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October 20, 2016 News 2 Comments

Top News


Athenahealth announces Q3 results: revenue up 17 percent, adjusted EPS $0.35 vs. $0.15, beating earnings expectations but falling short on revenue.

ATHN shares dropped slightly on the news. They’re down 7 percent in the past year.

Reader Comments


From CMIO: “Re: Text2Codes. It’s a pretty cool web app that extracts / annotates ICD-10 and CPT codes from copied and pasted free text.” The Web-based tool offers a free trial.


From Excretory Gland: “Re: NIST/HHS conference on security. If the feds can’t get this one correct, what hope do we have?” A Twitter search of the misspelled hashtag turns up thankfully few recent instances of its recommended use.

From Media Maven: “Re: press party at HIMSS. I see HIStalk on the list as attending an event in which companies pay to speed-date members of the press.” I’ve never heard of the event. I’m not a fan of paying a third party to earn face time with so-called journalists who are mostly interested in scarfing down free drinks in return for a vague obligation to promote those companies that would otherwise not earn their attention. The promoter, oddly enough, is “a lifestage media and marketing company focused on parents and families.” Sounds like a waste of vendor money to me, a questionable display of journalist ethics, and something I will avoid entirely.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Here’s a DonorsChoose donation opportunity for CIOs and other hospital senior IT professionals. An anonymous HIStalk supporter will donate $10 for each response (up to 200) to a short survey covering hospital cybersecurity. Respondents will also receive a copy of the results. Senior hospital IT executives with cybersecurity responsibilities can complete the survey  in 5-7 minutes. Thanks for supporting DonorsChoose.

This week on HIStalk Practice: South Florida Behavioral Health Network selects ODH’s Mentrics behavioral population health management technology. GE announces the winning communities of its HealthyCities Leadership Academy Open Innovation Challenge. Acuity Eye Specialists goes live with CareCloud. ICD-10 still gives some practices (and payers) problems. Westmed Medical Group selects Bridge Patient Portal capabilities. Pyramid Healthcare taps Qualifacts for behavioral health tech. Florida stakeholders reignite telemedicine talks. CDPHP and CapitalCare Medical Group launch Acuitas Health. Culbert Healthcare Solutions President Brad Boyd focuses on restructuring physician compensation in a value-based world.


October 25 (Tuesday) 1:30 ET. “Data Privacy/Insider Threat Mitigation: What Hospitals Can Learn From Other Industries.” Sponsored by HIStalk. Presenters: Robert Kuller, chief commercial officer, Haystack Informatics; Mitchell Parker, CISSP, executive director of information security and compliance, Indiana University Health. Cybersecurity insurers believe that hospitals are too focused on perimeter threats, ransomware, and the threat of OCR audits instead of insider threats, which are far more common but less likely to earn media attention. Attendees will learn how behavior analytics is being used to profile insiders and detect unusual behaviors proactively and to place privacy/insider risk within the risk management matrix.

November 8 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “A CMIO’s Perspective on the Successful 25 Hospital Rollout of Electronic Physician Documentation.” Sponsored by Crossings Healthcare. Presenter: Ori Lotan, MD, CMIO, Universal Health Services. UHS rolled out Cerner Millennium’s electronic physician documentation to its 6,000 active medical staff members — 95 percent of them independent practitioners who also work in competitor facilities — across 25 acute care hospitals. UHS’s clinical informatics team used Cerner’s MPage development toolkit to improve the usability, efficiency, communications capability, and quality metric performance of Dynamic Documentation, embedding clinical decision support and also using Nuance’s cloud-based speech recognition product for the narrative bookends of physician notes. This CMIO-led webinar will describe how UHS achieved 70 percent voluntary physician adoption within one month of go-live, saved $3 million in annual transcription expense, and raised EHR satisfaction to 75 percent. It will include a short demonstration of the software that UHS developed to optimize the physician experience.

November 9 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “How to Create Healthcare Apps That Get Used and Maybe Even Loved.” Sponsored by MedData. Presenter: Jeff Harper, founder and CEO, Duet Health. Patients, clinicians, and hospital employees are also consumers who manage many aspects of their non-medical lives on their mobile devices. Don’t crush their high technology expectations with poorly designed, seldom used apps that tarnish your carefully protected image. Your app represents your brand and carries high expectations on both sides. This webinar will describe how to build a mobile healthcare app that puts the user first, meets their needs (which are often different from their wants), creates “stickiness,” and delivers the expected benefits to everyone involved.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Allscripts acquires CarePort, which connects acute care providers to post-acute care providers. Terms were not disclosed. The company had raised $3.13 million in four funding rounds.


IRhythm Technologies, which offers continuous skin patch monitoring and data analysis of cardiac arrhythmias, prices its IPO shares at $17.00, valuing the company at $300 million. First-day trading on Thursday saw shares jump 53 percent.  


Decision analytics vendor TrendShift acquires population health management vendor Health Data Intelligence, which the Columbus, OH business paper described in a July 2016 profile as a four-employee company that had raised just $125,000.


Inhaler technology vendor Propeller Health raises $21.5 million in a Series C funding round, increasing its total to $50 million. 


The Partners Connected Health Symposium and HIMSS-owned Personal Connected Health Alliance will combine their conferences into a single Connected Health Conference next year, with Joe Kvedar, MD serving as program chair. HIMSS, its mHealth Summit, and Continua Health Alliance were rolled into PCHA in April 2014. HIMSS hired Patty Mechael, PhD as EVP of PHCA in June 2016.



Midland Health (TX) chooses Cerner’s clinical, financial, and population health management systems. They will apparently replace Medsphere’s OpenVista.


In England, King Edward VII’s Hospital chooses the modular enterprise imaging solution of Vital Images. 


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Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (VT) promotes Steve Cummings, BSN, MBA to VP of information and support services and Jon Farina to chief compliance and security officer. Both were involved in the hospital’s Cerner implementation.


Enterprise mobility solutions vendor Kony hires Cem Tanyel, MBA, MSc (TriZetto) as EVP/GM of global services.

Announcements and Implementations

Allscripts adds licensed health information from Healthwise to its EHR products via Infobutton integration.


HIMSS again awards the prized first-day conference keynote slot to a vendor executive, this time IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. I expect the Watson hype to be thick since the company has bet the Big Blue farm on selling it into healthcare. HIMSS hasn’t announced its Thursday political keynote speaker, but Mr. Wonderful and Robert from “Shark Tank” will close the show Thursday long after most attendees have departed, which is a shame since they’ll be the most interesting.

Accenture Federal Health Services contracts with Sutter Health and Validic to guide an ONC-funded pilot project to study how patient-generated health data can be delivered to care teams and researchers to improve outcomes.

ENHAC will replace its privacy and security accreditation criteria with HITRUST CSF provisions and controls, allowing EHNAC to offer both its own accreditation as well as that of HITRUST CSF. 

Kareo adds prescription drug cost comparison information and coupons to its Kareo Clinical EHR using information from GoodRx.

Privacy and Security


September’s breach report from Protenus finds that while an average of 25 breaches per month occurred in the first half of 2016, the number has jumped to 39 per month for July, August, and September. Forty-one percent of September’s breaches were insider incidents, of which over half were intentional. Thirty-two percent of the September breaches were due to hacking, with five victims specifically stating they were hit with ransomware.


From DataBreaches.net:

  • The email accounts of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta and former Secretary of State Colin Powell were breached by hackers believed to be working for the Russian government when both men clicked on a phishing email (disguised as a Google password theft warning) that contained a Bitly-shortened link pointing to a URL that embedded their encrypted Gmail account information. Their exposed emails ended up on WikiLeaks.
  • A medical practice in Canada is hit with ransomware, with no report of whether the ransom was paid.
  • A laptop stolen from a benefits management company exposes the insurance information of 7,242 people, although the files contained only basic demographic information.

Innovation and Research


ONC awards Keith Marsolo, PhD of Cincinnati Children’s a one-year, $378,000 interoperability grant to develop standards and methods to populate clinical research systems with EHR information. Marsolo’s team hopes to create one-click access from the EHR to externally hosted electronic case report forms systems, pre-populating standard data elements.


Rush University Medical Center says use of RTLS at its Rush River North physician practice has reduced patient wait times in a pilot project of 350 patients. Patients are tracked throughout their visit via RTLS badges, with alerts sent to providers if they’ve waited longer than 10 minutes. The system also tracks equipment and notifies staff when rooms need cleaned.

Non-profit Trek Medics International offers Beacon, an SMS-based emergency medical dispatch system for countries that don’t have 911-type service. It allows requests for emergency assistance to be directly routed to any nearby trained responder. The company says most countries have the key components needed — young adults with phones and cars – and communities can create their own grassroots service. They’re working in Dominican Republic and Tanzania.


An MIT study finds that people newly covered by Medicaid not only don’t cut back on their ED usage, but actually increase it significantly for at least the first two years, disputing the belief that insured patients would see primary care doctors instead of using the ED for routine care. The study found that the newly insured had a 13.2 percent higher likelihood of making visits to both an ED and primary care doctor, suggesting that the two types of visit are “more complementary, not more substitutable.”


In India, the owner of a 1,000-bed hospital in which 22 patients died in a fire is arrested along with four hospital officials. The politically connected owner started a university with schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, and biotechnology. The hospital did not have a mandatory fire certificate.

The Charlotte newspaper profiles the ED usage reduction efforts of Community Care of North Carolina, which mined the Medicaid ED bills of Charlotte-area hospitals to identify the 100 most frequent ED users (at #1 was a homeless alcoholic who made 223 ED visits in 15 months). Most of the frequency flyers had behavioral health issues and some were visiting multiple EDs, with one patient being seen in three EDs in a single day. The team that started monitoring high-risk patients to help them find primary care doctors and obtain social services won the Hearst Health Prize for significantly reducing unnecessary ED and inpatient visits. The program faces shutdown, however, after North Carolina’s Medicaid reform left it without a contract.

A new Ohio law requires providers to provide a written estimate of charges, expected insurance payments, and the patient responsible portion of the bill 48 hours before providing non-emergency services. It also requires insurers to respond promptly to the inquiries of providers who need to know what insurance will pay so they can tell their patient.

A reporter’s review of “our addiction to medical hype” finds that “we reporters feed on press releases from journals and it’s difficult to resist the siren call of flashy findings” even though only 3,000 of the 50,000 medical journal articles published each year are of adequate quality for patient care use. The article quotes sources indicating that $200 billion in worldwide research spending is wasted on poorly designed or redundant studies.


Weird News Andy says a patient featured in a journal case study didn’t have a ghost of a chance. A man who eats a hamburger doused with ghost pepper puree and then tries to quench the fire by quickly drinking six glasses of water ends up with a torn esophagus from the ensuing vomiting. WNA provides helpful advice: “If it looks like one of Satan’s organs has prolapsed, you might want to reconsider eating it.”

Sponsor Updates

  • HCI Group will sponsor a session at the Health Informatics New Zealand conference November 1-3 in Auckland.
  • Ingenious Med will exhibit at Anesthesiology 2016 October 22-26 in Chicago.
  • InterSystems will exhibit at the Partners Connected Health conference October 20-21 in Boston.
  • Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at the EClinicalWorks National User Conference October 20-24 in Orlando.
  • Frost & Sullivan recognizes Influence Health with its 2016 award for enabling technology leadership.
  • Learn on Demand Systems donates servers and other hardware for computer science student use at Hillsborough Community College.
  • AHIMA will use Meditech’s EHR in its Virtual Lab to train and test future medical professionals.
  • Medicomp Systems releases a video describing the ways in which its technology can help providers transition to MACRA.
  • Netsmart will exhibit at the National Association of Home Care’s annual meeting October 23 in Orlando.
  • Obix Perinatal Data System will exhibit at AWHONN New Hampshire October 24 in Dover.

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Thanks for the tip about text2codes! I overhear docs talking about the hassle of coding all the time, and this looks very helpful. It appears to use natural language processing?

  2. Text2Codes is the first web-based Computer Assisted Coding app that I’ve seen. I tried it and am impressed with how simple it is to use and understand. I especially like how within the document, each match is hyperlinked to the corresponding codes.

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