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Monday Morning Update 4/3/17

Top News

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HHS quietly hires Don Rucker, MD, MBA, MS as National Coordinator, as evidenced by his new entry on the HHS employee list.

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Rucker holds a Penn MD and Stanford master’s degrees in business and informatics. He is an adjunct professor in biomedical informatics at Ohio State, but is best known as being chief medical officer for Siemens Healthcare from 2000 to 2013.

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Apparently reporting to Rucker is former Rep. John Fleming, MD (R-LA), who said previously that he thought his newly created position of HHS deputy assistant secretary for health technology reform was equivalent to National Coordinator.

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Reader Comments

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From Lisa Buller:”Re: Skagit Regional Health’s Epic project. As the project director of this implementation, I can tell you the post regarding our EHR project is not only unverified – it is untrue. We are very happy with our selection of Epic and look forward to our on-time go live of October 1, 2017 and the improvement in quality, safety, and efficiency that it will bring to the care we provide our communities.” Lisa referenced the original Epic announcement that indicated a mid-2017 go-live date. Publicly available information suggests that the IT department added 53 positions with 20 more planned to implement Epic (although those employees are often rolled back to their previous jobs after go-live) and CIO John Dwight moved to EvergreenHealth in February. Both items were mentioned by the rumor reporter whose main point was that budget overruns of the $72 million project, if they exist, have not been publicly acknowledged. UPDATE: Lisa provides additional information: “Our project is on time for go live on October 1, 2017 across our organization, including two hospitals and 18 clinics. The project cost is $72 million. We moved our go live from July to October 1, 2017 to ensure adequate time for project build, test, and training. We currently have 23 consultant-employed FTEs – not 60 as was reported in the unverified post. The pay rate referenced in the post is also false.”

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From Steve: “Re: NTT Data’s divestiture of its healthcare software division. The acute EHR/RCM products are so far behind any of the competitors, have next to no market share, don’t show up in any industry reports, and NTT Data lost so many clients. I will be curious to see if they recover under the new company. It’s the same leadership that ran that division at NTT Data, so chances are probably pretty slim.” I’m thinking the prize there is the NetSolutions long term care software product line, which runs in 1,700 facilities.


HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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Nearly three-fourths of poll respondents have a negative reaction to the White House’s recent HHS appointees.

New poll to your right or here: When will blockchain have a significant healthcare impact?

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We bought three Chromebooks for Mrs. J’s first grade class in South Carolina. She reports, “Our class LOVES our Chromebooks. They are a fundamental part of the reading process in our classroom. Students use them almost daily for taking AR quizzes, reading online information, playing learning games, and practicing math facts. They are really enjoying being able to access the tools they need. I’m so thankful that donors like you continue to make a difference through DonorsChoose. It makes teachers like me and students like mine extremely grateful.”

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This infuriatingly common mistake bugs me. Is it really so hard to match a singular subject to a singular verb? As the headline writer might say, the grammatical sloppiness of Americans are driving me crazy.

Thanks to the following companies that recently supported HIStalk. Click a logo for more information.

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This Week in Health IT History

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One year ago:

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Five years ago:


Weekly Anonymous Reader Question

Last week I asked readers to describe their proudest moment in health IT, with these responses:

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The question this week: What is your favorite moment from any past HIMSS conferences?


Last Week’s Most Interesting News


Webinars

April 26 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “SSM Integrated Health Technologies Clinical Data Migration: Functional and Technical Considerations.” Sponsored by Galen Healthcare Solutions. Presenters: Sandy Winklemann, MHA, RHIA, project manager, SSM Integration Health Technologies; Tyler Mawyer, MHA, managing consultant, Galen Healthcare Solutions; Kavon Kaboli, MPH, senior consultant, Galen Healthcare Solutions. GE Centricity and Meditech to Epic EHR transition. Join us for a complimentary webinar as present the decisions that are important to consider when performing a clinical data migration from the point of view of  the healthcare organization program manager, the clinical analyst, and the technical implementation team. Our expert panel will survey data migration considerations, best practices, and lessons learned. The webinar will present a unique client perspective, offering insight into considerations surrounding staffing, clinical mapping, legacy application support, and validation and testing.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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NTT Data sells its hospital and long term care software suites to newly created and PE-backed Cantata Health. Those products involve Optimum (hospital clinical and RCM) and NetSolutions (for skilled nursing, assisted living, and independent living). The PE backer is GPB Capital Holdings. NTT Data acquired the software with its acquisition of Keane in October 2010 at a rumored $1.2 billion. Cantata Health will be led by former NTT Data healthcare technologies division executives Mike Jones (CEO) and Rich Zegel (CTO).

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NantHealth reports Q4 results: revenue up 18 percent, EPS –$0.19 vs. -$0.10, beating earnings estimates but falling short on revenue, sending shares down 3 percent Friday. The company lost $184 million in the fiscal year, doubling its 2015 losses.


Decisions

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


Other

Public radio profiles Kaiser Permanente’s opioid prescribing program, implemented in 2009 after clinical leaders noted that OxyContin was among its most-prescribed drugs, patients were on the medication for long periods with ever-increasing doses, some of the prescriptions were for 1,000 or more pills, and doctors were specifying brand name drugs that weren’t covered by insurance but that command a higher street value. KP studied its opioid use from its Epic data, sent reps to counter pharma sales pushes to use more, programmed Epic to help guide physician decisions, and implemented “The Difficult Pain Conversation” to encourage patients to stop demanding opioid prescriptions.

The VA complains about employee-friendly laws that force it to keep paying workers it’s trying to fire, with the latest example being an employee who was caught watching pornography while with a patient who the VA has to keep paying for at least 30 days while the bureaucracy-laden termination process is followed.

A heart surgeon who sued former employer Memorial Hermann (TX) for using peer review and quality data to discredit him after he complained about quality problems wins $6.4 million in a jury award.

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Epic’s April Fool’s web page makeover included these stories:

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A hacker defeats the facial recognition security of the just-released Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone by copying the registered user’s Facebook photo and then just sticking it in front of the phone’s camera.

A med student’s interesting article says that the broken medical residency electronic match program is leaving half of new graduates without a residency slot. The author says the electronic application process encourages blasting out applications en masse, overwhelming the ability of the residency programs to evaluate their candidates wisely. He concludes that pen and paper applications might force applicants to be more selective in expressing their true interests, adding that the number of electronic applications per student could also be limited but that’s not likely because the AAMC-owned system makes a lot of money per application.

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California-based surgery collaboration app vendor Casetabs (which describes itself pointlessly as “the Uber of surgeries”) runs a Craigslist ad (where apparently all the health IT experts look for work) for a sales development rep with some fun requirements:

Here’s Part 2 of the top 10 HIS vendors report from Vince and Elise.

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Dr. Weird News Andy would like to order a vodka drip, stat. Veterinarians save a cat that poisoned herself by licking spilled brake fluid off her fur by administering IV vodka to counter the effects of ethylene glycol. Princess the cat is recovering at home, which by WNA’s calculation leaves her with eight remaining lives.  


Sponsor Updates

Blog Posts


Contacts

Mr. H, Lorre, Jennifer, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
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