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November 15, 2016 News 11 Comments

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ONC issues a report on improving the usability of pick lists for choosing patients and medications in an ambulatory care setting that also includes an EHR self-assessment. It recommends that vendors and/or users:

  1. Include a patient photo in their record to make sure the right patient was chosen.
  2. Standardize drug names using the concept of an e-prescribing preferred drug description name.
  3. Use pick list best practices, including display standards and proper validation and decision support checks.
  4. Display a summary screen before accepting a pick list-chosen medication order.
  5. Provide simple retract-and-reorder functionality and monitor its use to identify design problems.
  6. Give patients their own medication lists as a second check.


Perhaps ONC should have edited the report more carefully since “prednisone” is repeatedly listed as “rednisone” in the section advocating standardized drug names. The example drop-down also misspells the trade name “Lamictal” as “Lamicatal” and the generic name “lamivudine” as “lammudine.” Even “aspirin” is misspelled as “asprin” in the sample visit summary.

Reader Comments


From FLPoggio: “Re: consultants. People who need them don’t know how to use them. People who know how to use them probably don’t need them.” That’s probably true – the organizations that hire consultants are often clueless, overworked doing the wrong things, and obsessed with protecting their fiefdoms. The last thing they want is change, which is why I would advocate that the person who hires the consultant be one notch higher than the people who will be most affected by their recommendations. IT strategy consulting should be engaged by whoever the CIO reports to, for example, and that’s the person who should make sure the recommendations happen.

From Killian Red: “Re: AMIA. I see a lot of suits in those tweeted photos!” I can never figure out why people wear suits to conferences, ensuring that they will be less comfortable, indistinguishable lemmings compared to that one enviably free-spirited guy who struts through the exhibit hall wearing shorts, tennis shoes, and a backpack, ignoring the raised sartorial bar and instead limboing happily under it in avoiding the corporate battle uniform. There’s not even anyone there to impress except peers from elsewhere. Some of the dimmest, most self-absorbed, and most dishonest hospital IT people I’ve known wore suits everywhere at work (even walking to the restroom or going out to lunch), which might validate the theory that anyone can get promoted by projecting a fabric-driven aura of marginal competence paired with excessive sycophantism and unchecked ambition. Like most of life, the best person doesn’t always win – often it’s the one who wants it more.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


The industry is about to lapse into its usual Thanksgiving-to-New-Year’s coma, so before that happens and then we all get overwhelmed after January 1, I’ll make a final pitch to companies interested in sponsoring HIStalkapalooza. We still have prime spots left that will ensure the endless gratitude of attendees who will enjoy a fun evening thanks to your largesse, sort of like sending underprivileged hospital IT people to summer camp. I even agreed to hang out privately for a few minutes with the CEO of one sponsoring company who wants that for some dubious reason, so clearly it’s time to deal so I don’t have nightmares about writing that big check personally. Contact Lorre.


None scheduled soon. Contact Lorre for webinar services. View previous webinars on our HIStalk webinars YouTube channel.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Medical practice EHR/PM vendor CareCloud completes a $31.5 million Series C funding round, increasing its total to $103 million.


Non-ICU monitoring system vendor Stasis Labs, which provides a simple bedside display of six core vital signs and a tablet-based app for clinicians with red or yellow indicators, raises $5 million in a seed funding round. Its hardware is manufactured in India, while its software was designed in conjunction with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.



UAB Medicine (AL) chooses KyruusOne and ProviderMatch for Access Centers to match patients with available providers to reduce long appointment wait times even while provider capacity is available.


Bayada Home Health Care will identify seniors in need of intervention using technology from Chicago-based PreparedHealth, which offers the enTouch healthcare social network and DINA digital nursing assistant.

Florida Health Care Coalition will offer its members quality and utilization performance reports from Quantros.

Announcements and Implementations


A new Peer60 report covering ideal imaging configuration finds that 72 percent of respondents have pursued an enterprise imaging approach in which the same company provides PACS, VNA, and viewer, mostly because they believe it offers better customer support. Sectra had the highest net promoter score among the enterprise imaging vendors. Just over one-fourth of enterprise imaging customers say they are considering switching vendors, with McKesson leading their mindshare. Among that minority of best-of-breed participants, nearly half would prefer an enterprise imaging approach instead, mostly to facilitate better integration, but nearly all of them say they get better functionality by choosing individual vendors and only 23 percent are actively pursuing replacing their systems with those from enterprise imaging vendors.

Cerner will integrate American Well’s telehealth solution with its HealtheLife patient portal. Amwell offers a $49 urgent care video visit with its own participating doctors, which appeals mostly to health plans and employers, but also offers health systems and practices the ability to launch their own telehealth practice.


Lexmark Healthcare launches a legacy data archive solution, expands its PACSgear suite to allow EHRs to capture and present DICOM content directly from devices, and releases a new version of its enterprise viewer.

The American Heart Association launches a precision medicine platform using Amazon Web Services that will allow clinicians and researchers to analyze data sets contributed by drug companies, research institutes, and universities.

University of Utah partners with South Korea-based Chung-Ang University to create new digital health innovations, including telehealth, that will be applied at CAU Hospital.

Government and Politics


A Health Affairs blog post says CMS’s hospital star rating system is “confusing at best and misleading at worst,” as some hospitals don’t have enough data for some quality categories and CMS reweights the remaining categories accordingly, often to their advantage.


CMS updates its Medicare drug spending dashboard and adds Medicaid spending as well. Four Medicare-covered drugs jumped more than 200 percent in a single year, with the price of blood sugar drug Glumetza increasing from $8 to $39. Medicaid saw a 1,264 percent hike in the price of anxiety drug Ativan, while taxpayers paid $9 billion for the hepatitis C drug Harvoni. Nine of the 20 drugs that had the biggest Medicaid price jumps are generics. 


The VA goes live with a new health enrollment web page without first clearing it with the agency’s lawyers, without training its enrollment specialists on its use, and with technical problems that locked or lost up to 65 percent of the applications filed. It is also not interoperable with the VA’s VistA. The VA turned the application back off and is routing applications manually. Whistleblowers claim the VA intentionally told veteran applicants that they were ineligible for VA care just to reduce the VA’s embarrassing backlog of pending applications.

Privacy and Security

From DataBreaches.net:

  • A woman sues Charleston Area Medical Center for providing the medical information of her child to a pregnant acquaintance who the hospital misidentified as her.
  • In Canada, Manitoba Health launches an investigation after discovering that a former employee looked up the names, birth dates, and address of patients so she could send them birthday cards.
  • A Texas medical practice notifies several hundred patients that their records that were being stored for shedding were accidentally placed in the trash by its cleaning service.

Innovation and Research


The CDC awards a $930,000 grant to University of Missouri-Kansas City, Truman Medical Centers, and Children’s Mercy to compare the de-identified information of 47 million patients stored in Cerner HealthFacts with TMC’s own information to identify laboratory-related quality gaps.


Major League Baseball will standardize the player medical information that teams exchange during trade talks following the 30-game suspension of  San Diego Padres General Manager A. J. Preller, who traded players with known medical issues that he hid from the receiving team by maintaining two sets of their electronic medical records.


Pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH — who discovered Flint, Michigan’s lead poisoning crisis by mining patient data in Hurley Medical Center’s Epic system — will speak at TEDMED, November 30-December 2, 2016 in Palm Springs, CA. Several other healthcare-focused presenters are on the agenda.

Both sides in a New York Times pro-con discussion of mergers agree that hospital consolidation creates consumer-harming monopolies, citing successful FTC challenges presenting evidence that merged hospital competitors raise prices and lower quality.


Lake Health (OH) blames its $30 million loss on an IT conversion that cost more than expected. I assume it was Cerner Millennium since the health system announced that decision in May 2016, replacing the former Siemens Soarian.


The American Heart Association gives its people’s choice technology award to Twiage, which offers hospitals real-time triage and care coordination with incoming ambulances.

Sponsor Updates

  • AirWatch VP Blake Brannon looks back at the company’s top innovations of 2016.
  • Aprima will exhibit at the American College of Rheumatology conference November
  • Catalyze President and Co-founder Mohan Balachandran speaks on the IBM Cloud Innovation Tour November 15 in San Francisco.
  • Pater Back, CIO of Meditech customer Humber River Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, is named ITAC’s Canadian CIO of the Year in the public sector category for his work in creating North America’s first fully digital hospital.
  • Besler Consulting releases a new podcast, “What will happen to the S-10?”
  • Aprima offers a cloud-based faxing solution for its EHR.
  • CoverMyMeds will exhibit at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center’s annual Advanced Practice Conference November 18 in Columbus.
  • Crossings Healthcare Solutions exhibits at the Cerner Healthcare Conference through November 17 in Kansas City, MO.
  • Consulting Magazine includes Cumberland Consulting Group on its 2016 list of fastest growing firms.
  • Sutherland Healthcare Solutions publishes a white papers, “Turning Data Into Information and  Moving Beyond Data for Data’s Sake,” and a case study titled “Helping Touchette Regional Hospital Enhance the Patient Experience and Increase Reimbursement.”

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
More news: HIStalk Practice, HIStalk Connect.
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Currently there are "11 comments" on this Article:

  1. With regard to quality – we have been working on MACRA readiness and finding that the vast majority of health systems that own medical groups or have CINs are fixated on acute care setting quality (makes sense) but almost nothing with regard to outpatient/ambulatory based quality measurement and monitoring. Market opportunity for those that get it right.

    With regard to consultants – while I am one, the bigger problem is having *anyone* on the client side really responsible and accountable. Our biggest train wrecks occur when there is no accountability at any level for what we do – we have started refusing work in these cases – yes, really.

  2. Not mentioned but worth it is the potential change of K DeSalvo and ASlavitt from their roles due to the election results. I am hopeful that won’t happen as their partnership and leadership have been outstanding

  3. I think it is well past the time to shut down the activist agency heads (Andy Slavitt among the worst since Farzad left).

    They tried to command an industry under threat of decertification against a back drop of sloppy regulations, FAQs and partisan politics.

    Ready to be done with this whole damn mess!

    Let’s focus on real reform without the blind activism of these political surrogates.

  4. I wish more healthcare provider leaders would attend TEDMED. It is a highly valuable conference. I always leave amazed and refreshed by the energy and intellect at the conference. I found it exponentially more valuable than HFMA, HIMSS or ACHE. While expensive, it is still affordable by most healthcare budgets. I look forward to seeing Dr. Hanna Attisha present.

  5. Michelle,
    My notes from an Actuarial Conference where Andy Slavitt was guest speaker say he planned to leave his post in January 2017 – but can’t find a reference.

    Can someone confirm or refute this?

  6. Healthcare Idiot Savant… really? Trust me, there are plenty of folks on the client side really responsible and accountable.

  7. And the generic name for Lamictal is Lamotrigene. BTW.

    I think the dumping on consultants humorous. If we paid for expert people to join our staff a competitive rate, then we wouldn’t need consultants. But many organizations do not or cannot pay those salaries. Another angle is organizations use them for staff augmentation or for operations that it makes sense to outsource as many hospitals do for their claims EDI.

    So if you’re going to evaluate the value, you might as well put your personal bias aside and look at the whole picture. I’ve used consultants. I’ve held them accountable and generally I demand the experts they promised. If you do that, you will get what your paid for and most times more than that.

  8. RE: Lake Health – There’s more to the story if they only signed for Millennium in May…highly likely they haven’t converted yet. IT playing the role of the scapegoat?

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