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November 20, 2015 News No Comments

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HHS partners with OptumLabs – an Optum/Mayo Clinic venture – to bring its data analytics capabilities to the department and its researchers. The first research project will be led by AHRQ, which will compare Optum’s healthcare utilization database to its own Medical Expenditure Panel Survey dataset with an eye to increasing the value of MEPS to researchers exploring care costs. Future HHS/OptumLabs projects will likely focus on research pertaining to the economics of healthcare and population health.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

This week on HIStalk Practice: Health IT frustrations take up a good bit of time at AMA’s Interim Meeting in Atlanta. CVS Health offers new digital health tools, partners with Health is Primary to emphasize the need for care coordination between retail clinics and PCPs. PCPs share their recommendations for CQMs in Stage 3 MU. PSCH incorporates mobile patient engagement tools from Sense Health into its Medicaid mental health program. Peter Weigel, MD offers best practices to physicians looking to get into the CCM game. TMA PracticeEdge helps San Antonio-based ACO ramp up IT capabilities.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Deep-learning algorithms take center stage at Singularity’s annual xMed conference. Andreessen Horowitz Partners launches a $200 million digital health investment fund. Boston-based PatientPing raises a $9.6 million venture round led by Google Venture and FPrime Capital that it will use to ramp up its care coordination network. Former American Diabetes Association chairman Larry Ellingson launches an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for his startup’s flagship product, a smartphone case that doubles as a glucometer.


November 20 (Friday) 2:00 ET. “The Athenahealth Leadership Institute Presents: Dr. John Halamka Interviewed by Jonathan Bush.” Sponsored by Athenahealth. Presenters: John Halamka, MD, MS, CIO, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Jonathan Bush, CEO, Athenahealth. Providers are fed up with interface fees and the lengthy, fragmented narratives we’re exchanging today. But what is the right course of action to help deliver better care across the continuum? Bring your questions as we join Dr.Halamka and Jonathan Bush to discuss the current state of healthcare and how we can improve care coordination and interoperability.

December 2 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “The Patient is In, But the Doctor is Out: How Metro Health Enabled Informed Decision-Making with Remote Access to PHI.” Sponsored by Vmware. Presenters: Josh Wilda, VP of IT, Metro Health; James Millington, group product line manager, VMware. Most industries are ahead of healthcare in providing remote access to applications and information. Some health systems, however, have transformed how, when, and where their providers access patient information. Metro Health in Grand Rapids, MI offers doctors fast bedside access to information and lets them review patient information on any device (including their TVs during football weekends!) saving them 30 minutes per day and reducing costs by $2.75 million.

December 2 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Tackling Data Governance: Doctors Hospital at Renaissance’s Strategy for Consistent Analysis.” Sponsored by Premier, Inc. Presenters: Kassie Wu, director of application services, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance; Alex Eastman, senior director of enterprise solutions, Premier, Inc. How many definitions of “complications” (or “cost” or “length of stay”…) do you have? Doctors Hospital at Renaissance understood that inconsistent use of data and definitions was creating inconsistent and untrusted analysis. Join us to hear about their journey towards analytics maturity, including a strategy to drive consistency in the way they use, calculate, and communicate insights across departments.

December 2 (Wednesday) 2:00 ET. “Creating HIPAA-Compliant Applications Without JCAPS/JavaMQ Architecture.” Sponsored by Red Hat. Presenters: Ashwin Karpe, lead of enterprise integration practice, Red Hat Consulting; Christian Posta, principle middleware architect, Red Hat. Oracle JCAPS is reaching its end of life and customers will need a migration solution for creating HIPAA-compliant applications, one that optimizes data flow internally and externally on premise, on mobile devices, and in the cloud. Explore replacing legacy healthcare applications with modern Red Hat JBoss Fuse architectures that are cloud-aware, location-transparent, and highly scalable and are hosted in a container-agnostic manner.

December 3 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “501(r) Regulations – What You Need to Know for Success in 2016.” Sponsored by TransUnion. Presenter: Jonathan Wiik, principal consultant, TransUnion Healthcare Solutions. Complex IRS rules take effect on January 1 that will dictate how providers ensure access, provide charity assistance, and collect uncompensated care. This in-depth webinar will cover tools and workflows that can help smooth the transition, including where to focus compliance efforts in the revenue cycle and a review of the documentation elements required.

December 9 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “The Health Care Payment Evolution: Maximizing Value Through Technology.” Sponsored by Medicity. Presenter: Charles D. Kennedy, MD, chief population health officer, Healthagen. This presentation will provide a brief history of the ACO Pioneer and MSSP programs and will discuss current market trends and drivers and the federal government’s response to them. Learn what’s coming in the next generation of programs such as the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and the role technology plays in driving the evolution of a new healthcare marketplace.

Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Andreessen Horowitz Partners announces a $200 million investment fund that it will direct toward digital health startups, specifically those working at the intersection of health data and machine learning. Lt. Dan breaks down the details here.

The local paper hints at the bidding war that may erupt between Orion Health and Allscripts as each comes closer to submitting RFPs for Nova Scotia’s planned migration to a single EHR. The “One Person, One Record” system will replace three hospital systems used across different parts of the province.


After a 5-percent drop in shares and resultant scaling back of earnings projections, UnitedHealth Group issues a thinly veiled threat it will back out of public health insurance exchanges in 2017. “We cannot sustain these losses,” said CEO Stephen Hemsley. “We can’t really subsidize a marketplace that doesn’t appear at the moment to be sustaining itself.”


Experian Health reports 15 percent year-over-year growth and an expanded client base that now includes University of Utah Health Care, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (NC) and Stanford Healthcare (CA).


Alpine Investors invests an undisclosed amount in Palm City, FL-based Optima Health Solutions, which provides therapy management software to the post acute care market. Alpine CEO in Residence Josh Pickus will become CEO of Optima.



Molly Doyle (Predilytics) joins MeQuilibrium as chief product officer.

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Health Systems Informatics promotes Stephanie Hojan and Kathie Crane, RN to vice president and Epic practice director, respectively.

Announcements and Implementations


Sentara Healthcare (VA) rolls out Wellpepper’s mobile app for headache care.


Centura Health, a 16 hospital chain in Colorado and Kansas, receives a 2015 HIMSS Enterprise Davies Award. I interviewed Centura Health SVP/CIO (and HIStalk DonorsChoose contributor) Dana Moore about the system’s decision to replace Meditech with Epic last year.


Galway Clinic will become the first hospital in Ireland to offer patients full access to their health records when it transitions to Meditech 6.1 next year. The hospital received Stage 6 accolades from HIMSS Europe in 2014.

The Center for Diagnostic Imaging partners with Lexmark Healthcare to create a National Image Exchange, enabling participating providers to exchange images with each other and with others outside of CDI’s network. Lexmark will base the NIE’s infrastructure on its enterprise medical imaging portfolio.

Privacy and Security


UC Health (OH) notifies over 1,000 patients of a “data security lapse” in which emails containing patient medical record data was mistakenly sent to the wrong email address in nine separate incidents going back to August 2014. Discovered in September, the lapse has not yet resulted in any suspicious activity.

Government and Politics


CHIME sends a letter to CMS arguing that the MU program and quality reporting requirements will need to be streamlined if health systems are going to transition to value-based reimbursement models fast enough to meet transition goals outlined by HHS.


The Rural Health Connectivity Act of 2015 advances to the Senate Commerce Committee. The bill, introduced by committee chair and Senator John Thune (R-SD), aims to give FCC the authority to funnel broadband dollars to skilled nursing facilities in rural areas via its Healthcare Connect Fund.

NIH rolls out funding opportunities for the Precision Medicine Initiative, including one that will support communication efforts for PMI research programs, especially its Cohort Program; and one that will support development of cohort recruitment technology.



LifeImage releases the fourth generation of its medical image exchange platform, offering physicians the ability to share exams with patients through the RSNA Image Share network.


CVS launches a new app that generates medication reminders and allows users to submit prescriptions and insurance cards by taking a picture of them.


Analytics vendor Apixio develops a cognitive computing tool capable of accessing, processing, and interpreting medical record data.

Innovation and Research

A team of researchers from the University of Arizona determine that combining Twitter, ED, and air pollution sensor data can help to predict surges in asthma-related ED visits. The team hopes to develop a tool that will enable hospitals to predict the number of asthma visits they’ll have on any given day.


Real-time clinical surveillance vendor PeraHealth joins the National Patient Safety Foundation’s Patient Safety Coalition.


St. Joseph’s Healthcare (Ontario) transforms a lab into a pub as part of its research into environmental triggers that can prompt alcohol cravings and affect addiction. Researchers will use the bar to study how cravings are affected by the sight, smell, and feel of a glass of alcohol. (Surely there’s a wearable out there that could assist?) As one would expect, bottles of alcohol will be locked away after each research session.

Sponsor Updates

  • Impact Advisors offers a new white paper, “The New World of the Health System CIO: Consumers, Consolidation and Crooks.”
  • Ingenious Med ranks #341 on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 list.
  • Liaison Technologies’ Alloy Platform is certified compliant with three major standards for ensuring data privacy, security, and trust.
  • The Boston Globe names Park Place International and Patient Keeper top places to work for 2015.
  • Peri-Gen-related research publications now total 51.
  • Sunquest Information Systems employees win the Blue Skies Corporate Challenge.

Blog Posts


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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