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Monday Morning Update 9/2/19

September 1, 2019 News 2 Comments

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Walmart will open a Walmart Health clinic adjacent to one of its stores in Georgia that will offer primary care, dental, labs, X-ray, audiology, and mental health counseling in a pilot project.

The company says the Dallas, GA store will provide “low, transparent pricing for key health services.”

Walmart already offers Care Clinics in stores in three states, but those are inside its stores.

Walmart Health will charge $60 in cash for a Medicare wellness visit, $40 for a sick or injury visit, and $40 for visits related to chronic conditions. Appointments can be scheduled online, apparently through Zotec’s MyDocBill.

Reader Comments

From Velvet Fog: “Re: Meditech. Hear it’s looking at a number of READY partners and the certification process, which is good news given that Jacobus is still listed but is out of business. It will be interesting to see how Meditech sales handles questions from organizations looking at READY partners vs. the company’s own professional services, especially when Meditech’s resources often come right out college.” Unverified. Meditech created its READY certification program in 2014. I’ve just told you everything I know about it.

From Spurned Intentions: “Re: jobs announcements. I take pleasure when former colleagues who I didn’t like take bad jobs or last only a short time in one. You?” I don’t have strong feelings, good or bad, about most of the co-workers and health IT people I’ve known over the years, but I can think of at least a half-dozen who exhibited a lack of integrity in personally wronging me (from my point of view, obviously) and historically I’ve enjoyed monitoring the downward trajectory of their careers (except for one who did well) on LinkedIn. I like to think that karma is smacking them upside the head gently but frequently, at least in those rare moments where they even resurface in my consciousness. The best revenge is barely remembering them.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Few of HIStalk’s tech-savvy readers regularly use Apple Health Records to view health system EHR data, as more than half say their hospital doesn’t offer it and 20% say they could use it but don’t feel motivation to do so.

New poll to your right or here: Has your mobile device ever been a key driver of a life-changing improvement to your health? I’m pretty sure readers would love to hear further details of your “yes” vote, which requires only that you click the poll’s “comments” link after casting said vote. 

I was thinking about the volume consolidation that is being driven by mega-mergers among health systems, as organizations start reaching near-national scale. When that happened with banks, restaurants, and quite a few other industries, custom-developed technologies drove competitive differentiation. In healthcare, however, we’ve decided that technology isn’t our core competency and therefore we’ll just use the same Epic and Cerner systems as everybody else. It seems to me that the proprietary, competitor-squashing technologies will be: (a) analytics; (b) customer-facing apps that use back-end off-the-shelf systems without exposing them; and (c) customer convenience apps that allow patients and visitors to hospitals to park more easily, find their way to a specific location, make payments, and reach an actual human for non-trivial concerns. It’s good for patients but not necessarily a competitive advantage that an area’s big hospitals all use MyChart.

Listening: “Fear Inoculum,” the hotly anticipated first studio album in 13 years from Tool. It is impossibly precise and complex, not the kind of music you just turn on and start gyrating to. The title track has already set a record by being the longest song to ever make Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart, clocking at over 10 minutes. The band announced a 26-date, US big arena tour that starts in October, which is pretty amazing given that they’ve been playing together for nearly 30 years in a barely commercial genre while releasing only five studio albums that are, as Variety says, “eerily enigmatic and algebraic.”

With Labor Day comes the end of our Summer Doldrums specials for companies starting a sponsorship or webinar, so contact Lorre if you’ve been riding the fence that is about to be pulled out from under you. 


September 5 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “Driving 90% Patient Adoption Across Your Network: How US Dermatology Partners is Showing Us The Way.” Sponsor: Relatient. Presenters: Michele Perry, CEO, Relatient; Sara Nguyen, VP of applications and integrations, US Dermatology Partners. US Dermatology Partners is helping its physicians reclaim time they can spend with patients and is turning patient engagement strategies into business results across its 90 locations in eight states. Attendees will learn how US Dermatology Partners defined its patient engagement objectives and physician-optimized strategies. They presenters will provide advice on starting or accelerating  patient engagement goals.

September 19 (Thursday) 2:00 ET. “ICD-10-CM 2020 Code Updates.” Sponsor: Intelligent Medical Objects. Presenters: June Bronnert, MSHI, RHIA, director of terminology mapping, IMO; Theresa Rihanek, MHA, RHIA, classification and intervention mapping lead, IMO; and Julie Glasgow, MD, senior clinical terminologist, IMO. The 2020 regulatory release is right around the corner. Join IMO’s top coding professionals and thought leaders as they discuss new, revised, and deleted codes; highlight revisions to ICD-10-CM index and tabular; discuss changes within Official Coding Guidelines; share potential impacts of the code set update; and review ICD-10-CM modifier changes.

September 26 (Thursday) 2 ET. “Patient Education Data: A Key Ingredient for Improving Quality and Patient Experience.” Sponsor: Healthwise. Presenters: Victoria L. Maisonneuve, MSN, RN, director of the Nursing Center for Excellence and Magnet program, Parkview Health; Marta Sylvia, MPH, senior manager of quality improvement and outcomes research, Healthwise. Healthcare data is everywhere! It’s scattered across various systems and in countless formats, making it difficult to collect and glean actionable information. Knowing where to start depends on what your organization wants to accomplish. Vicki Maisonneuve will share how her team analyzes data around the use of patient education. By combining different data sets, she can easily identify trends, gaps, and opportunities to improve quality and patient experience across Parkview Health.

Previous webinars are on our YouTube channel. Contact Lorre to present your own.

Announcements and Implementations

Dubai Health Authority will update Epic in Q1 2020 to allow MyChart users to video chat with their doctor, ask questions, hail ride-sharing services, self-register for appointments, manage prescriptions, and automatically check them in when they arrive for an appointment by using geolocation services.


AdventHealth opens its GE-powered $20 million Mission Control command center that will keep a real-time eye on its 2,900 beds and 2 million annual patient visits in Central Florida.


EClinicalWorks and CEO Girish Kumar Navani make an unspecified donation to support the Bioengineering Teaching and Entrepreneurship Fund of Boston University, from which Navani graduated in 1991 with an MS in manufacturing engineering. The school will create the EClinicalWorks Digital & Precision Medicine Design Suite that will focus on wearable sensors, machine learning, medical image processing, and bioinformatics.



The New York Times lays out the financial problems of the labor union that provides insurance to a member whose wife and two children suffer from a genetic disease treatable only with a new drug that costs the union $6 million per year, or about $0.35 per working hour for each of its 16,000 members. The union may end up paying $60 million before the kids roll off the member’s insurance at 26 and are left to figure it out on their own. “You are one hire, one diagnosis away from this happening to you,” an insurance consultant warns businesses. The article notes drug companies can price new drugs however they want for “rare” diseases, which in total affect about 30 million Americans, about the same number who have diabetes.

The health plan of Oklahoma’s governor includes creating a statewide health information exchange. The state already has two, with the CEO of one of them noting that the federal government provides matching funds for development and maintenance to the tune of $80 million per state. He also suggests that HIEs work best when treated like interstate highways – a state should just choose one rather than having them compete.

An Alaska business site writes about the dozen hospitals there that are using Collective Medical’s platform in their EDs to share patient histories, coordinate care, and alert staff to known patient threats.


Kaiser Health News describes the experience of an engineer who painstakingly calculated his out-of-pocket cost for hernia surgery by contacting Hartford Hospital, the surgeon, and the anesthesiologist (although the latter never returned his calls). Every estimate was incorrect, leaving him with an out-of-pocket bill of $2,300 vs. his expected $1,500. The article notes that unlike in basically every other industry, hospital estimates are often inaccurate, can’t take complications into account, and aren’t legally binding. The hospital says its estimate was based on an average price generated by software using the CPT code, but apologizes that the system is new and thus doesn’t yet have enough cases to estimate accurately. They eventually wrote off the balance after the patient kept pressing them. Healthcare cost transparency wasn’t exactly the winner here.

Bizarre: a reality TV star is blinded in one eye when a celebrant on the Spanish island of Ibiza sends a champagne cork flying into it.

Sponsor Updates

  • Loyale Healthcare publishes a new industry analysis, “More Patients are Choosing Urgent Care Centers. Here’s How Traditional Healthcare Providers are Answering the Challenge.”

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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. In banking, there are three or four software vendors (FIS, Fiserv, Jack Henry) that provide “bank in a box” software to your local bank. Only the megabanks like Chase, BoA, etc. can afford any self-developed consumer facing tech. So it is pretty similar to healthcare IT in my opinion. An interesting sidenote is that there are even consultants who your bank can hire to help negotiate the price with these three vendors. Perhaps someone reading this website could start up a haggling consultancy for HIS.


  2. The Tool album is meticulously mixed and mastered. While song builds are often longer than I might myself create, it is pretty great to absorb. The vocals are so rare too that they leave you longing for the next appearance. The drumming is also quite masterful (see “Chocolate Chip Trip”). I’m sure that’s an understatement to true Tool fans, but this is literally my first experience with them. What an album like this demands is attention. And in our distracted society, it’s surprising that they still find an audience. Kudos.

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