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Weekender 11/15/19

November 15, 2019 Weekender 1 Comment


Weekly News Recap

  • HHS OCR will review the HIPAA compliance of the “Project Nightingale” data-sharing agreement between Ascension and Google.
  • NextGen Healthcare announces plans to acquire patient portal vendor Medfusion for $43 million.
  • Ontario, Canada announces a Digital First for Health strategy that will give patients more online access.
  • Results of the Apple Heart Study find that 0.5% of 400,000 enrolled users received an irregular heartbeat notification, most of whom were found to have atrial fibrillation.
  • Premier launches Contigo Health, which will connect participating employers and health systems to optimize employee care using EHR-integrated clinical decision support.
  • Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard Tyson dies unexpectedly at 60.
  • University of Chicago asks to have its medical center to dismissed from a class action lawsuit that was brought by a patient who says its data-sharing agreement with Google violates his HIPAA rights.

Best Reader Comments

After dozens, maybe hundreds of healthcare organizations have partnered with analytics companies to share data and develop solutions, why are we just now becoming concerned that Google has entered the ring? (SkyNet)

Cerner makes money how? From recent earnings call: “As the acknowledged data source, we plan to develop a monetizable distribution model that provides access to legacy client segments and adjacent market prospects such as biopharma, payers and actuaries, to name a few.” (Vaporware?)

I agree it is patient’s data, but that is not the business model in other industries. What about credit information? Isn’t that consumer’s data, too? But credit agencies hog it and sell it without any explicit approval from the individual to collect / distribute it. (Data Business)

What bothers me is that many hospitals willingly give the data away or sell it to entities such as Google, but when the patient asks for copies of his or her own records, they are charged. (X-Tream Geek)

The letter urges that EHR vendors not create financial burdens for physicians trying to connect to state immunization registries and called on HHS to “hold information technology vendors accountable for creating a national standardized, easily accessible, accurate, robust immunization information system.” That’s a recipe to get some terrible software shoved down physicians throats. (What)

I think Mr. Segert has a surprisingly good handle on the [Athenahealth] business here. He’s right that the ambulatory market is consolidating and that Athena has the best ambulatory-only product. If you accept those facts, it seems that Athena should mop up the rest of the smaller vendors. Athena wasn’t making much progress on that because their focus and execution wasn’t there. They were spending their effort on tiny, low volume/$, rural hospitals who would bail out halfway through implementation and go back to CPSI. That was a great way for Athena to take large piles of investor dollars and set them on fire. Also looks like he has a good grip on the sales channels, which is the hardest and most important thing when selling software to the SMB or smaller enterprise market. (GoodFirstImpression)

Layoffs are almost always painful, but it feels worse during the holidays. As a recruiter, I get to see where the layoff leads. It’s remarkable how often it turns out to be for the best. I’ve seen so many people take layoffs hard, only to look back a few months later with gratitude that it led them to something better. (Jim Gibson)

The best way that most economic development agencies have found to lift families out of generational poverty in under-developed economies is to educate girls and women. Across the board, giving women access to education leads them to start businesses that provide economic stimulus to their entire community. Giving menstrual products to teen girls has proven to do just that. Giving a girl the opportunity to get an education is the fastest method to improving her life and the lives of those who depend on her. It is the same reason that diaper banks have proven to reduce sick baby visits and increase teen mothers’ ability to attend classes and work. A child who is constantly ill due to not being able to have a clean diaper is a drain on their parent. The parent can’t improve their economic situation if they can’t go to school and work. Just because a program is focused at the individual level doesn’t meant that it won’t lift up the community. (MEDITECH Customer)

Watercooler Talk Tidbits


Nike will release the Air Zoom Pulse, a lace-free, protectively coated shoe (“a traditional clog made athletic”) that it designed to combat fatigue in testing at OHSU’s children’s hospital. Six young “patient designers” created their own versions of the shoe, profits from which will be donated to the hospital. I like the above design from 12-year-old Sawyer Miller, whose brain tumor was treated with surgery and 30 rounds of radiation therapy. I bet I could make a HIMSS20 splash walking endless miles in these.

University of Washington students petition the university to prohibit faculty members from requiring a doctor’s note for their absences due to “unavoidable” illnesses, saying that seeing a doctor for that purpose is expensive, requires students to explain their symptoms after the fact, disadvantages low-income and DACA students, and may result in the ordering of risky tests and procedures. The students add that doctors always write the notes anyway, so there’s no impact on their behavior.

Loyola University Medical Center tells a woman who was making inquiries into her mother’s unexpected death that its autopsy camera had been stolen and the photos on it lost. Nine of the 18 cases that had been recorded on the camera hadn’t been uploaded to the electronic files as health department policy requires because the camera didn’t come with a cable and the hospital didn’t have one.

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A 26-year-old woman undergoing breast cancer treatment is surprised when her boyfriend proposes to her in front of her Sloan Kettering treatment team on her last scheduled visit, after which they were married in an event donated by a wedding planning company.


The gift shop of Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital (MN) adds a selection of hijabs for patients and employees, saying it’s the first US hospital to do so.


UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital dresses up newborns for November 13’s World Kindness Day in cardigans like those worn by Mr. Rogers, who spent most of his life and career in Pittsburgh. Other local hospitals and individuals did the same, encouraged by public TV station WQED, which created Cardigan Day in honor of Fred Rogers, who filmed 895 episodes of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” at the station over more than 30 years through 2000. He died of stomach cancer in 2003.

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Reader Comments

  • IANAL: What PB brings to the table is the compulsion to disregard anything except his own bottom line. He'll say and do whateve...
  • ellemennopee98: I am not clear when you want to print a copy of your own lab results for yourself that you have to involve staff particu...
  • AnInteropGuy: Tony, Where to start? -ACA did not mandate an EHR. -There is little to no interaction between the EHRs and the go...
  • TooMuchBull: Fact: The Affordable Care Act did not mandate EHRs....
  • Tony Boyer: If doctors are so unhappy with EHR entry, they should be more aware of the fact that the so-called Affordable Care Act (...

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