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January 28, 2016 News 2 Comments

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CMS warns lab company Theranos that its December inspection of the company’s California laboratory found deficient practices that “pose immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety.” CMS has given the company 10 days to prove that it has corrected the problems, threatening to revoke its Medicare certification otherwise. Theranos respondes that 90 percent of its lab work is done in its Arizona facility and says it has already fixed some of its California lab problems, including hiring a qualified lab director.

Walgreens, which seems anxious to wangle out of its deal with Theranos, has told Theranos it doesn’t want its samples processed in the California lab and has closed its Theranos Wellness Center in Palo Alto, CA. Walgreens admits only that it is “currently in discussions about the next phase of our relationship.”

Reader Comments


From The PACS Designer: “Re: better cancer detection. Researchers at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Engineering have developed haptic gloves that can more easily detect potential types of breast cancer lumps through a new type of bendable sensor. The gloves cling more tightly to your fingers, thus improving the feel aspect of detection.”

From Pale Imitator: “Re: KLAS report on Soarian. You didn’t mention how Soarian is seen as an orphan product.” KLAS has stopped sending me anything about their reports, so I don’t mention them since I don’t even have a summary to review like other sites apparently get. For example, I noticed KLAS’s tweet that talked up Medicity’s “most improved vendor” performance in its year-end awards and clicked the link, but goes to a sign-up page that doesn’t even mention Medicity’s award, so I’m left with nothing. Back to your original comment, Soarian is an orphan product, of course, with only the timeline in question.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


FlexPrint donated $1,000 to attend my CIO lunch at HIMSS, which funded these DonorsChoose teacher grant requests:

  • A programmable robot for Mr. Fess’s elementary school class in Port St. Lucie, FL.
  • A programmable robot for Mr. Jewell’s  sixth grade engineering class in Beebe, AR.
  • Headphones for Ms. Garris’s elementary school class in Fayetteville, NC.
  • Math tools for Ms. Reynolds’s elementary school class in Springfield, MO.
  • Electronic circuitry kits for Mr. Shawver’s career pathways high school class in Taos, NM, in a project led by sophomore Zack, who wants to earn a Harvard doctorate in math and engineering.
  • Math games for Mrs. Dlouhy’s elementary school class in Las Vegas, NV.
  • STEM activities for Mrs. Newman’s second grade class in Indianapolis, IN.
  • A document camera and wireless printer for Mrs. Garcia’s elementary school class in New Haven, CT.
  • Dry erase boards and markers for Ms. Hughes’s elementary school class in Marietta, SC.


QPID Health also donated $1,000, which funded these requests:

  • A Chromebook, mouse, and case for Mrs. Williamson’s English language learner class in Rentz, GA.
  • Science reading books for Mr. Beeler’s high school class in Houston, TX.
  • Two trumpets for the area’s first band program led by Ms. A in Dallas, TX.
  • Science learning centers for the kindergarten class of Ms. Estes in Franklin, TN.

This week on HIStalk Practice: Mississippi taps Teladoc for virtual firefighter care. Emerge Urgent Care opens as the "first telemedicine-based urgent care center in the US." Amazing Charts President John Squire lays out his vision for the problem-oriented medical record. RetraceHealth raises $500,000. AMA convenes disgruntled physicians for a town hall vent session in Seattle. PCPSs in Arkansas, South Dakota, and Iowa have it made – unless they’re female. Riverside Medical Group opts for an "always-open" model.

This week on HIStalk Connect: In England, the NHS partners with IBM, GE, Phillips, Google, and others to roll out several digital health pilot projects designed to objectively evaluate the benefit of introducing new technologies to care delivery. CMS sends a public letter to Theranos after discovering deficiencies during a routine lab inspection that could put patient safety in "immediate jeopardy." Texas Medical Center welcomes 13 startups to its TMCx accelerator program. Neurotrack raises a $6.5 million Series B to roll out an Alzheimer’s disease diagnostic tool that can detect cognitive impairment six years before symptoms present.


HIStalkapalooza Sponsor Profile – Clinical Path Consulting

Clinical Path Consulting is dedicated to optimizing the benefits of digital healthcare. Our team of industry experts help healthcare providers take advantage of technology to make operations more efficient, meet regulatory requirements, and improve the overall quality of patient care. Our professionals have extensive experience with, and an in-depth understanding of, healthcare business processes and industry technologies. Our services range from EMR implementation, optimization, upgrades, and training to specialized services, including our Healthcare Reporting Lab and our Clinical Concierge Program.


None scheduled soon. Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

McKesson reports Q3 results: revenue up 3 percent, EPS $2.71 vs. $2.04, missing revenue expectations but beating on earnings. Revenue in its Technology Solutions business dropped 8 percent on the sale of its nurse triage service and “anticipated revenue softness” in Horizon Clinicals. From the earnings call, John Hammergren says he’s pleased with the operating margin trends in the Technology Solutions business, citing the company’s focus on peer solutions, transactional offerings, imaging, and revenue cycle management. The transcript makes it seem that stock analysts tremble in Hammergren’s telephonic presence since they can’t seem to string together coherent sentences without Tourette’s-like verbal crutches. The Morgan Stanley analyst said “kind of like” a record 16 times in just three questions, such as, “It’s kind of like up 7 percent in the last kind of like 18 months, we’ve seen this growth in kind of like low to mid and even high teens,” while the ISI Group’s analyst, not to be outdone, used “sort of like” five times in his two questions.


HCA announces Q4 results: revenue up 6.4 percent, EPS $1.40 vs. $1.19. The hospital operator made over $2 billion in profit in FY15.


Anthem announces Q4 results: revenue up 7 percent, EPS $0.68 vs. $1.80, missing earnings expectations. The company says its insurance exchange policy volume ran 30 percent lower than it planned.


CPSI announces Q4 results: revenue down 4.5 percent, EPS $0.30 vs. $0.60, falling short of expectations for both. 


Telemedicine technology vendor SnapMD raises $5.3 million in Series A funding.



The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services expands its use of Netsmart’s clinical and financial systems across its six psychiatric hospitals.

Orion Health signs two pilot project contracts with the French Ministry of Health.


MidMichigan Health chooses Epic in a $55 million project that it says will pay for itself within six years. They went live on Cerner in early 2011 and choose Allscripts for ambulatory that same year. The change was most likely due to its 2013 affiliation with University of Michigan Health System, which invested in the Midland-based system with plans to undertake joint projects in telemedicine, clinical data analysis, and IT.

The Cal INDEX HIE selects Wolters Kluwer’s Health Language for terminology management.


Steward Health Care Network (MA) expands its use of behavioral health access technology from Quartet Health, which has former US Representative Patrick Kennedy on its board.



Joshua Lee, MD (Keck Medical Center) joins Loyola University Health System (IL) as VP/chief health information officer.

Announcements and Implementations


Oracle announces Oracle Healthcare Precision Medicine, which it says connects genetic testing information to EHRs “for seamless clinical workflow and adoption.”


Continuous wearable vital signs monitoring technology vendor Sotera Wireless’s database of de-identified monitoring data reaches 1 million hours, supporting evidence-based alarm management.

University of Michigan launches MS and PhD degrees in Health Infrastructures and Learning Systems, which will focus on IT-driven innovation and continuous improvement.

DrFirst releases a new version of its Rcopia system for e-prescribing, controlled substance e-prescribing, electronic prior authorization, medication history, and medication adherence.

Government and Politics


ONC has a proposed rule in front of the White House that is described only as, “ONC Health IT Certification Program: Enhanced Oversight and Accountability.”

Privacy and Security


NCH Healthcare System (FL) notifies employees that two of its servers hosted at Cerner’s data center have been breached, exposing employee and medical staff credentialing information. 

Fitbit will add security measures to its fitness trackers after hackers brag openly about stealing user account information that they use to scam the company. The hackers sell Fitbit login credentials online for between 50 cents and $5, explaining to buyers how to convince Fitbit support reps to send them a replacement for a claimed defective device they never actually bought using a Photoshopped Amazon receipt as proof of purchase. They then sell the devices.


A short report by cloud security vendor Bitglass reminds us that one in three Americans were affected by a healthcare breach in 2015, with hacking and IT incidents making up 98 percent of the total. The big problem last year was loss of employee devices, but that was before the huge Anthem and Premera insurance company breaches that represented 80 percent of the affected individuals.



A doctor in Canada warns the public of physician rating site RateMD, claiming the company’s salespeople offered him extra-cost options to hide up to three suspicious reviews and display his banner on the pages of other doctors. To be fair, the company is straightforward about that (and its business in general) on its FAQ page. The real challenge for ratings sites is that the small number of self-selected people who post have had either a great or terrible experience that may not be representative. That plus the fact that anonymous posts can’t be verified, allowing anyone to post a review.


KLAS announces its Best in KLAS winners for 2015/16. Epic won best Overall Software Suite, Impact Advisors won Overall IT Services Firm, and Medicity earned most-improved recognition. Some notable category winners:

  • Acute care EMR: Epic
  • Ambulatory EMR small practice: CureMD
  • Ambulatory EMR medium practice: Athenahealth
  • Ambulatory EMR large practice: Epic
  • Business intelligence/analytics: Dimensional Insight
  • Community EHR: Cerner
  • Community HIS: Meditech
  • ED: Wellsoft
  • HIE: Epic
  • Laboratory: McKesson
  • Patient accounting/patient management: Epic
  • Patient portal: Epic
  • Population health: IBM (Phytel)
  • Surgery management: Epic


Dear Healthcare IT News: your ad-filled junk email pitches for HIMSS16 are using a “from” email of “Destination HIMSS15.” Thank you in advance for your prompt attention in this matter.


The crack investigative team of a Louisiana AM radio station smugly discloses photographic evidence that doctors are wasting time using computers with an “absurd number of diagnoses and codes that total more than 18,000,” adding expert editorial comment opining that, “Remember that our tax dollars are going to buildings filled with bureaucrats who spend their days making rules and regulations that run our lives!” My question is this: does AM radio still exist?

A survey of doctors in Canada finds that 73 percent use office-based EHRs vs. 23 percent in 2006.


The Orlando paper notes the swelling but untaxed annual profits of Florida Hospital ($330 million) and Orlando Health ($247 million) as “the hospital chains gobbled up what were once taxpaying businesses and property and brought them into the non-profit, tax-exempt fold.” The systems would have paid $50 million in property taxes alone if they weren’t non-profits. Both organizations not only avoid state income tax, federal income tax, and sales tax, but they also receive taxpayer money in the form of taxing districts in three counties. The article notes that Florida Hospital parent Adventist Health System “trades $4.5 billion in securities, mostly through bonds, hedge funds, and money market funds.”

Hospitals in China require non-emergent patients take next-number type tickets, providing a lucrative market for ticket scalpers. A woman who complained on state TV about offers to sell places in the hospital line for $700 says she was harassed afterward by the scalpers and is afraid to take her mother back to the hospital. Her summary would work equally well here even in the absence of scalpers: “My God, for average people to see a doctor takes so much money, so much energy.” 

Sponsor Updates

  • Ingenious Med’s Scott Pierce describes the company’s new consulting practice.
  • NTT Data is sponsoring the Northern California Chapter of HIMSS reception at HIMSS16 on March 1.
  • Iatric Systems takes the Best in KLAS top spot for patient privacy monitoring.
  • MedData will exhibit at the American Society for Anesthesiologists Practice Management Meeting January 29-31 in San Diego.
  • Premier recognizes Inova (VA) with its 2016 Premier Excellence Award.
  • InterSystems TrakCare wins Best in KLAS for Global (Non-US) Acute Care EMR.

Best in KLAS 2015/2016 Winners

Segment Leaders: Software
Cardiology: Merge
Claims and Clearinghouse: ZirMed
Emergency Department: Wellsoft
Global (Non-US) Acute Care EMR: InterSystems
Patient Access: Experian Health
Radiology: Merge
VNA/Image Archive: Merge

Segment Leaders: Professional Services
HIT Implementation Support & Staffing: Galen Healthcare
IT Advisory Services: Impact Advisors
Technical Services: Galen Healthcare
Value-Based Care Advisory Services: Premier

Category Leaders: Software
Cardiology Hemodynamics: Merge
Charge Master Management: Craneware
Clinical Decision Support – Care Plans: Zynx Health
Clinical Decision Support – Order Sets: Zynx Health
Clinical Decision Support – Surveillance: Wolters Kluwer
Decision Support – Business: Strata Decision
Enterprise Scheduling: Streamline Health
Labor and Delivery: Clinical Computer Systems/Obix
Medical Device Integration Systems: Capsule
Patient Flow: TeleTracking
Patient Privacy Monitoring: Iatric Systems
Quality Management: Nuance
Secure Messaging: Imprivata
Single Sign-On: Imprivata
Staff/Nurse Scheduling: GE Healthcare

Category Leaders: Services
Business Solutions Implementation Services: Xerox

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. theranos – it is been around 3 months since I last posted my support of theranos and it’s operational model. In that time several negative reports regarding quality has surfaced and my Primary Care Provider, a early theranos advocate, strongly suggested that my next set of Blood and Urine tests be done at one of the established Laboratories.

    A possible positive outcome of the theranos experiment would be serving as a wake up call to LabCorp, Sonora Quest and others that potential competition with better services and pricing is a reality. Recent encounter at Sonora Quest was positive with many of the theranos features now available.

    While not being utilized as intended the remodeled areas at Safeway are great for getting Flu and other shots!


    Don G

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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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