurer Excellus BlueCross BlueShield announces that the information of 10 million members has been exposed in a previously undetected cyberattack that started in December 2013.

Reader Comments


From DejaVuAllOverAgain: “Re: Portland Adventist in Oregon. Word is they’re having revenue cycle problems after going live on Cerner in June, with no claims sent since. Patients are filing complaints that they know they owe something, but don’t know what amount.” Unverified.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Mrs. S says she was “honestly blown away” by our DonorsChoose grant that provided two Amazon Fire tablets for STEM time in her Oklahoma elementary school class. She adds, “My favorite part about getting this project funded was explaining to my students that people we don’t even know bought these Kindle Fires for us to use in our classroom so that we can access all the technology we need. They couldn’t believe that people cared that much about their education that they would buy those for them.” I still have matching funds from an anonymous vendor executive for companies or individuals who would like to donate $1,000 or more to DonorsChoose – it’s a really easy process and I’ll give you credit on HIStalk unless you would rather remain anonymous. Contact me.


Also checking in was SC second grade teacher Mrs. J, for whom we covered lodging expenses so she could attend a national educator’s conference (with matching funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). She’s using techniques she learned every day, such as playing boom box music for a quick class dance when they answer hard questions.

Listening: new from LA skate punkers FIDLAR, an acronym that is, like most of their music, exuberant but far from family friendly. Also, new from David Gilmour, who just started his first tour (including some Pink Floyd songs and a tribute to deceased Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright) since 2006 to support his upcoming new album.

I use Upflix to sort Netflix offerings by category and by IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes scores, which led me to find The Babadook, an excellent Australian horror film that avoids cheap jump scares and instead focuses on the psychology of the characters. It’s annoying that Netflix’s star system is a history-driven recommendation rather than a summary of actual reviews, but that’s where Upflix comes in.

My latest grammar and usage peeve: people doing product demos who refer to an unnamed doctor as “he” or an unnamed nurse as “she,” perpetuating gender stereotyping (“they” is probably incorrect although I like it, but otherwise “he or she” will do or just “Dr. Smith”). Even more annoying are those who hiply overcompensate by referring to the doctor as “she.”

This week on HIStalk Practice: ICD-10 optimism overshadows lack of provider prep. The Pennsylvania eHealth Partnership Authority offers $10 million in grants to connect practices to its P3N HIE. Medical actors give new meaning to self-exams. VillageMD co-founder outlines the role primary care will play in population health management. New Jersey and Tennessee rank at the bottom for EHR utilization by office-based physicians. Med students take advantage of farm-to-table culinary medicine courses.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Researchers working in organ engineering achieve "single-cell resolution" that will allow them to construct biologically accurate organ structures. Fitbit sues Jawbone for patent infringement in response to the three lawsuits Jawbone filed against Fitbit earlier this year. Scanadu recruits 4,000 clinical trial participants from its list of Indiegogo campaign backers. Digital health accelerator programs begin targeting international markets.


September 22 (Tuesday) noon ET. “Just Step on the Scale: Measure Ongoing EHR Success and Focus Improvements Using Simple but Predictive Adoption Metrics.” Sponsored by The Breakaway Group. Presenters:  Heather Haugen, PhD, CEO and managing director, The Breakaway Group; Gene Thomas, VP/CIO, Memorial Hospital at Gulfport. Simple performance metrics such as those measuring end-user proficiency and clinical leadership engagement can accurately assess EHR adoption. This presentation will describe how Memorial Hospital at Gulfport used an EHR adoption assessment to quickly target priorities in gaining value from its large Cerner implementation, with real-life results proving the need for a disciplined approach to set and measure key success factors. Commit to taking that scary first step and step onto the scale, knowing that it will get measurably better every day.

September 22 (Tuesday) 5 p.m. ET. “Laying the Groundwork for an Effective CDS Strategy: Prepare for CMS’s Mandate for Advanced Imaging, Reduce Costs, and  Improve Care.” Sponsored by Stanson Health. Presenters: Scott Weingarten, MD, MPH, SVP and chief clinical transformation officer, Cedars-Sinai; Anne Wellington, VP of informatics, Stanson Health. Medicare will soon penalize physicians in specific settings who do not certify that they consulted "appropriate use" criteria before ordering advanced imaging services such as CT, MRI, nuclear medicine, and PET. This webinar will provide an overview of how this critical payment change is evolving, how it will likely be expanded, and how to begin preparations now. A key part of the CMS proposal is clinical decision support, which will help meet the new requirements while immediately unlocking EHR return on investment. Cedars-Sinai will discuss how they decreased inappropriate utilization of diagnostic tests and treatments, including imaging.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


GetWellNetwork acquires Skylight Healthcare Systems, combining the top-rated interactive patient systems vendors.


Streamline Health Solutions announces Q2 results: revenue up 19 percent, EPS –$0.05 vs. –$0.14. Above is the one-year price chart of STRM (blue, down 27 percent) vs. the Nasdaq (red, up 5 percent). The company said in the earnings call that it is talking to leading healthcare IT vendors about reselling its Looking Glass solutions. It has also implemented a message bus that will tie its solutions together using RESTful APIs, allowing it to create value around existing client EMRs. Streamline says working with NantHealth on genomics is fun for its engineers and good for the company as it adds life sciences customers.


3M is exploring the sale or spinoff of 3M Health Information Systems, expecting to reach a decision by early next year. The business generates $730 million in annual revenue in sales of technology for coding, population health management, clinical documentation improvement, transcription, and revenue cycle management.


Roper Industries acquires RF Ideas (card readers and proximity-based workstation security) and Atlantic Health Partners (a healthcare group purchasing organization) for a combined purchase price of $277 million. Some of Roper’s other healthcare companies include Sunquest, Strata Decision Technology, Data Innovations, IPA, Managed Health Care Associates, Verathon, SoftWriters, and SHP. ROP shares are up 8.5 percent in the past year, valuing the company at $16 billion.



St. Joseph Health (CA) chooses Meditech’s Business and Clinical Analytics solution.

Value Care Alliance (CT) will deploy analytics from Arcadia Healthcare Solutions to its five member hospitals to compare cost, quality, and efficiency metrics.



Leidos Health promotes Tom Aikens to deputy group president.


PeraHealth hires Elizabeth Pruett (Innovative Healthcare Solutions) as VP of clinical services.


Deborah DiSanzo (Philips Healthcare) joins IBM Watson Health as general manager.


ONC names Rebecca Freeman, RN, PhD (HCA) as chief nursing officer.


Richard Taylor, national sales director for ScImage, died Monday at 63.

Announcements and Implementations


HIMSS Analytics releases its ”2015 Telemedicine Study,” which points out that while telemedicine adoption increased only modestly in the past year, providers are using a “hub and spoke” model to spread services over their locations. The study adds that the term “telemedicine” is loosely defined and no single solution or service dominates, but that situation is changing as providers get serious about expanding their services, most often by using two-way video.

Mobile charge capture and physician communication technology vendor PMD announces release of a mobile ICD-10 conversion tool.

Partners HealthCare and Health Catalyst will create the Partners HealthCare Center for Population Health, which will train employees of both organizations on care management and population health. Health Catalyst will license Partners intellectual property, while Partners has signed an enterprise-wide Health Catalyst subscription. Partners has been a Health Catalyst investor since 2013 and will increase its equity stake.

IBM Watson Health announces a population health solution that integrates Watson Health with Apple’s HealthKit and ResearchKit. The company also announced collaboration with Boston Children’s Hospital and Columbia University.

Merge Healthcare will collaborate with the non-profit Rad-Aid International, offering charitable contributions of software and expertise to medically underserved and poor regions of the world.


Israel-based Archimedicx launches an “intelligent and objective global hospital search engine” that allows consumers to find hospitals based on condition or procedure. The company’s methodology is certified by HIMSS Europe, although the data sources and algorithms are not stated. It covers only 300 hospitals. The company’s terms of use indicate that it makes money when someone outside the US contracts for services from a US hospital – the hospital pays Archimedicx a fee ranging from $2,000 to $15,000. I’m surprised at how prominently the company includes the HIMSS logo on its materials – I assume money changed hands to make that happen.

Government and Politics

The biggest IT project in Rhode Island’s history, a Medicaid and food stamp management system being developed by Deloitte, will cost at least triple the original estimates. Federal taxpayers will cover all but $77 million of the project’s estimated $364 million completion cost. A state executive says the new estimate isn’t due to cost overruns, but rather that changes made to get more federal money, saying, “With another administration in Washington, it is unclear as to whether this kind of opportunity to get federal support and federal funds to build a system like this would be possible. Then it would fall on Rhode Island taxpayers.” A limited government advocacy group calls the project a “dependency portal” that encourages residents to go on the dole.

A fourth rural Tennessee closes following the state’s decision to opt out of Medicaid expansion, although low volumes made them unprofitable anyway. People seem to want to do something about the closures despite lack of market demand, although I don’t know why the hospitals couldn’t just run a free-standing ED instead of staffing empty beds that nobody wants to be in. Every small town hates to lose the local hospital, but in most cases they would receive better routine and elective care at a bigger and busier facility (I say that having worked in small, rural hospitals for years).

Innovation and Research

A UK company a 3D barcode that can be imprinted as tiny pinpricks on tablets to detect counterfeit drugs. The challenge would seem to be in getting hospitals and pharmacies to perform the scan, especially since the drug supply chain is better protected in the US than in many other countries.


Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. and Proteus Digital Health announce that the FDA has accepted their New Drug Application for the first “digital medicine,” an aripiprazole tablet (for psychiatric problems) embedded with a digital sensor that reports back to the prescriber whether the patient is taking their medication correctly. The drug-device combination requires FDA approval for each component, the tablet itself and the ingestible sensor that sends information via a patient-worn patch.




AirStrip announces on stage at Apple’s event this week that it will allow users to authenticate simply by wearing an Apple Watch running the AirStrip app. Video from the Apple event shows how pregnant women at home can be being monitored via AirStrip’s Sense4Baby (which it acquired last year) while wearing a sensor and Apple Watch, which can distinguish the mother’s heartbeat from that of the baby.



The Miami paper lists the highest-paid employees of tax-funded Jackson Health System, with the CEO topping the list (of course) at $1 million. The CIO was #69 at $282K and the CMIO #85 at $256K. I’m surprised that several nurse anesthetists topped $250K in annual compensation, but then again I haven’t paid attention to CRNA salaries.

England’s NHS asks the government to include nurses on its list of positions with official shortages, saying it needs at least 1,000 RNs from India and the Philippines in the next six months.


Philadelphia’s fire department is investigating a video showing an ambulance driver checking Facebook and texting while transporting a woman and her toddler to the ED.

Sponsor Updates

  • ZeOmega is named to the Inc. 5000.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the International Vision Expo & Conference September 17-19 in Las Vegas.
  • FormFast will exhibit at the InSight 2015 Annual Conference September 15-18 in Nashville.
  • Healthcare Data Solutions will exhibit at the H-E-B Pharmacy Conference September 15 in San Antonio.
  • Health Catalyst announces that its Healthcare Analytics Summit 2015 drew 1,000 attendees to Salt Lake City this week.
  • Healthfinch, Iatric Systems, and Liaison Technologies will exhibit at the North Carolina Healthcare Information & Communications Alliance Annual Conference September 13-16 in Pinehurst, NC.
  • Ingenious Med will exhibit at the 13th Annual Canadian Society of Hospital Medicine Conference September 17-24 in Ontario.
  • Leidos Health will exhibit at InSight 2015 Annual Conference September 15-18 in Nashville.
  • LiveProcess will exhibit at the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems 2015 Annual Meeting September 16-18 in Jay.
  • AirStrip will exhibit at the Leerink Partners Healthcare Summit September 16-18 in St. Helena, CA.
  • Impact Advisors is named to Modern Healthcare’s “Largest Revenue Cycle Management Firms.”
  • Aprima will exhibit at the Ohio American Academy of Pediatrics Annual Meeting September 11-12 in Dublin.
  • Bottomline Technologies will host its annual Race for a Cause September 12 at its headquarters in Portsmouth, NH. Proceeds from the event will benefit Families First Health & Support Center.
  • Capsule Tech will exhibit at the Medhost Mpact Summit September 15-18 in Nashville.
  • CoverMyMeds will exhibit at the Minnesota Pharmacists Association Annual Conference September 11-13 in St. Paul.
  • Quest Diagnostics SVP and CFO Mark Guinan presents at the 10th Annual Wells Fargo Healthcare Conference in New York City.
  • Navicure will exhibit at the Oregon MGMA Fall Conference September 16-18 in Eugene.
  • Netsmart will exhibit at the Kansas Public Health Association Conference September 17 in Manhattan.
  • Park Place International Systems Engineer Erick Marshall is recognized as a #vExpert for contributions and engagement with the VMware community.
  • Experian Health will exhibit at the 2015 Alabama HFMA Fall Institute September 13-16 in Sandestin, FL.
  • Patientco will host an Arkansas kick-off event September 17 in Little Rock.

Blog Posts


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

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. Big Epic fan here, but no schadenfreude in the little Cerner shiv. There are things that happen with implementations that have ZERO to do with the software and everything to do with… well… everything else. Some no-account third party vendor who refuses to get their end of the interface right, an under-resourced project team, flat out bad luck.

    I for one would love to see an end to this E vs.C stuff.

  2. Re: ambulance driver on Facebook.I’ll admit that while this was disturbing, my very first thought was why these people were receiving emergency care at all and why they needed an ambulance to do so. I felt I needed to go research that piece and found the kid had a cut on his head, which I can’t even see. I think after they discipline the driver they should educate that woman on when to seek emergency care.

  3. Anonymous, there are many privileged assumptions in your response. You assume:

    1. Just because you can’t see it in this picture, the wound must not be bad.
    2. A first-time mom with a kid with a bleeding head has the same level of expertise as a person in healthcare about whether it is “emergent.”
    3. Mom has transportation to get to the hospital or that a bus, subway or taxi would allow a child bleeding profusely to be transported.

    These are some of the key challenges that make population health so difficult to manage.

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Reader Comments

  • Mr. HIStalk: The HIMSS Legacy Workgroup did this write-up of the history of HIMSS a few years back: http://www.himss.org/sites/him...
  • Numbers skeptic: re: "HIMSS62 in Baltimore".... anyone around who can tell us anything about that, or other very early HIMSS? Failing t...
  • HistalkGroupie: Most of the comments slant to the negative. One positive of a travel-heavy job is that you have a chance to meet health...
  • MA/MBA Grad: I have both an MBA and an MBA in Hospital & Health Administration. These were done together through a dual-dual prog...
  • richie: I don't think it's legal to whip a horse these days without mentioning blockchain. And I'd add "innovative", "interopera...
  • Publius: Your Bingo board is missing "Machine Learning"...
  • Ex-Epic: Re: MHA v. MBA I think if you are 100% down the health systems path, you could probably consider MHA or MBA (but woul...
  • The trip: I agree with you. I have an MHA but think an MBA with a concentration in healthcare is the way to go. My RN IT boss in t...
  • David Butler: I absolutely love this article! I'm fairly new to following HIStalk and Dr. Jayne (and the various portions of the site...
  • MiroslavB: Great insights - Thanks Ed !...

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