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May 28, 2019 News 3 Comments

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Cardinal Health makes a $10 million investment in home medical monitoring technology and monitoring services vendor Medically Home Group.

The company says that its remotely monitored “virtual hospital room” that it sets up in the patient’s home saves the 60% of the expense of hospitalization that is related to fixed costs, such as buildings.

Reader Comments

From Hospital Digital Marketer: “Re: Google. Did they ban healthcare systems from posting star ratings for doctors in search results? We pay a lot to our survey vendor to post these on our website, but the stars disappeared after Google updated its search engine results pages.” I’ll invite marketing folks to weigh in since this isn’t something I follow.

From Pendulous Appendages: “Re: management. What eventually happened to your software vendor employer manager who refused to alert customers to a problem that put patients in harm’s way?” I Googled him and turned up nothing, leaving me free to speculate hopefully that karma found him despite his apparent corporate fast track back then. I did locate his boss, the corporate suit who was parachuted into our office as a 20-something newly minted executive assigned to lend his vast knowledge to our failing operation – he later became CEO of several large healthcare companies (one of which he took public, another of which was sold to an especially scummy drug company) and is now an investment company partner. My takeaways from this:

  • The people who end up in charge have the drive, ambition, and personality quirks that set their direction early. They never spent time as programmers, clinicians, or cube-dwellers, having been chosen early on for internships and consulting assignments that skipped the hands-on layer. It doesn’t hurt to be a family friend or relative of a company bigwig.
  • Some of the anointed ones are screaming, petulant psychopaths (the CEO I mentioned above was the poster child for that), while others are generally amiable since they aren’t really emotionally invested in the assignment that they know is just a brief stop on their ascent to the summit. I didn’t mind working for the later-career ones who took the top job as a favor for our investors and therefore were more often bemused than tyrannical in realistically assessing their ability to do anything more than delay the inevitable.
  • They took every job with the next one in mind. Those of us rowing the boat saw a lot of captains come and go. We were happy to see most of them leave, apprehensive about which company man would be sent to our corporate hinterlands to replace them, and full of conflicting thoughts about their jobs and lives versus ours as we passed around the newspaper reports of their opulent home purchases and saw them wheeling their testosterone-boosting sports cars (all but one were male) into their reserved parking spots each day.
  • The rise to the top can be achieved even while running failing, doomed companies as long as you can make their corporate budget contribution look temporarily better than when you arrived (i.e., laying people off, cutting R&D, sunsetting products, increasing maintenance and services fees). This is not a good thing for customers, but then again, having a perpetually money-losing software vendor isn’t sustainable anyway.  
  • The victory lap for circuit-riding CEOs is in venture capital and other investment activity, which lines their pockets even more than running companies.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests

I occupied some of my time over the long weekend with binge-watching: all but the final couple of episodes of ”What/If” and continued progress on “Justified,” both of which I recommend for unchallenging yet engrossing entertainment. Next up is “High Seas.” It’s fun that so many series are available on the streaming services we use (Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime) that when someone asks you what you’re watching or vice versa there’s an 80% chance the other person hasn’t heard of it, unlike the old “three networks” days when everybody talked about the same shows. I didn’t realize until getting engrossed in “Justified” that it’s an old series, having run on FX from 2010 to 2015, magically reborn to feed the streaming beast. 

I was browsing on my Chromebook as I often do (because it’s light and small, just right for a break in the easy chair) when I recalled that Microsoft Office 365 contains fully functional Web versions of the suite (Word, Excel, OneDrive, etc. – everything except Access) that run just fine on it. I could do nearly everything I do on a full Windows desktop on the Chromebook, although “nearly” still prevents a full switch. I suppose I could just get a small, lightweight laptop for these situations, such as a Surface, but I don’t really need one.


Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Google Cloud. Solutions include unified, HIPAA-compliant and HITRUST CSF-certified data storage with Cloud Healthcare API access; the BigQuery managed, server-less data warehouse; the Cloud Machine Learning Engine and TensorFlow for building and training custom models; collaboration tools such as the G Suite productivity suite and Chromebooks; and Cloud Healthcare API and Apigee Healthcare APIx to bridge systems and applications with FHIR and DICOM support. Customers include Cleveland Clinic (extending its EHR and performing analytics via APIs); Lahey Health (collaboration); Hunterdon Healthcare (collaboration); and Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine (data warehouse for patient and genetic data for personalized diagnoses and treatment as well as research). Rush University Medical Center powers its MyRush app with Google Cloud, improving customer experience and patient outcomes with API-enabled services, use of 250 analytics variables, and management of the access gateway with OAuth, validation policies, and traffic management. Google Cloud offers a free tier that provides everything from storage to development tools, APIs, and analytics. CIOs can connect with the company at CHIME’s Fall CIO Forum in November. Thanks to Google Cloud for supporting HIStalk.

Here’s a panel discussion on “The Future of Health” from Google’s just-concluded Cloud Next 19 developer conference.


May 30 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “ONC Data Blocking Proposed Rule: What Health Systems Need to Know.” Sponsor: Philips PHM. Presenter: Greg Fulton, industry and public policy lead, Philips. Proposed data-blocking regulations could specify fines, disincentives, and de-certification of providers who don’t provide an API for patients to extract all of their data. This webinar will describe who is deploying APIs, the scope of data and third-party apps that can be used, the seven costs that do not count as a data-blocking exception, and the health system protections that don’t involve using a vendor. It will also provide examples of data blocking and further exceptions.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Change Healthcare files an amended prospectus for a $200 million IPO, double the value of its mid-March filing.


Apple reportedly acquires Tueo Health, which is developing an app to monitor the nighttime breathing of asthmatic children. The deal was supposedly done in late 2018, but nobody noticed until now.

UCSF ends its plan to affiliate with Dignity Health’s four Bay Area hospitals, citing unresolved issues related to women’s reproductive services, LGBTQ care, and end-of-life options.


  • Loma Linda University Medical Center chooses QuadraMed for patient identity management.
  • Western Maryland Health System chooses PeraHealth’s Rothman Index for real-time monitoring of patient condition.



Surgical automation and software vendor Caresyntax hires Tim Lantz (Sentry Data Systems) as president.

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Divurgent hires Bill Bottomley (HighPoint Solutions) and Mary Beth Seaman (HighPoint Solutions) as client services VPs.

Announcements and Implementations


Muhlenberg Community Hospital (KY) replaces Meditech with the Epic system of its corporate parent, Owensboro Health, with the project coming in under budget at $2.3 million. 

Imprivata enables its Confirm ID EPCS solution to run under the Google Chrome browser, making it more accessible to Meditech users.

Government and Politics

A Kaiser Health News analysis reviews whether the reduced cost involved with healthcare overhaul could wipe out “the industry” (meaning providers, insurers, and others) that provides 20% of the country’s employment. The article quotes economists who previously worried that the bloated and growing healthcare sector was being used as a “wildly inefficient jobs program” to drag the country out of the Great Recession. A healthcare economist observes that hospitals make up the top six employers in Boston and two of the top three in Nashville, with the main source of healthcare cost savings being layoffs that he estimates would impact 2 million people, equally split between providers and insurers. Another economist agrees, but says high healthcare costs sap non-healthcare industries in ways that can’t be easily measured.


I missed this earlier: HHS OIG report finds that ACOs (of the six it studied) that run a single EHR are able to to share electronic data in real time, whereas those using multiple EHRs are limited to phone calls and faxes. The report also notes that care coordination outside the network is hard even with HIEs (since they provide limited data) and that most ACOs aren’t using analytics to personalize care. 

A federal lawsuit questions whether hospitals are sidestepping anti-kickback laws by overpaying the salaries and perks of doctors they hire whose test and procedure volume generates hospital profits that exceed their specialty-specific losses. It highlights the aggressive practices of Wheeling Hospital (WV) to increase its market share, which include directly tying physician compensation to the hospital revenue they generate and hiding doctor payments within office lease terms that give some doctors incomes that are multiples of what their private practice counterparts are making. Meanwhile, CMS dropped the hospital’s quality star rating to one, the lowest possible score.

A study estimates the annual cost of physician burnout at $4.6 billion, or $7,600 per doctor per year. Now that WHO has added “burnout” as a rather vaguely defined ICD-11 diagnosis (symptoms: exhaustion, negativity, and reduced productivity), let’s hope we don’t medicalize it by paying for questionable treatment that then creates consumer demand as we’ve done for other newly defined conditions – we don’t want doctors to burn out from treating doctor burnout.

Sponsor Updates

  • Nuance customers in Colorado, Mississippi, and Ohio adopt the company’s CDI solutions.
  • Surescripts expands its White Coat Award to include categories for health systems, pharmacies, and pharmacy technology leaders, as well as EHR vendors.
  • FDB releases MedKnowledge Canada to support bi-lingual medication management app development.
  • The Chartis Group publishes a paper titled “Launching a Revenue Cycle Automation Strategy.”
  • Aprima will exhibit at the NJMGMA Practice Management Conference June 5-7 in Atlantic City.
  • In Argentina, Emergencias deploys Avaya’s IX Contact Center software to help save lives.
  • Bluetree will exhibit at the IPMI Healthcare IT Institute June 2-4 in San Antonio.
  • Burwood Group will exhibit and present at the Southern California CIO Executive Summit June 5 in Universal City.
  • PeriGen publishes a white paper titled “How to Reduce Exposure to Obstetric Megaverdicts with AI-Driven Technology.”
  • CompuGroup Medical will exhibit at the Arizona Medical Association Annual Meeting June 1 in Chandler.
  • CoverMyMeds will exhibit at the NG Healthcare Provider Symposium June 5-7 in Savannah, GA.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. To Mr Histalk re response to Pendulous Appendages.

    Dang you nailed it. You wonder why so many software companies fail? It’s leadership.

    This fish rots from the head down.

  2. Not really related to this week’s post, but had an interesting interaction with an insurance pre-auth department. They claimed that they needed my knee MRI report faxed to them because of HIPAA. I told them I didn’t have a fax machine, and why didn’t they have a secure portal for these? They again claimed HIPAA, but said there were several 3rd party websites I could use to upload a PDF to and they would fax on my behalf, and better yet some had free trial periods 🙂

  3. HEAL Clinics ceasing operations: Something is seriously wrong with the incentives of the US healthcare system when a company that focuses on helping diabetic patients lose weight and come OFF their medication can’t get up a head of steam. In a fee-for-service, newcos like HEAL simply aren’t ‘sexy’. Chalk up another win to big pharma/ food. It will be interesting to see how Virta, which has raised over 80Mil, fares.

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