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Monday Morning Update 2/29/16

February 27, 2016 News 1 Comment

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From the transcript of President Obama’s remarks Thursday about the White House’s Precision Medicine Initiative:

Part of the problem with have right now is that every patient’s data is siloed — it’s in a hospital here, a hospital there, a doctor here, a lab there. The goal here is if we can pool and create a common database of ultimately a million people that’s diverse so that they have a lot of genetic variation, we can now take a disease that may be relatively rare, but because we have a pretty large sample size and start seeing patterns that we might not have seen before. But a couple things that requires — it requires, first of all, us understanding who owns the data. I would like to think that if somebody does a test on me or my genes, that that’s mine, but that’s not always how we define these issues …

In terms of the model that we use for health records that hopefully will be digitized more and more, companies help hospitals keep and collect that data. They should get paid for that. They’re building software. They’re building an infrastructure. On the other hand, we don’t want that data just trapped. So if I am sick and voluntarily I want to join with other people who have a similar disease to mine and donate our data to help accelerate cures, I’ve got to be able to work with the electronic health record companies to make sure that I can do that easily. There may be some commercial resistance to that that we have to talk about — although we’re seeing some terrific participation now, and that’s part of what we’re announcing, of those companies in terms of helping that happen.

There’s privacy issues. We’ve got to figure out how do we make sure that if I donate my data to this big pool that it’s not going to be misused, that it’s not going to be commercialized in some way that I don’t know about. We’ve got to set up a series of structures that make me confident that if I’m making that contribution to science that I’m not going to end up getting a bunch of spam targeting people who have a particular disease I may have. 

Reader Comments


From Sitz Bath: “Re: your Epic report. How many people downloaded it?” About 1,200 that I know of, but the Politico people messed me up by publishing a direct link that avoided the sign-up page I had created to keep count. You can download it here.

From CMIOmaha: “Re: your Epic report. Much appreciate the amazing summary on Epic. The most objective and down to earth summary I’ve ever seen. I downloaded it this morning and shared with all our C-level with an immediate and incredible feedback! I wish you’d do the same with Cerner.” Maybe it would be interesting to ask the same questions to the executives of Cerner users. Peer60 did all the heavy lifting via their market feedback platform, so it wouldn’t take much of my time.

From HIMSS PR: “Re: Greenway Health. Second staff reduction in the past six weeks. Sales leadership and enterprise sales team taken out. Not the best PR heading into HIMSS.” Unverified. 

HIStalk Announcements and Requests



I’m writing this Saturday from Las Vegas, where it’s sunny and warm. I rented a huge, luxurious house five minutes off the Strip for $200 per night and it’s filled with friends and family (all female, I just realized) who are helping with HIStalkapalooza. We have a heated pool and hot tub in our outdoor oasis, so last night it was pizza and this afternoon I’m grilling hamburgers and hot dogs poolside. I fell asleep last night to the gurgling of the hot tub’s waterfall outside after catching up on emails on the 25-megabit Wi-Fi (take that, crappy hotel Internet made worse by guests streaming Netflix and porn). It’s nice to be able to relax before the madness starts Monday, not to mention that I’m saving a fortune in hotel and restaurant bills. I should hang the HIStalk booth banner over the garage door.

I’m not sure when I’ll post over the next couple of days. Certainly Monday night after HIStalkapalooza (which means I won’t sleep much before a long Tuesday), but maybe Sunday if anything interesting happens.


Here’s your Las Vegas weather forecast. Trust me, it’s probably nicer here than wherever you’re coming from.

I was amused that the marketing manager of a vendor I highlighted as misspelling HIMSS on their site emailed me to accuse me of Photoshopping the screen shot, saying they had spelled it correctly. However, the sneaky alterations were on their end – they took down the page with the misspelling and posted a new one, perhaps not realizing that I could simply email them a link to Google’s cached image of the original page to prove my point. Doh!

The results of the reader-requested poll of health systems allowing the use of test patients in production systems are as follows:

  • 15 percent say they never allow it
  • 46 percent they allow it under strict conditions
  • 30 percent they allow it as needed within reason
  • 9 percent say they allow it without restriction

Concerns listed by respondents include the possibility of dropping real charges, the downstream effects on interfaced systems, and inadvertent printing of documents (I’ve seen all of these). 


Two-thirds of poll respondents say IBM Watson Health is just hype. MEHIS Expert says it’s just an IBM ploy to increase consulting revenue, while HackerDoc questions whether IBM has the right medical informatics physicians with computer science backgrounds involved. Hype provided thoughtful analysis:

It’s beyond hype. They have now officially taken what was a brilliant branding strategy (personifying the intangible and making it both relatable and revolutionary sounding) and turned it into pure silliness. The Phytel acquisition last year was when my red flags were raised being that pop health is still just a buzzword, vapor and yet to be proven, but this addition just confirms that IBM is just trying to over-PR their revenue shell game. What is funny is that Truven began as the mixed bag business unit of Thomson Reuters after they went on a silly publishing buying binge while the publishing world was crashing (PDR, Micromedex, etc.). Thomson couldn’t find a way to blend those brands well into their financial and media strategies and spun them off, which resulted in Truven. How IBM is going to find a better fit for these brands that were too out-of-date for an old publishing co company is beyond my logical understanding. It makes me speculate that IBM may want to closely observe what is currently happening to Xerox. Bottom line, I no longer view Watson with the shock-and- awe wonderment that I once did.

New poll to your right or here: will EClinicalWorks and Athenahealth become major inpatient system vendors?


Here’s where Lorre will be spending the week – Booth #5069, with those other companies around us hopefully being OK with the significant traffic of interesting people we bring to an otherwise undistinguished location right next to an area labeled “Chain Link Fence – Storage.” I’m not sure I really get $5,000 worth of value from a 10×10 booth, but I’ll feel better about spending the money if everybody at least drops by to say hello.

Welcome to new HIStalk Gold sponsor Ellis & Adams. The Austin-based research and consulting firm offers IT strategic planning, project management, Lean workflow design, cost analysis, and data science services. Co-founder Don Ellis, MBA, MPH has a long industry history working for both providers and vendors; co-founder Jeff Adams, MBA spent a lot of time as a healthcare CTO; and partner Bill Blewitt has spent his whole career in healthcare IT. The company just published a description of its EHR optimization work with Dameron Hospital (CA). Thanks to Ellis & Adams for supporting HIStalk.


Healthcare IT Leaders donated $1,000 to DonorsChoose to attend my CIO lunch this week, which I used (along with third-party matching money) to fully fund these teacher grant requests while sitting by the pool:

  • Programmable robots for the media center of Ms. Becote’s elementary school in Florence, SC.
  • Physics learning kits for Ms. Stuckeman’s middle school science and math club in Fort Worth, TX.
  • Math games for Mrs. Wolfe’s fifth grade class in Little River, SC.
  • Programmable robots for Mrs. Marinin’s elementary school classes in Green Bay, WI (she is targeting females, hoping to expose them to careers in to computer science).
  • A maker space (programmable robots, invention kits, kinetic sand, and a duct tape creation kit) for the library of Ms. Harrison’s elementary school in San Juan, TX.
  • Six Amazon Fire tablets for the gifted elementary school classes of Mrs. Evans in Orlando, FL.

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Mrs. Newman reports on the STEM activity kits we gave her Indiana second graders by funding her DonorsChoose grant request: “Thanks to you, my students are benefiting more from discovery learning as opposed to teacher led instruction. With team work, they are working collaboratively building roller coasters to learn more about gravity. They are also reading instructions on how to incorporate levers and pulleys into their creations. It is so exciting to watch them in action! Your help in providing these amazing STEM materials has been appreciated by my students, parents, and myself. Thank you very much!”


Also checking in is special education teacher Mrs. Allen from South Carolina, who reports, “My students were so excited when they came back from Christmas break to new headphones! They actually want to use the computers now … They have begun taking pride in our computer center and want the computers to look neat … I had no idea that something as simple as headphones could make such a difference in the attitudes of my students.”

Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • The White House announces commitments from vendors and providers to support its Precision Medicine Initiative, most of them involving patient-contributed research data, patient access to their own data, and interoperability. 
  • HIMSS announces the retirement of two EVPs, John Hoyt and Norris Orms.
  • ResMed announces that it will acquire Brightree for $800 million.
  • EClinical Works announces plans to develop an inpatient EHR.
  • England’s Royal Berkshire Hospital cancels surgeries when its Windows XP pathology systems are taken down by malware.


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

We’re running a HIMSS special on webinars. Contact Lorre or see her at our booth #5069 (don’t blink or you’ll miss it).

Here’s the recording of Thursday’s webinar, “Analytics For Population Health: Straddling Two Worlds.” 



XG Health Solutions promotes Mike Bertrand to CTO.


Cerner reassigns John Glaser to SVP of population health. I’m not a fan of the title since “population health” is not at all the same as “population health management,” which in turn is not at all the same as “population health management software.” Despite his new title, John isn’t responsible for the health of any population other than his own.

Sponsor Updates

  • Whirl Magazine features TeleTracking’s volunteer activities in its March issue.
  • Validic publishes a new white paper, “The Unprecedented Convergence of Healthcare and Technology.”
  • The local news covers the opening of Versus Technology client University of Minnesota’s Health Clinic and Surgery Center.
  • Voalte publishes a case study featuring Frisbie Memorial Hospital (NH).
  • Leadership Excellence recognizes PerfectServe Vice President of Human Capital as a Top Corporate Leader in the over 35 category.
  • PeriGen releases a new eBook, “A Vision of the Future of Obstetrics.”

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Good call: “I was amused that the marketing manager of a vendor I highlighted as misspelling HIMSS on their site emailed me to accuse me of Photoshopping the screen shot, saying they had spelled it correctly. However, the sneaky alterations were on their end – they took down the page with the misspelling and posted a new one, perhaps not realizing that I could simply email them a link to Google’s cached image of the original page to prove my point. Doh!”

    Hospitals do this often in MedMal cases to create the illusion that the there was not any MedMal.

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Reader Comments

  • James E Thompson, MD: Re "didn't sign up for," I totally agree. But I have also seen a genuine appreciation of those in the trenches, so I hop...
  • Your memory isn't right: The judge threw out the trade secret claim. The case was settled out of court, no one won anything. Especially IDX who...
  • HISJunkie: RE:"Epic’s lawsuit accused TCS employees who were contracting with Kaiser Permanente of misrepresenting themselves as ...
  • WHO fan: If the WHO is only feeling mildly petulant, they could simply charge the US for continued access to the ICD, an amount c...
  • Robert D. Lafsky M.D.: Yes all wrong. But some are useful....

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