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Monday Morning Update 12/28/15

December 27, 2015 News 9 Comments

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AMA President Steven Stack, MD says EHRs are the #1 frustration of doctors, explaining,

We live in a world where a 2- or 3-year-old can pick up a smartphone and use it with no instructions. If you’re not careful, they’ll order from Amazon and have something delivered to your house two days later. But we have graduate-educated physicians who are being forced to use software that looks like it’s on an old-fashioned, DOS-based system, a Tandy, an Atari, the kind of software you can only see in a museum. And that’s the software we’ve been given to manage patients’ health and well-being. So you have physicians whose efficiency is decimated. Their ability to communicate with each other is completely crippled. And then they’re told you’re not doing a good job.

Reader Comments


From Coal-Bearing Santa: “Re: Marshfield Clinic. I’ve heard that CareCloud has made a deal for its Cattails system and will white label it as an additional CareCloud product.” I forgot that the organizations announced a deal in April 2015 to sell software and services to large physician groups.

From Frisbee Golfer: “Re: Claritas Mindsciences. The three-person firm (everybody is a consultant), which makes the Craving to Quit app, has asked consultants to work for half their normal rates and is struggling to pay vendors after they failed to raise funds for operations in December.” Unverified. Their executive page still lists four people, but what drew my attention is that the company spelled its own name incorrectly on the exec page and sometimes uses “Mindscience” instead of “Mindsciences.”

From John: “Re: NHS. They have the top Christmas song!” In England, the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir beats out Justin Bieber for the top Christmas song. Bieber encouraged his Twitter followers to buy the record instead of his own, which sent it to the top of the sales chart. Proceeds will be donated to charities.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Three-fourths of poll respondents say they had at least as good a year in 2015 as they did in 2014. Pablo says he left the health IT staffing market because business is dying due to EHR vendors expanding their own internal consulting teams, a saturated and commoditized market, and staffing companies that failed to transition into advisory services.

New poll to your right or here: which company did you lose the most respect for in 2015? Vote and then click the poll’s Comment link to explain.


I’ll be closing my reader survey shortly, so you’ll have done your good deed for the next year if you take two minutes to complete it. I’m already contemplating one change as suggested by a reader who would like to see more in-depth reporting in particular areas.

My latest pet peeves: (a) people who say, “I get that” in subtly but indignantly correcting someone who they perceive believes otherwise;  (b) those folks, mostly younger, who respond to a thank you with, “No problem,” thereby devaluing the act that triggered my gratitude by suggesting it wasn’t much effort for them; and (c) Facebook users who excitedly “like” obviously phony stories without bothering to check Snopes.com first, like photos of the Egyptian pyramids covered by snow after a freak storm.


We funded four tablets for three pre-K classrooms in New York via DonorsChoose. Mrs. Martin says many of her students had never seen a tablet. They watch videos on them, trace on-screen letters with their fingers to learn to write, and play educational games. That’s a pretty strong ROI for tablets that cost only $41 each.

An anonymous donor sent $500 for my DonorsChoose project, which was matched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in a one-day funding special and then the $1,000 total was matched again by my anonymous vendor executive, allowing me to fund these projects (some of these had additional matching funds applied as well):

  • 10 sets of headphones for Mr. Ohlinger’s middle school science class, Canton, OH
  • A Bluetooth robotic arm, a solar powered robot, and a BoeBot robot kit to create a robotics team at Ms. Sobosan’s high school in Las Vegas, NV
  • 15 scientific calculators for Mr. Cho’s Bureau of Indian Affairs high school class in Lower Brule, SD
  • Math story books for Ms. Livingston’s third grade class in Las Cruces, NM
  • Headphones, whiteboards, privacy partitions, and paper supplies for Mrs. Heinrich’s elementary school class in San Jose, CA
  • Three tablets for Ms. W’s second grade class in Oakland, CA

Anonymous Epic QA donated $100, with multiplied into $400 due to Gates Foundation and my vendor exec matching money to buy these items:

  • Engineering toys and team building sets for Ms. Medina’s first grade class in Los Angeles, CA
  • 25 sets of headphones for Mrs. Riley’s second grade class in Baltimore, MD
  • An iPad Mini for Mrs. Ulhaque’s first grade class in Houston, TX

I had a little bit of extra money in the account, so I decided to buy a Chromebook, wireless printer, and supplies for Mrs. Hamilton’s fourth grade class in Carson, CA. I also realized that when I announced that donations had funded $22,000 worth of projects in 2015 that I was off considerably – all of the recent donations were via gift cards and those show on the donor’s totals, not mine. The actual total is a lot higher and even that doesn’t take into account matching funds from foundations.

Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • The Department of Defense expands the scope of the DHMSM project in giving Leidos/Cerner a no-bid hosting contract, saying Cerner’s systems won’t work properly unless the company hosts them itself.
  • Medicare releases a dashboard showing its drug-specific spending.
  • Martin Shkreli is arrested on securities fraud charges and fired as CEO of the two drug companies in which he holds substantial ownership.
  • Congress passes a blanket Meaningful Use hardship exemption.
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center announces that it will replace McKesson’s Horizon Expert Orders, which VUMC originally developed as WizOrder, with Epic.


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

A watchdog’s report finds that McKesson paid the most money in misconduct penalties of all Department of Defense contractors since 1995. McKesson paid $2.05 billion in penalties for 24 instances of misconduct while earning $6.2 billion of the Pentagon’s business.


The Greenville, SC paper profiles local personal health records startup ChartSpan, which says it will grow from 20 employees to more than 200 within the next two years.



Eric Alper (Lifespan) is named VP/chief clinical informatics officer at UMass Memorial Health Care.


Firelands Regional Medical Center (OH) promotes Denao Ruttino to AVP of operations.



New York-based non-profit United Rescue is spending $2 million to train and equip volunteer first responders in Jersey City, NJ who will be notified via a smartphone app when someone nearby calls 911 with a medical emergency, allowing them to render aid to the victim before paramedics arrive. The program is modeled after one in Israel where 3,000 volunteers respond to 700 emergencies each day for a program cost of $7 million per year.


Impact Advisors sent over photos from their holiday employee gatherings across the country, including this one from Chicago.


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

More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.

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Currently there are "9 comments" on this Article:

  1. Re: AMA Stack’s piece in the newspapers, he states repeatedly that most all docs chose Medicine as a profession because the want to help people, not make money. Then, in answer to the question about MDs high incomes he goes on to say docs are highly skilled and educated which justifies the big bucks.

    Which begs the question (not asked), why do they scream every time the feds want to cut Medicare payments? Seems to me they should be willing to give up a few bucks to keep doing the job they love.

    Keep in mind that in 1965-66 when Congress was debating Medicare the AMA screamed at Congress to stay out of health care and medicine. Yet, it was Medicare that created the obscene incomes for many specialty docs (but sadly not for primary care docs). As for his complaint that government is sticking its nose to far into the doctor-patient relationship, well you know the old cliche: he who pays the piper calls the tune!

  2. As someone that says “no problem” (as well as a varietyof other respones),I have to disagree with your annoyance. Saying the commonly used “you are welcome” doesn’t even make sense. Welcome to what? Not to mention, thank you has come to mean nothing, so it seems no problem is often the more correct response.

  3. Please stop whining when someone says “no problem” to your “thank you”. First, you are forgetting that the other person did you a favor and you are bitter that the person did not say the “right” phrase. Second, you also need to realize that people come from different countries and cultures, which may have different words/phrases/expressions than what you use in the United States. My pet peeve is to deal with those Americans who assume that everyone in the world should know what to say in the US of A. How many of you know how to respond to “Thank You” in Japan or China or Russia or India?

  4. Whatever happened to CareCloud ? Upon seeing the Marshfield tag today, it prompted me to ask myself the question. Two years ago HIStalk had them in the news on a monthly basis as a hot, up and coming “second wave” cloud based replacement EHR vendor potentially rivaling Athena ( or at least getting under the skin of) … Now nothing ??
    No news is good news ??

  5. Re: No problem. Also a peeve of mine, for the reasons others have stated. The point about “You’re welcome” does make a certain amount of sense, but it’s the most common (in the US) polite response to “Thank you”. Perhaps “It was my pleasure” or “I’m glad I could help” to acknowledge the initial expression of gratitude.

  6. Totally agree on “No Problem” – very rude indeed. You want to talk rude, though? There are millions of Spanish and French speakers going around saying “de nada” or “de rien” like it’s nothing! Don’t they know my earnest expressions of appreciation require validation? If it’s really “nothing” I might as well have done it myself, thank you very much!

  7. I get the hospital EMR complaints – the users aren’t the buyers and the people making the decisions generally care more about finances than patient care, but what about practices? Free market forces should apply there and docs need to buy what helps them “work” better. Oh… Wait… They hid their heads in the sand for so long and when they finally pulled their heads up all they cared about was getting paid too…

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