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Monday Morning Update 11/21/16

November 20, 2016 News 2 Comments

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awards a grant of unspecified value to blockchain technology vendor Factom to create a secure, transportable medical record using blockchain.

According to the company’s CEO, “Our goal with this new partnership is to demonstrate how global identity and record-keeping as a public utility is possible. We hope to show how individuals can manage important, private records like medical records using very simple tools and a lot of backend cryptography. My belief is that the blockchain will be used more and more over time for these aims. If we all follow these core beliefs, we will get to a very, very good place in this world.”

Reader Comments


From John: “Re: MGMA and HIMSS booth sizes. RSNA’s exhibit hall demonstrates where the real money is made.” RSNA’s exhibit hall floor plan shows that three companies bought space of 20,000+ square feet, or about a half acre: GE Healthcare, Philips, and Siemens Healthineers, with Toshiba and Hitachi not far behind. Providers who order excessive numbers of imaging studies to pay for the machines they bought are also underwriting that kind of excess, as are we taxpayers who are stuck with Medicare and Medicaid bills. In addition, every one of those big-booth vendors are foreign companies, taking the profits from our screwed-up healthcare system back to England, Netherlands, Germany, and Japan. The WHO health system performance ranking of their home countries is not only better than ours (coming in at #18, 17, 25, and 10, respectively, vs. our pitiful #37) but a lot less costly, a fact the starry-eyed RSNA attendees are not likely to appreciate since our ridiculous healthcare costs fund their nice incomes and conference attendance.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


About 60 percent of poll respondents expect their companies to fare as well or better under a Trump presidency than now. CIO Looking says the ACA cost him his job because his financially stable community hospital was forced to join a larger health system, so he or she at least expects to be employed under a Trump presidency. HITgeek says the real problem is Congress and Trump’s appointments and urges people to take advantage of the Notice of Proposed Rule-Making comment period by adding thoughtful, fact-based responses.

New poll to your right or here: which social media services do you use professionally? “Use” means whatever you want it to mean – maybe you post content on a particular site or maybe you just check it out for business purposes occasionally.

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We provided math manipulatives for Mrs. B’s first grade class in Texas by funding her DonorsChoose grant request. She reports, “With these games, we have been able to further our addition and subtraction skills. My students love playing these games and work very well together while playing them. Kids today need hands-on manipulatives that excite and motivate them to learn.”

Meanwhile, a generous vendor has provided significant matching funds to double the impact of donations (actually it’s more like quadruple in some cases since many DonorsChoose projects already include match offers). You can donate as follow:

  1. Purchase a gift card in the amount you’d like to donate.
  2. Send the gift card by the email option to mr_histalk@histalk.com (that’s my DonorsChoose account).
  3. I’ll be notified of your donation and you can print your own receipt for tax purposes.
  4. I’ll pool the money, apply the matching funds, and publicly report here (as I always do) which projects I funded, with an emphasis on STEM-related projects as the matching funds donor prefers.

Last Week’s Most Interesting News

  • Cerner CEO Neal Patterson makes a surprise appearance at the company’s user conference, saying that his experience as a cancer patient has inspired him to make EHRs faster and safer and to incorporate more patient involvement.
  • CMS releases an API that gives developers access to information from its Quality Payment Program.
  • A new ONC report makes recommendations on the safe use of EHR pick lists for selecting patients and medications.
  • The Social Security Administration connects its disability system with the VA’s medical records to speed up processing time for the applications of veterans.


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


Salus Telehealth chooses a new board of directors following its merger last month with VideoMedicine.



  • Central Washington Hospital (WA) will switch from Cerner to Epic in 2017.
  • St Joseph Memorial Hospital (IL) will switch from Meditech to Epic in mid-2017.
  • Houston Methodist St. Catherine Hospital (TX) will switch from Meditech to Epic in February 2017.

These provider-reported updates are provided by Definitive Healthcare, which offers powerful intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and healthcare providers.

Announcements and Implementations


A study finds that extended, continuous cardiac monitoring using the Zio system of IRhythm Technologies performs better than Holter monitoring in detecting arrhythmias. Patients wear the Zio Patch for 14 days, then mail it in for analysis. Shares in the company have jumped 23 percent since their October 20 IPO, valuing it at $644 million.

The University of Toronto profiles its researchers who tested their lab-on-a-chip measles and rubella screening technology at a refugee camp hospital in a remote part of Kenya. They created their system using 3D-printed components and open source hardware. The 15-member digital microfluidics team, which ranges from undergrads through post-docs, wants to create a rugged, solar-powered system that locals can transport on motorcycles and operate themselves.

The American Medical Association adopts principles regarding mHealth applications, acknowledging the need for clinical evidence to help weed out the unsafe ones. The principles are fairly predictable, including AMA’s insistence that apps maintain the physician-patient relationship and that doctors who provide services through the app be licensed in the state where the patient is located.

Government and Politics

John Halamka, MD weighs in on the impact of a Trump presidency on health IT. He predicts:

  • Lowered taxes, simplified regulations, and moving Medicaid closer to individual states could spur innovation.
  • Free market competition could increase.
  • Health insurance exchanges will probably be an early target, but other parts of the ACA will live on.
  • FDA scrutiny and enforcement may be dialed back.
  • Funding for NIH, the Cancer Moonshot, precision medicine, and CMS’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation may be cut back.
  • The transition to value-based purchasing and the rollout of the Quality Payment Program will continue.


President Obama describes the country’s technology-assisted employment challenges in an excellent post-election New Yorker article and interview:

But at some point, when the problem is not just Uber but driverless Uber, when radiologists are losing their jobs to A.I., then we’re going to have to figure out how do we maintain a cohesive society and a cohesive democracy in which productivity and wealth generation are not automatically linked to how many hours you put in, where the links between production and distribution are broken, in some sense. Because I can sit in my office, do a bunch of stuff, send it out over the Internet, and suddenly I just made a couple of million bucks, and the person who’s looking after my kid while I’m doing that has no leverage to get paid more than ten bucks an hour.

Privacy and Security

From DataBreaches.net:

  • Live streaming video of patients having sleep studies performed by a California sleep clinic are found to be viewable online due to an improperly secured camera.
  • A financial counselor at Hennepin County Medical Center (MN) is sentenced to probation for keeping cash co-pays and charging the amount to a different patient’s credit card.

Innovation and Research


Yale startup Spring, which offers a 10-minute machine learning-powered online questionnaire that suggests the best antidepressant for a given patient, wins the Harvard-Yale Pitchoff.



Perhaps this headline’s error was a Freudian slip suggesting either hospital body area specialization or mediocrity.

In England, NHS trusts are running over their maximum allowed annual deficit six months into the fiscal year and despite an $1.1 billion emergency government infusion. The CEO of NHS Confederation blames budget cuts, especially in the areas of social care, mental health, and public health. On the positive side, 142 trusts reported a YTD deficit through Q2 vs. 182 in the same period last year and total expense has been reduced by 2.9 percent.


Drug maker Pfizer sues the Texas Health and Human Services Commission for providing Medicaid rebate data to to state lawmakers, saying the agency compromised the company’s trade secrets and will harm the state’s Medicaid program because Pfizer may stop offering the rebates if other large purchasers demand the same prices.

A study finds that nearby retail clinics don’t reduce the number of unnecessary ED visits for “treat and release” conditions such as flu, respiratory infections, and urinary tract infections. The authors note that their numbers may have been skewed by patients who wouldn’t have sought treatment at all until retail clinics came along, the number of patients seen in a retail clinic whose conditions required an ED visit anyway, and the fact that most of those clinics don’t accept Medicaid.

Sponsor Updates

  • Xerox Healthcare features PokitDok in the first episode of its Health Future podcast.
  • Catalyze CEO Travis Good, MD interviews Georgia Tech health informatics professor Mark Braunstein, MD in a podcast titled “Healthcare in the Age of Interoperability.”
  • Voalte publishes a video of a mother describing her firsthand experience with the benefits of the company’s smartphones during her premature delivery.

Blog Posts


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

  1. RE: John: “Re: MGMA and HIMSS booth sizes. RSNA’s exhibit hall demonstrates where the real money is made. —- JOHN — Let’s not overlook the fact that the Europeans exaggerate the size of RSNA for personal reasons, too…It is an annual tradition for them to come to Chicago, walk down Michigan Ave.,hit the American outlet malls and return home with their holiday gifts in tow. All the while raising the air and hotel prices for holiday travelers and local events in Chicago where locals are forced to compete with their volume. The Europeans have no reason to consider Thanksgiving in the mix. Maybe a new HISTalk Poll idea — how much would the size of RSNA decrease if it was held during the annual European Holiday month of August?

  2. Always love your DonorsChoose Pics, but today’s melted me, That boy with the puppy dog eyes. Oh, if only we could keep them that innocent and honest forever:)

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