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March 10, 2016 News 19 Comments

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As reported here as a reader rumor on Tuesday, McKesson sells its ambulatory PM/EHR products to E-MDs, including Practice Choice, Medisoft, Medisoft Clinical, Lytec, Lytec MD, and Practice Partner. Marlin Equity Partners, which acquired E-MDs in March 2015 and AdvancedMD in August 2015, says the newly acquired products will provide economy of scale that will allow the company to extend its brand.

McKesson acquired Lytec and Medisoft in its 2006 acquisition of Per-Se, the same year it acquired RelayHealth. It acquired Practice Partner in 2007. McKesson has been rumored to be shopping its Enterprise Information Solutions business, which includes Paragon, to potential buyers.

Reader Comments

From Busted Flush: “Re: HIMSS. I’m curious if you’ve heard from your readers that they contracted a cold or flu after the conference. I have a nasty cold that’s now in Day 3 and at least 3-4 people have told me they’re sick, too. Hundreds of handshakes, close proximity, and exchanging money at the concession stands may have exposed a significant number of attendees.” I’ve been annoyingly sick since the conference ended, with congestion, achy fatigue, a slightly sore throat, and frequent coughing and sneezing. Anybody else?

From Coolio: “Re: HIMSS rumors. Biggest one I heard was that IBM offered $65 billion to acquire Cerner.” That seems highly unlikely given that Cerner’s market cap is only $18 billion. On the other hand, IBM seems willing to overpay for anything that makes Watson look real.

From Pickle Loaf: “Re: EHR vendors signing an interoperability pledge at the HIMSS conference. Why didn’t you report that?” They signed a pledge, not a contract. The same vendors would also have signed a statement that they already aren’t practicing information blocking. It’s a little late to be seeking voluntary compliance after the horse carrying the HITECH billions has already left the taxpayer barn.

From Brandon: “Re: TrakCare. I just heard that a rehab facility in Saudi Arabia achieved EMRAM Stage 6. I haven’t run across this product in 15 years as a CIO and wondered if anyone knows about it?” InterSystems Trakcare is used in several countries, the US not being among them. InterSystems acquired Australia-based TrakHealth in 2007. It recently won Best in KLAS for non-US EHRs.


From Flaming Dirigible: “Re: HIMSS keynotes. If HIMSS decided to ever truly think out of the box and invite an interesting speaker like Mike Rowe (the ‘Dirty Jobs’ guy) to do one of their keynotes, I might actually attend. I’ve been going to HIMSS for nearly 15 years and just don’t care about seeing yet another CEO or politician drone on and on.”


From Four Toppled Pillars: “Re: QuadraMed. A large reduction in force happened today.” Unverified. Googling “QuadraMed + layoff” returns 2,570 hits, however, so it wouldn’t be particularly shocking. I doubt sales of QCPR, standalone scheduling systems, Affinity Revenue Cycle, or even its EMPI have been brisk.

Sexual Harassment at the HIMSS Conference

Results of my poll asking whether HIMSS conference attendees experienced unwanted sexual overtures or comments that made them uncomfortable were as follows, with 274 responses:

  • 14 percent of male respondents said yes.
  • 42 percent of female respondents said yes.
  • Overall, 22 percent of respondents say they were made uncomfortable at the conference.

I received several comments about the poll from female attendees. One says she was appalled at the “rampant misogyny” on display. I heard stories of (married) male executives aggressively pursuing female attendees, another offering to send nude photos of himself, and another who complained that he can’t stand listening to female presenters.

Obviously the conference has a problem with making all of its attendees feel welcome and safe in a professional environment. It also seems that the majority of complaints involve vendor executives.

What, if anything, should HIMSS do about it? My suggestions, assuming that HIMSS either hasn’t done any of the following or hasn’t done a good job of promoting its efforts:

  • Publish a zero-tolerance Code of Conduct anti-harassment policy for HIMSS conference participants that includes not just gender, but sexual orientation, appearance, age, race, religion, and disability. This policy should cover all official venues – the convention center, hotels, and all sanctioned events. You agree to the policy when you register to attend or exhibit.
  • Define the activities that are not permissible – verbal comments relating to the above, making suggestive remarks, and showing unwanted sexual attention, for example.
  • Prohibit exhibitors from using sexually related images or suggestive attire as part of the exhibitor policy.
  • Allow attendees to report incidents anonymously, naming names, and have someone available to investigate their reports promptly.
  • Warn those for whom sufficient evidence exists that they have violated the Code of Conduct, then expel them on the second verified report. 
  • Record complaints in a permanent database to identify repeat offenders.
  • Allow attendees who feel unsafe or uncomfortable to easily request help from HIMSS, conference security, or hotel security. We’re healthcare IT people – surely there’s an app out there that can offers one-click requests for help.
  • Offer easy access to safe rides and physical escorts when indicated.

It’s been said that the people who roll their eyes at policies like these probably aren’t the ones who make them necessary. Hundreds of conferences have addressed the issue directly despite hesitation about potential legal issues, so surely there’s a wealth of resources for HIMSS to use in ensuring a conference environment where everyone is comfortable. Just setting expectations would be a great start.


If you agree with these ideas, sign and promote my petition to HIMSS. I didn’t include Joyce Lofstrom’s email address since it’s not really fair to swamp her inbox every time someone signs the petition, but I’ll make sure the results are known. I’ll also report back if HIMSS has had something already in the works, which is entirely possible since they’re pretty sharp.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Ms. Yoder from Texas reports that her kindergartners are “the most excited they have ever been since receiving our DonorsChoose package … The Read and Solve Word Problem center has been the most effective. I use it when I pull small groups during M.A.T.H for my students who are struggling with addition and subtraction. The students being able to have a hands-on center to work on this concept has increased their understanding and allowed them to master it. The Unlock It center has been very popular as well. The resources being donated to our class has given my students a real world view of how generous people can be.”

Epic Reader donated $100 to my DonorsChoose project, which with matching funds provided math manipulatives for the Canton, TX first graders of Mrs. Boggs.

I went to the county health department today to get travel immunizations. It took two hours in what could have been done in maybe 45 minutes, most of it because the employees were baffled by their new EClinicalWorks system. Checkout took 30 minutes even though nobody else was present, so I can imagine the line if they were actually busy. They had put up a sign warning that they will close 45-60 minutes early if they’ve been busy because they have to catch up in the system before going home. I suspect they didn’t train their people well, and not to perpetuate stereotypes, they were mostly older folks who said they were using their first EHR after converting from paper. The nurse apologized for staring at the screen to type instead of looking at me, but she did OK.

This week on HIStalk Practice: Morehouse School of Medicine taps Dominic Mack, MD to lead its National Center for Primary Care. IOC selects GE Healthcare health IT for 2016 Rio Games. Summit Medical Group rolls out MModal’s new outpatient CDI tools. Allscripts integrates AssistRx’s e-prescribing software into its ambulatory offerings. Florida Orthopaedic Institute Business Director Larry Bronikowski offers best practices for health IT adoption. Physicians and IT professionals take top salary spots in annual Glassdoor list. Telemedicine expansion bill heads to Indiana governor’s desk. Health2047 CEO Doug Given, MD describes the AMA-backed organization’s plans to tackle physician pain points with technology.


March 16 (Wednesday) noon ET. “Looking at the Big Picture for Strategic Communications at Children’s Hospital Colorado.” Sponsored by Spok. Presenters: Andrew Blackmon, CTO, Children’s Hospital Colorado; Hemant Goel, president, Spok. Children’s Hospital Colorado enhanced its care delivery by moving patient requests, critical code communications, on-call scheduling, and secure texting to a single mobile device platform. The hospital’s CTO will describe the results, the lessons learned in creating a big-picture communication strategy that improves workflows, and its plans for the future.

March 16 (Wednesday) noon ET. “The Physiology of Electronic Fetal Monitoring.” Sponsored by PeriGen. Presenter: Emily Hamilton, MDCM, SVP of clinical research, PeriGen. This webinar will review the physiology of EFM – the essentials of how the fetal heart reacts to labor. The intended audience is clinicians looking to understand the underlying principles of EFM to enhance interpretation of fetal heart rate tracings.

March 22 (Tuesday) 2:00 ET. “Six Communication Best Practices for Reducing Readmissions and Capturing TCM Revenue.” Sponsored by West Healthcare Practice. Presenters: Chuck Hayes, VP of product management, West; Fonda Narke, senior director of healthcare product integration, West Healthcare Practice. Medicare payments for Transition Care Management (TCM) can not only reduce your exposure to hospital readmission penalties and improve patient outcomes, but also provide an important source of revenue in an era of shrinking reimbursements. Attendees will learn about the impacts of readmission penalties on the bottom line, how to estimate potential TCM revenue, as well as discover strategies for balancing automated patient communications with the clinical human touch to optimize clinical, financial, and operational outcomes. Don’t be caught on the sidelines as others close gaps in their 30-day post discharge programs.

Contact Lorre about our post-HIMSS webinar sale.


New York’s Care Transitions program will use Netsmart’s CareManager for care coordination and care management.



GE Healthcare IT names Charles Koontz (CSRA) as president and CEO. He will also serve as GE Healthcare’s chief digital officer. Predecessor Jan De Witte will leave the company.


LifeImage names Frank Brilliant (Wolters Kluwer) as SVP of sales and partnerships.


Microsoft Kinect-powered tele-rehabilitation software vendor Reflexion Health promotes interim CEO Joseph Smith, MD, PhD to the permanent role.

Announcements and Implementations

GE Healthcare’s Centricity Practice Solution is chosen as the official EHR of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Memorial Sloan Kettering’s surgery center goes live with Versus RTLS to monitor patient flow through 12 ORs via Glance-and-Go whiteboards with bi-directional Epic OpTime integration.


Ochsner Baptist Medical Center (LA) goes live with PeriGen’s PeriCALM clinical decision support system.

Government and Politics

The VA awards 21 IT infrastructure upgrade contracts totaling $22.3 billion.



A Cambridge, MA startup begins shipping a $200 seizure-warning wristband containing sensors for body heat, movement, and skin conductivity following a IndieGoGo fundraising campaign last year that raised $780,000. The wristband, which buzzes to warn the wearer of an impending seizure, can also measure stress. A researcher-only version offers real-time patient monitoring. The MIT scientist who co-founded the company also co-founded a startup that detects emotion by reading a person’s facial expressions via their smartphone.



Doctors at Australia’s Port Augusta Hospital write a letter to its CEO demanding that its $315 million EPAS system (provided by Allscripts) be scrapped because it is endangering patients. They cite a case in which employees failed to notice that a woman who had just given birth was bleeding because they were “preoccupied with data entry.”  The doctors also claim that log-in takes up to seven minutes, nurses mark meds as given but they still show up as due, and long-discharged patients still display as being in the waiting room. The doctors conclude that while their previous complaints were dismissed as “resisting change,’ nearly all of them use EHRs in their private practices 100 percent of the time and would like EPAS replaced  “with something much better.” Doctors at Repatriation General Hospital complained last year that EPAS cut their productivity by 50 percent. SA Health says rollouts will continue, including at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital, due to open in November. 

Nordic made a short video of HIStalkapalooza that will probably take you back a few days. Looks like our Elvis had some dance moves, although as in his 1957 Ed Sullivan appearance, he’s shown only from the waist up.

A study finds that American workers rank dead last of 18 industrial nations in using technology to solve problems, with 80 percent of us unable to figure out an error caused by transferring two-column spreadsheet data to a bar graph. Experts note that the United States is the only country where people aren’t embarrassed to say they’re not good at math.


HIMSS sent a link to its HIMSS16 conference evaluation, which was really more like an on-screen focus group given that it contained 10 pages packed with questions. I’d like to see the metric of how many people clicked the link to start the survey but who then bailed out before completing it (I can say with confidence there was at least one).


HIMSS provides a touching story of homeless US Navy veteran Kevin Phillips (center, above), sponsored to attend the HIMSS conference by the Gateway chapter. A local group helped him buy clothes appropriate for a professional conference, but an unexpected airline change on the second leg of his flight placed him on a 2 a.m. connection that required a $25 checked bag fee that he didn’t have (he had only $11 in his pocket, just enough for the hotel shuttle). He couldn’t get help, so he started walking from Chicago back home to Fort Wayne, IN. Members of the Chicago Police Department picked him up, chipped in to pay his baggage fee, and gave him a ride back to the airport. He made it to the conference and is getting career coaching through HIMSS Veterans Career Services.

Sponsor Updates

  • YourCareUniverse publishes a new whitepaper, “Closing the Loop Between Chronically Ill Patients and Providers to Reduce Readmissions.”
  • Ingenious Med will exhibit at South by Southwest March 11-14 in Austin, TX.
  • The local business paper profiles Leidos Health’s work with the VA in light of its merger with Lockheed Martin.
  • LifeImage posts video interviews from the HIMSS show floor.
  • Navicure will exhibit at the MA/RI MGMA – Westborough Meeting Payer Day March 17 in West Borough, MA.
  • Netsmart will exhibit at the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems March 14 in Washington, DC.
  • NTT Data will exhibit at the IT Summit – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina March 17 in Durham, NH.
  • Obix posts new Ask the Expert and System Integration videos for its perinatal software solution.
  • Oneview Healthcare will exhibit during Australian Healthcare Week March 15-17 in Sydney.
  • CloudWave EVP Jim Fitzgerald discusses the reasons behind Park Place International’s rebranding.
  • Experian Health will exhibit at AAHAM Florida March 10-11 in Palm Coast.
  • Patientco releases a new e-book, “The Healthcare Provider’s Guide to Selecting a Payment Processor.”
  • RelayHealth Financial reports claim denial trends.
  • The SSI Group and Streamline Health will exhibit at the 2016 NC HFMA Annual Conference March 13-15 in Pinehurst.

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
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Currently there are "19 comments" on this Article:

  1. Re: Sick from HIMSS

    We had several people down with sore throats, coughing, and other allergy/cold-like symptoms while at HIMSS (the dry Nevada air didn’t help, nor did frequent taxi rides in vehicles that had probably seen their fare — hah, pun — share of intoxication-related biohazards). We have a few out on sick leave now for colds and the flu. It also didn’t help that the majority of the hotels that exhibitors were required to choose from were ones with rooms you didn’t want to walk around barefoot in, or had rowdy weekenders and bachelorette parties smoking (both legal substances and not) at every turn. That is unless you could afford to put your entire team up in a hotel that would likely cost your company more than an average down payment on a house.

  2. Three on our team got the flu on Thurs and 2-3 more of us got a terrible cold. We stayed at Bally’s which was disgusting and transportation situation was woeful. I’ve never had a bad meal in Vegas but we had a couple on this trip. The Vegas experience was pretty disappointing. My worst HIMSS since last year. I’d love to see vendors unite, swear off HIMSS and donate the money to DonorsChoose. We’d collectively make a bigger impact.

  3. Grateful that my germophobic wife made me start carrying hand sanitizer spray many years ago and watches like a hawk the number of times I touch my face or mouth (record yourself from your webcam for five minutes and see if you can keep from touching your face for that long – go ahead, try it). I know of at least three people who came back with colds.

    Kudos on the petition, Mr. H! Signed and shared…

  4. What Happened in Vegas did NOT stay in Vegas!

    Got a particularly severe and lingering feverish URI (hoping not a lower respiratory infection) from my first visit to Vegas.

    Too much smoke exposure in the casino gauntlet I ran twice a day in the Flamingo. Not enough hand sanitizer!

  5. RE: “ HIMSS. I’m curious if you’ve heard from your readers that they contracted a cold or flu after the conference. I have a nasty cold that’s now in Day 3 and at least 3-4 people have told me they’re sick, too. Hundreds of handshakes, close proximity, and exchanging money at the concession stands may have exposed a significant number of attendees.” I’ve been annoyingly sick since the conference ended, with congestion, achy fatigue, a slightly sore throat, and frequent coughing and sneezing.

    OK, so sorry to hear this and hope you are all feeling better soon. Is it fair to say this is a Negative ROI on the HIMSS conference? I can’t vote in your latest Poll since I didn’t’ attend, but can’t help but wonder!

  6. RE: I received several comments about the poll from female attendees. One says she was appalled at the “rampant misogyny” on display. I heard stories of (married) male executives aggressively pursuing female attendees, another offering to send nude photos of himself, and another who complained that he can’t stand listening to female presenters.

    I’m trying to figure this out. In the past, I have seen such things as Wall of Shame and generally “outing” such perpetrators publicly as a means of curtailing their bad behavior. Is that not possible to “shame them” into acting appropriately and helping all feel safe? Just wondering.

  7. In reference to sexual harassment, if these numbers are accurate, it is appalling and a shame. Not sure that many of these could ever be substantiated. Nor do I think that HIMSS could or should have to police this. But in today’s age of political correctness, perhaps, HIMSS should publish a code of conduct. For sure, someone who has been harassed by a vendor executive should certainly make that company aware. Sounds like pompous pigs in a management position using that position to compensate, in my opinion. It will continue until someone gets called on the carpet.

    I know my company and all those who attend HIMSS from my company, feel strongly about acting and behaving in a professional and ethical manner, even in Las Vegas!

  8. Post-HIMSS flu: several people at my company were confirmed with flu and a couple of others had similar symptoms but no confirmation.

  9. In addition to me, we had 4 go down with a lingering cold (GI, sinus, cough, fatigue, sore throat). I thought what happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas!

  10. I was in Vegas for HIMSS and I now have a burning sensation when I urinate. Also some discharge. Is this what everyone is talking about?

  11. Con Crud. If you look at any of the pop culture conventions the after show sickness is a common thing. That many people it is bound to happen. The PAX convention in 2009 had a swine flu outbreak with 100 cases linked directly back to it because someone came to the convention with it.

  12. I was another who was sick as a dog after HIMSS this year
    i think HIMSS needs its own ICD10.
    Post Show Sickness and Malaise with a modifier of City of Sin Exacerbated Impact

  13. Post HIMSS:

    URI – check.
    Sinus infection – check.
    Fatigue – check.
    Low grade fever – check.
    Buying stock in Kleenex / Puffs – on today’s to-do list!

    At least two of us who attended the conference (out of 5) came down with something and one other is showing signs. I’ve always been interested in how public health agencies determine ground-zero patients. Perhaps next year HIMSS could have a seminar on how to find the plague carrier at future HIMSS!

  14. I’m all over a city hospital and rarely get sick. Yet healthcare folks go to Vegas and get sick? What happens to common sense with soap and water before you ever touch your hands to your face or eat? Or are they all so normally ensconced in their offices they never exposed to pesky germs? Sorry for all of you though, I’m sure it’s not fun catching up with work in that condition.

  15. Pretty funny to see the HIMSS Sickness being discussed on here. Multiple members of my team (including myself) came down with the multi-day cold/sore throat/coughing version of it. Hope everyone gets better soon!

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Reader Comments

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