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Weekender 9/28/18

September 28, 2018 Weekender No Comments


Weekly News Recap

  • VA Secretary Robert Wilkie tells the Senate VA Committee that he and representatives at the DoD are working to create a “single point of authority” for their respective EHR projects with Cerner
  • CNBC reports that two private equity firms and one strategic buyer have expressed interest in acquiring Athenahealth, but at a per-share price that carries no premium
  • Several provider organizations develop Health Record Request Wizard, an online tool that walks patients through submitting a request to providers for electronic copies of their medical records
  • CenTrak acquires the security solutions assets of Elpas Solutions, which include infant protection, wireless call, staff duress, man down, and wander management
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center leadership defends itself to its employees following reports that it gave for-profit AI startup Paige.AI exclusive access to its 25 million pathology slides in return for an equity stake for itself and several MSKCC executives
  • MITRE partners with Intermountain Healthcare, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and ASCO’s CancerLinq subsidiary to develop a set of cancer data elements culled from EHRs that will help providers make better treatment decisions at the point of care
  • Ochsner Health System (LA) and LSU Health Shreveport will invest in EHR, digital health, and telemedicine enhancements as part of a new joint operations agreement

Best Reader Comments

The influence of social determinants on community wellness is influencing a surge in community-based coalitions. In support of this recognition, we need predictive analytics, patient monitoring approaches that extend beyond care navigation outreach – including all the author calls out above and more, EHR’s that have real estate for care collaboration along the recovery process, and processes in place that will take in patient provided data so that care teams can make timely decisions on treatment plans. (Lauren McDevitt)

Nice to see folks starting to understand the connection between life in general and the 15 minutes the doctor spends with the patient in the clinic. Creating a network of social services that includes the healthcare system is our only hope. We don’t want to alert the doctor! If your AI is really AI, then the machine should be able to alert the person who can take action. This could be the social worker on the care team, the entity who is holding risk on the patient, the minister, etc. You can’t take all the social services needs and dump them on the clinical team – that will just lead to more disaster. (Lee Blanco)

It was always an incorrect extrapolation to assume that because survival of a subgroup with coronary disease improves with aspirin that everybody’s survival does. You’re not pointing out a failure of evidence-based medicine. You’re pointing out a failure of medicine to follow evidence. (Robert D. Lafsky, MD)

I have to guess that most healthcare provider organizations and related EHR vendors still are not aware that in 2008, PDF became an international, OPEN standard (ISO 32000-1, Document Management – Portable Document Format – PDF 1.7). As such, PDF has been recognized worldwide as the most reliable, flexible, and feature-rich document format for information exchange because it supports and manages any type of file format, including structured data, text, graphics, x-rays, and video that are used in the healthcare industry. However, what saddens me is that for the past 10 years, healthcare provider organizations and related EHR vendors still are not familiar with the attributes of the DYNAMIC format of the PDF document (NOT the static format, with which all users are familiar, including the above user and EHR vendor). This is probably one reason why PDF Healthcare, a 2010 Best Practices Guide (BPG) supplemented by an Implementation Guide (IG) (i.e., PDF-H was never a proposed standard) was never accepted by the healthcare information technology industry. (Woodstock Generation)

I applaud your comment of “doing as doctors often do in shooting the EHR vendor messenger without realizing that it wasn’t them who made the workflow decisions” because this is the primary reason that most EHRs are not as “intuitive” or “usable” as we would like. I have frequently seen that the decision of one person or group has deleterious effect on others using the system. I’ve also seen situations where the vendor will speak up and tell the decision-makers that this would not be a good workflow and the decision remains unchanged. (Paulette Fraser)

This MSK-Paige.AI deal seems to be a case of the a total absence of governance and due process. How such a sweet deal for founders, board, and MSK to profit from slides can pass regulators is unfathomable. (AI-Bot)

The AI/ML companies need someone clinical to provide them their training cases, and the executives mistakenly think the data isn’t worth anything since it’s just “sitting there.” Lots of AI/ML companies are getting away with a treasure trove of valuable data very inexpensively. (DrM)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits

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Readers funded the DonorsChoose teacher grant request of Ms. B in Mississippi, who asked for telescopes, microscopes, and science experiment kits for her fifth grade Super Scientist project, in which a weekly “Scientist of the Week” takes home resources to complete a project with their family and then reports back to the class. She says, “It has truly been a blessing to teach fifth grade science, and with your help, they can learn so much more at the convenience of their own home. It allows them to share education with their siblings and parents. You can actually see the importance of it and the responsibility they have had with the items from this project. I couldn’t thank you enough and promise you this will bless a child for many years to come.”

An MIT researcher observes that connected home intelligence devices — such as Amazon Echo and Google Home – seem to be offsetting social isolation that is especially problematic among older adults. He notes that half of people 65 and over surveyed in the UK said their main form of company is the TV, concluding,

In the absence of a warm-blooded alternative, even a brief interaction with a “voice” that serves, interacts, and responds every time, all the time, may someday transform our collective perception of AI from that of a simple tool that “does stuff” around the house to a presence that is a real part of our social self.

Spotify adds a custom playlist generator based on DNA test results from Ancestry, making the dubious claim that ethnic heritage drives musical preferences.

Rural hospital operator LifePoint Health proposes that four of its executives divvy up $120 million in golden parachute money upon completion of its $5.9 billion acquisition by RCCH HealthCare Partners.


In the latest “marketing gone mad” example, Weight Watchers renames itself WW, claiming itself to be a “true partner in wellness” that will embrace wellness-related apps, online communities, and integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It should come as no surprise that the announcement was made by the company’s “chief brand officer,” who babbled on about the “new articulation of the WW brand” and a new brand identity that  will “come to life across all brand touchpoints and member experiences” as the company emphasizes its expertise in behavioral science . My alternate interpretation is that Americans don’t want to pay a company to remind them they’re fat, so WW will distance itself from that unforgiving metric and instead lay claim to less objectively punitive “health.” Above is the amazingly creative and daring new logo around which all this hubbub orbits. It should be noted that when asked, the company’s president could not explain what WW stands for, and Adweek panned the new “marque” in saying WW is chasing trends from fear of being disrupted.


Renaissance man Patrick Soon-Shiong’s NantEnergy (which I hadn’t heard of among all the health-related Nants) says it has developed a low-cost alternative to lithium-ion batteries that has been deployed to several villages and cell tower sites around the world. An expert says “if this is true, it would be great,” but wants to see evidence and a test of how long the batteries will last.


In Russia, the father of a deceased 25-year-old woman erects a five-foot tall tombstone that resembles her IPhone, crafted by a company that offers” death accessories.”

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Reader Comments

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