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Monday Morning Update 3/28/16

March 27, 2016 News 7 Comments

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New York’s mandatory e-prescribing mandate took effect Sunday despite a questionable level of prescriber readiness even after the one-year postponement a year ago. Allowed exceptions are drug items that require pharmacy compounding, parenteral drugs, items requiring lengthy patient instructions, or non-patient specific prescriptions. Paper or call-in prescriptions can be issued upon patient request or given technology failure, which then requires the prescriber to report the prescription to the state’s Department of Health, but the department has not implemented such reporting technology and suggests that prescribers just note it in the EHR instead.

Reader Comments


From No Flipping: “Re: ransomware. I searched HIStalk and there was an example from 2012, so it’s not a new problem.” I wrote about a clinic in Australia whose files were encrypted by ransomware in December 2012. I don’t recall hearing if the clinic paid the demanded $4,000 ransom, but I expect it did. Meanwhile, a ridiculously useless Wall Street Journal article manages to ask the wrong questions (or perhaps fails to understand the answers) of those it interviewed in claiming to share healthcare security best practices to prevent ransomware. The pearls of wisdom provided are: (a) assume malware will get through; (b) perform backups; (c) apply patches; and (d) educate employees. CIOs who learn anything from this breezy waste of time should probably just go ahead and quit or at least attend our webinar described below.  

From The_Epic_Guy: “Re: Epic. The company is having their implementation consultants put their Starbucks coffee into non-labeled containers to avoid reminding customers that its inexperienced people are costing a small fortune.” Unverified. I would have expected contracts to specify a per diem rate rather than individual charges so that Starbucks vs. McDonald’s coffee wouldn’t matter, but maybe that’s not the case.


From MCK Auto Pilot: “Re: McKesson. This site has interesting layoff rumors. All are unsubstantiated from employees who have been laid off, but in every exaggeration there is a kernel of truth.” Comments from claimed current or former McKesson employees complain about clueless upper management, the failed Better Health 2020 initiative, the cold manner in which employees were informed that their services would no longer be required, offshoring to India, and the likelihood that MCK will sell off what’s left of its IT business and whether anyone would want to buy it.

From Nasty Parts: “Re: Greenway layoffs. Four sales VPS have been downsized. Looks like the company is moving into a ‘protect the install base’ mode of operation.” Unverified. The four named VPs still list Greenway as their employer on LinkedIn, but most people don’t rush there first after they’ve been forcibly re-workforced.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Half of poll respondents work for a company that has laid people off in the past 12 months. New poll to your right or here: do you personally admire and respect the highest-ranking executive of your employer? I’ve divided the answers out into not-for-profit and for-profit choices to see if that makes a difference (which I should have done on the previous poll, too). Click the Comments link on the poll after voting to explain.


FHIR Family donated $500 to my DonorsChoose project, explaining, “HL7 has a big deadline on Monday, March 28 and I am in awe of all the work Grahame Grieve does in the background. This donation is in his name.” Through the magic of matching funds, the donation fully satisfied these teacher grant requests:

  • An iPad and case for Ms. Markussen’s first grade class in Dallas, TX
  • A laptop and document camera for Mrs. Lark’s middle school class in Brooklyn, NY
  • Math games for Ms. Burkett’s elementary school class in Independence, MO

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Mrs. Hale from Indiana says her third graders were so excited about the kid-friendly biographies we provided in funding her DonorsChoose grant request that they finish their other work early so they can work on biography projects.

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Also checking in is Mrs. Ortego, who says the headphones we provided for her Louisiana special needs elementary school class not only allow students to work without distraction, but also, “One of my greatest joys is that I have a hearing impaired student and he is able to put the headphones over his ears with no feedback from his hearing aids. This is the most amazing thing to experience. There is no frustration for this student.”

Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Allscripts and a private equity firm form a joint venture to acquire post-acute care EHR vendor Netsmart for $950 million.
  • The CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals denies rumors that he will be fired if the organization doesn’t go live on Epic on April 1 and dismisses reports by the former CMIO of one of its hospitals that a lack of readiness will endanger patients.
  • Three more hospitals report ransomware attacks.
  • AHIMA petitions the White House to allow HHS to work on a national patient identifier.
  • Apple announces CareKit, which will allow developers to create person health apps for the iPhone.


April 1 (Friday) 1:00 ET. “rise of the small-first-letter vendors … and the race to integrate HIS & MD systems.” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Frank L. Poggio, president and CEO, The Kelzon Group; Vince Ciotti, principal, HIS Professionals. Vince and Frank are back with their brutally honest (and often humorous) opinions about the rise of the small-first-letter vendors. Athenahealth and eClinicalWorks are following a growing trend toward real integration between hospital and physician systems, but this is not a new phenomenon. What have we learned from these same efforts over the last 30 years? What are the implications for hospital and ambulatory clients? What can clients expect based on past experience?

April 8 (Friday) 1:00 ET. “Ransomware in Healthcare: Tactics, Techniques, and Response.” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenter: John Gomez, CEO, Sensato. Ransomware continues to be an effective attack against healthcare infrastructure, with the clear ability to disrupt operations and impact patient care. This webinar will provide an inside look at how attackers use ransomware; why it so effective; and recommendations for mitigation.

Contact Lorre for webinar services. Past webinars are on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.

Here’s the recording of last week’s webinar, “Six Communication Best Practices for Reducing Readmissions and Capturing TCM Revenue.”


Dell Services announces recent big contracts that Dubai Health Authority and BCBS of Rhode Island.

Government and Politics

The president of the New York State Medical Society politely asks for two changes to the just-implemented requirement that all state prescriptions be issued electronically rather than on paper or by telephone. He would like to see an exemption for those doctors who write fewer than 25 prescriptions per year and a reduction in documentation requirements when technical issues require issuing a paper prescription. Both seem reasonable to me.

Privacy and Security


Hackers steal and offer for sale the information of 1.5 million customers of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, whose services (including an extensive set of security offerings) are used by 99 percent of Fortune 500 companies.


Epic removes regular and diet soda from its vending machines and cafeterias to promote health, so bring your own supply from a local convenience store if you’re a Diet Coke fan taking classes in Verona.

Another medical transport helicopter goes down, killing all four occupants (including the patient) in Alabama. The for-profit company’s site boasts that it has a “proven clinical tract record.”


An interesting article describes the online problems experienced by people with unusual names: those who go by a single name, those with very long or short names that don’t pass field edits, and most interesting to programmers, people whose last name is Null. These folks often have to resort to telephone calls or snail mail to do tasks everybody else can accomplish online.

Sponsor Updates

  • Forward Health Group shares the wall-sized, hand-drawn graphics created in its UnBooth at the HIMSS conference, including population health management questions posed by visitors. 
  • EClinicalWorks releases a podcast recapping EClinicalWorks Day.
  • Extension Healthcare and FormFast will exhibit at the AONE Annual Conference March 30-April 2 in Fort Worth, TX.
  • The Upstate Business Journal recognizes Glytec as an Upstate biotech player.
  • The Boston Globe features Healthwise CMO Adam Husney, MD in an article on how perks from pharmaceutical companies influence prescribing medicine.
  • Cumberland Consulting Group expands its business processing outsourcing services to pharma in a partnership with revenue acceleration software vendor Revitas.
  • Recondo Technology will exhibit at the HFMA Texas State Conference on March 29 in Dallas.
  • Experian Health will exhibit at NAACOs March 28-30 in Baltimore.
  • PatientSafe Solutions and PerfectServe will exhibit at the AONE Annual Meeting March 30-April 2 in Fort Worth, TX.
  • The Doctor Freedom Podcast features PatientPay founder and CEO Tom Furr.
  • Point-of-Care Partners ECare Management Practice Lead Michael Solomon discusses optimizing EHRs.
  • Streamline Health will exhibit at the 2016 WV HIMA Annual Convention March 30-April 1 in White Sulphur Springs, WV.
  • T-System awards its Client Excellence Award to Dosher Memorial Hospital (NC) for excellence in sustainable outcomes.
  • TeleTracking, Versus Technology, and Zynx Health will exhibit at the AONE 2016 annual conference March 30-April 2 in Fort Worth, TX.
  • TeraMedica will host a healthcare IT symposium April 7 in San Francisco.
  • Huron Consulting Group releases 2016 Healthcare CEO Forum report.

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
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Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. Re: “The_Epic_Guy”. That is completely untrue. I’m not sure if your source is bad or if you’re deliberately spreading misinformation.

  2. You’re morning updates are increasingly full of gossip and unverified hit bits. Disappointed in HIStalks move towards a tabloid style readers experience compared to an in depth analysis of health information technologies.

  3. Mr H., Epic’s “no booze on the company dime” policy means the kids have to keep and turn in receipts for every expense so they can show Judy they haven’t been drinking while on business trips.

  4. I’m not sure if the NULL thing is meant to be a joke, but note that the comparison to NULL is actually a pointer comparison to (the value) 0 as that’s what NULL is defined to be. It’s not a literal string “NULL”. If your software contains a string comparison to “NULL” you’ll have a lot worse problems than the annoyances of people names “Null”.

    On the other hand, the name handling overall is an issue. My pet peeve is websites that don’t accept the “+” sign (for really useful mailbox tags) in the email field despite it being an allowed character. They even have the gall to call it invalid.

  5. Why on earth would you publish comments on McKesson layoffs from “theLayoff.com” when you know that it’s just a site for unhappy ex-employees? To be fair, why not post those similar comments from EPIC and Cerner too? Your site has been gleefully slapping McKesson for years and it is getting tiresome.

  6. Maybe they aren’t posting similar comments about Epic and Cerner from that site because there aren’t any. Cerner has 1 post with no replies in the last year and Epic isn’t even on there. The EPIC you refer to is an engineering firm, but I’m not surprised you don’t know the difference since you went all caps.

  7. Anonymous #5 obviously you’re spending much more time than I am on the this site doing research. “Epic” sales were $1.2 B. McKesson’s were $137.6 B. I would expect that ratio. The point you’re missing is that it’s GOSSIP. I will leave you to the research and the snarky comments and the relevancy of CAPS versus non Caps.

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