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September 29, 2016 News 1 Comment

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Aetna announces plans to offer an Apple Watch subsidy through large employers and select individual customers to ramp up its wellness and care management programs, and will provide its own 50,000 employees Apple Watches free of charge.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

This week on HIStalk Practice: Dr. Gregg pontificates on the proper way for vendors to apologize for unexpected downtime. Enjoin VP James Fee, MD describes how physician engagement efforts can improve clinical documentation. Malvern Family Medical Clinic Owner Shawn Purifoy, MD offers insight into the benefits of joining an ACO and the struggle to remain independent. Medecision William Gillespie, MD lists three population health must-haves for primary care. Midwest Nephrology Associates Owner Gary Singer, MD digs into the benefits of Carequality’s Interoperability Framework.

This week on HIStalk Connect: Sirono Chief Revenue Officer Peter Longo discusses the problem with hospital billing and keys to successful patient payments.


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.

Contact Lorre for webinar services. View previous webinars on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.

Announcements and Implementations


Vidyo launches a clinical design service to help providers integrate telemedicine into their workflows.

PatientPing and Vermont Information Technology Leaders deem their care coordination technology collaboration a success at the six-month mark. Since going live, 400 provider locations in New England have been “pinged,” letting them know that their patients have been seen at local hospitals. PatientPing has recorded 62,000 notifications on 12,000 Vermont citizens.


UAB Medicine will replace its connectivity software with Orion Health’s Rhapsody Integration Engine – a project that will include rewriting 300 interfaces.

Cypress Creek ER (TX) selects Wellsoft’s EDIS for its third freestanding ER, set to open mid-October. Angleton ER (TX) will go live with Wellsoft technology when it opens in December.

NewCrop adds specialty medication prescribing software from AssistRx to its e-prescribing software.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Former Tuomey Healthcare (SC) CEO Ralph Cox will personally pay a $1 million fine to settle Stark Law allegations that he illegally compensated doctors in exchange for unnecessary patient referrals to the hospital.


MedWand Digital Health secures a “major investment” from sensor technology-focused Maxim Ventures, which the Las Vegas-based startup will use to work towards anticipated 2017 FDA approval of its diagnostic device for virtual consults.



Wendy Deibert (The VirtualEngine) joins Vidyo as VP of clinical services.


Teladoc adds the new role of COO to CFO Mark Hirschhorn’s responsibilities.


Greg Alexander (Evolent Health) joins Lumeris as national VP of market operations.


The Chartis Group promotes Michael Topchik to head of the new Chartis Center for Rural Health.


Michael Bain, MD (Qualified Emergency Specialists) will head Cincinnati-based TriHealth’s new clinical informatics department as CMIO.



Dr. Oz lends his gravitas to San Francisco-based wearables startup IBeat, becoming an investor, partner, and advisor to the company as it launches its heart-monitoring smartwatch via an Indiegogo campaign. For a mere $5,000, buyers can purchase the “Meet Dr. Oz Special,” which includes VIP access to this show, a two-night hotel stay in New York City, two watches and monitoring services, plus a signed book and scrubs. Oz was not involved in last month’s seed funding round of $1.5 million.

Government and Politics

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HHS and AARP announce the winners of their “A Bill You Can Understand” contest. Designs from Los Angeles-based RadNet, which won in the easiest-to-understand category, and San Francisco-based Sequence, which won in the overall approach category, will be tested or implemented in six healthcare facilities – including Cambia Health Solutions – across the country. (Jenn talked with CHS President and CEO Mark Ganz about the challenge as part of “The Hypocrisy of a Simpler Patient Bill.”)


Hillary Clinton takes to the New England Journal of Medicine to outline her vision for universal, quality, affordable healthcare. Her short op-ed hints at healthcare IT among her four goals: “I am also committed to expanding access to high-quality data on cost, care quality, and health delivery system performance to help patients and doctors make informed choices, and entrepreneurs build new products and services.” Donald Trump has thus far declined the same editorial opportunity.

ONC awards seven organizations $1.5 million to improve the flow of health data for patients and providers, particularly data related to medication management, laboratory data, and care coordination. The funding comes via the office’s High Impact Pilot and Standards Exploration Award programs.

HIMSS presents Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and former national coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD with the Federal Health IT Leadership Award during its National Health IT Week festivities.

Privacy and Security


HITRUST connects and begins bi-directional sharing of cyber threat indicators with the Department of Homeland Security’s Automated Indicator Sharing Program. The information exchange corresponds with HITRUST’s new CyberAid program, which helps smaller organizations select security solutions and contribute to the exchange.


From DataBreaches.net:

  • The New Jersey Spine Center notifies patients of a July 27 ransomware attack that resulted in the provider paying an unspecified dollar amount to unlock all of its digital patient records. Files were reinstated on August 1.
  • Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust in England suffers multiple ransomware attacks over the past year.
  • Australia Health Minister Sussan Ley apologizes to physicians for the accidental leaking of Medicare data, discovered after University of Melbourne researchers attempted to decrypt some of the data, thus inadvertently revealing sensitive information.

Research and Innovation


The FDA approves Medtronic’s artificial pancreas that automatically monitors a patient’s blood sugar levels and then administers the appropriate insulin dose.


An American Telemedicine Association/Wego Health survey of 429 patients finds that just 22 percent have taken advantage of video visits in the last year, with the average patient engaging in between one and four virtual consults. Of that percentage, as many patients requested telemedicine services as their providers initially offered it. I’m not sure that “strong demand,” as tweeted above, is warranted with these results.



Seems like #HIMSSanity has already begun.


British researchers have created a 3D-printed replica of the human body to help train surgeons, particularly when it comes to making that initial slice.

Sponsor Updates

  • Fortified Health Solutions will exhibit at the HIMSS Southern California Annual Privacy & Security Forum September 30 in Newport Beach.
  • Frost & Sullivan recognizes Orion Health with the 2016 European Frost & Sullivan Award for Product Leadership.

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
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