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May 17, 2016 News 5 Comments

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The VA says it will have its Enterprise Health Management Platform (EHMP) running by the end of summer. It’s a graphical front end for VistA that I’m guessing is the Facebook- and Google-like “prototype” that was mentioned a couple of months ago.


VA Chief Information Strategy Officer David Waltman said during a demonstration that, “The interoperability between the VA and the [DOD] record system exceeds any electronic health record systems that are anywhere in the non-government environment.” EHMP builds on previous development work for the VA-DoD Joint Legacy Viewer and will replace CPRS as part of the VistA Evolution program.


The VA has released a software development kit for the open source EHMP, hoping that companies will extend or commercialize it.

Reader Comments

From Dutch Loaf: “Re: ransomware webinar. That had to be the best-attended of those you have had and it was very useful.” John Gomez’s ransomware webinar was indeed excellent, and while it did very well with 115 live attendees and 700 YouTube views afterward so far, the leader is still Vince and Frank’s November 2014 “Cerner Takeover of Siemens, Are You Ready?,” the YouTube recording of which has been viewed an astounding 7,750 times.


From Boots on the Ground: “Re: MD Anderson’s Epic project. The reader comment referring to Encore Health Resources should have noted that Santa Rosa Consulting ran the successful  go-live, providing 1,100 associates in the largest, single-sourced go-live.” Verified. Encore got a $50 million contract for selection and other services, as the reader pointed out, but Santa Rosa ran the go-live.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I was interviewing Hayes Management Consulting President and CEO Pete Butler the other day when he mentioned how long he has been reading HIStalk, going back to his days as the company’s western region director when he recommend to founder Paul Hayes that they sponsor. I checked my old emails and can thank Hayes Management Consulting for supporting my work for 10 years – they signed up in July 2006. Which also reminds me that HIStalk itself turns 13 years old on June 3, entering that awkward, insufferable teenager phase.

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Ms. Stuckeman from Texas reports that her after-school science and math club “embarked on a journey of exploration and invention” when they received the machine-building kits we provided in funding her DonorsChoose grant request. She adds, “They were so excited to have these shiny new building materials. Students came across problems and had to solve them. This made them stronger as it challenged them to think critically through trial and error. Team members rejoiced with confidence as they were proud of what they had accomplished.”

Listening: hard horror punk rock from Wednesday 13, which sounds like Alice Cooper mixed with Iron Maiden and Dixie Dead. The band is really just Joseph Poole from North Carolina’s barbeque capital of Lexington along with some backing musicians in tribute to 1980s horror films.


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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Financial Times has fun with the rock concert / party rally launch of the Siemens Healthineers name, calling it “a writhing, Spandex-clad horror” and noting that at the end, “A few arms were raised bearing phones to capture what was possibly the most embarrassing corporate rebranding event ever.” The article notes that the launch violated three rules:

  • Don’t try to put your corporate values to music since that always creates mass humiliation.
  • Don’t create eye-rolling names by cutting and pasting parts of other words.
  • Claiming to be one team with one dream doesn’t make it so. It just makes you look stupid.


Healthcare-only technology and consulting firm CitiusTech will hire up to 1,200 new employees this fiscal year, increasing its headcount by nearly 50 percent. CEO Rizwan Koita says the company is hunting for acquisitions.


Decisio Health launches its FDA-cleared Decisio Clinical Intelligence Platform, which formats patient monitor information into an electronic triage system, and closes a $4.5 million second round of funding.


Pharmacy software vendor Rx30 acquires competitor Lagniappe Pharmacy Services.


Experian Health signs 276 new deals and 479 existing client contracts in Q4.



The Indiana HIE hires Valita Fredland, JD (Indiana University Health) as VP, general counsel, and privacy officer.


Jason Griffin (Encore, A Quintiles Company) joins Orchestrate Healthcare as AVP South.


Parallon Technology Solutions names Charles Bell, DO, RPh (HCA) as chief medical officer.


Mercy Health (OH) hires Jeff Carr (Cintrifuse) as its first chief innovation officer.

Announcements and Implementations


PokitDok releases its Pharmacy Benefits Solution, a set of three APIs (pharmacy plan, pharmacy formulary, and in-net work pharmacy) that allow EHR users to check a member’s prescription insurance and send prescriptions to in-network pharmacies.

American Well creates an online marketplace that will allow its customers to exchange services, such as providers who can create and market condition-specific telehealth programs to insurance companies and employers. Consumers seeking telehealth services can choose doctors from provider organizations that market their services.

DSS will incorporate First Databank’s medication reconciliation and e-prescribing solutions in its open source EHR.

Government and Politics


The Missouri Health Connection HIE supports the governor’s veto of funding that would have helped the state’s Department of Social Services connect to it. MHC says unnamed special interests (Cerner?) “are working to hinder and fragment the adoption of HIE in Missouri.” MHC claims the proposed budget would have prevented hospitals from freely choosing an HIE and would have forced MHC to share patient information with competitors without having privacy and cost structures in place. The counterpoint might be that federally funded MHC wanted to connect with DSS and then charge competing HIEs for connecting to it. The governor said he vetoed the line item funding because it would have allowed some providers to participate without paying. Missouri HIEs have been fighting for control for years. Perhaps ONC should launch its data blocking investigations in Missouri, starting with organizations that have received HHS/CMS/ONC grant funding specifically to facilitate data exchange.


FTC Chair Edith Ramirez says she’s worried about hospital mergers that are creating expensive health system monopolies, adding that competition is also vital for maintaining hospital quality. The president of the American Hospital Association disagrees, saying the creation of a modern healthcare system requires such mergers.


The state of Arizona spent millions (it isn’t sure exactly how many) to develop a tissue and organ specimen database that has been abandoned. The system was used by only three hospitals and did not have a sustainable business model, leading to its shutdown in September 2014. Hospitals are trying to resurrect the system, hoping to rebuild it using a different contractor since the original one has since left the state. That company’s founder says the real challenge is that hospitals don’t necessarily want to share their research information in a competitive environment. It’s a lot like hospitals not willing to financially support HIEs or share their information on them.


The National Cancer Institute solicits research ideas for the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, with already-submitted ideas being publicly visible on the site. 

Privacy and Security


Dekalb Health (IN) says a ransomware attack last week forced it to take its systems down, transfer patients out, and initiate ambulance diversion. The health system did not say in the announcement whether it paid the ransom demanded.

The government of Kuwait will require all citizens and visitors to undergo DNA testing to create a national database for use in criminal cases and paternity claims. Visitor samples will be taken upon arrival at Kuwait International Airport.



A Florida business paper profiles Medical Tracking Solutions, which offers medical device companies a supply chain system for tracking the devices they stock on consignment in hospitals. The COO says the system replaces “really old school” hospital methods that involve forms that are hand-filled and faxed.



Cerner help desk employees file a class action lawsuit against the company, claiming they were expected to work at least 48 hours per week without being paid overtime because their positions were misclassified as exempt. Four other overtime lawsuits are pending against Cerner.


A Navicure survey of 300 provider executives finds that the most significant patient payment challenges are patients who can’t pay, the need to educate patients about their financial responsibility, and patients who don’t pay on time. Patient payments make up a significant portion of revenue for most organizations, with one-fourth of respondents saying it’s 31 percent or greater. The majority of respondents acknowledge that they don’t store patient credit card information, send electronic statements, or offer automated payment plans.

Patients of a Virginia lab company that was acquired by a competitor following its bankruptcy filing to settle kickback charges are being sent bills for tests done as far back as 2009. Bankruptcy lawyers for former high-flyer Health Diagnostic Laboratory, which had $375 million in revenue in 2013, were ordered by the court to try to collect its $50 million in unpaid bills to pay off its remaining debt. The competitor who bought the company is receiving complaints and threats about the collection practices even though it didn’t buy the overdue accounts along with the business and thus isn’t involved with the collection efforts. 

The Boston Globe reports EHR employee complaints at Partners Healthcare (MA), whose $1.2 billion Epic project is the largest ever undertaken by Partners. A maternity nurse says she speaks for others like her in complaining that the system has come between her and her patients, calling it “tedious, labor intensive, and you feel like you can’t do what you want to do.” One doctor, annoyed at having to work at a wall-attached monitor with her back to her patients, retired early. On the other hand, the article is hardly a shining example of thorough investigative reporting, with the newspaper chatting with just 24 of 68,000 Partners employees. One might also note that the “you can’t do what you want to do” comment is exactly why hospitals implement EHRs.


Weird News Andy says a man was “saved by the pizza.” Employees of a Domino’s Pizza in Oregon become concerned when a customer who has ordered delivery almost every day for seven years fails to place an order for 11 days. They sent a delivery driver to check on him, but the man didn’t answer the door or answer his phone. The driver called 911 and deputies found him on the floor suffering from an apparent stroke. He’s in stable condition.

Sponsor Updates

  • Impact Advisors posts a white paper, “The MACRA Proposed Rule on MIPS and APMs: Summary and Key Takeaways.”
  • LogicStream posts a recording of its webinar, “Reduce CAUTI Through Clinical Process Measurement.”
  • AirStrip CEO Alan Portela will speak at the Medical World Americas conference May 19 in Houston.
  • Nordic kicks off its Community Giveback Week.
  • CultofMac.com highlights AirWatch BYOD technology.
  • NCQA awards Aprima with PCMH Pre-Validation status.
  • Clockwise.MD will exhibit at the Pediatric Urgent Care Conference June 1-3 in New York City.
  • RN FM Radio will feature Bernoulli CNO Jeanne Venella, RN May 18 at 3pm ET.
  • The Boston Globe features BIDMC’s use of Clockwise.MD’s online appointment reservation service. 
  • Divurgent donates $5,000 to Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas during its annual retreat.
  • Bloomberg profiles GE Healthcare CEO John Flannery.
  • ClinicalWorks will exhibit at the 2016 annual meeting of the California Orthopedic Association May 19-21 in Dana Point, CA.
  • Extension Healthcare will exhibit at the AAMI Conference & Expo June 3-6 in Tampa, FL.
  • Healthwise will exhibit at the Cognizant / Trizetto User Group Meeting May 22-25 in Palm Desert, CA.

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
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Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. The arrogance of ignorance is alive and well in the VA.

    On what basis does David Waltman make the claim that the VA / DoD interop is better than anything non governmental exchange?

    Epic’s CareEverywhere far exceeds them in both DoD and in VA connectivity. Even CommonWell despite it’s slow uptake is better. Not to mention a few dozen state HIEs.

    What a scam put forward by our government. They are either uninformed or deceitful. Neither is appropriate.

    I’m sure ONC will step in line and ask us to bow to the false idol of Government Interoperability.

    What an absolute joke.

  2. “VA gone wild” is spot on. The self serving nature of the VA Chief Information Strategy Officer’s comments are representative of the bubble the VA and DoD live in. To suggest that their crude example is better than any non-government offering is simply not true. The market for this nonsense is Capital Hill, Executive Branch and internally focused bureaucrats, who have a vested interest in being insulated from the real world of proven solutions. Solutions that effectively solve the stated objectives of true interoperability in a user friendly, secure manner focused on real world and patient needs, including large number of non-government providers of care to veterans, service members and their families. In summary, statements like this are infuriating since it confirms that they do not actually know or understand commercial alternatives and have no apparent interest in learning how they persistently under perform in the most basic of capabilities.

  3. RE: Kuwait DNA collection. A bit frightening, and reminds me of the movie Gattaca (a fine film – see it if you haven’t already).

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Reader Comments

  • MiroslavB: Great insights - Thanks Ed !...
  • SteveS: I’d like to hear more from Ed about his perspective on the current state of “Professional Organizations” – in te...
  • Brian Too: Nice to hear from a small hospital for a change. We hear lots from the large players and consolidation has meant that b...
  • Sam Lawrence: Except in this case, coding = medical billing, not development. Though the same warning may be true...
  • BeenThere: Partners will find the savings from their cuts of coders as fools gold. There are a lot of hidden costs running an outs...
  • JC: If there is not there can be. VistA has a reference lab interface that can create the manifests/labeling and such as we...
  • Tom Cornwell: Great stuff from Dr. Jayne as usual. One small typo, last sentence of second-to-last paragraph: should be 'who's' not 'w...
  • HIT Observer: What I find most interesting here, is people defending their common practices rather than truly taking this as invaluabl...
  • Bob: There's no incentive for the provider to spend time doing a price comparison for the patient. Nor is it a good use of th...
  • Peppermint Patty: Veteran - can you clarify what was "fake "? Was something made up (definition of fake) or did you disagree with Vapo...

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