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June 5, 2018 News 6 Comments

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Apple releases an API that allows developers to build apps connected to Apple Health Records.

Third-party developers can create IPhone apps that use medical information that is stored in Health Records and HealthKit, which Apple says can connect to 500 hospitals and clinics. Doctors can also integrate the stored patient information into their ResearchKit study apps to replace health questionnaires.

Apple says developers are creating apps for medication tracking, disease management, nutrition planning, and medical research.

Reader Comments

From Over Easy: “Re: Athenahealth. What are the odds that Elliott Management is behind the sudden surfacing of the old domestic news of Jonathan Bush?” I can’t speculate, but Googling turns up accusations that the hedge fund that’s pressuring the company has used shady tactics in the past hoping to discredit resistant CEOs, including hiring investigators to spy on their families and neighbors in hopes of turning up something salacious. The hedge fund denies that it has ever done that. However, the timing of the sudden interest in 12-year-old court documents certainly seems suspicious, especially since they involve divorce and custody proceedings rather than criminal activity.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Designer Kate Spade has died at 55 in an apparent suicide. I mention this only because I received an email from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention asking media to report such events responsibly and to recommend that anyone who needs help call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, so it seems like a good time to get the word out, especially since we have a physician suicide problem in our own industry. 


Here’s a reminder to answer this week’s question if you’re so inclined. It’s a little-understood profession onto which you might shine some light.


June 12 (Tuesday) 2:00 ET. “Blockchain in Healthcare: Why It Matters.” Sponsor: Quest Diagnostics. Presenter: Lidia Fonseca, CIO, Quest Diagnostics. Blockchain technology is gaining traction in many industries, including healthcare. It’s not only a hot topic, but is also showing promise with real-world applications. This webinar will share how blockchain may play a key role in the future of healthcare IT by helping to solve some of the industry’s challenges, distinguishing the hype from reality by discussing how it works, how it can impact healthcare providers, and its future application in healthcare IT.

June 21 (Thursday) noon ET. “Operationalizing Data Science Models in Healthcare.” Sponsor: CitiusTech. Presenters: Yugal Sharma, PhD, VP of data science, CitiusTech; Vinil Menon, VP of enterprise applications proficiency, CitiusTech. As healthcare organizations are becoming more adept at developing models, building the skills required to manage, validate, and deploy these models efficiently remains a challenging task. We define operationalization as the process of managing, validating, and deploying models within an organization. Several industry best practices, along with frameworks and technology solutions, exist to address this challenge. An understanding of this space and current state of the art is crucial to ensure efficient use and consumption of these models for relevant stakeholders in the organization. This webinar will give an introduction and overview of these key areas, along with examples and case studies to demonstrate the value of various best practices in the healthcare industry.

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

Here’s the recording of Tuesday’s webinar titled “Increase Referrals and Patient Satisfaction with a Smarter ‘Find a Doctor’ Web Search.”

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Microsoft acquires open source repository GitHub for $7.5 billion in stock. The company, whose income is generated by charging enterprise customers for private repositories, has never made a profit. Developers are apparently already fleeing the platform on rumors that Microsoft – which once called the open operating system Linux “a cancer” — was taking over. GitHub was valued at just $2 billion in 2015. VC Andreessen Horowitz will make over $1 billion on the sale from its $100 million investment in 2012.


Teladoc acquires virtual visit provider Advance Medical for $352 million. The Westwood, MA-based Advance Medical is the leading virtual care provider outside the US.


Teladoc shares are up 61 percent in the past year vs. the Nasdaq’s 22 percent rise, valuing the company at $3.4 billion despite increasing annual losses.


  • Advocare will replace GE Centricity with EClinicalWorks for its 600 providers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
  • Estonia’s Tartu University Hospital joins the TriNetX global research network to expand its clinical trials population internationally.
  • North Mississippi Health Services selects Mercy Technology Services to install Epic’s ambulatory EHR.
  • Johns Hopkins Medicine will implement the Voalte Platform at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and Sibley Memorial Hospital for voice calling, secure text messaging, and alarm management.
  • Children’s Hospital Colorado chooses Mediware’s blood management solutions.
  • Lawrence General Hospital (MA) selects Santa Rosa Consulting as its Meditech Expanse implementation partner.



Adam McMullin (Voalte) joins pharmacy technology vendor FDS as CEO.

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Cantata Health promotes Jonathan Isaacs as CEO and hires Krista Endsley (Abila) as president.


Columbia University nursing and biomedical informatics professor Suzanne Bakken, RN, PhD is named editor-in-chief of JAMIA.

Announcements and Implementations


Penn State Health St. Joseph goes live on Cerner.


Ciox Health announces GA of HealthSource, a cloud-based clinical information-sharing platform that can extract information from disparate health records using artificial intelligence, optical character recognition, and natural language processing. Three modules were also announced: Clarity (release of information), Smart Chart (medical records aggregation into a longitudinal profile), and Vault (a patient- and provider-centric data repository). 


InstaMed publishes its annual healthcare payments trends report, with these findings:

  • 75 percent of Americans question the value they receive from the nation’s $10,400 per capita cost of healthcare
  • 65 percent of consumers say they would change providers to obtain a better payments experience
  • 58 percent of providers rely on statements to collect patient money owed as “paper is the sandpaper of healthcare”
  • Consumer out-of-pocket spending is growing rapidly to a projected $608 billion as high-deductible health plans and ever-increasing deductibles become common
  • Annual health insurance premiums have risen to an average of nearly $19,000
  • Nearly three-fourths of consumers can’t make sense of EOBs or bills and only nine percent of them can define the basic health insurance concepts of premium, deductible, co-insurance, and out-of-pocket maximum
  • More people (40 percent) fear the cost of illness more than the illness itself
  • Only 21 percent of consumers regularly use their provider’s patient portal
  • 80 percent of consumers want to check in for provider visits on their phones and 65 percent would use a phone app to pay medical bills as mobile payments have increased to 24 percent of the total
  • The survey found strong increases in the use of online payments, digital wallets, and automatic payment plans

Imprivata launches Mobile Device Access for fast clinical mobile device authentication.


Mary Meeker’s influential Internet trends report finds that:

  • Smartphone sales and Internet user growth have slowed as more than half the world is connected, but people are spending even more time online, with US adults averaging 5.9 hours per day
  • People are spending more on healthcare, which may drive improvements in office convenience, digitized transactions, and on-demand pharmacy services
  • The reach of digital payments is increasing
  • Data and data-driven personalization can be an important driver of customer satisfaction
  • Social media discovery is driving some product sales
  • Return on ad spending is going down, with “customer lifetime value” receiving more emphasis as a result
  • Household debt is at its highest historical level as consumers spend more on housing, insurance, and healthcare but less on food, entertainment, and clothing


Florida Hospital will develop a clinical operations command center for its nine campuses using GE Healthcare’s AI-powered Wall of Analytics.

ZappRx expands its partnership with prior authorization services vendor PARx Solutions to cover gastroenterology, rheumatology, and neurology.

Government and Politics


The Defense Department’s OIG is investigating allegations about White House physician and one-time VA secretary nominee Ronny Jackson, MD, who has been accused of improperly providing sleeping pills, drinking on the job, and violating the privacy of the wife of VP Mike Pence by sharing her medical information with other providers.

The Department of Justice charges two nurse practitioners and a surgery technician with opioid distribution after they allegedly sold prescriptions that they wrote on a doctor’s stolen prescription pad. DOJ also announces that a 65-year-old family practitioner in North Carolina who also ran an office-based opioid treatment has pleaded guilty to trading opiate prescriptions for sex with at least seven female patients, billing Medicare and Medicaid along the way for office visits that didn’t actually happen.


An HHS OIG investigation finds that even though the number of Medicare Part D prescriptions for brand name drugs dropped 17 percent from 2011 to 2015, drug companies made 77 percent more money as they simply raised prices at six times the inflation rate, which then automatically raised Medicare’s cost since it is based as a percentage of list price.



The 514 residents of Surprise Valley, CA grapple with whether to sell the town’s one-bed, bankrupt hospital to the 34-year-old owner of nutraceutical companies who wants to use it for billing insurance companies for lab tests and telemedicine visits. He already loaned the hospital district $2.5 million to allow the hospital to buy one of his businesses, allowing him to advertise that it’s a wholly-owned subsidiary of the hospital and to keep 80 percent of the resulting lab billing profits. The bankrupt hospital tried a similar arrangement last year with EmpowerHMS, which it says abandoned the hospital after facilities it owned were accused of billing at least $175 million for lab services to patients who weren’t seen at those locations.


A Stanford Medicine survey of 500 EHR-using primary care doctors finds that:

  • Two-thirds of them think EHRs have improved care and say they’re at least somewhat satisfied with their systems
  • 59 percent think EHRs should be overhauled
  • More than half say that using an EHR detracts from their satisfaction and clinical effectiveness
  • A 20-minute patient visit involves 12 minutes of interaction, eight minutes with the EHR, and another 11 minutes of after-visit EHR time
  • Suggested short-term improvements are EHR user interface redesign, shifting work to support staff, and using voice recorders as scribes
  • Suggested long-term improvements are improving interoperability, using predictive analytics, and integrating patient cost information into the EHR


“Bad Blood” author and Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou partially blames business-friendly Arizona for the “giant, unauthorized experiment” in which Theranos used its faulty technology to process blood samples collected from patients at Walgreens in the company’s original “wellness center” rollout in Phoenix, also noting that Theranos and its lobbyists convinced state legislators to pass a law that the company mostly wrote itself that allows patients to get blood tests performed without a doctor’s order.


Blount Memorial Hospital (TN) says a “corrupted file” caused a three-day downtime of its physician group’s network in early May, requiring restoring from backups.

Examination of the work computer of former dean of Michigan State University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine – who retired after charges of sexual harassment and failing to oversee child sex abuser Larry Nassar — turns up pornographic images of women wearing MSU Spartan gear.

A consultant says that every state should develop an all-payer claims database to study healthcare trends and to allow building consumer transparency tools for cost and quality. Twenty states are working on them, but the author notes that California – which spends $367 billion per year on healthcare – has rolled out an incomplete system even though it would cost only around $20 million to do it right.


Weird News Andy thinks this idea is dope. California is giving drug users free fentanyl test strips in hopes of reducing overdoses caused by the 40 percent of heroin that contains the powerful narcotic.The Canadian company that sells the $1 strips warns that they were designed to test urine, not drug products, and says the tests shouldn’t give users a false sense of security.

Sponsor Updates

  • Ready Computing offers an off-the-shelf solution that combined InterSystems HealthShare HIE and Clinical Architecture’s Symedical content management to give physicians a graphical view of test results, diagnoses, and treatments.
  • Impact Advisors is named to CRN’s 2018 Solution Provider 500 list.
  • Spok joins Zebra’s PartnerConnect channel partner program.
  • HBI Solutions contributes to a journal article titled “Assessing Statewide All-Cause Future One-Year Mortality: Prospective Study with Implications for Quality of Life, Resource Utilization, and Medical Futility” that features the work of its solutions staff and clients.
  • Change Healthcare, ACO Partner, and BCBS of Arizona announce successful results of a shared savings plan.
  • The Boston Business Journal ranks Definitive Healthcare the 11th fastest growing company in Massachusetts.
  • Nordic is named to Inc. Magazine’s “Best Workplaces” list.
  • AdvancedMD will exhibit at Masters in Ophthalmology June 8-10 in Orlando.
  • Aprima will exhibit at the NJMGMA Practice Management Conference June 6-8 in Atlantic City.
  • Arcadia will exhibit at the Millenium Alliance Healthcare Payers Transformation Assembly June 7 in Marana, AZ.
  • Bernoulli receives the Best Research Paper award from AAMI Journal Awards for the paper, “Continuous Surveillance of Sleep Apnea Patients in a Medical-Surgical Unit.”
  • Burwood Group will exhibit at the NCHICA Academic Medical Center Security & Privacy Conference June 11-12 in Chapel Hill.
  • Centrak will exhibit at APIC 2018 June 13-15 in Minneapolis.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the Value-Based Summit Series Telehealth 2018 June 7-8 in San Diego.
  • FormFast will exhibit at the AZHIMA Annual Meeting June 14-15 in Mesa.
  • Healthfinch will exhibit at the Healthcare Call Center Times event June 13-15 in Pittsburgh.
  • Huntzinger Management Group EVP and Partner William Reed will speak at the Investment and M&A Opportunities in Healthcare Conference June 6 in Nashville.
  • CRN names Impact Advisors to its 2018 Solution Provider 500 list.
  • Intelligent Medical Objects will exhibit at the NextGen Large Client User Group Meeting June 6-8 in Chicago.
  • Kyruus will exhibit at the Healthcare Transformation Summit June 7-8 in Austin, TX.
  • EY names Collective Medical’s Chris Klomp, Adam Green, and Wylie van den Akker Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 Utah Region Award Winners.

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Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. Elliot is absolutely behind the Bush mud-slinging. They hired private investigators to follow him as soon as they became a major shareholder.

    • Are we really going to call it “mud” if its true? Real women are really harmed by things like this.

  2. Yes, dredging up every bad action in one’s past by a third party who wasn’t personally involved for the purpose of affecting public opinion negatively fits the definition of mud-slinging quite well. Especially when both the real women involved stated that they forgave and support him.

    • The writing has been on the wall for Bush since the day Elliott got involved, and it seems very likely that Bush needed this extra coaxing to get him to move. In that sense, exposing his reprehensible behavior was pretext. However, isn’t it shameful that only “business need” was capable of threatening the career of a man who created a frat-like business environment and, by his own admission, repeatedly slammed his fist into his wife’s sternum in the presence of his own child?

      • I guess its trendy now to acknowledge women’s humanity, so that’s the lever Eliot Mgmt is pulling. If a critical mass of women in this country hadn’t screamed “ENOUGH” they would have found something else to get him on. This comes about a decade too late for many people, unfortunately.

    • One woman said that, the other women who have experienced the same or similar haven’t spoken up at all, have they?

      Humiliating women in the workplace isn’t some weird personality quirk that has nothing to do with job performance; it is integral to a person’s ability to lead (viewing > half your workforce as not-completely-human is a liability, in my book) and it sets the model for everyone else’s behavior. If you think those two events are isolated, and limited to just him, you are dead wrong.

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