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Monday Morning Update 9/23/19

Top News


Campbell County Health (WY) goes on diversion and transfers some patients out after a Friday ransomware attack.

Reader Comments

From XModem: “Re: patients downloading their health data. The government is puzzled why it isn’t happening.” Several recent reports indicate that people aren’t interested in downloading their medical records even though the industry is working frantically to allow them to do so. I’m not a bit surprised since I don’t do it myself and I suspect most HIStalk readers don’t either, so imagine the vast majority of people with high-cost chronic diseases who lack technical knowledge, don’t have consistent insurance and thus aren’t spinning out webs of claims data, or who just don’t worry about their health until they need to. My personal reasons:

From Banner Health Phoenix Nurse: “Re: downtime last week. Cerner went down first, then all the phones. I had noticed Pyxis acting up, monitor displays not connecting with heart monitors, the web-paging tool went down. It was brief, but phones going out all across Banner is crazy!” Unverified. IT people are regularly reminded that ubiquitous connectivity, application integration, and middleware means that downtimes are usually no longer limited to a specific department or physical location. We used to worry mostly about a backhoe cutting a fiber link, an overheated data center, or server failure, but now the potential problem areas are everywhere. You’re not a health IT expert if you haven’t had to explain to the C-suite why a IT-managed phone system, which is just another software application, has gone down and left the hospital disconnected from the entire world.

From Usurious Interest: “Re: readers. Are they Net Promoters of HIStalk?” I barely know what that means, but I’ve learned that regular readers go two ways: (a) they feel HIStalk is useful or enjoyable and want to share it with others; or (b) they are sort of embarrassed that they read amateur-produced news and opinion or they don’t want to share the competitive advantage with peers. The independent Reaction Data of CIOS and CMIOs found HIStalk to be #1 among major health IT sites in readership, influence, generating company interest, providing job-enhancing information, and being recommended most, but even then I’m sure quite a few of those folks don’t broadcast that they’re big fans of Weird News Andy or my musical meanderings. I write for myself, though with the knowledge that others may be reading over my shoulder, occasionally attracting curious passersby.

From Krill Cracker: “Re: hospitals. Business or charity?” Yes. I know of few legally created charities that run such huge and sometimes ruthless bureaucracies, unless it would be behemoths like Goodwill or American Red Cross or perhaps universities. It seems odd that our country in the mid-1960s decided that hospitals need to operate like any other business except with huge government payments, tax advantages, and a carefully crafted image of being selfless while ringing the cash registers.


From Branding Is Life: “Re: new HIMSS conference name. Is it really global? Is it really health?” HIMSS is attempting to bolster its declining attendance by renaming the conference “The HIMSS Global Health Conference.” It is “health” in hawking technology for profit-maximizing providers and it is “global” because it is marketing itself around the world. Otherwise, it’s the same old exhibitor-powered boat show and, seems to me, should be portrayed as such. They say 80% of health has nothing to do with providers, so how is that represented on the show floor?

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


Most poll respondents got their current jobs because of their work history or connections, so I take the career to-do’s as: (a) spend more time creating and maintaining your network; and (b) practice your interview skills.

New poll to your right or here: for those over 50, what do you regret most in life so far? Click the Comments link after voting to provide advice to the younger folks who might change their life’s course as a result of your wise counsel.


The pundits from Pune gave me my best laugh of the weekend in their offer to share their deep health IT knowledge in a $3,500 report.


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. By focusing on your patient education data, you can drive quality improvement across your organization. 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

October 2 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Conversational AI in Healthcare: What About ROI?” Sponsors: Orbita, Cognizant. Presenters: Kristi Ebong, SVP of strategy and GM of healthcare providers, Orbita; Matthew Smith, AVP and conversational AI practice leader, Cognizant. Conversational AI holds great promise to drive new opportunities for engaging consumers and customers across all industries. In healthcare, the stakes are high, especially as organizations explore opportunities to leverage this new digital channel to improve care while also reducing costs. The presenter experts offer a thought-provoking discussion around conversational AI’s timeline in healthcare, the factors that organizations should consider when thinking about virtual assistants through chatbots or voice, and the blind spots to avoid in investing in those technologies.

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



David Jones –- the Louisville lawyer who with partner Wendell Cherry created the country’s largest nursing home chain as a side business, then its biggest hospital chain in Humana, and then top health insurer Humana — died last week at 88.


A small observational study finds that ED residents often create EHR documentation of their physical exam and review of systems that doesn’t match what they actually did. Cynics might note that documentation, rather than action or outcomes, drives payment and thus rewards creative writing.


CNBC’s Chrissy Farr sits in on an Amazon PillPack new hire training session for empathy, in which the employees simulate the experience of the company’s senior citizen target audience by wearing mobility-limiting gloves and vision-blurring glasses while working against the clock to redistribute complicated prescription meds into individual day-and-time compartments (which is what PillPack does for them).


A former hospital pharmacy technician is charged with stealing 13,000 doses of controlled substances after she found a bug in its automated dispensing cabinet that allowed her withdraw doses for inactivated nursing unit names.


Weird News Andy titles this story “Left-Handed Compliment.” Surgeons in England create a new tongue for an oral cancer patient by using skin and an artery from her arm. The woman credits cancer psychology counseling sessions for her recovery.

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