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Weekender 10/5/18

October 5, 2018 Weekender 3 Comments


Weekly News Recap

  • Cerner announces the partner companies that will serve on its VA EHR modernization team
  • Change Healthcare is reportedly preparing for a 2019 IPO that will value the company at up to $12 billion
  • A new Pew Charitable Trusts report on patient matching offers potential approaches that include unique patient identifiers that incorporate biometrics, placing more onus on the patient through verification via text message, and standardizing data elements
  • GE’s board fires Chairman and CEO John Flannery after just over a year on the job, potentially disrupting the company’s plans to spin off GE Healthcare
  • VA OIG is reviewing last year’s manual cancellation of 250,000 radiology orders across eight hospitals during a push to remove duplicate and outdated requests, raising concern that some of the studies might have been medically necessary or had been entered as future orders that had not expired
  • Orion Health shareholders approve the company’s plan to sell its only profitable division, which offers the Rhapsody integration engine, to a private equity firm that will run it as a private company
  • The former CEO of Singapore’s SingHealth’s IT services organization testifies about its massive data breach that she fired an employee who discovered a security vulnerability in Allscripts Sunrise Clinical Manager after he emailed Epic to suggest using his information competitively, but she didn’t take action on the vulnerability because she assumed Allscripts had already fixed it

Best Reader Comments

I, too vividly remember the rapturous articles, books, and memoirs about GE’s Jack Welch back in the day. Creating a durable corporate culture of high performance, customer service, and as a consequence, superior profitability was supposed to be the magic formula for success. The leader doesn’t matter (as much)! The macroeconomic climate doesn’t matter (as much)! The lines of business don’t matter (as much)! The theory being, good people were attracted to such organizations and all obstacles could thereby be overcome. Culture was supposed to “eat strategy for lunch.” I wonder if the Harvard Business Review has ever published a mea culpa on this or any thesis whatsoever? (Brian Too)

I am a physician and worked briefly for a health IT company whose single-minded focus was on patient safety — at least that is what the slick website said. When you got behind closed doors, the single-minded focus was on money. They rolled out products that internal developers said were not ready for the market. The product was unstable and could harm people. Brilliant management wanted to get updates out so they could boast about their latest product. There is plenty of greed out there. The other term for it is capitalism. For better or worse, that is the system we choose to live in. But if we are going to point out the greed and highly questionable ethics amongst doctors and pharmaceutical companies, lets do the same for health IT as well. (Anon)

Cash-strapped hospitals aren’t the reason that Orion Health went over the cliff. They scaled and bloated the company based on the state HIE market that had no sustainable financial model. Add to that they rarely delivered (because it’s big software = complex implementations) customers started to bail. (Iknowaguy)

There’s nothing described here I haven’t seen countless times before. What would be educational from you and/or someone else contributing to this website would be more reporting from the legal front, specifically cases of, or statistics involving the effect in depositions and trials of the sort of autocomplete/ cut and paste / incorrect voice transcription issues that you describe. Are plaintiffs lawyers actually using these sorts of mistakes to discredit defendants in front of juries, i.e. OK, you admit that’s false, where else in the record were you lying, doctor? (Robert D. Lafsky, MD)

The Epic installation appears to have been immensely profitable for Erlanger. Epic has many features which enable and facilitate upcoding. As a psychologist, I received a cover letter describing the enclosure on one of my shared patients as a “brief progress note.” It was eight pages of legible medical jargon which obfuscated what was done by the clinician. It was comprehensive everything, enabling maximal billing. Is it any wonder that costs of the healthcare system have increased? (Karen Kegman, PhD)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits

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Readers funded the DonorsChoose teacher grant request of Ms. K in Kansas, who asked for a Little Scholar tablet, fabric letters, a sentence building set, and a Ten-Frame Treasures. She reports, “Thank you so much for providing great learning tools to my students. One of their favorites is the Little Scholar Tablet. My lower students really benefit from having the preschool and kindergarten apps to play and learn from. The students have been able to grab the tablet and get on a game without any help from me. This has been awesome because I don’t have to stop helping students with their worksheets and lessons to help those get on an app.”

A woman shot in the Route 91 Harvest Festival leaves the hospital a year after she was admitted. She underwent 12 surgeries to repair damage to her liver, spleen, and stomach.

Police shoot and kill an ED patient at Orlando Regional Medical Center after he threatens staff, falsely claiming that he had a gun.


The New Yorker questions why FDA approved the marketing of menstrual cycle tracking app Natural Cycles as “digital birth control” despite its high failure rate in Sweden, supporting studies that were small and funded by the company, and effectiveness that is predicated on users entering their temperatures correctly each day and following a program that differs little from old-school rhythm method paper tracking. Title X changes are expected to roll back ACA rules, moving federal dollars to clinics that don’t offer the most effective birth control options of condoms, hormonal contraception, or IUDs and instead recommend abstinence or fertility tracking such as that supported by Natural Cycles.


The VA rates nine of its hospitals as the worst in its system, earning a one-star score. Five of those have been cellar-dwellers for three straight years. As is the case with hospitals, the potentially most-beneficial technology tool for patients might be the car or jet that takes them away from:

  • Big Spring, TX
  • Decatur, GA
  • El Paso, TX
  • Loma Linda, CA
  • Memphis, TN
  • Montgomery, AL
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Washington, DC


Nobel Prize winner Leon Lederman, who created the physics concept of a “God particle” later discovered as the Higgs boson, dies at 96 after being forced to sell his Nobel medal at auction in 2015 to pay for medical bills and nursing home care.


Iowa insurance agents will start selling less-expensive but unregulated health plans from Iowa Farm Bureau, which can exclude people with pre-existing conditions or charge them higher premiums. Lifetime benefits will be capped at $3 million. The plans go on sale November 1, the same day ACA open enrollment begins, leading to concerns about consumer confusion. The plans aren’t technically insurance – they are not regulated and policyholders have no recourse to protest insurer decisions. The plans look great on paper, at least, and use Wellmark Blue’s HMO network and prescription coverage. A big, lightly-noted hole even beyond pre-existing condition coverage, however, is that policyholders are on the hook for ACA-prohibited balance billing by out-of-network providers, which could be just about anyone you see wearing scrubs in an in-network hospital.


Axios reporter Bob Herman notes that attending the AMA’s RVS Update Committee (RUC) – whose rules are used to set Medicare’s payment policies – as a journalist requires signing a confidentiality agreement that prohibits all attendees from disclosing potential CPT code changes, anything the committee talks about, and the names of committee members. AMA says the requirement prevents market speculation and the protection of its proprietary information.


The FBI releases a Physical Fitness Test app for aspiring agents that includes a privacy warning that users “are subject to having all of their activities monitored and recorded.”


Employees of St. Luke’s Hospital (ID) line the halls leading from the ICU to the OR in the hospital’s traditional, silent “Walk of Respect” that honors an organ-donating patient on their way to having their life support system turned off and their organs harvested.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. “Nobel Prize winner Leon Lederman, who created the physics concept of a “God particle” later discovered as the Higgs boson, dies at 96 after being forced to sell his Nobel statue at auction in 2015 to pay for medical bills and nursing home care.”

    Not to quibble but isn’t it a Nobel medal and not a statue?

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Reader Comments

  • Vaporware?: Mr. H, you can add this little propaganda gem to your file of Top 10 Euphemisms (emphasis mine). You have one of those f...
  • Fred: Epic's response to burnout is precious. Yes, everyone is happy and challenged, excluding of course the thousands who hav...
  • Brian Too: Any complex software that you spend a lot of time in, you'd better learn it well. Most people do that but if you invest...
  • AC: I don't believe they give you raw click numbers yet (only PEP/NEAT score), although I think Feb 2019 release is bringing...
  • Dodele: We use Cerner's Lights On and Advance data extensively. There is a wealth of valuable information and it is continuousl...
  • Epic User: As someone that actually tried to dig into the details of Epic's signal data, I quickly became underwhelmed. No click co...
  • Frustrated Patient: " suggesting that my providers don’t really want to open up a can of medical worms by asking how I’m doing overall e...
  • AC: That's good to hear. So the major vendors have worked on this and provided tools. The question now becomes are organizat...
  • Associate CIO: Re: EHR internal timers and event log monitoring Cerner has this as well, it is called the Lights On Network. A curr...
  • Bob: Liked - "The jammed interoperability floodgates would magically open by Labor Day if their payments depended on it."...

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