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Monday Morning Update 5/23/16

May 22, 2016 News 4 Comments

Top News


Kansas Heart Hospital (KS) is hit with ransomware,  pays the ransom that it calls a “small amount,” and is still denied access to unspecified systems when the hackers demand further payments. The hospital says it won’t pay again.

The hospital didn’t announce which systems were affected or whether they have been restored, only saying that patient information wasn’t placed at risk.

Reader Comments

From Danbury Whaler: “Re: Western Connecticut Health Network. Laying off significant management, including the president. They blame it on state funding declines. IMO, they are way over budget in the construction of a new building and way over budget in IT.” EVP Dan DeBarba just resigned from the three-hospital network, which confirms that it has laid off several managers because of the $1 million it had to pay in a newly implemented state tax on non-profit hospitals. The system chose Cerner in September 2015.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


The vast majority of poll respondents would recommend their most recently experienced hospital or practice. New poll to your right or here: what part of your medical record would you be most upset to have exposed in a breach?

I was looking back through my old polls to see what topics were hot long ago. These caught my eye:

  • NAHIT paid consultants to define five common acronyms such as EMR and RHIO, saying consensus will increase HIT adoption. Do you agree? (May 2008 — 86 percent said no.)
  • The HIMSS “Taking HIT to the Streets” program will pay attendees to attend EHR vendor demos. Is that an acceptable practice? (November 2009 – 80 percent said no).
  • What impact will the iPad have on healthcare? (April 2010 — 42 percent said little or none, 29 percent said some, 29 percent said a good bit).
  • What’s the best way to encourage better usability? (May 2010 — it was an even division among just letting the market decide, adding usability criteria to EHR certification, having an independent organization rank and announce usability test results, and educating providers better).
  • What credential earns the title of “informaticist?” (November 2010 — 35 percent said a clinical degree plus work experience, 22 percent said clinical degree plus certification, 23 percent said non-clinical experience, and 20 percent said a graduate degree in informatics).
  • Will state HIEs be viable once they’ve spent their stimulus money? (July 2010 — 81 percent said no).
  • Do KLAS ratings accurately represent product performance? (September 2010 — 61 percent said no).
  • What will HITECH’s legacy be? (July 2011 — 42 percent said increased EHR adoption, while 31 percent said waste of taxpayer money).
  • Are Regional Extension Centers worth the $650 million taxpayers are paying for them? (November 2011 — 84 percent said no).
  • Do you agree with Neal Patterson that Cerner and Epic will be the only surviving hospital information system vendors? (May 2012 — 75 percent said no).

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Ms. Hayes in North Carolina says students in her STEM-focused high school are using the six 3D puzzles we provided in funding her DonorsChoose grant request to work as teams and have fun learning about engineering and history.

Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Theranos admits that the results of all of the lab tests it ran on its proprietary Edison analyzer in 2014-2015 are unreliable.
  • The VA says its new Web front end for VistA will be rolled out by the end of summer.
  • Two Missouri HIEs continue their bickering and political maneuvering.
  • John Halamka clarifies his MACRA thinking in suggesting that HHS pare the program down to focusing on just three specialty-specific outcomes at a time, also recommending that EHR certification be stripped down to include only the interoperability required for basic care coordination.


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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


My Coverage Plan Inc., a Madison, WI-based for-profit subsidiary of a non-profit public interest law firm, is awarded a five-year, $1.6 million NIH grant to develop software to train hospitals to determine patient eligibility for public health programs. The company also sells a patented decision support software that helps hospital financial counselors qualify patients for Medicaid and other programs.


Cambia Health Solutions-owned diagnostic software vendor Enigma Health apparently shuts down. Another Cambia investment, point-of-service patient technology vendor Wellero, closed in January.

The year-old health Internet subsidiary of China-based insurer Ping An Group raises $500 million in Series A funding, valuing the company at $3 billion.The  Ping An Good Doctor app offers video visits, appointment scheduling, disease management, sale of over-the counter medications and medical devices, and insurance coordination. It claims 77 million registered users and up to 250,000 daily consultations.



UConn Health (CT) hires Dirk Stanley, MD, MPH (Cooley Dickinson Hospital) to the newly created position of CMIO, where he will help lead its Epic implementation. 

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Athenahealth promotes Karl Stubelis to SVP/CFO following the resignation of Chief Financial and Administrative Kristi Matus, who had held the position for less than two years. The company says she’s leaving because her job will be split into the CFO position and an SVP of talent and culture, for which a search has been initiated. Jonathan Bush seemed nervously defensive and uncharacteristically inarticulate on the call announcing the change, sounding like he’s imitating other companies in trying to aggressively manage company culture, hiring consultants and placing great value on what he heard at Microsoft’s CEO conference as Athenahealth nears its goal of $1 billion in annual revenue. He mentioned several times that things change at that $1 billion mark and he seemed worried about employee comments left on GlassDoor.

Announcements and Implementations


Six-hospital St. Luke’s University Health Network (PA) says its January 2016 Epic go-live was a success, giving a nod to VP/CIO Chad Brisendine. The health system will go live on Epic ambulatory by January 2018.

Government and Politics


The ACLU files an OCR HIPAA complaint against genetic testing company Myriad Genetics, claiming the company denied  four consumers access to their full genetic test results. Myriad released the information to the consumers as soon as the ACLU announced a press conference about their complaints. HHS regulations give individuals a right to receive the full genetic test results, not just those genetic characteristics known to be associated with disease. Myriad says it didn’t know about the regulation since it was announced only in an HHS blog post that clarified provider responsibilities for information release under HIPAA. One of the consumers wants to donate her genetic information to the NIH-run ClinVar research database, but Myriad won’t submit its breast cancer genetic information to ClinVar even though other testing companies do so.

Privacy and Security

Lawrence General Hospital (MA) tests employees by sending faux phishing emails with subject lines like “Prince’s last words on video” and “Banking statement: your transaction failed” to see how many employees click the link. The hospital publishes the number of links clicks and disciplines employees who open three or more attachments.

Innovation and Research

An Israel-based startup is working on eyeglasses that work like smartphone cameras in focusing on whatever the wearer is looking at, potentially eliminating the need for vision testing and having new glasses made to deal with age-related nearsightedness.



Microsoft releases Skype for Business App SDK Preview, which allows iOS and Android developers to add instant messaging, audio, and video to their apps. Virtual visit company MDLive is using it.



A local TV station reports that Effingham Health System (GA) has fired CIO Mary Pizzino as the 25-bed critical access hospital converts to non-profit.

The CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (NC) steps down to become executive director of the hospital’s venture arm, where he will focus on commercializing healthcare technologies that include analytics and digital health.

Vince and Elise post their Physician Practice Vendor Review, which he notes with amusement is often called “ambulatory.” Technically, that would mean that those patients arriving at an ambulatory care center in a wheelchair should not be allowed in since they are not in fact ambulant. The word “ambulance” is a variant, although it refers to the ambulating horses that pulled medical wagons in 1800s France. One might also quibble with the word “clinic,” which originally defined doctors who visited patients at their location rather than the modern-day opposite where the sick person is expected to make their way to where the doctor is sitting.

Sponsor Updates

  • T-System will exhibit at the 2016 PHIMA Annual Meeting May 23-25 in Lancaster, PA.
  • Validic will present at the Digital Health Summer Summit June 7 in San Francisco.
  • Vital Images will exhibit at the HIMSS Minnesota Spring Conference May 24 in Plymouth.
  • Hamad Medical will showcase Zynx Health at the Cerner Middle East Regional User Group May 31 in Dubai.
  • Experian Health, PatientMatters, and The SSI Group will exhibit at the NAHAM Annual Conference May 24-27 in New Orleans.
  • PeriGen offers an update on its go live at Oschner Baptist (LA).
  • Streamline Health will exhibit at the 2016 HFMA Western Michigan Spring Institute May 23-25 in Mt. Pleasant.
  • Sunquest Information Systems will exhibit at the Pathology Informatics Summit 2016 May 23-26 in Pittsburgh.

Blog Posts


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

  1. I found Elise Ames and Vince Ciotti’s recent PowerPoint interesting, if not confusing. Specifically, slide # 4 which lists the EMR attestations for the top 10 Physician Practice EMR vendors. Given all the hype of Athena’s MU guarantee over the years, including the current message on their website which says:

    “Since the introduction of the Meaningful Use program in 2011, athenahealth has lead the industry in attestation. In 2014, 98.2% of our participating providers successfully attested to Stage 2. We guarantee athenahealth providers will successfully attest for Meaningful Use.” 

    How is it then, that Athena is listed as # 9 for EMR attestations, behind other Leading Physician Practice EMRs and top names like Allscripts, eCW, GE, NextGen, Greenway and PracticeFusion?
    Fuzzy Math or what?

  2. @ Just Askin’

    It’s probably that they lead in percentage of customers attesting, not overall number.

  3. The slides aren’t ranking them by their attestation *rates*, but by the total number of attesting providers using that product and (an extension of the same measurement) their percentage of the total attestations that year by providers using *all* products. So Athena is touting the success rate of their customers versus the slides are showing that they don’t have a large number of participating providers relative to the entire market.

  4. Would love to see an updated poll on whether KLAS ratings accurately represent product/vendor and professional services/consulting performance.

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Reader Comments

  • 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...
  • Pat Wolfram: Such a refreshing article. Thanks -- there really can be a simpler version of an acute HIT implementation. But I do ...
  • Woodstock Generation: Bravo to HIStalk's Weekender recaps and other news/opinions. I read it first thing on Monday mornings..................
  • Veteran: #fakenews...

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