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January 14, 2020 News 17 Comments

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Physicians spend 16 minutes per encounter doing EHR work, according to a Cerner study that reviewed client data from its Lights On Network.

Reader Comments

From OK Competer: “Re: non-compete agreements. It’s time for employers to stop requiring these from staff-level employees, which seems un-American. I’ve been affected by this several times, most egregiously when I was notified of my pending layoff by a healthcare IT consulting firm right after it was acquired by a large corporation. I was denied the opportunity to accept a job from one of the large corporation’s clients in my home town even though I had not served as a consultant for that client.” Abolishment of those requirements is being considered in proposed legislation and an FTC review (public comments are welcome). I’m not surprised that lame companies include such language in their desperate attempt to wield control over employees, but taking the devil’s advocate position, a lot of bad corporate behavior is enabled because employees voluntarily sign their rights away and then complain only later when their personal circumstances are impacted. The most insulting example is that a fast food worker, like the minimum wage kid who assembles your Subway sandwich who is not allowed to take their vast corporate insider knowledge to Jimmy John’s for 50 cents more per hour. I agree that non-competes for marginally skilled workers need to be made illegal, while acknowledging that it’s a sad state when employers can be counted on to misbehave to whatever extent the law allows. They would stop if people refused to work for them.

From Epically Annoyed: “Re: Epic. It is boosting its non-compete back up to 18 months from one year, and it’s a massive list of firms. It hurts not only those who leave the company, but those customers working to hire quality employees, as every one of Epic’s clients are included in their non-compete.” Unverified. A purported list of the non-compete companies listed is on Reddit, while an annoymous Glassdoor poster says the non-compete was increased to 18 months for consulting firms. 


January 29 (Wednesday) 2:00 ET. “State of the Health IT Industry 2020.” Sponsor: Medicomp Systems. Presenters from Medicomp Systems: Dave Lareau, CEO; Jay Anders, MD, MS, chief medical officer; Dan Gainer, CTO; Toni Laracuente, RN, chief nursing officer. Despite widespread adoption of EHRs, healthcare professionals struggle with several unresolved systemic challenges, including the lack of EHR usability, limited interoperability between disparate systems, new quality reporting initiatives that create administrative burdens, and escalating levels of physician burnout. Join the webinar to learn how enterprises can address current industry roadblocks with existing market solutions and fix health IT’s biggest challenges.

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

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock


Revenue cycle services vendor R1 RCM acquires scheduling and patient access solutions vendor SCI Solutions for $190 million in cash. The acquisition comes three days after SCI Solutions announced that it had acquired patient access vendor Tonic Health.


Former Senator Bill Frist, MD launches Nashville-based CareBridge, which will offer electronic visit verification, information sharing, and decision support in serving long-term home care patients. The company is backed by $40 million from investors that include Google.


Medsphere raises $40 million in new funding to support growth and pursue acquisitions.


Industry data and analytics vendor Definitive Healthcare acquires six-employee PatientFinder, which analyzes patient claims data to identify doctors as sales prospects for drug and medical device vendors.


Infor aquires RTLS systems vendor Intelligent InSites to enhance its CloudSuite Healthcare clinical offerings.


Global Healthcare Exchange acquires Lumere, which offers drug and medical device supply chain and pharmacy technology.


Arcadia raises $29.5 million in closing its fully subscribed growth equity investment.


Masimo buys NantHealth’s Connected Care business for $47 million in cash. NantHealth Chairman and CEO Patrick Soon-Shiong says the sale will allow the company to focus on its healthcare communications, clinical decision, and analytics businesses. NH shares jumped 12% on the news to $1.36, valuing the company at $150 million. NantHealth acquired Harris Corporation’s FusionFX integration business medical device connectivity vendor ISirona, both in 2015.


  • Northwell extends its Allscripts Managed Services agreement through 2026, adding $500 million to the company’s contract backlog.
  • Carilion Clinic (VA) will implement VisitPay, which allows patients to pay online and set up payment plans.




Collective Medical hires Wayne Grodsky (SOC Telemed) as chief revenue officer.

Announcements and Implementations


Black Book lists its top-dated healthcare analytics solutions vendors and consultants for 2020.


KLAS reports on digital faxing as healthcare organizations work on eliminating paper faxing. KLAS proposes a four-step digital maturity framework: (1) secure digital fax via APIs; (2) outbound fax integration; (3) document routing, both inbound and outbound, to specific applications; and (4) allowing digital fax documents to be interrogated using NLP or OCR. The sampled customer bases were tiny (two to five customers each), but responding customers of the four vendors studied (Concord, EtherFax, J2 Global, and OpenText) say the vendors haven’t gotten very far in developing intelligent automation.


AHRQ launches a Division of Digital Healthcare Research, which will produce and disseminate evidence about how digital health can support healthcare quality, safety, and effectiveness.



UCSF Medical Center adds diagnostic images to its Epic MyChart patient portal.


Proteus Digital Health, once valued at $1.5 billion for its technology that monitors when patients take their pills, loses the drug company contract that yielded the FDA’s approval of its technology. The company, which has raised nearly $500 million in funding, is laying off employees and pivoting in trying to get insurers rather than drug companies to pay for its services. Drugmaker Otsuka gave Proteus a financial lifeline in buying exclusive rights to use the technology for mental illness. Insiders say the technology worked, but didn’t fit well into hospital workflow, patients didn’t like wearing the required patch, and physicians didn’t really know what to do with the reams of data the device produces. Surely all of this was painfully obvious to everyone except investors.

Odd: In Bahamas, publicly traded Doctor’s Hospital Health System will redirect its strategic focus from medical tourism to using AI and machine learning.


A Madison newspaper editorial by former Wisconsin governor and HHS secretary Tommy Thompson says HHS’s proposed data-sharing requirements will harm Epic and the Wisconsin economy with no benefit to patients, giving “Silicon Valley and new entrants an unfair leg up at the expense of Wisconsin jobs” in forcing Epic “to spend a significant amount of its time on work to share its trade secrets with newcomers.”

Weird News Andy flexes his keyboard-buffed biceps with this story, which he retitles “Working Out is for Schmucks.” Scientists find that a naturally occurring protein mimics the effects of exercise. The subjects of the study — laboratory mice and flies — are reportedly abandoning their Orange Theory memberships while waiting for the websites Hers and Hims to start selling it.

Sponsor Updates

  • Hyland Healthcare announces GA of new enterprise imaging tool PACSgear Video Touch 4K.
  • Pivot Point Consulting’s parent company, Vaco, expands its offices in Miami and West Palm Beach, and hires new managing partners.
  • FDB VP Tom Bizzaro retires after more than 20 years with the company.
  • Optimum Healthcare IT publishes an infographic titled “Q4 2019 Heathdata Breach Report.”
  • AdvancedMD will exhibit at Hawaiian Eye 2020 January 18-24 in Koloa.
  • EMedix Reimbursement Solutions, a CompuGroup Medical brand, achieves the CAQH Committee on Operating Rules for Information Exchange Phase 1 Certification Seal.
  • CoverMyMeds shares 2019 milestones, including 3,000 volunteer hours with Besa Community and $13,000 raised for Pelotonia.
  • Patientco achieves HFMA Peer Review designation.
  • IDC MarketScape names Arcadia a leader in its population health management 2019 vendor assessment.

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Currently there are "17 comments" on this Article:

  1. Regarding Non-Competes – Most, if not all, are not even worth the paper they are written on. Unless you have core IP knowledge, it is rarely enforced by your departing company and most times, the departing company doesn’t even do anything.

    Also, check your state laws as many states have enacted laws that essentially state that if a company enacts it’s non-compete, then they have to pay you your previous wage/salary until your non-compete term is over (as long as you can prove that you continue to look for work).

    This is one of the great things about remote employees, especially in the consulting space. While your company maybe based in another state, their non-competes do not supersede state law, which is why I haven’t left where I live. My state has been very anti-non compete agreements, so I won’t move because of that.

    • The question of “legally enforceable” is only part of it.

      Imaging the following scenario: Bob signed a non-compete when we started working with Vendor A. Bob now wants to leave Vendor A and move into the consulting space for Vendor A’s customers. Vendor A has a policy that in order for consultants to have access to their online documentation, the consulting firm that employs them must have an agreement on file between the firm and Vendor A. So if Consulting Firm B hires Bob, they risk Vendor A revoking that access for *all* consultants that work for Consulting Firm B. No single consultant is worth that risk, so it doesn’t matter if Bob’s non-compete agreement is legally invalid, no consulting firm is going to hire him.

      I echo the sentiment that these are agreements which people voluntarily enter into and agreeing to something means actually agreeing to it. Agreeing to something to gain a benefit today because you plan to find a loophole tomorrow to get out of paying the cost is dishonest.

      • Regarding your statement “I echo the sentiment that these are agreements which people voluntarily enter into and agreeing to something means actually agreeing to it.”

        – Saying that people sign these voluntarily is disingenuous at best. Companies are forcing people to sign these agreements if they want to be employed. Many people don’t have the luxury of waiting for the right job or perhaps where they live this is the ONLY place to work to make ends meet. There is nothing voluntary about a Non-Compete: You don’t sign it, you don’t get the job.

        Regarding “Agreeing to something to gain a benefit today because you plan to find a loophole tomorrow to get out of paying the cost is dishonest”

        – This is basically every single company today and how they treat employees. If a company can fire you at will with no repercussions then you have every single right to quit at will without repercussions too. These large companies are nothing more than bullies. We, the employees and the people that these companies make their money off of, need to start punching them back. That is how you get bullies to stop.

        • Everything you said in that comment is true…

          And it’s still a voluntary choice people make. It may be the case that external circumstances are forcing you to choose the lesser of two evils – a job with strings you find distasteful versus no job at all. At the end of the day you put your name on the on the dotted line and said “I agree to these terms.”

          • What are you arguing for or against here? Yes, a human being voluntarily clicked the “I agree” box on a form or put pen to paper to agree to the clause. That is objectively true. They may also be facing eviction from their home if they don’t, because they won’t be able to pay their rent. Do you think this is a fair system and nothing should change, or do you think this is an unfair system and non-compete clauses should be reigned in and limited to very specific roles or circumstances? Did you know that Jimmy John’s, the crummy sandwich joint, makes their employees sign one? So if I work at Jimmy Johns and I leave I can’t get a job at any sandwich restaurant. Does that seem like a reasonable scenario to you?

          • Obviously it is a choice in the same way that every possible action a human could take is a choice. The point is that the options for the choice has been constrained by Epic in this specific example. In the broader economy, the economic choices available to workers have also been constrained by large corporations. Workers and the voting public should not accept these constraints as their primary function is to benefit large corporations and their owners to the detriment of workers and consumers.

      • In the case of Epic, you’re now limited not only by your own non-compete, but the separate agreements that Epic has made with the various consulting firms. For instance, I left Epic in 2018 with a 1 year non-compete. When my year was almost up, I started reaching out to various hospitals and consulting firms. I heard back from several of the bigger consulting firms saying that they couldn’t even begin conversations about employment until I had been away from Epic for 1.5 years.

        Due to these newer agreements between Epic and the consulting firms, I essentially had an additional non-compete that extended beyond the one I signed when I was hired. Furthermore, preventing employment conversations to even start until the wait period ends just adds extra time beyond the non-compete that you will most likely remain unemployed since you can’t get a jump start on the process.

        • Echoing this sentiment. Epic threw away the goodwill they accrued from the years I helped them improve healthcare, and for what? I suspect that this is all stemming from a maladjusted personality somewhere in the highest ranks of the company…I doubt there’s any discernable rationale anybody could concoct without a deep-dive into the culprit’s warped worldview.

          Luckily, I was able to depart the industry and leverage my experience in a better position. I make sure to be candid when anybody considering applying asks me how I enjoyed Epic, and hope my old teammates flee before the non-compete gets eventually extended to three years!

  2. Non-competes:

    A) It may be true that it’s not worth the paper it’s on, but many times the job seeker is not in the frame of mind to pursue legal actions to fight it

    B) You have to consider the obstacle on the application end; many prospective employers have a single question on their online application “Are you subject to a non-compete agreement?” Y or N. There is no way to ‘explain’. What if your NC is as a lawyer, and you are seeking a job in a different industry? What if it is a gray area that would need determination? ( I can’t work for a client, but you are a vendor of ours )
    It ‘seems’ answering Y puts your application into the trash heap

  3. While non-competes are largely not legally enforceable – they are enforceable in operational practice. Epic practices this, or at least used to, by restricting UserWeb access, access to resources, or just general threats to the consulting firms that work with them. In this David vs Goliath fight of worker rights and hiring freedom, Epic is a Goliath that doesn’t look like it’s found a worthy David to keep it in check. It continues to not only hurt and frustrate their own employees, clients, and partners, but it also hurts local businesses in the Madison area. These local groups constantly deal with the Ex-Epic people starting jobs to only leave after a year to chase the consulting money increasing their turnover and decreasing their ability to hire reliable staff and hurting trust in hiring anything from Epic.

  4. Not sure if it’s still the same, but back in 2015 as an employee at Epic, I could only receive the list of non-compete companies through a formal e-mail request to HR. I then received a mailed envelope that was 10+ pages, single-spaced, front-and-back with three column lists of companies on their non-compete. It included IT competitors, consulting firms (even the independents), but most surprisingly even local banks and car dealerships.

    In my case, letting HR know that I was curious as to who I couldn’t work for while job searching probably didn’t harm my standing at the company. I can assume in most cases it wouldn’t, but could see some potential uncomfortable situations.

  5. Non-compete,
    Why would a vendor NOT want an employee to go to work for a customer/client?? Decades ago when I worked for a Big 8 (now 4) firm they would encourage you to take a position with a client (assuming you wanted to move on). Why? because when it came time for you to need consulting services the likelihood is you would turn to the people you know and had a good felling about. Years later, when I ran my HIT software company I encouraged employees that wanted to change to move to a client. Of course that was not the case if they went to a competitor.

    That Big 8 firm, by the way, use to have an annual alumni party! Now that’s marketing.

    • It’s not about not wanting them to eventually end up at a customer. The understanding is that it’s there to deter poaching of (new) employees. Epic knows that most of their employees won’t last a few years, but it’s not worth it to train employees who leave before they provide any value to Epic. Someone who lasts two years at Epic should have provided enough value to be worth it and should also be useful to have at a client site. A new employee looks attractive to client organizations because it saves them the training cost while also demanding a lower salary. Ultimately, they won’t provide much value to either Epic or the organization due to lack of experience, but that’s irrelevant as to the why.

      It’s not quite the same now as it was back then. The industry is much larger now and job-hopping is a thing (THE thing for some people). Clients are also competitors.

      • Right, Epic is shifting a cost to the company on to their employees.

        Epic decides to recruit smart, inexperienced people because they are cheaper than smart, experienced people. Once the employees gain experience through training and work, Epic prevents them from moving to other companies that want to hire and pay smart, experienced people.

        If Epic didn’t have the non-compete, the (newly) experienced employees could demand a higher salary from Epic, because the current Epic employees would get offers at higher salary from external companies.

      • Funny, I must be ‘over the hill’ since I always considered clients ‘customers’., some even called them ‘partners’. Yep, times sure have changed!

  6. I’ve recently tried to renew my membership with HIMSS only to realize that they’ve implemented higher membership fees for non-providers. We all used to pay $199 per year to join. HIMSS has now introduced a higher free of $299 for consultants, vendors, big pharma, etc. So, HIMSS is essentially sending a message that those of us in fields that support providers carry less of a value to the organization than providers. HIMSS is already suffering from declining membership and waning interest in the boondoggle trips to the annual meeting. Punishing those of us who support healthcare is certainly counter-intuitive to growth and working together to improve technology in healthcare.

    In addition, this is a hardship on independent contractors and those that work for small firms who cannot afford to pay membership fees for everyone in the firm. I, along with several colleagues have chosen not to renew our membership. Perhaps the HIMSS board will rethink this fee structure and revert to one fee for all that wish to participate.



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