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Monday Morning Update 12/10/18

December 9, 2018 News 3 Comments

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In England, Health Secretary Matt Hancock bans NHS from buying new fax machines and insists that they be phased out by March 31, 2020.

The Royal College of Surgeons agrees, estimating that NHS still has 8,000 fax machines in service.

Here we hospital people thought we were being cutting edge by moving to multifunction devices that at least bundled faxing with printing and scanning. On the other hand, if a business case exists for using something other than fax, they would already be gone.

Reader Comments

From Digital Debonair: “Re: paging systems. A Texas hospital found that Epic-issued consult pages were not being delivered if the message size exceeded character limits – 280 characters for pagers, 160 for mobile phones. The hospital limited Epic’s ‘reason for consult’ field to 100 characters and added an alert to the intended recipient’s mobile device when the limit is exceeded. Once again, technology’s unintended consequences bring us to the least common denominator instead of fixing the problem by breaking the message into segments or getting the communications vendors to increase their character limits. It’s fascinating that each hospital has to discover and solve this problem on their own. Sigh … we have so many miles to go.” Unverified, but the hospital’s email warning to the medical staff was attached. I verified that Sprint and Verizon have 160-character limits, while ATT breaks messages into multiple 160-character segments automatically. SMS stands for “short message service,” so perhaps the real problem is that hospitals try to use that service for something for which it was not intended (not short, in other words) regardless of the convenience of doing so. There’s also the question of whether PHI should be sent over SMS instead of via an encrypted messaging app that could also provide a larger character limit.

From Wan Complexion: “Re: Most Wired. You didn’t list the winners.” I don’t see the point, even as someone who has run IT in organizations that won. We should judge health systems on outcomes, cost, and consumer focus, not on using tools that should drive those results (but usually don’t). I ate at a McDonald’s and it was still awful despite (or perhaps because of) an enviable arsenal of enterprise-wide technology. By “Most Wired” standards, I should have loved it.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Poll respondents fear that Amazon will use the medical data they can get to influence their buying habits, although to be honest I’d trust Amazon a ton more than Google or Facebook since Amazon’s business model involves moving merchandise, not serving up ads that clearly were chosen using information those companies really shouldn’t have.

New poll to your right or here: should hospitals be prohibited from using fax machines? Vote and then click the poll’s “comments” link to explain.

I’m questioning those frantically gesticulating TV weather people who this weekend are milking camera time with what they call a “winter storm,” “winter weather,” and of course the inevitable “wintry mix.” It’s not winter until December 21, although I recognize that the less-hysterical “fall storm” won’t keep hunkered-down eyeballs glued to the TV commercials and the result isn’t any different regardless of what the calendar says.

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Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

Allscripts shares hit a 52-week low last week, having shed 34 percent in the past three months. Anonymous posters on TheLayoff.com claim that around 80 percent of the 1,700 McKesson EIS people who joined Allscripts with the acquisition 14 months ago are no longer there.

IBM sells off several software lines to an India-based company, among them Lotus Notes/Domino, which should elicit hope from IBM’ers who have been stuck on that unpopular platform while the rest of the world moved on. Maybe they’ll replace it with GroupWise.


Medication reminder technology vendor MyMeds issues a press release whose headline appears to be intentionally misleading, dutifully picked up by some crappy health IT sites as a “partnership” between the company and Mayo Clinic. Plowing through the fluff reveals the actual development – the app will offer users Mayo Clinic’s drug information (for which I assume the company is paying). Any resemblance to “teaming up” appears to be coincidental.

InterSystems releases a cloud-hosted version of its TrackCare EHR for hospitals in the UAE and Middle East, licensed in a pay-per-usage model.

Hill-Rom’s newest hospital bed will include FDA-approved sensors for monitoring heart and respiratory rates, checking vital signs 100 times per minute and alerting nurses of abnormalities. The price was not announced, but the company’s traditional bed is among the most expensive with a list price of $20,000.


  • Northside Hospital System (GA) replaced Allscripts with Cerner in October 2018.
  • Gifford Medical Center (VT) went live on EClinicalWorks in April 2018, replacing Evident.

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

Announcements and Implementations

Citizens Memorial Hospital (MO) upgrades to Meditech Expanse.

Hospital Sisters Health System integrates Epic with SeamlessMD’s patient engagement solution using SMART on FHIR. 

Government and Politics

Six pain management doctors in Michigan are charged with insurance fraud and unjustified opiate prescribing in submitting $464 million in phony insurance claims.



Here’s an interesting tweet from Apple CEO Tim Cook. I’m not sure the silver bullet for people managing their health lives inside of an IPhone, but I’m sure a citation-desperate academic will compare life expectancy of IOS and Android users vs. a control group of non-cell users.

An article by Penn’s Wharton School weighs in on Amazon’s announcement that it will mine unstructured patient data using AI and machine learning in its Comprehend Medical program, saying the service could:

  • Empower consumers.
  • Deliver new insights, particularly with regard to radiology, and connect people with clinical trials.
  • Allow insurers to deny enrollment of patients with potentially expensive conditions.
  • Lighten the workload of doctors.
  • Erode physician loyalty as patients could manage their own medical information or choose to share information with competitors such as retail clinics.
  • Replace consultants who perform custom predictive analytics for individual clinical conditions.
  • Raise questions about data accuracy, especially if consumers are allowed to add or change their information.
  • Cause major problems if Amazon were to be breached.
  • Raise questions of who’s paying the bill for the Amazon service.
  • Lure clinicians into becoming overly reliant on technologies instead of learning, improving, and questioning how the models work.

A ProPublica report finds that journal articles written by physician researchers often don’t disclose the money they’re paid by drug and medical device companies as required, with the medical journals doing little checking of their own. Among them is the dean of Yale’s medical school, the president-elect of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the president of clinical operations at Sarah Cannon Research Institute. The reports didn’t have to dig all that deeply – they simply looked up compensation as reported to CMS’s Open Payments Database and compared that to the disclosures section of published articles.

Weird News Andy says this patient hacked up a lung, kinda. A patient coughs up what looks like a bright red, leafless tree, which turned out to be a six-inch-wide blood clot formed in his right bronchial tree (and now you can see how apt that name is). I’ll spare you the photo just in case you’re eating  breakfast since it’s both fascinating and disturbing.

Sponsor Updates

  • Liaison Technologies awards its Data-Inspired Future Scholarship to BYU dual-major student Andrew Pulsipher.
  • Loyale Healthcare introduces the Patient Financial Bill of Rights.
  • Mobile Heartbeat will exhibit at the ONL Winter Meeting December 14 in Burlington, MA.
  • National Decision Support Co. and Redox will exhibit at the IHI National Forum December 9-12 in Orlando.
  • NextGate launches a fundraising campaign to help customer HealtheConnect Alaska recover from the earthquake.
  • Netsmart will exhibit at the TAMHO Annual Conference December 11 in Franklin, TN.
  • The Business Gist features Sansoro Health CEO Jeremy Pierotti in a new video, “The challenge of sharing medical records.”
  • New data from Surescripts shows that its benefit optimization tools have saved patients as much as $8,032 in out-of-pocket costs on a single prescription.
  • Vocera launches three leadership councils to accelerate healthcare transformation.
  • ZappRx will exhibit at Advances in IBD December 13-15 in Orlando.
  • Healthwise discusses why its partnership with ZeOmega benefits clients.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. It IS a winter storm … meteorological winter is defined by “weather folks” as the three coldest months of the year …. in the northern hemisphere that’s December, January and February

    • Thanks! You provided my “today I learned” item for the day, and one I will surely remember. I had no idea that meteorologists had that kind of power to ignore the astronomical calendar and make up their own, but their labeling of seasons in three-month segments makes perfect sense. Plus their way means spring will come sooner.

  2. The terms “winter weather, “winter weather,” “winter weather advisory, and “winter storm warning,” are defined by the National Weather Service. So technically, winter weather can happen in July.

    According to Wikipedia: A Winter Weather Advisory is issued by the National Weather Service of the United States when a low pressure system produces a combination of winter weather (snow, freezing rain, or sleet) that presents a hazard, but does not meet warning criteria.

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