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September 20, 2016 News 6 Comments

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In England, private doctors are offering third-party video visits, such as those marketed by Babylon Health, as an alternative to long appointment wait times, with NHS footing the bill. The British Medical Association warns that it’s risky for patients to receive video advice from doctors who don’t have access to their NHS medical records.

Doctors in England can get paid as video visit providers as long as the patient is outside their geographic area, which critics have called a “slippery slope towards privatization.”

Reader Comments

From  Spiffed Up: “Re: telemedicine visits. Have you ever had one?” I have not, counting myself among the 88 percent of respondents to my April 2016 poll who have not experienced a virtual visit of any kind. It would be fun to hear from doctors who have been involved in virtual visits, either as a provider or patient. I’m especially interested that despite the value we place on electronic medical records and continuity of care, we are OK with for-profit vendors of such services performing a kind of  medical speed-dating (as mentioned in the news item above from England). On the other hand, Americans tend to undervalue those ongoing relationships in reducing the art of medicine to their 30-second description of their problem, preferably with the prescription-issuing process overlapping since that’s what they really want as an outcome. Patients will score doctors highly if they offer easy parking, don’t keep patients waiting, have good bedside manner, and crank out the meds. Only in medicine do we expect vendors (doctors) to exhibit ethical behavior in not selling people profitable things that are bad for them.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

Eight companies have taken advantage of my New Sponsor Pledge Drive specials so far in September, earning bonus months added on to their new, year-long sponsorships. Contact Lorre to join them. Usually one of the first questions companies ask Lorre is, “Can we attend HIStalkapalooza?” (answer: yes, Platinum-level sponsors get two free tickets). Another is, “Can Mr. H interview our VP of sales about a new product we’re announcing?” (answer: no, I don’t do interviews that focus on company and product pitches and I only interview CEOs).


Speaking of HIStalkapalooza, I begrudgingly agreed to do it again despite the big personal check I’ll be writing if event sponsorships don’t cover the significant cost (the House of Blues bar tab analytics from previous years suggest that a good time was had by at least some). Contact Lorre for a sponsorship information packet. We’re even offering one and only one sponsorship for big spenders who want a bunch of invitations for clients and employees, CEO stage time, backstage access, and many other customized perks.

My latest industry observation: salespeople (and thus CEOs of companies that mostly promote salespeople) rarely have advanced degrees. it’s usually a state college or no-name bachelor’s at best.


September 27 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Put MACRA in your Workflow – CDS and Evolving Payment Models.” Sponsored by Stanson Health. Presenters: Anne Wellington, chief product officer, Stanson Health; Scott Weingarten, MD, MPH, SVP and chief clinical transformation officer, Cedars-Sinai. Reimbursement models are rapidly changing, and as a result, health systems need to influence physicians to align with health system strategy. In this webinar, we will discuss how Stanson’s Clinical Decision Support can run in the background of every patient visit to help physicians execute with MACRA, CJR, et al.

October 13 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Glycemic Control During Therapeutic Hypothermia.” Sponsored by Monarch Medical Technologies. Presenter: Tracey Melhuish, RN, MSN, clinical practice specialist, Holy Cross Hospital (FL). Using therapeutic hypothermia (TH) as a method of care can present risks of hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, and blood glucose variability. Maintaining safe glucose levels during the cooling and rewarming phases of TH reduces the risks of adverse events. Tracey Melhuish, author of “Linking Hypothermia and Hyperglycemia,” will share best practices for optimal glucose control during TH and the success Holy Cross Hospital sees while using a computerized glucose management software.

View previous webinars on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Huntzinger Management Group acquires Next Wave Health Advisors.


WebMD parts ways with CEO David Schlanger by mutual agreement, replacing him with President Steven Zatz.


Morgan Stanley is reportedly facilitating discussions among Infor and buyout firms that are interested in investing in the business software company, whose value may exceed $9 billion.



McLeod Health (SC) chooses Cerner Millennium and HealtheIntent to replace its Invision and Soarian systems in seven hospitals.

Prime Healthcare chooses Santa Rosa Consulting for Epic go-live support at its 43 hospitals, with the first wave of activations scheduled for October 1.


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Imprivata, fresh off the close of its acquisition by Thoma Bravo, names Gus Malezis (Tripwire) as president and CEO. He replaces Omar Hussain, whose plans were not announced. 


Verscend Technologies (the former Verisk Health) hires Joe Morrissey (McKesson) as SVP of client services.


Video visit vendor HealthTap names Dan Edmonds-Waters (Edmonds Ventures) as VP of strategy and global sales operations.

Announcements and Implementations

McKesson announces Intelligence Hub, which connects its reimbursement solutions to third party solutions and to each other in providing API management, identity and access management, and application service orchestration.


ACOs using population health management solutions from Lightbeam Health Solutions delivered $84 million in savings to Medicare Shared Savings Program in 2015, the company announces.


Oneview Healthcare will hire 100 employees in 2016, half of them assigned to its headquarters in Dublin, Ireland and the rest to its offices in the US, Dubai, and Australia.


Craneware announces data transparency functionality to its chargemaster tools that allow organizations using integrated systems such as Epic and Cerner to view data in one place.


St. Louis-based Ascension will organize itself into two divisions, with the Healthcare Division covering its hospitals and clinics and its Solutions Division running its IT services, group purchasing, and investment activities that are in some cases marketed to other healthcare organizations. The company will also name its 141 hospitals consistently with “Ascension” first to emphasize its national footprint.


Surescripts will offer EHR vendors free access to its National Record Locator Service until 2019.


Coordinated Care Oklahoma will integrate DrFirst’s Backline communication and collaboration tool into its HIE.

Government and Politics


FDA announces the 2016 Naloxone App Competition, offering a $40,000 prize for an app that overdosing opioid users can use to connect with anyone nearby who is carrying the reversal drug naloxone. That’s both a creative technical solution and a sad commentary on America’s massive dependence on prescription and non-prescription narcotics.


A team from CMS’s Center for Clinical Standards and Quality wins the Federal Employee of the Year category in the annual Service to America (Sammies) awards.

The FDA, under pressure from well-organized and impassioned patient advocacy groups, approves a muscular dystrophy drug against the recommendation of experts who say there’s no evidence it works. Shares of Serapta Therapeutics — which offered as evidence only one poorly designed trial involving 12 patients — soared on the news, not surprisingly given that the new drug will cost $300,000 per year.

Privacy and Security

From DataBreaches.net:

  • A New Zealand medical resident is fired for obtaining information from the local health boards on two members of his family, which he then used as evidence in a court case against them.
  • Four former New York nursing home aides are charged with felonies for taking iPhone pictures of residents in undignified positions and filming themselves verbally and physically tormenting a resident, with some of the images being posted to Facebook.
  • A cybersecurity firm’s brute force scan of Internet-connected FTP servers finds at least 800,000 that can be accessed without logging in.


The quarterly threats report from McAfee Labs notes that hackers are targeting hospitals with ransomware because their legacy systems have weak security, employees don’t have much awareness about security, workforces are fragmented, and hospitals value immediate access to information above everything else. Interestingly, it reports that many hackers consider hospital hacking as violating the unwritten hacker code of conduct, with others worry that the resulting publicity will result in a backlash against Bitcoin. A ransomware author and distributor provides Bitcoin account screenshots that apparently prove that he raked in $121 million in just six months.

A man protests that a Montana law requiring renters to get permission from their landlords before growing medical marijuana for their own use is a HIPAA violation since it forces him to reveal medical information to a third party. Like many under-informed people (some of them in healthcare), he is mistaken in thinking HIPAA broadly guarantees medical privacy rather than requiring only that covered entities practice it (providing a roof over his head doesn’t qualify his landlord as a “covered” entity).


MIT researchers develop the experimental EQ-Radio, which uses wireless,room-based heartbeat and breathing sensors to analyze an individual’s mood with 87 percent accuracy.


McKesson CIO/CTO Kathy McElligott says that analytics and blockchain are the rising trends that most interest the company.


Microsoft says it is working to “solve” cancer by using technology to individualize cancer treatments and analyze tumor images.

Apple hires Mike Evans, MD, a Toronto family practitioner best known for his five-year series of YouTube health cartoons. He declines to provide specifics about his new job, but says it involves his ability to convey a message. He describes the future of healthcare as:

I think the way we engage people will totally change. What happens now is I see you. Let’s say you have high blood pressure. I prescribe you a pill for that. I see you two or three times a year. In the future, I’ll prescribe you an app. One of our whiteboards will drop in and explain what high blood pressure is. The phone will be bluetoothed to the cap of your pills. I’ll nudge you towards a low salt diet. All of these things will all happen in your phone. I see you two or three days a year. The phone sees you every day.

A federal labor judge awards $216,000 to two laid-off CSC employees turned whistleblowers who had complained in 2012 that the company’s occupational medicine EHR could not accurately track patient health risks. CSC went live with the system despite  acknowledging the problem, after which the employees were suspended for colluding with one of CSC’s subcontractors. The judge called CSC’s arguments “an astonishing display of chutzpah” given that the company couldn’t say what information the employees were supposed to have shared,  could not identify who suspended them, and withheld the special pay it promised the employees for the extra hours required to bring the EHR live.

In South Australia, the Allscripts Sunrise EPAS system is blamed for losing computer entries and thus not allowing a hospitalized dementia patient’s death to be reported to the coroner as the law requires. The health minister says the system is being urgently upgraded to highlight deaths that occur while undergoing treatment.


In England, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust diverts patients after a computer problem leaves it unable to report pathology lab test results.


Drug companies that sell opioid painkillers have unleashed an army of lobbyists and donated millions of dollars to political campaigns in trying to protect their profits by defeating proposals that would restrict the prescribing of narcotics. The companies are funding non-profits, including the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, that advocate narcotics-friendly policies. Drug companies even strong-armed the passage of a Maine law that they themselves wrote that requires insurance companies to pay for their particular painkillers.


A rural hospital in Iowa complains that it can’t always reach its doctors by telephone and patients who call the hospital for appointments don’t always get through. The problem is caused by the patchwork system of telephone carriers required to deliver calls to rural America, with big telephone companies sometimes electing to simply drop a call rather than pay a rural carrier an amount that would leave it with no profit.

In Australia, NSW Health pledges to implement chemotherapy dosing guidelines in its systems following the under-dosing of at least 130 patients by a “fly-in, fly-out” oncologist who responded to a pharmacist’s questioning of doses with, “Tell them to mind their own business.” The doctor argues that oncology dosing guidelines are often outdated and says he used lower doses to reduce toxicity.

A Validic survey of drug companies finds that 60 percent have used digital health technologies in their clinical trials and 97 percent expect their use of such tools to increase.

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Epic UGM is underway in Verona, WI this week, with attendees and others tweeting some photos.

Sponsor Updates

  • Forward Health Group is sponsoring the Best Practices for Value-Based Care conference September 21-22 in Dallas, TX.
  • Aprima will exhibit at the American Academy of Pain Management annual meeting September 22-24 in San Antonio. The company also completes its move to new headquarters in Richardson, TX.
  • Aventura will exhibit at Health 2.0 September 25-28 in Santa Clara, CA.
  • GE Healthcare will invest €150 million to establish a biopharmaceutical manufacturing campus and advanced manufacturing training center in Ireland.
  • TeleTracking President Michael Gallup testifies before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health.
  • Clinical Computer Systems will integrate its Obix Perinatal Data System with Medhost.
  • Impact Advisors is named to Modern Healthcare’s Largest Revenue Cycle Management Firms.
  • Besler Consulting releases a new podcast, “What the end of the ICD10 grace period means for your hospital.”
  • CapsuleTech and FormFast will exhibit at the InSight McKesson User Group Conference September 27-28 in San Antonio.
  • CoverMyMeds sponsors the Columbus Women in Technology Conference.
  • Cumberland Consulting Group will exhibit at HFMA’s Revenue Cycle Conference September 25-27 in Phoenix.
  • ECG Management Consultants will exhibit at the West Coast ASC Seminar September 27 in Los Angeles.
  • Built in Austin profiles E-MDs CTO Alan Ortego.
  • Extension Healthcare will exhibit at the AAMI Regional Event – Hot Topics in Clinical Care September 27-28 in Chicago.

Blog Posts


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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. Re: Sunrise

    That’s the issues that anyone who has ever had the privilege (or the curse) of using Sunrise can expect. Looks like they’re just trying to run out the clock on their deal with Allscripts and delay roll-out to other hospitals. Wonder what the contract laws are there and if they’ll have to keep paying for the faulty system.

  2. Re. “salespeople (and thus CEOs of companies that mostly promote salespeople) rarely have advanced degrees”

    What would you be impressed by? A generic MBA or something more specialized? Do you hold folks with Masters to a greater level of ‘respect’?

    I have my Bachelors, went into work for a few years, and now that my career is pretty well established, I am now considering getting my Masters(in the evenings/weekends). But do I get the generic “MBA”? Or something more focused?

    (FWIW, I recently had a manager who went through one of those “Executive MBAs” and it was just awful. Every week he’d come in with new buzz words, new org structures, new methodologies. It started to feel like we were his Master’s semester project instead of a team for a well-respected, publicly-traded technology vendor.)

  3. “My latest industry observation: salespeople (and thus CEOs of companies that mostly promote salespeople) rarely have advanced degrees. it’s usually a state college or no-name bachelor’s at best.”
    What prompted you to write this? I am the VP of product for an innovative company. I went to a state university and don’t have an advanced degree. I worked hard to get to this level in my career without the benefit of a master’s degree or impressive university name on my resume.
    This seems like a level of snobbery that implies nothing about the aptitude of the individual working in sales. My father never earned his degree from college – dropping out of school after 1 year to get married and landing a job in sales when he learned I was on the way – and yet he ended up running a multi-million dollar consulting company which he sold by the time he was in his mid-50s affording him the opportunity to retire, live on his boat and travel the world.
    Giving “credibility points” to a person with an advanced degree or a fancy university name in their resume is a lazy way to determine if the person you are talking to really understands the topic. Some of the brightest folks I’ve ever worked with in health IT may “only” have certificates and degrees from community college but their knowledge of the industry is well beyond those folks who were blessed with money and time to pursue an advanced degree in healthcare informatics. Your privilege card is showing.

    [From Mr H] My anti-privilege card is showing. I was raised poor and paid for my state-school degrees without any help by working three part-time jobs. It does bug me when I see a high-earning salesperson or executive who couldn’t be bothered to do the same, maybe because they knew they would be a high-performing lone wolf instead of being like me in assuming I would be slogging it out in competitive hospital middle management where a undergraduate or graduate degree was mandatory. I don’t place any specific value on degrees other than they indicate that someone was willing to sacrifice the time and money to pay that particular set of dues just like I did.

  4. The world is too big of a place to make generalizations about people’s education equating to a level of fitness for a particular job. Granted, I wouldn’t want to have surgery at the hands of someone who is untrained, but many types of work today are not based on skills you can acquire in a classroom. One of the most brilliant software engineers I know in HCIT was once a mechanical engineer in India with no access to computers. Bright people find a way to use their gifts.

    I work in a company with plenty of “back East”-ers with advanced degrees as well as plenty of bootstrapping land grant university types who payed for their bachelor’s degrees by doing Mike Rowe style dirty jobs. I’m blown away by the intellectual gifts of both on a regular basis.

    And yes, for all the geniuses, there are also ambulatory dirt clods in both groups. The older I get, the less quick I am to generalize. If you’ve seen one person, you’ve seen one person.

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