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October 1, 2019 News 10 Comments

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Northwell Health (NY) physicians and IT and operations staff will work with Allscripts to develop a cloud-based EHR incorporating voice recognition and artificial intelligence. Northwell has been an Allscripts customer (Sunrise and TouchWorks) since 2009, when the health system was known as the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. It plans to implement the new software systemwide.


SVP and CIO John Bosco, who has been with the organization since 2004, will likely have a hand in product development.


I can’t recall an EHR vendor in recent memory putting boots on the ground at a single client site to design, develop, and implement a product before releasing it to the market. Perhaps that end-user accountability will result in something more tangible than the ambulatory-focused Avenel software Allscripts launched at HIMSS18, only to cease mentioning it almost immediately afterwards.

Allscripts shares seem largely unaffected, dipping slightly from $11.11 to $10.58 during Tuesday’s trading.

HIStalk Announcements and Requests


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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.

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


PDMP-focused technology company Appriss Health acquires OpenBeds, software developed by Johns Hopkins faculty member Nishi Rawat, MD that helps providers and social workers connect behavioral health patients with inpatient and outpatient care.


Athenahealth puts its Arsenal-on-the-Charles headquarters outside of Boston up for sale. It purchased the historic property from Harvard University in 2013 for $168 million. The company still maintains five offices in the US and two in India, and intends to remain in the area as a long-term tenant.


Siemens Healthineers subsidiary Siemens Medical USA will acquire Seattle-based ECG Management Consultants from Gryphon Investors.


Francisco Partners will buy LIS vendor Orchard Software. Billie Whitehurst (Netsmart) will become CEO of the newly acquired company. The Francisco Partners portfolio already includes Capsule Technologies, CoverMyMeds, GoodRx, T-System, QuadraMed, and ZocDoc.


  • Inspira Health (NJ) will offer telemedicine services from MDLive.



Alphabet names Robert Califf, MD (Duke Health) to head of strategy and policy for its Google Health and Verily Life Sciences Divisions. The former FDA commissioner has been a Verily advisor since 2017.

Announcements and Implementations


WakeMed Health & Hospitals (NC) implements PeraHealth’s Rothman Index predictive analytics software.


Boulder Community Health (CO) goes live on Epic.

Boston Software Systems announces GA of productivity-focused analytics.

Government and Politics

Beginning next year, the VA will automatically share health data with community providers using the Veterans Health Information Exchange.


ONC is looking to hire a Washington, DC-based executive director and economist.


FDA proactively issues an alert about Urgent/11, a cybersecurity vulnerability found in IPnet third-party software that attackers may exploit to hack into medical devices and hospital networks.

Privacy and Security


A ransomware attack forces several hospitals in the Australian state of Victoria to take their computer systems offline. Impacted organizations include Allscripts customer Gippsland Health Alliance and the South West Alliance of Rural Health, which seems to be an InterSystems customer. The hack coincided with an upgrade to the nationwide My Health Record PHR connecting diagnostic imaging and pathology providers to the system.


DCH Health System in Alabama diverts patients from all three of its hospitals after their computer systems were taken down by an early-morning ransomware attack. The system announced it was implementing Meditech Expanse just over a year ago.



Northern Light Health administrators say they will work harder to get physicians on board with the Maine-based health system’s rebrand, which kicked off last year. Staff have questioned the value of an expensive project that has no direct impact on patient care. The undisclosed cost of the marketing project, which typically runs into the millions of dollars, has eaten into earnings as the system attempts to pay off $391 million in debt and borrow another $34 million for construction.


Stanford University’s Machine Learning Group works with Intermountain Healthcare (UT) to develop software that can accurately identify the presence of pneumonia from chest X-rays in as little as 10 seconds. Intermountain expects to roll out the CheXpert technology in select emergency departments this fall.


A small Definitive Healthcare survey of healthcare stakeholders finds that a lack of resources including health IT, gaps in interoperability, and trouble with collecting and reporting patient data are some of the biggest barriers to moving to value-based care models. Those who’ve already made the transition cited reduced medial errors as the biggest benefit.

Sponsor Updates


  • Dimensional Insight team members sponsor the registration table at the St. Jude run/walk.
  • AdvancedMD publishes a new e-guide, “4 Ways to Tell if Your EHR is an Adult or Teen.”
  • Bluetree names Deb May (Renown Health) and Carmen Wolf (Nuance) executive partners.
  • Burwood Group Cloud Services President Chris Pond joins the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater San Diego.
  • CoverMyMeds publishes a new case study, “End-to-End Support Improves Patient Access for Specialty Medications.”
  • The One Million by One Million blog features Diameter Health CEO Eric Rosow.
  • Hyland Healthcare assists in the development of NIST’s new practice guide, “Securing Picture Archiving and Communication System.”
  • Zynx Health’s new Import Manager gives customers the ability to import PowerPlans from their Cerner EHRs to Zynx Health’s Knowledge Analyzer.

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Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. RE: Your comment: “I can’t recall an EHR vendor in recent memory putting boots on the ground at a single client site to design, develop, and implement a product before releasing it to the market. ” GE Healthcare attempted to do the same thing (well…kinda) with Intermountain Healthcare 2007-2013. GE invested approx $500M and the final product wound up being a meager ‘white board’. The project essentially killed the careers of numerous execs as well as what was left of IDX/GE.

    • It also seems like pure folly to create a product that is entirely predicated on the nuances for a single organization. Good luck adapting that to sell to anyone else without significant refactoring.

  2. This is not the first time that the Allscripts/Eclipsys team has been down this road. Prior to the merger of ECLP/MDRX Eclipsys entered into a very similar deal with Baylor in Dallas. In fact, Eclipsys and Baylor rented a rather large set of offices in an up and coming area of Dallas, deployed large teams of product managers and subject matter experts jointly with Baylor. The vision was to build a next generation ambulatory offering that was fully integrated into Sunrise and the overall investment was mind blowing to say the least. The outcome was also mind blowing as nothing ever came of it and the program slowly faded away without much fanfare other than a lot of people losing their jobs.

    Assuming that somehow history doesn’t repeat itself, there are some concerns, that I suspect any analyst, current customer or prospect needs to sort out. First of all – where is this being developed? Off shore, on shore or a combination? Who is the visionary and leader behind this? The last time they had the talent to make this happen was when John Gomez and Joe Petro were at ECLP and that is long ago and far away. MDRX does not appear to have the talent required to pull this off…all that aside, exactly what is being built and why would customers stick around or prospects want to buy a 1.0 product that is extremely complex and the heart and soul of patient care?

    Epic and Cerner, as well as others, are natively integrating AI, they are moving to the cloud and they also have platforms that are tested, scalable and reliable and not a 1.0 product….so not sure what makes this next gen product…in the market overall.

    How do existing clients migrate? If there is no easy – point and click migration path, then they will certainly look at competing offerings, which in three years will be even more mature than the best efforts of a 1.0 offering. More importantly how does this impact the MDRX financials if all current EMR hospital customers (assuming there are many even left today) decide to start looking elsewhere as part of a smart due diligence? It isn’t easy to convince hospitals to be part of a 1.0 offering and hang in there for x years because “trust us, we can do this…”

    Developing a base EMR is also not going to cut it today or in years to come. You have to come to market with amazing analytics, automation, fully integrated Ambulatory, ED, Lab, OR, Pharm, Documentation, CPOE, security, mobile support, device independence, not to mention telemedicine support, population health support and yes fully integrated RCM, HIM, Registration, Scheduling and much more….basically you need to recreate Epic, who in three years will have innovated well beyond all the basics and continue to win deeper loyalty from their base.

    I see what is in this for MDRX, they get a story they can tell to shareholders and tout a major partnership with a well known healthcare system and talk about how they are going to reinvent the EMR.

    Yet that doesn’t translate to story that clearly shows who is even demanding a new EMR? Honestly, are hospitals going to uproot Cerner and Epic to jump to a 1.0 product? Hospitals do not jump EMRs like consumers jump streaming music services.

    To get market share your offering would need to be so compelling that it increases operating margins by 3% to 5% – that is the real bottom line. Ultimately financial analysts should be asking a) who is going to buy this specifically and why? b) how will you impact operating margins to the point that is creates a compelling reason for others to abandon multi-million $ investments and go through the pain of moving to you? c) who is going to lead this and have they done this before, because the pool of people that have done something this large in healthcare, can be counted on one hand and do they work at MDRX today?

    As for Northshore, I mean Northwell….being one of the last SCM hold outs is notable – but this does kind of single desperation. Think of the message being sent here? Obviously they see that SCM is no longer viable as a product, so rather then move to Epic or Cerner they somehow feel that building an EMR, on Avalon or SCM remnants is the best partnership they can form and take this bet? Even if MDRX pulls this off…so what? You are a major hospital system running on an EMR that is owned by a company that is trying to convince a market to just wait and see…that seems rather silly….but hey if didn’t work with Baylor maybe it will work with Northwell….btw this also didn’t really work out for Partners when they did this partnership with ECLP or Sing Health and ECLP…yes ECLP is gone, but legacy is legacy and this is not a new visionary never been done before partnership. MDRX management should be called on the carpet by shareholders and asked some very serious questions, because it seems this is a smoke and mirror distraction.

    The only reason I truly hope this works out is because of the amazing people at MDRX they deserve a huge win. Northwell will survive no matter what, this isn’t their core business. Yet, it could be a bad day for some executives if this doesn’t pan out – it isn’t just about delivery it is about building a product that sells. That is usually the part hospitals miss in this equation because hospitals and their executive are NOT commercial software executives. Look at NYP and MSFT – they had a partnership, but MSFT healthcare didn’t sell and NYP got stuck with a bunch of analytic tools that aren’t supported and had to be sunset. Same happened with Google Health and their partnerships.

    Back to the people – MDRX has some amazing people, hopefully this works and they will go on to be very successful, but in many ways this seems like a hail Mary play…it will be very interesting to see what comes up at the earnings call….but there is a ton here that does not make any sense; financially, strategically this is not a good development for MDRX, its customers, prospects or shareholders.

    Best of luck MDRX…you will need IT!

  3. “Perhaps that end-user accountability will result in something more tangible than the ambulatory-focused Avenel software Allscripts launched at HIMSS18, only to cease mentioning it almost immediately afterwards.”
    According to this report from Axios: https://www.axios.com/northwell-health-allscripts-electronic-health-record-0e4e7cab-c55f-4c64-9940-7affff3fa239.html
    This effort will be based on Avenel: “Northwell will use an existing Allscripts product called Avenel, which uses artificial intelligence and Microsoft’s cloud technology, as the chassis of its new system”
    The AI-angle is a head-scratcher. Get someone to actually explain it. Also the new FDA guidance on CDS will require any AI recommendations to be clearly spelled out with other regulations to come

  4. Just a note that Francisco Partners no longer own Quadramed. They sold it off to Harris (division of Constellation) back in 2013.
    The same applies to others like CoverMyMeds and T-System. This is because FP’s website lists both current and exited companies on it’s investments page.

  5. It is difficult to see how a vendor partnering with a single health system to develop a new EHR could be successful for both parties. If the organization is not very unique, it has devoted tremendous organizational attention and staff time to a project that could have produced a comparable result without its involvement. Or, if the organization is actually as special as it thinks it is, and the partnership as literal and singular as the press release claims, the brand-new software will be encumbered by org-specific quirks.

    More likely: This “partnership” was needed to stroke some execs’ egos long enough to not switch from Allscripts, while Allscripts will (reasonably) take the project in whatever directions meet its own objectives.

  6. “Northwell Health (NY) physicians and IT and operations staff will work with Allscripts to develop a cloud-based EHR incorporating voice recognition and artificial intelligence.” I think they mean “speech recognition”.

    “Speech recognition” means analyzing sound to figure out what is being said.

    “Voice recognition” means analyzing sound to figure out who is speaking.

    • Northwell Health (NY) will work with Allscripts to develop a cloud-based EHR incorporating voice recognition and artificial intelligence…….

      Just another head line created to drive perceived value. Allscripts has thrown out “stories” of great wonderful things to come repeatedly around the end of quarters/financial numbers. If not unimaginable things to come, they purchase small random software companies with utilities and not much of anything else.

      First part of 2018 Paul Black proudly boasted the Healthcare Industries first “Machine Learning” EHR. Avenel. 2 years later, 2019 fast coming to a close and still NO public evidence of this “Industry first “ML” Obviously Avenel had been in development several years before announcement in 2018 we hope. If Avenel exists and has been in development for several years prior to its announcement and is still not available that is a major red flag.

      Paul and his circus of clowns have reduced this billion dollar a year companies RD division to ash, they can no longer develop any meaningful products let alone , maintain current products in house. The core of this new venture is Avenel?

      Maybe the announcement in 2018 was a desperate close thrown out at a time when many Allscripts clients ,obtained via acquisitions and mergers or legacy were exploring and executing on other options. Who knows.

      Paul and Allscripts you on the clock again How long until this new venture is public and please tell us how this product will be AI/ML?

  7. About the gold sponsor Summit Healthcare; they were my HL7/CCD interface engine for 3 years. Great product and excellent support staff.

    I am with a new company now and the engine we currently use [whose name I will not mention, but if George Gershwin built HL7 interfaces this engine would make him…’Blue’…] has a much bigger install base but cannot compare in simplicity and ease of use.

    For medium and large healthcare businesses needing an HL7 engine, I highly recommend looking at Summit Healthcare’s offerings.
    (which includes more than just that but it is all I am familiar with)

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