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May 3, 2016 News 4 Comments

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Pharma services firm Quintiles – which acquired Encore Health Resources in 2014 – will merge with drug data and marketing firm IMS Health, creating a drug data behemoth with 50,000 employees and $7 billion in annual revenue.


Quintiles founder Dennis Gillings, PhD was a biostatistics professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when he founded Quintiles in 1982, eventually making him a billionaire.  IMS Health is mostly known for selling drug prescribing and dispensing information to drug manufacturers to allow their salespeople to aggressively market their products to physicians.

Reader Comments

From Spiffy Duds: “Re: [vendor name omitted]. Glassdoor reviews say the place is imploding, running scared about Epic threat, losing customers and employees, late on software, new platform released with huge issues. The new president runs a fear-based shop and can’t stick to a strategic decision. The owner knows nothing about healthcare and is an incurable narcissist who believes the company is saving lives and doing things that no one else can do.” Unverified. I’ve omitted the company name since anyone can say anything on Glassdoor, plus Glassdoor now allows full viewing of comments only to those who write a review or submit a salary, of which I’ve done neither.  

From Publius: “Re: Coast Guard and Epic. It’s quite the coincidence that Leidos deleted the Coast Guard’s Epic SAN while working with Cerner on the DoD project.”

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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We funded the DonorsChoose grant request of Mr. S from New Mexico, who asked for electronic circuitry to help Zack, a student in his high school class who has set his sights on obtaining a Harvard math and engineering PhD. Zack reports, “I thank you for empowering me to use electronic circuitry components to create Arduino circuits that I code and assemble. This is most exciting because I can use circuitry components that I previously was unable to access. Thank you for allowing me to do this.”

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Also checking in is Ms. W from Arizona, whose preschoolers are learning “sight words” in the 10 minutes per day she has set aside for using them. She reports, “These tools may be small to some, but to my students who do not have the opportunity to have these things, it is a great essential. I can’t wait to continue using these tools for the years to come in my classroom and see the great learning that happens.”


May 5 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Reducing CAUTI and Improving Early Sepsis Detection Through Clinical Process Measurement.” Sponsored by LogicStream. Presenters: Jen Biltoft, director of quality improvement, SCL Health; Marla Bare, EHR architect, SCL Health. This webinar will describe how SCL Health reduced catheter-associated urinary tract infections by 30 percent in just three months through clinical process measurement. The SCL Health presenters will also share their plans for applying a similar process to the early detection of sepsis.

May 11 (Wednesday) noon ET. “Measuring the Impact of ACA on Providers.” Sponsored by Athenahealth. Presenters: Dan Haley, general counsel, Athenahealth; Josh Gray, VP, AthenaResearch. Athenahealth will share the findings of real-time analysis of its provider network. The presenters will describe how patient financial obligations have changed, how physician reimbursement is trending, the patterns created by increased ACA coverage, and the effect of the latest ACA trends on physician practices.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Healthcare managed services vendor MedData acquires patient engagement software vendor Duet Health.


Behavioral health telemedicine software vendor WeCounsel closes its $3.5 million Series A funding round. The company offers practices unlimited use of its platform for $15 per month.


NIH awards ID Genomics a three-year, $3 million grant to continue development of its 30-minute test that identifies the bacteria causing an infection and matches it against a profile of antibiotic resistance to help doctors choose the right antibiotic.


Cotivity, which sells payment accuracy solutions to payers in healthcare and retail, announces plans to launch an IPO.


Investor Warren Buffett, asked a question about board member diversity at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting, uses Theranos as an example of what not do do when choosing a board:

You know, one organization recently, the one that did the blood samples with small pricks, they’ve got some very big names on their board. Theranos. I mean, the names are great, but we’re not interested in people that want to be on the board because they want to make two or three hundred thousand dollars a year for 10 percent of their time. And we’re not interested in the ones for whom it’s a prestige item and who want to go and check boxes, or that sort of thing.


Imprivata announces Q1 results: revenue up 23 percent, adjusted EPS –$0.21 vs. $-.24, beating analyst expectations for both. 

Announcements and Implementations

England’s West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust goes live on Cerner.

CommonWell and NATE (the National Association for Trusted Exchange) will join each other’s organization as members.

Government and Politics

A study finds that citizens of states that spend more on social and public health services vs. healthcare services have better outcomes for several chronic and debilitating conditions.

The federal government will require the DoD’s Defense Health Agency to issue IT contracts through the General Services Administration.

Innovation and Research


A study finds that the most profitable hospitals (based strictly on operating income) are for-profit, have higher markups, have regional prestige that allows them to dictate terms to insurers, and are located in states (interestingly enough) with price regulation. The most profitable hospitals in the 2013 data studied were 268-bed Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center (which made $300 million in profit from patient care), Sutter Medical Center, and Stanford Hospital. I checked Gundersen’s federal tax forms, which show 2014 profit of $95 million, down from $312 million in 2013. To its credit, the hospital paid its executives comparatively modestly, with the CEO earning $910K and the CIO $385K.


Half of surveyed teens say they are addicted to their smartphones, with 78 percent of them checking their devices at least hourly and 72 percent believing they must respond immediately to texts and social networking messages. More parents than teens (56 percent) check their devices while driving, while a big chunk of both groups think the other ignores them and plays with their phones when they’re together. 



Microsoft’s SQL Server 2016 will launch on June 1, with speed and security enhancements, support for the R analytics tool, the ability to query both structured and unstructured data, and the ability to query encrypted data without decrypting it first.

Google donates $250,000 toward Flint, MI’s water problems, of which $150,000 will fund a University of Michigan data project to identify homes with likely high levels of lead. UM will also develop a mobile app and website that will allow residents to visualize data and communicate with the city.



As reported here earlier in quoting Shriners CMIO Richard Paula, MD, the Joint Commission confirms in an emailed newsletter Monday that it has reversed its 2011 policy that prohibited sending orders via text message, effective immediately. Joint Commission says it changed its mind because messaging platforms have improved.


The only rural hospital in Massachusetts — 19-bed, Partners-owned Nantucket Cottage Hospital – may cause all state hospitals to lose $160 million in Medicare funding in the next year after consultants make mistakes in calculating the hospital’s labor costs. The hospital’s high-cost location makes it the state’s most expensive and Medicare sets the labor payments to all other hospitals based on its costs. Some hospitals could lose 10 percent of their Medicare payments due to the mistake.

An interesting article describes Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group’s hepatitis C screening protocol, which has these components:

  • An EHR alert recommends to providers that patients born between 1945 and 1965 undergo hepatitis C screening if they haven’t already had it.
  • Patients who test positive for the hepatitis C antibody are automatically ordered confirmatory testing.
  • An assigned hepatitis C coordinator manages the follow-up activities and educates the patient.
  • A liver damage assessment is automatically ordered.
  • Patients are connected to physicians to make sure ongoing care occurs.

A Kaiser Health News article concludes that hospitals are not good at coordinating post-discharge care with home health agencies and nursing homes, particularly when it comes to medications. The article notes that none of the $30 billion in HITECH EHR bribes went to nursing homes, rehab facilities, or home care providers. The article failed to note equally sobering problems in coordinating the care of patients with behavioral problems, which have a similar genesis.

The Chinese government will investigate search engine company Baidu following the death of a student who searched online for a treatment for his rare form of cancer. The student claimed that his search turned up a hospital that lied about a high rate of success with an experimental treatment he was given. Before he died, the student accused Baidu of promoting false medical information and called out the hospital for false advertising.

Two large employers who offered a healthcare price transparency tool found that only small percentage of employees used it and healthcare costs actually increased slightly.

A study finds that the price of oncology drugs is steadily and illogically increasing, as drugs whose initial high price was justified by expected narrow usage get more expensive even when new indications are discovered.

Sponsor Updates


  • KLAS recognizes Sagacious Consultants (now part of Accenture) as a top-performing Epic consulting firm.
  • AdvancedMD releases a new ebook, “Advanced Practice Training: Changing the Game in Financial Reporting.”
  • Extension Healthcare releases a video showing how its Engage Mobile solution integrates with AirStrip One live waveforms.
  • AirWatch launches the Echo One Podcast.
  • Aprima will exhibit at the ACP Internal Medicine Meeting 2016 May 5-7 in Washington, DC.
  • KLAS recognizes Nordic’s Epic implementation support and staffing services, also ranking the company for the first time in the IT Advisory segment with a 92.6 score.
  • Besler Consulting releases a new podcast, “What Hospitals Should Do Regardless of Who is Elected President.”
  • DrFirst’s Rcopia e-prescribing platform wins the Surescripts White Coat of Quality Award for the fourth time.
  • CapsuleTech celebrates National Nurses Week May 6-12.
  • The Advisory Board Company features Carevive Systems in a presentation during its Oncology Roundtable series May 5-6 in Washington, DC.
  • CompuGroup Medical will exhibit at the Rural Health Care Conference May 10-13 in Minneapolis.
  • CoverMyMeds will exhibit at the 2016 New England Regional MGMA Conference May 5-6 in Bretton Woods, NH.
  • Wellcentive develops a free tool to calculate the cost of delaying the shift from payer volume to value-based care and reimbursement.
  • Divurgent will exhibit at the 2016 Texas Regional HIMSS Conference May 12-13 in Houston.
  • ECG Management Consultants will present at the MGMA New England Regional Practice Management Conference May 5 in Bretton Woods, NH.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the IMGMA Spring Conference May 5-6 in Indianapolis.
  • Healthwise will exhibit at the EClinicalWorks 2016 Health Center Summit May 11-13 in Boston.

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. The not-so-veiled allegation from Publius that Leidos sabotaged Epic seems ludicrous. Why would they do something to hurt their own reputation when they were trying to win a spot as the prime contractor in the DoD deal? Evidently you can say anything here without evidence, like Ted Cruz’s dad was involved in a conspiracy to shoot JFK. I guess trashy theories like this make you feel better about what’s really bothering you.

  2. @Federalist, please provide an explanation for this: “The Storage Area Network containing the software build was inexplicably corrupted once with no root cause, and was deleted once by Leidos staff – both times just before the system was ready to go live. We have never seen this occur in 35 years of installs. Epic rebuilt the SAN each time.” see http://www.epic.com/Epic/Post/1778

    And Leidos has a reputation to uphold? Let’s not forget they were spun off from SAIC.

  3. Only Publius is BRAVE enough to stand up to BIG LEIDOS.

    The obvious explanation is Hanlon’s razor.

  4. Re: KLAS’ 2016 Epic Consulting Research. Can’t help but point out that the survey size only goes up to 29. Not really a reliable sample… it might be stretching it to call this “research.”

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