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December 15, 2015 News 2 Comments

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Five foundations, including the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provide $10 million to expand the reach of the OpenNotes initiative to give patients access to their visit notes.

Reader Comments


From Mutual Arbitration: “Re: arbitration clauses. Now Uber is doing them, only they are blasting them to the smartphones of their drives who have to tap ‘agree’ to keep driving. Leave it to Uber to get 400,000 agreements signed almost instantly.”

From Petal Pusher: “Re: another outrageous hospital billing practice. A friend who was admitted to a major NYC hospital says a clinical psychologist came to his bedside, introduced herself, and asked if he wanted to talk about how he was feeling. Sure, he said, so they spoke for 20-30 minutes. She came back a few days later. Surprise – this was charged to his bill even though it wasn’t told it would be billable, he didn’t ask for it, and it was never ordered for him. He thought it was part of the hospital service, for which they billed $7,700 per day.” I suppose the message here is that when you’re hospitalized, just answering the “how are you doing” question from some stranger who wanders into your room could trigger a bill.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Mrs. Shaw reports that not only were her fourth graders named the top math class in her Pennsylvania school, two of her students were among the top individual scorers as well thanks to the Chromebook and accessories we provided for math practice via DonorsChoose.


I sent the email blast and tweet on my interview with Gerry McCarthy late Monday afternoon. Gerry emailed me four hours later to let me know that he had already received over 300 emails, calls, and LinkedIn messages in response. I appreciate knowing that since, as I told Gerry in reply, HIStalk is to me just an empty room in which I sit while attempting to fill an empty screen each day in a quite personal way, so I don’t have a good view of what it looks like on the other side of that screen even though I’ve been doing it for nearly 13 years.


December 16 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Need for Integrated Data Enhancement and Analytics – Unifying Management of Healthcare Business Processes.” Sponsored by CitiusTech. Presenters: Jeffrey Springer, VP of product management, CitiusTech; John Gonsalves, VP of healthcare provider market, CitiusTech. Providers are driving consumer-centric care with guided analytic solutions that answer specific questions, but each new tool adds complexity. It’s also important to tap real-time data from sources such as social platforms, mobile apps, and wearables to support delivery of personalized and proactive care. This webinar will discuss key use cases that drive patient outcomes, the need for consolidated analytics to realize value-based care, scenarios to maximize efficiency, and an overview of CitiusTech’s integrated healthcare data enhancement and analytics platform.

December 16 (Wednesday) 2:00 ET. “A Sepsis Solution: Reducing Mortality by 50 Percent Using Advanced Decision Support.” Sponsored by Wolters Kluwer Health. Presenters: Rick Corn, VP/CIO, Huntsville Hospital; Stephen Claypool, MD, medical director of the innovation lab, Wolters Kluwer Health. Sepsis claims 258,000 lives and costs $20 billion annually in the US, but early identification and treatment remains elusive, emphasizing the need for intelligent, prompt, and patient-specific clinical decision support. Huntsville Hospital reduced sepsis mortality by 53 percent and related readmissions by 30 percent using real-time surveillance of EHR data and evidence-based decision support to generate highly sensitive and specific alerts.

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

Here’s the inimitable Vince Ciotti and Frank Poggio doing Tuesday’s webinar, “CPSI Takeover of Healthland, Are You Ready?” You will no doubt be entertained by their wry humor even if you have no horse in that particular race.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Telehealth and videoconferencing platform vendor Vidyo receives a $10 million investment from the venture capital arm of Kaiser Permanente, increasing its total to $163 million.


Telemedicine platform vendor Chiron Health raises $2.3 million in a seed round and releases its patient-facing app. The company allows practices to conduct video visits with guaranteed reimbursement.

Dell is reported to be trying to sell the former Perot Systems for more than $5 billion to help pay for its EMC acquisition, which was previously rumored in early November and reported here. Dell acquired Perot for $3.9 billion in 2009 and is rumored to be talking to Tata, Atos, Genpact, and CGI about buying it.


In a stellar example of how American healthcare is an ugly mix of compassion and profit-seeking, Daughters of Charity Health System (CA) receives a $260 million investment from a hedge fund that also has the option to buy the six-hospital system outright after three years.



SPH Analytics chooses Clinical Architecture’s Symedical platform for management of clinical and administrative terminologies as well as its SIFT free text semantic interpretation tool.



Bill Howard (Caradigm) joins Audacious Inquiry as senior director.


MedSys Group promotes Ann Bartnik to VP of client services.

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Lisa Gallagher (HIMSS) and Arien Malec (RelayHealth) will replace John Halamka as co-chairs of the Health IT Standards Committee upon expiration of Halamka’s term in January.


Drug company marketing software vendor OptimizeRX names James Brooks (iCare) as SVP of business development.

Announcements and Implementations


Allscripts adds self-pay capability to its FollowMyHealth patient portal by integrating functionality of its Payerpath products.


Bethesda Hospital (MN) goes live hospital-wide with Epic’s MyChart Bedside tablet app for patients and families.


GetWellNetwork announces several recent new sales of its Marbella patient rounding data collection system.

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center goes live on the NetRelay secure messaging tool from Interbit Data.



Microsoft will end support and updates for Internet Explorer 8 on January 12 but is selling custom support agreements for customers unable to upgrade their browser, many of which I would guess are in health systems. IE8 was released in March 2009, replaced by IE9 in March 2011.


FDA approves the tricorder-like Checkme Pro health monitor from China-based Viatom Technology. It performs one-lead EKGs, pulse oximetry, temperature measurement, movement sensing, and cuffless blood pressure measurement.



A federal judge denies a motion brought by the Texas Medical Board that sought to dismiss Teladoc’s lawsuit against it, allowing the lawsuit to proceed. Teladoc successfully argued that the board’s rule that allows telemedicine sessions only after an initial face-to-face visit unfairly limits competition.


Eric Topol, MD lists his top developments from 2015 that will change medicine.


In England, dating app Tinder helps the NHS raise organ donation awareness among its younger users by suggesting they sign up as donors when they swipe a supporter’s photo.

A Wall Street Journal article recaps recent studies showing that patients resent doctors who spend a significant portion of their encounter working on a computer instead of making eye contact, suggesting that computers aren’t the problem but rather how they are physically positioned and how the doctors choose to use them. It will be interesting to see what happens as medicine shifts to newer graduates unaccustomed to looking up from their phones to see the actual world around them, or perhaps newer patients will be perfectly happy receiving their medical care from the equivalent of a Facebook post and reply.

An interesting New York Times article by Abigail Zuger, MD describes the common situation in which she uses around 10 information systems that each have their own password composition rules and expiration dates, forcing her to keep an index card listing them all in her pocket at all times. She adds, as the subject of the article suggests, that she’s seeing a “retro explosion of paper” as non-interoperable systems force reliance on hand-delivered paper or faxes. She describes what it’s like: “Who knows what the biblical stonemasons sang to themselves during work hours at their Tower of Babel? This is the soundtrack at ours: ‘What exactly did the kidney guy tell you to do?’ ‘Are you sure?’ ‘How did the ER explain that?’ ‘Could you just bring in the new pills next time?’”


ProPublica digs into significant problems at the American Red Cross in an article called “The Corporate Takeover of the Red Cross” as the charity struggles in the fifth year under a leadership team that was mostly brought over from AT&T. The article says Red Cross has cut its payroll by a third, eliminated jobs, closed chapters in reducing their number from 700 to 250, alienated volunteers, and bungled several emergency response efforts to the point that some emergency planners have decided not to use its services. Surprisingly, its business of selling donated blood to hospitals lost $100 million in the most recent fiscal year because of revised clinical guidelines that reduced blood demand and its failure to adopt industry standard scannable labels. It plans to increase sales of its CPR training programs from $150 million per year to $700 million fizzled as actual revenue instead dropped. An internal survey found that only 35 percent of employees trust the organization’s executives — many employees call the charity “the AT&T retirement plan” — and volunteer satisfaction dropped 20 percent in one year to 32 percent. The CEO of the Center of Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership, in observing the inept response by Red Cross after a California wildfire while running billboards using the event to solicit donations, concludes, “I view them more as a fundraising and marketing organization than a disaster relief or charity group.”

Sponsor Updates

  • Perigen wins an innovation award in clinical information management.
  • Black Book ranks Nuance as the leading vendor for clinical documentation improvement solutions.
  • DataMotion releases a free Dr. Seuss-like electronic book titled “A Healthcare Holiday Tale: Horace & the Messaging Miracle.”
  • Medicat will integrate terminology management software and patient education content from Wolters Kluwer Health with its college health service software.
  • PatientPay customer Kids First Pediatrics Group in the Atlanta area reports that it is successfully using the company’s solutions to address the shift from 90 percent insurance-paid claims to 50-percent patient responsibility due to more widespread high-deductible health plans. 
  • KLAS names Divurgent as the top-rated vendor in go-live support delivery.
  • EClinicalWorks client HealthNet is awarded the 2015 HIMSS Ambulatory Davies Award of Excellence.
  • Healthwise’s Catherine Serio publishes “Alone, Adrift, and Hoping for Health.”

Blog Posts


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

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