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October 21, 2018 News 2 Comments

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Stat reports that Deborah DiSanzo, general manager of IBM Watson Health for the past three years, will leave her role.

DiSanzo will be replaced by SVP John Kelly III, PhD, who wrote a defense of Watson Health in an August 2018 blog post in which he refuted an unflattering article by The Wall Street Journal.

DiSanzo will take a demotion to the strategy team of IBM Cognitive Solutions.

IBM announced last week that earnings from its cognitive offerings were down 6 percent year over year, although it said Watson Health is growing.

Reader Comments


From Vaporware?: “Re: VA’s Cerner contract. Kudos to them for transparency in listing what they bought, but it looks like they and the VA will be running different systems. Also, DoD didn’t purchase CommonWell even though 60 percent of care happens outside MHS.” The VA’s list of which Cerner systems it and the DoD bought in their respective contracts reveals quite a few differences, some of them understandable due to the types of services offered. DoD skipped quite a few modules that while not useful in battlefield hospitals, would seem to have a place in the dependent care that makes up much of its volume. The DoD passed on modules for cardiology, gastroenterology, CommonWell, most of population health management, integrated radiology dictation, and all transaction services except for automated messaging. I didn’t realize that CommonWell is something you have to buy as an upfront cost, although its documentation says that health IT vendors may charge “commodity-like” fees. Cerner previously pledged not to charge users until at least through the end of 2019.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Most of us might make our living advocating medical standardization, use of technology, and applying patient care experience to our own situation, but poll respondents don’t find those to be positives when choosing our own doctor, instead valuing participative decision-making. Debtor concludes, “Here is the problem with the concept of socialized medicine in the United States. Even among an informed group, we put personal patient ‘concerns’ and ‘decisions’ ahead of evidence-based guidelines and vetted treatment protocols. I fully support your right to have concerns and make decisions about your own health,  but I’d prefer not to pay for them if they’re not supported by science.” Matt says, “We get a ton of policy push in healthcare, which we’ve seen create its own echo-chamber to the detriment (in some very real cases) of beneficial practice. It runs its course until the downstream consequences create push back and the the policy is pulled back, which creates a difficult environment for real and helpful innovation.”

New poll to your right or here: where do you keep locally stored copies of your medical information?


Only 20 percent of providers are using biometric patient identification, with most of the remaining 80 percent saying either there’s no business case for it or because they haven’t really thought about it. They aren’t really worried about patient perception or hacker concerns. Industry Analyst Supporter of Biometrics approves “perception deception” in using phones as the biometric reader, adding, “Most folks don’t blink about their biometrics being the vehicle to access their iPads and phones, but feel that their privacy and security regulated healthcare provider asking is too invasive.” Ed A warns of potential lawsuits for providers that fail to follow laws like the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act that require obtaining patient consent and following requirements for biometric use and retention. XCIO’s health system employer biometrically verifies identity in registration areas to reduce duplicate records, insurance fraud, and inaccurate patient billing. 


October 30 (Tuesday) 2:00 ET. “How One Pediatric CIN Aligned Culture, Technology and the Community to Transform Care.” Presenters: Lisa Henderson, executive director, Dayton Children’s Health Partners; Shehzad Saeed, MD, associate chief medical officer, Dayton Children’s Health Partners; Mason Beard, solutions strategy leader, Philips PHM; Gabe Orthous, value-based care consultant, Himformatics. Sponsor: Philips PHM. Dayton Children’s Health Partners, a pediatric clinically integrated network, will describe how it aligned its internal culture, technology partners, and the community around its goal of streamlining care delivery and improving outcomes. Presenters will describe how it recruited network members, negotiated value-based contracts, and implemented a data-driven care management process.

November 7 (Wednesday) 3:00 ET. “Opioid Crisis: What One Health Plan is Doing About It.” Presenter: Samuel DiCapua, DO, chief medical director, New Hampshire Health Families; and chief medical officer, Casenet. Sponsor: Casenet. This webinar will describe how managed care organization NH Health Families is using innovative programs to manage patients who are struggling with addiction and to help prevent opioid abuse.

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


  • Lavaca Medical Center (TX) went live on Cerner in April 2018
  • Pershing Memorial Hospital (MO) will go live on Cerner in June 2019
  • Kennedy Health System (NJ) will replace Cerner with Epic in 2019
  • Hutchinson Health Hospital (MN) will replace Microsoft Dynamics GP with Infor for financial and supply chain management in October 2018

These provider-reported updates are supplied by Definitive Healthcare, which offers a free trial of its powerful intelligence on hospitals, physicians, and healthcare providers.



GetWellNetwork hires Sameer Siraj (Optum) as chief product officer.

Announcements and Implementations

A new Black Book report on HIM-related technologies names these winners:

  • Nuance (end-to-end coding, clinical documentation improvement, and health information management solutions in both inpatient and ambulatory settings; CDI software)
  • Optum360 (coding and CAC outsourcing)
  • MModal (document capture and transcription)
  • 3M (coding consulting, document imaging)
  • Dolbey (medical speech recognition)
  • Revspring (patient communications and financial satisfaction)
  • Recondo (patient identification and tracking)


Patients who are involved in “non-emergent” ED visits exhibit the same symptoms as ED-appropriate visits 88 percent of the time, an analysis concludes, so it’s probably not reasonable for insurers to demand that patients make an accurate ED-or-not decision. One in six ED visits could be avoided by warning patients that their insurance won’t pay for a non-emergent visits, but such a policy would also discourage the 40 percent of those patients who have ED-appropriate symptoms from going there.

A study finds that hospitals accredited by Joint Commission deliver no better patient outcomes than those certified by other private groups, while hospitals with only a state survey accreditation perform just as well as any of them.

Sponsor Updates

  • Lightbeam Health Solutions publishes a new white paper, “Data-Driven Solutions Providers and Payers Need for Value-Based Care Alignment.”
  • LiveProcess will exhibit at the Health Care Association of New Jersey event October 23-25 in Atlantic City.
  • Meditech releases a new video, “Palo Pinto Mobile Clinic Uses Meditech Ambulatory to Bridge Care Gaps.”
  • Clinical Computer Systems, developer of the Obix Perinatal Data System, will exhibit at the HMHB Annual Meeting & Conference October 22-23 in Atlanta.
  • OmniSys will exhibit at the McKesson Pharmacy Systems Chain & Health System User Conference October 23-24 in Pittsburgh.
  • The SSI Group will exhibit at the MAPAM Annual Fall Conference October 22-23 in South Yarmouth, MA.
  • Surescripts and ZeOmega will exhibit at the 2018 CAHP Annual Conference October 22-24 in San Diego.

Blog Posts


Mr. H, Lorre, Jenn, Dr. Jayne.
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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Very nice of IBM to allow Deb DeSanzo to keep her job and take a demotion despite her lack of success in turning the corner. I wonder how the thousands of IBM’ers who were laid off at the end of each quarter the past three years when the numbers weren’t good feel about this. While IBM finally broke a 22 quarter loss streak in the 4th quarter of 2017 showing a whopping 3.6% growth (none in healthcare BTW) the annual losses were 79.14B, the worst results since 1997. Deb is a very nice person but as they said in the Godfather “It’s not personal, it’s business”

    As for John Kelly’s blog why do it internally on a IBM/Watson Health site? Why not publically address the NY Tiimes in the NYT? I;m sure they would give you the forum. And if you followed the news on HISTalk and other e-zines Memorial Sloan Kettering and IBM have been called into question about their “cozy” relationship.

    lastly, if you are going to mention IBM’s involvement in “the creation of the world’s first commercial computer, putting man on the moon, or more recently developing the fastest and smartest supercomputer on the planet” don;t forget the role IBM played in the Holiocaust as well as Edwin Black’s book so clearly showed. That’s what I call going “all in” to make a buck. Have another glass of Kool- Aid John…. and good luck with the turnaround.

  2. re: free CommonWell pledge – It’s easy to not charge for something that nobody uses.

    Can we please pass a law that the DoD and VA are banned from talking about their vision for leading the nation toward interoperability? The idea that they didn’t even TRY is both disgraceful and embarrassing.

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