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December 17, 2015 News 2 Comments

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ONC’s Health IT Policy Committee issues its congressionally-mandated interoperability report that includes these recommendations:

  • Create outcomes measures that reward well-coordinated and affordable care, such as not paying for performing duplicate lab tests.
  • Publish EHR vendor interoperability scores based on actual customer use.
  • Add Medicare payment incentives for technology-driven care coordination.
  • Convene a summit meeting to start the operationalization of ONC’s Interoperability Roadmap and the recommendations in the document.

Reader Comments

From Fair and Balanced: “Re: Epic. Our support rep has been asking questions about one of our projects, saying Epic recently started an intra-company contest for writing news stories about positive client developments. She and I both speculate that Epic is looking for stories to feed to actual media outlets. If that’s the case, I’m uneasy that Epic is going to this length to promote itself in relying on its own employees for good news rather than for it to come about via independent parties noticing it.” Unverified. I’m not sure I would find that practice objectionable other than it seems to violate Epic’s unconvincing insistence that it doesn’t practice sales and marketing. Industry magazines and sites will cover anything that a vendor or provider hands them on a silver platter regardless of news value, but it’s a tougher sell to newspapers. I was once approached by the local big-city newspaper about a story that their highly visible technology reporter was writing about mobile devices. As I was taking him around to interview people at our hospital, I was surprised at how clueless and generally weird he was (he carried what looked like a purse and stopped every five minutes to squirt drops into his eyes, plus he didn’t seem to know much about technology). The resulting piece was superficial and not insightful since he simply regurgitated selective quotes from our folks, which is probably why I’m disdainful of former reporters who proclaim themselves health IT experts simply because they’ve spent a few years working at that superficial level.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

This week on HIStalk Practice: AMA opens up its Physician Innovation Network to beta testers. Connecticut physicians detail their telemedicine challenges. Wisconsin joins the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. Clinicians don’t seem convinced when it comes to HIE ROI. Stericycle VP Lyn Triffletti offers physicians tips to get a handle on HIPAA. Kaiser Permanente Northwest offers members urgent care video visits. Telemedicine keeps operations running smoothly at the North Pole. Dr. Gregg describes his user experience of e-prescribing in the dark.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Rock Health publishes its annual VC funding report which says that digital health startups raised $4.3 billion in investment capital this year, matching 2014’s total. Google partners with Johnson & Johnson to launch a new surgical robot solutions business. Medtronic partners with Samsung to develop smartphone apps for patients receiving neuromodulation therapy. Four foundations invest $10 million to fund the expansion of the OpenNotes program nationally, with a goal of reaching 50 million patients within the next three years.

Listening: Intronaut, LA-based jazzy progressive rock whose sound ranges from a jamming Alice in Chains to a heavier Tool. Also, one of my favorite bands, Zip Tang, masters of complex progressive rock now evolved to a power trio with the departure of the amazing Marcus Padgett (saxophone, keyboards, vocals, and most relevant to health IT, SVP of Experian Health).


None in the next few days. Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Insurance company/PPO Clover Health, which analyzes insurance claims to target high-risk patients with specific care manager interventions, raises $35 million in Series B funding led by Sequoia Capital, increasing its total to $135 million.


Data-driven physician performance website MD Insider raises $12 million, increasing its total to $24 million. The round was led by Summation Health Ventures, an investment fund started by Cedars-Sinai and MemorialCare Health Systems, with Cedars-Sinai CIO Darren Dworkin joining the company’s board.


California startup Kumba Health launches a marketplace for consumers willing to pay cash to choose physicians, labs, and imaging centers.


Oration, which offers prescription buying tools for the employees of large, self-insured companies, releases its first app and announces $11.2 million in Series A funding.


Toronto-based customer management software vendor NexJ Systems spins off its population health management software business into a new company, NexJ Health Holdings.


WellDoc, which offers a prescription-only diabetes management app, raises $22 million in Series B funding, increasing its total to $27 million.

Cerner says 93 percent of its 17,000 US employees have  signed away their right to sue the company in return for $500 in stock options and ongoing eligibility for merit increases. An expert says it’s the only example he’s seen where a company will limit future merit increases to employees who decline to sign its arbitration clause.


King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust chooses Allscripts Sunrise.


The VA contracts with Cogito Corporation, which sells voice guidance technology for telephone salespeople, for software that can assess the mental health of participating veterans by analyzing their telephone conversations.



Paul Kleeberg,MD (Stratis Health) joins Aledade as medical director. He served on the HIMSS board from 2011 through 2015 and was its chair through June 2015.

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Practice Fusion hires Steve Filler (Oliver Wyman) as COO and promotes Octavia Petrovici to SVP of product management.


Dan Orenstein (Athenahealth) joins Health Catalyst as general counsel.


Divurgent promotes Shane Danaher to national partner of client services.

Announcements and Implementations


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation releases a dataset of all insurance plans offered on health insurance marketplaces in 2015 and 2016, supporting state-by-state analysis of premiums, deductibles, and other plan attributes. For example, the dataset shows that prices increased an average of 10 percent for all tiers in 2016, while silver plans in Alaska saw the largest jump at 35 percent to an average premium of $643.


LauraLynn, Ireland’s children’s hospice, goes live on Oneview Healthcare’s patient engagement solutions in providing entertainment for patients and bedside access to clinical applications for clinicians.

Health information service provider MedAllies will use IBM-owned Merge Healthcare’s iConnect Network Services for image ordering and results delivery for its members. 


Columbus, OH-based CrossChx launches its Queue fingerprint-based check-in kiosk for hospitals that it says reduces wait times by 80 percent. The company says it links a fingerprint to hospital EHR data to provide interoperability when its customers check in somewhere else. Founder and CEO Sean Lane is a former Air Force intelligence officer and NSA fellow who served five tours in Afghanistan and Iraq before founding Battlefield Telecommunications Systems.

Government and Politics


CMS names Amino as its second national Qualified Entity, giving the doctor selection website access to Medicare’s provider-level quality and cost data. Amino has raised $20 million in three funding rounds.

HHS says few states have accepted available federal money to support data-driven Medicaid fraud detection even as improper payments have nearly doubled to 10 percent. The states that were contacted by Modern Healthcare gave several reasons: they have their own data mining efforts, they are trying to figure out if it would help, or they’re waiting to see what other states do before jumping in.

Privacy and Security


LifeLock will pay $100 million to settle FTC charges that it overstated its data protection capabilities and engaged in deceptive advertising.

Innovation and Research


Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center release a free app that uses Apple’s ResearchKit to track the symptoms of concussion patients.


Madison magazine reviews the impact of Epic on Wisconsin, observing that it attracts huge numbers of liberal arts degreed young professionals who often leave the company after a few years but remain in the Madison area, giving Wisconsin an enviable population of high-achieving Millennials.


Turing Pharmaceutics CEO Martin Shkreli, the most-hated man on the Internet for hiking the price of old but important drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent after acquiring it, is arrested by federal agents and charged with securities fraud. Prosecutors claim Shkreli played a Ponzi-like financial shell game while with Retrophin, a drug company he started before Turing that eventually fired and sued him. Shkreli had previously mocked the lawsuit, saying, “The $65 million Retrophin wants from me would not dent me. I feel great. I’m licking my chops over the suits I’m going to file against them.” A wag observed that Shkreli was arrested only after he bought a rap album and started wearing hoodies, another dubbed him “Karma Bro,” while The New Yorker’s satirical piece was headlined, “Lawyer for Martin Shkreli Hikes Fees Five Thousand Per Cent.”


Former BIDMC CEO Paul Levy writes that news media misreported details about President Jimmy Carter’s cancer, running click-baiting headlines that gave credit to a “miracle drug” (which has actually performed poorly in clinical trials) while downplaying the likely impact of surgery and radiation therapy. Levy quotes a freelance health reporter’s comments at a medical summit in 2009 that sums up the state of medical and health IT journalism pretty well:

It is not our job to satisfy you [physicians], but to keep our readers reading and our viewers viewing. The more responsible the press becomes, the less readers seem to like it.

A fourth co-conspirator pleads guilty to impersonating a Cerner employee in selling medical equipment and $6 million in investments from 50 physicians.


Kaiser Permanente will start its own medical school that will train students on its integrated style of care. The California-based Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine will admit its first class of 48 students in 2019.



Another medical helicopter goes down as two crew members die in an Arizona crash. It was operated by the publicly traded, Colorado-based Air Methods, the self-styled “defenders of tomorrow” that operates medical transport services as well as its 60-aircraft helicopter tourism operation (the recently acquired Blue Hawaiian in Hawaii and Sundance Helicopters in Las Vegas). It also runs a billing company for other medical transport companies, including EMS agencies and ambulance services. The company earned $741 million in revenue where it staffs its own aircraft with medical personnel and bills the patient directly, as well as $162 million from hospital contracts. It earns an average of $12,000 in net revenue per patient transported. As the pie chart above illustrates, federal taxpayers provide 60 percent of the company’s patient revenue. Air Methods likes healthcare reform, predicting that more widespread insurance to pay for its transport services will increase its annual revenue by $31 million. The company’s investor presentation lists its #1 operational challenge as “accidents.” The Glassdoor reviews of Air Methods are pretty bad, with a common theme being that it isn’t really focused on the safety of patients and staff. It has a commendably obtuse and high-falutin’ but questionably punctuated mission statement: “To be the dominant global expert of comprehensive, vertically-integrated, critical care access solutions supporting patient logistics—the movement of patients and their medical analytics.”

Sponsor Updates

  • Medicity is positioned in the Leaders category in the 2015 IDC MarketScape.
  • LiveProcess is selected as one of 50 Most Promising Healthcare Solution Providers for 2015.
  • Medication management solutions vendor HighFive will replace manual mapping of data with SyTrue’s natural language processing and terminology tools.
  • CareSync founder and CEO Travis Bond will speak at an SXSW Interactive Festival session titled “Apps and Better Medical Outcomes: Real Solutions.”
  • Orion Health launches version 6.2 of its Rhapsody integration engine.
  • T-System names five of its ED customers as winners of its client excellence award.
  • MedData celebrates its 35th anniversary.
  • Inc. Magazine names Lexmark as a new corporate logo that went viral in 2015.
  • RedHat makes Glassdoor’s list of companies with the happiest employees.

Blog Posts


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

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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. So the first thing I have to say is that I’m not picking on Shane Danaher personally. I’m sure he is a good guy and means well and want to do his part to transform healthcare as we know it today. That said, the way he is “packaged” by his firm, just wants to make me gag. Here are my take a ways.

    1. First, he is listed as an expert with 10 years of experience. In looking at his LinkedIn profile he started in 2004 as Director at a staffing firm and subsequently held leadership roles in “Business Development” and Marketing. That equates to Sales in my book, nothing more, nothing less. What is even more incredible are the typo’s and grammar errors in his LinkedIn profile. This from a guy who is head of marketing. Better check those brochures for typos.

    2. He is listed as being a “Senior Member” of HIMSS. Now I need some help, because I’ve been a member of HIMSS since its inception and I don’t ever remember there being the ability to be a junior or senior member. My membership today is a joint membership I think between CHIME and HIMSS. I honestly would need to ask my assistant.

    3. His IT experience comes from his time as a IT Help Desk Tech at the school he attended. My guess is he worked part time at school to help with his tuition and or to make extra money. Not sure how that supports the expertise in IT, but its all about marketing.

    4. His service on his local chapters BOD while noteworthy, was more about providing him access to possible clients and prospects verses the work did. I only speaking from the position of someone who has served on both a chapter and the national board of HIMSS and seen first had HIMSS boards be filled with consultants and sales folks from vendors.

    5. Related the statement that his is published, the pieces he has authored or coauthored are more sales that substance. I don’t see any credits related to national publications, educational publications, or studies. These are what I consider to be “Published”.

    Finally he has spent his career primarily with one employer. His exposure to healthcare has been by way of spending the last 7 years selling at a time of feast verses famine. All those things said, I also have to admit that I set the bar pretty high, having 25+ experience in the healthcare IT vertical, serving on multiple boards, serving as the head of several larger healthcare provider organizations over the course of my career and as I look back is I am still a student of this crazy vertical we call healthcare IT. I don’t consider myself an expert, and if this young man in his bow tie came to my organization to call on me I’d tell him to go back and get his bosses boss and bring him and between them they might have my experience. Just keeping it real as my youngest daughter would say.

  2. Kaiser starts new Med School…
    Fantastic, my only question is why did it take them decades to do this this? If you want to change the way medicine is practiced you have to start with how docs are educated and initiated into the profession.

    If Kaiser is successful getting this off the ground, then in ten plus years we will see big changes in costs and quality. If the folks at CMS were halfway awake they would have set up an MU incentive program for initiatives like this. Too bad they missed the boat, and can’t wait to hear the AMA reaction.

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