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November 17, 2016 News 7 Comments

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Cerner CEO Neal Patterson makes a surprise appearance at the Cerner Health Conference in Kansas City on Wednesday, telling 15,000 attendees that he is getting stronger after being treated for soft tissue cancer and adding, “I realized God had a sense of humor. He put me in a place undergoing an EHR conversion.”

Patterson expressed his frustration as a patient: “I remember waiting four hours to get lab results. I asked a lady next to me in the waiting room how long she had been waiting, and her reply was seven hours. Seven hours! There’s no caring in that. It’s not like you have one doctor, one surgeon, a radiation oncologist, and a medical oncologist. It’s a team. It’s time for the patient to be part of the team.”

Patterson says he will resume his normal activities in January. He vowed to make Cerner’s EHR faster and safer and to include more patient participation, saying, “I know I was put in this position to make it better.”

Reader Comments


From LeftCoaster: “Re: QuadraMed. Employees say owner Harris laid off another 15 people this week, apparently focusing the cutbacks on the Affinity product that has only a handful of developers left. Harris purchased NextGen’s hospital business last year and sales activity has been dismal.” Unverified.


From MGMA Attendee: “Re: Athenahealth at MGMA. They had a huge amount of trade show real estate with a large number of corporate marketers marching the edges. At one point it was like 30 staff to zero attendees. I’m not sure if the intention was to intimidate the other EHR vendors, but their excess was ridiculous to the point my colleagues and I avoided it.” Unverified. MGMA’s 2016 exhibit hall floor plan shows Athenahealth with a 50×50 booth, more than quadruple the size of the next-largest exhibit. The MGMA 2017 floor plan indicates that the company will downsize to 50×40, still more than double the size of the next-largest spot. They have two booths at HIMSS, one at 4,200 square feet and the other 400, but that’s comparatively modest for HIMSS compared to Epic’s 7,700 square feet, Cerner’s 11,700, and HIStalk’s sprawling 100-square-foot shrine to corporate excess. To put it in perspective, Cerner’s HIMSS booth will cover more than one-fourth of an acre, and unlike their huge campuses, local and state governments aren’t subsidizing that super-expensive space.

From Acceler-8R: ”Re: our new accelerator. We would love to be featured on HIStalk.” Sorry, but I’m decelerating my accelerator coverage. Writing about accelerators and their barely-functional startups led by industry-inexperienced newbies is like holding a baby shower while the post-coital sheets are still wrinkled. I don’t like wasting the time of readers in breathily describing the now-endless number of accelerators and incubators that have exceeded the number of available good companies that have sound business models and proven leadership. I’ll wait to write about the Darwinian winners when they are closer to being ready for enterprise prime time.

From Twitterati: “Re: this rag’s list of HIT people with the most Twitter followers. HIStalk was omitted.” It’s the usual lame, easily compiled list presented in the infuriating slideshow form, requiring endless clicks by the three people in the US who actually care (other than those named). Some of the folks on the list don’t even work in health IT. By the magazine’s stated methodology, I would have come in at around #25 with 12,500 Twitter followers, although in their defense, they probably see me as a competing publication instead of just some guy noodling around on a spare bedroom keyboard.


From David Hasselhoff: “Re: Epic. They’re looking to hire a German translator. Wonder if they have a German client in the works?”

HIStalk Announcements and Requests



I’ve reached my annoyance tipping point with vendors who coyly call their sales to customers “partnerships,” which they clearly are not. From now on, if the words “partner” or “partnership” are included in a press release without saying specifically that the customer bought something from their vendor “partner,” I will exclude that announcement from my “Sales” section since I’m tired of trying to decipher vague press releases to figure out who sold what to whom. If you want to brag on a sale, then call it a sale. Above is my first example.

This week on HIStalk Practice: Greater Oregon Behavioral Health launches statewide telemedicine program. Arizona Connected Care rolls out new care management app. IHealth Innovations launches WRAP to help physicians transition to QPPs. Centerstone Tennessee selects predictive analytics tech from Faros Healthcare. ACO CVCHIP Board Chair Lerla Joseph, MD shares insight into the challenges practices face when it comes to reporting for value-based payment programs. Humana pays out $94 million to physicians for quality improvements. My Client Notes partners with E-Psychiatry to launch TelePastor. Westmed Medical Group Co-Medical Director Richard Morel, MD describes the group’s journey to launching a mobile patient portal.


December 6 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Get Ready for Blockchain’s Disruption.” Sponsored by PokitDok. Presenter: Theodore Tanner, Jr., co-founder and CTO, PokitDok. EHR-to-EHR data exchange alone can’t support healthcare’s move to value-based care and its increased consumer focus. Blockchain will disrupt the interoperability status quo with its capability to support a seamless healthcare experience by centralizing, securing, and orchestrating disparate information. Attendees of this webinar will be able to confidently describe how blockchain works technically, how it’s being used, and the healthcare opportunities it creates. They will also get a preview of DokChain, the first-ever running implementation of blockchain in healthcare.

December 7 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Charting a Course to Digital Transformation – Start Your Journey with a Map and Compass.” Sponsored by Sutherland Healthcare Solutions. Presenters: Jack Phillips, CEO, International Institute for Analytics; Graham Hughes, MD, CEO, Sutherland Healthcare Solutions. The digital era is disrupting every industry and healthcare is no exception. Emerging technologies will introduce challenges and opportunities to transform operations and raise the bar of consumer experience. Success in this new era requires a new way of thinking, new skills, and new technologies to help your organization embrace digital health. In this webinar, we’ll demonstrate how to measure your organization’s analytics maturity and design a strategy to digital transformation.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Healthcare operations AI-driven dashboard vendor AnalyticsMD raises $13 million in a Series A funding round. The company’s website has a cool “Efficiency: how does your hospital rank” function that quickly displays in-depth publicly available information about any US hospital.


The CEO of network security vendor PacketSled resigns by mutual agreement after a unleashing a flurry of obscene and threatening Facebook comments involving President-Elect Trump. The company reported him to the Secret Service after a post in which he said, “I’m going to kill the President-Elect,” followed by another saying, “Bring it, Secret Service.” He gave specific details about his plan to buy a sniper rifle and stalk the White House, but later claimed his comments were just a private joke.


The Wall Street Journal reports that in 2014, 24-year-old Theranos employee Tyler Shultz tipped off authorities and the Wall Street Journal that the company’s technology was a sham. He’s the grandson of then-company director and former Secretary of State George Shultz. Theranos scolded him, at which time he resigned, but was accused by the company’s lawyer at a family event of disclosing trade secrets and violating his confidentiality clause. He says he was followed by Theranos-hired private investigators and was pressured to disclose the Journal’s sources for its series of critical articles. “Fraud is not a trade secret,” he says, even though his disclosure apparently created a family rift in which he speaks to his grandfather only through lawyers.


ContextMedia acquires AccentHealth, uniting two companies whose life’s work (other than leaving out spaces between the halves of their conjoined names) is creating point-of-care demand for budget-busting drugs during the inevitable long wait to see the doctor by pushing sponsored content at waiting room patients. My PCP stuck a tablet-based “educational” application in the exam room that looks like it might have been from ContextMedia, and despite my hour-long, boring wait, I wasn’t tempted to unmute it because I resent being marketed to as a patient in healthcare setting (which is nearly universal these days).


Tech-backed, consumer-friendly insurer Oscar continues to hemorrhage cash as it loses $45 million in Q3 in its New York, Texas, and California markets as high startup costs and medical losses mount even as the company exits some markets. Oscar, which is scrambling to distance itself from the dying ACA marketplace that could be killed off by President-Elect Trump, was ironically co-founded by  the brother of Trump’s son-in-law. The Kushner brothers were admitted to Harvard as the university weighed their cons (modest academic records) with their pros (their father, a convicted felon and disbarred lawyer worth $500 million, donated $2.5 million).

China’s Wuzhen Internet Hospital, launched less than a year ago, says it offers services from 260,000 doctors, 300 of them working exclusively for the company that was founded by Shanghai-based We Doctor and is valued at $3 billion. The hospital uses text, phone, and video messaging and will establish 32 branches across China by the end of 2016. It is building a cloud platform to store patient clinical and billing information, eliminating the common requirement in China that patients bring in their own paper records when receiving services. Patients pay $1.50 to $36 for a virtual visit.


New West Physicians (CO) chooses pMD for HIPAA-compliant messaging.


Island Hospital (WA) will upgrade to Meditech’s Web EHR.

Thresholds, which offers support to people with mental illness in Illinois, chooses FormFast FastFlow for automating its event tracking.


The CRISP HIE chooses Verato for patient matching.



Clinical Computer Systems hires Ron Repking (Glen Ellyn Web) as president. Owner and former president Kim Sell remains with the company, which offers the Obix Perinatal Data System, as CEO.


Rob Kill (Cogentyx Medical) joins Investment firm Frazier Healthcare Partners as an operating partner on the Growth Buyout team.

Announcements and Implementations

TransUnion Health integrates its Patient Financial Clearance solutions with Epic’s Prelude registration system for validation of patient demographic and financial data.

Vital Images will launch Vitrea Data Stream and an updated viewer at RSNA, providing a single account point for EHR enablement across multiple PACS.

Wolters Kluwer Health announces that its ProVation Order Sets now features bi-directional integration with Cerner and another unnamed EHR vendor that I would presume is Epic.

Government and Politics


CMS releases an API that will allow developers build applications that retrieve information from CMS’s Quality Payment Program measures.

A review of the seven previously proposed Republican changes to the Affordable Care Act says they range from outright repeal with no replacement to tweaks that retain the marketplace. The author concludes that all of the plans will make it worse for older, sicker people in charging them more to reduce the premiums for younger, healthier people to entice them to sign up. All of the proposed plans would increase the number of uninsured Americans. One idea I like is “continuous coverage,” which provides financial motivation for people to renew their policies each year or to immediately buy their own coverage after losing employer-provided insurance. One of the biggest disappointments of Obamacare is (other than the huge misstep in not addressing provider costs) that healthy people can still get away without buying insurance due to the toothless “individual mandate,” skewing the risk pool and sticking providers with their unexpected medical bills. Maybe the feds should just randomly assign every American to an insurance company to thwart cheaters and spread insurer risk evenly.


The federal government tells the state of Vermont to stop using Medicaid money to fund certain projects, among them the state’s health information technology fund that as a result will see its $2.9 million budget cut in half in 2018 and eliminated in 2019. One of its projects is the Vermont HIE.


Obamacare been berry, berry good to hospitals, whose profit margins reached a 30-year high of an average 7.3 percent in 2014, making it obvious why the AHA was happy to support more widespread insurance coverage that its members could bill.

Privacy and Security

From DataBreaches.net:

  • A Florida man who created fictitious healthcare providers and billed $6 million in false insurance claims recruited patients willing to allow their information to be used in return for cash. He also used a patient eligibility service to enter consecutive member IDs until he hit valid ones, with the verification information then giving him the information he needed to generate fraudulent bills.
  • In England, security experts find that seven NHS trusts spent nothing on cybersecurity in 2015. Their tests using public searches discovered misconfigured email servers, expired security certificates, and exposed login credentials.
  • Emblem Health notifies its members that their Social Security numbers were accidentally printed in a mailing it sent.
  • A marketing company hired by BCBS of New Jersey sends a benefit letter to 170,000 policy that includes the information of other individuals.


This month’s Protenus Breach Barometer finds that 36 healthcare breaches were reported to HHS or the media in October, with 664,000 patient records exposed due to known hacking and ransomware incidents. Several organizations lost patient data permanently after ransomware incidents. Insiders were responsible for 37 percent of October’s breaches, of which five were accidental and eight were intentional.

Innovation and Research


UCSF’s Center for Digital Health Innovation and GE Healthcare will work together to develop clinical diagnosis and management algorithms that will be applied to data from imaging systems and EHRs. It’s called a partnership, so your guess is as good as mine as to who’s making money from the deal.



Twitter enhances its twit filter to allow muting conversations that contain a specified keyword or hashtag, giving users a welcome method to continue following mostly-useful tweeters while suppressing their passionate but off-topic posts about sports and politics or their endless updates from a seemingly dull conference. Click your profile icon and then Settings to clean up your stream. I vaguely remember a few months ago suggesting this feature, also wishing for Twitter and Facebook enhancements to allow users to categorize their updates (work, politics, mindless cute videos, precious child updates) so I can keep following the parts that interest me without having to suffer through the rest. That’s a cleaner option than hoping they create separate accounts for work vs. everything else, although I’m not opposed to that either.

Fast Company cites sources saying that Apple is researching the possibility of monitoring Parkinson’s disease patients with its iPhone and Watch. However, it would only work for the subset of Parkinson’s patients whose symptoms include tremors and slow movement.



The New York Times summarizes a NEJM article about patients who visit an in-network ED staffed by out-of-network doctors, which the study found happens in 22 percent of ED visits at an average patient cost of $900. The problem varies by area, with McAllen, TX EDs sending 89 percent of their patients surprise bills. The insurance trade group AHIP says it’s the job of hospitals to get their outsourced ED doctors to sign contracts with the same plans the hospital accepts. For once, I agree with the insurance companies.

In Canada, the corporate communications director of Stevenson Memorial Hospital is charged with several counts related to child pornography after police say he looked up the information of a minor female patient on the hospital’s computer system and tried to lure her into a sexual relationship.

The American College of Emergency Physicians parodies Cigna’s “TV Doctors of America” public service video from September 2016, with real-life ED doctors accusing the insurer of unfair coverage policies that exploit the federal EMTALA law that requires EDs to provide care regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. ACEP says Cigna should have spent the $9 million video cost on patients instead of on hiring actors who played TV doctors. Above are both videos for comparing and contrasting.

In India, patients complain that hospitals and pharmacies are refusing to accept 500 and 1,000 rupee bills that have been newly removed from circulation and replaced with a different bill design even though the government specifically allows them to accept the old currency. The government’s demonetization project makes the old, higher-value bills illegal in trying to stem corruption, black market exchange, and terrorism, meaning 500 rupee bills worth just $7.35 can no longer be used, although they can be exchanged until December 30 for the new notes and exceptions were granted for gas stations, hospitals, airlines, and crematoriums. One hospital says its business dropped 50 percent overnight, while another refused to release a patient’s body to the family until they could come up with cash in valid currency.

Several dozen laid-off IT employees of UCSF file discrimination complaints and threaten lawsuits after their jobs are outsourced to India-based companies. Experts note that the legal precedent isn’t favorable since other companies have successfully argued that they didn’t replace the employees individually — they restructured their departments and the outsourcing company hired the offshore workers.


Odd: a study finds that 76 of the known 127 reported “deaths by selfie” from March 2014 to September 2016 happened in India, where people spent their last seconds posing in front of an oncoming train, on a boat that tipped over, on the side of treacherous cliffs and rivers, and on the steps of the Taj Mahal. The US had just eight known deaths by selfie (or “killfie,” as the study authors say).

Sponsor Updates

  • Iatric Systems proposes a YourTurn session on the help desk at HIMSS17.
  • Deloitte includes ID Experts in its 2016 Technology Fast 500.
  • LifeImage releases a new eBook, “CIO Perspectives on Enterprise Imaging.”
  • IDC recognizes Medecision as a major population health management player.
  • KLAS recognizes Direct Consulting Associates as a leading business intelligence provider in its Enterprise Healthcare BI 2016 Report.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at MAHP 2016 Annual Conference November 18 in Boston.
  • The University of Wisconsin College of Engineering recognizes Healthfinch CEO and co-founder Jonathan Baran with the 2016 Early Career Achievement Award.

Blog Posts


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Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

    • Your hypothetical is funny to me as I picture a large, underserved German population that doesn’t speak Dutch or English.

  1. Re: Twitter’s content filter.

    I wonder if Mr. H intended to say ‘twit’ filter, rather than ‘tweet’ filter.

    Based on what they’re trying to do, I’d say a ‘twit’ filter is redundant as filtering the whole twit is tantamount to muting or blocking.

    If he did mean ‘twit,’ I would love to hear why, in 140 characters or less.

  2. I’m assuming they would be adding the MyChart language for Europe. Even if folks speak English, they may prefer to read MyChart in their native language.

    But I hope they pick up some German customers. That would be fun.

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  5. Was not the struggle of Teladoc foreseeable with the acquisition of Livongo?

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