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May 10, 2016 News 4 Comments

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NantHealth announces plans to launch the IPO it postponed in November 2015 when it cited poor market conditions, hoping to raise $92 million. The company lost $72 million on $58 million in revenue last year, at the end of which Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD announced a $200 million investment by Allscripts that valued the company at $2 billion. 

Soon-Shiong, worth around $10 billion, earned $150 million in compensation when his NantKwest cancer research firm went public last year.

Reader Comments


From Ricardo: “Re: MD Anderson. Reported a $160.5 million adjusted decrease in income due to Epic. Not surprising given that there were 1,000+ contracted for go-live support. Encore made a killing on this project, although I can’t recall if they ran the selection process, too. I’m surprised this hasn’t received more widespread coverage.” Internal UT documents from a meeting being held later this week indicate that MD Anderson blames Epic-related costs and revenue reduction for its nearly 60 percent year-over-year income decrease, but adds that it had assumed some degree of impact to both from the beginning. 

From Doozy: “Re: trying to get electronic copies of your hospital medical records. Reminds me of this clip from ‘Seinfield’ that aired in October 1996, just after HIPAA was enacted.”

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor HBI Solutions. The Palo Alto, CA-based company offers predictive analytics and performance analysis solutions to providers, payers, HIEs, and technology vendors. Its Spotlight Data Solution uses real-time (not historical) clinical, billing, and claims data to provide risk models, dashboards, reports, and scorecards to support population health management, risk management, readmission management, and quality improvement. Its work has been vetted both in peer-reviewed research articles and by providers in the field. The system fits into any BI, EDW, EHR, or interoperability environment, using HL7 and 837 feeds, CCLF files from ACOs, EMPI, and natural language processing to extract data from non-discrete data types such as care summaries. According to customer Todd Rogow, SVP/CIO of the New York’s Healthix HIE, “HBI’s comprehensive suite of predictive analytics solutions enable Healthix to be responsive to the needs of doctors and nurses in an environment of shifting models of care. Real-time patient risk stratification and population and event based predictions will give healthcare organizations real-time, actionable information to help them deliver preventive, proactive care and reduce unnecessary utilization.” You probably know some of the company’s executives from their experience with Stanford and Eclipsys: Bruce Ling, Eric Widen, Frank Stearns, and Karl Sylvester, MD. Thanks to HBI Solutions for supporting HIStalk.  

Here’s a just-published video I found on YouTube in which St. Joseph Healthcare (ME) talks about its use of real-time population health alerts from HBI Solutions.


Ms. H from New Jersey says the two iPad Minis and accessories we provided in funding her DonorsChoose grant request have been valuable not just for research, but also because students are getting to work with technology they’ve seen that their families can’t afford. She also adds that her inner city male students are more likely to be kinesthetic leaners and she can meet their needs by assigning them hands-on iPad exercises.


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


Humana makes an unspecified investment in Glen Tullman’s chronic disease management technology company Livongo Health, closing its Series C round at $49.5 million and increasing its total to $82.5 million.


Patient satisfaction technology vendor Lumin Medical acquires patient feedback technology from Implementing Technologies, which it will add to its PatientTrak patient experience solution. The system steers patients to sites where they are urged to leave four- and five-star reviews.



Southeast Health (MO) and Missouri Delta Medical Center (MO) choose Cerner Millennium, replacing Siemens Soarian at both. Searching the HIStalk archive turns up a March 2015 mention that Southeast Health was getting hammered by high costs and erratic billing from Soarian and planned to move to Cerner. I also wrote in 2012 that these two competing organizations were sharing the data center and Siemens licensing costs in forming a new company called Servir. Sometimes I forget how valuable the information in old HIStalk posts can be.


Boca Raton Regional Hospital (FL) selects Cerner Millennium. I believe it was a McKesson Horizon shop. 


For-profit Ardent Health chooses Epic for its 14 hospitals in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico (including Lovelace Health System), replacing McKesson Star and Horizon.

UCHealth (CO) chooses LeanTaaS for predictive analytics to improve OR utilization.

Greater Oregon Behavioral Health (OR) will use data aggregation and analytics technology from Arcadia Healthcare Solutions.



UTHealth’s School of Biomedical Informatics names Ivo Nelson as the first recipient of its John P. Glaser Health Informatics Innovator Award.

Announcements and Implementations

Walgreens collaborates with Mental Health America to add mental health resources to its website, offer access to MDLive’s behavior telehealth solution, and provide mental health training programs to its pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.

The IT department of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (PA) wins a local award for developing an app that tracks patients and employees to reduce wait times, alerts staff when a patient hasn’t been seen for a long period, and identifies occupied treatment rooms.

Government and Politics

ONC offers $1.5 million in interoperability standards grants.

HHS calls for entries for a challenge to simplify patient bills, with $5,000 prizes for the winners.


The government of China orders search engine company Baidu to change its search results presentation following the death of a student who used it to seek questionable cancer treatment from a paid hospital advertisement. The government’s Internet regulator has given the search engine three weeks to display results based on credibility, to limit the size of the ads it presents, and to filter unauthorized providers from the search results. Baidu says it will comply and claims it has already removed 126 million ads from its site. The hospital is being investigated separately for illegally outsourcing its services and for running false advertisements. The Chinese government blocks access to Google via its so-called “Great Firewall,” but the student asked a US friend to do a Google search for him right before he died, only to find out that the treatment he had received had fallen out of favor years ago due to poor results in clinical trials.


CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt says in his remarks to his final Health Datapalooza conference (his job, along with many in HHS, is a political appointment) that, “Physicians are baffled by what feels like the physician data paradox. They are overloaded on data entry and yet rampantly under-informed. Physicians don’t understand why their computer at work doesn’t allow them to track what happens when they refer a patient to a specialist when their computer at home connects them everywhere.” He observes that people got distracted by the Healthcare.gov debacle and missed the successful implementation of real-time insurance sign-up, a marketplace that has reduced insurance prices, and matching consumers to health plans that meet their needs. He cites HHS’s user-centered policies as:

  1. Releasing of CMS databases.
  2. Changing provider payment incentives to emphasize quality and care coordination.
  3. Rolling out a single set of core quality measures.
  4. Requiring open APIs and exposing data blocking practices.
  5. Proposing the replacement of Meaningful Use with quality measures that “put the needs of the users – clinicians and patients – back in the center.”

Other comments from Slavitt:

Physicians don’t need to get pushed into using technology with incentives to show they’re clicking. They are pulled in because they need collaboration tools. The purpose of new payment models is to give care providers the freedom to do what they think is right. Your opportunity is to allow it to happen. Go find them and talk to them– design for them … If you want to lead the way with innovations that help consumers, great. If you want to follow by using established standards for data and measurement and technology, also great. If you have a business model which relies on siloing data, not using standards, or not allowing data to follow the needs of patients, pick a new business model or pick a new business. What Vice President Biden said should stick with us– as taxpayers, we did not spend $35 billion so companies could build their own silos.

Slavitt specifically listed practices that everyone should follow:

  • Eliminate contract language that prevents systems from being plug and play.
  • Put machine-readable data on edge servers so it can be used to answer questions.
  • Give physicians real-time data inside their work flows, not through a vendor’s portal.
  • Use APIs.

Privacy and Security


Mental health provider Bay Area Children’s Association (CA) reports that hackers loaded malware onto its EHR via credential theft and acquired an unknown number of patient records. BACA uses the PrognoCIS EHR from Bizmatics, which announced a breach of its systems last month, so I assume BACA is just one more Bizmatics customer that was affected.

The UK information commissioner fines an NHS trust $260,000 after its HIV clinic sends its 800-patient email newsletter using CC: instead of BCC:, thereby disclosing the identities of the recipients to each other.


The Atlantic says ransomware was first distributed in 1989, when a biology researcher sent 20,000 copies of an AIDS survey to researchers around the world whose computers would be seized the 90th time they were booted afterward. The ransomware demanded that a cashier’s check for $189 be sent to a PO box in Panama. The biologist was arrested and charged with blackmail, but claimed he was planning to donate the money to AIDS research (despite speculation that he was upset about being passed over for a job with the World Health Organization). The UK jury found him mentally unfit to stand trial and instead deported him to the US, where he died nearly 20 years later after creating a New York butterfly conservatory and naming it after himself.


The team that developed Siri demonstrates Viv, which adds artificial intelligence to speech recognition in discerning the user’s intent and in integrating with apps via an open ecosystem. The demonstration involved placing a complicated pizza delivery order by voice alone, without scripting. Experts note that mobile device users have lost their enthusiasm for apps that use up cell plan data, require logon credential maintenance, and send useless notifications, with most of them settling on just a handful that they use regularly.


A Time article says Apple created the Apple Watch because Steve Jobs, who was dying of pancreatic cancer, wanted to empower patients and improve the healthcare system. It’s not especially convincing speculation, but it’s a convenient excuse to reflect fondly on Steve Jobs.

Insurers are sharing information gleaned from past medical malpractice cases to help providers develop new protocols and strategies, such as requiring doctors to examine every wound treated in the ED to make sure  no foreign bodies or tendon injuries are present.


I’m surprised at the poorly worded, error-filled writing I see on the websites of newspapers all over the country that should know better, although maybe they’re losing so much money they can’t afford decent writers. For example, you might expect the Richmond paper’s headline writer to have noticed the 10 correct spellings of “Novant” in the article he or she was summarizing that were not in concordance with his or her version.


Weird News Andy notes that the Panama Papers have a medical connection, naming New York University School of Medicine and at least one of its doctors (neurosurgery professor Patrick Kelly, MD) as having offshore accounts. I found a searchable database of the information online, which lists several US doctors as well as some medical companies suspiciously headquartered in the Caribbean.

Sponsor Updates

  • Clockwise.MD will exhibit at the NAHAM patient experience conference from May 24-27 in New Orleans.
  • AirStrip releases a video on how it helped an academic medical center improve early detection of potential hemodynamic instability.
  • Aprima will exhibit at the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists Annual Meeting May 15-16 in Washington, DC.
  • Advanced Data Systems will offer its EHR customers Chronic Care Management technology and services from CareSync.
  • Besler Consulting releases a new podcast, “Common Mistakes Associated with Physician Documentation.”
  • Boston Software Systems launches a Podcast Resource Center.
  • CoverMyMeds will exhibit at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting May 14-18 in Atlanta.

Blog Posts


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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. RE: MD Anderson’s financial impact of Epic. I’d be very surprised if that financial impact wasn’t substantially anticipated. Using the term “blame” to characterize their explanation seems overly subjective. Stories like this seem always to come from observers, but rarely do we see the providers themselves complaining about the temporary impact of such a significant transformation. Let’s try to get some organizational perspective on such results!

  2. RE: Anonymous

    Epic includes contract language and a “discount” on maintenance fees which strongly incents hospitals not to provide honest perspective to the press or other outside entities about issues with implementations of their software. This is a key reason we never get that true “organizational perspective” when financial issues and layoffs follow an implementation.

    If MD Anderson realizes their business case then there may be a “temporary financial impact but a long term significant transformation” otherwise Epic and the consulting firms just made a lot of money and MD Anderson’s patients and employees will be forced to deal with the results.

  3. I wonder how much Allscripts audited results impacted the decision to IPO. It’s not the market is more attractive so maybe Nant is short of cash?

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