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News 5/3/17

May 2, 2017 News 9 Comments

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Computer systems at University Hospitals (OH) remain down following unspecified connectivity issues that started Monday.

Hospital executives say the lack of computer access is not affecting patient care.

Reader Comments

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From Nantwatcher: “Re: NantHealth. President Robert Watson has been separated, effective immediately. Co-Presidents Mark Dudman and Gary Palmer, MD are also gone.” The company hasn’t responded to my inquiry. However, those three folks have been expunged from the company’s leadership page. The year-ago cache of that page shows that of the eight executives listed then, only three remain – the CFO, chief people officer, and general counsel. The LinkedIn pages of Watson and Dudman remain unchanged, but that of Gary Palmer – NantHealth’s chief medical officer and president of its GPS Cancer division – says he left in January and is now chief medical officer of genomic sequencing and analytics vendor Tempus. The slide in NH share price continues – it’s down 40 percent in the past month and 85 percent in the 11 months since the company’s IPO.


From Conjoined Triplet: “Re: Huron Consulting. Completed its fifth round of layoffs in two years Friday, this one targeting revenue cycle and technology consulting teams. They paid $30 million to acquire Vonlay three years ago and there’s hardly anyone left on the Epic team.” Unverified. The company hasn’t responded to my inquiry. Huron’s earnings and revenue beat expectations in Monday’s quarterly report, but CEO James Roth said in the earnings call that healthcare revenue (52 percent of the company’s total) was down 14 percent, mostly due to “softness in our revenue cycle offering within the performance improvement solution” as projects shifted to smaller engagements. He says that Huron “will continue to make adjustments in our cost structure to manage our profitability in this segment.” Shares rose Monday following the earnings announcement before the market’s opening, but are still down 19 percent in the past year.


From Seal Flipper: “Re: speaking invitation. Check out this health IT magazine’s ‘invitation’ to pay to speak at its conference.” I can’t say I’m shocked that revenue-desperate health IT sites are brazenly selling pay-for-play article space on their sites and speaking slots at their conferences, no doubt encouraged by the similarly commercial behavior of HIMSS. I can only assume that providers will eventually wise up that they’re being fed vendor commercials and will push back, especially if the underlying content isn’t very good.


From Kermit: “Re: algorithms. This comic makes me think of all the non-HIT firms that have jumped into HIT thinking they can ‘solve’ healthcare with their years of business experience.” There’s an uneasy tradeoff (in healthcare, politics, the arts, and other endeavors) in bringing in a fresh set of outsider eyes that can provide either: (a) brilliant insight and fresh inspiration; or (b) embarrassingly inept floundering while confidently trying to use a hammer to pound in a screw.


From Jump Back: “Re: HIMSS. Their buy one-get one offer seems to be a sign of trouble in paradise.” I think it’s probably a sign that HIMSS members fuel its revenue not by paying dues, but rather by making themselves available as a target for big-vendor marketing. That was made clear when HIMSS announced its Organizational Affiliate program years ago in which everybody in a participating company can join at no incremental cost. The “Ladies Drink Free” model makes HIMSS a fortune as an intermediator and explains why they cater to vendor members and exhibitors rather than employees of non-profit health systems. I’m not sure there’s much value in joining HIMSS (and thus directly supporting some of its questionable behaviors) other than to earn a discount on the annual conference registration.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

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We funded the DonorsChoose grant request of Mrs. B in Washington, who asked for building blocks for her kindergarten class. She reports, “The kids were over the moon about them, and though we don’t know who you are, they all think you are the best ever. While they are just thinking about playing, these skills (persistence, trying even when something goes wrong, working in a team, asking for help) learned in play now can help support them in the future in math classes, science classes, reading, and in their relationships. Now that is a lot from just a few more sets of toys! This is something I couldn’t have provided my kids without your support and I hope you understand how overwhelmingly grateful I felt when I got the email that said this project was funded (it actually came Christmas morning). Thank you so much, again.”

I tested my new cheap phone’s speed over AT&T’s cellular network and was shocked to see 60 Mbps down and 15 Mbps up. I got the same result testing in different locations on different days, all while connected via VyprVPN. Perhaps I missed some mobile speed developments while using my ancient iPhone 5 that I bought when LTE had just been rolled out.

Replacing my old phone was my #1 priority, while replacing my equally old laptop was #2. I ordered one from Amazon at a great price, but it was delivered yesterday with a giant gash in the package and a cracked display (thanks, US Post Office). I had the issue resolved in a couple of minutes – click Return on the online order on Amazon.com, provide a reason, choose refund or replacement, and print a UPS-paid return label (or schedule a free pickup). Today I got an apologetic email from Amazon’s Akshay, who fast-tracked my replacement to two-day shipping, passed my problem on to “the higher authorities at Amazon,” and wished me “a beautiful day.” You want to know why Amazon is killing retailers, look no further.

I’m enjoying the responses to my “best career advice” survey, so much so that I’m encouraged to remind you to respond if you are so inclined. 


None scheduled soon. Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre for information on webinar services.

Here’s the recording from last week’s HIStalk-sponsored webinar, “3 Secrets to Leadership Success for Women in Healthcare IT,” presented by Nancy Ham (WebPT) and Liz Johnson (Tenet Healthcare).

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


India-based outsourcing firm Infosys will hire 10,000 Americans over the next two years and will open four technology and innovation hubs, the first in Indiana. Perhaps the company hopes everyone will forget that it paid $34 million a few years back to settle charges of widespread US immigration fraud. Several offshore companies, worried about President Trump’s “Hire American” policies, have announced similar hiring programs, although experts question whether the highly publicized plans will ever materialize.


The board chair of EpiPen maker Mylan was paid $164 million last year, will receive $1.8 million per year now that he’s no longer an employee, and was given another $37 million worth of stock. Even though he’ll remain as board chair, he received a $22 million termination benefit, including $4.6 million to use the company’s jets for three years. I tried listening to music by his son Tino Coury, who is signed to the record label owned by good old Dad, and it’s really no better or worse than most of the other imitative, sterile, computer-enhanced dance music out there. Dad was caught in 2012 using Mylan’s jets to haul Tino around to concerts, but that shouldn’t be an ongoing problem since Tino’s musical career seems to have died young.

Baptist Memorial Health Care (TN) and Mississippi Baptist Health Systems (MS) complete their merger to form a 21-hospital, 16,000-employee health system. The president and CEO of Mississippi Baptist says, “With the cost of technology, it makes sense to spread that over 22 hospitals.” Baptist’s Epic system is being installed at Mississippi Baptist.


The Chicago business paper profiles 13-employee care coordination software vendor PreparedHealth, which just raised $4 million in its first significant funding round. The co-founders came from Medicity.



Athenahealth chooses electronic prescribing legal updates from Point-of-Care Partners to ensure its compliance with state laws.


HealthlinkNY selects Diameter Health for normalizing, de-duplicating, and enriching clinical data to enable interoperability and allow the HIE to advise members on the quality and completeness of their clinical documents.



The board of UMass Memorial Health Care (MA) elects health IT entrepreneur Rick Siegrist, MS, MBA as chairman. He founded decision support vendor HealthShare Technology (sold to WebMD in 2005 for $31 million) and PatientFlow Technology (sold for an unstated price to Press Ganey in 2009, who made him CEO).


Medicare and Medicaid fraud detection software vendor MedicFP names board chair and private equity firm owner Ruben Jose King-Shaw, Jr. to the additional role of CEO. He was formerly secretary of Florida’s AHCA and deputy administrator and COO of CMS. The company offers biometric identity validation.


LifeBridge Health (MD) promotes Jonathan Ringo, MD to president and COO of Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. He joined health system in 2014 as its first CMIO. 

Government and Politics


ONC announces a $75,000 patient matching algorithm challenge, apparently giving up on the idea of a national patient identifier that would make such fuzzy logic necessary.

Innovation and Research


Johns Hopkins University’s venture arm opens FastForward 1812 — the latest of its several business incubator locations — which will support companies hoping to create products based on Hopkins patents and licenses. Baltimore-based EHR security vendor Protenus was launched in the original FastForward.


MIT researchers develop WiGait, a wall-mounted sensor that can measure the stride length of multiple people over time to potentially detect injuries and gait-affecting conditions such as Parkinson’s disease



Friends and family members of patients in 150 NHS hospitals are forced to pay per-minute charges to call their rooms, which includes having the meter running while listening to a 70-second-long “please be patient” message. The government outsourced phone services to in-room entertainment vendor Hospedia, which says it uses a third party’s service that allows it to give each patient’s room its own telephone number instead of being routed through the nursing station.


In England, five hospitals of Barts Health NHS Trust are cancelling surgeries and chemo treatments after the failure of its radiology, PACS, dictation, and chemotherapy systems. A hospital manager’s email said cancer teams had to rebuild patient records from scratch. Systems were restored Tuesday after being down for 11 days. Barts declined to describe the cause of the problem, but previously had major downtime in January caused by a Trojan malware attack

In Australia, Northern Territory budgets $60 million for the first year of its $195 million clinical systems replacement project, for which it will name a prime contractor this month from the short list of Telstra Health, Epic, Allscripts, and InterSystems.


A study published in Health Affairs finds that high-priced medical practices – which charge an average of 36 percent more than low-priced ones – offer better care coordination and management, but don’t perform any better in overall care ratings.


Weird News Andy concludes that in not focusing on the job at hand, “Now he’s broker.” Miami-based OB-GYN Ata Atogho, MD is hit with a $34 million malpractice lawsuit judgment for a series of mistakes he made in the delivery of a baby who was born with brain damage, one of which was to disappear from the mom’s room for eight minutes to consult with his stockbroker.

Sponsor Updates

  • LogicStream Health will host a happy hour Tuesday at The Great Dane Pub in Madison, WI during Epic XGM 2017.
  • Spok releases part two of its mobility in healthcare survey report.
  • Optimum Healthcare IT renames its go-live support application GoLiveSupport.com as Skillmarket.
  • CenTrak launches a charitable program to provide enterprise location services to cancer centers, with Vidant Medical Center (NC) the first participant.
  • Mediware will integrate CoverMyMeds electronic prior authorization into its CareTend specialty pharmacy software.
  • The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel names Nordic to its Top Workplaces for 2017.
  • Aprima Medical Software receives the 2017 United States Frost & Sullivan Award for Product Leadership.
  • Arcadia Healthcare Solutions publishes a Quick Guide on “Identifying Childhood Immunizations.”
  • AssessURhealth wins the GE Health Cloud Innovation Challenge.
  • Datica CEO Travis Good, MD will speak at the HITRUST Annual Conference May 8-11 in Dallas.
  • Besler Consulting releases a new podcast, “Coding clinic updates for first quarter 2017.”
  • CCSI employee Keith Yourg earns PMP certification.
  • Bottomline Technologies reports Q3 results.
  • Casenet announces the speaker lineup for its Connect event May 8-10.
  • CoverMyMeds will exhibit at the Oncology Nursing Society Annual Congress May 4-7 in Denver.
  • Direct Consulting Associates will exhibit at eMUG: Michigan User Group May 9 in Ypsilanti.
  • Diameter Health contributes to record growth at the University of Connecticut’s Technology Incubation Program.
  • The Virginia Chamber of Commerce includes Divurgent in its annual list of fastest-growing companies.

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne, Lt. Dan.
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Currently there are "9 comments" on this Article:

  1. For all of those who state that deregulation of healthcare is the panacea to the nation’s healthcare woes:


    It was a slam fest today of the U.S. airlines by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee LED by the GOP reps. Things have gotten so frustrating that even the most conservative GOP reps are raising the possibility of re-regulating parts of the airline industry including how pricing is done.

    “Several of the members of Congress — including Republicans — raised the specter of at least partial re-regulation of the airlines, which have not had federal oversight of fares or routes in decades.

    “I’m a conservative Republican,” Texas Rep. Brian Babin said in remarks echoed by multiple colleagues. “I don’t like regulation if we can get away with it.

    “But something has got to be done in terms of customer service with some of your airlines,” he said.”

    Since these reps have to fly regularly and can’t use private charters, they realize just how incredibly shitty things have become and how frustrated they are with flying in the U.S. It seems like this is the only way we get reform is when the rich and/or powerful still have to use something that the majority of Americans so as well.

  2. Saddest part of the Dr. Ata Atogho malpractice story is that the Federal government is on the hook for the judgement, since he practices at a Federally funded health clinic. Interesting to note that the good doctor rates 4.2 stars on HealthGrades, 4.7 on Zocdoc and 4.5 on Google – all out of 5 stars.

  3. Those blocks are bamboo stalks with pandas? I think I’d like a set for myself, that seems like a really soothing activity for stressful times!

    • The blocks are Lakeshore HH482 – Panda Village Block Set, according to the DonorsChoose materials list. $49.99 per set of 42 blocks with three adult pandas and six cubs. You might be on to something — instead of the usual team-building activities, IT groups could be assigned to work together to build something out of blocks in an hour or so. The interpersonal dynamics would be interesting.

      • Oh I’ve done that before, it has not worked out well (although you pretty easily ascertain who on your product/development team you never want to work with again — arrogant know-it-alls have a way of surfacing quickly)

        I was thinking just for myself, I kind of want to go home and build a little bamboo panda village on my dining room table now…

  4. “Perhaps I missed some mobile speed developments while using my ancient iPhone 5 that I bought when LTE had just been rolled out.”

    Yes, it’s possible. I know you like to complain about “fanboy upgrades” to iPhones, but there are real upgrades happening. It’s not just all marketing gimmicks. I’ll speak to iPhones because I know them best, but I’m sure similar upgrades have been happening with Samsung’s flagship phones too.

    Here’s what’s been going on (mostly ignoring CPU changes, since most non hardware geek people don’t care about those.) I know you personally don’t use a camera much, but the camera advancements matter to anyone who is a photographer or who just likes to take ever better pictures of their family.

    iPhone 5s

    – 64 bit processor
    – wider aperature camera (f/2.2) with physically larger pixels
    – fingerprint sensor
    – support for 120fps slow motion video

    iPhone 6

    – LTE Advanced (7 more bands than the iPhone 5s)
    – Up to 150Mbs download speed over LTE
    – Voice over LTE support for clearer calls
    – support for 802.11ac for faster WiFi and support for WiFi voice calls
    – support for 1080p video at 30 or 60 fps and support for 120fps or 240fps slow motion video

    iPhone 6s

    – 12 megapixel rear-facing camera (up from 8 megapixels)
    – support for 4K video
    – support for 1080p video at 60fps or 120fps
    – much faster fingerprint sensor

    iPhone 7

    – water and dust resistant
    – wider aperture camera (now at f/1.8)
    – optical image stabilization

  5. “There’s an uneasy tradeoff (in healthcare, politics, the arts, and other endeavors) in bringing in a fresh set of outsider eyes that can provide either: (a) brilliant insight and fresh inspiration; or (b) embarrassingly inept floundering while confidently trying to use a hammer to pound in a screw.”

    The difference is whether the outsider comes with new questions that haven’t been asked because of ingrained assumptions or pathways, or whether the outsider comes promising a novel answer.

  6. Baptist Memorial and Mississippi Baptist should have read Dr Jane’s article before merging. Bigger hospital systems just hire more consultants, I have yet to see any of the run efficiently

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