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Weekender 2/23/18

February 23, 2018 Weekender No Comments


Weekly News Recap

  • Duke Health earns the first Stage 7 analytics recognition from HIMSS Analytics.
  • Practice Fusion, which is being acquired by Allscripts, abandons its ad-supported free EHR program, announcing that it will start charging each physician user $100 per month.
  • A leaked Nokia memo says that the company sees no way for its digital health business to become significant, less than two years after creating the business by acquiring France-based Withings for $190 million.
  • A JAMA editorial calls for CMS to release Medicare Advantage encounter data.
  • Google researchers publish their work in which they applied deep learning to eye photos to accurately identify cardiac risk factors such as age, gender, smoking status, blood pressure, and likelihood of having a heart attack.
  • Siemens announces that it will take its Siemens Healthineers medical technology business public in the next few months.
  • The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs grills VA Secretary David Shulkin on the VA’s FY2019 budget request, questioning the project cost and interoperability capabilities of the Cerner system the VA wants to buy.

Best Reader Comments

I’ve been able to really get in and do more work as the CMIO once I understood the company’s mission, vision, and yearly metrics, i.e. executive dashboard. Are they focusing on telehealth this year, pop health, decrease CAUTI, CLABSI, readmissions, etc.? Which one is the darkest red? Be sure to focus some time there. This gets you immediate cred with the execs and the docs if you can deliver something to them into their live environment sooner than later that is easy to use, intuitive, and aligns to the execs’ dashboard. (David Butler)

I’d like to hear more from Ed about his perspective on the current state of professional organizations in terms of their true value and the ability for execs to truly benefit from participating. Beyond local chapters – which by their very nature are limited in breadth of participants – there aren’t many intimate opportunities available. Everything seems to be centered around and in bed with HIMSS. It’s just getting too big and too overtly commercial. Do execs really benefit from these mammoth organizations and infrequent – sometimes only once a year – opportunities for networking and thought leadership development? (SteveS)

Partners will find the savings from their cuts of coders as fool’s gold. There are a lot of hidden costs running an outsourcing development organization. (BeenThere)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits

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Readers funded the DonorsChoose teacher grant request of Ms. M in Florida, who asked for programmable Bee-Bots and a robot mouse for her K-5 STEM classes. She reports, “My kids love these little bees and mouse. Bee-Bot is fun for all ages, but it’s a great introduction to younger kids for learning how to code. That is what the coding mouse does as well. Both of them are very similar but have the same effect and are a lot of fun for the kids to play with and learn from. Thank you so much for supporting our classroom, believing in STEM education, helping us teachers, and giving the students a hands-on education.”

CNBC notes that Amazon has launched a lineup of 50 private labeled over-the-counter drugs that it calls Basic Care, potentially drawing foot traffic away from drug chains that make most of their money from walk-ins. Amazon sells a 500-table bottle of ibuprofen 200 mg for $7, about the same as Walmart but nearly half off the price charged by CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. Costco’s Kirkland brand – also sold via Amazon as well as in its stores – has the best price I’ve seen at just $10 for 1,000 tablets.


A review of “Grey’s Anatomy” by trauma surgeons finds that it gives trauma patients an unrealistic expectation of what their stay might look like. TV trauma patients died three times more often than in real life, most went straight from the ED to the OR vs. 25 percent of actual cases, and only a small number of patients transferred to a long-term care facility vs. the real 22 percent. Half of patients left the hospital within a week of serious injury vs. the real-life 20 percent and OR surgeons are often shown not wearing masks and protective eyewear to allow the audience to recognize them. The authors worry that unrealistic patient expectations, fueled by the listing of a medical advisor in the credits, may affect hospital satisfaction scores.They summarize,

American television medical dramas tend to rely on storylines that feature rare diseases, odd presentations of common diseases, fantastic and/or quirky injuries, and mass casualty events, all framed within a ‘realistic’ representation of a typical US hospital. In addition, the dramatic construct of a television serial lend to deviations from reality or accuracy in an effort to preserve the ability to communicate a story within the constraints of a one-hour show.

Maine debates whether veterinarians should be exempt from the state’s prescription monitoring program.


A reader forwarded this mail-merged bulk email from the marketing person at a cloud services company who forgot to the add personalization to her HIMSS pitch. Not only did she recover brilliantly with a witty follow-up email, I’m impressed with her credentials – she has a PhD in neuroscience and co-founded a company that makes a line of bold-flavored organic sauerkraut (Lemon Ginger, Moroccan Fusion, Vindaloo Curry, and Green Chile). They’re offering Colorado beer (hopefully not Coors) at their HIMSS booth happy hour, although the sauerkraut sounds a lot more interesting.


The HIMSS conference is just over a week away. The weather in Las Vegas should be OK, with daytime highs in the mid-60s and nighttime lows in the mid-40s with some clouds and little chance of rain. I was happy to find that even though MGM-owned hotels all charge for parking now, the Venetian-Palazzo complex still doesn’t and that even includes valet (which I used every day last time). Lyft is a good alternative – I’ve had better luck with it in Las Vegas than Uber.


You may recall that after HIMSS18, it’s two straight years in Orlando since HIMSS moved HIMSS19 from Chicago to there, the second time it cancelled McCormick Place (the first time over expensive but indifferent union labor, the second over hotel room rates).


Since there’s no HIStalkapalooza this year, here’s a nostalgia-inducing video from what’s probably my favorite one of all time, the 2012 version in Las Vegas that was sponsored by ESD. I recognize a bunch of folks in the video. The Palazzo restaurant we held it in closed a year later. What you probably don’t know (I just now remembered myself) is that it was originally booked for a Mexican restaurant also in the Palazzo called Dos Caminos that closed without warning on November 15, 2011 following a rent dispute, but the amazing ESD folks had First Food & Bar locked down just a few days later. I seem to recall that their pear-ginger martini was a hit.

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Reader Comments

  • richie: Wonderful topic (I'm biased as I strive to implement systems I'd want, prior to my own long-term care becoming imminent)...
  • richie: Thanks Ed, I'm impressed by your ability to pursue new endeavors....
  • Melissa: I have enjoyed your posts every month, and have followed you through your life changes as well as mine. Thank you for a...
  • Edward Marx: That would make for a good post! Let me think on it and look for me on LinkedIn....
  • Rebecca: Thank you, Ed. I always looked forward to your posts - they were a validation to me that you don't have to have to be a...
  • Lee David Milligan: Rob: thanks for the comment. Agree with your point re: unique expectations and complexity....
  • Shelly: Thank you Ed for taking the time to invest in the industry as you have done - with this blog as a sounding board for CIO...
  • Appreciatve: Thanks,, Ed. This was a very nice piece, and telling of what you cherish most. There is one topic that I am not cert...
  • Rob Price: Excellent information and quite consistent with my experiences since 1999 working with three different software companie...
  • Cosmos: Thank you for the interesting article. FYI - the terms "Severe Sepsis" and "Septicemia" are no longer in common use, ...

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